Friday, April 24, 2009

Yum Yum Num

It's always a battle for us. Finding good, authentic Mexican food in this state is a stinking battle. When we were in Laurel, we frequented Tampico, which is superb but now a thirty minute drive. I googled Mexican restaurants in and around Catonsville when we first moved here. Heck, I think I looked into it before we actually moved. There's not much, and what I did find seemed to either be your traditional combo #3 joint or an overpriced, upscale place (which is a bit of an oxy moron). So when we crave a good Mexican dinner, we make the trip to Tampico.

Then, while hanging out with Noe & Amanda (the former owners of our home) the other night, they told us about this place right in the heart of Catonsville, El Nayar. Sure, I'd seen the place, but wasn't sure what to think about it. I didn't realize it was brand new. And get's BYOB! My step mom and I would eat at this Chinese hole in the wall in Augusta that was BYOB. It was so refreshing to be able to have a glass of wine during dinner that didn't cost as much as a bottle. Of course you have to be careful because you tend to drink the whole bottle. Anyways, we decided to check it out.

El Nayar was yummy, cheap, and family friendly. The kid's chicken quesadilla that came with a drink was only $4. Mat (our roommate & my BF's fiance) and I both ordered off the a-la-carte menu. I had a torta, a Mexican sandwich, that was uber delicious and not all that unhealthy. It doesn't come with any side dishes, but was plenty of food, and for $4, you can't complain. Mat had a quesadilla for $4 and these things that looked like chicken wings but they were actually pork (also off the a-la-carte menu, $4 for 2).

Blake actually helped Mat eat his pig wing things. At one point he dipped the pork into this red sauce, which was of course spicy. I hate to admit this, but despite my child's tears, I thought it was entirely hilarious when his first reaction to the burning tongue was to put the whole piece of hot sauce soaked pork in his mouth only to perpetuate the situation. I know...bad mommy.

Neil ordered the 3 taco platter with barbacoa meat. His reaction? "It's good." Now this might not mean much to you, but for Neil to actually admit something is good, then it means it's super good. His normal reaction is "it's not too bad." So score one for the tacos at El Nayar.

I can't tell you how exciting it is to find a place, near home (literally within walking distance), that we would consider frequenting. Congratulations El Nayar. You won our patronage.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Friday was the first actually warm day we've had in a while, and it was absolutely gorgeous. Clare and I decided to take our kids to the park near her house. Owen was wearing flip flops and kept losing them on the walk there. At one point, Clare and I turn around to see Reese kneeling down to help Owen put his show back on. I swear, it looked like a scene out of Cinderella, but in this case it would be Cinderfella. She did it several more times, but each time I got my phone ready to take the picture, the moment was over. Finally, I was able to capture her servant's heart on camera. And the two lived happily ever after.

Really, the kids had a blast. Owen and Reese wore Clare out, constantly asking to be pushed. So we did what any rational parents would do; we told them to push themselves. Well, at least their creative. Of course Owen kept asking to be pushed even in this awkward position. Where was I supposed to push him? On his butt?

Directly behind them, you'll see Clare on a smaller version of a merry-go-round. You remember those old school ones that 3-4 kids would push while running and then jump old...holding on for dear life. I think those were banned from most playgrounds. Not sure why though, it's not like you'd get too maimed when you sucked underneath. Anyways, the one at this park proved just as fun for Owen, Blake and Reese. Aren't they the absolute cutest kids in the world. It's amazing how they could ever get in trouble, be disobedient, or whine for no apparent reason. Come to think of it, we capture pics of the good times. I've never snapped a shot of Owen sitting in time out, or Blake throwing a temper tantrum. It's just not something we do, is it? Cause who wants to see that, right? We snap pictures of what we want to remember. Maybe I should make it a habit to look at cute little pics of my kids at those moments when I'm about to pull out my hair and strangle them with it. Yeah, that sounds like a plan.

To end, check out this pic of Blake on the swing. First of all, I've never seen a swing that big. It practically swallows the child whole. Ha ha, I just had a vision of a chomping swing out to eat up little children. Boy, my mind is going places this morning.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I know, I know. I sucked at updating the blog last week, but I have a really good excuse. Ready for this one: I didn't feel like it. There, see, that's a really good excuse. It's not like I didn't try. Several times I sat down, started typing, and was completely distracted by the ball thrown at my face or the buzz of the dryer. Honestly I wanted to blog about what's been going on, especially about the one year anniversary of my dad's death, but I just couldn't (or wouldn't). Maybe the time thing really was an issue, but that's probably due more to the fact that I packed my schedule so full of heres and theres that I really didn't stop. I was like the Energizer bunny on crack. Only the busyness only made me busy. It's funny how that works. We think if we stay busy we won't have to deal with what's really going on, but that never works, does it? Or at least not successfully. It's just a band aid. Just because I didn't blog about it, doesn't mean I didn't think about it. Boy, did I think about my Dad. That's practically all I thought about.

I had an interview with a counselor this week who had lost her mom 3 years ago to breast cancer. When she told me I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. I'm sure, for a moment, she thought I was looney (or entirely too empathetic). When I told her that my dad had passed a year ago, she got it. We spent a good hour after the interview talking about our lost parents. It was the first time in a while that I had talked about the day he died. Recounting the events of that day, step by step, was more therapeutic than painful. God cornered me. He's sneaky like that. But I'm glad He did. I needed to talk about it, and it felt better doing it with a complete stranger who could understand where I was coming from.

This is a busy time of year for me. I'm gearing up for camp, spring cleaning, and watching my schedule fill up fast. On May 1st, I'm having Owen screened for public pre-K. We don't exactly qualify since you either have to be low income or have a significant delay, but we're trying anyways. If they have space, they'll take him. It would be nice because it's 5 half days a week and would be at the same school he'll be attending for kindergarten. I'm so hoping he gets in, but we'll just have to wait and see.

On May 20th, I'm going in to have a small, dry patch on my hip examined by the dermatologist. I'd like to rule out cancer. So if you think about it, please pray for me. After what I've been through with my dad, I'm not taking any chances.

There is so much more to tell you, but right now, my eyes are closing as I type. Tomorrow is another day.

Oh and I've gone through and labeled most of my posts. So for those of you visiting from my dad's blog, you can filter out all the blogs where I talk about my dad.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Few (More) Good Men

It's nice to say that I haven't had any major battles lately in the war on poor customer service. Maybe that's because I've been dealing with smaller businesses over the Internet. I'm thinking I might be changing my ways a little. Before I was all about where ever I could get whatever I needed at the cheapest price, but I think that mentality (across America and not just with me) has gotten us where we are a society that rewards poor customer service. We keep patronizing stores like Walmart because their prices are better. I'm starting to find that it may be worth it to spend a little more and support those willing to go out on a limb for my business. Small businesses are the heart of the American dream, and I feel like their slowly dying away. Now you won't find me boycotting Walmart or Target just for being mega stores that came in and took over. Nope, I blame the fall of the small businesses on us as consumers. It's our choice where to spend our money. That's capitalism, but I think I'm done rewarding poor behavior. It's like giving candy to a child pitching a fit because she wants candy. Hence the fact that I've thrown myself into this war.

A couple highlights for today:

1. I heart CFA. I'm telling you. I rarely have a bad experience around these cow-loving peeps. They are kid friendly and I just love that they say "my pleasure." Of course it sucks when I want to stop in and get a sweet tea on my way to church and they're closed, but I don't need the sugar anyways. Today, Michelle and I were grabbing a bite to eat (and a bit of work done) while we let the kids play. The operator, Chris, sees me heading for the counter for refills armed with a baby and intercepts me. He takes the cups, fills them up, and delivers them to our table. Now that is customer service. (This was at the new John Hopkins Rd. CFA in Laurel).

2. Say what you will about HMO's, but I love Kaiser Permanente. I called today to schedule Madison & Blake's next check-ups. The woman bent over backwards to make sure they had back-to-back appointments with the same doctor. She was kind, polite, and knowledgeable. I've never had any real issues with Kaiser. And with our government trying to force socialized health care down our throats, it's nice to be reminded that it's not all bad.

That's all I got for today. I'll let you know if anything else pops up.

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of my dad's death. Please know that my blog time tomorrow will be reserved for him. I appreciate your prayers and thoughts during this time. It's been difficult, and I'm still working through it all...even a year later.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Having a "Blast"

Our friends, Joyce & Tim, invited us to the Baltimore Blast soccer game on Saturday night. Forget the fact that I didn't even know Baltimore had a soccer team or that they were in a championship. The tickets were free, and it'd been a long time since I'd been to a public event like that. I wasn't sure about bringing the kids. I mean the game started at their bedtime, but Neil thought it'd be fine, so I went along. Of course in the back of my head, I'm thinking, "if they act up, it is so on you," but I kept my attitude to myself.

Man I'm not one to always admit when I'm wrong, but this time I have no problem. All three of our kids were awesome, and I know Joyce and Tim will vouch for that. You should have heard Owen. The entire way to the game at the 1st Mariner Arena (so thought it was going to be outside), he's talking about how he's going to "play soccer and Mommy & Daddy, & Blake, & Madison, & Mrs. Joyce & Mr. Tim are gonna watch me." "Mommy, where's the soccer game? Are we at the soccer game?" If it wasn't so darn cute, I would have lost my mind listening to it.

We must have arrived about the same time as every other soccer fan in the city, but that's okay because it was easy to figure out where we were going? Owen's eyes were wide open as he gazed in awe at the large buildings and bright lights. The child looked like he was in a candy store and everything was free. Inside the arena, we climbed to the nosebleed seats while Owen just kept saying, "mommy, where is the soccer ball? When do I get to play? Is it in there?" but he was patient (as a 3 year old can be).
For the first 30 minutes, while they were doing team introductions and the normal nuances for a pre-game program, Owen sat in his seat, bam bams in hand, in a complete over stimulation coma. "Mommy, where's the ball? Where's the game?" Then the game started. Owen followed the ball up and down the field, and sometimes into the stands, as I attempted to explain what the heck what going on. Slowly Owen crawled out of his shell. He began to bang his bam bams together, and say with Mommy "go Blast." By half time the child was full into the game like he'd been a dedicated fan since birth. Of course at this point his questions were "Mommy, is the game over now?" He didn't understand why they kept taking breaks. I'm with him on that one. Just play the game.
Blake literally sat in Daddy's lap and stared into space for the first hour. I thought he'd just fall asleep. After all, it was his bedtime. During half time, probably while the cheerleaders were dancing, Blake sprang to life. He paced up and down the aisle beating his bam bams as best he could, pointing and shouting "ball, ball." Now Blake has no idea what soccer is or what in the world these men were doing on that field, but he recognized the ball, and that was all that mattered.

Madison just chilled with Joyce the entire time, probably enjoying the stupidity of grown men running after a ball. We had a great time and I'm so glad we decided to go despite my poor attitude. Just goes to show you that your children can always surprise you.

At the end of the game, Owen looks at me in all seriousness and says, "Mommy, I want these guys to come play soccer with me." Priceless, simply priceless. The Baltimore Blast won the game and the championship! Yay, Go Blast!

Friday, April 10, 2009

My Shameless Plea

We all find ourselves in need at certain times in our lives. Maybe it's not a financial need. Maybe it's an emotional one, or a physical one, but regardless...we all have needs.

At Grace Adventure Day Camps, we meet needs. Granted they are mostly of the spiritual kind, but we do have the opportunity to meet someone's physical needs as well. Our best way of doing this is through our scholarship program. Last year we were able to support the demand with our supply, directly from our budget. As we grow, the need grows as well. We are no longer able to self-sustain the demand. At the same time we would never want to turn away a child from camp simply because their parents were unable to pay. So, Hillary, why not just petition the church for money? Well, it's not that simple. As a church, we've decided that church-wide, broad fundrasing is not an option. So we've gone the path of sponsorship. This way anyone can feel like they are being a part of camp by "sponsoring" a child. This isn't like Compassion International where you get letters from your child. In fact, it's completely anonymous on both sides. But it does give you a sense of ownership over where exactly your money is being used.

Typically it costs $250 to send one child to camp for one week. I say typically because this is assuming that they need both early and late care plus the cost of a normal week of camp. A sponsor can supply any amount they would like, from ten cents to ten thousand (man, wouldn't that be awesome). So far though we have no sponsors which has forced us to look in other directions. (however, if you would like to be a sponsor or know a business that would like to be a just let me know)

On May 5th we are "eating our way to send to kids to camp" at Chick-Fil-A on John Hopkins Rd in Laurel, MD. 20% of all the food eaten (well at least the money spent on the food eaten) will go to Grace Adventures Day Camp. So the more people that eat at that CFA that night, the more kids we are able to send to camp. See the correlation. The event is from 5-8 pm. Drop in any time, and bring some friends with you too.

Interested in learning more information about camp, or need a summer job?? Email me at!

By the way, have a mentioned how much I love Chick-Fil-A? Seriously, we eat there every Tuesday night. If you don't know this yet, you should. Most CFA's have a special Kid's Night where you get a FREE kid's meal with each adult combo purchase. Where else can you go and get free food, let the kid's play, and even meet and mingle with other parents in the area? CFA is totally an ally in my war on poor customer service.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sometimes They Get It Right...

Don't worry, I haven't forgotten my war against poor customer service. However in this war it is always good to pay homage to my allies, the ones who actually want my business.

The Housekeeper:

Keep in mind that, a lot of times, good customer service comes out of mistakes. It's not about getting it right all the time. It's about how you clean it up. For instance, I ordered a bucket load of cloth diapers from Diva Diapers as described in a previous post. My order arrived yesterday sans my free gifts. Clearly this was not going to work for the "guru of thrift." After all I chose this store because of the free gifts and added discounts. Granted I'd rather talk to someone in person, but given this is a WAHM (Work At Home Mom) store, I opted for a quick email to Carolann.

Here is her response (sent less than 24 hours later):

"Hello, Hillary! I am so sorry we forgot your gifts. We are away
visiting family and had some help packing orders. I apologize for
this. We will ship out your 2 free gifts today. Thank you for
bringing this to my attention."

Perfect. She addressed my concerns, took responsibility and fixed the problem. This is a company I'll do business with again. Great deals and customer service...can't go wrong there.

Doesn't Hurt to Ask:

The good thing about a bad economy is that there are always deals to be had. And when you can't find one, ask! Of course I have a few examples.

1. I happen to like No Nonsense bras, and can only find them on their website. Because of this I subscribe to their email list where they send out sales and specials all the time. I kept waiting for a free shipping or a small discount to come across, but all of their sales were for stockings or underwear. Sucky! So I replied to one of the notices and simply asked if they were going to be running a sale on their bras anytime soon. Seriously, the next day, they sent out a notice that the bras were 50% off. Totally didn't expect that, but I jumped on it and now have several new bras to get my through this "larger" era of my life (and I didn't have to spend a lot). No Nonsense listened to me as a customer and went above and beyond to make me happy. Sounds a little like a certain Bible story, doesn't it?

2. Since making the switch to cloth diapers, I'm contemplating using cloth wipes as well. They are environmentally friendly and just seem to make more sense. Just throw it all in the wash, instead of one thing in the trash (totally should make flushable wipes) and one in the laundry. It's not like they are that expensive, but shipping normally does me in. So while I was on Twitter this morning, I sent a tweet to @diapershops and asked if they would be putting wipes on sale/free shipping anytime soon. She immediately tweeted back with a code, WIPES, for free shipping on my entire order when I bought wipes. Again, what great customer service, and it turns out that there were others that were wanting the same thing. My question and her willingness to make accommodations for little me probably brought her two or three extra orders.

3. This one didn't turn out so good. I was searching for a popcorn machine for camp. Now we're not talking a small $40 machine you get at Costco. We were looking to spend about $500. I'd done my research and had found the best deal including shipping at Before I completed my sale, I saw this little space for a coupon code. So I googled to see if I could find one. There weren't any current offers. Remembering my experience with No Nonsense, I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask. I clicked on their web chat function and asked the guy if he had any current codes that just might help me pinch a penny. You know what he tells me, "Our prices are already so low that we can't give further discounts." A simple "no" would have sufficed. He didn't have to sugar coat it with a lot of crap he didn't mean. However, that being said, I still placed the order. For what I found, they did have the best deal with low shipping. I might not have agreed with the way he handled my question, but to be honest, he probably couldn't do anything for me and in his mind, he was saying the right thing. You can't win them all.

A Battle Lost:

Speaking of not winning: About 2 years ago, Neil and I purchased a home theater system from Philips (probably closer to a year and a half actually). Our children decided it would fun to play Candyland with the DVD player. Needless to say, it lost. Neil took it apart and decided that we might be able to salvage it if we could just replace the DVD-rom, so he called up Philips that sent him on a wild goose chase ending with a "I'm sorry but we don't carry those parts anymore." Seriously? You don't carry parts for an item you just sold a little over a year ago? Ladies and gentleman, this is not the way to run a business. Do you know what this says to me? It says that they can't/won't stand behind their products. Do they just scrap the parts once they stop selling the product? I get that it was our fault it broke, but now we're stuck with a $300 item that is completely useless. They have crossed over to the enemy side as we will no longer purchase Philip's products. Why would I want to reward a company that doesn't stand behind their products? You might say that it's normal for a company to do this, but I beg to differ. Did you know that Pampered Chef carries replacement parts for items it discontinued 8 years ago? Just saying, that's all.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Lovely Day

People keep asking for pics, and since I'm exhausted and have no time to go into detail of all the fun happenings in my life, I'm simply going to post a few pics.

The first set is from our trip to the Zoo today. I have to say that I'm quite proud of the fact that I got them all in the car, out of the car, and all the way to the bathrooms at the Zoo entrance where I met up with Clare. Then, a couple hours later, I got all three monsters onto the Tram, off the Tram, back to the van, strapped in, and back home all by myself. I've come a long way from the day I attempted to go to the doctor. I just might be getting the hang of this whole mom thing.

First things first: Snack Time!

A Jaguar on the prowl. Reese is destined to be a Zoo Tour Guide.

Okay, so I just thought this was the cutest thing; a giraffe doing a split in order to eat grass. I also think it's pretty darn sad. Give the giraffe's some friggin trees.

We're in the bird sanctuary, and it becomes apparent of where not to stand. Sure enough my child finds that place. No harm though, and he is just so stinkin cute.

Lastly I will leave you with a couple pics from our trip to Opies, our neighborhood sno cone joint. I took the kids during my single mom weekend. Yep, all by myself and I still managed to take pics. The pride overfloweth, but don't worry it came with a fall. Moments after I took the shot of Blake, he dumped his sno cone on the ground.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Real Note: Where in the World is Neil Pennington?

Yes, it's day three of the Single Mom Weekend. And yes, we are all still doing well despite the busyness of the weekend. We were going to go Easter Egg Hunting with Clare and her entourage, but I decided it would be best for us to chill out at home today. These kids need a good nap, or maybe it's me that needs a good nap. Either way, we all need a day to chill. After naptime I thought we'd head to the park for a few before Fusion (that's church for those of you who don't know), but those are my plans for the day.

My real question is where in the world is my dear old husband? He called Friday night when he got off the river, left a message & I haven't heard from him since. Now don't go getting all worried. This is fairly normal. Cell coverage sucks so he can literally be out of service for the entire weekend. Does this ease my mind? Actually, not as much as you would think. I keep telling myself that if something happened, there are three other people on the trip with my number in their phones. They'd call me, right? Well sure if they could get coverage themselves. Don't get me wrong, I'm not freaking out, at least not like I was last year. Same trip, very different circumstances. I knew my dad was dying, so waiting for that "I'm not dead yet" phone call from my husband was more like someone tied me up inside a classroom while dozens of women ran their fingernails down the chalkboard over and over again. Let's just say come Sunday afternoon when he finally called, I wasn't greeting him with lovee dovee goodness like I will this time.

It's amazing how easy worry comes. Statistically Neil has a better chance of being injured walking down the stairs than he does on kayaking. However, oddly enough, I don't stand at the bottom of the stairs wondering if he'll make it. It's a good thing too because that would just be weird, right? But when he takes off down a river, I worry. I wonder about the long list what ifs. Of course it doesn't help when I don't hear from him in two days, but I'd probably worry either way.

So there you have it.

Side Note: Cloth Diaper Deals

It might be hard to find deals on cloth diapers, but not impossible, especially if you're not particular about a brand. I wanted to pass on a website I've been using called Cloth Diaper companies place their sales/coupon codes there, and I've been able to find a few good deals. You have to check often and weed through the mess, but you can save some mullah if you are diligent.

This morning I ordered 12 Bum Genius 3.0's, which came with a free pair of Baby Legs (seem to be the rage lately) & 1 Wahmies One Size, which came with a free gift (word is it's a wet bag or pail liner) for just under $200 shipped. has one size diapers 5% off this weekend, plus if you use the coupon code PIN you save another 5%. Shipping was FREE. I thought this was a pretty good deal because I was able to get the Bum Genius 3.0 for $15 a diaper.

Also, I ordered a couple Bummi Trainer pants from They were on clearance for $8.50-9.75 a piece, depending on whether you get white or print, with free shipping on all orders. No, I haven't tried these out yet, but since Blake is getting close to the potty training stage, I thought I'd try them out.

One more thing: also carries a few brands of cloth diapers. The great thing about them is that they constantly have coupons for $10 off $49 and free shipping over $59. Plus, if you go through (link on right under "Get $ for Shopping Online...Seriously), you get an 1% rebate). I got 3 BumGenius 3.0's for $14.50 a piece. They also tend to have so-so deals on disposable diapers and you don't have to go to the store.

Codes for

NEW5 - for new customers, take $5 off orders of $49 or more via coupon code. Shipping starts at $4.99, or get free shipping on orders of $49 or more via this coupon.

TENDEAL - for new customers, take $10 off orders of $49 or more via coupon code. Shipping starts at $4.99, or get free shipping on orders of $49 or more via this coupon. - This coupon has no expiration date

SAVE1234: 10 off $39. I used this recently as a returning customer and it worked. I have no idea when it expires. You'll just have to check it out yourself.

CARSEAT10 - $10% off car seats. Limited Time & Exclusions Apply
HUGGIES - $1 off Huggies Supreme Diapers. Limit 1 per household
TRIPLE2 - $2 off Triple Paste 60oz medicated ointment. Limit 1 per household
TRIPLE1 - $1 off Triple Paste 2oz ointment or 3.5 oz moisturizer. Limit 1 per household
GENIEPAIL - $5 off Playtex Diaper Genie Pail, Limit 1 per household.
GENIEREFILL - $1 off Playtex Diaper Genie Refill. Limit 2 per household
EARTHSBEST - $2 off a purchase of Earths' best diapers and wipes(Both items required for discount). Limit 1 per household
ADENANAIS - $3 off Aden + Anais Swaddling Blankets or Towel/Washcloth Set. Limit 1 per household
BABYGAN - $1 off any Babyganics cleaning product. Limit 1 per household
MUSTELA - Free Mustela Stelaprotect No Rinse Cleaner with any $30 purchase of Mustela products. Limit 1 per household

Just thought I would pass this on to those of you in the process of researching/buying cloth diapers. If you're considering the switch but are worried you're not the "type" that could do it. Believe me, if I can do it, so can you. Ask anyone who knows me.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Memoirs of a Single Mom (for a weekend at least)

So far it hasn't been that bad. Neil left for his annual kayaking trip before dawn this morning, but that's not unusual. He's out the door before 6 almost everyday, so the day itself was fairly normal. Owen went to school. I worked out. I weighed in (which wasn't exactly the highlight of my day), did a little grocery shopping, and returned to pick Owen up. We headed home for afternoon naps which only 1/3 of my children actually took.

I had my first counselor interview at 2:00. The fact that Owen and Madison weren't napping certainly made the interview a little more interesting. All that aside, I think we just found our first hire of 2009. Yay!

Now what's one thing you can when you're husband is out of town that you can't do as easily when he's in town? That's right...hire a babysitter and go out with a friend. Jen and I moseyed on over to Chevy's for our favorite past time, margaritas, flautas, and a "baby in a bar." (Quote from the best movie ever, and if you don't know, then you are not worthy of that sort of knowledge) Afterward we strolled around the mall as Jen schooled me in accessorizing. She is my fashion & decorating guru. Man am I glad that she's back, for a while at least.

I have to give a shout out to my friend Tim who graciously offered to take my babysitter home so I didn't have to get the boys out of bed. Tim, you are the bombdiggity. Thank you!

So really, it's been okay. I feel like Grover at the end of the book, The Monster at the End of This Book, when he said "and you were so scared. Oh, I'm so embarrassed." Again if you don't know the book, you're just not right. It's totally worth the read.

Maybe the key is planning. Tomorrow we're off to the gym, a little yard saleing, maybe a walk to Opies (the snocone place), and a party at 4. Sunday, it's Easter Egg hunting with Mat, Clare and Reese (not sure I could do that by myself) and church. See, I have a plan. "In his heart a man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps." - Proverbs 16:9. Still doesn't hurt to have a plan.

Owen is out of school next week for Spring Break, so I need a plan. I'm thinking one day to the Zoo, one day to the Science center, and another day to Air Mania. And they love going to play at the gym. Staying home all day is not a good thing for any of us. My kids are more like me than I care to admit. We need to get out. I'll keep you posted and myself as well.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Natural Mommy

I'm new to this whole natural mommy thing, and to be quite honest, I'm not all that good at it. Yes, I'm cloth diapering Blake & Madison, but my main motivation has nothing to do with being a tree hugger or "granola." My top reason is that is will save us money and cut down on the amount of waste we consume. So far so good. Except for the extra laundry it creates, cloth diapering hasn't been all that bad. Slowly I'm learning the terminology and finding out what I like. It wasn't long ago though when I felt lost, drowning in a sea of acronyms that meant nothing to me. Now I know the difference between a pocket and a fitted, an AIO and a prefold.

We all know how opinionated I can be. I speak my mind, though it can get me in to trouble and quite often does. I do tend to see things in black and white, and though I'm flexible, I'm not great with change. Go figure! I rarely think before I speak or act, for that matter. Basically my greatest strengths are also my strongest weaknesses. My point is that I tend to bow up when I feel like someone or something is trying to change me. In my search for the perfect cloth diaper I found that, for most of these "natural" moms, it's all or nothing. You're in or you're out. I think this is why more moms don't cloth diaper. You almost feel judged b/c the rest of your life doesn't follow the same pattern. I read blogs from WAHM (work at home moms) online stores, mostly looking for coupon codes for diaper sites, and find an us versus them (those that use disposables and those that use cloth) mentality. Disclaimer: I do not feel this way about people in my "world" who are cloth diapering. So what do I mean by this all or nothing clique? I don't know, it just seems like those that cloth diaper are also fanatical about organic stuff, whether food or clothing. They firmly believe in attachment parenting, which just isn't for me. They wear shirts that say "Jesus was breastfed," and have bumper stickers that read "spanking is of the devil." Actually I'm not really sure if anyone uses these items, but I see them in the online stores. They don't immunize their children and can't have babies in a hospital (and frown on those who do). They don't let their babies cry, and so on and so forth. Please believe me when I say that I'm not trying to criticize them. I think it's great that people hold firmly to their beliefs. I just don't like it when I get the stink eye for choosing a different way of doing things.

I have two close friends in Maryland, one whom I differ politically and one whom I differ parentally (if that's a word). Each of them adds value to my life and I am quite certain that God placed them in my life to be sand paper, to smooth out my rough edges. Man, do they have a rough road ahead. "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." The more I get to know them the more I find that we differ in these areas, but it's no coincidence. God knew what he was doing when he put them in my life, and I'm extremely thankful for them. Katy is my "natural" mommy friend. Now, she has never judged me (that I know of at least) for being different, or for not fitting into her mold, so please know this blog is not about her. It's just my observations about the "culture" in general. But I do use Katy as a filter sometimes. I can ask her about things I read on the Internet, and bounce my ideas off her. I hear her side and then draw my own conclusions about what's best for me.

Sometimes I feel like I'm in high school again trying to fit into a clique that I'm just not right for. The thing is that I don't have to fit in. I just need to do what's best for us and not worry about what other people think. I have great friends who love me no matter how different I am from them. And I'm blessed with great cloth diapering role models, my favorite being my BFF Jo. She has successfully put two precious girls through them and managed to stay sane in the process. She's not entirely "granola" either so I know it can be done.

Really this blog isn't about cloth diapers, which I've pretty much decided to do the Bum Genius, It's about being myself and being grateful for the relationships I have in my life. Despite the substantial differences in certain areas, we still love each other and accept one another for who we are in Christ. At least I hope they all know that. If not, maybe they do now.

Dude (wow, it's been a long time since I've used that word), I'm so falling asleep as I type this. If this makes no sense in the morning, I blame it on the fact that I'll be a single mommy for the weekend and I'm scared to death. Really one has nothing to do with the other, but I am scared. Pray if you get a chance.