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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Has Fall Arrived In California?

I stuck a toe out of the covers this morning, to catch an idea of the temperature I would be jumping into once I left the warm cozy confines of my bed. My toe quickly retracted like a turtles head into it's shell.  Burrrr... I lie there very still under the down comforter, and try to strategize my exit.  The longer I lie there, I realize, the harder it is to work up the courage. So I quick sit up.....ohhhhh then lie down... quick first thing in the morning is not a good thing.  I curl back up under my comforter, and again try to work up the courage.  I look at the clock... 6:55am.  Well, there is part of the problem. My toes obviously realize that I have another 5 minutes before they really have to get up... I stare up at the ceiling, I had never noticed the texture of the ceiling before... hmmm... interesting....  I look out the corner of my eyes, 701am... ugh... I know what is next.... I slowly sit up, bringing the covers with me... I swing my legs over the edge, and stand.... burrrr....

Yes, Fall has arrived.  Here in California, I thought it would never happen, what with Halloween day being in the 80's. I was worried I would never get the Christmas spirit in the sauna like weather we were experiencing... I had just gone to Toys R Us with Emma to spend her birthday money. The air conditioner blasted on the way to the store, we get out, and heat, ugh. It's the first week of November and I am in a tank top, capris and flip flops.  We enter the store and what do I hear?  Christmas music.  Really?  It's 80 degrees people!!! I cannot even picture sleighs or bells, or anybody in a velour anything, when I am sweating just walking though the parking lot!

So tonight, we actually got some weather, drizzle and sprinkles.  The smell of fresh rain wafted in to the valley this afternoon ahead of the storm.  I love the smell of rain, it renews me, re-energizes me.  I love fall... I am going to enjoy this two weeks of fall, drizzle and 60 degree temps, before winter hits by Thanksgiving and I am having to wear my flip flops with my sweat suits... it may sound weird, but it is the one luxury of California weather, that I couldn't give up.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tethered Cord? What the Heck?

Bean is now 14 months old and what a ride it has been.  Part of the reason I haven't been able to blog is all we have been going through since her premature birth.  She is a fighter though, and not just any kiddo could come home at 3lbs 13oz! She may be tiny (still just 18 lbs.) but she is mighty!

Our latest dealing has been with the neurosurgeon.  It turns out that after her pediatrician, to whom I refer to as Doogie Howser, or actually her former pediatrician finally got it right.  Doogie has sent us to specialist after specialist, because apparently in medicine, the equivilent of crying wolf is sending their patients to every known specialist JUST in case. So after replacing said Doogie, and going on our fifth specialist, there was finally a diagnosis, for something Bean had no symptoms for save for two small dimples on her tookas.

Those dimples lead to the referral to see the Neuro who recommended an MRI.  Now an MRI for a baby is no small deal.  Bean had to actually be generally sedated.  Can you say scary????  I have seen Grey's Anatomy enough to know that some people do not wake from Anesthesiology for no known reason sometimes.  Well Bean did wake, and much to my relief didn't have any of the side affects of anesthesia at all.

After the MRI came back, we have the diagnosis of Tethered Cord Syndrome.  This is no small deal either!!!  I had no idea there was anything out there like this.  You know unless you go through most things in life, we are blissfully ignorant of the possibilities.  So to break it down easily I am borrowing from the website from Boston Children's Hospital Neurology:
The term tethered spinal cord refers to any condition in which the spinal cord is attached to an immovable structure. Normally the bottom of the spinal cord, called the conus medullaris, floats freely within a pool of spinal fluid. There are, however, an array of pathologic conditions that cause tethering of the cord. This leads to abnormal stretching with growth and movement, which over time can lead to the characteristic symptoms of tethered spinal cord, including muscle weakness, sensory loss, change in bowel or bladder control, and orthopedic deformity. 

We are indeed blessed, because of these dimples, Bean will have the surgery next week, on Veteran's day.  She will be going in, and will be in the ICU.  I hope to be able to get more information out about tethered cord syndrome.  It is treatable, and early detection, can save you from disastrous damage later.  Have a look at the website.  If you or anyone you know has any worries, ask your pediatrician to refer you for a Neuro consult.  In Bean's case, barring anything going wrong, she will go on to have a normal life, with no ill effects.  Finding out later, or ignoring Doogie's hundreth referral, could have posed life long challenges for Bean.  Be proactive in your health and that of your children!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Blogging... is it really that hard?

Wow, to be a mom means to be selfless, loving, knowledgeable, and tired.  I am a mom.  I give my kids and husband my all.  I regret none of it.  I love them dearly.  I ask for little in return... A trip to the gym a few times a week (do we have to mom????), their chores done (which apparently makes them Cinderella), a couple nights out a MONTH to my bunco groups (but mom we neeeever see you, ahem except for every waking moment), and to blog (insert my whining voice, because I am too tired to think to blog!).

I miss blogging regularly.  Imparting my wisdom, my musings to the greater atmosphere to be read or not. It is my outlet.  I try to journal, but it is the same thing. To have the time to sit alone with my thoughts alone and a cup of tea??? Really??? Oh my goodness, what a luxury.  Instead even as I take the time out to write this blog, my thoughts keep going to the meat that needs to be defrosted, the pantry straightened, the counters wiped, and the never ending monster I call laundry is calling my name. Yet I write, for 5 minutes, maybe even 10. 

It is an exciting moment for me.  My journal sits to my left, and my cell phone with my eBay stats buzzing to my right.  The kids for the moment, content in their own activities to allow me this pleasure.  Life has been blog worthy as of late. I hope to bring that to a blog soon.  I have been trying to gather my thoughts around the changes in our lives. The good... The bad.  I hope to be able to share my experiences to the greater atmosphere, to be read or not, and if they are read, to make a difference to someone, whether it is just with humor, or information. 

As moms it is important to know we are not alone.  We are in this together, working or stay at home, married or single, straight or gay.  Mom's have a special job here on earth, and we are in it to win it. I wish you all a wonderful weekend... I am going to go make some tea, and pretend that we have a chilly November evening instead of the balmy humid one, we really have.  I can't make snow outside, like those ski places, but I can sure chill it up here at home... I am sure the employees at our electric company high five each other every time they get our reading!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sleeping In Is A Thing Of The Past!

Sleeping in seems to be a thing of the past! I suppose for me having children meant I have not one alarm clock sitting on my nightstand to anticipate going off at 6am, but one to three kids tapping me on the arm, at 545am. No longer do I wake up the sound of the music played by my favorite radio station, I now wake, to "Mommy, can we have hot chocolate?" "Mommy, I couldn't sleep"  To the latter I replied one morning " Well that is nice honey, but Mommy could sleep so please go READ A BOOK UNTIL YOU SEE THE SUN"... Ok, maybe Mommy is a little grumpy before the sun and before her first cup of sunshine, my Hawaiian Hazelnut brew...

So now that Elise is older, she took heed to my comments... This morning she woke me, tapping on my arm.  I peeled open one eye, and before I could utter a word, she quick responds to my very communicative eyeball, "Mommy it's 545, a little early, but I have your coffee! I made it for you!" I muster a smile, because after all she did try to do something nice, if even at 545, all the while, my thoughts are on the kitchen and what state it must be, along with concern about what was really in that cup.... Do I dare????  "Thank you sweetie." I say as I sit up and bravely sip.  She stares at me for my reaction which I was worried I couldn't mask... But oh my gosh!  It was perfect!!!  I guess the fact that the Tassimo coffee maker takes the guess work out of it, by using pods really helped (you must try, I swear it is a wonder! 50 cent lattes, baby! And what coffee shop can beat that? And no this isn't a paid commercial, this is mom to mom!) but she even got the cream right!!!!

So today is looking pretty bright, and though I may no longer sleep in, maybe this in bed coffee service, will continue!  I will keep you posted!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Homemade Equals Breaking the Bank?

So... I decided that I needed to channel my inner Martha. I am at home now there is no reason why I can't make our own ice cream, make the girl's summer dresses, do my own gardening. I think my husband is right when he says HGTV is the most expensive channel on television!  Obviously not referring to the price to watch it, but the cost of the projects it inspires.

I went online and I researched recipes for ice cream.  Who can screw that up right?  Well... about $25 dollars in incredients later I went home and made my first batch.  While delicious, it was not really all that much better than a premium store bought brand, however the price break down reminded me why Martha can be Martha! Her expense account is far larger than that of the average mom! The cost of the half gallon of ice cream produced is about $12.50!  Holy Moley!!!  All my ingredients make about 2 batches of ice cream, not to mention the expense of my handy dandy cuisinart ice cream machine!  I either need to go into business selling the stuff for $5 a scoop, or retire my ice cream making aspirations!  I went with the latter!

So being the hands on mom I am, I decided, my girls need handmade with love dresses for Easter... How hard can that be???  I go to the store to look at a machine... mind you a machine that will actually do the job starts at $200. Hmmm... my dress making plan seems to have hit a snag... Ok so let's go look at patterns... $15?????  For paper? Sheesh.... ok fabric.... 3 to 5 yards of fabric at $8.99 a yard... so $27 for one dress, $45 for the other... plus the $15 for the pattern, plus thread, $5, plus the machine... 2 dresses for easter would run me... $287????  Oh My Goodness, ok, take away the machine cost... $90 for two easter dresses, when I can go to kohls or target and get beautiful dresses with crinoline for $20 a pop!

Ok... so channeling my inner Martha, is looking to rich for my blood!  I decide to go out side and garden... that's free right? I mean pulling weeds, trimming, pruning... I walk outside, and as soon as I do... The heat hits me like a wall, I look around, my yard really isn't all that bad, I mean a weed here, a weed there, I always wanted big trees anyway, and that bush, man it fills that spot perfectly... Maybe I don't need to garden after all?  I decided to channel my inner martha another way... I grabbed a glass from the cabinet, poured my sun tea, copped a seat on the couch, and turned on HGTV in my cool, a/c chilled home. Life is good....

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Autumn, A Time For Crisp Cool Weather and Pumpkins...Well other than in California

The weather forecast taken from WCAX.Com out of Vermont: Cool and cloudy will be the theme as we end the weekend. The bright side is weather like this gives you a good excuse to hang indoors and watch football.

The weather forecast taken from KCRA.Com out of California: Hot temperatures continue today. A weather system to our north will pull a few thin clouds into our afternoon skies, expect highs in the mid 90s. Monday and Tuesday will be the hottest days in the upper 90s to about 100 degrees.

Really? 100 degrees? We are practically into October, yet suffering through a hot spell that rarely made itself known this summer. Maybe we are paying for our good fortune this summer with a record number of days in the bearable beautiful 80's.

If it was up to me, California would be a 4 season state, at least a month of fall and a month of spring would be nice. Instead we go from 90's generally and plummet to the 60's to the 50's and even 40's on a particularly harsh winter (ok, you colder states, laugh away, but in California if you can't wear flip flops all year round, it's cold!). Then when spring hits, we go from those 50's to 90's in record time.

I swear one day I have trees of green leaves, and the next they are bald, where are our california colors? Oh I forgot you have to go to the foothills for that! So we pack the car with 2000 pounds of kids, a stroller, cooler, snacks, diapers, changes of clothes, color books, DS lites, rattles, and talking dogs for the 45 minute drive to Jackson or an hour to Apple Hill to stay for a couple of hours, pick some apples, pick some pumpkins, buy a pie, eat a picnic then, pack up said 2000 pounds again for the 45 minute drive home, just to experience autumn.

I suppose I shouldn't complain, because I never have to shovel a driveor a walk, worry about a spring flood, we don't have twisters, however our ground does shake from time to time, but no siren's going off warning us to head underground, no freezes with 150 car pileups on the turnpikes. We don't even have turnpikes. We do have the dreaded fog, which I actually enjoy with my gold canyon candles burning Autumn Walks scent, and my cup of tea in hand.

I suppose with every season, I keep hoping California will gain a little seasonal diversity. It's truly hard to decorate for Christmas when it is still in the 70's and sunny. There is no white Christmas in Sacramento, unless you truck in the white, which trust me is not cheap, or buy the fake stuff, to sprinkle around, which is annoying as it doesn't go away, in summer I am finding snowflakes on the carpet! Ugh!

I often wonder how people in Hawaii or Australia, feel the holiday season, when everything is geared towards snow in the advertisements, cards, movies, and songs. I suppose when I can drive 2 hours to get to the snow lineor 2 hours in the other direction to the fog of the San Francisco, I shan't complain. However, I still do... because I am still awaiting my cool crisp mornings, with the leaves crunching beneath my feet, the steam of the cider warming my nose, the fire crackling in the hearth, and that oatmeal colored cable knit sweater I bought from LL Bean in one moment of spontaneity to make sense here in California in October. Guess I will keep waiting.... and waiting... and waiting....

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Please support World Habitat Day on Oct 4 with Habitat for Humanity

Please support World Habitat Day on Oct 4 with Habitat for Humanity

Life... For A Mom, it's the craziness that keeps us going!

Life... As a mom, I believe it is the craziness that keeps us going. On the rare, pretty much non-existent days where I have zero commitments on the calendar, I sit on the couch, flabbergasted wondering what to do with myself. Back when I had one one child, I would look at my calendar and try to fill the days so that I felt like I had a life. Crazy!!! If I knew then what I know now, I would have treasured those empty days.

The other morning I was updating my Icalendar which syncs with my iphone and my mobileme accounts so that I can always access my schedules. Each person in our family and even our non-profit has it's own colors so that from a glance I know whose activity is whose. If I forget to bring my phone to my computer to wirelessly sync, and something doesn't make it from the ical to the iphone, havoc is had. Am I the only one here? As I type I am feeling my neurosis is painfully evident.

I have been having this talk with myself for some time now (ok, now really starting to worry about the neurosis!) about slowing down and paring down our activities and commitments. But where to begin? Shall I start with my own, or with my children's? What about the non-profit? People count on what it does. I feel trapped and insanity looming ahead.

Then it hits me... Change from the craziness isn't necessarily the answer. Would days spent on the couch twiddling my thumbs really make me feel more together? Would floundering around while Bean naps and the E's are at school really relieve my stress? No, but taking a moment from the craziness, to do something for myself... yes another activity to take on, will.

So I am back to blogging. Releasing my creativity, my humor, and my neurosis, on the world wide web for all to see, just may help! If not, it will ensure that I will not take up the commitment to run for office, or heaven forbid, my blogs will be up on power point at my future debates. So relax America... Calista Quinn, mom of three... will not be looking to run for office, but I will be coming to a computer near you if you find me!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Motherhood Dementia... My self-diagnosis

Ok, it's pretty simply right? Have a baby, lose sleep. But for most mother's this is a problem for let's just say at most 3 months (either all the mother's I have talked to have lied their tookas' off or they have been afflicted with MD), well it's been 8 for me. Eight long months of sleep interruptions every 3 to 4 hours (seriously I am a couple weeks away from starting to mumble to myself!). You would think I would know what to expect, after all Bean is number 3 but I have what I call, Motherhood Dementia, and I don't remember the other two not sleeping. It's true! I swear!

Motherhood dementia, is our innate ability as a mother to forget how hard pregnancy can be, birth is, sleeplessness is, teen years etc. Now I haven't been through the teen years yet, Elise is only 10 (ohhhhh but she is trying hard, crying jags, meltdowns... Lord Help Me!!!). But my mom always says, "when you were a kid you never cried, you slept all night, and you weren't like those other teens." Now while I smile and shine my golden halo, I know she has indeed been struck by Motherhood Dementia. For one, I am pretty darned positive, that every baby cries, no baby sleeps all night straight from the womb (especially at 6lbs), and every teen has his/her day.

I talk to my friends who have had babies as recently as 2 years ago. Mostly to vent, but also to hear that my little Bean isn't the only sleepless monster in the bunch! Oh No..... Their babies have slept since 3 months aka forever! Hmmm.... Now I know that these lovely women have MD, but it tends to make me feel a little crazy. Am I the only one whose baby doesn't sleep all night? Am I the only dark circled, coffee addicted, nearly pulling my hair out mom? Could it be?

I know for sure I have had a bad case of MD because if I didn't I never would have had two or three right? I mean MD allows us to go through the hell of childbirth (when the epidural fails mind you) and still sign up for another tour of duty! MD allows us to think of our kids with halo's when we are older, MD allows us sanity after the insanity.

What I would really like, is some sleep, a heavy dose of MD to forget the sleeplessness of the last 8 months, and a LARGE, STRONG.... cup of coffee.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Note to Self: Don't Air Family Issues in a Book... after you have blabbed everywhere else first!

Well it's official... Kate Gosselin's new book is a bomb (well at least according the celebrity news on US Can I just say what everyone else is thinking? Ok, it's my blog so I will! "DUH!!!!"

Here is a thought, when airing your family's dirty laundry for PROFIT, thereby memorializing your kids most devastating time to be fodder for the public, try not doing a million interviews first! I don't know, just a thought. Is there anyone surprised?

I would think not. I just want to look her in the eyes and say "Why?" for so many reasons! "Why Kate would you want to let the world in on your families demise?" "Why Kate doesn't anyone seem to care that the kids' classmates and peers will see all of this?" "Why Kate would anyone buy the milk when they can get the cow for free?". Let me clarify the latter.... Why would anyone pay for a book, when everything has been aired in interviews, by the paparazzi, leaked info by "sources close to Kate".

I think the show was enough. In the beginning it was a fun show, I think the first two seasons it was interesting and entertaining. After that it became too stressful to watch. Jon was constantly being demeaned, Jon was allowing himself to be demeaned. I wanted to yell to Kate, Shut it Woman, and to Jon, Man up! Seriously, isn't it so cliche for a man to be beaten down by his wife, so he flips out, leaves, goes wild, and rebels against his wife like she was his mother? Why not stand up for yourself from the get go, grow a pair, and not let it get to that point?

I just don't get it! I feel bad for the kids, their peers have been watching the good, the bad, and the ugly since they were still in diapers. There peers have seen their potty accidents, their punishments, etc. How embarrassing???? And remember all of this was just so they can have it video taped because they can't possibly do it with 8 kids. Well if that is the case...Why continue to try to profit from one of the most sad times in ones life?

oh and one final disclaimer so I don't get sued, since the book has gone bad, she may be gunning for an income... This is my personal opinion, for any facts please ask Kate herself... Oh and this post may cause water retention, sausage fingers, uncontrollable laughter.... etc. Read at your own risk! LOL!!! and the pic above was taken by Jon Kopaloff/Film Magic

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I must have had a lobotomy!

I was slammed all day. Seriously, yes I am a stay at home mom, but that makes me super busy. Between a field trip, doctors appointment and working on the Cases for Cheer, Inc., I didn't even sit down all day (OK other than my drive time, but you so get my point right?). I kept thinking, "I need to go grocery shopping but I can do that when the kids get out of school." Say What!?! I must have had a lobotomy!

The girls are 7 and 10, how hard can it be? Oh how I wish I could take that shopping trip back! Between hopscotching on the different color floor tiles, and running into a wheel chair bound person, I thought I was going to die.

Isn't it funny how when you know things are going to be a little difficult, you try to prep the kids? "Okay girl's this is a quick trip OK, so let's just stay close and tight and we will be in and out real quick and get home." Well that is like putting bait for a shark, like letting the enemy see the map to your location, like... well... you get the point.

"Ohhh!!!" they think in their little minds.... "Ohhh... Mom is a bit frazzled, let's see if we can find that loose thread and unravel her!" Oh unravel they did!!! We walk in, and head towards the produce, hopscotching mind you, despite the look that I thought could kill (again, it's like showing the dealer my cards! Ugh!) but really just inspires them. The first collision happens, the 7 year old, nearly ends up in the lap of a wheel chair bound lady, who's look by the way, really can kill. I apologize profusely, feign a smile, and grab Emma's arm wishing I could tell her what I was really thinking, but just smile as people sneak peeks from the corners of their eyes.

The second collision comes as she decides to stop right in front of my and my view is blocked by Bean's car seat perched and locked on the cart! (side note: who thought of this design? How tall do they think women are anyway, I mean, yes I would love to be 5'10 with long legs, but at 5'6 I cannot see over the seat without my stilts!) So Emma stops, I rear end her at a very slow speed, however, the drama has now commenced... Wailing! Wailing mind you!

"Oh my gosh Emma!!! Did I hit your head?" I ask.... "Noooooo" she wails. "Your back?" I ask looking her over feverishly as the wailing, continues at the loudest decibel level I think I have heard! "A little, but you didn't even see me mom, and I really wanted those cookies!" "What?" I ask feigning yet another smile as I begin feeling the blood rise to my face and anger boil as I realize this isn't because I hit her... "I really wanted those cookies MOM!". "So", I say, smile now plastered on my face to cover the "Hulk" I feel taking over my body since I am pretty sure my clothes are going to shred and my green muscles are now bulging! "So... you mean you are wailing for all the people in 3 counties to hear because I said no cookies?" "Well I really wanted them MOM!"

What was I thinking? Shopping with three kids? Seriously? I quick turned towards the register leaving Emma in my wake. I checked out, silently... Apparently silently is a better clue to my mood than my killer look! Head hung she trudges to the car. I thank the bagger for helping me to my car, giving me time to cool off, sparing me a prison sentence. On the way home, I begin thinking... Is 330 too early for a martini?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hollywood Moms vs The Real Mom

I don't know how many shows I have watched that are **gasp** "Reality" shows, where the mom looks like she has never had a child, no stretch marks, no dark circles, all perfectly coordinated fashion, then it shows them hand the child to a disheveled mom type, aka the Nanny!

Now I am not slamming mom's with Nanny's, but i just think that these Hollywood mom's give us an unrealistic expectation of ourselves. We expect more that we can possibly do because normal, everyday moms do not have housekeepers, nannies, or a personal assistant. You notice that on a lot of these shows, these staff members are rarely shown, because the show is about the mom and how she deals with her busy life and kids.

I watch Bravo's Real Housewives series, yes, I admit it. I am addicted. What kills me, is they have many women who are not even married, so where the wives of housewives comes in is beyond me. I watch it, and at one point, I found myself wondering why I can't look so put together, why my house wasn't as clean, even though I knew why! I am missing my staff! Ha! That is when I began to really ponder these shows. Yes I still watch, because their drama is hilarious, and often so inconsequential in the whole scheme of life, that I am just waiting for them to realize this. I am waiting for them to have the epiphany, that no it doesn't really matter if so and so wears the same dress as you, and no it doesn't matter if they use last season's shoes or last season's purse.

Life is what you make of it. These women should be giving of themselves, really giving of themselves as they are in a position to. I am not talking about giving away their money, but giving of their time, and not then arguing over who is doing what on the step and repeat, or who's name is or isn't on the step and repeat, because NEWS FLASH, no body reads the damned step and repeat! Nobody! Sponsors are you reading this?

These women need to be real, and to admit that they can do none of the glamour and all of their fab parties and socialite stuff without their staff! Admit it! Be honest, and let the average mom off the hook!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Family Fun on the Cheap!

The best times we have a family are the times that cost little to no money at all! Family time on the cheap can be the most fun due to the lack of stress or worry associated with spending money in these hard economic times. Today our family spent the day at our local park! We went to Subway (not a commercial I swear!) We bought 2 five dollar foot long sandwiches. Collin and I shared one, while the two older kiddos split the other! Bean of course had her delectable bottle of milk from home! We brought along drinks, chips and cookies from the pantry. Collin also dug out his kites from his childhood, but if you don't have kites plug in "ball", "jump rope", "frisbee" etc into that equation.

We rolled out our beach towels and copped a squat under our free shade of the lovely tree at the park. We ate lunch, we laughed, the older kiddos raced from tree to tree, then flew kites with Collin, while Bean and I shaded instead of sunned and snoozed a little. The relaxation was just what the doctor ordered!

Family fun doesn't need to cost much if anything. It is what you make of it! Remember what your parents did with you, and chances are, your kids will enjoy the same, even if there is no TV, computer, video game involved! Family time is about TIME, not Money!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Maintain Your Sanity as a Mom with a Night out... at a discount of course!

So last night, I made the dreaded mistake... I tell my household that I am tired because Bean has a cold and fever and demanded to be held all day and would love a night with no drama, if it wouldn't be too much trouble. I might as well had said, ok everyone let's have a UFC (Ultimate Fighting Challenge) event in the living room! Nearly from the moment I spoke the words, letting my dear dear children know that Mom is at a weak moment, it was on!

My husband steps in but the under the breath bickering continues. When I was at my wits end, the phone rang, it was my dear friend Dee! "Hey do you want to meet for coffee, I have an hour to kill", she says which when translated to what I heard was "Hey do you want to get out of the house to sip on some heaven in a cup?". I look at Collin and he says, "Go hon, and remember Saturday is date night!" That guy can read my mind! I suppose that is part survival instinct after being together for 17 years!

I quick grab my gift card for the local coffee house and meet Dee and feel like I have let out a sigh I swear I had kept in all day. I felt lighter, thinner, I felt the color come back to my face, and a spring in my step! Okay, okay, maybe not all that, but you get my drift! I was telling Dee about my day and listening to hers, and then told her about our date night. She said they could't afford date night. I told her you can't afford not to have a date night, and almost everyone can afford date night, you just have to be creative.

Every couple has to have a date night. They let us reconnect with out significant others, they allow us to be us without cutting up food for another person, we can dress in white if we want to because the chances of us getting sweet potato handprints on our pants is little to none. Date nights should be scheduled, they should be done regularly because after the kids have grown and left the nest, you and your spouse will be sitting there looking at each other. And if you haven't put the effort into keeping the relationship fresh, and keeping the communication open, you will be looking at each other saying, "Who are you?"

Collin and I have had date nights all over the charts. When work was great and the budget was a plenty we would go away for a night at a local hotel, get dressed up, go to dinner and more... wink wink! Right now with budgets tight, we get creative. Here are some tips to successful, yet budget friendly date nights!

1. Sitters... These are imparative to a successful date night! Sitters these days are not cheap! When I baby sat it was $1.50 per kid per hour. My mom tells me of days where she was paid 25 cents an hour, but then again she also walked to school and back barefoot uphill in the snow both ways... Save on sitters by asking family. My mom and mother in law like watching the kids a couple of times a month because they get to see the kids and we like it because they are FREE!!! No family around? Swap with siblings or friends! We also have friends as I am sure you do too! We will do swaps where one night we will take their kids so they can have a night out and one night they will take ours. It's a great way to squeeze in a playdate for the kids and a date night for you, for FREE!!!! When all else fails ask your friends who they use and who has the cheapest rate. Try for free, but sometimes, you gotta pay.

2.Carpet Picnics! We have been known to drop the kids off with the grands and then go home, make dinner and just relax together with a movie. Get the movie from your local kiosk like Red Box and rent a new release for a buck! Can't beat that! Yeah you can only keep it a night, but that's fine. Really who can complain when your date night costs you a dollar in addition to your groceries?

3. Real Picnics! The weather is now turning for the better! Take advantage of it! Look into your local parks, many have inexpensive or free events from movies to comedy nights! Our local parks and rec bulletin lists these and they also have info on line! Make dinner, bring a bottle of wine, and enjoy the weather and entertainment! Even a quiet evening at the park with your significant other, and conversations with laughs will make it so perfect!

4. Coupons! I don't know anyone who isn't bombarded by junk mailers which contain a TON of coupons! I used to just quick toss them away, now I go through them. I look for local places we enjoy and I clip the coupons! They allow us to go out as a family or on a date night with no guilt! Become a coupon clipper, search your fav places online and see if they have coupons online, sign up your email on their sites for the latest specials!

5. This is by no means a commercial however, you must check out and see the discounts! I literally just got 5 different $25 gift certificates for $3 each! I got a link from another store (Borders, where I signed up online to be a member and receive perks), however just go to and sign up, you will receive their deals and they have them throughout the United States! Just beware of the stipulations for each certificate. The ones I got had the stipulation that $35 of food had to be purchased to use it, so that is $10 over the certificate amount, plus the three I paid for them, made it $13 for us to eat $35 worth of food! Please be kind however and tip on the $35, the servers make most of their money off of tips and right now everyone is hurting, so share a bit by saving a lot!

I hope these tips and tricks help! Don't be shy, write and share your ideas and I will Post them also!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Who's the Doctor here?

Oh My Goodness! I have decided to look for a new pediatrician. The girls had the BESTEST pediatric doctor ever, I know because she was mine when I was their age. When she decided to retire, before Bean was born, I nearly had a break down! How? why? What?

"How can you retire I ask? You were my Pediatrician!" I say desperately! "Exactly." she says, and in that moment I knew, not only was I losing the BESTEST pediatrician ever, I was also old.... but that is another blog.... So she gave a choice of three doctors, only one was a girl, so having girls I took her.

When I went in for Bean's 2 month appointment, I met her for the first time. I stared at her with out looking like I was staring ... I think. In my mind I am calculating her age, because at the very oldest I estimate her at 17! Not a hint of a wrinkle, bright glowing skin, boundless energy... by now I am pretty sure my stare is a glare so I look away. All I could think was "Great... Doogie Howser!" How could I trust a doctor who was younger than I, with no kids, and who was that cute? It just wasn't happening!

I talked to my friends and my mom, all of whom told me to give her a chance. Young doctors are more eager they tell me, young doctors know all the latest... yet still I had my reservations... Call it mother's intuition.... Call it ESP... Call it Calista is RIGHT!

I walked out of Bean's 4 month appointment stunned. I re-played the appointment over and over, and I half laugh, half grimace. I was so irritate, yet so stunned, that I had to at least chuckle and shake my head.

Bean was born 5 weeks early, she was little, 3lbs 13 oz. So even know at 7 months she is a mere 13 pounds. I take her in for her 4 month appointment. Dr. Howser tells me, "At 4 months we recommend starting cereal, what do you think?" I just kind of looked at her, why was she asking me? "Well," I state, "Bean is 4 months old yes, however we like to judge her milestones from her due date, which would mean that she is only 2 months 3 weeks and no where near ready for food." "Good point!" Dr Howser says, clearly thinking about what I had just said, and making a mental note.

At Bean's 6 month appointment the insanity continues. Bean is now able to eat food and so I make her food myself... The doctor asks what she eats and I told her, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Banana, Oatmeal, Apple Sauce, Brown Rice and Chicken. "Oh," she says looking concerned, "I hope you cut the chicken up really small for her!" This is the last straw, I can't contain myself any longer. I pull a Bill Engevall on her, "No way!" I say with all the sarcasm I can muster, "I give her a drumstick and tell her good luck!"

Seriously... I need a new pediatrician!

Out of Commission

Wow, I never thought I would be such a terrible blogger! I do actually blog in my head, but after having a baby, moving, and then having the motherboard of my laptop fry, I was just plain old out of commission! You know the saying the Mom is the heart of the home, well apparently not only is that true, but also the motherboard is the heart of my laptop! Or shall I say was....

After losing my 3rd laptop to the same demise, along with tiring of virus protection and all kinds of PC issues, we decided to go Mac and I ain't looking back... yet anyway, I have had it a whole week, and now I am thinking I am Mac-tastic or something!

Anyway, Calista is back, Two be a Mom is back, and we are going back to our roots, our money saving, mom helping, funny mom stories roots!

Come back for more please!!!