Tuesday, May 30, 2006

ideas, ideas, ideas

I have become an insomniac, seriously I am doing only 5-6 hours of sleep a night trying to scam as much "me" time as possible. The good thing about my commute is that I can take a quick snooze on the train and then wake up for my little walk to work. I just need to get over this staying up late thing.

I find myself planning my next step in life. I tried graduate school and maybe it was the program but it just didn't do anything for me, I just wanted to be home with my family. I think I am going to pursue my own little business but it would mean sacrificing my every other Friday off as well a few of my evenings to work on it. I have a few different ideas but I really need some time to sit down and work through them. Most likely it will be something related to kids and their mamas but I want to create something new, not just a copycat company of what I am seen before, but something that speaks to me.

I do not need this business to make a ton of money (although wouldn't that be cool?) I just want to create something that is mine. S has his creative outlet, he gets to go play his music and create, I need that. I need it to keep my sanity.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Chronicles of an exhausted mom

Chronicles of an exhausted mom

My new renter this week is "Chronicles of an Exhausted Mom", doesn't that just say it all. She has a great post on what is really important on Memorial Day. Whether you are for against this war (I am against it), we should all remember the men and women who are over there risking their lives. I will always support those people and I think of them today as they are very far away from home.

Friday, May 26, 2006

...formally known as preschooler

When we got in the car this morning Cat said,

"Mama, can you turn the music on, I want to listen to Prince."

I guess we have moved past Laurie Berkner.

I'm back

I'm back.  I hit a little blogging burnout and needed to take a break.  I found myself stressing over blogging which was totally not the point of this blog in the first place.  So I just needed to step back for a second take a deep breath and deal with life for awhile without the computer.

So here is my week in review:

The air compressor went out on our van, this happens to be one of the most expensive items to fix on our van, and also after further Internet research is a fairly common problem with our model.  So we seriously contemplated getting a new car, as far as actually getting a home equity loan to pay for it.  However, after further contemplation we decided to just fix our van and drive it into the ground.  When we have got all of our money out of the car we will then get a new one.  A new car is cool, but we don't need one.  So that leaves us with a brand new home equity loan.  Oh what to do?  Well we have decided that we are going to pretend that we are on one of my favorite shows " Curb Appeal" and get new windows, new front door, storm door, stone patio, storage shed, covered patio overhaul and paint.  We will hire out the big jobs but most of the others we will do ourselves, we like to save a buck or two.  So that is what has been taking up all of my precious computer time lately, looking at house stuff on-line.  It is really fun even if most of the stuff is way, way out of our price range, but I still love looking. 

The kids are doing great.  Aly had a doc appointment on Monday, I can not believe she is already 21 months now.  Here are her stats: 35 1/2 inches tall and 31 pounds.  Doc says she is growing like a weed and in great health.  No appointment for Cat which she was glad to hear since last time she went in she got her flu shot and was none to happy with the nurse.  But she is doing great too, it seems like she just keeps growing out of all of her clothes.  They are getting passed down to Aly at a fast and furious pace.  Aly is already wearing Cat's 3T stuff. Aly's side of the closet is stuffed with clothes, while Cat's is looking a little grim.  I think some shopping may be in order this weekend.

I have decided to start keeping my eyes open for another job, I would just love to be closer to home.  The other day it took 2 hours to get home.  I am a staunch believer in public transportation, and because of that I need to find a place to work that will give me a sensible commute.  And so because of this decision no more blogging during my lunch break. 

A job opened up for a middle school band teacher in Camas, WA right across the river and I think S might apply for it.  He has been missing teaching lately, and I think feeling a wee bit bad that I have been feeling most of the financial burden this last year.  I would love for him to go back to work, it would be a perfect time for us especially with me looking for something new and also wanting to send Aly to a pre-preschool in the fall.  I just want her to be able to have some time with other little kids besides her sister.  That socialization was great for Cat and we would love for Aly to have the same experience.  Plus it might give me the opportunity to work part time and start a business from home part time, I would sooooooooooooo love it.  The only thing standing in his way is obtaining a Washington State teaching credential since his California one won't just transfer over.

After our nice warm weather last week it has decided to return to typical Portland spring weather which means rain.  This is great news for the plants, even better news for the weeds (which have quadrupled in size) but not such great news for kiddos who really want to play in their garden.  But it makes for some great exploration of the city.  Today, being one of my Fridays off (so loving this Friday off schedule), we went to the Portland Children's Museum.  There was a field trip there, which made it a little crazy for the kids, but let me tell you this, they loved it! Nothing better than a place you can take your kids and just let run wild.  We just sat back and watched.  I love it how kids can become best friends in a matter of seconds and then say goodbye just minutes later.  Kids social behaviour is amazing.  This is the last weekend of their Sesame Street exhibit which was a lot of fun as well.  The kids got to sit on the stoop, hang out with Elmo and the Count, dress up like Big Bird, and play with puppets.  It was a fun time and we were all tired when we got home.

I will try my hardest to get my regular posts up, hopefully I can at least start posting some house photos as we start fixing things up.

Remember by Fabric Friday posts can now be found at my new blog - Fabric Finds

Friday, May 19, 2006

Fabric Finds

I have decided to move my Friday Fabric posts and craft links over to my new blog Fabric Finds. I am hoping to concentrate more time on fabric than just once a week. I have so many great ideas and I am hoping this will get me going to finish some of my projects. I will make sure I post when I get projects done, and please let me know when you have projects that you are proud of and I will make sure to give you some props. Nobody loves a crafty mama like another crafty mama.

Some come on over and visit, okay?

Fabric Friday



I bring you this fabulous new fabric from a great online store I found called Make Me Fabrics. They have new and vintage designs. If you live near Asheville, NC you can even pick up your order for free. I would love to make a little a-line skirt out of this fabric. That with some flipflops, a white t-shirt, and a little tote bag would be the perfect little weekend shopping outfit. At least for me anyway. I only wear skirts in the spring and summer so I am getting ready to pull out some of my fabric and sew some up, dis dressed has some great suggestions for patterns. I always feel like such a tomboy that the warm weather gives me an excuse to be girly every once in a while, my husband appreciates that as well.

I am so thankful that it is Fabric Friday and I can get the McClown Baby off of the top of my blog. That was really scary, but if you are so inclined to see something even more bizarre and wrong, head on over to finding yourself despite yourself and get ready to McPuke.

Don't forget to stop by my great tenant this week: Mama? Mama Come Here! She has a fabulous blog (I love using fabulous), and since she was feeling down on herself yesterday go on over and tell her how great she is. Plus I love her profile photo, if I only I could get away with shoes like that.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

WTF


Do I need to say anything about why this is so wrong?

A new blog and my newest renter

Now its time for life... is a fantastic new blog written by Maalea Mama and I am not just saying that because she is my bestest friend. She really is a great mama and like all of us has her moments of frustration. She has two "spirited" kids and is looking for a little advice as to how to deal with them sometimes. She just put up her virgin post and I am so excited for her joining this mama blogging community. Go check her out she really is the bestest!

I am also the lucky landlord to Mama? Mama Come Here. She has been on my blogroll for a while and I truly heart her. Here is her profile:

I'm a working mother of two wonderful boys. They keep me on my toes every day, yet they bring me so much joy and frustration that I'm afraid I'll burst.

Go and give her some love as she recently had some fun times spent with the MIL and a rather rude critique of her blog. She is also looking for someone to do some blog designing for her, so if you know anyone make sure you let her know.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Jabber jaws


Jabber jaws is what my parents called me when I was little.  I would talk and talk and talk with barely a breath in between my words.  However, I was painfully shy when I was not around my family or close friends.  Cat is not shy, she will talk to anyone, anywhere.   So she talks when she is home, she talks to the checker at the grocery store, she talks to the lady on the bus, she talks to whoever will listen.  I am glad that she is so outgoing but it is starting to scare me a little.  We have talked to her about strangers but instead of just not talking to strangers she will say "you are a stranger so I will not talk to you."  Then she begins to tell this "stranger" her life story including all of our names and her birth date.  We talk to her about being a nice girl and not needing to talk to everyone she sees, but I don't want to thwart her curiosity.  She loves learning about people.  How do you deal with this issue? 

Friday, May 12, 2006

We are family, I got all my sisters with me

Her Bad Mother recently posted a call to the blogging community to spread some love for our fellow bloggers. Let's celebrate our favorite Blogging Mamas for Mother's Day.

I found out about her idea when Nonlinear Girl posted about me. I couldn't believe it. I am humbled that such an articulate (which I am not), intelligent (which I hope to be), beautiful (which all us mamas are) and local mama (Portland rocks!) would call me out. Thank you! I love your little squishy baby faced girl, so adorable.

I decided to focus on a mama who writes about her life with such honesty, heartbreak and humor it puts my posts to shame. If you all have not stumbled across Desert Bitch you must go read her now. I went to one of her first posts back in March to learn a little more about her, then I found this post about the love and support she has found with her online friends. Then I read this post last month and was blown away by her story. She is a brave and cool mama with two beautiful girls and one hot Mr. I am always looking for other mamas out there who push me to write with more honesty and humility. Desert Bitch is definitely one of those crazy cool bitches out there in the interweb world. A big MWAH to you this Mother's Day. I have also been a lurker on her site for a little while so I am outing myself with this post.

Now, in honor of Her Bad Mother (who I am so adding to my blogroll), I give you my gratuitous baby photos:



Fabric Friday


Is it Friday already? Well after a fun filled week (I promise to post soon about all of that) I have now reached my Friday off. I found this fabric on Repro Depot, I love that site. The design is from Alexander Henry Fabrics and if you like this one then you will like a lot of the designs that they put out.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Feeling Groovy

I have a few minutes before heading out the door for work today and I am feeling good. I had been feeling a little grumpy since Sunday night (does getting older make you more grumpy?) I got a little venting out in my last post and you know what? This blog did it again, I feel so much better.

During my short grumpy phase I was having the hardest time even wanting to post, I couldn't think of what to write about and I felt pressure to just do something. Well, the fact was that I wasn't using this blog to its full advantage. I needed to vent. Isn't that what this thing is here for? Well, you guys read this and all but sometimes I have to admit it is a little B-O-R-I-N-G (this post included I am sure), but I love that it is here. I love that all of us in the blogging world have this great way of getting our happiness, frustration, stress, anger, silliness out into the world. That is pretty cool.

I think I am also feeling better because I got my haircut last night at my fave salon, Halo. My hairstylist is great and she has a four year old daughter with one of my most favorite names, Georgia. I just love that name and even suggested it when I was pregnant the second time around but it was vetoed by S. Anyway, isn't it amazing how a new haircut can make you feel so much happier? Let the world be damned Heather's got a new haircut and she feels good! Or perhaps I am also feeling good because I get to have a mani and pedi tonight, plus meet up with a bunch of other Portland blogging mamas. I am thrilled because I will be meeting some cool mamas, at least they seem cool from their blogs, and I get to have Spring time feet and hands. Oh what color should I pick? I had to dig through my closet to find some sandals that haven't seen day light since last Labor Day. I would love to buy me some new sandals before my pedi, I just don't have time to go out today, oh yeah I also don't have the money since I am using that for this pedi.

Da, na, na, na, na, na, feeling groovy.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Business Advice

I need some advice on how to write about a sensitive subject. One of the things that I decided when I first started this blog was that I would not write about work. Well, you know how that goes, never say never. It seems like the only thing I want to talk about today is work and I don't know how to do it the right way.

I really like the people I work with, my team is great. I like the organization I work for and my bosses (I have a few of them). However, I don't like the commute, I am over qualified, and even though I seem to get recognition for all of my hard work, there is never any talk of promotion or raise. I was talking to one of my co-workers yesterday who was complaining that the only way to get the recognition you deserve is by leaving the company. Then they decide they miss you and that you are worth much more to the project than they realized.

I feel that this, in many ways, is a complaint that many people have with their jobs, especially women. I have been in this position before and although I hate perpetuating stereotypes there is a big difference working for a woman as opposed to a man. It is just different, enough said.

So I got a little bit off my chest and I feel better now. Nothing big just my current frustrations.

Where is my advice you guys? Do you write about work? If you do how careful are you? I would never use any specifics only generalizations because I am just too chicken shit to write anything else.

Monday, May 08, 2006

My new tenant - Peanut Tales

Welcome my new tenant this week, Peanut Tales. I have a hard enough time with two kids I can't even imagine what it would be like with four. But she does it with finesse and we are the lucky ones to join her on her journey. So check her out while she is staying with me this week.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Do I look any older to you?

I am officially 33 today! Woohoo! Yeehaw! Yahoo! Why am I so excited? I don't know but I felt like I needed to whoop it up for my birthday.

We had a pretty exciting weekend in the Mama Land house. Yesterday I got to spend my birthday moola (thanks to the in-laws) at Fabric Depot (one of my favorite spots) and spent most of it in one shot buying stuff for my craft room (fabric and accessories), that is still not put together and is slowly becoming the junk room of the house. But it was fun, no kids, no hubby asking if I am done, just me and my cart and thousands of fabrics to choose from. My husband jokes that I am addicted to buying fabric and I think he is right. There are so many great designs out there, that is one of the reasons I have my Fabric Friday posts.

Today I was served breakfast in bed, baked apples and granola (yummy) and got to sit and read the newspaper without interruptions for a whole hour (can you believe it?) Then we hit up one of my favorite stores looking for some blinds for our kitchen we just couldn't find any in our size. Oh well, birthday bummer.

Now we are back home. I know this is probably not that exciting to many people but you other parents out there know that an hour to yourself in the morning drinking coffee and reading the newspaper is worth celebrating.

Tonight we are having Coconut Cream Pie (my favorite) and Hawaiian pizza (another favorite). Plus a chick flick of my choice. I chose "The Family Stone". I will give a review tomorrow, if anything it has one of my favorites, Luke Wilson, so I can enjoy watching him.

I am off to take a little nap, another birthday luxury today. Can I have a birthday once a month? That would be nice!

Remember to check out my renter Fidget at Finding Yourself Despite Yourself. She has an unbelievably funny story about a golden shower. Yes you heard me right, check it out before her lease is up and she moves on to another great rental.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Does your mom read your blog?

My mom reads my blog (Hi Mama!). We were talking on the phone last night and I was mentioning about Aly being sick and she said "oh, I remember reading that on your blog." But when she says the word blog it comes out of her mouth like she isn't quite sure if that is the right word to use. How ever she says it the accent is always on the word blog, "I read that on your bbblllloggg." Oh boy she is going to hate me for making fun of her. But that is what I do, it is just a part of our relationship.

I feel really lucky to have such a great relationship with my mom. We are friends and I love hanging out with her. She is a great nana and loves to spend time with the girls. They live up in Seattle and since we live much closer to them now, versus us living in Sacramento, we are able to see both her and my dad (Poppops to the kids) much more often. They have even been thinking about moving to Portland next year after my dad retires.

My mom has gone back to school to take night classes in horticulture. Her true passion is gardening and she has done some design projects as well. Once my dad retires she would love to start her own landscape design business. I told her the sooner they move the sooner my garden can become a showplace for her talents. I do some gardening but it is nothing compared to my mom. I greatly admire that she is following her passion.

Thanks Mama for being a constant inspiration to me and the girls. I know that you wish that you would have followed your passions earlier but if anything I have learned from that. I want to show my girls that you can be a mama and follow your passions, find a path in life and do what you love. I am sorry that it took so long for you to finally be able to pursue your life long dream but you are doing it now and that is all that counts.

So Happy Mother's Day (just a week early), I love you Mama. - Heather

Fabric Friday

Flea Market Fancy is one of my new favorite collections. These are Free Spirit fabrics designed by Denyse Schmidt. Denyse is also a quilt designers who designs some of the coolest quilts around.

Speaking of fabrics, one of my favorite places is having their 40% off sale today and tomorrow. If you live in Portland and are into fabric you probably know what I am talking about, Fabric Depot. Even if you do not live in Portland they offer their sale over their website as well. The best thing? They have these fabrics, yay!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

don't I deserve a day off too?

Okay, I am really sick of feeling guilty for needing to work outside of the home. I put guilt on myself because I would rather be at home. I feel guilty when I meet moms that have figured out how to work from home so that they can make a living and be there for their kids. I also hate that because I am not a stay at home mom I often feel as if I am not being a good enough mom for my kids. I know most of this is self inflicted, but the media puts so much attention on this issue it is driving me crazy. Would I love to be home with my kids? Hell yes. Can I do it right now? No, but I am working on it.

I work outside of the home 40 hours a week plus 10-12 hours of commute time, then when I come home I am on Mom duty until bedtime plus their are the weekends. My husband is a SAHD but most of the time he hands the kids over to me when I get home (and yes he does deserve a day off too). On the weekends I get up with the kids and generally do not have much time off. Hubby is off doing work around the house. It is how it works for us and I am not complaining (okay I am but this goes back to the guilt thing), but I am so sick of this being called the mommy wars. Why do we have to distinguish between working moms and SAHMs? We all work hard at being great moms and we all deserve a day off.

So this brings me to this concept of Please Take My Children To Work Day, a holiday for stay at home moms. In general I love this idea, but I think all moms work hard not just those that stay at home. So why don't we have a real holiday for all moms. A day during the week where we can come together and hang out. Let's have workshops on how to come together as a mothering community. I have learned so much from other moms through these few months that I have had my blog. There are so many similarities among mothers that we just shouldn't care all that much if the mom across the street is working or not, or is a better mother or not. So right here on Life in Mama Land I suggest that we form Mama's Day Out, a day to come together as mothers. Let's learn from each other, come together and communicate and just have fun. Why don't we concentrate on ourselves for a day without our kids or husbands or partners around, just us moms. I started this blog because it helps me reconnect to who I am as a woman and that would be the purpose of this day as well. A happy mama is a better mama.

Whose with me?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Clearing things up

Here is the response that I received from my co-worker to the email I discussed yesterday:

"Thanks for letting me know your feelings. I thought about it later myself and thought that was pretty bad and shouldn't have sent it. I too, know a lot of people who have come to this country and have made the world a much better place and work harder than a lot of others we all know. You and one of my sisters always let me know when they don't appreciate something I've sent out. Thanks for being honest instead of just getting mad at me because I truly should have known better!"

I am glad that this did not turn into some ugly thing. This is hard to deal with especially when you work with an individual but I feel good about the outcome. The thing that I have realized about all of this is that before I was a mom I am not sure I would have even said anything. I probably would have just gone about my day and thought badly of that person. However, I now see things through the eyes of a mom, what would I say to my child if she was confronted with something like this? Would I suggest she just let it slide? No, so I can't do that either. I am glad that I stated my points and did not offend her.

If you are interested in reading the poem, I was able to find a link on snopes.com that discusses the poem. What do you think, do you think I reacted the correct way? Oh, the poem I received also included animation of Asian and Mexican caricatures (yeah, very tasteful).

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Veiled Racism - Update

I received an email from a co-worker yesterday entitled "immigrants", it was a poem about immigrants taking advantage of the welfare system and not paying taxes. I was offended by this email and found it racist in nature. I didn't know how to respond except for deleting it from my email system. I didn't want to keep a copy, all though I wish I would have because I am sure it would have violated email policies.

All last night I tossed and turned trying to figure out how I should deal with my co-worker. She is a work friend, not someone that I would hang out with outside of work but we chit chat and have lunch on a regular basis. I didn't want to hurt the good working relationship we have together but I felt like I needed to say something to her. I decided that the best thing was to send her an email in response that read:

Hi X,
I wanted to let you know that I appreciate the jokes you forward to me, they really brighten the work day. I wanted to raise an issue about the one you sent yesterday "Immigrants." Having many friends as well as in-laws who are immigrants I was offended by the hurtful nature of the poem. It cast a very negative view of immigrants, grouping them all into a group of people that are out to make a buck off of the US. I understand that there may be a few individuals that do these things but that can be said of US citizens as well. I have never met an immigrant who came to the US to manipulate the system, but I have met plenty of folks from the US that have. It pains me to see this kind of material sent out to further prejudice this group of people. After all if you go back far enough we are all immigrants.
Just wanted to let you know my viewpoint.
-Heather

So what do you think? I haven't received a response from her yet, and I can say I am a little bit of a chicken shit to go and talk to her about it. Do you think I should just let this email speak for itself?

I also bring up this topic because I have become increasingly concerned that this attack on immigrants is really thinly veiled racism. Any thoughts on this?

Okay, stepping off the soapbox now, but I figured I would just start the discussion.

Update: I am not calling anyone a racist I am reacting to the poem that was of a racist nature and discussed the US as the white man land (nice huh?). So from a certain fringe of the population this is a racial issue.

I would like to think that most people who come here would like to become US citizens, but it is often very hard when you do not speak the language, are just trying to survive. I am all for trying to fix the system which I know is broken but I also don't believe the answer is to demonize a large group of people as criminals.

I realize that no matter what I say this issue can not be dealt with in a simple blog post but because of the email it sparked something in me that I needed to get out.

Monday, May 01, 2006

No Vacancy

I have entered into my first foray of renting out my blog in the hopes of opening up my bloggy circle a little. As of this morning my lease was signed and my new blog-renter moved on in.

So without further adieu, Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, introducing:

Fidget


I couldn't resist her description that read: "I've forgotten how to be me, how to relax and how to have fun. I can't remember the last thing I did JUST for myself - other than wipe my butt." AMEN and a Hail Mary. That is the exact reason why I started this blog. To remember who I am other than wife and mom, and how those two things have added to my character.

So come one come all and visit Ms. Fidget, she is one cool chick in my book.

Party in the bathroom

We had a party at our house last night, but not the kind you would want to invite anyone to. No, this party was of the vomiting kind.

Last night as I was getting nice and comfy in bed ready to watch Gray's Anatomy before I drifted off to sleep, I heard a wretching sound coming from the girls' room. You know where I am going with this right? I waited a moment to see if it was an actual wretch or just a cough. I heard it again followed by a gushing sound. I know its gross. So I hop out of bed and yell to S that I need some help. We both go in the room and Aly is covered in what was once her dinner. It is all over her, all over the crib, and all over her blankie. I brought her in to the bathroom and cleaned her all up, she threw up a little more in the bath tub and then said "nigh, nigh." We brought her back to the now clean crib. She got all snuggled down in her blankie and we hoped that was the end of it. But as you can guess it was not. We ended up going through 4 sheets, 2 blankets, and 2 pillows from 10:00 pm until 12:00am. Finally she was able to go to sleep and so did I.

I don't know why I had such high hopes for having a nice nights sleep on my last day of vacation, with almost all things when you have kids you just need to throw your plan out the window. I adapted (as all parents learn to do), GA was Tivoed, towels were brought out and Aly and I hung out in the bathroom off and on for two hours last night. At least I got some more quality time with her.