Manic Monday Blogarrhea

  • I think I should be embarrassed about this: My girlfriend had a baby shower the other day and I couldn't be there. On Friday, I was rushing around getting the gift ready to drop off at the hostess' house and realized that we were out of tissue paper (note to self: replenish the stash). The options were to a) go to Target on the way to the hostess' house and grab some tissue paper, or b) figure out another way to wrap the present. Now, if you know me, you know that a trip into Target for tissue paper will easily turn into a 20 minute browsing escapade where I will effortlessly turn a $3 purchase that needs no bag into a $60 purchase requiring 2 bags. It's sort of like a magic trick I do. Yes, I recognize that there are stores other than Target (though, I don't like to admit it), but Target was the only store that carries that type of thing betwixt my house and the hostess'. I've been working on my willpower, but it is not strong enough yet, I know this about myself. So, I started ransacking the house for another option. I have been a proud hoarder of diaper bags. Some I have used, some we've kept on hand "just in case" (not even sure what scenario the "just in case" ones would have been broken out for, but you never know). So, I ran up to the Twinstrom's closet, and grabbed one of the (unused) slingbags that we got with a formula promotion before the Twinstroms were born, removed the stitched on tag (lest I should be accused of assisting in the marketing of formula), and stuffed it to the gills with the gift. I mean I stuffed it. My babysitter was sitting next to me watching me frustratingly rearrange the goodies (I usually do a theme gift - The Lindstrom Approved baby kit - everything but the baby) until I could zip the thing shut. So, what's the verdict? Tacky? or totally brilliant? (I'll accept a grey area as well, and bonus points if the new mom who was the recipient comments.)
  • Here is a list of things that you find out are really hard to teach your child when you're in the midst of teaching them to your child: buckling their own seatbelt, the formality and process of "inviting friends over" and "being invited" and at what point the parents need to be involved, hockey fights and the penalty box (the four year-old asked when they would be apologizing to each other), what "infinity" is (Toy Story obsession), and the fact that the Berenstain Bears named their baby Honey - and that they eat honey - does not mean that they will be eating their baby (hellllllooooooo, was anybody actually thinking when they made that artistic choice?)
  • I ordered something from an online store the other day that (oddly) came along with 2 breathalyzer keychains. Mr. Lindstrom and I think they are hilarious. After one drink (and I don't mean one drink - I actually mean one sip) of an alcoholic beverage, I blow a .5. This reminds me of this pamphlet they handed out once when I was in college - the pamphlet featured a table which approximated how many drinks a person of varying weight ranges would need in order to be different stages of inebriation. The most serious stage was "deep coma/death." Hilariously, at the lowest weight range, one would need only 0-1 drinks to find themselves in "deep coma/death." Even funnier, I had a handful of girlfriends that fell into that range (I hung out with soccer players and dancers). Imagine the fun we had making fun of those friends of ours who perpetually were in the deep coma/ death state. We tended to watch them quite carefully when they were about halfway through a beer.
  • While I've got you here, why don't you check back to my Two Truths and a Lie post to find out what I was lying about. I am proud to say that most of you were DEAD WRONG!!!! Mwah-ha ha ha ha.


Food For Thought Friday: Book 'em...

Food For Thought Friday is brought to you by the amazing folks at Welcome Baby Care. They are THE post-partum and newborn experts. Check out their website, and don’t forget to “like” them on Facebook to take advantage of all their knowledge. Also, be sure
to follow babycaretweets on Twitter to receive news and ideas on newborn care and thoughts about parenting!

When the four year-old started to show an interest in books, like a true interest, like "bring me books and try to climb up on my lap to read them" interest, I made a commitment that I would never say "no" to reading to him. I almost want to cry at that right now, because I had no idea what life would become for us. I was pretty good with this commitment until his baby brother and sister were born. The Twinstroms were a little more like the twin-storms in his life. They shook up his normal like you can only imagine, and when I was so busy trying to simultaneously nurse them, or pump, or soothe, or rock, or try to put them down for naps, oh my goodness, this poor child was wondering (I'm sure) if his mommy would ever read him a book again or frankly do much of anything for him again.

Still I made it a priority that during the Twinstrom's naptime and when the four year-old was going to bed we would read. Whatever he would show interest in. We tried to start Mary Poppins, but that was a little much for him, we did the Ivy and Bean thing, we've done the Frog and Toad thing, mostly I have looked high and low for serial books that could keep the interest of a four year-old and make him excited for the next installment. He has a whole shelf full of Harry Potter that I can't wait to dig into (even though, I know, he's not quite there, yet). I have not read the Harry Potters myself yet, because I can't wait to share them through his eyes and his experience. This time we spend together reading is as much for me as it is for him. And trust me, what it's doing for him is amazing. My heart leaps when he models this love of reading for his brother and sister, whatever they may be doing, he makes sure they have a book close by, "just in case."

Research shows that if you read to your child for a minimum of 20 minutes a day, you provide them with 600 hours of literacy preparation before they even enter the school system. Even though they may not yet be able to read, they are learning the motions of a relationship with the written word. Information from The Children's Reading Foundation shows that:
"Reading to your child from birth literally wires brain cells together in networks that later facilitate independent reading. Brain research shows that those linked brain cells enable a child to:
  • Detect the different sounds in words (phonemic awareness)
  • Recognize letters and develop strategies to figure out new words (decoding)
  • Develop real-world understanding of what the words refer to (create contexts for understanding meaning)
  • Build an oral and listening vocabulary (approximately 5,000 words by kindergarten)"
And what does it do for your relationship? Again, according to information from The Children's Reading Foundation, the bonding that you experience with the child cuddling in your lap (I'll be honest, sometimes I think that the time we spend reading is the only time that my four year-old is still) helps to build and strengthen the parent/child relationship. Even those who are not strong readers or those for whom books are not abundant or handy can build the relationship to stories by simply telling them. You increase your child's comprehension just by sharing a story. Amazing. And all of this FROM BIRTH! I would argue that our family's relationship with book reading and story telling with our kids began before birth. Before bed, my husband would read the book "Oh Baby, The Places You'll Go" to my big ol' swollen undulating belly, and I would read whatever (probably horrible and useless parenting book that I never bothered to finish - unless it was The Happiest Baby On The Block by Dr. Harvey Karp - which I have memorized) I was reading out loud just so that little person could have some sound.

How do you make time for reading with your child? Were you read to as a child? What are your memories of being read to or reading to your own child? How early did you start creating a regular reading routine with your children? How has it changed as they've grown? Please join in the conversation by commenting below - or sharing your thoughts on the Welcome Baby Care facebook page.


Two Truths and a Lie...

I'm all about icebreakers. In fact, this introvert relies on them because small talk is no strength of mine. Icebreakers come with rules, and give me little opportunity to get all awkward like I do. So, when my friend Liz from Random Thoughts of a Lutheran Geek (who has been privy more than once to my social awkwardness in group situations) dreamed up this blog carnival, I was all for it!

Here's the deal, you get to play along! Start here, try to figure out which one of the following statements is my lie, make sure you leave a comment with your guess, and then link away to your hearts content to the blogs below, make sure you leave them comments too! If you have a blog, and want to play, too -- link up! On Monday, I'll tell you the answer here, and all my bloggy friends will do the same on their own blogs. Sound like fun? I knew you'd be in...

Here goes:
You are all gonna die because most of you were WRONG!!!!!!

1. When Donny Osmond toured to Minneapolis with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, I was in one of the choirs that performed onstage during the production. LIE! BIG FAT FATTY FAT LIIIIIIIIIIIIIE!!! Donny toured in Joseph when I was in high school. I was waaaaaaaay too old to be in the choir. I definitely wanted to be though, and don't think for one moment that I didn't have every word memorized. I can barely carry a tune, like you would need to put it in a backpack for me and tell me where to drop it. Friends can attest to this... and if they are unwilling - my high school music teacher (Ms. Thompson) who told me how much I sucked when I was in Guys and Dolls would be more than happy to tell you why her words are the sole reason I, AKA Bitter Betty will barely sing anymore (except to my children and in church - because All God's Children...)

2. My maiden name is Brady, and I am related to Tom Brady. Yes. Technically I am related to Tom Brady. Not THE Tom Brady. My dad and grandfather are both named Tom Brady. To my knowledge, neither of them show a great talent in the way of football, though.

3. I went to a B-52s concert with Barry Williams (Greg Brady from the Brady Bunch). Sooooo true. Funny story. When Mr. Lindstrom worked for the local NBC affiliate (for which he won an Emmy award as a producer... and for which I am greatly proud), we were fortunate enough to go on a trip to Disney World when they opened a new ride, Mission To Mars. Okay, Mr. Lindstrom went for work, and I paid my way... just for the fun of it. We think it was 2003 or 2004 - we know it was after we were married (2002) and before we had kids (2005). One evening's festivities included a B52s concert. For reasons unknown to me, Barry Williams was in attendance, and he somehow ended up standing right beside me. Perhaps I'd had a couple Chardonnays by the time I told him that my last name was Brady and I loved him. He left within seconds. Our time together was short lived and amazingly awkward... but I like to refer to it as the time I went to a B52s concert with Barry Williams. Tin Roof, Rusted.

Pretty fun, right? Now I've got you noodling. Don't forget to guess by commenting - and then make sure you come back Monday to see how you fared. Most importantly, hop around to these awesome blogs below! Play along!


Snippity Do-Dah!

Please note: This post has been written with the blessing of Mr. Lindstrom.

The deed is done. Just last week, Mr. Lindstrom went under the knife for a:

Here's how the decision was made, according to the brochure. You see, we saw the cover - and knew it was for us. I have always wanted to walk hand in hand on a deserted beach wearing a sundress and sunhat. I mean, I've done it before, but NEVER with a sweater draped over my shoulders and tied just so under my chin. And oh, how Mr. Lindstrom LOVES his khakis and camp shirts with matching sneakers. Could a Vasectomy make this possible for us? Could it?

So, we sat together, Mr. Lindstrom with his coffee, me with my tea. I put on my favorite jeggings and slouchy sweat socks, and we cuddled on what appears to be a great big pillow while we had this serious discussion. This is how we always sit when having important discussions about permanent decisions.

Following an awkward one handed neck message, given by a very physically fit Mr. Lindstrom, we decided that we were ready to take this step in family planning.

Even though the surgery itself only took 45 minutes, we aged quite a bit. I swapped my jeggings for an unflattering pair of pleated khakis, and sliced up some apples for Mr. Lindstrom. After surgery like this, he can't be expected to slice his own apples. Besides, he's been told to avoid complications by taking it easy, so he sat in a recliner while I stood beside him, crouching slightly like I had to pee for hours, handing him apple slice after apple slice. My back was sore from standing at such an awkward angle, but I love him, and this is what you do when you love someone. See how we are looking at each other so adoringly, or smiling awkwardly?

Editors note: The slippers worn by "Mr. Lindstrom" in this picture look remarkably like the actual Mr. Lindstrom's slippers. Thus, I cannot make fun of them.

And now that we're all done: We can put on our parkas, and borrow some children that look nothing like our own and walk in peace and happiness.

We're so happy.


Manic Monday Blogarrhea: The ER Version

Most of my Saturday night/Sunday morning was spent in the ER with a sick four year-old, and in the infinite downtime I picked up some observations that may help you with any future ER journeys:

- People watching in the ER at 3 a.m. is at its prime. My four year-old was wearing glow in the dark footie jammies and carrying his sweet little woobie (blankie). We were seated in the waiting room next to a 20 something club girl complete with strapless top, plasticky looking leggings, blue leopard print stilettos and a neck brace. She was a legitimate hot mess. Screaming into her phone, "I SAID, I AM AT THE HOSPITAL IN THE EMERGENCY ROOOOOOM GET DOWN HEEEEEEERE!" The four year-old was just staring at her, and I can't say it occurred to me to ask him to stop. I know it's not polite, but I could hardly keep my eyes off of her either.

- There is not much interesting TV on at 3 a.m. at all, and they don't have Sprout or Nick Jr. at our hospital. I guess I'm either saying, get creative about other methods of entertainment, or choose your hospital based on their children's programming options. I made a note to myself to always have my iPod charged and in close proximity to my wallet, so that should we find ourselves on that journey again, at least he'll have some games to play or a movie to watch or something. That said, my four year-old gained an appreciation for Steve Urkel watching re-runs of Family Matters. This is appropriate, because it seems that they wear the same style of pants (this mommy needs to buy this rapidly growing kid longer pants, stat.)

- George Clooney does not work in the ER.

- Neither does Patrick Dempsey.

- The above 2 points do not mean that your Dr., no matter how far from Clooney or Dempsey he actually is, will realize that he is not as hot as either of them.

- As tempted as you may be to recreate those awesome blanket warmers that they have at the hospital at home with your oven, just don't. I didn't, but it was early? late? and I was delirious and sleep deprived, and I thought about it.

- When you are on your way home at 6 a.m., and you realize that you don't have any coffee at your house, but you'll need it because everyone else is waking up and you still have to be their parent, remember that Burger King has better coffee than McDonalds. You can feel free to disagree with me on this, all I'm saying, is remember where you prefer your coffee from, it will mean the world to you (and those you love).


Food For Thought Friday: What's Your Family Vision?

Food For Thought Friday is brought to you by the amazing folks at Welcome Baby Care. They are THE post-partum and newborn experts. Check out their website, and don’t forget to “like” them on Facebookto take advantage of all their knowledge. Also, be sure to follow babycaretweets on Twitter to receive news and ideas on newborn care and thoughts about parenting!

My church has been putting on this amazing parenting series during our education hour, and last week the topic was Family Visioning. I was all about this, since I've been doing vision boards since before The Secret. I was amazed that when we broke into small groups to reflect on the question, "what is your vision for your family," that many families had not ever considered that question.

What is your vision for your family? Here's another way of phrasing the question; what do you want your family to be known for? When your family shows up an event or a function, what will people say about your family, and how are you working toward being known that way? I loved having this conversation! People who are newer to the idea of visioning get tripped up on the notion that life happens regardless of your vision for it. Then what happens to your vision? The great news is that your vision can change, too! Or it can stay the same? Whichever works for you. People change, lives change, circumstances change, and with that sometimes visions change.

Let me give you an example: My family vision (and remember, this is MY vision - so it need not be yours) is to have a fun, adventurous, playful, and loving family. When the Lindstroms show up, people will say (or think), "The Lindstroms are such a fun and loving family. They look like they really have a good time together." I'll let you in on a secret, that has always been my vision for my family. Even through the loss I've experienced, I have always wanted to have the playful family. Our entire existence reflects that. In many places in our house we have the word "laugh" displayed. Each Friday night (and other unscheduled times during the week) we have a family dance party where everyone drops everything so we can just dance. We create a climate of playfulness, because that is important to us. Does this mean that every moment of every day is fun and playful? No. Does this mean that discipline, tears, and difficult lessons aren't part of our daily experience? Absolutely not. It only means that through the difficult lessons, through grief, and pain, the climate of our home will be fun and playfulness, and while we are not in it, we will hold it as a goal to get back to it as authentically as we can, as soon as we can. Mr. Lindstrom and I model that behavior in our relationship together.

I encourage people to create a family vision. When you're stuck in the day to day minutiae, it can be easy to focus on just getting through the day, the week, or the month, and the big picture falls away. It's important to remember during the minutiae, that you are creating in each moment a future vision. Having that vision reminds you to ask yourself frequently, "are we in line with our vision?" I also think it's helpful to talk about it with your family, and maybe make it a tradition. You could make it an annual conversation on New Years Day, or your wedding anniversary, Christmas, or Thanksgiving. The State of The Family Summit?

Do you have a family vision? Have you formalized your thoughts about your family vision, or do you sort of have a loosey goosey idea of where you'd like to be? How do you embody your vision? A family word? A collage? Art in the home? A family slogan? Share your ideas!


I'm an Innie

Remember when you were little and people would ask you if you had an innie or an outie? In my experience it was far more common to have an innie than an outie. In fact, if you were someone who had an outie, everyone knew it. "Oh, Katie? You know, she has an outie." What a bizarre thing that we cared about, but I suppose we knew that everyone had a bellybutton, and there were two kinds to have. It gave us something to talk about, another way to separate each other into phylums and categories. I don't think we ever used it to make judgements on people's character, it was just information. As an adult, the only time the bellybutton conversation comes up is when a woman is pregnant, "has your bellybutton popped out, yet?" I have to say, that even with my twin pregnancy, my bellybutton never popped out. I feel a little defective as a result.

Well, I'm not talking about bellybuttons here today (God knows, I talk about them enough at home. Somehow the four year-old is under the impression that it's a potty word, and I'm sort of going along with it because he says 'bellybutton' instead of 'toilet' or 'poopy.' I can handle that in public), I'm talking about character. If you take the Myer's Brigg's personality profile, you will find that you fall squarely into one of two camps: Introvert or Extrovert (marked by either an I or a E accordingly). I'm gonna drop a bomb here, so hold on to your wigs and keys, I am an introvert. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. I know. It's true. This wordy, won't shut up, quirky, character is an introvert.

According to the Myer's Brigg's evaluation, whether a person is an introvert or and extrovert has to do with where they get their energy. Introverts obtain gratification and energy from within, and extroverts from outside the self. By this definition, it is possible for a person to be gregarious and outgoing, and still an introvert. This is my "problem." Because I am an outgoing person, people automatically assume that I am an extrovert. It is equally possible for a person to be shy in social situations and a complete extrovert. According to research, there are more extroverts than introverts in our culture.

I have been thinking a lot about what it's like to be an introvert as a parent. I am prepared to make the official statement that any and all moments that I feel like a failure as a parent are directly attributed to the fact that I am an introvert. Introverts need more time than extroverts to be alone and recharge. Naturally, as a parent, those moments don't come with any dependable frequency. The nature of parenting is that you give and give with no promise of recharging. I am not saying that this is easy for an extrovert, I am saying that it's extremely difficult for an introvert.

What's the point of this? For me to lament about my introverted challenges as a parent? Nope. Really, no. It's only to say that the awareness of whether you are an introvert and an extrovert can lead to some self forgiveness around how you "are" or what you "need." We tend to judge ourselves as either "normal" or "not normal." I have beat myself up over this. I need time to myself, and that is not "normal" because "most people" don't need that.

Here's the deal: I'm all about forgiveness, I'm all about self awareness, and I'm really all about not being "normal."


Matters of the Heart

I don't think that there is a more special moment in pregnancy than the first time you hear your baby's heartbeat. In my experience, it was even more special than seeing the baby on ultrasound, and almost as special as birth. It's the first time you hear that little pitter-pat, like a message from the other side, the first indication that there is another human life growing inside of you, and that little body is working. It's just amazing. Which is why, when I was pregnant for the very first time, I brought a digital recorder with me to the appointment. I borrowed it from the radio station I work at. The person I borrowed it from laughed at me (as if to say, look at this adorable young woman, pregnant for the first time... how cute), and my doctor told me he had never had a patient ask to record the heartbeat. Are you kidding me? This felt like the biggest moment in my life! I was going to hear MY baby's heart beating all by itself. A big deal, indeed.

When I got back to the office after that 10 week appointment I immediately downloaded the 10 second recording of my baby's heart beating. I probably listened to it 100 times. I could not believe how amazing it was. I emailed it to grandparents, and hoped that they, too would love listening to the sound of their unborn grandchild's heart sustaining life. Amazing.

I am so glad I made that little recording, because on July 5, 2005, my first baby's heart stopped. Brady was 3 1/2 months old. Just before I left the office that day, I had been having a conversation with a friend. She said, "don't you just love being a mom?" of course, I agreed... because I did. She said, "there's a quote I love, 'to have a child is to forever allow your heart to walk outside your body.'" As I drove to Brady's daycare to pick her up, those words were rattling around in my brain. Understanding it so deeply. Little did I know, that my heart's very own heart had stopped. I followed a squad car to the day care center. All the while praying for whomever it was that needed the protection of that police officer, and not realizing that it was me.

Later that day, after the firefighters, paramedics, nurses, and doctors had failed to get my precious Brady's heart to beat again, I held her body. Her quiet, still, body. My heart. When I left the hospital that day, I left my heart there. I walked away from that building, and left my only child behind. I left a piece of my heart with her.

The very next Valentine's Day, 2006, I came home from work with a little bag from the drug store containing a pregnancy test. I'm sure you can guess the outcome. That was the day that I learned that my Ollie was on the way. Mr. Lindstrom came home from work with a bottle of wine in hand, and I shoved a Valentines Day card into his other hand begging him to open it. He said, "I was kind of thinking we could sit down and have a glass of wine with dinner and then open cards..." Little did he know... "OPEN IT." I said. He drank the bottle of wine.

Experiencing the loss of a child sort of ruins you for the joy of pregnancy. Sort of. Learning the hard way about the fragility of life reminds you that a heart beat, and a heart stopping are only a moment apart. It takes practice to get to a place where you are not wondering if now is that moment. I did it with the help of a song. Through the entire pregnancy and beyond with Ollie (now 4 years old), this song held me together:

In 2009, just after my June birthday, Mr. Lindstrom and I went in for another ultrasound. We had not told our friends that we were expecting, and I was (foolishly) hoping I could keep it a secret until I was 20 weeks (that was the point I had been at in a pregnancy just 7 months prior when we found out that the baby girl we were carrying had a fatal chromosomal abnormality. On November 13th, 2008, Parker's heart stopped beating.) On this particular June day, I was just 8 weeks pregnant, and instead of seeing just one heart beating, as we had anticipated, there were two. TWO BEAUTIFUL HEARTS BEATING! If there is anything in the world more amazing than one heartbeat, it's two! As you can imagine, we were not able to keep it a secret for long (both as a result of a rapidly growing twin belly, and the amazingness of those two strong hearts!)

As a parent you wonder each time you welcome a baby into your life, what will loving this person look like, when I already love [fill in the blank] so much? The heart's capacity to love is amazing this way. It defies logic. It does not divide, it multiplies, and there is no end to it's ability to expand. Babies come with a promise. The promise that you will love more deeply and intensely than you ever thought you could. So, in my heart, I carry the deep, intense love I have for my 5 children, I love them equally, but differently, and I thank my heart for making it possible.

Happy Valentine's Day!


Food For Thought Friday: Screen Time Rules

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I am sure you will see the irony of this post, but I assure you that my children are all sound asleep snug in their beds as I hunt and peck here. I had a dream last night that I was at an event, and everyone was dressed up (so it must have been a pretty important event), and I had no idea what the event was because I was glued to the computer. Was it a dream imitating life? Possibly. You see, I do most of my work from home... on the computer. While work does not take up all my time, it takes up enough that my children see the computer hiding my face a lot more than I'd like. I'd be lying, by the way, if I told you that I don't take generous detours while working, after all, I am in charge of managing my work schedule (mostly).

We have been seriously putting limits on the amount of screen time the four year-old is getting here at the Lindstrom house. You see, he has recently added computer/video games (appropriate parent approved educational ones) into his repertoire, and the need to put very strict limits where we have formerly been pretty loosey goosey is now more necessary than ever. We have a pretty good reward system going where he gets to play on the computer for 20 minutes at the end of the day (supervised) if he behaves appropriately throughout the day. Additionally, he is allowed an hour (max) of cartoons in the morning and another hour (max) in the evening before bed. I haven't given a whole lot of thought to the Twinstrom's screen time, because they are a little young for the screen, but it's not too far down the road, I'm sure.

In any case, what I really haven't given enough thought to is my own screen time and the message it sends to them. When the Twinstroms were newborns, we had just gotten our "smartphones" and those little gadgets would help keep us up during the late night feedings. You'd be surprised how enticing late night twitter feeds are as opposed to midnight infomercials for Girls Gone Wild. As the Twinstroms have gotten older, I don't know that we have entirely gotten out of the habit around here of being Black-buried. I am ashamed that I used that crutch to stay awake during those fleeting moments of midnight cuddle time that I had with my baby bundles. I have noticed parents at the park (not recently, goodness gracious, I have barely noticed people outside in this mad disgusting weather) who are keeping more track of what's going on on their smartphones than what is going on with their kids. While I love the accessibility of social networks for the virtual connection they provide between people, I equally hate them for the real live connections that they slowly disintegrate between people. I could go on about how I think we sometimes rely on the manufactured virtual connection over the real life, face to face connection in friendships, but where we really lose it is when we prioritize that even for moments, over our face to face connection with our children. That said, for parents who work from home, the screen time can be unavoidable.

What I'm requesting of myself, (and anyone else who is up for it) is that we put as much, if not more thought into the message we send our children with our screen time as we do to how much screen time we allow our children. Keeping in mind that even our littlest ones notice when we are trading the important eye contact for the iContact. How do you limit your own screentime, and how do you limit that of your kids?


Manic Monday Blogarrhea - The Children's Shows Edition

The four year-old has been in a huge 'Yo Gabba Gabba' phase of late. I am on the fence about YGG. I have my moments where I see the brilliance, and others where I cannot believe the massive acid trip that the creators had to be on to put this out there. Mostly, I just feel bad for Brobee.
You see, when all the characters are in introduced in the beginning of the show, Muno gets to be "tall and friendly," Foofa is "pink and happy," Toodee "likes to have fun," and Plex is "A MAGIC ROBOT!" How cool is that? A MAGIC ROBOT!!!! What's poor Brobee's introduction? "The little green one." Sad trombone. Not much else to say about Brobee, Brobee's just little and green. Please, YGG, I implore you, give Brobee a little more love. How about "the awesome green one," or "everyone's favorite in the entire world green one." Jazz it up a little, I'm having a complex for poor Brobee.

It's no secret that I'm sort of in love with Steve from Blue's Clues. There's just one thing about Steve that was a deal breaker for us (in my crazy second life world where a relationship with Steve is not only possible, but probable)
Steve wears pleated pants. I wish pleated pants would go the way of 13th floors. Pleated pants are not flattering to anyone. In fact, I might go so far as to say that the absence of pleated pants in the world could be the key to world peace. Maybe that's too far, but certainly would be the key to fashion peace. So, when Steve left Blue's Clues to "go to college," I kind of hoped that he would get schooled on the necessity of non-pleated pants...

Well, I feel vindicated, because Steve lost the pleated pants and gained so much more. For those of you who cannot possibly see what it is about Steve that has me wrapped around his little finger - here's Steve now:
Yeah, there's NO WAY he's got pleated pants on.

Still, I only have eyes for Imagination Mover Rich.

The four year-old has also discovered a new show called "Dino Dan" This show is absolutely ridiculous. It's a live action show about a kid who sees dinosaurs. Not dead people, no, that would be slightly more believable, the kid sees living breathing dinosaurs roaming among us. Perhaps I'm reading a little too much into this, but if there were dinosaurs in our midst, I'm pretty sure more people than just this nine year-old kid would know it... just a guess. Any-whosie woosie, I was watching with the four year-old one day and there was a serious scene between Dino Dan and his mom where he undoubtedly was trying to convince her of the presence of dinosaurs, and she was unbelieving. Who knows because her hair looked like this, and I was unable to focus on the conversation:
Really? What style came out of that? Crown of head in curlers, back of hair in ponytail. I'm guessing that this is exactly how Joe did her hair on Facts of Life. Think about it...


Food For Thought Friday: What is Support?

Food For Thought Friday is brought to you by the amazing folks at Welcome Baby Care. Be sure to check out their website, and don’t forget to “like” them on Facebook to take advantage of all their knowledge as THE post-partum and newborn experts.

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What is support? That sounds like a silly question, but have you ever really given thought to what is supportive to you. Or how you give support? Support is a funny thing. We know when our friends need ours, and we know when we need it from our friends, but the trouble starts when we don't know how to give or get it.

I struggle with this frequently, having been the needer of support on more than one occasion, through death and loss, and through the gift of abundant life, I have needed support. I have never clearly asked for it (okay, maybe once), and certainly never defined how I wanted it. I have been the giver of support when other friends have experienced loss, or birth, or even have looked toward making significant changes in their lives, and have rarely asked them the question, "what does support look like to you?"

I recently read a tweet written by a breastfeeding advocate that said, " breastfeeding myth: many mothers give up too easily. Not true! Most moms give up due to lack of support..."(Nevermind that I have issues with the use of the term "give up" as it pertains to breastfeeding, but that's another blog for another day.) In any case, I started thinking of how I've been supportive to friends who have come to me for breastfeeding support. I, who never even tried to breastfeed my first two children for various (some very personal) reasons, and gave it an okay shot with the twinstroms. Inevitably, when I have been asked for support, my support is colored by my experience, which (for the record) is that while I am a firm believer that breastmilk is the most nutritious choice for newborns and infants, if you are concerned about bonding with your child, I assure you that it is still possible to bond and bottle feed, and additionally, your child can and will still turn out to be a remarkable young person if you choose to explore other methods of feeding. In fact, at age 4, the conversation about what and how my child ate when he was three months old never happens, which is in direct disproportion to the conversations that we had when he was three months old when every conversation (it seemed) was about what or how he was eating. So, when asked for support, I come from that place when it is not always what the person who asked for the support needs.

What it should look like is this:
  1. Friend indicates that they are having a difficult experience.
  2. Friend reaches out for support.
  3. I say, "how would you like me to be supportive right now? What would be helpful? Do you want me to listen, offer advice, share my opinion, explore alternative options, cheer you on through what you're already doing, give you tough love?
  4. Friend tells me what they are looking for from me.
  5. I do my best to act accordingly, ignoring my desire or instincts to do anything but what they've asked.
You see, support is not one size fits all, and it changes from moment to moment. Sometimes when you are asked for support, you may think it means advice, and your friend may just want someone to listen, and if you are not communicating in the same language, you can both end up feeling like something failed in the process. What you think that you would need in the situation, is not always what a person who asks for your support needs. Alternatively, when you ask a friend for support, if you are able to guide them in what kind of support you need, you give them the gift of insight to your true needs. Win win!

I honestly learned this from Welcome Baby Care. When I hired them to come in and help me with my newborn twins, I was looking for support in the form of cheerleaders (who would encourage me and remind me that I was going to make it through this chaotic early time), and frankly knowledgeable experts, who could tell me/show me different techniques to breastfeed successfully without making me feel like I had abused my other children by not breastfeeding them. The post partum-doulas at Welcome Baby Care are trained to communicate with you regarding how you respond to the offer of support, and what support looks like to you. They asked me, not just once, but often! What a novel idea! I would like to say that I have mastered the art of communicating with friends about what support looks like in any given situation, I haven't quite yet, but I see the value in it because I think all too often feelings get hurt when one party doesn't feel like they have gotten the support they need, and the other feels like their support hasn't been valued.

Have you ever found yourself hurt when someone didn't give you the support you were looking for? Thinking back, did you indicate your needs to them? Do you check in when you are asked for support to find out what your friend really needs from you?


The Great Lindstrom Purge of 2011

What the heck is it about this particular winter? When usually I would be content to hunker down with all the challenging weather (that's code for more snow than you could shake a stick at. Hang on, have you ever seen anybody walking around shaking a stick at anything? I bet you actually could shake a stick at all this snow, but you wouldn't want to look totally bat shit crazy. I digress.) I have been experiencing something more akin to Spring cleaning. The thing about Spring cleaning is that you can easily haul everything out to your garage, throw some price tags on it, toss open the garage door (after diligently advertising on craigslist), and call it a garage sale. In the winter, the clutter sort of gets moved closer to the door and then little by little gets moved out permanently.

I know this, because this has been my obsession for the previous four weeks. I have to say, it feels really darn good to dig into the closets and purge. It feels like losing weight. Which frankly is the closest I've felt to losing weight for some time. Walking into a newly purged room is like pulling on your cutest pair of skinny jeans effortlessly, or at least how I imagine that to feel.

I have learned a few things in the process:

  • Remember the multiple purging options: Toss, donate, consign, sell, craigslist, hand down to friends.
  • Research consignment stores in your area. Call them or visit their websites to see what their policies are.
  • Don't forget to get receipts when you donate things. Then keep track of them. Your donations are tax deductible.
  • Your books are not anywhere near as valuable as you think they are.
  • If you try to consign used dishes at a consignment store, it is possible they won't take them because they look used. So if you plan to consign your dishes at any point in your life... eat off paper plates, and just look at your plates. Because when purchasing used plates, apparently people want used plates that don't look... used. If you followed that, I'll give you $5. (I'm kidding about the $5)
  • When consigning (and in life in general), it's important to read the fine print.
  • Before you leave your house to make the consignment store rounds, have a plan. How many consignment stores are you willing to stop at and haul your used goodies into? Remember that you are going to be standing there while someone critiques your goods over and over in front of you - and you'll likely walk out again with that which they did not accept. Also, at each subsequent consignment shop, they will take less and less. Then divide that number of consignment stores in half, hit them, and then drop the leftovers at the nearest charity. Enough's enough.
  • The things you think will go like hotcakes on craigslist usually don't.
  • Hotcakes don't sell on craigslist.
  • If you put an email address in your craigslist post, expect spam (seriously, I set up an entirely different email just for craigslist listings. Works like a charm.)
  • Resist the urge to stop at the nearest Target (that's my poison, pick your own) and replace all the items you just purged with all your new found cash.
  • Do not resist the urge to keep an awesome bankroll of all the money you've earned by selling the stuff you no longer use. It makes you feel like a real badass.
Then, once you've purged everything, remember that awesome feeling every time you are hit with the urge to make an impulse buy, because more stuff equals more to clean out later.

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