Category: Guest Contributors (page 1 of 3)

She Loves Me Like A Rock

It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet some brilliant mothers; to celebrate, learn from and be inspired by our differences, while drawing strength and support from the common ground we share.

This is Motherhood:  Showing you a new face each month in 2008.

This month’s This Is Motherhood feature columnist isn’t just any mother; she is my mother.

She took me completely by surprise when she submitted her piece. It hadn’t occurred to me to invite her to participate. But I’m glad she did. I think she wrote something incredible. I’ve read it over and over and still find myself choking back tears. Maybe it’s because I’m her daughter and I understand the meaning of the words she chose. Or maybe it’s because I’m now a mother that I understand.

I hope you’ll read her column and let us know what you think, right after the obligatory This Is Motherhood interview.

Leslie: As most of my readers know, our family is part of our nation’s fastest growing demographic: we live in a multigenerational home. What’s it like living with me – your adult daughter – and my family? How has it affected your role as mom?

Georgina: I have to sit back and let you be the mom in the household. When you were growing up-especially as a teenager–I always felt that I had to be a very strong figure in your life. Now I see you being the strong figure in your kid’s lives. I am enjoying it.

Leslie: You’re more than mom, now. You are also a grandmother. Has your view of motherhood changed since the birth of your grandchildren?

Georgina: My view of motherhood has stayed the strong view I have always had. Life is all about your children. It has always bothered me when people look at children and say “there is the world of tomorrow”. They are the word today and we overlook their values and opinions too easily.

Leslie: What has been your biggest challenge as a mother?

Georgina: Life has really thrown our family into some heartbreaking and tough situations. I think that my biggest challenge has been to try to keep us family. That is when we are our strongest.

Leslie: What is your proudest mommy moment?

Georgina: I think my proudest moment was when you realized that you were worth more than you were told. I watched you crawl out of a tough situation and stand on your own–then you went out and found your dream–having your own family and children.

Leslie: If you were given a day completely to yourself where you could do whatever you wanted – money is no object – how would you spend that day?

Georgina: I would spend it at HOME!!! Where else is there?

Please go and read this months edition of This Is Motherhood!

The Mother Of All Months

It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet some brilliant mothers; to celebrate, learn from and be inspired by our differences, while drawing strength and support from the common ground we share.

This is Motherhood:  Showing you a new face each month in 2008.

I am delighted to introduce you to this month’s feature columnist, Pam of Bubbles Writes. I can’t remember exactly how I came to read her blog, but I know she had me hooked after just two posts. She’s laugh out loud hilarious and one of the bravest bloggers I’ve read. I absolutely adore this woman. She inspires me. I feel proud to call her a friend. And I’m so glad to have the opportunity to shine my little spotlight on her. So, please check out her column after our little getting-to-know-Pam interview.

Leslie: Why do you blog?

Pam: I started blogging as a way to keep track of important events in our family but then the fame and fortune of it all became addicting and now, well, I must write to feed the masses (better known as my 4 loyal readers).

Leslie: If your blog were a food or beverage, what would it be and why?

Pam: A big messy plate of nachos w/ extra jalapenos. It’s a gooey mess of goodness with lots of heat.

Leslie: You are the mother of three boys. How has motherhood changed as your family has grown?

Pam: Before I remarried and had small boy, it was just my two boys and me against the world. With the new Dad and the small boy, we feel like a real full circle family. I’m grateful to have a partner to help shoulder the responsibilites of parenting. Because each of my boys came seven years apart, we are enjoying (or enduring) vastly different milestones and stages with each boy all at one time. As I wrote about, while one child is embracing full on manhood, another is getting his first pimple while another is mooning over Hannah Montana and laughing at The Suite Life. It’s a family full of very different demands all at once and I’m definitely a better Mother for having a partner to help.

Leslie: What do you want to teach your children?

Pam: To find happiness whenever possible, to find the lesson in every experience, to listen to their hearts and follow their paths with integrity and kindness. Also, not to flick their boogers on the walls of their rooms.

Leslie: If you were given a day completely to yourself where you could do whatever you wanted – money is no object – how would you spend that day?

Pam: I would rent a beautiful condo on the beach with a full wait staff, lay on the beach with a great book, have my every wish granted (hello cabana boy) and sleep for days. Also, could I have every size 10 Manolo Blahniks ever made delivered to the condo? Man that sounds superficial and vain. I should probably have said that I’d hop a cargo plane to a third world country and volunteer to rebuild cities and teach the villagers to turn dirty sewer water into clean drinking water.

When I first put the word out that I was searching for columnists for This Is Motherhood, Pam was one of the first to sign on, calling dibs early on the month of May; don’t miss her edition of This Is Motherhood to see why. And be sure to visit her blog, Bubbles Writes.

Luggage

Whenever I tell people that we homeschool the question of socialization always seems to come up.  Let me state for the record that I believe “socialization” for most homeschoolers is a non-existent problem.  It’s something that non-homeschoolers like to point out because it makes them feel better about their own choices.  But this is not about that.  That rant deserves a post all its own and it deserves to be written on my own blog so when the nasty comments start pouring in they will come to my inbox instead of going to my kind friend Leslie who didn’t know what she was asking when she invited me to write a guest post.

So, if this post is not a rant about socialization, what is it?  Why even bring the topic up?  Well, I bring it up because part of socialization is about learning interpersonal skills such as understanding the art of introductions, small talk, sarcasm, compromise, offering sympathy, and a number of other language essentials.  These we cover pretty well within our home.  Another part of socialization is about making and keeping friends.  To this second point, I make a concerted effort to ensure my children not only have a relatively consistent group of people to interact with but are also regularly introduced to new potential friends.  We go to karate and girl scouts.  We schedule playdates and sleepovers. We go to storytime at the library and meet random children at the park.

The short encounters are the ones I like.  Get in. Get out. Don’t pick up any bad habits on your way through.

The long encounters I approach with some trepidation, nay even fear, because while my children are always kind and thoughtful and they never hit or throw sand or refuse to share (HA!) who knows how those other children may influence them. No matter how much I wish for it no one else seems inclined to raise their children exactly like I do and I fear that from the children of these other parents my kiddos may learn a new word (or two) or *gasp* gain a new perspective.  During these long encounters, I have so much less control over this bubble I maintain around my family.  And it makes me uncomfortable.

Every family has a certain collection of experiences that shape and define them – our baggage, so to speak.  And it’s not really that each of us has any more or less baggage than anyone else.  It’s that we like our own baggage.  Or, if we don’t like it, we are at least comforted by its familiarity.  We know which zippers don’t work quite right and how the handle must be held “just so.”  We know what’s inside without looking and we know where each piece came from.

Each time I allow my children to venture from the bubble they seem to return with someone else’s luggage.  Not a 5 piece set, mind you, but something small – a handbag, maybe or a carry-on.  And whatever they bring back can’t be returned.  Instead we have to shift things around to make room for this new idea or behavior.  Sometimes we have to re-arrange our conversation to explain some previously unknown concept.  Herein lies the difficulty for me.

Do I limit life to our bubble?  Or do I let my children explore knowing they will return with thoughts I did not give them and quite likely do not agree with?  The reality (in case you hadn’t guessed already) is that I can’t keep my children “safe” in a bubble forever.  Oh, maybe I could come pretty close but the reality  (because I need to remind myself sometimes) is that I don’t want to.  As much as I like my own luggage I suspect my children’s journey will be all the better if I let them start out lighter.  They’ll have their own set soon enough.

About the author: Toni is the wife of her best friend and the mother to two incredible little teachers. Each day they explore their world and and when there is time she comes to her blog This Simple Life to share their discoveries with you.

It Happens

One of the great untold secrets about becoming a parent is the amount of goo a baby brings along.  I don’t think I had any idea prior to my firstborn’s arrival just what parenting would entail (I mean that on every level—I was a pretty naïve first time mama) and I certainly had no concept at all just how much goo I would be witness to.

First there is just the goo of birth itself. If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience or witness such a goo fest, you can just trust me here when I tell you that there is A LOT OF GOO involved in childbirth.  Mama goo, the baby’s goo, the goo that leaks from your eyes (after the mama goo and the baby goo combine to make a helluvalotta goo) which you let flow down your cheeks as you stare at this very gooey creature which has just emerged. Strange, but everyone involved just acts all normal about a moment like that—like this level of gooiness happens everyday.

Hmmm. Maybe it does.

So the docs hand you a gooey baby and you ooh and aah and goo all over him/her. And then others come round to ooh and aah and goo too. It’s just the beginning of a life of goo.  And sticky stuff.

  • Things like baby barf which at some point you start believing is really the cutting edge perfume. You don’t know what you’d smell like without it. Would you even have a smell at all?
  • Stuff like the crusty eye smooge that comes out of baby eyes as they sleep. Even occasionally sticking their eyelashes together or sealing lashes to cheeks. That’s the kind of goo you have to pry off with warm water or the edge of your fingernail.  Kinda gross, sure, but somehow takes on a feeling of normal in the new goo world you’ve entered.
  • Sometimes there is crusty goo on baby’s scalp too.
  • Always, there is the runny goo that comes out baby’s bum.
  • The moment you know mundane gooreality has set in is that moment when you reach over to wipe your baby’s snotty, gooey, leaky runny nose. And you do it without a tissue. Yup, it’s a bare hand swipe and wipe without a thought or even a shudder.

    Because the truth is the gross factor long got passed when the first moment of catching baby’s gaze in yours riveted you to your very soul.

    That’s when parenthood happens. And it’s a moment that sticks.

    Here’s wishing Leslie, Dave and Julia much joy in the arrival of baby Lucy.

    Oh, and lots of goo too.

    Veel Success mijn vrienden!

    Hartelijk Gefeliciteerd,
    Jenn in Holland

    The Gout and The Goiter

    When Leslie emailed me to ask if I would be interested in guest posting for her while she was off doing all the things new mothers do (sniff the baby’s head, count and re-count the fingers and toes, stare at your boobies in fascination as they grow and grow and then grow some more, etc.), I told her that I would be HONORED to guest post for her. But, in all honesty, I would rather just BABYSIT for her while SHE blogs. I mean, seriously. If she had offered to let me be the one to sniff Lucy’s head or count her little piggies or have an impromptu boob job I TOTALLY would have jumped at the chance. But, noooo. She doesn’t trust me with her freshly birthed little baby girl. Given my propensity for nibbling on baby toes, I don’t really blame her.

    So here I am.

    I’ve really been struggling lately with this blogging thing. I seem to be out of things to blog about, which is odd, considering that I blog about my life and, well, so far as I know I’m not dead. LUCKILY FOR ME, something popped up that I just knew I had to share with Leslie’s fans.

    You see, a few months ago, I wrote about a little problem I was having with my hand. The doctor told me that there was a possibility I had gout. Yeah. I know. I’m not 90 years old and I don’t use a walker and I have all of my teeth. Quite odd that I would get gout considering those facts, eh? Well, my readers (especially Leslie) seemed to find it humorous that I possibly had gout. (I didn’t. It was a ganglion cyst. I think.) In fact, Leslie (sweet little Leslie!) still teases me about the gout. When she interviewed me for her This Is Motherhood column in
    February, she asked me about gout.

    When she emailed me the user name and password to her blog for my guest post, guess what my password was? Go on. Guess! If you guessed “thegout” you win. (I’ve since changed it, because I HAD TO share that password with you. I peed my pants from laughing so hard.)

    The reason I bring up the gout is so that you’ll understand why I had to share the story of the goiter on Leslie’s blog. The story goes like this: I woke up one morning a couple of weeks ago with a tiny bump on my bottom eye lid. It was sore, but not overly so, and I assumed that it was just a sty. I got a washcloth wet with warm water and held it on my eye for a few minutes and then went about my day. As the day wore on my eye got more and more painful. I actually took Tylenol before I went to bed because it was painful to BLINK and, well, I don’t know about you, but I tend to blink every few seconds.

    I woke up the next morning and MY EYE! OH, MY EYE! That wee little sty had taken over my eyelid while I was sleeping and was now the size of a pea. Yeah, I know. Peas aren’t very large, but TRY PUTTING ONE IN YOUR EYELID. (Also, I MIGHT be exaggerating. But it WAS big.)

    /This is not my eye. THANK GOD./

    As the tumor in my eye continued to grow, I continued to stress out about the fact that it could possibly burst and then I would have TUMOR GOO in my eyeball and if that doesn’t make you want to scream, I don’t know what will. I was beginning to think that I should go see a doctor, because whatever it was wasn’t going away on its own.

    And thats when I heard the commercial about goiters. I, of course, became convinced that my sty was actually a goiter. Because, DUH! It was! Yes, I know that TRADITIONALLY goiters are enlarged thyroids and not enlarged eye bumps. MEDICALLY SPEAKING, it might be a bit wrong to call my sty a goiter. But, answer me this: If you had a gigantic, painful bump on your eye and people were asking “What the hell is wrong with your eye?” would you answer A.) Its just a sty, don’t be scared or B.) It is a MEDICAL MYSTERY or C.) My doctor said its a goiter?

    Obviously C is the correct choice. Because its just more funny that way.

    Thankfully my goiter cleared up on its own in about a week. It did, however, get so bad at one point that I actually PLUCKED AN EYELASH from my goiter. It was just itching so bad and I couldn’t help but think that pulling a hair out of the bump might actually SCRATCH the INSIDE for me.

    Yes, I was desperate. And no the plucking of the eyelash did not feel as good as I had hoped. In fact it caused me to curse and scream and maybe cry a little.

    So there you have it. The gout and the goiter. I’m just one big old person trapped in a 26 year old’s body.

    You Are What Your Growing Baby Makes You Eat

    I should begin by saying that I am pregnant with my second child and due early this summer.  It’s a girl and we are both doing well.  With that being said, pregnancy cravings are a b****.  When I was carrying my now three year old son Aaron, everyone asked me, “Are you craving anything in particular?”  While I believe that I single handedly kept the peanut butter and banana industry afloat during those nine months, there wasn’t anything that I just had to have.  I never had to send my husband Michael anywhere at 11:30 at night for tacos and ice cream or pickles and carrot cake, lucky for him.  I do remember around the last six weeks I just had to have Corn Pops cereal, but that I have to say is really as far as it ever went. 

    This pregnancy is a whole other ball game.  I don’t know if it’s because I am carrying a girl this time or not, but all I want to eat are sweets.  Cookies, M&M’s, ice cream…you name it, I want it.  Do I even have to mention that it’s Girl Scout cookie time?  Everyday that my husband walks in the door from work without my coveted boxes of cookie nirvana I think, just for a second, about leaving him for someone with a better cookie connection.

    The other night we were coming home from my parent’s house and Aaron had brought a bag of Fruit Loops cereal to eat as a snack on the way home.  That sweet, fruity aroma filled the car and I really thought about snatching them off of him.  I wouldn’t really have done it, but oh I thought about it.  Guess what’s at the top of my grocery list for this week?  Yep, Fruit Loops.  I have a real problem.

    So far I have not gained an obscene amount of weight.  I had lost several pounds in the beginning of the pregnancy thanks to good ole morning sickness, and the weight that I have put on has come slowly; only one or two pounds a month.  Thankfully I have not actually given in to everything that I’ve craved.  But as the months go by, it is getting harder and harder to just say no.  So if in the next couple of months you hear about an unexplained M&M famine that has rocked the country, please forget that you ever read this post.  I swear that I had nothing to do with it.  Really!  Honest!

    About the author:  Amy, this month’s This Is Motherhood columnist, is a full-time stay-at-home wife and mother and has been married to her wonderful husband Michael for five years. Together they have a son, Aaron, who is three and a daughter, Elyse, who is due to be born early this summer. Before becoming a mother, Amy was a Histology Technician for a Pathology lab at a local hospital.   

    Leslie Has Left The Building

    Wow, I’m writing on Leslie’s blog. I thought this would be easy, but it’s actually a lot harder to write on another person’s blog. Not sure what to write about. I don’t know you and you don’t know me. Maybe I should just tell you about Leslie’s deep dark secrets. Here goes:

    1) Julia does all the writing for Mommy’s Place. It’s true. Julia’s very talented you know. Leslie just takes credit for her daughter’s hard work.

    2) Leslie’s husband, Dave, is an alien. He’s from the planet which has no name. He came to Earth for sex — the dirty kind that he couldn’t get from the planet which has no name.

    3) I’m Leslie long-lost twin brother. I just found out a second ago. I’m not sure how this is even possible. I’m Asian and Leslie is, well, not Asian.

    4) Leslie’s secret identity is Catwoman, which is why she has so many cats. She also likes to use the whip on Dave.

    5) When Leslie runs out of milk, she sneaks over to the neighbors and milks their cow.

    6) Leslie’s maiden name is John. Her parents are Olivia Newton-John and Elton John.

    7) Leslie has a big crush on Simon Cowell. That’s why she watches American Idol every year.

    Some of Leslie’s secrets sound like I just made them up, but I didn’t. They are all true. I wouldn’t pull your leg. Honest.

    About the author:  Daddy Forever is married to Mommy Forever and have 3 Forever kids: Princess M (7), Spiderboy Z (4), and Little Monkey K (2). The Forever clan lives near Beaverton, Oregon (USA).  You can read more about them at his personal blog, Daddy Forever.   

    The Last Pregnant Post

    Well, the next time you all hear from me, I will no longer be pregnant. In less than 12 hours, Lucy will be out of my belly and in my arms.

    I’ll be checking in here now and then over the next week or so, but for the most part, I’ve handed my blog over to some of my favorite writers. So, won’t you check in here, too? I’ll bring the snooogly wooogly new baby photos and some awesome guest posts, you bring the comments. Deal?

    See you all postpartum!

    Mr. T Says, “Quit Your Jibba Jabba! This Is Motherhood, Fool!”

    It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet some brilliant mothers; to celebrate, learn from and be inspired by our differences, while drawing strength and support from the common ground we share.

    This is Motherhood:  Showing you a new face each month in 2008.

    I am so proud to introduce you to April’s featured mother: my very good friend, Amy Hicks.

    I was absolutely delighted when Amy agreed to write about her motherhood experience for This Is Motherhood. Although she doesn’t have a blog…yet (hint hint, double hint), she has a wonderful way with words. What is more, she’s an incredible mother, a generous friend and a beautiful, open-hearted individual. She is down-to-earth and genuine, and makes the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever eaten in my life. I’m grateful to know her, and I believe you will be, too. So be sure to click and read her column after this friendly little interview.

    Leslie: What is the best parenting advice you’ve ever received? What is the worst?

    Amy: I don’t know that I have ever received a best or worst piece of advice. I think that I have just kind of plodded my way through and have done the best that I can. Over time I have learned that no mother is perfect and that has allowed me to relax a little and not be so up tight about every little thing. If there was one thing that I could tell every new mother it would be that we all have our own way of handling motherhood. There is no right or wrong way, just what works for you. I think that new mothers would ease into the whole experience a lot easier if they didn’t feel like everyone else knew what to do except for them.

    Leslie: What do you want to teach your children?

    Amy: More than anything I want to teach my children to respect themselves and others. I think that everything else that you wish for your children will follow if they can just learn respect. Also I want them to see that their father and I are more in love today than we were when we got married. I think that it is incredibly important for children to know with out a doubt that their parents love each other.

    Leslie: As a mother, what product or item can’t you live without?

    Amy: Actually, my husband and I just bought a Kia Sedona mini van. I absolutely love it and can’t believe that we spent the last three years carting my son around in my teeny tiny little car. There is so much room and we will have no problem installing my daughter’s infant car seat in just a few short weeks. The mini van…I love it and could not live with out it!

    Leslie: If you were to write a book about your motherhood experience, what would it be called?

    Amy: If I Only Knew Then…A Woman’s Journey into the World of Motherhood

    Well that or

    If I Have to Tell You One More Time…A Tale of How One Mother Flipped Out

    Leslie: If you were given a day completely to yourself where you could do whatever you wanted – money is no object – how would you spend that day?

    Amy: I would go to some deserted island where the only other people there would be my personal team of servants whose only job it is to serve me and not talk. I would spend the day relaxing on the beach, getting massages and eating a case of Leslie’s Famous Buckeyes. Now that would be Heaven.

    Please click on over to read Amy’s edition of This Is Motherhood, then come on back here to shower her with comment love!

    Motherhood According To Suz

    It’s a new month, so that means there’s a new edition of the feature column:

    This Is Motherhood

    It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet some brilliant mothers; to celebrate, learn from and be inspired by our differences, while drawing strength and support from the common ground we share.

    I am really excited to introduce you to this month’s featured mother: Suzanne Gale of The World According To Suz. I’ve had a crush on her and her blog pretty much since she started writing it. I did a little something resembling a hurkey (which is a whole lot for a pregnant lady like me) when she agreed to write this installment of This Is Motherhood, because she is the coolest. If we were to have a cool kids virtual sleepover, Suz would be the one helping me put your bra in the freezer. She also happens to be an incredibly talented writer, so you really must click and read her column right after this warm-up interview.

    Leslie: Why do you blog?

    Suzanne: I blog for a few reasons:
    *One: keeps me writing on a regular basis. Writing is what I like to do, but it’s rarely feasible to be able to sit and work on a novel for hours a day. A couple hundred words each day, or even every-other-day, is more my speed right now.
    *Two, being a blogger is the closest I will ever come to being a rock star or performing before a large audience. I’ll write something and then just can’t wait to see the comments; I’m a comment junkie. I see new comments and I think Yay! People are paying attention to me!! (Wow, that was probably too honest… please don’t think less of me…)
    *And last but not least, I blog so my friends and family who live far away can sort of keep tabs on my family. They like to see pictures of the kids posted.

    Leslie: If your blog were a food or beverage, what would it be and why?

    Suzanne: Mashed potatoes with Pop Rocks on top. It’s kind of smooshy and comforting, but then has a funny, tickling element to it. And it rots your teeth.

    Leslie: If there were a movie made of your life, who would you choose to play you? Who do you think your children would choose for you?

    Suzanne: I’ve had a few people tell me that I look like Cameron Diaz. I would be just fine with her playing me; then people would think that I was taller and had straighter teeth in real life. Plus, we already know from Charlie’s Angels that she can pull off the martial arts moves. We would have to put some fight scenes in the movie, just for dramatic effect. My children would probably pick a character from Star Wars or Sponge Bob to play me, because those are about the only actors they know.

    Leslie: Would you rather have the ability to read other people’s thoughts or the ability to plant thoughts in their head?

    Suzanne: I’d like to have the ability to read people’s thoughts, but I’d want to be able to shut if off at will. I don’t think I’d like to hear things about myself all of the time. I mean, how depressing would that be to be talking to someone and they just keep thinking wow, I wonder if she knows about that zit on her forehead. She has to know. How could she not feel that one?

    Leslie: If you were given a day completely to yourself where you could do whatever you wanted – money is no object – how would you spend that day?

    Suzanne: I’m a sucker for time spent with my husband. He is a funny guy, and just fun to be around. I’d like to fly off with him to somewhere warm. Just spend the day hanging out, being outside. A massage would be nice, too. Oooh, yeah, I’ve always wanted to do one of those couples massages on a beach somewhere. That’d be the best.

    Now, click on over to read Suzanne’s edition of This Is Motherhood and be sure to visit her blog The World According To Suz!

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