Sunday, March 30, 2008

Cracks and alignments -- A week of updates

I thought I could do it. When I wrote it, I firmly believed I was through; done forever. Freed from its warm, delicate embrace.

I was wrong.

I am as much a coffee drinker now as I was this time last year and the years before that.

So much for that personal goal.

In fact, I've decided that the studies say that two cups is actually good for you, that it helps me be more productive and, above all, it makes me happy.

When the toddlers are crying and pushing and pulling over yet another THING and it's not even 9 a.m., I have my cup in hand, ready for the battle. It's my weapon. It's my sanity. It's my happy doused heavily with cream and sugar.

Maybe next year that will be a goal I stick with.


How do you take your happy? Whatever it is.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

The F-U-N MEME for Moms

What kinds of fun did you have with your kids this week? Was it messy? Chaotic? Did it make you giggle? Were you in the moment enough to remember? Did you stay awake long enough to realize it was, indeed, fun?

Candace had an awesome amount of fun with a spontaneous trip to the beach with her toddler daughter. You go, girl! That's what I'm talking about!

How about you? Care to share your FUN ideas and proud moments with other moms who just today might need a pick-me-up, or a new idea or just the realization that there are fun times even in not-so-fun weeks???

If so, please leave your Name and URL below with Mr. Linky (if he's working) or email me at ubertwins at gmail dot com if you struggle.

Edited to add: Wow, I did it! It really is cool being JUST A MOM.


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Girly, 2-year-old FUN

We have had some fun this week despite being without a car some days, without being able to go outside for fresh air nearly every day thanks to wonderful painters painting our home on all four sides and rainy, cold weather the rest of the time.

So, I think we had some fun? Wait, did we have any fun?

I jest, of course. But, this is not the best starter week for us, I'll admit. My game is off with so many factors getting in my way this week and I do have high hopes for some major fun crafts and a play date today. I'd normally publish pictures of our bubble blowing moments ... but, um, did that already on Wednesday.

Oh, the joys of mothering!

But, for this Awesome Carnival ride, I'm going to focus on one of our favorite things to do around here: dress up -- as in one of us dresses up and the others gawk and laugh at her silliness! In this case, Jadyn did the dressing up, Liana threw a fit (but smiled later) and I snapped all the photos I could. The lighting is terrible, though, so sorry about that. Oh, and don't they look like we're having a total blast? (cough. cough.)

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The F-U-N Injection

So, I've been thinking all week (yes, it feels like Sunday right now) about how we can inject a little more fun into our roles as mothers, even when things feel just a little bit dull.

My real-life friend Deanna, mother of twin boys who are also 2, said she feels like every day is just about the same. Slightly different, but always very similar to the day prior.

And, since I've already confessed that lately dishes have seemed more fun than refereeing my daughters' play ...

Several of you chimed in comiserating with my words, helping me understand that A.) 2 is just a hard age and B.) All ages are hard ages.

So, for this challenge I'll need you to help -- a lot, actually.

Here it is: The F-U-N Injection Challenge: Highlighting the fun in Motherhood.

Many of life's great mysteries is the ability for our minds to play tricks on us and, I feel this is especially easy when two toddlers are fighting over which page you should read next, or when both want to wear the one and only pair of cupcake pajamas.

Sure, motherhood is hard and we all relate to that, but we all know that there is a lot of AWESOME involved.

I'd like to give the blogosphere a chance to highlight those -- kind of like my Mad Mama Cow experience. Sure, it was scary, but to this day it's down in history as one of the bravest experiences of my life. Earlier this week I took the girls on a ride up an escalator at the mall. It only took three tries and a lovely Sears employee to spot me from behind to do so ... but I did it! (We took the elevator down. R U Nuts?)

So, each Friday, this blog will unite mothers everywhere who have shared their proudest F-U-N moments of that week with other Mamas, giving new ideas about activities, events, decisions and moments proving that motherhood can be described with more than one F-word.

Need some examples of FUN other than being chased by a Mad Mama Cow?

How about coloring -- under the dining room table?

How about creating a new tradition -- and celebrating it?

How about doing something utterly, frustratingly, messy? And loving it!

How about turning everything upside, including the (gasp!) schedule?

How about creating a new game, including the rules?

The more "outside the box" the idea, the better it will be to share -- and write about.

But, Shawn, how can I share these F-U-N events of my week as a mother?

Good question.

You can do anything your heart desires as long as you post about said F-U-N anytime during the week on your blog with a link to this post, Between the Lines, mentioning The Carnival of F-U-N for Moms.

You may share a photo (or a photo collage or a series of photos) of your fun and leave it at that. Perhaps a short but sweet post is all that is necessary that week. Or, you might feel a narrative, a poem or a short story would be more fitting. This is a writer's blog, too, so the creative license is entirely yours to have and to hold. The idea is really to give other moms some new ideas as well as help us all point out the obvious -- or not so obvious -- fun aspects of being a mom in this century. (FYI -- Other bloggers participate in Haiku Friday, so this would be a big bang for your buck to combine the two, if you are into that sort of thing). Your fun might just be an after thought to another post and that's OK, too.

Of course, the Zen practice in this Carnival is being fully aware of each moment of each week about what is fun. Will we be awake for it? Will we be open to it? Will our idea of fun change over time?

Or, worse case scenario, no one participates at all and we, mothers everywhere, are proving beyond a doubt that we are, indeed, bored beyond hope.

Please join me this Friday with the first ever Carnival of F-U-N for Moms. Just email me the link to your direct post once your post is up at ubertwins at gmail dot com. You can post your F-U-N anytime during the week, but my list will go up on Friday mornings.

Please spread the word so more moms can participate and the more ideas we'll be able to share.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New review up at The Chunky Purse

Please check out this review of the book "Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home," by Christopher Gavigan and with a foreword by Meryl Streep.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008


A few times lately -- OK, more than a few -- I've been worried about myself, worried that I've lost my fun-factor as a mom.

I've always been decidedly involved -- the mom who puts off dishes and cleaning to sit and play. But, lately even dishes have seemed more fun. At least they don't throw tantrums or bite each other!

I'm still not ready to throw in the towel and say that 2 is harder than twinfancy, but it has gotten pretty challenging.

Admittedly, I've always stayed away from activities that might cause a fight, like those games when you toss your kid in the air over and over and over and you finally just want to quit because you're tired. Well, I have one more to deal with, too. That intersection of conflict and saying no and being tired doesn't work for me.

So, in the past, we just avoided it. Now, though, physical play is almost demanded at every stretch of our day.

"Mama sit."
"Mama run."
"Mama this."
"Mama that."

Time is more limited than ever. My thoughts are constantly invaded. Dishes and meals are no longer dishes and meals ... they are battles.

"Something has to get done today!" I yell, forcing myself to sit and play for the fifth time that hour.

Who have I become?

This is not the mom I wanted to be. The tired one. The one half-listening. The one watching the clock until their father walks in the door so I can just shut down my brain for five minutes.

No, this isn't Her.

We go in spurts around here with organized play, free play and winging it. I like to hold art and music sessions followed by free play. I always plan a craft project of some sort. And, we move from room to room, playing with things like the money bank in our room, to jumping on the bed in the guest room to watching You Tube videos in my office.

But, the free play part ... is not existent more than ever. Instead they cry or fuss and fight until I sit back down next to them and coordinate something else or have to put one in time out.

Or, until we get into the car and go somewhere.

Next post: A plan of action. Bringing the F-U-N back into motherhood with a challenge -- for you, too.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

How prepackaged is your kitchen?

Visit The Chunky Purse to discuss.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Common phrases uttered lately

Language is exploding around here and with so many words available to Jadyn and Liana, here's the two that what we're hearing the most from them:

1. No (spoken calmly, but drawn out like a moo sound)
As in, "Do you want to go to bed?"

2. No! No! No! (Yelled with excitement for urgency)
Used most by Liana when she sees Jadyn doing something she should not be doing or something she doesn't want her to do, like close a door.

Strangely enough, these are also the same two phrases I seem to be uttering the most as well. So, I thought I'd list how to say no in a few other languages so I can at least mix it up a bit.

Apache (Arizona USA) Dah
Bosnian (Bosnia and Hercegovina) Hm
French (France, Africa, America) Non
German (Central Europe) Nein
Greek [Hellenic] (Greece, Cyprus) Ochi
Inuktitut (Alaska) Naaka
Korean (Korea) Aniyo
Mandarin [Chinese] (China) Bu shi
Nepali (Nepal) Ahaa
Romanian (Romania) Nu
Russian (Russia) Nyet
Tay (Vietnam) Boomi
Zulu (South Africa, Lesotho) Cha

If you need a little variety with the word No, check out this list for more ideas.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

How I'd like to pick a president -- and 7 things

No other show besides Sex and the City has been able to capture my interest and devotion since 90210.

Here's 7 Reasons Why American Idol has kept my Tuesday and Wednesday nights from winter to spring filled for the last six years -- and continues to do so in this Seventh Season.

1. Ryan Seacrest. I love Ryan. In the land of TV hosts where it's truly hit or miss, he just gets it. He knows how to move the storyline along, he comes across as charismatic and caring and he pulls very few punches to the fellow judges as in calling out Randy yawning before the show started last night. To me, Ryan makes the show interesting between performances, which is something I haven't found happening on Dancing with the Stars.

2. The judges: Change the judges on American Idol and the show is doomed. Randy offers a realistic standpoint and keeps it real while Paula always offers something nice and optimistic, making supporters of all of them feel better. And, Simon brings drama. (We almost always agree with Simon's assessments.)

3. The directing: Watching Dancing with the Stars Monday night -- a quick fix for a night without Idol -- and my feet shake with boredom. I just want the next couple to dance. If I'm going to NOT to anything, it has to be for really good TV. That just wasn't and I don't think I saw more than three couples dance. It made me appreciate all that the directors and the producers of American Idol put into their show. Not a second passes when I'm not amused or touched or impressed. I do not wish the time to pass. I stay up late to watch it all. I actually skip writing for three nights in a row to tune in. For a girl who hardly turns the TV on all day, that is saying a lot.

4. The dream-factor: One of my biggest jobs as a journalist has been to seek out voices not typically heard and realize that so many great voices in America have gone undiscovered is amazing to me. It just goes to show how easily we pass by talented people because, perhaps, they aren't packaged how we want them to be. It also just goes to show that with a really hard work -- and some repackaging -- dreams can come true.

5. The music: I've never been one for heavy television or movies, especially close to bedtime. Music-tv is a great solution to a long, stressful day. It's a great way to unwind. To just be. I'd like to think that one day our Liana -- a naturally good singer already -- will grace that stage with her own.

6. Be the judge: Let's face it. How can you not think you are the talent scout? I find it hard to believe that anyone can tune in just once and never return because it's so easy to think you know who's going to win. Truthfully, we've been predicting winners in our house for years now. Dan called Kelly Clarkson. I called (sadly) Ruben Studdard. It's pretty clear who will be the winner this year as well, but voters can pull some surprises.

7. For Democracy: I've said for a few seasons now that we should hold an American Idol-like contest for the American presidency. This may seem like a joke, but this idea would be a solution for many of the great big reasons voting has become so ridiculous in our country.

First of all, all Americans regardless of location or line of transportation can get to a phone these days. Second of all, Americans are so misinformed and misguided as to what the ACTUAL issues are because the media only talk about the Melodrama of the day and the debates -- also led by the news-hungry media are on cable and not everyone has cable.

Thirdly, this idea would pull a great number of candidates that aren't currently fitting into that mold Americans currently think a president must fit into. Let's face it we're all a bit dulled by the same-old, same-old, which is why Obama is doing so well. By forcing candidates to put on their best game on each and every issue -- no campaign money necessary so save that for the important stuff like health care -- perhaps a real conversation about what really matters would begin.

Of course, I'm not asking for presidential candidates to sing ... silly. To give speeches, make decisions on live TV in front of millions, etc.

Well, that's my soapbox for today.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

5 Great Gifts for Mommy Bloggers

It’s true that not all moms would fancy a banner design for Mother’s Day, but there are a few thousand mommy Bloggers who just might be yearning for a special header of their own. In fact, there are a number of unique ways to show a mom blogger in your life that you love her dearly. Here are a few gifts to consider from small budget to a complete splurge:

1. A banner design: A quick Google search for custom banners or graphic designs such as through Etsy can yield a great number of artists waiting to customize the perfect design. Best bet here is to let the blogger pick and choose the design itself so offer up the cash or go ahead and purchase the design for her. Every blogger has their own style and some even like to change their banner for each season. Free templates and graphics are available as well. Price: Free to $25.

2. Her own domain: Truthfully, it only costs $10 for the entire year through a host like Go Daddy, but to give her her own URL will bring a bounty of smiles and laughter. Search for some possible names, including her blog title, or some other quirky thing she uses in her blog often. Or, better yet, let her decide let her know that you’ll pay for the charge. Price: $9.99 and up.

3. A blog souvenir: With the popularity of blogging comes along quirky T-shirts and other memorabilia that can make any blogger giggle. A coffee mug or T-shirt with a saying like, “My Mommy is blogging this,” just might be the laugh she needs this Mother’s Day. Or, for a cheaper alternative, a bumper sticker could work, too. Price: $4.95 to $36.

4. Books about blogging: There are a few good titles out about how to make money blogging and how to blog in general. A fun, light read could be The IT Girl's Guide to Blogging with Moxie, by Joelle Reeder and Katherine Scoleri or "No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog," by Margaret Mason Price: From 13.50 to $16.50.

5. Blogging Conference: The ultimate splurge would be to pay for the Mom Blogger in your life to attend BlogHer ’08, which will be held in San Francisco this year. Of course, depending on location and season of life, some moms might want to forgo a trip this big, which would mean time away from her children. But, if she’s eager to network among other women Bloggers, this conference is truly the event of the year. A backup option here would be a local blog conference or perhaps just an e-course on blogging. Price: $50 to $348 until March 31, not counting transportation or accommodations.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Another 34 things -- A week of lists

I already wrote about 34 things that bring me joy. Those were in honor of my birthday. And, since we had to put our dog to rest that same week, my celebratory plans just didn't seem to work out.

Since I had every intention of writing another 34 things -- this list being about what I hope to DO in this next year -- this is a great week to do it. I'm going to write lists all week.

So, here goes:

1. Finish my novel.

2. Drop 10 pounds.

3. Buy a sewing machine.

4. Learn to sew (again).

5. Make Jadyn and Liana bean bags to toss (as a starter project).

6. Make Jadyn and Liana a crayon apron.

7. Make (or buy) myself an apron.

8. Rejuvenate my kitchen with all new, practical and eco-friendly gear.

9. Take the girls here.

10. And, here.

11. Make another Summer To-Do List.

12. Write an e-book.

13. Publish an e-zine.


15. Practice yoga outside.

16. Create a meditation space (in next home).

17. Vote for a woman president.

18. Start a scrapbook for my daughters about America's first woman president.

19. Become a better wife.

20. Pay off our debt.

21. Start turning our next house into an Eco-conscious home.

22. Write more essays. For real.

23. Meet up with some of my blogging sisters.

24. Let go of the baggage I've been carrying for years.

25. Take a weekend to just write -- somewhere out of the house. Like the beach, perhaps?

26. Attend a writer's conference.

27. Start seriously shopping more locally for more than just fruits and vegetables.

28. Pull Jadyn and Liana around on a float in a pool.

29. Finally travel to Georgia to see my mom and their house.

30. Sell or giveaway more books. I am over my fascination of hanging on to great things.

31. Create a friendship circle.

32. Live more.

33. Laugh more.

34. Write more.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

The Chunky Purse talks TOYS

Please join in on a very important discuss today about toys on my review blog, The Chunky Purse. You might learn something, and earn something, too.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Leaves, trees and smiles OH MY

To say that myself and my friends Deanna and Shannon -- also twin moms -- are ready for spring is pretty much an understatement.

In fact, I hereby refuse to wear a winter coat. The green of our plants and flowers are just starting to peek up through the ground and after Saturday the chances of snow are pretty minimal.

So, this means we made it! We did it. We made it through a winter with twin 2-year-olds.

That's not to say that failed finger painting, messy thank you cards and endless tantrums weren't fun ... just that hallelujah we can get outside every day so long as a Tornado isn't in the forecast!

So, to celebrate, Deanna and I and our two sets of twins set out twice -- THAT IS TWO TIMES -- this week to let the wild beasts run.

And run they did. They also climbed stadium-type steps three times, ran suicides in a tennis court, jumped (while others sat) in rain puddles and that was just one day.

The next day was more like a vacation at a state park, where they played in leaves, walked around and played under a fabulous tree.

And then this happened:

Any idea how many frames it took to get this one shot where they are all looking at the camera while sitting on logs? At least eight ... because the last one is this one:

Other favorites SPRING IS NEARLY HERE PHOTOS from the day are these:

(Look closer and you'll see Jadyn practicing toddler log rolling.)

How are you feeling about the Coming of Spring?

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Safe in the City

With two clingy tots under foot, she needed to get out of the house. She needed something different, something that didn't involve other human beings that might pass along more germs that might lead to more sleepless nights and cranky days.

Her sweet daughters cried, "Library, library!" as she dressed them in their warm red coats and shoes.

She couldn't tell them no, but knew germ-filled books and toys were not in store for them last Thursday.

No, we'll go see the airplanes, she told them, zipping their red winter coats.

But, plans changed after just a few intersections from the house when the sunlight beamed in through the car's windows, causing one girl to fuss. "Too many red lights to go," she thought. "I can't deal with crying, today."

A quick turnaround, a tank of gas and they were off to see the cows, instead.

Cows. Sweet, innocent black and white beauties.

"I can do this," she thought as she held both of their small hands in hers, nervously leading them toward the barns for their first time without Daddy. "They're just cows."

She was impressed by how they both held her hands tightly, and listened as she coaxed them this way, and that -- all to see the calves and the Mamas eating in separate barns.

First, they watched the Mama cows using their long tongues to scoop up bits of feed. Dozens of sets of cow eyeballs peered up at them from the corners of their eyes as they passed one black and white head after another.

She laughed off a worry about the likelihood of cows being set off by the color red the way she knows bulls are known to be.

"They're just cows."

She led them the short walk back to see the calves, helping each of her daughters step carefully around mud -- and other messes -- and passed what appeared to be the smallest calves to reach the ones more eager to see people. They stopped to spend time with one that licked her white winter coat over and over, making her daughters giggle but with caution.

Another step or two ... another sweet, innocent calf, then another.

Then, suddenly: "Mooooooo! Mooooooooooo!" The sound came from behind them.

When she turned, she saw a cow barreling toward her and her babies from around a building, unrestrained and clearly upset.

She looked around and saw no one -- not one farmer or another visitor.

More mooing bellowed from the cow's belly, and her alarming sound was soon emulated by other cows that had been eating in the barn.

The Mama squeezed her daughters' hands and pulled them strongly with as little visible panic as possible between the calves small pens to put the angry Mama Cow between her and her own babies.

Each time she looked back she saw Her, and the look of protection and anger in her eyes that was so familiar. She fought tears as she pulled her daughters -- one now crying, the other throwing a tantrum over her visit with cows cut short.

Once far enough away, she looked back to see that a handful of other cows that were now loose and a few farmers herding them back into their barn.

Maybe it was the red of their little coats. Maybe they got too close to that Mama's baby. She'll never know what really happened.

Later, after she calmed down enough to drive, she eagerly returned her sweet girls to their city home, where many bad things happen, but nothing like a Mad Mama Cow.


She was safe in the city, once again.

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Friday, March 7, 2008

Habla Espanol?

It's here! The first Chunky Purse review -- about Whistlefritz for The Parent Bloggers Network. Please check it out and the others as well -- because you certainly can't just take my word for it.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Introducing: The Chunky Purse

Let's just say that all the fanfare I had planned for this little idea is not working out as I juggle two nights -- and two days -- of hardly a break from two clingy, sick toddlers. And, I ain't feeling real pretty or generous right now.

But, I have started another blog -- a review blog.

I picked the name The Chunky Purse because I wanted something catchy enough and broad enough to not confine me to any limited terms and products to review. But, it's not your typical review blog. I'm not going to tell you to run out and buy every single thing I write about.

The first review will be up on Friday. I'll always post here to let you know when a new review is up.

Now, off to start that coffee ...

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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Kick starting the week with comedy

I'm working on another project and I need some help and inspiration. One regret I have about my first year as a mother was not starting this blog sooner. Truly, it is the most substantial mistake I made not for any other reason than I wish I had something to go back to and read about what I was thinking or feeling. I want to read about how happy I was at least ONCE.

Instead, I have a lot of memories about how hard it was, about how tired I was, and, unfortunately, how miserable and lonely I was without any extra hands to juggle it all.

So, I need you to cheer me up. I'd like those of you who had a blog when your baby was an infant -- or invite your blog roll to participate -- to share a link of a post you wrote that shared something meaningful about that first year whether it be funny, sad or blissfully happy. Leave a comment and link in the comments to either your current post or a previous post and I'll link to you in a post later this week or next week.

Oh, and for those of you who hadn't started your blog then, do you wish you did? And, if so, what do you wish you could go back and read about right now?

Or, have you written about something you wish you hadn't? Any mistakes learned along the way when writing about the kiddos?

Happy Monday!

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