Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sorry for not posting

I have been too busy this month working on a new online magazine for API. If you're a member, check out theattachedfamily.com. If you're not a member, I recommend it for all parents who want to turn their parenting into a "profession," meaning you like to keep up on the latest news, information, and research.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Natural Ebb & Flow of Marriage

My husband and I are getting along again. It turns out he has ADD. Would've been nice to know four months ago when he found out, but better late than never, huh? It seems when the doctor told him, he didn't feel it was important to tell me or anyone about it because "it's an overdiagnosed diagnosis," he said. True that it may be in children, but I don't think so in adults.

This explains a lot! It means that when he forgets something...like wearing his sleep apnea CPAP...that he's not being lazy. And it means that when he doesn't follow through with something...like cleaning up some mess...that he's not being mean. It means that he just has trouble remembering to do things because it's the way he is.

In light of this wonderful development -- which I am not saying sarcastically -- I've decided it's OK to be the CPAP police and to kindly remind him every night to put it on. So far, our relationship has done a complete turnaround. He's happy and well-rested, which decreases his forgetfulness, and just a sweet husband again. And while it's a little inconvenient for me to check on him at night, it's worth it...knowing that he's not "making" me do it out of malice.

Chronic Gastritis

This weekend, I started a digestive enzyme supplement I bought at GNC. I was looking for lipase and drove all over the city looking for it, finally learning that either I get all the enzymes in one supplement or I go to a doctor for a prescription of specifically lipase. Not wanting to go to the doctor, I took the multiple enzyme supplement.

The enzyme is a pain. Two giant pills taken right before eating. It isn't for the pain; it's so I know that I'm getting some nutrients from my food.

However, it seems some family members and friends don't like the idea of me self-medicating, so I did go to the doctor yesterday to see if the supplement is a waste of money. The problem is bigger than I suspected. After listening to my symptoms, reviewing the report from my original surgery, and feeling a very tender tummy, my doctor has tentatively decided that I have two different problems: The diarrhea and intestinal cramping is normal, well for someone who had her gallbladder out recently, because the bile flow is much less and it's harder for my body to digest fats then; but the phantom gallbladder pain and stomach aches are not normal.

The doctor said the supplement may be a big waste of money but that I'm welcome to try it. She said not to expect any miracles, and it'd probably be better if I just make a note of what foods cause problems and avoid them. So far, I know that beets and large bowlfuls of mac'n cheese from the box are bad, but I don't have all the problem foods narrowed down. It may be a waste of money -- and is just creating a placebo effect -- but it does seem to be eliminating the awful cramping in my lower abdomen, which is by far more obnoxious than the diarrhea.

Now with my phantom gallbladder pain, heartburn, and sharp stomach pains -- it appears that the abnormal bile flow is creating some issues. My pancreas is swollen, making my doctor think the bile is flowing back into the pancreas, for some reason. The bile also seems to be refluxing into my stomach and up into my esophagus, causing something called Chronic Reactive Gastritis. Fun. No wonder I can't eat anything.

So, what's the treatment, you ask. We don't really know. I'm trying a medicine to stabilize the pH level in my stomach, and if it works, then the doctor will consider other options. If it doesn't work, then I'll need some tests to make sure the diagnosis is correct. This medicine is obnoxious, too, in that it has be taken 30 minutes before lunch and dinner...like I know when I'm going to eat, exactly.

Not eating because of pain is no fun, but I'd be happy if I could just get rid of the absolute exhaustion I feel constantly. I wake up just as tired as when I went to bed. It's neverending, and by far worse than any pain.

The most disappointing thing is that I thought I'd be like the vast majority of people with gallbladder removal who don't have problems afterwards, and I was for three months! And then it suddenly comes back, and it is related still...to the original problem. It's difficult for me to think that this could be a chronic thing, but I do have to remember that this is God's will. It is not mine and that I need to remember that I am not in control, that He is. And even if He doesn't make me suddenly well, or ever completely well, that doesn't mean He doesn't care. It's all in His plan.

Now that, sometimes, is the hardest part to stomach.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Phantom Gallbladder Pain

So, it's been almost three months since I got my gallbladder removed. I had a tumor in there causing a lot of problems, from let-me-die pain to unrelenting exhaustion and wild blood sugar swings.

I had been warned by my surgeon that sometimes people without gallbladders don't adjust fully to not having one. While I had a couple problems during the first couple weeks, things have been going good. I thought I was one of the lucky ones...well, until these last 10 days. I've been having a mild, but annoying, pain where my gallbladder used to be, pretty much right after I eat, even a tiny bite of something. I have heartburn again, and sharp stomach pains. And, I have to really watch how much fastfood/processed food I eat because I get (gross warning!) bad diarrhea. I have learned that beets and mac 'n cheese from the box are bad foods to eat without a gallbladder. And if I eat too big of a meal, like how I would normally stuff myself at Thanksgiving, I get very, very sick -- tired, nausea, a little bit of a fever, terrible sharp pains throughout my digestive system, it even felt like my liver was swollen a little. Could be my imagination, but I was really sick for a day.

So, I'm a little irritated by this new development, especially considering it's been three months of really no problems! I looked it up on the internet, and gosh, it could be anything: chronic pancreatitis, spincter of oddi dysfunction, bile duct stones, impaired liver function, gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, and on and on. Or, it could be something called Post Cholestomy Syndrome, or a collection of symptoms that occur after gallbladder removal with no treatment and no real idea of the cause (well, besides not having all your organs). That's probably what I have...the one without a cure.

Needless to say, I'm a little disheartened by all of this. But, we all have to carry our own burdens, right? My husband has sleep apnea; I have weird phantom gallbladder pain.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Almost October 1

So, tomorrow's October 1. And this means it's almost my baby's first birthday!

It's amazing how much babies change in the first year. They're born tiny and helpless and all they do is nurse, sleep, poop, and cry. And by the end of the year, they're walking and trying to say words, eating table food, and pulling their sisters' hair for the fun of it.

It makes me so proud to watch all her accomplishments, but it does make me sad, too. Kids are babies for such a short time before they form a conscience and begin to do things they know push Mommy's buttons. And the bigger they grow, the more opinions they have and the more arguments they start or perpetuate.

My toddler is in the midst of her terrible twos, which most days aren't that terrible except when she's sick, hungry, tired, or needs a diaper change. But there are other days when, for no apparent reason, she decides that she doesn't need to listen to me anymore...that she can do whatever it is -- like cutting an apple with a knife! -- all by herself. And no matter how many times I say "no," she shakes her head and holds her ground doing whatever it is I just told her to stop. I know she's just getting to the point where she wants to be more independent, and to do things on her own, and I respect that, but at the same time, I want her to respect that I'm the parent and know best. At least when it comes to handling knives... :)

When my toddler was turning 1, I wasn't sad. I guess the difference is that the second baby may be my last. I go back and forth on this all the time. I would like another baby, at some point, but with the difficulties I've encountered with both of their births, that's definitely a deterrant. Maybe I could adopt and avoid all that childbirth-related drama, but then I have to look at our family finances. We don't live on much money, and two kids in disposable diapers was all that our budget could handle this past winter. So, maybe there will be another baby...eventually (it's much too much work with them so close in age)...

But, I digress. Yes, it's my baby's one-year birthday coming up. I'm starting to compile a list, being mindful of the great plenty of toys we already have, thanks to our toddler's two-year birthday this summer. Here's the list so far:
  • Magnets (probably as much for my enjoyment as hers -- I love magnets!)
  • New sippy cups
  • A jacket with a hood
  • 12-month winter clothes

Sleep Apnea

My husband has obstructive sleep apnea, a medical condition that causes his throat to relax so much when he sleeps that it cuts off his air supply. In order to not suffocate in his sleep, he must wake up so that his brain will trigger those throat muscles to tighten again and open his throat up.

Untreated, sleep apnea can lead to a host of issues long-term including heart attack and stroke, dementia, and permanent short-term memory loss. In the short-term, the person is extremely tired, putting him at risk of car accidents, forgetfulness and grumpiness, and embarrassing social scenes.

My husband was diagnosed with this in January 2007. We spent $3,000 on an overnight hospital stay for the tests and for the machine that helps him breathe at night. Called a CPAP, it consists of a mask that fits over my husband's nose with a tube running to a machine that continuously pumps room-oxygen air through the tube, making the needed opening in his throat so he can breathe.

Right from the beginning, he couldn't use the CPAP, or "mask," without being reminded. OK, at first, this was understandable. But as time wore on, this got old real fast. The problem is not that it doesn't work -- after he wears his mask, he says feels really good and even better when he wears it several nights in a row. (The doctor says he needs to wear it every night for about three weeks to feel the full effects of the treatment.) But he doesn't wear it. He says he forgets to put it on.

I was getting tired of reminding him night after night to put it on. It was making me resent him because I felt like I had to be his mother. So, about two months ago, I stopped reminding him. Now, I resent him because he's sooo grumpy and because he doesn't set his alarm clock and is then late for work. He tells me he loves his job, but really?

So, a couple nights ago, I decided to start reminding him again to wear his mask. And now he gets really angry, because I'm trying to "force" him to do something. Very frustrating, and it really puts me in a pickle. As the wife, I'm supposed to be supportive and loving, and if making sure my husband does his medical treatment isn't supportive and loving, then what is my option?

Don't get me wrong -- I know, I know, that it's the sleep apnea talking and not my husband. Just like you can't blame a drunk for words that come out of his mouth when he's under the influence, although you can blame him for getting into the situation to start with. And that's where I'm at. It doesn't make sense to me and is something I'll have to pray about.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Poor Chin

My chin hurts so bad.

My husband doesn't always shave regularly and if he leans in for a kiss, his little whiskers rub against my chin. It's terribly painful -- feels like someone sandpapered my chin. But how can you tell someone that their hairy chin is hurting your non-hairy chin, especially when they're just trying to be affectionate?

This certainly isn't the first time I've encountered the wire brush-like chin of my unshaven husband, so I asked him to shave tonight. I didn't want him to feel bad, and he didn't seem too bothered by being asked. Of course, it was the only way I was going to let him kiss me without some sort of barrier between our chins.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Oh, Appliances!

So, last week was the sewer gas problem, right? We never did figure that one out.

Well, on Friday night, the microwave quit. Luckily, we had a spare in the garage.

And then, this morning, the freezer quit. What a mess! We had 2 lambs, some beef, a quarter hog, and a whole lot of frozen fruit/vegies and pizza in there. How did God choose to get my attention? A pop can exploded on top of the freezer, and as I was trying to clean up the mess, I noticed the cat was licking up something on the floor at the same time that it appeared the freezer door wasn't all the way shut. I tried to shove it closed, but it didn't seem to work. When I opened the door to see what the problem was, a wave of blood flowed onto the floor!

What a blessing it is to have such a wonderful Mom and friends to help me save all the food and find a place for it, and then help me clean up the mess! Now, we just have to get a repairman out here. I called one in town here, and they're backed up a couple months. He thought he might be able to come this week to look at it, but they didn't have time to actually fix it. I'm just glad we were able to save almost everything. Only the frozen pizzas (4), the last of our homemade ice cream, two bags of sugar, and some livers had to be tossed.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What Happened to the Sewer Gas?

If you're wondering what happened to the sewer gas smell coming out of the bathroom, so am I.

My husband closed himself in there for a second night to re-shampoo the carpet, disinfect the toilet, clean out the sink trap, and pour bleach down the tub. It smelled heavily of cleaning products for a couple of days and then, yesterday, the smell seemed to have disappeared. Now, today, after giving the baby a bath this morning, there seemed to be just a hint of porty-potty smell again. But now it's gone.

Any ideas on this perplexing situation are greatly appreciated!

My Little Sponges

"It's a butt! It's a butt!"

My husband was changing the baby's diaper to the tune of our toddler yelling, "It's a butt!" over and over. She was pointing to a spot on the wall at a moth. Oh, a bug. And apparently, that's how I act when I see some gross bug that I don't want to squish myself -- by pointing to it and telling Mike that "it's a bug." I guess.

My toddler is 2 and is picking up more and more words all the time, forming little sentences, and entertaining (and, often, confusing) me with her attempts at communication. She is also my mirror, copying all that I do, and now that she can talk, copying what I say, too. My baby has just begun that "sponge" stage, where she begins soaking up all that she sees. She's more preoccupied with learning how to walk, but she does say "bye, bye" now and sometimes gives a little wave.

When the baby became a toddler and starts copying everything, that was the point where I really began examining my life. If my children are copying the way I fold laundry or pick things off the floor, they are certainly listening to every word out of my mouth. Oh gosh, I'm teaching them how to live life and what normal is by my example! I remember when I was little, maybe 10 or so, and I said "Damn it!" (you know, one of those words kids pick up at school...) in front of my brother who was a toddler at the time. Of all the words my mom was trying to get him to say, that was the last one, and he picked it up immediately. My mother was so angry and it took some time for her to break him of that habit. I didn't understand then what the problem was with slipping up one time -- actually I think I was experimenting with it myself, because I remember my father having a talk with me about not saying those types of words -- and I don't think I really gave it much thought until I had kids myself. Now, I notice every curse word spoken in my child's presence, mostly by strangers or acquaintences who don't yet have children themselves.

My toddler is constantly saying "alright" to things, and it took a little while to figure out that I say "alright" to just about anything affirmative. And "wow" when I see something neat. And then, I apparently say "Oh my gosh!" quite a bit. I'm impressed that she says "Oh my gosh!" at the appropriate times, like when she drops something, but it's scary to think how much she's picking up. It's really makes me think about what I'm doing.

For example, I used to spank to discipline my toddler. But, as I watch how she interacts with the baby -- patting her back to burp her like Mommy, kissing her head when she cries like Mommy -- I got to thinking that she'll probably get to a point where she'll spank her sister like Mommy used to. I started to think about it, and felt funny trying to teach my children to be kind, loving people with an unloving act such as spanking, even if on a diapered bottom. Plus, I began to notice that my toddler wasn't really responding to the spanking -- she would just go right back to doing whatever it was again -- and the spanking was getting harder and I was getting more frustrated.

That's when I began exploring positive discipline. It scared me at first because I was spanked when little and turned out fine, and also because the verse in Proverbs: "Spare the rod, spoil the child." I know that spoiling a child -- not disciplining -- seems loving at first but is mostly taking the easy way out and that that child will grow into an adult with no respect for law and authority and her life's constant struggles and/or immoral results will reflect that. But spanking seemed to be doing the same sort of thing to my child, and it was turning me into this frustrated, angry mother.

I first read Connection Parenting by Pam Leo, which is a good book but it just didn't speak to me. The concepts were all there, but I needed something that gave me real-life examples of trying to get from the place where I was at (angry, frustrated) to the place where I needed to be (loving, understanding even in the face of tantrums, defiant behavior, and sometimes outright mean behavior). So, I took a friend's recommendation and bought How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Elaine Mazlish and Adele Faber. What a brilliant book! I highly recommend it. I used to think that positive discipline was basically spoiling a child, but it isn't at all. It still means setting limits, but it's discipline without spanking or negative talk. It's teaching by example, through words and actions, and by taking the anger out of the situation.

Taking the anger out was the key. Once I did that, I learned there was really no point for spanking. Spanking was then more of an attention-getter, and I could do the same more effectively by interrupting the situation, turning my toddler's face toward mine and asking her to look into my eyes while I talk to her in her language about what not to do, and then asking her to help me repair the situation, such as cleaning up the spilled milk or apologizing to her friend for hitting her with a toy. It's been much more effective than spanking ever was.

There are sometimes I feel the frustration bubbling up, or when my toddler begins to get worked up or is already in a full-blown tantrum, and at those times, I lead her to her room to "cool down." Later, I'll go get her or she'll come out herself when she's ready.

And there are a few times that I do slip up and let out my frustration, and at these times, I always make sure to reconnect by apologizing and hugging/kissing.

I did struggle with with the "spare the rod" part for a while. I asked my pastor about disciplining children. He said spanking is OK, but spanking in anger is not. Then, I got to thinking about the New Testament commandment to "love one another" and how when Jesus came, it erased those past ways of doing things like not eating pork and sacrificing lambs at the alter. I prayed about it, and what I came up with is that God's point is that we are to discipline our children -- that we are to teach them right from wrong, and that we are teach them to "love one another." For me, I cannot teach my children to love one another by spanking them; I have to teach them that through the way I live my life...and that includes how to lovingly correct my children.

This takes me back to my kids copying me, and as I finish this up, I'm watching my toddler smack the wall with a flyswatter, turn around, and say with a confused face "Where'd it go? Where'd it go?" Apparently I have bad aim, and spend a great of my fly-swatting time doing this, too.

So, what do your kids say that crack you up, or reveal what you're truly doing?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Cure for Bad Days

Some days are certainly easier than others, but I don't have many bad days. There was this janitor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's city campus union I talked to while I was going to school there, years ago. He said something that really stuck with me -- that he's never had a bad day in his life, just that some days are better than others. From then on, I try really hard not to classify a day as bad. But, every once in a while, I truly do have a bad day.

In August, there was this day when I had PMS, two sick children, a sick husband, and was on crutches from a spider bite on my ankle. Now, that was a really hard day, and toward the evening, I lost it. I had had enough! I was angry at the situation and frustrated from the challenges mounting against me. I said some things I shouldn't have, reacting in a way that only added to the stress of everyone else in the house.

But, most days, I can handle far more than what life throws my way. Really, overall, I love my life! It's amazing how much love there is...from my family and friends, from my church, from the people I work with and volunteer with and go to playgroup with. I think one of the most freeing gifts of salvation is what God does for our lives. Yes, I look forward to heaven. But, right now while I'm here on earth, I'm absolutely amazed at how easy my life is and how happy I am when I follow God's plan for my life.

I don't have bad days as long as I keep my focus on God, but I do when I put my selfish desires first -- such as when I believe that spider bites and sick kids and PMS are too much for me to handle and that I am "entitled" to a break. If I thought about it long enough, I would've seen how my children and husband were entitled to a break, too. And that break certainly didn't include a frustrated wife and mother.

It's times like these that I'm learning to stop what I'm doing and pray. It helps me focus on what's important, which is often not my desires. Sometimes, my desires are legitimate, such as wanting a nap after staying up the night before with a teething baby or wanting to sit in the backyard with a good book without children for a few minutes out of the day. But when I start thinking that I deserve more than another person because their needs cannot be as important as my wants, that's when I get myself in trouble.

One of my favorite tools is remembering that tomorrow is a new day. Every morning, I start over. I wake up, put any frustrations or disagreements from the day before out of my mind, and focus on making the current day the best that it can be. And if the day doesn't turn out to be the best day, I tell myself before I go to bed that tomorrow will be better. Even if it isn't better, there's always hope -- one of those beautiful, wonderful, extremely powerful gifts that sits right up there with faith and love.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Putting God First

It's Monday, and the start of a new week. This morning has been pretty typical: get the kids up, change sheets on the baby's bed after her diaper leaked (eww!), the toddler gets her asthma medicine, breakfast, start the dishes from the night before, and -- wait, what is that smell? That putrid, sewer gas smell that hits me as soon as I open the door to the bathroom? (Our only bathroom!) This cannot be good, but luckily, the smell is contained to that room only and doesn't seem to be seeping out from under the closed door. Otherwise, I warned my mom, that I may be coming over for a visit should the smell take over the whole house.

This reminds me of something Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life," said once: about how life is a series of problems, one right after another. If it isn't one thing, it's something else. And if life is going good in all areas, just wait, something will pop up. If it isn't sewer gas in the bathroom, it's something else. And I know very well that that something else could be much, much worse.

Sometime in high school, I started to have problems with abdominal pain, which culminated more than a decade later, this summer, into several months of extreme fatigue, incapcitating abdominal pain, night sweats, weight loss, weakness, and problems regulating my blood sugar and therefore my irritability. It ended up being a tumor in my broken gallbladder.

A year after my husband and I married, in 2003, our rental trailer was hit by a tornado. We were homeless for a time, before God brought some amazing, wonderful people in our life so that we could get back on our feet.

Then, a little over two years ago, I woke up in a pool of blood at only 7 months of pregnancy with my first. I was driven by ambulance 2 hours away, diagnosed with life-threatening (to mom and baby!) placental abruption, put on labor-stopping drugs which didn't work, and gave birth to a 3 1/2-pound baby girl 2 1/2 months early. She had some major medical problems, and the whole experience left us broken (spiritually, emotionally, and financially).

Seven months later, God gave me a surprise pregnancy and we chose to move from South Dakota to south-central Nebraska, where my and my husband's parents live, fearful of trying to deal with another premature birth alone, again. This baby was born nine months later, by a complicated C-section. Perinatal depression turned into postpartum depression, and my marriage took a nose dive.

Really, our marriage had never been that good to begin with, but the damage inflicted on it through the depression was what pushed it over the edge it had been teetering on for so long. After years of trying to change one another, punctuated by off-and-on marriage counseling spent trying to get the counselor to change the other person, we finally hit a point where neither my husband nor I thought we could go on. But, something happened at that point, someone was praying for us...and we both found God, truly building a relationship with Him -- not just going to church, saying "yes we believe" but not really living for Him.

So, we got to the point where we were looking at certain divorce -- where our teeny, tiny flame of any sort of relationship was out, totally gone, replaced by bitterness and hurt and frustration and anger and nothing happy or loving or good -- and I picked up a book called The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Something about it caught my attention, even though I thought the title was weird and the book cover unattractive. I didn't even read any of the inside before I bought it, which is not like me. I think God told my hand to pick it up, and my brain wasn't even included in this transaction, because if I had opened up the book, I would never have bought it.

When I first began reading it, for about the first chapter, I wanted to stop reading it and throw it away. To me, it was a step back to the Dark Ages where women were expected to slave away for their husbands. It read "Oppression of Women!" all over it. Basically, it's a book on what the wife's role in a marriage is and what it means to submit out of love to her husband. I don't know one woman who likes that word "submit." I certainly didn't, but the more I read, the more it made sense and the more I felt compelled to try some of the ideas.

At about the same time, I was reading the book How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. I was learning how to lovingly discipline children by taking the anger and frustration out of the discipline part, and instead, focusing on teaching. As I worked on putting some of the discipline ideas into practice, it spilled over into my marriage relationship a little. I was learning to rid my life of anger -- not suppresssing it, but learning how to change my perspective on people and expectations so that I didn't feel anger.

I can't really tell you exactly how it happened, because it truly was God's hand at work here. I know that I took the anger-erasing exercises out of the Faber and Mazlish book, and somehow carried that over while embracing the Schlessinger book. I focused on the Bible and on the advice from my mom and other wise, married, Christian women. I learned that what I was seeing as giving, unselfish behavior and unconditional love was distorted. I had put my kids before my husband. I began to forgive, to accept, to praise my husband and to encourage him as he has started to work on his own issues. But never focusing on what my husband should or should not be doing, just on myself. Remembering always that to get love, you have to give it and not expect anything in return, not even a "thank you."

And for the first time in my 6+-year marriage, both my husband and I are happy. I had been praying for most of my marriage for it to get better, mostly for my husband to change, and my prayers are finally being answered, although the person changing is mostly me. I used to wonder why God wasn't answering my prayers, but it was because I was treating him like a magic genie. Now, I understand that prayers are a joint effort. The praying person has to let God into her heart and be open to the opportunities that God puts forth.

My point is, if you want your marriage to change, you got to first and foremost put God first in your life and then pray with an open heart, ready to accept whatever opportunities (even if they seem like they won't work) God puts out there. Also, there is no step-by-step manual for getting a marriage back on track; mostly, I just did the very difficult task of putting my trust fully in God and the Bible, making the most out of the opportunities He gave me, and pushed blindly through all of my unhealthy habits and negative feelings -- hoping, and trusting, that at the end, it had to be better than where I started.

Getting Started

So, it's 2:40 in the morning and I'm writing my first post for this blog. It's a common occurence for me to be staring at the clock at this time of the night, wondering why I'm still up and didn't I tell my husband a few hours ago, at supper, that I was planning on going to bed early tonight and maybe getting a full night's sleep for the first time in maybe six months? I say this, but once the kids are in bed and my husband's snoozing on the couch, the pull of getting a little bit of time for myself on the computer is just too great -- even if it means I'll be fighting the alarm clock in the morning and stumbling in my PJs to my children's rooms to get them up for the day.

Maintaining balance -- one of the Eight Principles of Parenting by the nonprofit Attachment Parenting International (http://www.attachmentparenting.org/) -- between my roles of wife and mother is one of the many, many essential tools to nurturing my sanity. And the computer, and it's portal to so many friends I only know by user names and e-mail addresses, provides a great way of getting away without really getting away.

Not that I really need another thing to do -- frankly, between housework, wifedom, motherhood, freelance work, and volunteering, I don't need anything else to do -- but I figured this blog might be a good way to vent my frustrations and celebrate my joys...and maybe give someone some good reading material. If only you could be a fly on my wall to see what really goes on behind my closed doors...and now you do.

So, let's get this thing started.