Thursday, November 29, 2012

Google Taught Me Everything I Know (Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop and Peri-Menopause)

Well, not entirely everything, but it certainly is my go-to place these days! Have a question? Ask Google! Need to find something? Google it! I mean, we've actually turned "Google" into a verb! Amazing.

Sadly, I missed yesterday's vlog link-up due to the constant wiping of The Boy's runny nose and having to cuddle him to sleep for a much-needed nap. Therefore, to get my Mama Kat fix today, I'm linking up with the Writer's Workshop.

Prompt #4: Tell us the last thing you Google searched and what you learned.

Fine, then. I was going to write about it eventually anyway. I searched "Irregular Periods." You see, I'm a self-diagnosis junkie. I want to know as much as I can about a particular medical issue before I talk to a doctor about it. That way, I'm armed with knowledge and myriad questions. I have a history of issues with my girly bits; swelling of the cervix, pre-cancer (displaysia), Endometriosis, yet all coupled with very regular, on-the-dot periods. Prior to having 3 children, that is.

Ever since I had The Boy I've been having irregular periods. Last year my doctor chalked it up to "getting older." Hah! I'm not that old yet (cue gloomy music as my birthday is just weeks away)! What she didn't mention was this term that Google taught me: Peri-Menopause.


  noun \-ˈmen-ə-ˌpȯz, -ˈmēn-\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of PERIMENOPAUSE

: the period around the onset of menopause that is often marked by various physical signs (as hot flashes and menstrual irregularity)

Peri-Menopause is the period of time prior to Menopause. It can last months or years, much like it's successor. However, while Menopause is official after you've gone without a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months, Peri-Menopause is where your periods become irregular, your ovulation slows and also becomes irregular and you get to enjoy many of the well-known symptoms of Menopause itself! Grand, isn't it?

Artwork by Cindy B. via Flickr
Symptoms much like those of PMS or Pregnancy, if you ask me. Fuzzy brain, bloating, mood swings, hot flashes, skin changes (i.e. acne), decreased libido (say it ain't so!) and so much more!

Since I've been experiencing nearly all of the above with the exception of hot flashes, I'm feeling... concerned. I don't quite have the words yet for how I'm feeling. Maybe it's my impending birthday, seeing those lines on my forehead deepen, the silver that the hair dye won't seem to hide anymore, the knees that creak and groan, the carpel tunnel that makes it difficult to lift my babies sometimes...

Maybe it's finally realizing that I'm getting older. My brain still thinks I'm 25 years old, but my body is telling me differently. My forehead is telling me differently (note to self: grow hair long enough for braids! Click that link later to die laughing). I'm still healthy, in relatively good shape, but things are changing (cue Bob Dylan).

So, armed with knowledge garnered from Google, I'm off to the doc tomorrow for a full physical of the feminine nature. How lovely to be a woman.

***Want to link up to Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop? Do so here!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Baby Fever and Doing Things Differently

No, I don't have baby fever, let's get that right out of the way! But Mama Kat, who I'll be linking up with for a vlog later today, has provided writing prompts recently that have me thinking about one thing I've always wished I could have done differently for my babies.


Yes, I have always wished to have one of those amazingly beautiful magazine-worthy baby bedrooms. The kind you see on beautiful websites like this one, Lollipop Lane. They even have an entire section devoted to "dream nurseries." Ah, it makes me wistful.

I did OK with Nature Girl's because I had such an amazing turnout at my baby shower in Singapore, where she was born. 40 monetarily comfortable ex-pats who loved me (they were volunteers and I was their manager) and therefore my bump, gave me extraordinary gifts that I never would have been able to purchase myself. It was divine! Think lavender and sage colors, Sir Leapsalot, which went out of production. Dreamy and sweet and perfect for my first baby.

My second daughter got a very simple jungle theme, but only the bedding. The rest of the room was very plain. That's what happens when you have your second baby just 15 months after the first. For The Boy, I got a little more serious and had my husband paint his room and I framed pages of the 2005 edition of The Little Engine That Could because Loren Long's artwork is just so beautiful!

So, since the middle child here seemed to get shorted, if I had to choose one do-over dream nursery, this would be hers:

She loves pink; she's my little Rose after all, and this would so suit her from babyhood to the 6-year-old she is now! I just love it. I can't get the picture to save properly, but you have to see this adorable, adorable, adorable curtain tie-back that doubles as a toy. So sweet!

It's somehow satisfying to do an imaginary nursery. Try it. What would you choose?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Adjusting Overseas - the Pros and Cons

There's a period of adjustment with any move, it's just slightly longer when you move from one culture to another. Fortunately, this isn't my first move far from home (Michigan) and I'm certain it won't be our last move. When I married a Frenchman, I knew we wouldn't stay put for long as he had already lived in 4 or 5 different countries before his 28th birthday. We met, married and moved to Singapore within a span of 9 months! But that's a story for another day...

This time around, we've left much behind to make a better life for ourselves and our children, but we're thrilled to be here and to have this experience. Still, you have to take the good and the bad together and  I have the right to rant as much as anyone. So, here goes:

The bits I don't like (in no particular order):

  • The ice cream tastes weird. Nature Girl won't even eat it. 
  • Clothes Dryers, or the lack there of. N'uff said.
  • The roads are the width of a 2-car garage and the edges are crumbling away.

This one's more like a single-car garage.
I took that pic while hubby drove.

  • Roundabouts
  • People drive down the center of those roads, 50mph, around curves where they can't see me on the other side.
  • I can't find my favorite pickles (Vlasic Kosher Dill, if you want to send some my way)
  • Downey isn't Downey its L-something and doesn't smell the same
  • Sorry, but the beef is expensive and tasteless
  • Parents smoke right next to their babies!
  • I like rainy days, but seriously...
  • I miss my mom and dad. And my cats.
  • The only outlets in the bathrooms are for electric razors... WTH?

The better bits:

  • My groceries are delivered right to my doorstep!
  • Wine is more affordable
  • Self-expression is totally acceptable
  • School uniforms ROCK
  • Public transportation - even without a car you can always get where you need to go! It just might take a while. 
  • The only big school break is in August
  • My 3-year-old will have 15 FREE hours of preschool a week beginning in January!
  • My iPhone was free with my very affordable plan
  • I live just minutes from Roman ruins, less than an hour from Stonehenge, castles, Manor houses, London...
Ancient  Roman town of Calleva Atrebatum
National Gallery;Trafalgar Square, London

  • I can take a train to France
  • There is a true sense of personal freedom here.
  • People are so polite and helpful (at least in and around my area). 
  • You can turn electrical outlets off and on. I just love that!
  • The countryside is stunning
  • Faeries (more on that another time)

There's so much more. I miss a lot of things from the US, but overall, I simply love it here. I think I'll be happy to stay awhile. I just need a dryer. And a hairdryer. And a visit from my mom.

What do you think?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What a Lucky Mommy: The Rainbow Flower

Babies and Toddlers are fun and cute, but I have to say, my satisfaction with parenting has skyrocketed since my daughters have learned to read and write. There is nothing quite like getting a love note from your kid.

I thought I'd share this recent one from Nature Girl. She's going to be a far better writer than me one day, if she isn't already. This note  had me all blithering and teary... enjoy it (I've edited and formatted for your reading ease).


This is a flower
Not just any flower
A rainbow flower

A rainbow flower never ends
Because a rainbow never ends

Take a moment to think and 
You should be thinking about love
Because love never ends

I love you!

Friday, November 23, 2012

How to Handle Vomit - A Guide for First-Timers

Yesterday, I had the absolute joy of seeing my family in Michigan via Skype. I love Skype! My little brother and his wife are expecting their first child next Spring. When my mom asked how my little Rose was, after all she's been through and her tummy bug last weekend (and another round last night), the questions of an excitedly nervous expectant daddy started coming out. Questions about vomit.

Ironically, the eve of Thanksgiving is the anniversary (not that I celebrate) of our first bout with what's commonly (if not incorrectly) known as the stomach flu. Imagine a night of an 18-month old who couldn't keep anything down, a screaming 3-month-old and a panicked Papa all in one night. Apparently, babies don't get sick in France (wink, wink). Fortunately, he learned to relax after the first few experiences.

To help you and your partner keep calm your first time (and possibly second and third), here's my unofficial guide to handling vomit.

Photo by me. 
A. Get Prepared: 

You'll need:  
- listening skills;
- a large, unbreakable bowl;
- towels (not your good ones)
- spare lovey (optional, but recommended)

1. Listen to Your Child - if they say their tummy isn't feeling good, don't push them to eat. If they are uncharacteristically grumpy or just feeling off (poorly, as they say here in England), ready yourself just in case.

2. Keep a "barf bowl" nearby - The younger the child, the bigger the bowl (more for aim than content). Have the child take it with them wherever they go. Leave it by their bedside at night and make sure they know where it is. Leave a nightlight in their room or the hall. Trust me, you don't want to deal with vomit in the dark.

3. Towel the floor - lay a large towel out alongside their bed. If they don't throw up, no problem - just one semi-dirty towel that can be used as a bathmat. If they do, you've just saved your carpet and the effort it takes to clean vomit out of it.

B. Once it's Started:

1. No Food or Drink for 1 Hour - No, not even a sip. Don't feel bad because they're thirsty; they won't dehydrate in an hour, I promise.* Once your child has thrown-up, expect it to happen again. If you cave and give them fluids too soon they will just come out again. Hold off on food for at least 3-hours.

2. Small Sips - My rule of thumb is a teaspoon of water every 5 to 10 minutes. Just enough to wet their lips. If after 1-hour they haven't thrown up again, go ahead and let them drink...water.

3. Avoid colored food or drink - skip the juice, stick with water. Watermelon might seem like a good first food choice, but it comes out red. Go for applesauce, plain toast or white grapes instead. Your child is suffering, but you have to consider the clean-up. You'll thank me.

4. Get the dirties in the wash ASAP - Vomit stains. The sooner you rinse the chunks and get it in the machine, the better. The last thing either of you want is to be reminded of the night's events every time you look at her favorite blanket. If she missed the towels, treat carpet the second you get your sweetie settled.

Points to remember: 

- A single episode of vomiting is rare. Typically, in my experience, once it starts you're looking at one round per hour for approximately 3 hours. Stick to the food/drink rule and hopefully after that the vomiting will cease.

- It isn't uncommon for your child to feel OK during the day after a rough night, manage to eat and drink, only to toss it all again once or twice the following evening; be prepared!

- Each child has their own unique vomiting style. Some are neat and tidy most of the time and some spray the room, bowl or not. Know your child; good prep will make your clean-up easier.

- Curiously, 90%** of childhood vomiting occurs after 9pm. Don't expect to sleep much that night.

- One vomiting child usually wakes another. Prepare to deal with multiple children crying, but do your very best to keep healthy ones far from sick ones! Two criers is one thing, two vomiters  (I know that isn't a word) is another!

- You usually won't need to consult your doctor for a case of gastroenteritis (the real name for it). But please do so if your child appears dehydrated or the vomiting persists for more than 8 to 12 hours. Visit Kid's Health for more on when to call the doctor.

The good thing about tummy bugs is that they are typically short-lived. Keep calm, be prepared, cuddle your kiddo and you'll both be feeling fine soon!

*I'm not a doctor, so don't sue me. Always check with your pediatrician if you're concerned.
**I made up this statistic based on personal experience.
*** My guide is meant for children ages 1+

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gobble, Gobble! Happy Thanksgiving!

Artwork by P.Vellozzo


In no particular order, and without lengthy details, I am thankful for:

1. My family - hubby, kids, parents, MIL, siblings, aunts & uncles, cousins... 
every last one of you!
2. That my children have settled in beautifully to a new country and schools!
3. That I have a car!!
4. The opportunity to live in beautiful England
5. My friend, B. I miss you!
6. My readers, blog friends and their blogs, for the support and laughter they provide! 
7. Social Media
8. The knowledge that every day is gift and an opportunity
9. My health and the health of my family
10. That I get to Skype with my 101-year-old Grams today!!! Hooray!

Your turn! What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Top 3 Blogging Pet Peeves

It's another vlogging link-up over at Mama Kat's place! See what I have to say right here!

See it on YouTube

What are your top pet peeves?

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Marriage - That Dream Within a Dream

My absolute favorite part of my favorite move - The Princess Bride wedding ceremony

If there is one thing I'm grateful for this year, it is my marriage and my family. Wait, that's actually two things, but they go together like turkey and mashed potatoes or pumpkin and pie. You get my (Thanksgiving) drift.

I read an article on the other day. It was titled 6 Bad Reasons to Stay Married and it really lit my fire because I'm disappointed, you might even say ashamed, with the way at least 50% of people view marriage. They view it as disposable. Something to take or leave, not as an unbreakable, binding contract vowed before the law, their family and the world and before God or the Creator (whatever you happen to call it).

One of the bad reasons for staying married that the author, Momma Sunshine, listed was, "Because you promised." A few weeks ago my husband and I celebrated our 12th year of marriage. Next month, my parents will celebrate their 48th. Both sets of my grandparents fulfilled their, "Til death do us part," vows and I intend to do the same. Because marriage is a choice made for life, not on a whim or a "til we feel like parting." Marriage is not always happy, nor is it easy much of the time. But it is a life-long commitment. It is a promise meant to be kept.

That promise is a reason to stay married; because here's the thing, you don't just jump off the airplane because you hit a patch of turbulence. No matter how hard that plane jumps or bumps you stay in your seat. You might get airsick and throw up a few times, you might feel like strapping on a parachute and jumping, but instead, you hold on tight and you get through it. Eventually, things smooth out and you sit back and relax, enjoying the amazing view of the sunrise from 30,000 feet up; a view that not everyone is blessed enough to see.

The other reason cited that got me on my soapbox was, "For the children." Read any studies lately? Divorce has lasting negative emotional effects. Life-long, folks. When I was young, my parents fought terribly. I would blast the radio, bury my head under a pillow and plead to God that they'd just get a divorce. But they didn't. And now that the kids are all grown and gone they have a beautiful, loving relationship. Any idea what lasting effect that had on me?

I learned to see things through even when they got uncomfortable. I learned about commitment. I learned that  every storm has the potential for a rainbow at the end of it. I am grateful that my parents stayed together for their kids, out of fear, out of financial convenience and nearly, if not all, of the reasons cited in that article. Those reasons were merely phases and they got through them. Their relationship has had a hugely positive, lasting emotional effect on me and I will give that gift to my children.

Marriage is cyclic, like nature. There are ups, downs, good times, bad... sound familiar? Like your vows? There are very few real reasons (i.e. abusive situations) to divorce, but plenty of excuses. My husband and I aren't making any, even during those times when we don't like each other much. After one brush of considering the D-word, we don't allow it into our vocabulary. It isn't an option. For us, divorce doesn't exist.

My husband and I know, because we've been through a few rough patches already, that there's a better day around the corner. We love each other, we're committed to each other and our family and we believe in marriage as it is meant to be - for life. The trick is figuring out how to live it happily more often than not. We will. Will you?

Where do you stand on the marital soap box?

BTW - You can read her article here.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ready to Shop?

Can you believe it is Thanksgiving in a few days? As it isn't celebrated in England and my hubby will be traveling, I keep forgetting about it! But, thanks to the web I haven't forgotten that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming up fast!

What are you looking for this week? If you're planning on sending me a gift, I'm loving the discount Prada bags found at! Especially the one pictured (left)! If there is one fashion fetish I have, it is that of cute bags! In fact, I love to have coordinating bag, scarf, hat and gloves... shoes as a bonus. Cute, coordinating outerwear makes me feel sophisticated and confident.

For our family, we're looking for bargains on iPads, or something similar  for our girls. I'm getting tired of giving up my computer so they can play Moshi Monsters! My husband and I are looking for a great iPhone doc to listen to music (I miss Pandora!), but that means I'll have to figure out iTunes...

For The Boy, I think he needs a few more train tracks so we can have really intricate rail systems in the playroom! I have to admit, I prefer his trains to the girls' dolls. He's asking for Annie and Clarabel to add behind Thomas. He's been completely obsessed with Thomas the Tank since we arrived in England.

I've already got one Christmas wish answered and that is a car! Finally, we found a long-term rental to ease our travel woes for a while. I'll tell you all about it later this week. Also coming up is a review of Ethos: Equinox, a book I LOVED as well as the chance to win the DVD What To Expect When You're Expecting.

Tell me what you're shopping for this week in the comments below and have a great week!

Friday, November 16, 2012

There's Always One, My Mama Said

Picture by P. Vellozzo -
my little one's self portrait
There's always one child who gets sick more often than the rest, my mother told me this summer. It was my sister for her, with severe asthma all throughout childhood. For me, it's my Sweet Rose, my 2nd daughter.

She's been throwing up since 7:00 pm last night. Every hour except blessedly between 3 and 6 am. I had almost decided it wasn't worth trying to go back to sleep, and in my mind began writing blog posts instead. When that cry, that I'm-about-to-vomit-cry we mamas recognize, didn't come again, I fell asleep for a couple of hours.

This poor baby has had it rough this year. My other two have hardly suffered a sniffle. My Sweet Rose has had repeated urinary tract infections, which of course come along with high fevers and feeling awful for days. She's also the only one who has occasional high fevers with no other symptoms. High fever one day, fine the next. It happened several times this summer, but suddenly she had terrible hives along with it.

Her hives were wretched. Her entire face swelled to the point of one eye being nearly swollen shut. Spots covered her little body and the itching drove us both mad. Benadryl helped the itching, but not the swelling. Fortunately, I had samples of Children's Claritin from a BzzAgent (great site for bloggers or social media junkies, btw -no affiliate program here, it's just a great program) campaign and that helped dramatically. Zyrtec also worked, but she couldn't swallow them well and it wasn't worth torturing her.

My fabulous doctor back in Grand Rapids assumed the hives were just a byproduct of a run-of-the-mill fever. But the hives persisted even when the fever broke. When the fever returned two weeks later, and we were weeks away from an overseas move, it was time to run blood tests.

My little pumpkin, my (then) 5-year-old child, had Mononucleosis AND Hepatitis A on top of yet another urinary tract infection. I was shocked. Everyone scrambled to get vaccinated for Hep A, which is not on Michigan's mandatory list. Well, except me. Who has time when taking care of a sick kid and selling off or donating most of your possessions to move overseas? Plus, I figured there was no possible way I hadn't already been exposed, so either I was immune or just lucky.

We returned to the doc for blood tests just days before boarding the plane, and fortunately her liver function and all the rest were back to decent levels - meaning our doc would let us go! The hives continued until only recently. I can't find Children's Claritin here - the chewables are a mutual favorite for us - she says the chewables taste good and I love that they kept the hives at bay for up to 3 days at a time. Plus, I like the convenience of stashing a few in my purse in case the hives return. They're horrible. The hives, I mean. Seeing her beautiful face transformed into something out of The Elephant Man... Breaks a mama's heart. Watching her suffer from the ceaseless itching... breaks a mama's heart.

Hopefully, this will be a short-lived tummy bug. Hopefully, the other two will stay clear of it. Hopefully she'll be able to eat something today and hopefully we'll both get some sleep tonight. I have a lot of hope. Through it all, I'm intensely grateful that though she may be my "one" who is sick more often than the rest of my troop, overall she's a healthy, happy, amazing girl with a long life ahead of her. And she hasn't thrown up at all since I started writing this.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

30 Days of Friends and an Amazing Prize Pack Giveaway!

Guess what?! Warner Bros. Pictures has announced the release of Friends: The Complete Series Blu-Ray Box Set! To make it as fun as the series itself, the release comes along with the 30 Days of Friends: Trivia Challenge Blog App and Video Player

I KNOW! Even better, I'm working with Warner Bros. Pictures to offer YOU an incredible PRIZE and I couldn't be more excited to tell you about it! If Friends wasn't one of the funniest television series ever made, I don't know what was! Now, you get the chance to win this amazing prize:

A Limited Edition Friends prize pack with two over-sized cappuccino mugs and a picture frame - just like the one on Monica’s door - exclusive to this giveaway!

To enter to win, just follow the Rafflecopter directions at the bottom of this post. Then, check out this super fun trivia app!

Watch your favorite Friends moments here:

Now, enter to win!!!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Guest Posts and Meetups

Photo by me! St. Martin-in-the-Fields
I had an amazing day today! My wonderful husband stayed home with The Boy so that I could travel to London to Meetup with BritMums! It was the first blogger networking I've done in my 2 years of blogging.

Though I was slightly daunted by the task of getting there on my own, by now you know that I'm always up for a challenge! In the morning, on the platform alongside businessmen and woman and those gorgeous grandmas on their way to a home show, I wondered if anyone could tell how anxious and inexperienced a commuter I am (was!).

"There's a novice traveler," I imagined them saying to themselves. I felt like an impostor of sorts; just a stay at home mom acting like a professional. "Just." How curious that I felt that. After the fact, after tackling Waterloo and Trafalgar Square and especially after meeting mum bloggers and PR people from all over England (and one originally from Texas), I was empowered and renewed! I can do anything and take my blog anywhere!

And, it just so happens that today I'm taking it over to Miss Behavior with a guest post about bedtime! The WiFi connection on the train was intermittent, so my post got to her a little later than I hoped. If it isn't up yet, go visit again later and learn my 3 top tips for smooth bedtimes! Then, you can peruse old posts right here to learn how far I've come from bedtime nightmares to bedtime ease!

Watch out for some exciting reviews and giveaways coming up in the near future. One is a new website devoted to helping people like me (and probably you) become a Top Mom Blogger! Another is a great movie now out on DVD based on a book that we've all read! Guess what it is!

Hope your Wednesday has been as productive as mine. Have a terrific day!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pee Pee on the Wall

I knew it was an immediate requirement the moment he I looked at his face. He had his nose scrunched up and his brows furrowed. "I need to go potty, Mama."

My own face fell, "Really?" We're just two weeks out of diapers; this was serious.

I looked out at the busy road in front of us, then glanced at my watch, estimating how much time we had before the bus would arrive. Moments before I had lamented over us missing the earlier one by seconds. It meant 15 more minutes in the cold, English drizzle. Even in the shelter of the bus stop we were getting wet. The misty rain seems to come from every direction.

We were a 5 to 10 minute walk from the nearest public anything. Missing this bus would mean missing the next train and I'd be walking home from the station in the dark, in the rain, with three children. No way.

I glanced around. No one else was at the bus stop. The Boy hadn't gone standing up yet without getting us both wet, but it was time to try again. Behind the bus shelter was a brick wall about as tall as him. It wound up to a higher level where row houses stood. The top layer of brick was crumbling, likely from children walking along the ledge - the very reason we missed the first bus. I had stopped to tell Nature Girl to get down, then turned to see our bus passing right by the stop. Now I was grateful for those few seconds we were delayed.

The space between the shelter and the wall was less than a foot wide, perfect for covert pottying. I pulled down his trousers and underwear, held them back and said, "Can you pee on the wall? Make it hit the brick wall." His aim was perfect. We were both relieved.

I pulled up his dry clothes and watched the rain wash away the evidence at his feet. Good thing he was wearing rain boots.
Photo by Elycefeliz via Flickr

Friday, November 9, 2012

Getting Connected with PR People

Image by Kathy Cassidy via Flickr
There are plenty of ways to connect with PR personnel if you know where to look! But the task can seem daunting when you're new to it. Since reading and implementing the tips in Lisa Cash Hanson's Get Famous (link on the left sidebar) I've been pitched often enough to keep me as busy as I wanted to be.

Now, I want to get busier. Today, via A Mommy's Blog Design's You Like Me! Friday Blog Hop,  I discovered Mizz Review Lady by way of The Ordinary Aunt (this is why blog hops are great!) whom I discovered by following a Twitter Feed (forgot the name on that one already) and wanted to share what I learned with you!

Mizz Review Lady, a very successful review and giveaway blogger, is frequently asked to recommend other bloggers to the PR reps contacting her. So, she's graciously included a form on her site to help her connect the dots! Meaning, bloggers like you and I to PR reps who need us! Cool, hey?

So, go check it out!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Is it a Train or an Emotional Roller Coaster?

Photo by Vlastula via Flickr
Weeks ago, on our way to our new home, the taxi driver practically cackled when we told him where we had chosen to live. His laugh turned boisterous when we said we had no car. No worries, we thought. We'll have a car soon. And after two weeks we did.

Then the car stopped working. After just a couple of weeks. It is useless.

The tricky bit about starting over is that you start from scratch. It's like getting out your ingredients to make the most delicious pizza, only to find that you have no flour for the dough. And no one will lend you any because you've never borrowed flour in this neighborhood before, so none of the neighbors are quite certain you'll pay them back for it.

Except, it isn't flour I need. It is dough. For a car. And I'm frustrated because we're back to leaving at 2:00pm for a school pick up an hour and 15 minutes later! I am grateful we have the teacher again to take the girls to school, however.

I'm also frustrated because I'm not earning nearly what I hoped to be earning through my writing by this point in the year. The focus was on other things, like selling off our belongings to move overseas to a decent job for my man and therefore our family.

I still have one child at home, who at 3 years old, will not be ignored so mommy can work! I'm interrupted so frequently that I have no focus, no attention span. I flutter from this to that, sometimes only completing a 5-minute task hours later. Or days.

I think my own self-esteem is what holds me back the most. One down day and I'm off task for two and assuring myself that my effort isn't worth it anyway. How terrible is that?! My confidence is a total yo-yo.

I'm supposed to be writing and earning enough to pay for my Passion Test certification as well as leftover US bills. I'm not even close. It's both fortunate and frustrating that it is still months away! March. I feel 100% confident that I'll be amazing at that job! My confidence fails when I consider marketing myself to actually get clients who will want me as their facilitator. Ugh.

As far as writing goes, I should be writing the stories that are in my head, but I fear they won't come out as anything worth reading. My Dolphin book sales are flat - I guess my whole family already has a copy! I don't actually want to be self-published. I want the affirmation of my talent, if I have some, from a real publisher! They don't even need to be a big house, just a real one! But if I don't write it, no one can tell me yes or no.

I get ideas for greeting cards, lunchbox printables and picture books. I start to work and then see that so many people are already doing the same thing! So how will I do it better? And how can I profit from it? I need to earn today. Right now.

I could think of this blog as a business and really get to work on it, but then it might not be appropriate to just vent! I'd have to prove myself as a know-it-all so you'll buy into me and then actually $$$ buy into me. But that isn't what I really want for this blog. I want to do this venting thing... you're the only one I can really talk to... ;)

Yet, I am tired of this emotional and financial yo-yo.  I want off. I'm getting off of it. Somehow. I want to live the life I deserve. I'm good at motivating others. I need to learn how to motivate myself. And believe that I'm worth being listened to. And believe in myself.

Do you struggle with insecurity? How do you overcome it?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

That's Why My Mommy Blogs!

It's that time of the week again! Mama Kat's Practically World Famous Vlogging Workshop! I've been practicing my editing skills, you'll be able to tell. I need a lot of practice! Anyway, watch and enjoy!

Your turn! Why did you start?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Spring Always Comes Round Again

Every Monday I am laden with fatigue. A weekend spent enjoying leads to Monday morning dishes, laundry, and cleaning. Preparing the garbage and recycling for Tuesday morning collection. Getting the children back into the school day routine... dull, yet necessary.

This is life. Each moment, good or bad, exciting or boring, is part of life. We can choose to go through the motions in a vacant blur, or we can sharpen our focus and find a joy in every spark of life we're blessed to have.

I hadn't planned to blog today, but at least my mother missed reading my posts over the weekend. Our short chat left my heart heavy. Someone we love is going through a terribly difficult time. One of those periods of life that is so hard to face that it makes you want to just disappear. Where you just can't imagine how you'll survive it and you're almost too scared to even try. You can't see the other side of it; you're not even sure you want to.

For her, and for anyone going through near unbearable circumstance, I want to remind you that you are only alone if you choose to be. There is always someone you can turn to - a sister, a niece, a support group,  a stranger over the phone or in a chat room of people going through something similar.

Maybe you don't want to talk about it anymore, so instead, find a group of people who can help you forget about it for a while. Meetup or Craigslist are full of people looking to connect with others who share a hobby or a passion. Maybe you could take a class and learn something you've always wanted to learn. Something to remind you to live every single day. To remind you that there is more than what you're currently living.

I don't know you well, or live your life, or your experience. I'm not going through what you are. Yet, I can still feel you. I can imagine and therefore empathize with your fears, the tight ache in your chest, the darkness. My heart can fill with tears for your pain. And because it isn't my experience, I can step out of it and remind you to do the same at least once in a while. Step out of it. There is still joy and laughter to be found each day and one day, not so far off, your life will be filled with both again.

I do not walk in your shoes, but I can imagine the fit. Believe it or not, so can many others. Especially those who love you. The moment you most want to hide is exactly the time when you must reach out. Or at least stretch out your hand in response to the one that opens to you. Don't retreat inside of the pain. Allow yourself to feel it fully because only then can you pass through it. Lay down a moment to rest, but then get. back. up. Live; while you have the chance.

You will survive this. Life is a cycle, like nature, like seasons. No matter how harsh the winter, spring always comes round again. I love you.

Photo by Clickclique via Flickr

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Christmas List

Ok, now that Halloween is over, it is full force onward to Christmas! Remember when you were a little kid and you would take the (insert major department store name of your choice here) catalog and sit for hours pouring over your Christmas list? Did you do that? I did. My siblings and I would. We would make a list, circle items in the catalog and rank them in order of importance!

I see my children do this now and it makes me smile. And, it makes me want to make a list of my own. So I did; here's my Christmas wish list, with my virtual shopping done at

1. The Coat - Now, I'm not a fashionista, as I mentioned in my first vlog this past Tuesday, but I do have a fetish for accessories... but first you need the thing with which you choose to accessorize! I need a winter coat, as I left my big puffy one behind in Michigan to fit more of my children's toys in the suitcases. My heart stopped when I saw this one:


But, then I read the description and realized it was linen. I don't do linen. I don't iron (I know). But I do love it and it is on sale. 

Then, I saw this one and I knew it was my dream coat... 

Helen Berman Black Ruffle Coat

Isn't it so cute?! Now, onto the hat, gloves and scarf, though you don't need the scarf for style purposes with this coat, really.

I love this hat:
But, the color is listed as pink, even though it looks more purplish to me. I'm not big on pink and I couldn't find decent matching gloves, so I'm going with the grey version instead. And here are my choice of gloves:

I love these because they are two separate pieces. On days when I know I'll need to use my fingers a lot or it just isn't digit-numbingly cold outside I can wear just the outer pieces. 

For the scarf, I felt I needed a splash of color to brighten up the dark, but adorable outerwear:

So, there's my Christmas list. You're welcome to send me any of them as gifts! I'll happily supply my mailing address.

I wish you the best this holiday season!