Behind starburst eyes

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Tonight I had the perfect example of just how subjective beauty truly is. Each time I was pregnant my husband would lovingly rub essential oils on my growing stomach every night. After our last child he stopped doing so. It made sense to me on a logical level, I was no longer growing one of our children, why lavish such care and devotion upon a part of my body that I for one was not keen on at all!

But in the quietest part of my heart’s secret garden I felt differently. I’d loved those moments when he’d gently caress both me and our unborn child. Those moments made me feel beautiful, sacred, special, cared for, cherished. After Miss G’s surprise arrival we were told I couldn’t carry any more children. We were told I wouldn’t survive the pregnancy/labor. So of course we took steps to ensure that I would never become pregnant again. I am completely at peace with this concept, I feel like our family is complete. I feel very blessed with the children we have, I feel that I have been given 5 extraordinary children that call me mom, 3 that I got to carry and 2 that I did not carry myself.

But in that quiet, almost still part of my secret garden there lay the whispered thoughts I don’t tend to speak out loud. One is that I miss those moments when my husband would smile at me while he gently rubbed my stomach. Once I fully realized just how much I missed it, I spoke up, and his words surprised me. I told him that I missed it, and he told me that he’d only stopped because I made him feel that I didn’t want him to touch my stomach anymore. I made him feel that it was “off limits” once it no longer housed our children. I told him it wasn’t, and so he smiled and gently rubbed my stomach. He told me that to him my stomach was always beautiful, regardless if I was pregnant or not at the time, I had been pregnant, and each of the marks was from those sacred times, the roundness that still exists was sexy to him. One of the parts of myself that I have often found ugly he showed me that in his eyes was in fact beautiful. Not just in a sacred Motherhood aspect, (that as well yes, but not only) but attractive; honestly attractive. And in doing so made me see myself in the same light, as beautiful and attractive exactly as I am.

As we approach the new year, I hope that each of you that struggles with being overwhelmed with the mass media’s false ideals of fake beauty has someone to show you the truth about yourself: That you are beautiful and attractive right now, exactly as you are. And I hope for each of you that you allow the often overlooked idea that you could be beautiful or attractive without changing your outside inside the secret garden of your own spirit, where it might grow and flourish until you no longer doubt it. Until it is a constant fixed view that you have of yourself.

Footnote: While the concept that beauty is subjective to the person contemplating said object has been found in written works since the 3rd century, the exact phrase “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” has been attributed to Margaret Wolfe Hungerford in her 1878 work “Molly Bawn”


Cream puffs and Cannoli’s

While nowadays it’s common advice for a husband to NOT give his wife kitchen appliances for special occasions, in my house that advice is false. Here, I love to cook and bake, and adore all the gadgets out there that help to make it easier to make even more creations. To that end my husband bought me a deep fryer this past week and I LOVE it. I’ve made far too many deep fried foods and had a blast doing it!

One of the best parts about my gift is that I am not the only one that adores using it. My kids are all interested in cooking and baking and I encourage them all to learn such a valuable life skill as culinary skills are! While I realize that knowing how to make perfect cannoli’s or cream puffs or even breaded deep fried stuffing patties are not essential to their lives, it certainly doesn’t hurt to know how ūüôā I know my eldest loves to bake more than cook, so he’s been thrilled with the baking we’ve doing, (as well as his new camouflage print apron I made him for Yule and his own set of piping tools.)

Me, while I love the baking, it’s the memories we make together, and the conversations we have as we go that I love the most. For example, I’d never made cannoli’s before, and so while I’d found a recipe online I didn’t have cannoli tubes, so I improvised. Some of my ideas were great and worked wonderfully, if a little large, but others were disasters. As Mr. C was trying so hard to make me feel better with encouraging words about how they weren’t “that bad” and that they “looked great!” I smiled and let him in on a secret. I don’t mind that they weren’t perfect from the start. I only mind if I give up before I get the hang of it. I believe that with enough effort and attempts, with perseverance I’ll succeed. He looked at me with surprise and asked “But aren’t you mad that you didn’t make them right, right away? Doesn’t it make you upset that one’s burnt, and that one’s totally flat?” and so I told him “No, I know that cannoli’s are said to be tricky, and even if they were thought of as easy I’d still be okay with needing time to master them. It’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to mess up and have terrible results, as long as you don’t give up, as long as you don’t quit.”

I wanted him to know that it’s okay to mess up, we all do, at least if we’re really living we do. When we’re fully immersed in life, in our life, it’s a messy, convoluted, upside down, right side out tilt a whirl experience. I don’t want him to be afraid to fully live because he thinks he’ll get it wrong, I want him to smile and learn from his mistakes cause eventually the cannoli’s will turn out great ūüėČ



P.S The recipe I used for the cannoli’s was:¬†

The cream puffs:

However the breaded deep fried stuffing patties was all my idea ūüôā I used a half bread half potato stuffing as that is what I had on had as it’s the only stuffing any of my family ever makes. Our grandpa used it, and our parents all learnt it and used it and now my brother and even some of our cousins still use this one recipe for stuffing.¬†I think a bread only stuffing wouldn’t have held together as well in the deep fryer as well as one that was thicker from the potatoes added, so be careful what recipe you choose if you’re going to make those ūüôā

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Don’t forget the “fine print”

I don’t know for sure what exact¬†“bug” has hit our home, but every one of us has caught it, and it’s been terrible. It started almost 3 weeks ago with congested sinus’s and runny noses, but quickly lodged deep in the lungs giving rise to horrible coughs that leave the person gasping for breath, and in need of an inhaler, coupled with super high fevers. Finally little Miss G caught it, she was one of the last ones to do so, and her fever had us actually scared. We used children’s Advil, we used cold cloths and running cold water on her wrists. We tried to give her popsicles and cold juice but she wouldn’t touch either. We took her to the doctors and she was given antibiotics, high dosage ones that normally aren’t given for her size, but she was just so ill that the doctor felt she really needed them. (This is the same doctor that¬†does not typically give out antibiotics to children at all.) We took her prescription to the pharmacy and her daddy gave it to her (she’s more willing to take it from him than I, so why fight her when I can just let him do it!) The next day her dad was out and I had to do it, I looked at the bottle and realized that she’d been given the wrong dosage. She was given 125mg/100ml but her script had said 250mg/100ml. Off we went to the pharmacy!

When we got there I spoke with the pharmacist and at first was told it was fine, it was correct, but I insisted that they look it up. Once he did, all I could hear was “She’s right!” over and over as he looked at the 2 techs. He was extremely apologetic, his hands were shaking as he explained that normally it’s the 125mg that is given, but that it wasn’t an excuse and that he would never, ever make the same mistake again, for the rest of his life he would zoom in and double check the strength given no matter what. He immediately started to work on her correct prescription amidst an almost continuous stream of apologies. I smiled and when I could finally get a word in, I mentioned that it was done yesterday, not today. The look of relief was palatable as he realized that it wasn’t him working yesterday. He assured us that no matter what pharmacist was indeed working this type of mistake would never happen again. He also refunded the cost of her original prescription. It’s easy during hectic times to forget to look at the “fine print” in¬†many things, but where medications come into play, I know I’ll never forget to¬†double check dosages, as well as strengths given, not after this!

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Colored water and when to join in…

I did some of my Yule shopping on eBay this year. One of the things that I bought was an add-on for the bathroom faucet. See I’ve tried many things to encourage the children to brush their teeth, but it tends to go the same “I don’t wanna” route each time. When I saw the add on that goes onto your faucet and lights up different colors as the water sprays through I couldn’t resist. Perhaps, just perhaps this might be what gets them to brush without a fuss. Well dear readers I’m thrilled to announce that it did indeed work! (At least so far while there’s still the novelty¬†of it lol)

Water Glow LED Faucet Light with Temperature Sensor + Three Optional Colors

Tonight was my step-daughter’s Winter Holidays concert. It was extremely crowded in the gymnasium where it was taking place, parking was also highly entertaining, the closest we could find was 2 blocks from the school, and of course we didn’t bring the stroller. (We didn’t want to take up too much room inside the gym) We walked to the school, and there wasn’t even really standing room left when we got there. Eventually a person left the second row and so I quickly sat down with Mr.¬†N on my lap. He yelled “Hi” several times when Miss. B got up on stage and she was thrilled, smiling and waving back to him. She looked lovely in her white dress with black trim, and so happy as she sang with a bright smile upon her face. Once she was done there was to be one song sung by another class and then it would be Miss. D’s class’ turn. I tried to tell Mr. N this, but he didn’t understand. He was upset and I whispered to him to look at the kids standing on the risers singing. He cried out “I wan Daaaaddy!” ¬†I shouldn’t have believed him,¬† I of all people should know better,¬†should have known it was a ploy, alas I didn’t. Since my husband was only a couple of feet away holding Miss G, I put him down as I told him¬†it was okay to go see daddy. But go see his daddy he did NOT!

Instead he ran towards the kids singing, and got up on the risers, looked at all the kids, and then jumped off. (He’s just learnt how to jump so he’s keen to do it all the time right now) I frantically motioned for my husband, who quickly passed me Miss. G so he could try and convince Mr. N to get off the risers they were using in conjunction with the stage. As he crouched down beside the riser whisper-shouting “come here Turkey” (His nickname since he was born on Thanksgiving) Mr. N got back on and ran right through the back row of them. I watched as children balanced precariously on the back riser while trying to give Mr. N the room to run smiling past them. All the while those lovely children tried to keep singing the song they’d worked so hard on, and several parents and teachers alike tried not to laugh at the antics of my boy. Dearest husband finally got Mr. N and the show continued on without a hitch after that. Miss. D was lovely and sang with great joy as well, and Mr. N was pleased to watch her as well. Ahh yes this is our life unscripted ūüôā

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Stopping to be present

It was late morning, still too early for her usual nap time, but G was tired. Rubbing her eyes, trying to use the bottom of her dress as a blanket, by pulling it up to her head. I laughed at that one, it was adorable! So thinking only of how this meant I had a bit of time before making lunch for the boys¬†to work on some of my stuff I¬†picked her up to take her to bed. But as I did so, she¬†placed her head upon my shoulder, sucked her thumb, and hummed. She was content and that made me pause and just stand there holding her, relishing in the weight and feel of her little body cuddled into mine. Her baby fine hair tickling my face as I turned to kiss her head. She hummed for a few minutes as I gently rocked her, slowly¬†her arm went slack as the humming stopped. She had fallen asleep in my arms, and I just stood there¬†listening to her breathing. Knowing that this precious girl has complete and utter trust in me, humbles me. It makes me profoundly grateful to be her mother, to be the one entrusted with the honor¬†of protecting, and¬†guiding her until she is strong and wise enough to do it for herself. All the while I shall be slowly giving her the tools to do so. If I had not paused when she put her head on my shoulder, if I’d just kept walking, focusing on my constantly full “to-do” list I would have missed that moment. I’m glad that I didn’t.

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One bite at a time…

Today was one of those days where you think that the hours will simply slide into each other, easily, quietly, without major merit, or major event. Tonight’s dinner for example, it was nothing spectacular, just a simple meal of breaded shrimp, fish sticks, mashed potatoes and corn. Typically, N would only have eaten the fish sticks, and after putting a small amount of the other 3 items on his plate we would have finished making him some cheesy noodles to accompany it. But, and this is where the evening changed to special, he ATE the mashed potatoes! For a child with such a self-limited diet, this was huge! Last week was the first time he didn’t have a meltdown from seeing a food he didn’t want to eat on his plate. Prior to then he wouldn’t have eaten anything on his plate until the food he didn’t want was removed, and he would have been desolate until you removed it. But between the trips to the delicatessens, and farms we’ve been working steadily with him on accepting new foods, not even trying them, just accepting them on his plate. I thought it would take much longer for him to be willing to try one of the new foods on his plate. But tonight he said he didn’t want the mashed potatoes, so we told him “then don’t eat them” and left it at that. A few minutes later, he was cautiously dipping his fork into them, and actually trying them. He ate all of them on his plate and asked for more! It was wonderful, and certainly made this day special for me. It marks a definitive progress in expanding his diet. It shows that the methods I’ve utilized to help him, really are helping him. The feeling of accomplishment I get from that is huge. I look forward to watching his continued progress with meal times. I know he won’t try everything every single time, I know that it’ll take time, but I see that glimmer that what I’m doing is working, that I was in fact reading him and his signs correctly, and that my intuition on how to help him in this area was correct, and that makes this day awesome.

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Autism Everyday Video

This is NOT what my world is like at all! For Autism Speaks to have created this is appalling.

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