Chaos Uncontrolled

Last week, I was on vacation. It was the first full week the kids have all been out of school. And it was insane. I had all these big plans for what I wanted to get done. Very little of that happened.

I am totally ready for a break from them and some peace and quiet. That never happened. I almost look forward to returning to work. This is not the kind of chaos I want for our house. It has a very negative energy and nobody is happy. I am hoping balance returns soon.

Front Yard

 

Here is a pic of our front yard. My brother was playing with the kidlets. I was standing in the driveway. Still lots of things to clean up/fix, but all that room for playing is awesome.

A shout-out to some interesting things:

My online friend AJ Clarkson was nominated for a PARSEC award for her audio drama Fortuna. She just launched her blog, ClarksonPunk.

My other friend Joshua Roots has a new book, Summoned Chaos, coming out soon. The first one, Undead Chaos, was pretty entertaining.

And to round things out, a snippet from Abigail Quinn #2:

My mother’s face filled the mirror as she waved furiously. Only my mother. When technology wouldn’t let her in, she used all sorts of magical means.

“Mom, can you turn for a minute while I get my robe, please?”

“Oh, of course.”

She promptly moved out of sight, and I grabbed my robe from the hook by the door. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I said, “Okay, Mom, I’m ready to talk now.”

A little white lie never hurt anything. I needed a pot of coffee and a hot shower to deal with her on a good day.

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Why Breast is Best, But Formula is Okay Too

Okay, so we’ll just start this conversation by saying that “Breast is Best” sounds very gimmicky. Probably because it is a slogan and it is. But it is also true. Breastmilk has things that breastmilk replacement (aka formula) is never going to have. There are no antibodies, no stem cells, so special sugars that were once thought as useless, but now are known to feed certain gut flora and promote a healthy digestive tract. These are just a few of the numerous benefits of breastmilk for the baby. It doesn’t even include the benefits to the mother.
But there are times where formula can have a benefit. Sometimes it saves a mother’s sanity because she lacks proper support from those around here, which is a huge societal issue in the US best left for a discussion another day. Sometimes the mother is sick or the baby is sick and things don’t work out. Sometimes a mother doesn’t actually make enough milk. Sometimes donor milk is not available or is too expensive. There can be lots of reasons.
So while I am in full support of breastfeeding and encourage everyone I know to at least try it, I won’t criminalize formula. Each of my children has used it at some point or another. In fact, my third kidlet was the first where I actually felt like our breastfeeding attempts were a success. At least until I returned to work. Then no amount of Mother’s Milk tea and pumping seemed to net me enough milk to keep him fed while I was away. So after a month of my best efforts, I introduced formula for him to use while I was at work. And sometimes at home. We still did a lot of night nursing, but formula filled the gap.
My second child I utterly failed breastfeeding trying to take care of the baby and the three year old with no support and no car because it was rolled down an embankment when my husband had an accident driving to work. The no support part was because of the unsafe weather as well. I failed at taking care of myself and therefore my supply suffered. My first child spent days in the NICU and I think that messed us up quite a bit. That and me not knowing a thing about what I was doing.
Those experiences are part of what leads me to believe that it takes a village to successfully breastfeed sometimes. If it’s not the norm for your family and you don’t have relatives to turn to for advice, ladies in the community can be so helpful. This thought was one of the reasons I took the Neighbor to Neighbor Breastfeeding Information class from one of the hospitals. The goal is provide tools for sharing resources and education to mothers in the community so that they can go out and help other mothers.
It takes all of us working together to provide the community support mothers need to breastfeed. I am all for compassion and helpfulness in our communities. The trend toward ignoring what goes on around you and not offering assistance to others has been detrimental to our society, in my opinion.

It Feels Like Fall. Busy, Busy Fall

While I had grandiose plans of all the things I wanted to accomplish this summer, it mainly fell to two things: doing some things with the kids and resting/rejuvenating myself.

I have been enjoying every Friday off since around the beginning of summer and each week I make a list of the millions of things I am going to accomplish. Each week, I have accomplished very little on these lists. Most of the time, I have demands from the two littlest people in my life to contend with. My middle child doesn’t act like your typical three year old and would give most adults a run for their money. Meanwhile, Mr. ClimberPants is busy trying to scare the daylights out of me and find new, exciting, Dangerous! things to do with his time.

Other mornings, it takes the whole morning before I can enjoy my coffee and catch up on the internet. That may sound like some serious time-wasting to some folks, but the internet is where most of my friends live. Particularly my writer friends. I spend quite a bit of time hanging out with the cool people of the Absolute Write (AW) Water Cooler, so this is my socialization. I don’t get to maintain many real life friendships, so the online ones really count. Plus, the people are really awesome and get all the weird facets of my personality. Fellow writers unite!

But the last couple of weeks have welcomed a change. I think I’ve finally decompressed enough from some of the stress in my life to start living it again, which is a major thing. But I’ve managed to tackle some of those projects waiting out there for me to get done.

I’ve been writing again as well. I think that is an effect of hanging out with the hooligans of AW’s chat more often. They encourage and pester and challenge me to Word Wars until I want to write. Then the words flow like magic, which is awesome. My biggest writing hump is usually getting going. If I stay away too long, I lose my momentum and forget what I was going for when I wrote the last time.

One of the other big things to tackle is to getting rid of the clutter in our house. I have let things get severely out of hand and now the job is enormous. I really just need to break down the cleaning up and tackle chunks at a time. So, I’ll keep making lists and work harder to get more things checked off. Motivation seems to be a hard thing to hang onto these days.

And I’ve got some big things planned for the kiddos for Christmas this year. A kid-sized entertainment area, which requires getting rid of some of the things we have now and implementing new systems to manage and store things. I’m still sketching out ideas in my head, but I think the kids will like having a private area just for them

Quite a bit of the time lately has been me in pain again. It’s all in my hips and lower back. I strongly suspect ankylosing spondylitis, which is a degenerative, inflammatory spinal disease that is autoimmune based. It’s also hereditary and my dad was diagnosed many years ago. I keep putting off going to the doctor to get an official diagnosis, perhaps out of denial? I can’t acknowledge what isn’t confirmed, you know? But the pain is getting out of hand.

Also, I need to take up yoga because that would help a lot. But I don’t really have the time or babysitter to get to any of the classes around here, so I’ve been looking for a good beginner’s video. Then once I get the computer room cleaned out and the kids’ area set up, I should have the perfect spot to do yoga. Maybe I can get the kids to join me. They’d like that.

I have a lot of topics I’d like to write about. I’ve been trying to give my writing the attention it deserves, so I hope to get started on those sometime soon in the future.