Sherry

Mom, Wife, Daughter, Friend, Cousin, Granddaughter, Re-Married Widow, PR Counselor, Writer, Volunteer, Scrapbooker, Reader. Lucky.

What is Wrong With You?

I ask myself a lot of questions throughout the course of a day; but, the one I ask most often is, “What the hell is wrong with you?” I am almost always referring to something I have eaten or reacting to seeing myself in the mirror.

I know that I am responsible for every pound on this body. There is nothing to blame for how I look and feel except for eating too much and not exercising. I know I’m supposed to be all body confident and positive, that I’m supposed to love myself just as I am…but I can’t right now. That’s not how my brain is working right now.

Right now I am mad at myself for letting the weight rush back. It didn’t creep, it fucking rushed. I’m pretty sure my superpower is gaining weight. So I ask myself over and over, “What the hell is wrong with you?” I never have the answer. Never.

Racism and Listening

I’ve spent a lot of the last year reading and listening about racism. I’ve had conversations with people I respect and whose views and perspectives on race come from personal experience.

Before the last year and a half or so, I thought I understood what my friends who have been impacted by racism were going through. I’m a liberal woman with friends of many ethnicities, gender identifications and other “I’m super not racist and totally understand what my friends are facing” categories. I question my thinking and ask other people to call me on bullshit if I say or do something that makes them feel badly or isn’t in line with how they know I want to live. I thought I got it.

And then I read a post by my friend, Amiyrah Martin that punched me in the gut. She was writing in response to the verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial. I read her post and then couldn’t get it out of my head. Amiyrah and I have sons the same age. From her writing, I can tell that we are trying to raise them with an emphasis on respect, honor, empathy, good manners and laughter.

Here’s why Amiyrah’s post hit me the way others haven’t. I thought that the conversations about how to act when confronted by police were for the generations before ours. I didn’t think that a child born to a peer, born the same year as my son, would ever have to hear that warning. Because except for the respect for authority part of the conversation, I can’t imagine ever having to have that conversation with my children. The fact that someone who is so much like me in so many ways, who has a boy who could be my boy, has to teach her son how to avoid attracting the attention of police reduced me to tears. Amiyrah’s post made me connect with how big racism still is in a powerful way.

I have been listening to a lot of very smart people this last year, and I plan to continue to listen. Kelly Wickham has written so much that I’ve been listing to, but you should read this one especially. I’ve been grateful for our conversation and for the thousands of words she’s written on the topic of racism.

I’d rather talk about it here and now than to know that my friends are talking to their children about how to avoid getting harassed, arrested, or shot.

In addition to Kelly and Amiyrah, you should also listen to A’Driane Nieves who is wickedly smart and passionate about many things including racism, mental health, and access to excellent education for everyone.

I’m listening to these women, who else should I be listening to?

 

 

 

Martha Speaketh Weeketh! Talking Dogs Are the Best Dogs

We’re a PBS-loving family. We devour everything from documentaries, news programs, cooking shows, home improvement, and art to the kids programming. I love sharing favorites like Seasame Street with my kids, and discovering new-for-us shows like the Wild Krats and Martha Speaks. The week of June 16-20, 2014, is Martha Speaketh Week which culminates with Summer Learning Day on June 20th. To celebrate the week, PBS KIDS is airing three all-new episodes and launched a new online game called Martha’s Steaks!

The kids and I were excited to preview Monday’s new episodes, “Thou Callest Me a Dog,” and “Martha’s Paper Chase.”

Mom Likes

  • The thing I liked the most was that both episodes emphasized integrity even though that wasn’t the main topic of the show. In, “Thou Callest Me a Dog,” the kids rescued a really pompous actor from a locked closet (who arguably deserved to be locked in the closet for his rudeness) and in, “Martha’s Paper Chase,” the local paper didn’t print a story because it would have invaded the privacy of the story’s subject.
  • I also liked, from the adult-watching-a-kid-show point of view, that none of the lessons hit you over the head, they were just part of the story.
  • The boys, despite their almost five year age difference, could watch the show together and get different things from it.
  • Shout out to the writers of “Thou Callest Me a Dog,” for calling the actor in the episode “Burbage” after one of the original actors at and the owner of the Globe theater who performed many of Shakespeare’s plays.
  • When the boys played the game Martha’s Steaks, there were easy levels for Tobin and more advanced levels that Nicholas played.

Kids Likes

  • Tobin (4 years old): Martha is funny and smart and is nice to her friends. And she likes to tell stories.
  • Nicholas (9 years old): The stories are good, and she teaches interesting words. But she doesn’t just tell you the words over and over, she uses them throughout the story so you figure them out by what is going on during the story.

My favorite quote while watching the Shakespeare episode:

Me to boys: Is Martha talking crazy?

Nicholas: No, Mom, she’s talking Shakespeare.

Online Games

The boys both liked the online game, Martha’s Steaks; but, it was more on the level of Tobin than Nicholas. Nicholas did give Tobin pointers while they were playing, so it was a good way for them to play together. Tobin got lost in the website with all of the word games and storytelling features. In fact, he woke up the next morning asking for Martha Speaks!

Martha Speaks Goodies!

When we got the DVD for review, it came with a fun package that included the Martha Speaks book, Perfectly Martha (Tobin loved this one), a graphic novel (Nicholas loved this one), pencils, temporary tattoos, stickers, and a flip book. The boys were over the moon with excitement to read the books and play with the stickers and tattoos.

I hope you get a chance to watch these episodes and the series with your kids. And if you’re a word nerd like me, you’ll love that your kids are getting even more exposure to words they may not hear every day! Check your local listings to see when you can catch this fun show!

 

Martha Speaks was fun for the whole family (Lemmon included!)

Martha Speaks was fun for the whole family (Lemmon included!)

 Disclosure: I was not compensated for this review, but I was provided a preview DVD of the new episodes along with the books, stickers, and tattoos.

My Life List

I like lists a lot. I like to mark items off my lists so much that if I do something that wasn’t on the list I will sometimes add it retroactively just so I can mark it off. It is possible I have a problem.

Anyway…I’ve been thinking of what I want to do in life and figured I’d make a list. Like you do. In no particular order…

  1. Write a book
  2. Collect Grandma’s stories
  3. Sell something I made
  4. Visit Oregon
  5. Take kids to Disney World
  6. Run a mile
  7. Organize Grandma’s pictures
  8. Host Thanksgiving dinner
  9. Donate money to my public library
  10. Donate money to PBS
  11. Donate money to NPR
  12. Say thank you
  13. Read Maya Angelou
  14. Dance every day, even if it’s in my chair
  15. Find my father
  16. Send birthday wishes
  17. Paint
  18. Volunteer for a political campaign
  19. Grow vegetables
  20. Write a letter a month for a year
  21. Own a home
  22. Pay off student loan
  23. Get out of credit card debt
  24. Take the kids to a concert
  25. Take the kids camping
  26. Do yoga
  27. Learn to meditate
  28. Take an art class
  29. Forgive
  30. Plant a cutting garden
  31. Visit North Carolina
  32. Learn to grill outside
  33. Learn/create/discover a signature dish
  34. Take the kids to a play
  35. Become a Librarian
  36. Learn to swim really well

There isn’t a “should” on the list. These are all wants and some needs, but not a single should.

Review and Giveaway: Tickled Pink Paper + Ink

If you know me or have read my posts about scrapbooking, you know I love paper and ink. Like, I might need an intervention, I like it so much. Anyway, I’ve seen a company around Facebook the last couple of years called Tickled Pink Paper and Ink and found someone after my own paper-loving heart. Teresa Diepenbrock is the owner of the company. Teresa is an artist based in Portland, Oregon who creates the sweetest stationary, cards, stamps and cupcake flags. I was lucky enough to review one of her handmade stamps and love it!

One of my goals this year is to send more mail, and since I love paper (see above), I have a ton of blank notecards around just waiting to be used. I whipped up a few cards using Teresa’s stamp and can tell you that she has made a really good stamp! I used the stamp on both heavy kraft paper and a lighter weight white card stock. I also used it with three different mediums: ink pad, acrylic paint, and ink with embossing powder.

I wondered if the small loop in the “h” and the little conversation bubble would be clear in all three mediums, and they were! Here are some pictures:

I love the little conversation bubble tucked in the "O"!

I love the little conversation bubble tucked in the “O”!

StampPSK

washi+sweet stamp=card I want to mail right now!

washi+sweet stamp=card I want to mail right now!

Ink with embossing powder on white card stock worked perfectly

Ink with embossing powder on white card stock worked perfectly

Ink and embossing powder on heavier kraft paper worked just as well and came out really crisp

Ink and embossing powder on heavier kraft paper worked just as well and came out really crisp

Acrylic paint also worked well and did leave huge puddles of paint on the card

Acrylic paint also worked well and did leave huge puddles of paint on the card

The stamp was nice and crisp, cleaned up well (using a baby wipe) with all three mediums and no staining, and was easy to use. The price ($15.00) is comparable to a big hobby store and I really like supporting a small business!

I can’t wait to use the stamp more (I’m thinking cards for friends having babies, and some bookmarks to give out for N’s new teachers in July).

I’m excited, since I love the stamp so much, that Teresa is offering a give away for one of my readers! The give away is easy, just visit Tickled Pink Paper + Ink, choose one non-custom item that you’d like to have and tell me about it in the comment section. The contest is open through Friday (June 6) when I’ll choose a winner through a random drawing.

I can’t wait to see what you’ll do with Teresa’s sweet creations!

Disclosure: I was sent the stamp for review free of charge, but am not being compensated for my opinions.

UPDATE: Congratulations to Lacey for winning the giveaway! You’re going to love your new stamp!

 

Who Needs Hair Anyway?

Oh, wait, I do. If you’ve had a baby, you will know what I’m saying when I tell you that I’m in full-on, postpartum hair loss. If you haven’t had a baby…surprise! After you have a baby, you lose a significant chunk of hair. Of course everyone is different, but I get a real-life bald spot right on my hairline, and that sucker is making a comeback. It is The Time of The Clogged Drains in our home right now. My husband’s favorite!

The good news is the hair grows back. The bad news is, I feel like a baby bird with fuzzy bald spots right in front. Good thing Tesla is so cute and my hair grows so fast.

Did you lose hair after you had a baby? Were you surprised?

Best Laid Plans: Postpartum Edition

I was really prepared this time. I knew the signs of postpartum depression, I know my own triggers for anxiety, and I know how I deal with both. I had plans in place to stay healthy after I gave birth because I didn’t before. This time would be different. I took good care of myself during this pregnancy. I never had to take insulin and I lost about 20 pounds. I wasn’t dieting or anything, it was just a matter of eating well.

I had a good idea of how much I would weigh after I had Tesla, and I planned to use that as a spring board for getting even healthier. I was going to eat good food every day, like oatmeal, good proteins, raw veggies. I was going to prep it and have it ready in the fridge so that when I was nursing I could grab a healthy snack and take care of myself while I took care of her. I was going to have a bottle of water full at all times so that I could drink plenty of water. I was going to start walking with the baby as soon as I was cleared with the doctor. My goal wasn’t to lose weight right after I had the baby, but to take care of myself. I knew from when I had Tobin that I needed to be prepared or I wouldn’t make any of my plans a reality. I also knew that if I were doing everything I could to take care of myself, my postpartum depression/anxiety (if I got it this time) would be easier to deal with.

I had so many plans on February 5th. Then Tesla was born on February 6th and the plans went out the window. Because I had the reality of the newborn and not the newborn in my head. Let me say how lucky I know we are because she’s a healthy baby. There is no reason, other than the logistics of having a newborn, that I couldn’t implement my plans. Except that I had a newborn. One who wasn’t a fan of being put down…and I’ll be honest, knowing she was my last newborn, I  *wanted* to hold her all the time. But, holding her all the time doesn’t leave much room for shopping or food prep.

I had planned to have an easy time breastfeeding. Nicholas was easy to nurse, Tobin was more challenging. Tesla had me in tears for two weeks. Nursing her was so hard the first few weeks, both physically and mentally. Physically I was hurting and my nipples were cracked and bleeding and I had thrush. She also wasn’t completely draining me so I was alternating between engorgement and feeling like I didn’t have enough milk.  Mentally, I was a mess because Tesla not only lost her birth weight, but also didn’t gain it back at a good pace. We had to supplement with formula, I had to pump, we had to give her bottles…you guys, none of that was in my Plan. My Plan had us surrounded by a soft light with me smiling down on my newborn as she nursed with a smile in her eyes and angels singing in the background as the baby let out a gentle burp and never spit up. That was my Plan. I cried while I pumped and watched William feeding Tesla formula. It broke my heart that I couldn’t do everything the baby needed. Because logic has no place in the mind of a woman with a newborn. We also spent time shuttling the baby back and forth to the pediatrician’s office for weigh-ins. It was hard, y’all. Really hard. William, my OB, and the pediatrician were all super helpful and supportive. My local La Leche League was also beyond helpful. And I can’t tell you how important my circle of friends was, thank goodness so many of them nursed their kids and could share their experiences with me. Tesla and I didn’t really get past the physical pain and in a good groove until Tesla was 7 weeks or so, and those were long-ass weeks.

Do I need to say that I wasn’t getting any sleep? Because I wasn’t (and still am not getting much, but it’s a lot better).

Despite all of this griping, Tesla has been a lot easier baby than Tobin was (because Tobin had wicked colic and Tesla hasn’t). And that made my mental and physical exhaustion even harder for me to deal with. Because I shouldn’t be so tired or have so much anxiety when my baby was a sweet easy-going baby. I *should* be hearing angels singing and enjoying my last-ever maternity leave. Instead, I was crying in the shower, trying not to yell at the older kids all the time, worrying about Tesla being kidnapped/turning into a zombie/dying in a freak accident, and walking around on egg shells with William so I wouldn’t lose my shit.

And then I lost my shit. It wasn’t anything dramatic. In fact, I knew I needed to talk with a counselor and visit with my OB about the possibility of medical intervention when I got my feelings hurt at work over an innocent event. Nothing that would have bothered me at all before sent me to my office in tears and thinking that everyone in the world hated me. Hated me. I work with amazing people who love me and would be sad to know how sad I was right at that moment. Anyway, it was the catalyst that finally made me contact a counselor and my doctor.

I also brushed up on the signs of PPD and anxiety. Shout out to Postpartum Progress!

I’m working on a different plan now. One that isn’t so rigid, one that cuts me a little slack. And one that allows me not to cry when I pick up a can of formula to supplement what I’m pumping during the day. I’ve gained back all the weight I lost during the pregnancy. It sounds great to say I’m two pounds lighter than I was before I got pregnant; but, it felt a lot better to say that I’d lost 20 pounds. My new plan cuts me some slack, right? So I have to just accept that I didn’t follow the plan, and all the weight’s back and now I need to get back on the bandwagon. Slack, I need some.

I feel better already.

More For 39!

It’s my birthday you guys! Today I’m 39 and am a little startled that I’m beginning the last year of this decade. I just don’t know how the last years have gone so quickly. I want to make sure I make the most of the year before I begin a new decade. I want more this year. More.

More Words. I want to write more words this year. In the last year, I’ve barely written here (did you notice?), and I’ve missed it. I want to read more words this year. I want to read good books and good online writing. Tell me what you read and what you think I should read.

More Movement. I am going to move every day. Walking, dancing, prancing (heh), every day will have some kind of movement. How do you move?

More Touching. We’re already a touchy family, but I’m going to make sure it happens. More snuggles with the kids, more kisses with my husband, and a self breast exam every month.

More Music. I love music, but I don’t listen to it as much as I’d like. I’m going to listen to stuff I already love and look for new-to-me music. And I’m going to share it with the kids. Tell me your favorite music.

More Watching. I want more movies and good television. I love being told a story and movies are one of my favorite ways for that to happen. What should I watch?

More Eating. I want more good food and food that makes me feel good. What good food do you indulge in and what food makes you feel good?

More Happy. All of the “mores” will, undoubtedly, help with this one. But! I’m going to search for happy. I’m going to facilitate it. If I’m not feeling happy, I’m going to figure out why and change it, or fix it, or live with it and move on. I want to know, what makes you happy?

If I can get more into my 39th year, I will be kicking off my 40s in a bad-ass place. I’d love for you to share what you want more of, and tell me what you think I should read, listen to, watch, eat, and do.

Pregnancy Update: Grow, Baby, Grow!

You may remember that I’ve been taking it easy because there has been some restriction in the umbilical cord to the baby. This can lead to growth restriction which could lead to having to take the baby early if she weren’t getting enough blood/oxygen.

We found this out four weeks ago, so William took over even more than he already does at home, I don’t walk any more than I have to, and I either sit down or lie down as soon as I get home from work. It hasn’t been the most natural thing for me to do, but we’re trying to avoid bed rest in the short term and a premature birth in the longer term.

We had a sonogram today, and the baby is looking great! Not only is she not growth restricted, but she’s measuring about a week ahead! She’s practicing breathing, really active, and her kidneys are still in the normal range. Even the restriction in the umbilical cord has improved. On a side note, she’s also got broad shoulders and a big tummy, so it’s good we’re already scheduled for a c-section!

Right now, we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing and we’ll see all the doctors every two weeks (and then every week in the near future). Thanks to everyone who has been keeping us and the baby in their thoughts, prayers, good vibes, etc. Keep it up!

 

 

 

 

Pregnancy Update: Keeping Us On Our Toes

This baby? She’s keeping us on our toes, y’all.

When I was pregnant with N and T, I worried about normal things like birth defects, pre-term labor, whether they’d have two heads, you know the normal stuff. I also worried about the effects of gestational diabetes since I had the condition with both boys. I knew that they could potentially be really big if we didn’t control the condition. I wasn’t diagnosed with it until late pregnancy with N, but we started treating it at 6 weeks pregnant with T. The difference was almost 3 pounds between the two boys at birth. I don’t know, for sure, whether N would just naturally have been bigger, but I suspect I had GD for far longer than I was diagnosed and that’s why he was so big.

Because I was already working on getting healthier before I got pregnant with this baby, I was following the diabetic diet and started seeing my amazing specialist from the beginning. The good news is that I don’t have GD this time; and the great news is that my A1C is better than it’s been in forever, even before I was pregnant. So, unless something bizarre happens between now and when the baby is due, I won’t have to worry too much about how blood sugar is impacting the baby.

About a month ago, I had a regular anatomy scan for the baby (normal for me since I’m high risk) and it showed that one of her kidneys was bigger than the other. The doctor assured us that this was the most common anomaly during pregnancy, and while it almost always righted itself in utero, it was something to watch. It also used to be one of the soft markers for chromosomal changes (like Down’s Syndrome and Trisomy 18 among others). So, just to be on the safe side, we did the fetal DNA test (again!) to check things out. It turns out her chromosomes are perfect and we know for a fact that she’s a girl :) When we had our follow-up scan last week, we saw that her kidneys are both normal now, so that was a relief.

But, during the scan last week, when the sonographer checked the blood flow through the umbilical cord, she noticed an issue. While the amount of blood going to the baby is still in the normal range, it shows some restriction. Not something you want to hear. But normal is good. We’ll rescan in two weeks, and in the meantime I’m supposed to relax (I have told you that William was just laid off, right? Totally relaxing) <snort>.

I do appreciate that there are things I can do to try to help though. I’m to stay off my feet as much as possible, not exercise, reduce stress, generally take it easy and not raise my heart rate. William, who already does the majority of daily chores at home, has now taken over cooking and is in charge of trying to get me into bed every chance he gets (heh). The boys have also been a big help, especially Nicholas. It’s really strange to call people who are down the hall from me at work and ask them to come get something from me though. Hopefully all of this helps and gets more blood/oxygen/nutrients to the baby. The real test will be in 8 days when they scan her again to see how she’s growing (she’s perfect right now, and we hope she stays that way).

I went back and forth about whether to write about this stuff. I know that there are so many bigger issues we could be dealing with as far as things that could be going wrong with the pregnancy and baby. I know that, and I’m grateful that we don’t have additional stuff to worry about. But, I talk with you all about most other stuff, so it felt strange not to tell you about something that is so heavy on my mind.

Any extra thoughts, prayers, good vibes, etc. are welcome. And don’t stress me out.