A darker shade of green: the oil cleansing method.

 In my quest to become "greener", I'm cleansing my face with oil. Yes, oil. As in EVOO a la Rachel Ray.

I first heard about the oil cleansing method from an online community I'm a member of. I admit, at first I was a bit grossed out about rubbing straight up OIL onto my face. For crying out loud I cook with this stuff! (And make a mean vodka sauce, I might add...) I don't care for feeling like a greasy pizza...and that's what I envisioned. But the more I read, the more intrigued I became.

I have to admit, I'm pretty low maintenance when it comes to skin care. I don't invest a ton of moola on cleansers and moisturizers. I never wash my face at night...unless I happen to be wearing foundation and blush and such for a special occasion. Otherwise, it's washed in the morning in the shower. And as I approach a certain ripe age of ahem-blah-blah-something-five, yeah I'm seeing the wrinkles and "laugh lines"...not so damn funny I have to tell you. But like the 2 or 3 (hundred) gray hair I find on a regular basis, I don't really get my panties in a twist about it. But I'm told this is supposed to eliminate the need for moisturizers and anti-aging crap.


So, moving on. Oil cleansing method. I have heard great things about Castor Oil, and while I do want to pick some up I decided to start today regardless, because I ran out of my cleanser and figured now was as good a time as any. So feeling like a teen sneaking a can of beer into the garage, I crept into the bathroom with my bottles of olive oil and tea tree oil. The funny thing is, only Matthew and Anthony were home. Not like they'd raise an eyebrow. I added a teaspoon of olive oil and 3 drops of tea tree oil into a shot glass...that's hard core right there, I know. I mixed it around and applied it to my face, massaging for about 15 seconds. It felt nice. I *think* I might have felt some grit after a while...but it could have been my mind playing tricks on me. Then, I wet a washcloth with HOT water and placed it on my face. Waited until it cooled, and repeated. Then  gently wiped the oil off with the same cloth, repeated this a couple of times.

When I was done, my skin felt utterly...normal. Not tight like it is with a regular cleanser. Not pizza-pie greasy like I expected. Just CLEAN. And soft. It's now the end of the day and I don't have the same dry patch appearing on my forehead. I did feel a little "damp" this afternoon while out and about, but I think that might have more to do with the 387% humidity outside than the oil. Once indoors, my skin feels normal. So far, so good. I plan on sticking with it for a while. And like I said, I want to get some Castor Oil as it is supposed to be super-bad-ass cleansing. Will report back from the field in a week.

If you have tried this, or plan to, I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Mother's Day.

My Mother's Day gift from Matthew. Might be the best gift ever.  

He planted this at school last week and was over the moon excited to give it to me. He kept asking "Mommy, do you love it? Is it the best present ever?". Oh it sure is, buddy.

And yesterday, while we were playing outside, he picked these for me from our yard. With the biggest, brightest smile he said "Happy Mother's Day mommy, you're the best mommy ever!" 

How did I get so lucky??

And finally, we have a new mommy (of multiples!) in our neighborhood. Cuteness overload, folks! I just want to take them home and snuggle them...but she hissed at me, so I didn't. 

Happy Mother's Day everyone! Hope you're surrounded by love.


Moms, enough.

I had the chance to observe and talk to several college students today. I knew nothing about them, but was able to conclude several things about their childhood just by watching them. All names have been changed to protect those with inferior parents.

When I met Jason, it was clear that he was breastfed way past the socially appropriate and acceptable length of time...whatever that may be. He had such a fascination with boobs, it was quite uncomfortable. And the way he would not leave his mother's side...ugh. Cut the cord already, would you?

Ben was obviously a bottle-fed baby. He had awful teeth, and the way he chugged from his water bottle...total bottle mouth. Pretty sure he still sleeps with his Playtex Nurser.

I'm sure Amy co-slept with her parents, actually IN their bed. Can you image? This must be the reason she chooses to commute to and from school, so that she can still co-sleep. We all know that once they're in your bed, you can't get them out!

Brenda was a crib baby, I just know it. She's totally detached, and I think she still cries herself to sleep and sucks on her 6 pacifiers that her mother used to toss in her crib as a baby.

And finally Josh. Poor Josh...still strapped to his mother's hip in a sling at the age of 18. How will he ever learn to walk?

Goodness, didn't their parents know they were doing everything so so wrong??
Absurd, right? No, these aren't real people. And there is no way one would be able to make such conclusions by looking at a child, teen, adult. So why do we, as parents, do this to each other? Why are we not capable of supporting each other, sharing information and experiences without an agenda? WHY is parenting a competition? The end goal is the same: raise healthy, happy, confident, compassionate children who hopefully turn into healthy, happy, confident, compassionate adults. We're all just getting there a little differently. Some paths are chosen out of necessity, some by accident. At the end of the day, does it really matter how or why we get there? Parents need support. We need to know that someone else is probably going through the same exact challenges, or that someone has been there and can offer advice, or a different perspective. Let's start a conversation, not a debate.

And to TIME Magazine and their famous, or infamous, cover asking "Are You Mom Enough?"...

 Photo of woman with breast-feeding child

Am I mom enough for parenting "experts"? Probably not. While thousands of parenting books have been written on how to raise the perfect child, none have been written precisely for or about MY children. And I'm not striving for perfect, because it doesn't exist.

Am I mom enough for other moms? I'm not trying to be.

Am I mom enough for my children? I think (hope) so. But I'll let them be the judge.


And a Happy Birthday it was!

Well, I survived. I had an emotional breakdown the night before Matthew turned 5, and woke up the next morning full of joy and energy. We had such a great day...

I was the helping parent at his school that day. Love seeing my boy "in action".

He played and learned.

And made super special secret gifts (I had to close my eyes and ears).

And enjoyed a birthday cupcake made by yours truly.

And played some more.

That night, we went out to dinner at Rainforest Cafe, per Matthew's wish. Sean, Helen, and Aleksandra even joined us! Anthony hated it. Like REALLY hated it...but he suffered through it for his big brother. (Insert birthday dinner picture here...as soon as I find it.)

On Saturday, we had pizza and cake at home to celebrate once again. This time with Helen, Aleksandra, Greg, and Nicole. His BIG birthday gift arrived on Thursday, and I finally put it together Sunday afternoon. We still had to charge the battery, but it was all ready and waiting for him when he got home from school on Monday. 

Ready to protect and serve.


10 O'clock on May 3, 2007.

We were watching My Cousin Vinny (side note: we were watching this movie both times I went into labor), and my water broke. Contractions came on fast and furious. I called my mom, then my OB. And we headed to the hospital. Longest 10 minute ride of my life. Got settled in, the night went on...his heart rate dropped, we had a couple of scares here and there, got threatened with a C-section because this child would not come out. Fast forward to 6:12am on May 4th and our baby boy greeted us, with his umbilical cord clenched tight in his hand. How beautiful he was, perfect in every way. How he cried when Dr. Watson held him for a picture...then calmed down when his daddy took him and started kissing his face and singing to him.

And today, he spent his last day as a 4 year old. We went to the library, where he got his first library card and proudly took out 5 books and 2 DVDs (one for his baby brother). We played in the rain, and ate lunch in bed. We played garbage trucks, and made cupcakes for school, and ate a couple for dinner. And we stayed up a little later than usual. Because he was over the moon excited...about nothing in particular. And at bedtime, we rocked, and talked, and sang...like every other night. But it's so unlike every other night. It's the night before he turns 5.

Dear Matthew,

Thank you for making me a mommy. For teaching me patience, for showing me the fun in everything. Over the past 5 years your tastes, passions, dislikes have changed. But your spunk, curiosity, and determination stay constant. You are empathetic, and loving, and sweet. And funny, and silly, and wild. And as much as I mourn your newborn, baby, toddler, and preschool years, I am excited to join you on this new journey. You will do great things, Matthew. I just know it.

We love you to the moon and the stars.


27 Things I love about my 27 month old.

1. He is such a snuggler! Oh how this boy loves to cuddle.
2. The way he nuzzles his loveys. He has two "doggies", and he rubs their noses against him when he's tired or just feeling extra cuddly.
3. The way we do "nose, nose, nose" (Eskimo kisses). He holds my face and starts moving his head left to right super fast.
4. The progress he's making in his speech every day, and how proud he is of himself when he says a new word.
5. The way he plays with Matthew, I love watching them. This is why God invented siblings.
6. I love that he knows the difference between a monorail, steam train, subway, etc. And he gets upset if we don't call them out properly.
7. I love watching him drift off to sleep, his eyes getting heavier and heavier, and he curls in just a bit closer into my arms.
8. How he says "Ta-da!".
9. The way he hums the theme song to Bob the Builder.
10. The way he says banana, in a sing-songy voice...banana-NANA!!!!
11. How much he loves playing cars with his daddy.
12. He runs toward me, smiling ear to ear and tell me he was "nunning" (running).
13. His eye lashes. He has beautiful eye lashes.
14. His spunk!
15. He loves to help me cook. Now both boys are up on chairs next to me preparing a meal on a regular basis (now if they would actually EAT it...).
16. The way he stands at the door every morning saying goodbye to his brother and daddy.
17. He loves listening to the soundtrack from Promises, Promises and yells "more, more!" when a song ends. Matthew loves this CD, too.
18. I love that he doesn't try to eat his crayons and actually likes to color, unlike Matthew at this age.
19. He knows the 2 mile path we walk and can tell me turn by turn which way to go. Even in reverse.
20. He picks out which color diaper he wants to wear. Note to self: get more blue and yellow.
21. He plays right along with the big kids. Their size and speed does not faze this little dude.
22. Even when he's angry, he's still so darn cute.
23. His animal sounds crack me up, especially kitty. He has a different sound for big kitty, baby kitty, and sleepy kitty. Melt.
24. The way he says "nah".
25. When I put him down in his crib at night, I ask him if he's tired, and he whispers "yeah". Laying on his tummy, fluffy butt up in the air.
26. The way he says "car": duhr. I'm going to miss this when he starts saying it the right way.
27.  I love that he still looks like a baby to me. He's little, and cute, a snuggly and sweet. I can't picture him ever not being this way.


Weeks 14 - 16

It's getting hard to post every single week. And I know that it missed one somewhere, but I'm still trying to stay with this.

Week 16

Sat. April 28 - Matthew's birthday party at Westmoor Park. Notice I'm in costume and he's not. Typical ;-)

Week 15

Sun. April 22 - Hubby was in Charleston, and as is the norm anytime he travels, the kids got sick. I took Anthony to the pediatrician Saturday morning, where he was diagnosed with an ear infection and croup. The next day we all needed to get out of the house, so we took our germs to AC Peterson for dinner and ice cream. Matthew snapped this picture. Not bad, eh?

Week 14

Thurs. April 12 - Michelle dragged us out for a walk after dinner, so I made her snap a picture. This path cuts through Wolcott Park, our favorite hang out spot. Matthew calls the wooden bridge a draw bridge.