Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Teaching Girls Self Worth

One of my biggest priorities, as a mother of girls, is to instill a strong core of self worth, self esteem, self love, and self respect.  This harsh world, with it's intense focus on appearances, will constantly try to tear my beautiful babies down and I believe no other lesson I teach them will be as important to their emotional and mental health.

I'm lucky.  I don't have to figure out how to do this on my own.  I had a great example in the strongest woman I've ever known, my mother.

From a very early age, she fed me a constant diet of self love.  She would tell me over and over that I was beautiful, smart, kind, and funny.  Eventually, I internalized the words and it became the core of self worth I've carried with me my whole life.  Later, when I was a little older and was barraged with sexualized images and the unrealistic expectations of women in our society, she would constantly reiterate that there is more to beauty than appearance.  That is more important to be beautiful on the inside than the outside because beauty comes from within.   You have to love yourself before you can truly love others.  She also told me that there are many kinds of beauty, and that everyone is beautiful in some way.  She said I should always try to find the beauty in others and that beauty will be reflected back at me.

I can tell you, she was successful.  While I have my insecurities and dislikes about my appearance, nothing has ever shaken my belief in my self worth.   I want the same for my girls.

From the moment of my girls' births, I have whispered in their ears, almost daily,"you are beautiful, you are smart, you are kind, you are loved."  I give more praise for kind or responsible acts, than I do for being cute.  I am very hyper aware of the types of female imagery presented to my girls and do my best to turn the focus away from appearance.

Shuuueee, it's been a lot of work, but it's finally paying huge dividends.

Princess in da house!

While I'm less than enthused that Cinderella has made her way into our home, I felt a much better about it a few seconds after this picture was snapped.  I had some music on and Miss Chatterbox started to twirl and dance around while singing, "I am beautiful, I am smart, I am nice to sissy, I am so helpful, I am a good good girl, I am silly - hehehehe (as she drops unto her hiney) and I love me!!"

Smile. Sigh.

It was good for my heart to hear those words coming out of her mouth.

Just for fun, I'm including some of my favorite girl power songs for Y'all!

India Arie - Video  ( My favorite "love yourself" video)

"So get in where you fit in and go on and shine,
clear your mind, now's the time,
put the salt on the shelf, go on and love yourself
'cuz everything gonna be just alright."

Lauren Hill - Doo Wop (Relationships)

"Don't be a hard rock, when you really are a gem.  Baby Girl, respect is just a minimum."

Pink - Stupid Girls  (Society norms)

"Disease's growing, it's epidemic
I'm scared that there ain't a cure
The world believes it and I'm going crazy
I cannot take any more
I'm so glad that I'll never fit in
That will never be me
Outcasts and girls with ambition
That's what I wanna see"

Destiny's Child - Independent Women  (Don't depend on a man)

"Try to control me boy you get dismissed
Pay my own fun, oh and I pay my own bills
Always 50/50 in relationships"

Happy Hump Day to all my ladies who love themselves!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Toddlers and Testicles

Friday started out a normal enough day in the Horn household.  By normal, I mean by 8am, I'd already had my hands in poop, twice, and cleaned a sharpie picasso off of the fridge.  Little did I know my day was about to get more interesting.  Or embarrassing.  Meh, semantics.   

I got the girls loaded into the car and turned on the radio to drown out the earsplitting caterwauling coming from the uncooperative urchin in the backseat.  Now, my preferred genre of music is country.  Mostly, because I can relate to it (Gretchen Wilson, anyone), but also because it tends to be family friendly.  Until Friday. 

And this song came on the radio.  Red Solo Cup - funny shit.  You should listen.  Just not with kids in the car...

 Within ten seconds, I was hee hawing over the following lyrics:
And you sir do not have a pair of testicles
If you prefer drinkin' from glass

Yes, folks, that's right. I am as juvenile in my humor as a 12 year old boy.  Or I spend too much time around firefighters that their enjoyment of potty humor has rubbed off on me.  Whatever. Life's too short, I'll take my laughs wherever I can get them.  

Miss Chatterbox stopped screaming long enough to immediately demand to know, "Why you waffing (laughing), Momma?"  And before I even stopped to think, I answered, "because he said testicle."  
"What's a testicle, Momma?"
We then spent the remainder of the car trip talking about things that shouldn't be talked about with someone other than mommy or daddu.  She seemed to understand. So, I breathed a sigh of relief thinking that disaster had been averted. I mean, did we really want to relive the  "hooker" incident?
We get to the bank, and as I'm depositing a check, as Miss Chatterbox lives up to her nickname and begins to yakkety yak with the teller.  I'm grateful the grandmotherly soul behind the counter is humoring her as I'm also trying to sign legibly and juggle a grumpy, teething Bun. 
Then I hear, "Do you have a testicle?" 
Now, there was a point in time, when my face would turn every shade of red in the crayola 64 pack - usually stoping on magenta, ala Veruca Salt- and I would feel the need to quickly defend myself about these types of incidents.  
Not anymore.  Kids are kids.  They say crazy things and these types of incidents happen with a startling frequency in my world.  So, I quickly shoved a sucker in Miss Chatterbox's mouth and smiled at the teller pretending that I never heard the word testicle coming out of my precocious preschooler's mouth.  
I'm not ashamed to admit, that I skadaddled the hell out of there as fast as I could with 50 lbs of kid strapped to me.   
That's not the end of it, but the rest of the story will have to wait for another day!
Happy Weekend!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Natural Progression of Valentine's Day

In the beginning of my relationship with The Firefighter (i.e. before kids), when I was still an unrealistic asshat, who believed what Hollywood sold me, Valentine's went something like this:

Which of course, being a typical twenty something female, this disappointed me and I translated as meaning this:

But when he saw me getting upset (don't judge, yo.  I already admitted to being a piss nozzle about it) he would say:

Which would always be some variation of this kind of last minute, picked over, convinence store cheesy:

But what he truly meant was this:

Obviously we wanted different things out of Valentine's Day, so we would end up like this..usually in the parking lot of whatever reservation I had made.

 Such it was until we had kids.  Now, Valentine's Day goes something like this:

  5 minutes later, we're doing this:

And I'm perfectly satisfied.  Hope everyone had a restful Valentine's.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fighting Rights

Being married to a firefighter can present some unique marital challenges.

I'm not talking about the usual challenges associated with the lifestyle.  Like dealing with unexpected calamities by yourself, constantly being broke, the long hours alone, the missed special events or the sudden overtime that messes up your plans.  Firefighter spouses expect all of these.

What I'm talking about is fighting.  Good old fashioned, once in a while, get it off your chest and clear the air kind of arguing.

I'm not, by any means, advocating taking up fighting as your primary form of communication, but sometimes sugar coating it just doesn't get the point across.  Do you know what I mean?

But what do you do when your FF's on duty or getting ready to go, and he just really pissed you off?

If you're like me, the vast majority of the time you swallow it.  Why?

While I may not constantly dwell on or even actively think about the fact that it could be the last time I see him, it's always in the back of my mind.  So, I made a promise to myself to never argue with him while he's on duty or right before he leaves for work.  Because I know I would regret it for the rest of my life if my last words to him were something like, "Hey, snot launcher, you forgot to take out the trash. Again.  Whada I have to do, tattoo it to your forehead?"

Well maybe that isn't the serious kind of  example I'm talking about, but you get my drift.

In some ways, having to "wait" to argue is a good thing.  It makes me stop and think about what I'm really mad about and do I really want to raise hell over whatever it may be.   Sometimes, the answer is yes, but most of the time the answer is no.   Sometimes, he's pissed me off so bad, I break my promise to myself and go kamikaze on his ass.

I'm not perfect.  Shocker, I know.  Besides, a little crazy never hurt anyone.

So, here's my shout out to other firewives.  What do you do?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Pigs Can Fly

I don't go out to eat very often.  Not that I don't like to, I mean, what's not to like about eating food someone else cooked, that you don't have to clean up?  But going out to eat with kids 3 and under?  Not exactly a relaxing experience.  Dealing with a kid throwing spaghetti at the ceiling requires much less apologizing at home than in say an Olive Garden.  There are fewer dirty looks too.  

However, I am a firm believer that you must give a child a range of experiences so that they can learn to behave appropriately in any situation.  

On Saturday, I decided that me and the girls were going to out to lunch by ourselves, since The Firefighter was taking a class out of town.  I was craving some Jason's Deli, Y'all!  I had to get my fix.  I even had a coupon for a free kids meal and noon is typically The Bun's nap time.  And Jason's Deli has free soft serve.  Yes, it was so perfect that we were farting sunshine and barfing rainbows.

This is normally where I would tell of Miss Chatterbox's misadventures.  But I got nothing.  She behaved like a perfect little angel.  She was polite, sat relatively still, and ate her food without complaint.  Seriously.  I kept looking out the window, expecting to see pink porcine flying objects or the devil in a snowsuit, but neither happened.  It was absolutely wonderful.  It renewed my faith in my parenting ability and validated my chosen method of parenting as a good fit for my oldest child.  

However, going out to eat with Miss Chatterbox is a bit like being in a celebrity entourage.   No less than 7 different groups of people stopped at our table to talk to her.   People flock to her hippies to a Phish concert.  While it occasionally makes my hackles stand up, I understand completely.  She just exudes life, energy and happiness.  I enjoy standing guard and basking in the reflected glow of her awesomeness.   

It's okay, I know you wanna be cool like me.

The formerly mellow and laid back Bun, is coming into her own little personality and has recently developed quite the attitude.  If she doesn't like something, or her sissy leaves her sight, she is sure to howl and let you know about it! She is sitting almost unassisted, eating baby food without issue, and has become mobile already, at 5 months old, via the rolling pin method.  She has also become a world class raspberry blower.  Why, you ask?  

Because I frequently have the juvenile urge to blow raspberries at people who annoy me (Which are not in short supply these days or perhaps, I'm just a little too hormonal) The Bun does it, with such frequency, that I can count on her to phhhhrrrrrrttttttttttt at exactly the right moment.  She will usually throw some spit into there there too, free of charge. 

It's also my morning wake up call, though I believe she means it more in a, "haha, I know your alarm isn't supposed to go off for another hour, but too bad, I'm up and wanna play NOW" kinda way. 

I love watching her little personality develop.  She and Miss Chatterbox are going to be thick as thieves here soon.  

Make my day!

My little Jumping Bean is doing just fine as was confirmed by ultrasound last week.  Everything appears to be healthy with the baby, and I felt my first tiny barely noticeable flutters yesterday.  As much as I HATE being preggo, that feeling still made me smile.  However, I am concerned because my diabetes has ramped up drastically in the last two weeks.  My numbers are all over the place, even though I'm being extremely strict with my diet, but I am still hopeful I will be able to avoid insulin this time.  

That's all for now! How was your weekend?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pardon the interruption

Sorry for the interruption, friends!  I had some buizness to attend to.  But now that the dust has settled (in my favor), it's back to our regularly scheduled programming.

New post up later today.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Walking on the Wild Side of the Grocery Store

I remember when being adventurous meant bungee jumping, ledge walking, tree bashing, doing donuts on the ice while strapped on the roof of the car in the middle of a snowstorm, golfing with wiffle balls off a friend's apartment roof and flashing cops to get out of underage drinking tickets.  Yeah.  I never claimed to be smart.  I'm also pretty sure I might owe an apology to all the parents of my friends who I drug through this stupidity with me over the years.  My bad, Y'all.  But we sure did have fun making those memories, right?

How the times have changed.

You want to know how I define adventure now?  Asparagus.  Yep.  I got a wild hair in the grocery store this weekend and bought a bunch.  Now, I've never cooked asparagus, let alone eaten it and Miss Chatterbox was poking the package like it was an alien turd from the planet Vulcan (live long and prosper) but, by golly, we were gonna walk on the wild side and eat asparagus.

When I got home, I excitedly looked up asparagus recipes on my favorite recipe site.  I was shocked to find out just how versatile it was.   How can it be that I've never come into contact with it?  It can be grilled, steamed, baked, mashed or even boiled.  Dang.  What began as an adventure, suddenly became a daunting task.  But, since I needed some adventure in my life, we were gonna eat asparagus, dammit!

So, I settled on steaming it and making a hollandaise sauce as the most probable way the family would eat it.  I got all set up, even made the hollandaise sauce (which is kinda tricky, actually), and went to grab the asparagus to put in the steamer.

But I couldn't find it.  It's like it had pulled a Houdini and just poofed.  It wasn't in the fridge where I put it, nor left in my car, and not in Miss Chatterbox's usual hiding spots.  I'm mystified and a little bit peeved.  After all, I'd put all kinds of expectations and plans on that darn package of asparagus.

Then Miss Chatterbox says, "Come look, Mommy!"

Out on our porch, I find that Miss Chatterbox has taken her "alien turds" and built a whole city with them - in her sandbox.  Some, she tells me are "berrwed treaswure" and others are the cornerstones for her "alien pirate turd village".

I couldn't help but burst out in laughter.  We may not have gotten to experience "adventurous cuisine" that night, but the asparagus still brought an adventurous flight of imagination to our home.

Any suggestions on what to buy next week at the store?  Starfruit?  Rutabagas?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

In Spite of Ourselves

So, I had this nice leisurely weekend planned that included writing a lengthy editorial on the current state of education in the US, but life had other plans.  Preliminary testing on one of my special needs kids, showed no growth this semester and even a slight regression.  Not on my watch!  I love my tutorees like they are my own kids and failure is not an option.  So, I spent this entire weekend rebuilding his curriculum from the ground up - as in hunting down new textbooks, writing new goals, entirely revamping my teaching technique and brainstorming new lesson plans.   Let's just say, it took quite some time.


Go read my friend, and fellow firewife, Trina's post on the state of education.  She says it better than I ever could!  Go on, click on it, you know you want too.  I'll wait.

(Jeopardy theme song)

All done?  Good.  I told you it was worth the click!

So, not only have I been busy,  I've been a walking, talking, hormonal turbobitch too.  What?  Can you blame me?  Unplanned back to back pregnancies are tough, yo.  Besides, it's easier to blame my half cooked spawn - then admit I'm a total grumpy pants without caffeine.


Rather than hollering back at me, my Boo, bless his little holey Hanes boxers, tried to cheer me up.

He reminded me of "our" song.

Take a listen

According to The Firefighter, it's like John was writing about us.

In case you missed the lyrics....

She don't like her eggs all runny
She thinks crossin' her legs is funny
She looks down her nose at money
She gets it on like the Easter Bunny
She's my baby I'm her honey
I'm never gonna let her go

He ain't got laid in a month of Sundays
I caught him once and he was sniffin' my undies
He ain't too sharp but he gets things done
Drinks his beer like it's oxygen
He's my baby
And I'm his honey
Never gonna let him go

In spite of ourselves
We'll end up a'sittin' on a rainbow
Against all odds
Honey, we're the big door prize
We're gonna spite our noses
Right off of our faces
There won't be nothin' but big old hearts
Dancin' in our eyes.

She thinks all my jokes are corny
Convict movies make her horny
She likes ketchup on her scrambled eggs
Swears like a sailor when shaves her legs
She takes a lickin'
And keeps on tickin'
I'm never gonna let her go.

He's got more balls than a big brass monkey
He's a wacked out werido and a lovebug junkie
Sly as a fox and crazy as a loon
Payday comes and he's howlin' at the moon
He's my baby I don't mean maybe
Never gonna let him go

In spite of ourselves
We'll end up a'sittin' on a rainbow
Against all odds
Honey, we're the big door prize
We're gonna spite our noses
Right off of our faces
There won't be nothin' but big old hearts
Dancin' in our eyes.
There won't be nothin' but big old hearts
Dancin' in our eyes.

Perfect for a first wedding dance, right?!  I thought so.   Can't say we're not ballsy.  Or tacky.  I'm cool with either.

Love.  It makes pay biweek beans and rice go down easier.

But, you're right, Boo, against all odds, we're the big door prize.