Sunday, March 30, 2008

Weekly Winners - Snowy Spring

Spring snow showers bring....


Running to see her friend.

Seriously? Snow?

It snowed a couple of times this week. Only on Friday was there enough to coat the ground, but it didn't stay long. There is something very beautiful about watching snow fall on cherry blossoms, especially when the sun comes out and chases the cold and snow away.

Weekly Winners is the brain child of Lotus at Sarcastic Mom.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

An Open Letter to Poison Control

Dear Poison Control,

Thank you so much for your help the other night. When I called you at 2 AM, I half expected to get a recorded message instead of a real person. You did a wonderful job assisting me and you sounded very alert. It made me wonder how many calls you answer in the middle of the night.

If it seemed strange to you that my toddler consumed a half of tube of toothpaste, you kept your surprise well hidden. When you asked me how long ago the toothpaste binge happened were you expecting me to say, "At 8PM, but I didn't think to call until now" instead of "10 minutes ago"?

After you asked for the name of my child and telephone number did you look back on your records to see that both of my children have chugged Children's Tylenol straight from the bottle. Do you wonder if I feed them, or if they fend for themselves by digging through the medicine cabinet?

It's really not like that. Why my child decided to brush her teeth at 2 am is beyond me. Obviously personal hygiene is a priority in our house. How brushing her teeth turned into snack time followed by smearing toothpaste all over the counter and then trying to clean it up with soap, I will never know.

I may have exaggerated when I told you that she consumed a half of tube of toothpaste. The new tube of Crest for Kids was more than half gone and it was impossible to determine how much of that toothpaste made up the soapy / minty mixture she was playing in. Since I have so much experience conversing with wonderful workers like you at Poison Control I knew that you would want to know the maximum amount of fluoride that could possibly have been ingested by my 35 pound baby for your calculations. It is comforting to know that 4 ounces of toothpaste is not toxic to a child of this size and age. I will add this knowledge to my mommy database next to the toxicity of 3 ounces of Children's Tylenol to a child of the same size.

Thank you again for being there for me in the middle of the night. My baby is doing fine. We gave her a glass of milk like you suggested, and she never did vomit.

Best regards,

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mine for now

My children are slipping away from me. Not in a noticeable alarming way, but in an insidious unstoppable way that time puts in motion and I am powerless to stop.

Karen Kingsbury wrote a beautiful children’s book called "Let me Hold You Longer" . This book quickly brings tears to my eyes and by the end of the story I am usually blubbering. My children don’t seem to notice my sobbing, because the illustrations are fun and entertaining. This is what Karen has to write:

"Long ago you came to me, a miracle of firsts; First smiles and teeth and baby steps, a sunbeam on the burst.
But one day you will move away and leave to me your past, And I will be left thinking of a lifetime of your lasts ...
The last time that I held a bottle to your baby lips,
The last time that I lifted you and held you on my hip.
The last night when you woke up crying, needing to be walked.
When last you crawled up with your blanket, wanting to be rocked."

Ok, go get your tissue now. I promise I will not make you cry anymore.

My girls are 2 ½ and 4 years old. Some of the chores associated with raising babies are gone. I am happy that they can feed themselves, but at the same time I miss holding my baby for twenty minutes every three hours while she ate. I only got to experience that for one year. At the end of that year I was happy to put away all the bottles, not realizing what else I was saying goodbye to.


Saturday I loaded two girls totaling seventy-five pounds onto my bike turned train. I rode one mile to the park while they playfully yelled, “Watch out for that tree, Mommy!” “Don’t hit that car!”
While at the park they ask me to push them on the swings, catch them at the bottom of the slide, help them play baseball and set up a picnic. Meanwhile I snapped 165 pictures of our glorious spring day.Suddenly, I notice that there are no children over the age of six on the playground. All the older kids are on the soccer fields following the instruction of their coaches, playing with their friends. Their parents stand idly on the sidelines.
I realized that I should never tell my girls that I am too busy to push them on the swing, or that they don’t need me to catch them at the bottom of the slide. They might not need me, but for now they want me.

For now goes by too fast.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Weekly Winners - Spring


Keeping my eye on the ball.

Look at me, I'm upside down!

Beautiful, happy girls

Happy Easter!

Weekly Winners is the brain child of Lotus at Sarcastic Mom.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bikini Wars

I've been running. I've been watching what I eat. Next month I am spending a week in Mexico with my wonderful husband of 11 years. It is time to evaluate my swim suit situation and Fight the Frump.

Help me out. In the comments please discuss butt cheeks and price.
Be honest, I can take it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Learning new tricks

I played basketball and softball in high school. When our team traveled to away games we would braid each other's hair. I was the only girl on the bus who didn't know how to braid. I would get my hair braided, but could not return the favor. No one seemed to mind. I didn't considered braiding a life skill, so I never learned how to do it.

Flash forward to today. My four year old comes to me with a comb and hair ties. She wants me to braid her hair. Suddenly braiding is a life skill.

My first attempt was a simple braid starting at the nape of her neck. The braid was rejected immediately. Belle wants her braid to start at the top of her head.

Like a French braid.


This is serious level two braiding we are talking about here. I can't tell my four year old that I don't know how to braid hair. So I sucked it up; tried to remember how my softball buddies preformed this complicated task; and went for it.

I was pretty impressed with the results.
Belle was not.

She wanted the pony tail on the top of her head to be braided.
Like this:

Hey, I'm getting pretty good at this. Now all I need is one of those doll heads to practice on.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Washing up

Taking a week off from blogging has given me some perspective. I've realized that what I set out to accomplish by blogging is no longer my primary focus. I have spent a couple extra days avoiding my blog and thought about my original goal.

To capture pieces of myself and my family.

That is my mission. For the most part I have done that, but in the process I have become addicted to blogging and all that goes with it. Blogging has kept me from my family. Blogging has kept me from my work. Blogging has kept me from a lot of things.

Blogging has also put me in contact with some wonderful people that I consider friends. I will not stop blogging, but I am going to strive to stick to my mission statement. Starting right now.
Just a little bath time fun in the Seibel house tonight. The 17 month age difference between my girls was challenging when they were young. Now... I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tips and Tricks from my readers.

This week my company is exhibiting at a trade show, which means lots of coordinating, standing around and long days for me. Jeff and the girls will see less of me. I want to make sure that the time I have at home is focused on them, so I am not going to be blogging or reading blogs this week.

In my absence, I am requesting your help. Parenting is hard work best accomplished when parents discuss what they are facing and find out what has worked for other families. This week I would like to turn my blog over to you. There are some areas that Jeff and I are struggling with and we need to know what works. I am going to list out our troubles and ask for your comments. I am turning off comment moderation so that Jeff can read all your comments while I am busy at the trade show.

If you want to write a post on one of these subjects (or have already wrote a post) please provide your link in the comments.

1. Tips for getting kids out of the house in a timely fashion. The girls tend to drag their feet when it comes to getting on tights, socks and shoes.

2. Sharing - one of our children throws a royal fit when a child picks up a toy that she has played with in the last 2 hours. She insists that it is hers even thought she is well into playing with something else. Her actions recently warranted a call to Jeff to come get her from a play date.

3. Listening and obeying - We tend to get a full commentary on why something can't, shouldn't or won't be done before the child even attempts getting the requested item done.

In lieu of advice, commiseration is happily accepted.

Thanks so much for your help.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Mom's are getting a bad rep

USA today wrote a story about it. Bloggers are talking about it. I am refuting it.

Momnesia - the mental fuzziness and memory lapses that set in shortly after childbirth.

Here is an example:

Your spouse is going to watch the kids so you can enjoy a couple of hours by yourself. You go into the garage, get into your car and back your car right into the garage door that you forgot to open.



The driver of the car is a stay-at-home dad.

The act of being a parent sucks your brain power and causes you do seemingly stupid things. This “condition” is not exclusive to moms. Any person who spends 90% of their time with little people is susceptible.

Let’s call it was it really is – Parentdumtitis.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Can you find the time?

A couple of weeks ago I talked about losing weight by creating a calorie deficit through proper food intake. Exercise is a great way to burn more calories. Here are some facts that will help you establish a exercise program that works in less than thirty minutes three days a week.

The Facts

    Twenty minutes of light to moderate exercise three days a week is sufficient for a person who is just beginning a program

    Your body is designed to become efficient at exercise. It accomplishes this by building muscle and increasing your cardiovascular abilities(Good), which allows the body to burn less calories during exercise(Bad).

The perfect exercise program takes these facts into consideration and plans for the exercise plateaus that are caused when your body becomes efficient at an exercise. An exercise program is made up of four components; mode of exercise, intensity, time and days. The only way to break an exercise plateau is to change one of those four components.

For people who are just starting to exercise I recommend picking an exercise that is easy on the joints and low intensity, like walking, biking or an elliptical machine. The exercise should be preformed for 20 minutes 3 days a week. After 2 -3 weeks the body will get used to this exercise and start burning less calories.

If you are working out in a gym the simplest way to challenge your body and increase the number of calories burned is to change the mode of exercise. If you are working out at home you can still change your mode of exercise by using exercise videos, walking, running, wii boxing (you laugh, but have you tried it?), biking, jump rope, etc.

I have been using these principals for 10 years. I gained over 60 pounds with each of my pregnancies and lost the weight each time by starting with 20 minutes of exercise 3 days a week. I spend three weeks on the elliptical, followed by three weeks on a bike, and three weeks on a stair stepper. Next I go back to the elliptical and increase my time to 25 minutes or increase my intensity for three weeks and rotate through the machines again.

These principals work because they are proven, and not just by me. I have put into practice what I learned 10 years ago from Neil Spruce of Apex Fitness.

Go here to see how other bloggers are Fighting the Frump.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Mommy Modified

This has been a month of anniversaries. I happily celebrated my 100th post and 11 years of marriage. My next anniversary is bitter sweet.

On March 5, 2007 I walked into my boss’s office and asked for a full time job and a raise. I did this knowing that it would solve our financial difficulty. I also knew that I would be turning over the full-time care of my children to my husband’s capable hands and my time with them would decrease dramatically. It was not an easy decision for Jeff and I to make, but left with no options we did what we needed to do.

For the last year I have spoke about being a SAHM because it wasn’t so long ago that I was one. Stories that start with, “Last year when I was home with the kids…” are a comforting to me. They remind me that it wasn’t so long ago when I was privileged enough to be at home with my kids. That comfort is slipping away.

Last year I grabbed my lunch and said goodbye to an empty house at 6:30 in the morning. I spent my day with adults earning a paycheck and returned to squeals of joy at 5:30. I continued my working routine losing a small piece of my mom identity each day. Soon I was no longer the authority on what my children preferred. Now I have to ask Jeff questions before I can give our babysitter instructions for our date night.

Have they had a bath today?

Did they take their vitamins?

What time should they go to bed?

The interaction I have with my kids has shortened from an indeterminately long day to 2 ½ hours. At dinner time I grill them with questions so I can feel connected to them.

What did you do today?

Who did you play with?

Did you have fun?

I am lucky. I enjoy my job. I like the people that I work with. I spend my days focused on a job I enjoy instead of a family I miss. I get three weeks of vacation each year. My kids are home with my husband. In so many ways I am lucky.

Why on the anniversary of full time employment I am focused on what I loss over the last year instead of what we’ve gained? I know that being a SAHM is unbelievably difficult and draining. I also know how rewarding it is. Going to work every day is easy compared to what my husband does. Sometimes my children greet me with smiles while they run away from the man who pours his heart out for them. Other times they barely notice that I am home.

I wish that I can change it all and live in the utopia of family togetherness. We all know that won’t happen, so I am resolved to be content with this situation; confident that God knows what is best for our family.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Flu Advisory

If you catch the flu and have to stay home from work it might actually be convenient for your spouse to be sick too. Recent studies* have found that two sick parents are roughly equivalent to one healthy parent.

It is recommended that ill parents hide all the "kitchen" toys so the children don't try to "take care of" the parents by making pretend foods that add to the nauseousness of the parents.

*non-scientific study performed on 3/4/2008, results might be slightly skewed due to the delirious nature of the adult test subjects.

Monday, March 3, 2008

FAQ for Jeff, the Stay-at-home Dad

Other FAQ:
FAQ for Amy

Coming soon:
Blogging FAQ

What was his job before he decided to stay at home?

He was a construction engineer (aka flipped a house) before that he was an outside sales person for a large telecom company that went bankrupt.


Does he have a blog too?

Jeff doesn’t have a blog, although he dreams about blogging (not in the sense that he wants to blog, but that he has dreams about me and the time I spend blogging). In a way this blog is Jeff’s too. He reads all the comments and is encouraged by your support.


Does he get mad at you if you put something in the dishwasher in the wrong spot?

Jeff is very pleasantly surprised when I actually do the dishes. Of all the chores around the house loading the dishwasher is my one responsibility, which I often forget to do. He knows that if he were to criticize my techniques I would abandon this chore entirely.


What's his favorite book from the kid's bookshelf?

“My Bedtime Book of Favorite Nursery Rhymes” by Roger Priddy


Does he ever complain about being left out of moms groups?

He never complains, but in the beginning I was disappointed when my moms group didn’t include him on walks and trips to the park. Jeff is a very social individual and has never had a problem meeting new people. It didn’t take long for Jeff to establish his own relationships with other moms.


Does he and the girls belong to a playgroup?

Yes, his playgroup meets once a week. He met a mom at the park and keep running into her at the library. Eventually she invited him to join her playgroup. There are five other women in the play group, I have only met one of them.


What is a quick easy dinner for the family, I need some ideas.

Enchiladas,the recipe is on the back of the Lawry’s enchilada sauce seasoning package. He serves it with salad in a bag and refried beans. The enchiladas can be prepared ahead of time and then popped in the oven 20 minutes before dinner.


Thank you to pb&j in a bowl, Nap Warden and Kidzmama for asking these questions about my favorite person.

Please stay tuned for the next FAQ post on Blogging

Other FAQ:
FAQ for Amy

Saturday, March 1, 2008

On This Day in 1997

This weekend Jeff and I celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary. The girls spent last night at my brother and sister-in-law's house. Jeff and I had box seats at the Portland Trailblazer / LA Laker game. After the game we went out for drinks and then returned to our very empty house in the early hours of the morning.

We usually go away for the weekend to celebrate our anniversary. This year we enjoyed sleeping in our own bed without worrying about which of us was going to get up in the middle of the night with the kids. We slept in. It was luxurious.

This morning we went to a very popular breakfast spot in Portland and then walked around downtown. It was nice to spend a day without our children, to make decisions based on what we wanted to do instead of what we needed to do. It was also nice to pick up our children this afternoon, to hold them tight and recognize that in eleven years of marriage we created a family.

We started out as two people from different backgrounds and melded into one. In our oneness we created new life, our daughters, who look to us to be everything they need and want. Our marriage is more than it was because we are more than we used to be. We are now the basis for the different background that our children will carry into their marriages. That is humbling.

Today it is my eleven year anniversary. My love is waiting for me to curl up beside him and watch TV. I better go now.