Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Talking to My 18 Year Old Self

Welcome to the June 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Talking to Yourself
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written letters to themselves. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Oh Hannah,

So much to say and so much that I wish I could tell you but you need to experience life for yourself.

You are 18 years old and you are just beginning  your life as an independent woman. You have a lot of self-doubts. You have no sexual experience and you don't know what you want to do with your life. That is A OK!

Keep your independence a bit longer. Don't kiss the first guy who presents yourself. It won't be what you thought it will be. It will be incredibly wet and a bit disgusting. As in wipe off your face with a towel. You waited 18 years, waiting a few more won't be terrible.

When you do start dating, don't let his goals define your goals. It is ok to be smart so be smart! You love to learn so learn! Have fun having discussion about literature, religion, and science. Enjoy those conversations, enjoy the challenge they present to you, and enjoy how they compel you to learn more. Don't shy away from it. Don't change who you are because you think you need to be someone else to find love. The person who loves you will love you and won't want you to change. He will love you and your intelligence and want you to be an even more of you.

Travel! Travel! Travel! Yes, there is a cost, but what you will gain will far exceed the cost of not working at a fast food restaurant for the summer. Find an a summer internship and go for it. Learn everything you can and meet new people. These people will one day help you find yourself and your career path. Travel anywhere and anywhere for any reason. Go on Alternative Spring Break Trips, send time traveling abroad by yourself and with groups. Explore and learn about yourself and the world in which you live. Stay with friends, on couches, in tents - just go and be.

Learn about money and finances. Credit cards and debt are NOT your friends. They will pretend to be but they aren't. Figure out how much college will cost and pick a career where you will make more money your first year out than what  you owe for schooling. Trust me, you don't have to owe 250,000 and make less than 40,000 a year. The stress isn't worth it. Plus, if you are debt free, you have freedom to do what makes you happy rather than feeling pressured to work multiple jobs to support your student loan  habit. Save early and put your money aside now and don't touch it until you retire.

Make lifelong friends. Friends that you can rely on and that will always be there for you even if it is a phone call away. You will want these friends as you navigate marriage and motherhood. Not having them is very very lonely. Make friends and be a friend - don't forget that friendship is a two way street. Be the person who always answers the phone in the middle of the night to just listen or to provide advice. There will be plenty of times you will want to a have a friend like this.

Be real. It is ok that you don't know what you want out of life. Heck, you still don't at nearly 40! Life will be exciting without knowing the next chapter. Roll with it.

Love You.
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • Dear Me. — Meegs at A New Day writes to her decade-younger self offering a good reminder of how far she's come, and she addresses some fears she wishes future her could assuage.
  • Reflecting on Motherhood with Parental Intelligence: A Letter to Myself — Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. at Parental Intelligence writes about raising her two loving, empathic sons with Parental Intelligence and finding they have become industrious, accomplished young men with warm social relationships.
  • A Letter to MyselfThe Barefoot Mama writes to herself in the moments around the birth of her daughter.
  • A Letter to Myself — Holly at Leaves of Lavender offers a missive to herself in the past... three years in the past, to be precise, when her little one was only four months old.
  • Dear me: Nothing will go the way you've planned — Lauren at Hobo Mama gets real with her just-starting-parenting self and tells it to her straight.
  • A Letter to the Mama Whom I Will Become — Erin from And Now, for Something Completely Different writes a letter to the Mama whom she will one day be, filled with musings on the past, present, and future.
  • Dear Me of 7 Years Ago — Lactating Girl at The Adventures of Lactating Girl writes to her pre-baby self telling her about the whirlwind she's about to enter called parenting.
  • Talking to My 18 Year Old SelfHannahandHorn talks to herself as she is just entering college.
  • Dear highly sensitive soulMarija Smits tells a younger version of herself that motherhood will bring unexpected benefits - one of them being the realization that she is a highly sensitive person.
  • Talking to myself: Dear Pre StoneageparentStoneageparent enlightens her pre-pregnant self about the amazing transformations life has in store for her after having two children
  • Dear Me: I love you. — Dionna at Code Name: Mama wrote herself a few little reminders to help her be at peace with who she is in the moment. That may give her the greatest chance of being at peace in the future, too.
  • My best advice to the new mama I was 8 years ago — Tat at Mum in Search shares the one thing she wishes she'd figured out earlier in a letter to her 8-years-ago self (that's when her first baby was 6 moths old).
  • A Letter to Myself — Bibi at The Conscious Doer sends a letter back in time eight years to her darkest moment post partum.
  • To me, with love — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama makes peace with her past and projects what a future her will need to hear.
  • To Myself on the Last Day — Rachael at The Variegated Life tells her panicked last-day-before-motherhood self not to worry.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Children and drugs

Welcome to the February 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Fears

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about parenting fears.

Joining the Carnival of Natural Parenting to tackle my parenting fear.

I, like I hope most parents do, look at wonder at my toddler. His excitement over having a semi-truck honk its horn at his gestures; his pride at informing me that "theres and emergency! Let's get outofhere!" when he sees a fire truck.

I look at wonder at my toddler, soon to be preschooler, son as he sleeps in our bed. He woke up lonely and came into our room at some point during the evening and asked to snuggle between my husband and myself. Fitting tightly between us, he knows he is safe.

There are parts of me that want to keep him this size forever so that he always retains his wonder and excitement at the world. I know that I can't.  I hope he grows, matures, and make choices that he can own as his own thoughts and ideas. I already worry about him becoming a teenager, being offered alcohol or drugs. How do I prepare him for that?

For all respects, apparently my husband and I must have lived some sort of an incredibly sheltered life or else we were really really not cool enough to be invited to any parties because we both made it to college before encountering alcohol.  I still refuse to drink cranberry apple juice with vodka...

Unfortunately, I know our experiences will probably not be the same experiences our son has. Children are encountering alcohol and drugs at increasingly younger years. I was a product of D.A.R.E, but never once had an opportunity to use it. I can't help but wonder if my son will encounter having to "Just Say No!" before he is out of middle school.

For me, these thoughts are increasingly present as we watch a family that is close to struggle with the effects of addition of their oldest child. A child who is an adult, just a few years younger than me. She is a heroin addict. She has been in treatment 3x in 2 years. She has been kicked out 2x for testing positive. She has been arrested for various parole violations. Her parents are raising her daughter. Her daughter that once found her mom, passed out, overdosed from an intravenous hit. Her sister, a senior, the year that all should remember as being "one of the best ever!" has to put her hopes for college on the back burner. Their parents have spent their money on attorneys, programs, addiction counselings, and living expenses.

I know, 30 years ago this couple look at their sleeping daughter, snuggled between them and never imagined that this is where they would be today - fighting off creditors, worried about making their next mortgage payment. They imagined seeing their daughter grow up, graduate from high school, completing college, falling in love, marrying for the right reasons, starting a family, and loving her job...They had the same dreams that I have for my son.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, please speak to someone. Get help for yourself if your loved one isn't ready for help. 

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (list will be final around 5pm PST February 11):
  • When Parents' Fears Escalate — If we didn't self-doubt, we probably wouldn't care enough about our children to struggle with understanding them. But how do we overcome self-doubt? Read advice from Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., guest posting today at Natural Parents Network.
  • What ifs of addiction — After seeing how addictions of adult children is badly hurting a family close to her heart, Hannah at HannahandHorn shares her fears for her own child.
  • Sharing My Joy — Kellie at Our Mindful Life shares her fear that others think she is judgmental because she makes alternative choices for her own family.
  • Building My Tribe Fearlessly — A meteorite hit Jaye Anne at Tribal Mama's family when she was seven years old. Read the story, how she feels about that now, and how she is building her tribe fearlessly.
  • Fear: Realized — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen shares how her fear of car accidents was realized and how she hopes to be able to use her efforts to overcome the remaining fears to help her children overcome their own.
  • I'm a Negligent Helicopter Parent — For Issa Waters at LoveLiveGrow, the line between helicopter parenting and negligent parenting is not so cut and dried.
  • My Greatest Fear For My Child — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama admits that she has struggled with not allowing her fears to control her and how the reality of this was blown wide open when she became a mother.
  • Procactive Steps to Calm Parenting Fears — Every parent has certain fears related to dangerous situations, That Mama Gretchen shares ways she is preparing herself and her children for emergencies.
  • Homeschooling Fears – Will My Children Regret Being Homeschooled? — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares an interview with her now-adult children that answers a question she had throughout their homeschooling.
  • An Uneasy Truce — Homeschooler and recent convert to unschooling, Tam at tinsenpup shares just a few of the things she tries to keep in mind when fear and insecurity begin to take hold.
  • Fearing the worst, expecting the best — Tarana at Sand In My Toes writes about fears that come with parenting, and why we must overcome them.
  • Can I be the parent I want to be? — Amanda at Postilius confronts her struggle to peacefully parent a preschooler
  • Out of Mind, Out of Fear — How does Jorje of Momma Jorje deal with her pretty steep, long-term fears regarding her son's future?
  • I Don't Homeschool to Manage My Kids' Transcripts — One of Dionna at Code Name: Mama's fears of parenting is that she will get so caught up in the monotony, the details of homeschooling, the minutiae of everyday life, the routine of taking care of a household - that she will forget to actually be present in the moment with her children.
  • Beware! Single Mom Camping — Erica at ChildOrganics shares her first adventures as a single mom. She laughed, she cried, she faced her fears.
  • Parenting Fears And Reality Checks — Luschka from Diary of a First Child shares her three biggest fears as a parent - that most parents share - looks at the reality behind these fears, and offers a few suggestions for enjoying parenting.
  • Parenting fear : to kill a pink rabbit...Mother Goutte tells us the story of a pink rabbit that disappeared, came back, and became the symbol of her worst parenting fear...
  • Roamingsustainablemum considers whether allowing your children freedom to explore the world safely is harder now than in the past.
  • Meeting my parenting fears head-on — Lauren at Hobo Mama had many fears before she became a parent. Learn how they all came true — and weren't anywhere near as scary as she'd thought.
  • Don't fear the tears — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger worried that letting her children cry when going to sleep was tantamount to the dreaded parenting moniker, CIO. She discusses what actually happened after those teary nights, and how she hopes these lessons can carry forward to future parenting opportunities.
  • Will I Still be a Good Mom? — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot worries about her mothering skills now that breastfeeding is no longer the top priority.
  • Pregnancy Fears: It Happened to My Sisters, It Will Happen to Me... — Kristen at Baby Giveaways Galore discusses the difficulties with pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding that the women in her family have had and how she overcame them.
  • Fears — Meegs at A New Day talks about how her fears before parenting led to a better understanding of herself and her desires for her daughter.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Pro-life SLED

In the mornings, on my way to work, I listen either music, Catholic Channel, or Family Talk on XM Radio. Hannabert wanted girls singing music" this morning and Gus Lloyd was a repeat before his life show during March for Life so after I dropped off Hannabert at daycare, I flipped over to Family Talk. 

And heard one of the best pro-life talks of my life.

S - size
L - Level of Development
E - Environment
D - Degree of Dependence

No fear mongering, no pictures of aborted children, not damnation to hell, not a religious based argument.

If you know someone who is struggling with an unexpected pregnancy, try compassion. understanding. support and healing

Both men and women are victims of abortion. To find assistance in healing, try one of the organizations below:

Saturday, December 21, 2013

"Most" Posts of 2013 - linky

Joined with Amongst Lovely Things for her year end wrap up.

I was going to wait to the very end of the year but then thought, probably won't have much changes between now and then. 

1.Post with the most clicks

Safety without baby proofing was my top viewed post. I wrote it as part of the Carnival of Natural Parenting. It garnered 315 views.

2. Post with the most comments

It also  has the most comments (17).

3. Post with the best picture

7 Takes, 2013.32 

This picture of Hannabert makes me melt:

4. Post that was hardest to write
Commitment to each other - Week 2 (17) of Purposeful Blogging

5. Post that was your personal favorite

Guest Posting! Mommy's Milk : A Breastfeeding Series I was so excited to be a featured guest writer AND this post got mentioned on other blogs/facebook pages!

7 Takes - Nearly Christmas! 2013-37

Linking a day late to Jen at Conversion Diary

1. I am in a reporting year for my continuing legal credits (CLE). I am taking them online and multi-tasking. My screen saver keeps popping up with this:
approximately 2 hrs before we found out he had mono...1 wk before we found out he shared it with me.

2.  I am overly enjoying the course on FERPA and Public Records (aka Access to Students and Records: Custody, Divorce, Abuse and Neglect). This presentation didn't really talk too much about divorce and single parenting but really focused on rights of students and the public to request information. Very interesting. SIDE NOTE: I especially like the fact that the presenter just offered to let all the people who are watching the presentation to come to his new office to watch Red, White, and Boom.

3.  Yesterday was National College's annual Christmas Party for Faculty and Staff. I had numerous requests to bring Hannabert..and Horn (not teaching this term) but really Hannabert. Horn and I have been teaching at National since 2005. They saw us get engaged, married, and were with us when we had Hannabert. Students actually called us at the hospital to 1) see if there was still a final and 2) how we were doing. Hannabert adores the current campus director. It stresses me to think that at some point in time, my time there with my students might be limited.
Post-party exhaustion
4.  Nope, not done with Christmas shopping. Just realized that last night as Horn and I were congratulating ourselves on being done. I am thinking about doing flavored salts for my SIL and MIL. In the past, they have gotten me the sugar sampler and the salt sampler from The Colonel.

5. We have rain and flood warnings today. I much prefer the snow of last weekend. Hannabert picked out his own clothes for Mass. They consisted of "spooky pants" and I believe a polo shirt. I wasn't going to fight over skeleton pants.
Not really snowing but he was so very excited to play in the snow after Mass
6.  My brother and SIL are currently in China meeting their daughter. We haven't heard anything since they left and it has made me anxious. I am really excited for them and can't wait to meet their daughter. She is only 1 month younger than Hannabert so she will have a birthday soon!

7.  We tried out a new church. Their most recent fundraisers involved selling Christmas cards with the image of their Nativity window. Sold out. 
This is the reason.

They did a video of the windows!

Merry Christmas. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

7 Takes, 2013.36

Linking up for my week in review with Jen at Conversion Diary.

1. My morning travel companion has been a bit cranky in the mornings.
Don't talk to me. 

Don't say those words
2. Horn and I went to a Law Firm Party.

3. Then we ate out. I had parsnip gnocchi 5 years ago at a place called Jean Ro's Bistro, that has since closed (this is his new place). It was served in a browned butter sage sauce with toasted almonds. It became my love affair with browned butter. I even scramble my eggs in it. My grandmother is Italian and would make gnocchi from scratch so I love gnocchi that tastes like hers. Kaze had sweet potato gnocchi that was served Asian style.
tofu, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, shishito peppers, miso balsamic - from the PDF by the restuarant
Insane! I was expecting Italian, maybe with a basil or sage sauce or even a light alfredo or bechamel. It was Asian style and incredible but so different than my grandmother's or the French version I have loved so much for the last 5 years.

4.  If you haven't seen the Little Drummer Boy by Pentatonix, where have you been? BUT the bigger news is that they appeared at one of the local high schools as part of an accapella festival!

I also love the one below because it was the first YouTube video I ever saw of them

5.  My Brother and SIL will meet their little girl on 12/14/2013. Our excitement is overwhelming. Please pray that all goes well and that they start bonding as a family. Even more overwhelming is that Horn and I have been selected as guardians, what an incredible honor.

6.  I have been trying to explain Christmas to Hannabert. He doesn't believe me that it is Jesus's birthday.

Love the Fisher Price Nativity

7. On wards to Week Three of Advent.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Gift-Giving Link-up

Linking with Why, yes I AM crazy! for her first every link up (and what the heck, some of my links will be affiliate links but some of them won't)!

I actually really stress about Christmas giving. It was with somewhat of a relief that my family stopped doing gifts a few years ago. My husband's family is HUGE into gift giving. My first Christmas (wasn't until after we were married despite the fact that we dated for about 6 years prior to marriage. My refusal to attend his families parties or stay in the area for Christmas was what turned the tides into an engagement) was really stressful for me as I wasn't sure what was expected...yadda yadda yadda.

I shop around. Lots and early. I try for unique items. Not gift cards unless they are specific restaurants.

So, my list includes for those that are near and with whom we will be exchanging gifts:

Less Unique gifts

Like I mentioned before, my family doesn't do gifts. This makes my husband upset so we send gifts anyway. The gifts need to be mailed so I am (lazy) a multi-tasker and look for a company than can ship for me.

  • Harry and David fruit baskets are our "go to" with my grandmother and parents. Their pears are truly exceptional (and very large). When my siblings and I were small, we used to get a pear or orange in our stockings so for me, this is an edible memory of Christmas. There are a number of similar companies:
  • Pay a bill anonymously (for an elderly relative) might be an idea 
  • I have sent flowers in the past, but I have been disappointed with the end results on occasion so I no longer do that.
  • Calendars. I like doing a year in review of our son and then send them to his grandparents/great grandparents. I have ordered from Shutterfly and Snapfish in the past. A few others are:
    • VistaPrint - fair warning that they try to get you to sign up for things on a monthly subscription
    • Minted
  • Donate to a charity (be advised that donations through Go Fund Me has a fairly large fee). My post last week had suggestions to make sure the charity is using the money in charitable endeavors and not wastefully. 

Friday, December 06, 2013

7 Takes, 2013.35

I have been off the radar but joining back with Jen at Conversion Diary

1.  I have a new part-time job. By February, I will have 3 part-time jobs. When new employment was my prayer for Immaculate Heart Novena, this wasn't what I was expecting...but I am thankful for the new opportunities this position presents.

2. We hosted Thanksgiving dinner for my sister, her husband (aka Adored Uncle of Hannabert), Emma (aka "Baby Emma", my niece), and Horn's parents and sister. My mom is still recovering from her knee surgery so my parents didn't travel and my brother and his wife were waiting for a call from their adoption agency.

3. Which they received! They thought that they would be traveling to China in the new year but it looks like they will have a daughter for Christmas! Their adoption process has been amazing! We are so excited for them and can't wait to meet their daughter! She is partially named after me which is hugely awesome. My SIL and brother had picked out a different name but my SIL kept feeling doubts. Someone in her bible group approached her and said that she was feeling like the name should be after a flower...turns out they were having the same calling for a name! God is amazing. Like you didn't know that already...

4. Hannabert became the family photographer at Thanksgiving Dinner (he wasn't feeling eating anything).
Gee, doesn't my husband look like his father?

5. I spatchcocked the turkey and it took LESS than 2 hrs to cook a fresh, 17lb turkey. Seriously awesome. You do need a good pair of kitchen shears to make it work though. I have Zyliss Kitchen Shears which completely come apart so I could run them through the dishwasher after being all Mortal Kombat on the turkey back.
Top shelf: sweet potato casserole, middle: turkey, bottom: roasted brussel sprouts
Carved up turkey

6. We did family pictures! Of course I scheduled it at worst time every since it was the only day during the week that Horn and I were both home to clean the house (we still haven't finished moving in even though we actually moved in July...). I found an incredibly reasonably priced photographer ($40 AND I got all the pictures on a CD!) and the shoot went pretty well despite the cool temperatures and the statement by the toddler, "You are done. Not more pictures." It is hard to have the paparazzi chase after you all the time I guess...

7. Cheers, blessings, and well wishes for you and yours this Advent Season! If you make donations during this time of year, make sure the charity you select is using the money wisely. Guidestar, Charity Navigator, and Great Non Profits are all places to check. All recognized charities should be happy to share their Form 990 (the form that lists their financials, operating expenses, salaries, board appreciations, etc). Seize the Day (Sirius/XM Catholic Channel) is featuring a number of charities this Advent Season, maybe that will lead you in the right direction. If you aren't concerned about the deductible aspect of a donation, just donate to someone (or anyone). Is there a family who is on hard time who could use a something special in the mail like a gift certificate to the grocery store or a special treat of pizza? Maybe you write a letter to a sister, brother, priest, or seminarian or a solider or simply pray for those that serve others. We all have experienced blessings in our life, lets share them with others.