Happy Halloween!

In honor of the rainy and windy Halloween we have here in Indiana, I thought I’d share my favorite Halloween video from and Indiana native (before he got creepy).  Enjoy and have a safe and happy Halloween!

And for those of you who aren’t Thriller fans….here’s a more “friendly” halloween greeting.

 

TRICK OR TREAT!

Support the Person instead of just the Pink.

October has always been one of my favorite months of the year.  First and foremost because it’s my birthday month (yesterday in fact), it’s also my mom’s birthday month (13th), one of my best friends (16th), my nephew (23th) and my daughters (30th).  Plus the end of the month is Halloween which is the biggest dress up day of the year!

Chicago 2008

Chicago 2008

My Nana (my dad’s mother) had and beat breast cancer twice when I was younger.  I don’t really have a lot of memories of these times as my parents were really good at shielding us from these things as children and young adults.  I do remember feeling “proud” to support breast cancer awareness and started to take part in the annual Race for the Cure in college and even completed two Avon Walks for Breast cancer, one in Washington D.C. in 2003 and in Chicago in 2008.  I was full blown into the “pinkwashing” of October and would sport my pink ribbon gear with pride.

In 2009 that all changed…….

SarahKellyFirst a little background, my sister and I weren’t always the best of friends growing up.  We are 6.5 years apart, and there are many many stories I could tell about our childhoods.  Some that I personally remember like borrowing her brand new, tags still attached Gap fleece when she was home from Purdue for Christmas break and getting into a car accident where the EMT’s had to cut it off of me.  We laugh to this day that the first thing I said to her when she got to the hospital through tears was “I’m sorry I ruined your shirt and I didn’t ask!”  There are other stories I know only from being told at family get togethers of her locking me in the screen porch as a toddler to see if I would cry because I wasn’t a baby who cried often.  All of these stories and memories have lead us down the path to having the close relationship we have now.  My sister is my rock, my confidant, my protector (whether I like it or not), and my biggest cheerleader.

KellyEvie

Evie with Aunt Kelly

Evie was born in July of 2009, and when Aunt Kelly came to visit  she was about a month old and it solidified an even deeper bond between us as sisters because now we were also both mothers.  She helped me through those long, tired, lonely nights of new motherhood.  Kept me sane and focused when I wanted to quit breastfeeding because it hurt so bad, and calmly encouraged me to keep going in a way only a sister could.  She taught me how to master the swaddle, focus on one feeding at a time, the magic leg exercises to make them fart, and most importantly that I didn’t need to be perfect to be a good mom.  I just needed to be me and that was all she needed. We talked about how maybe someday we could be pregnant at the same time, and have kids the same age.

Then it was October of 2009, and like I said before…everything changed.  She went into see her midwife for a check up as she and her husband were wanting to try for another child.  She had suffered 2 miscarriages after her second son, so she wanted to get an all clear before they started to try again.  She mentioned this spot on her left breast near her armpit to her midwife and she thought maybe it was a leftover clogged duct from breastfeeding or something simple like that.  Her midwife seemed a little more concerned and sent her for a mammogram and ultrasound….which then lead to a biopsy….which lead to that awful statement on November 10, 2009: You have breast cancer.  She was 33, she had plans for her life, for her family, for her future and now it was all different.  I will never forget that moment, when my mom called, I was holding Evie getting ready to put her to bed, she was 3.5 months old.  I remember hearing the words “Its cancer” and then everything else was just noise.

kellybaldShe had her surgery 9 days later, started chemo in January of 2010 followed by radiation.  She also discovered the type of cancer she had was estrogen receptor positive which put a giant black mark against the thoughts of another child in her future.  With all this information flying around the noise between her and I got louder when I discovered I was pregnant at the end of February of 2010 just before her third chemo treatment.  The months following were the most trying in our relationship as sisters and as friends, but in the larger picture actually served to make our bond stronger.  She lost her hair, and has an incredibly perfect round head buried under her gorgeously thick hair.  Her hair grew back the same color that it was before it was gone and now she rocks the cutest pixie cut ever!

The point of the post (800 words later) is that while as good intentioned as it may have been when it started.  Octobers explosion of pink has turned from a focus on the awful disease to more of a commercialized marketing scheme and even a fashion trend.  NFL players wear pink shoes, gloves and towels.  The grocery stores become overwhelmed with packaging turned “Pink for the Cure”. The pizza boxes from my favorite local pizza joint change to pink in October.  It has become increasingly difficult to not be assaulted by the pink in every direction you turn.

I am not in anyway saying that awareness and early detection education is not extremely important and vital to diagnosis and treatment of this awful disease, but I am saying that overtime I think the “Pink” lost some of it’s most important souls….the quiet, weary, tired and forgotten souls who’s lives have been forever changed by this disease.

Last chemo treatment

Last chemo treatment

The culture today is so focused on “The Cure” “Save Lids to Save Lives” and lets not forget two phrases that make me the most stabby “Save the Tatas” and “Save Second Base”.  I can be quite confident in the statement that a large number of women (and men too) who have fought breast cancer find these taglines offensive.  They make the focus on the body part and not the person.  My sisters breasts have no direct effect on her ability to get pregnant and have more children, but the type of cancer that invaded that specific part of her body does.  There is little to no acknowledgement in the mainstream marketing of breast cancer awareness month that talks about the hard reality of what the “Cure” really means. There is no discussion about what the treatment of this disease does to the bodies of those so gracefully fighting it, nor what the disease and treatment steals from these women.  No one wants to talk about the plans that are changed, the dreams that are lost, the lives that are forever different, and that there are those precious souls who still lose the battle no matter how fiercely they fought.

I ask you that this October you take a moment to be mindful of the far reaching, and long lasting effects of breast cancer.  Think about women like my sister who try go about their everyday lives in the month of October yet are constantly faced with the reminder everywhere they look about the day their lives changed and some of their dreams were stolen.  Think about the men who have lost their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters, their grief may still be very raw but even in the simple pleasure of watching football they can’t escape the reminder of what they lost.

Summer 2013

Summer 2013

I support awareness of this disease and the discussions on early detection, but I want to see a shift in the marketing machine that is Pink October.  Breast cancer isn’t pretty, and slapping the color pink on it can’t hide the raw reality of how this disease impacts lives.  In the days of reality TV and graphic gruesome pictures on the news I would like to see someone interject some reality into Pink October, to show more than a pack of smiling women in pink because that is not reality, it’s more like “putting lipstick on a pig” (thanks for the quote dad).

I will end by saying I am one of the lucky ones affected by this disease because my sister is a survivor.  She battled her cancer with such gracious determination that it gave me the ability to have many more years with her.  Her successful battle allowed us to make new dreams and plans together, but not before it stretched our bond to it’s limits.  I am going to take a new spin on Pink October this year and I am going to support the people affected by this disease and not just the pink.

Life lessons learned at the rainbow slide

This time of year always reminds me of verse in the Indigo Girls song Mystery

“I could go crazy on a night like tonight
Summer’s beginning to give up her fight
And every thought’s a possibility
And the voices are heard but nothing is seen
Why do you spend this time with me
Maybe an equal mystery?”

The days are hot and humid, but as the sun goes down there is a weakening in summers grasp.  My favorite time of year is the time where summer and fall battle each other for dominance and summer owns the days but fall begins to take over the evenings.  Yesterday was a hot one during the day, and the girls wanted so badly to go to the park because they didn’t get to play outside at school due to the heat.  I was happy to honor this request and was pleasantly surprised when I was greeted with a cooler breeze instead of sticky humidity.

The dynamic of any park in the evenings is like a social experiment.   There are times when we are the only ones at our park of choice for the evening and other times its like a school yard during recess.  I find it interesting to watch my daughters interact with other kids who until that very moment are complete strangers to them.  I love watching them navigate their expanding social development and try so very hard to hold back interfering with their interactions.  Evie is just blossoming into the phase of “making friends” at the park and making up games as she goes.  There are times when this leaves little sister out and while she used to be indifferent, now she is fully aware that her sister is choosing to play with someone else.  Her little tears rip straight to my heart.  I can usually console her by offering some one on one pushes on the swings or a game of chase up and down the slide, but I know that these distractions will only work temporarily.

We did have one thought provoking occurrence at the park last night that made me stop and think and I wanted to share my thoughts.  Evie’s new park friend for the night, a little girl around her age, disappeared during their game for brief moment and then returned and they resumed racing up the ladder and down the tallest slide at the park.  I noticed once the little girl returned that she kept messing with the waist band of her shorts.  They were denim shorts so I thought maybe they kept getting twisted on the plastic of the slide, but after a couple more times down the slide I realized her pants weren’t buttoned and she kept re-zipping the shorts.  She noticed me noticing her struggles at this time and said “I can’t button my shorts, I went potty and I don’t know how to get them buttoned again.”  I looked around for her adult companion but couldn’t see one.  I asked her if her mom was here, and she said “my dad’s in the car”.  You can see almost the entire playground from the front section of the parking lot, but I still found it odd that she was out playing “alone”.  The second thing that gave me pause is that I had to hesitate to help this little girl.  Something so simple as snapping the button of shorts, an act which would have taken 5 seconds.  I didn’t know this little girl nor did I know her dad who was in the car.  What would he/could he think if he sees a strange woman touching his daughters shorts?  What would have happened had this little girl asked someone who may have been at the park for not so innocent reasons? I’m pretty confident that when I was a child that no mother would have thought twice about helping me button the snap on my jean shorts at the park should I have needed the assistance, nor would my mother have thought twice about the possibility that someone would be hanging out at the park for sinister reasons. I took pause in the moment that I told the little girl she should go ask her dad for help.  I thought about my daughters growing up in a world where I have to teach them there is evil in the world at a young age.  Where the trusting nature of children has to be pulled back and instead replaced with constant skepticism.  The days of playing anywhere around the neighborhood and coming home when the street lights came on are over.  The days when parents didn’t need to know the exact GPS coordinates of their children at every given moment they are out of sight are past.  It makes me sad to know that we live in a time where the fear of accusation or misunderstanding prohibits us from helping children.  I will go so far to say that if the situation were reversed and Evie needed help with the snap on her shorts and I wasn’t there in that moment and another unknown adult had helped her, I would tell her not to ask strangers for help like that again and to always come find me or another adult she knows.  The lack of trust in others and situations like this make me sad for the soul of our society, and I wish I knew what to do to change it.

I don’t want to end my post on a Debbie Downer note so I will end with some photos. I took this park outing as an opportunity to bring my camera along since just before sunset is my favorite time to shoot pictures of the girls.  Sadly the cloud cover came and ruined my hopes for beautiful natural light.  I did end up with a few that I wanted to share.

I'm going to be so sad when the freckles fade with summer

I’m going to be so sad when the freckles fade with summer

Love Nora's little muscles

Love Nora’s little muscles

EvieCoolCreek

If you could only hear the giggles.

If you could only hear the giggles.

And in a turn of events that almost NEVER happens, I actually got some pictures of the girls WITH ME!  Imagine that!

Nora told me I needed to wear her glitter bow headband, and she had to put it on for me.

Nora told me I needed to wear her glitter bow headband and she had to put it on for me, of course I let her.

I swear she looks older in every picture I take.

I swear she looks older in every picture I take.

And the rarest picture of all….the three of us!  Even though Nora wouldn’t look directly at the camera.

Love these little stinkers

Love these little stinkers

 

I hope you all enjoy these sacred days and nights of the blended perfection of summer and fall.

 

 

 

 

Things I wish I knew about motherhood…..

Two of my very dear friends are pregnant with their first babies.  I’m not sure who is more excited, them or me.  I was the first in my close group of girlfriends to have a baby and then babies.  I like many new moms felt completely clueless and totally overwhelmed and alone when my girls were tiny newborns and lets be honest, I still feel that way sometimes.  My mom, sister and sister in law were great resources for me and gave me incredible advice, but I still felt alone.  I remember thinking on more than one occasion, whether it was the middle of the night and my baby just wouldn’t sleep unless she was being held, or she had just exploded poop out her diaper in the middle of target and it was leaking out of the strap holes of her car seat on to the floor of target…….WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME ABOUT THIS PART?!?!!?!?!?!  I wish someone would have clued me in on the embarrassing not so glamorous parts of motherhood.  It wouldn’t have changed my mind about wanting to become a mom but it might have made some of those moments not so lonely or defeating.  The following is my list of things I wish someone would have clued me in on so I could have laughed at myself more and stressed less. Some have a more serious tone while some aremore humorous.

*Pregnancy has a very short “cute and comfortable” stage, and very quickly turns into bloated, swollen and unappealing.  This condition grows at an exponential rate in the last 10 weeks.

*People (including strangers) will think it’s okay to touch your stomach, and comment on your size.  Neither of these things are appropriate and you should feel free to let your hormones get the best of them.

Evie Birth*Labor hurts, birth hurts, and the “ring of fire” is a true fact.  It’s okay to get an epidural, it’s not going to make your baby born stoned.  It’s also okay to want to forgo the pain medication and give birth without medication.  Don’t let someone tell you your plan “isn’t natural”  the act of birth itself is natural, whether it’s with or without medication or whether you push your baby out yourself or have a c-section.  It’s your body and your baby and the only opinions that are required are yours and your doctors.

*If you have a vaginal delivery – Ice pack pads, epifoam, and witch hazel pads are your best friend.  Stockpile these three things from the hospital.  Continually ask for more, and hoard them in your bag to take home.  You and your vagina will thank me for it.

*If you have a c-section – Don’t try to be a hero, take the pain medication offered by the hospital and stay on top of it.  I never had a c-section birth but have had 2 surgeries on my ovaries with the same incision as a c-section and trust me when I say, I bow down to c-section mamas.  I don’t know how you do it after that kind of surgery, you women are incredible.

Nora Birth*Breastfeeding is hard, it hurts in more ways than one, its emotional, its frustrating and you are going to want to give up.  It’s hard because you think “oh women have been doing this for centuries, it’s natural, I just put the baby on my breast and off we go…..” and then reality hits that there is a science to it.  There is correct placement of the babies mouth on your nipple that can make or break your nipple skin, literally.  It pinches, its not comfortable even if you have the proper latch, and then once you get all that worked out, all the sudden your stomach starts cramping and it feels like early labor all over again.  Yes nursing makes your uterus contract, it’s one of the human body’s amazing tricks, nursing makes your uterus contract quicker….but what no one tells you is…it hurts.  It doesn’t last forever, maybe a couple days to a week.  Its emotional because you yourself are an out of control hormonal roller coaster, and the littlest things can make you feel like you are going to fail as a mother.  The best advice I got on breastfeeding came from my sister:  Don’t think about your end goal of breastfeeding for a month, 6 months, a year etc.  If you do that the task seems so overwhelming, and never ending and in those early days when your nipples are raw and you are exhausted the simple thought of having to do this for that long may push you over the edge.  Think about the feeding at hand, get through that one, and when that one is over its one more under your belt.  Then focus on the next, take it one feeding at a time.  The pain stops, the nipples toughen, the routine gets to be second nature, but it takes time and not just a week but a few weeks.

*Don’t let anyone shame you for your feeding choices.  If you choose to breastfeed, great.  If you choose formula, great.  Both of my daughters were both breast and bottle fed and both are smart, happy, healthy girls.  I was able to nurse while on maternity leave but once I went back to a high stress job my supply tanked.  I started using formula because the stress of trying to keep up with their demand was taking its toll on my mental state, which in turn took a toll on my daughters.  Do what works for you and your family when it comes to feeding choices for your baby, neither choice is right or wrong. Trust me easier said than done and I still have twinges of mom guilt sometimes when I see a mom nursing her baby and I wish my nursing relationship with my daughters would have lasted longer. If I had continued my mental state would have suffered.

3inColorado*Your body has changed, it’s expanded in incredible ways.  Even if you are one of the lucky ones that gets back to your pre-pregnancy weight quickly, there is a large possibility that your clothes won’t fit the same way they did before you were pregnant.  These next statements are going to be really hard and freeing at the same time to share.  I am 5 feet 5 inches tall, I weighed 148lbs when I got pregnant with Evie, The days she was born I weighed in at 183lbs.  I got back down to 150lbs when I found out I was pregnant with Nora (Evie was 6 months old), I don’t know how much I weighed when Nora was born because I was so down on myself I refused to look at the scale anymore at the doctors office.  I struggled to shed the “baby weight” the second time around and I tore myself down on a daily basis about it.  I refused to give myself any grace that I had had two babies and that I shouldn’t let my worth and beauty be measured by my weight or size.  I had two beautiful daughters and they are worth every extra pound I carried for those first couple years.  It took me over 2 years to finally get back to a healthy weight for my height and it really has happened in the last 9 months.  The moral of this section is to understand that it takes time for your body to heal, and reshape.  Give yourself some grace and some self love.

* Poop will happen at the most inconvenient times.  Exploding out the diaper of your newborn into the carseat and then dripping out on the floor of the Target check out lane while your 15 month old is having a massive meltdown over glitter hair clips.

*You will go to an important meeting with a giant spot of spit up or snot on your clothes and you won’t realize it until after the meeting is over.

*You get an hour to yourself and you go to try on nursing bras to try to find one that makes you feel more like a woman and less like a cow and the woman in the next fitting room baby starts to cry and you realize you have leaked all over a bra that is awful and it isn’t yours and doesn’t fit.  Take a deep breath, this happens more than you know.  Just inform the sales associate and they will take care of it and not make you pay for it.

*Your days of personal space are over, from the minute you find out you are pregnant your body has now become your baby’s (child’s) and that never really stops.

noranewborn*You will think you won’t make it through the night, your heart will sink when you hear them restless in their bed 10 minutes after you laid them down and you will pray to any higher being to just let them go to sleep, you will cry out of exhaustion, you will think tomorrow will never come and that you will die from lack of sleep.  Then in that fleeting moment of desperation your baby will smile at you, or grab on to your shirt as you rock them, will snuggle in and fall asleep in the nook of your neck and you will feel such love and that is what helps you make it one more day.

*When they sleep through the night the first time, you will most likely wake up in complete panic, possibly soaked in breastmilk and fly into their room like a bat out of hell, then once the panic passes you will silently dance with joy back to your bed.

*When they get older you will find yourself sneaking in their room to tuck them in, and linger just a little to watch the sweet innocence of them sleeping.

Motherhood is messy, emotional, sometimes painful, frustrating and the most incredible job I have ever had.  The hard times are muted by the joy.  Every mom has hard times, every mom has struggles, we are all human and perfect in our imperfection.  Next time you see a mom with a dried booger on her shirt, or spit up in her hair….hand her a wipe and give her an understanding smile instead of a judgmental look.  We all need a little support and a lot of love.

Christmas time is coming…which means a visit to Santa

Last year when I took Evie and Nora to get their picture taken with Santa lets just say the picture we got is timeless.  A lot of kids are scared of Santa and cry when placed on his lap.  Last years picture goes down as one of the Classic Scared of Santa pictures of all time in my book.  I am very excited to see what happens this year.  I sent this picture via Facebook and Twitter to Ellen DeGeneres to see if she thought it was as funny as we did.  May she will have Evie and Nora on her show this Holiday season to get their picture taken with Santa.  How fun would that be!

 

Enjoy!

Evie, Nora and Santa 2011

Happy Birthday Sweet Eleanor Reagan.

Today is my baby girls 2nd birthday.  She came into my life in all respects in a unexpected flash, from the positive pregnancy test in the bathroom at work, to the amazing comfort I felt the first time I heard her heartbeat at the doctor, to those first fluttering movements low in my stomach, the first images of her on the ultrasound screen, the comfort of feeling her grow and move and not knowing she was a she.  The memory of her birth is one of the proudest moments I have as a woman.  I was induced with Evie and had an epidural and an easy slow, controlled birth.  It was perfect as it was exactly what I had planned.  Nora has proven from day one that she makes her own plans and goes her own way on her own time. I was scheduled to be induced on November 4, 2010 due to low amniotic fluid.   On Saturday October 30, 2010 Eleanor Reagan was born after 4 hours of unintentional unmedicated labor.

I never intended to have an unmedicated birth, I did not prepare for one or learn about breathing methods etc.  When my contractions started I honestly didn’t think much of them as they weren’t horrifically painful like I thought they would be so I just pushed through my day.  When at about 12:30 they were getting pretty strong and regular I headed to the hospital.  I remember that being one of the most uncomfortable car rides ever.  We got to the hospital and they began to check to see how dilated I was, and I remember very vividly stating that if I wasn’t at at least 4cm so I could be admitted I might hurt someone.  Little did I know that I had been in full transition during the car ride and I was dilated to almost 10cm.  I discovered that there is a benefit to a baby being positioned posterior, which is that it can prevent a unintential home birth in those women (now me included) who wait too long to get to the hospital.  It took one push to flip Nora into the birthing position and 2 more pushes to get her out into this world.  She came into this world in  flash of drama and panic and showed me the incredible things my body could do.  The minute I saw her tiny little body, all the chaos went silent…all the pain was gone, the whole world went fuzzy except for the tiny little girl who was mine.

First Snuggle

She was alert, and awake and here, finally here.  As a mom you spend roughly 36 weeks (since the first 4 don’t “count”) waiting to meet this life you are growing.  You spend the time waiting in doctors offices or late at night when their acrobatics keep you awake  wondering who they are going to be, what they are going to look like.  I can’t explain the feeling you get at that moment when you first see your child, hold them, smell them and say welcome to the world.

Today begins the day of the terrific and terrible twos, she walks, talks, sings, plays, feeds herself and loves everything covered in syrup. She’s has outgrown the baby section of baby Gap.  There is something so bittersweet at saying goodbye to the baby stage of your child’s life, but being excited about all the new adventures that are awaiting them.  Nora is losing her baby smell, and really only has it right after bath time when I have lathered her in Johnson and Johnson’s baby soap.  Every so often I get a glimpse of her babyness, and those moments are getting fewer and fewer.  Evie and I get to sing Happy Birthday sweet Baby Nora…..You and your sister are my lifeblood and the happiness in my soul.  Here is a look back at your last 2 beautiful years.

Happy Birthday my sweet girl.  I can’t wait to see and experience all life has to offer you.  There are so many more adventures for us to have and mountains for us to conquer.  You will forever be my Baby Nora.

The “Mom” Body….A Lifetime of Teachable Moments for My Girls

Yesterday was another one of those “WOW” moments for me as a mom, and really as a woman too.  A lot of my mom friends we sharing an article from the Huffington Post, called “Mom Stays in the Picture”.  I read the article and it really hit me, I am guilty of doing the same things as this woman.  I have very minimal pictures of myself with my children and of just myself for that matter.  I used to LOVE taking pictures, I also used to be much thinner.

The background of this teachable moment starts with my own childhood.  I was always a slim child.  I was very active, played multiple sports and ate a home cooked meal every night.  My mom cooked healthy well balanced meals for us and we ate as a family most nights.  Weight was never something I worried about or even thought about, both of my parents are healthy and active and are not overweight. Weight was never really something we discussed in our house while I was growing up.  My mom was always in pictures and we took family photos every fall for our Christmas card.  I have pictures of me with my mom at every age.  I have one favorite picture of me on or around my first birthday sitting on my mom’s lap holding a new white kitty stuffed animal.  My mom’s face isn’t even in the picture, its from her neck down, just her chest, stomach and legs, but I love this picture because I am sitting on my mom’s lap and look so happy and secure.

We can all admit that society, social media and technology have changed the perception of beauty in America and sadly has put such a burden on young mothers (not just young mothers but this is where I relate).  We don’t want to be in pictures, we don’t want to see the pictorial “evidence” of what pregnancy and child birth did to our young bodies.  I have almost NO pictures of myself pregnant with either child, I didn’t do the weekly belly photos because I felt embarrassed about how I looked. I look back now and am so sad that I have so few photos to show the girls when they are older and starting their own families and want to see pictures of me pregnant with them.  In their infanthood and early toddlerhood I have focused more on taking pictures of them and all their cuteness than I did on being in pictures with them.  The pictures I do have that include me I have always looked at with a cringe on my face on how I look.

I don’t want to teach my daughters that their weight has any bearing on their beauty.  I need to be in pictures whether I am comfortable or not, I need to make these lasting memories with my girls and for my girls.  I want them to have the pictures I have with my own mother that I look at with such love and happiness, that give me such a warm heart remembering all the memories I created with my mother.  I want them to learn that these extra pounds, and soft parts of my body are not even an afterthought when compared to what they have given me.  I need to learn to live comfortable in my own skin so I can teach them how to do the same, so I can protect these beautiful little girls from the harsh judgment of society.  My own mother did such an amazing job, giving me such confidence in myself, but the world is a different place than it was when I was little and the world will be different when my daughters are closing in on their 31st birthdays and I hope that I can teach them the wonderful lessons my own mother taught me, that beauty and self worth have nothing to do with the number on a scale or the number sewn into the back of your jeans.

I think this can be a big part of my pledge to be 100% present for my daughters.  I need to learn not only to let go of the little distractions of life, but also not to let myself be distracted by the demands of society.  I need to not obsess about my weight or pant size and focus on being healthy for my kids no matter what the scale says.  The stress of trying to fit the profile of an attractive woman does affect the way that I parent, it’s a distraction from giving them my all and that is not acceptable to me anymore.  I will be in the picture, no matter my pant size.  The lumps, and sags and dimples I have now are marks of love, marks of the amazing miracle that is pregnancy and breastfeeding my babies.  The pictures where my breasts may take over my whole body because I was growing life or providing milk for my infant daughters should be celebrated not hidden out of shame.  What world do we live in that we cause shame to women who have given their bodies to continue life and the bigger question becomes….How do we change it for all our daughters?

Here are some mother daughter pictures to finish this off.

Adventures of Fall

We have had a great couple weeks.  I have been successful in disengaging from the distractions of life when spending time with my girls.  It has been liberating in a sense.  We cancelled our cable, we don’t have an antenna, netflix is it.  I am some one who has a thirst and passion for politics, it has the ability to completely engulf my thoughts, especially once we get inside the 45 day window of a major election.  The disconnect from the television and the ads that go along with this time of year has been a refreshing release from the negativity that it can bring.  In the last couple of weeks we took a trip to Chicago to visit good friends, went to the Shedd Aquarium, went for a walk for a morning muffin, farmers markets.  We took a trip to Conner Prairie and the girls got to learn about the ways before computers, and iPhones and netflix.  They had a blast.  Below are some pictures of our adventures as this fall season begins…….

Grinding some Corn at Conner Prairie

“Horse” Riding

Learning how to throw and axe

Hay Ride

Off to Chicago for a weekend with Miss Cara and Eric and Miss Lauren and Colin…oh and Jack and Lucy too!

“Mommy!!!! It’s the BIG BUBBLE BUILDING” (Evie, age 3)

Chicago made her so sleepy she fell asleep before I got her into bed.

 

Taking Jack for a walk and breakfast too!

SHEDD AQUARIUM

Evie was memorized by the massive size of the aquarium tanks.

 

Penguin Slide!

Back off!! I am off to make new discoveries!

 

After our amazing weekends at Conner Prairie and Shedd Aquarium, we all came down with the Fall Plague as I am calling it.  The girls starting getting it on our trip home from Chicago.  The snot and eye goop was slightly out of control.  There is one small silver lining of sick toddlers….lots and lots of snuggle time, then the tides get turned and they start to feel better right as you start to feel worse….. Here are some pathetic pictures of our sick crew.

Sad Nora

Silly snuggles

We are really excited for the month of October, Birthday’s, Halloween, Pumpkin picking!  Stay tuned for more fun!  I am also working on a post with more substance, I promise!