Swimmom’s Weblog

Diary of a Stay-at-home Mom, motherhood and beyond

Shelf Life February 3, 2009

Filed under: anorexia,motherhood,parenting — swimmom @ 7:00 am
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Do you ever look in the mirror and your ass reveals a side of itself you’ve never seen before?

The side that seems to resist all the countless lunges, running and working out you’ve been doing.

I eat healthy, exercise daily and have always been a healthy weigh, my college weight (proudly even after 2 kids), fluctuating between 5 lbs and 2 sizes.

But why as women are we so hard on ourselves?

Why do we let what we see on the scale dictate how we feel on the inside? And do we ever truly see in the mirror what we look like on the outside?

In a world of emphasis on size 2, 24″ waist, C breasts, and losing the baby weight before you’ve left the hospital, our conception of  healthy has fallen into the hands of the media. The same media, that calls beautiful Jessica Simpson, Fat, follows around celebrity mothers minutes after giving birth and declaring they have hit their pre-baby weight just minutes after pushing out a 9 lber, and the same media that declares that beautiful, healthy athletic women, like Serena Williams are fat and manly.

No wonder so many woman have body dismorfia. No wonder a healthy size 8, 10  or even 12 woman thinks her legs have to be thinner, butt smaller and waist trimmer.

My sister, a long distance runner, suffered from anorexia for many years, still does, a disorder bought on by many issues. But during the onset, as a Sophmore in high school, was told by a reporter at a track meet. That she didn’t look like a long distance runner, she was bigger than the runner she beat. Bigger at probably around the 120 range and 5’5″. Even now at the same weight, even months after bearing a child, she still believe she isn’t small enough, trim enough and beautiful enough.  Who knows what she thinks of my frame, at 5’9″ and 25 lbs heavier than herself?

How do we teach our children that healthy is whats in? Eat well be active and love yourself. As a mother, I believe it is my role to teach my kids, my daughter especially that all body types are different and all body types are beautiful. In the world of childhood obesity on the rise, a mother on the popular hit show Weeds, replacing her 10 year old daughters choclate stach with laxatives, a relative of mine, expressing to her 7 year old daughter that if she keeps up her eating habits, she will find herself on Jenny Craig, we’ve got a lot to filter.

I believe, although we are not fully in control, a healthy image starts from your parents. Give you kids the tools to see who they truly are and hopefully they will see they are 10 times better than a doctored image on the cover of any magazine or a celebrity whose frame is fading in front of your eyes.

Eat an apple a day, turn off the TV, put down the remote and enjoy the sunshine.

Jump around, laugh about and love yourself.

You only get one body and if you don’t love it, who will.


2 and counting (hopefully) February 2, 2009

If it were up to my husband we would have a small litter, the starting line up of a basketball team or going head to head with The Duggers. He had said he wants 7 kids and I used to think he was exaggerating, just a bit, but I know he is completely serious. You won’t see me with 18 kids or even 7 (that is unless some freak accident happens and I have multiples).  I doubt my uterus could hold up to that many births and I doubt my sanity could hold up to that much chaos.

At times, though it has been a smoother transition than I imagined, I have trouble with just 2.  Although, I love my children and wouldnt change them for anything, I swear my youngest, Sophia, just a couple days shy of 2 (going on 6), would have kept me barren if she were my first. My son, George, almost 4, whom I thought was busy and energetic, seems a mellow, calm match to my curious, ever moving, wandering and exploring beautiful princess Sophia.

But what do you consider when adding to your clan?

Money, I’m not concerned about. We aren’t millionaires or even 100 thousandaires but we are responsible hard working adults ready to tackly any financial strong hold.

If it were up to my overly opinionated sister-in-law, who proclamined to me during our family Christmas party that, “I know how she feels” about our quest for a third, we would stop at two.

I hear great advice from my husband’s friend, father of 5, that once you think you are done, have one more. And a wonderful comment from a long lost friend I’ve reconnected with through Facebook (my new addiction), “Why not add to the chaos?”

I see it two ways, on one had, I love my children and love being a mother and a wife, but that is not all I am. I have put my dreams on hold to care for my children and don’t want those dreams lost in the chaos of life. On the other hand, the stronger hand, we have so much love to give, so much to teach and so many dreams to nurture.

Why not add one more?

I’d never dreamed of being a mother, but upon meeting my husband, new dreams were realized. My desire to grow old with my husband, and my children and be surrounded by grandchildren and laughter, family. Our hearts are big enough for 2.

Why not add another miracle? God willing.

Why not add  2 more legs to run around the house, 2 more feet to pitter-patter about, 2 more hands to reach everything they shouldn’t, 2 more arms to give those great hugs and one more heart to add to the love and the laughter.

Besides, as my college friend, Michelle Valles, Austin News Anchor, put it to me so poignantly, she once heard a great person say, “I wanted jobs and kids, I wanted it all. I realized I can have it all, just not at the same time.”

I will have it all, some day I’ll get there. But for now, join me on my journey to make out family of 4, a clan of 5.


To favor or not To Favor February 27, 2008

I am really over doing this birthday party thing.

I usually err on the side of being cheap (well, more like inexpensive, I usually like to get the most for my buck) but since my husband gave me the go ahead on this Bounce U party, it’s been full speed ahead (at least according to my standards).

My latest dilemma has been whether or not to do party favors.

I wasn’t sure of two things.

Did I want to spend the money for it considering I am already paying for everyone to play at this play place?

And I have a large age range, how was I going to get something for everyone?

Well, of course, I decided, why not? and I went with the favors.

I went with a local person (so if you live in Philly or South Jersey great, but I think she also ships out for everyone else).

I heard about her through the grapevine. My friend used her for favors for one of her daughters parties (she ordered these super cute Frisbees), and we have gone to parties where her favors have been given. I always hear very positive things. She is Mindys Magic Touch. And hopefully we will score another magic touch with this one.

The favors come hand decorated and affordable. I think they make a nice touch for your party guest and they also come wrapped and “bowed” ready to give. I had trouble deciding but after consulting my husband (who has no idea whatsoever) I went with the Roundabouts. I figure the little kids can put snacks in them and the older kids can up them on their desk or dresser and use them for trinkets, like erasers, spare change, whatever.

Anyway, check out her website. She really has come cute stuff at great prices. She has anything from Frisbees to decorated pillow cases (I hear those are adorable).

Well, since I went with the favors, unfortunately I couldn’t go with the amazing Thomas the Train cake I saw at Diabartolo bakery, a great Collingswood bakery that makes amazing cakes. If you live in the area and need a cake for any occasion, I would definitely recommend them.

They are like the “Ace of Cakes” of South Jersey.

I ordered my sister’s baby shower cake there, which is this weekend. They make a great cake in the shape of a baby carriage. (It’s pictured in the second row. We ordered the Spongebob Cake for his birthday last year.)

When I went in to order the cake, I saw this amazing Thomas the Train cake. It’s 3-D and shaped like Thomas. You really can’t beat it. Anyway, as far as the cake is concerned we went with the a Wegmans cake. Mainly because they too make great adorable tasting cakes (great icing and super moist cake), but I need a full sheet and it’s a little more affordable, especially since I went with the favors. But they really do an exceptional job at their bakery. Besides, I think I need an easy cake to cut since it is cute served by the people at Bounce U. I’ll save that Thomas the Train cake for next year, I’ll sure he’ll still be a train enthusiast (knock on wood, it may be onto something else).

Anyway, a baby shower this weekend, George’s birthday the next, and my sister, husband and mother-in-law are also in the month of March.

And we are looking for a new house.

Things couldn’t get more hectic, fun but hectic.


Smirks and Giggles February 25, 2008

Filed under: motherhood,parenting,Uncategorized — swimmom @ 9:28 pm
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My one year old instigates her almost 3 year old brother like I’ve never seen.

Whatever George is doing, he does it bigger, faster and at times badder when he see her laughing at him. She laughs, then he laughs, the she laughs harder pushing his mind to beyond good fun and into mischief.

Whether it is chasing the cat, slamming the door shut or crashing his trains and cars, he finally has an audience. And his shows are reoccurring and unpredictable, happening at the drop of any little look, smirk or giggle my daughter sends his way.

Today it was laughing at the cat, who takes it in stride. They open the closet door and sit and she laughs at him, he laughs at her and they laugh at each other and some how “kitty-cat” (as we so affectionately call him) is caught in the middle. When the cat runs, they follow, George thinks the cat wants to play and Sophia thinks she can run just as fast pushing her wide legged stride to a quick stammer.

Our old, gentle and very friendly cat has taken to hiding in the closet most of the day to escape the toddler storm that often comes his way. He knows exactly when my son has “left the premises” at nap time or bedtime because he comes out of hiding and rolls around, stretches and reclaims his reign in the middle of the living room floor.

Some days I know I should break up their hysterical collaboration but some days I feel like I want to secretly join in. They can’t talk to each other (well, he talks to her, she babbles back), yet they are already developing that secret language between siblings. She doesn’t even have to say anything and he knows what she wants. He knows when she wants to play, how to make her stop crying and how to make her laugh hysterically.

Their secret language is clear and to the point. At his tender age of 3, he knows when to comfort her and play with her and unbelievably she knows the same. When he is crying (usually because he needs a time out) she pats him on the back. And when he is playing alone, she joins in and laughs at his comical acts. She screams, he screams and they both laugh.

Of course, there are the days when he wants nothing to do with her.

But for the most part, lately, they are a pair that can’t be stopped.

It is different seeing this connection as an outsider. As a mother, I want your kids to be close and to understand that bloodlines are tighter than anything. I have a sister, yet as a sister I didn’t get to see the relationship grow and develop. I didn’t get to see the secret language develop and the connection that was constantly being formed because I was in it. And when you are in it the experience is different.

I understand and appreciate it more.

A sister or brother is always a sister or brother.

I know their relationship won’t always be close and will take rocky turns but I hope they can care for each other and watch out for each other.

That is one of the reasons I wanted two kids, so they’d always have each other.

I know I’ll have to deal with the fights sooner or later, but for now, I’ll take the laughing and the instigating.

I’ll take the looks that send messages and the screams that get each other going.

I’ll take the smirks and the giggles.


Conversation with “Bob” January 7, 2008

Filed under: motherhood,parenting,toddlers — swimmom @ 8:12 am
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As to not embarrass his later in life, I have changed the name of the child in question.

But it’s not Astrophysics considering I only have one talking baby at this time, that is if you don’t count, Momma, daddy, and Hi. (Oh yeah, and googoo, gaga, yaya and all the other 300 words in the universal baby language.)

This is how the conversation went with my, um, baby #1, let’s call him Bob, this morning after leaving mysterious banana on recliner.

“Bob, did you leave your banana on the recliner?”

Bob, “Oh shit!”


Bob says again, “Oh shit! Oh Shit! Oh Shit”

It is important to not only point out what Bob, said, but how he used it ever so correctly!

Bob catches on quick!


Celebrate diversity January 6, 2008

Looking for something to do with the kids in January and February?

Why not introduce them cultures from around the world.

The Garden State Discovery Museum in Cherry Hill, New Jersey is starting out the new year with a celebration in diversity. Join the staff and special guests as they introduce you and your kids to the traditions of cultures around the world throughout January and February. Regular admission to the museum applies, $9.95 for children 12 months and up and adults, $8.95 for seniors. If you live in Philadelphia, this is just 20 minutes over the Ben Franklin Bridge.

Here is a summary of the events. Check out the website for more information.

Saturday, January 12th 2:00pm. Kick up your feet with musicologist Jose Obando with the sounds and sensations behind Salsa Music.

Saturday, January 19th, 1:00pm. Learn about the strength and courage of “the chosen one” Harriet Tubman and the underground railroad.

Sunday, January 27th, 1:00pm. Join the festivities of the Irish Festival. Watch the award winning dancers and musicians from the Next Generation Traditional Irish American Dancers, listen to music and make crafts!

Sunday, February 2nd, 1:00. Celebrate Mardi Gras Madness! Join dancers and musicians on a musical parade throughout the museum as you learn about the history and traditions behind Brazil’s biggest celebration.

Saturday Februray 9th. Learn calligraphy and search the museum for lucky red packets as you jump into the history of the Chinese New Year.

Saturday, Februray 16th, 1:00pm. Africa: The roots of it’s rhythm. Join the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble in a performance you won’t want to miss!

Saturday, February 23rd. Korean Kraze.Tour through the exotic world of Korean music and dance complete with traditional costumes.

It is important to celebrate and embrace diversity!

I found this picture and beautiful quote at Celebrate Diversity from Barbara Kolucki,

“It all begins with accepting who we are and extending this gift to every human. Our uniqueness and diversity is evident each time an infant is born. We marvel at how could it be possible that no two babies look exactly alike – yes, even twins. Somewhere down the road, societal and cultural norms together with the media, pull us to try to be more alike than different. And then we tend to view difference and diversity as having less value. There is an old tale about a man named Rabbi Zusya who said “In the coming world, they will not ask me, ‘Why were you not Moses?’ They will ask me, ‘Why were you not Zusya?'”
Perhaps, if we help each child – girl/boy, disabled/not, poor/rich, from North/South/East/West, from any culture or religion – to celebrate who they are . . . perhaps these children will grow up just wanting to be themselves. And encouraging others to do the same. “

It is important for me to introduce my children to diversity. We are a very diverse, African-American, Irish, Native American Indian, Italian and Lithuanian. I want to show them diversity extends, not only through their family but through out the world. It is what makes us unique, special and beautiful.



The best of times, The worst of times January 5, 2008

Filed under: motherhood,parenting,Places to go,Uncategorized — swimmom @ 5:19 pm
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Yesterday started out great.

We took a trip to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. We got there early, which I highly recommend, for 2 reasons. First, we got to take advantage of the meter parking right near the museum, it was like $3 for 3 hours, you can’t beat it and you really don’t need much more time than that with little kids. Second, when you go early (and on a weekday) it is not that crowded, you can let your kids run around and not worry about losing them, we really had the displays and attractions to ourselves.

George had a blast with the Train Factory, a 350 ton locomotive that has been there since 1939. Even I was impressed!You actually get on it for a “train ride” and the guide really tells a great story! He was mesmerized by the Giant heart display.

You can take a little hike through the heart, learning about the blood flow and arteries. He loved hearing the heartbeats, which resonate through out the display area. He also enjoyed Kids Science, hands on displays dealing with water, magnets, mirrors and much more. And another favorite was the Sports Challenge, and the Franklin Airshow displays.

Basically, he enjoyed the entire museum.

I will not waste a lot of time telling you too much about them, but it is definitely worth checking out if you live in the area or will be there visiting.

If you have a little train enthusiast such as mine, I would recommend working your way from the 3rd floor down, seeing the train display last because, we saw it first and he had serious separation anxiety.

You’d think I should know better!

Anyway, we had a great time, even Sophia was awake the whole time, clapping her hands and laughing.

As you know with kids, things can drastically change, one minute great and the next…unpredictable.

On to the unpredictable.

Later that night I was giving the kids a bath, Sophia loves to get in the big tub with George.

I usually put him in , wash him and then put her in, wash her and take her out and dress her in the bathroom while he plays in the tub. So, she goes in her crib, while I take him out and dress him. As I put her in I notice she stands and then falls face first, for some reason, against the side of the crib, I didn’t think she was hurt, so I get her to stop crying, give her the binky and go to get George out of the tub. As I come back into the room with George, I look over at Sophia, and she is sucking on the binky, laughing, blood everywhere, all over her mouth, on her onsie, all on her crib sheets.

My heart dropped.

It appears that when she feel in the crib, her face against the crib, it lifted her upper lip and she partially tore that piece of skin that connects your upper lip to the gum, if that makes any sense.

Anyway, there was blood everywhere. And of course, blood mixed with saliva just looks like double the blood there really is. So I panicked, of course, what else was I to do, handle things like a rational person, too easy.

Let me remind you, while I am trying to get the bleeding to stop with a towel because at first I thought she bit through her lip, George is naked, jumping on my bed, laughing, screaming and having a good ‘ol time,I’m sure marking his spot.

So, my husband wasn’t home at the time, because get this, he was with his brother, whom was sick, in the emergency room (another long story). So who do we rely on when hubby isn’t available, but my trusty mom.

It is funny how the person who used to get me so worked up, is now the person who is able to calm me down. I rely on my mother more than ever now that I have kids. I guess as a kid I never quite understood, why she was “freaking” out? worrying? etc. but you have your own kids, and you finally look at your mom and have that ah moment, where everything having to do with my mom finally made perfect sense.

Anyway, to make this story short the bleeding finally stopped and everything is okay.

As I was on the phone with my mom, I said ” I am sooooo bad at handling things like this”.

She replied, “No one is ever good at it”.

I asked, “Well, does it get easier?”

She replied, “kind of but not really.”

“Why?” I questioned, ” Because the injuries get worse?”


Frankly stated.

The best of times, the worst of times and you don’t need a lifetime to experience both, just a couple hours.