Category Archives: Motherhood

Just the Two of Us…

 

Rose and I attended our 1st “Two of Us” camp at the Girl Scout Camp Menzies last week.  It was Rose’s 1st experience at camp and the 1st in a looooong time for me.  The only thing I really remember about the bible camp I attended as a kid was the stomach flu that swept though the campers. Ew.

I’m fairly sure that my outgoing, older girl loving, friend gathering, kid would do fine on her own but I selfishly wanted to share in her 1st camp experience.  Luckily our local Girl Scout camp has a parent/child week where you can come and have the camp experience with your daughter.

 She only deemed to sit once with me at the campfire.  Then it was all about the friends.

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We did crafts (Rose’s only breakdown was when I told her she couldn’t make her lanyard while walking down a steep rocky trail), canoeing (and canoe water fights), horseback riding (I got the ex packhorse that didn’t want to go unless nose deep in the horse in front of him), slept under the stars (and woke up drenched with dew), sung songs (and more song and even more songs), ate good food (except the one night the cook must have had off and everything was burnt/dry), and made friends (both of us).

Holding my coffee cup to get warm after sleeping under the stars

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I learned how to make a friendship bracelets, lanyards, lots of new songs, how easily little girls are distracted when there are tiny frogs hopping about in the grass, and how to accidentally soak your daughter’s back during a canoe water fight.

Soooo many lanyards…

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The other moms (and the few dads) there formed a sort of comradery as our daughters reached various stages of exhaustion/over stimulation and broke down.  It was a little heartening to see just about all of them reach that point and know it’s not just my daughter that had to cry it out in the shower stall because “mom’s mean”.  It must be tough for these little girls to have to be “on” all day for 4 days.  So many kids and counselors and adults to impress is exhausting.  Luckily for me, Rose reached the breaking point after the 1st full day and was fabulous the rest of the time.  I did have to tell her a few times that when she goes back next year without me, the counselors WILL tell her what to do and keep her on track and make her go to bed.  I’m still not sure she believes me.  lol!

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In the end, I think Rose liked me being there about 70% of the time.  I call that a win and can’t wait to go back.

 

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Filed under Fun, Girl Scouts, Motherhood, Rose

Will the Live Action Beauty and the Beast be an Inspiration to Young Girls?

I saw the teaser trailer for the new live action Beauty and the Beast this morning (shown above) and it’s twinged my feminist radar.  Regular readers of my blog know that after the birth of my daughters I’ve become more and more of a feminist.  Not the exactly the bra burning type but more towards making sure the influences in my girls lives don’t subtly tell them they are less than a man.  This extends from the toys they play with, the books they read, and the movies they watch.  I don’t need to be a research scientist to know that watching a princess wait around to be rescued over and over again will give any girl a complex.

Two years ago I saw an advanced screening of Disney’s live action Cinderella movie.  After I got past the beauty of the set and costumes, I realized that poor little Cinderella was still stuck in the Dark Ages in terms of using her own strengths to rescue herself.

Then I heard about Emma Watson staring in a live action version of Beauty and the Beast.  The cartoon it’s based on already has a lot more going for it in terms of strong female characters.  Belle is surprisingly independent for an early Disney princess between staying strong to her beliefs and fighting to save her father and the beast.  On top of that, the fact that Emma Watson is Belle will hopefully guarantee that the writer/director will not be allowed to make her character too subservient/helpless.  Emma is a outspoken feminist herself having helped launch the UNs HeForShe campaign.  It would be hard to imagine that she would tie herself to a movie that was anti-feminist in any way.

So Disney, please don’t let me down again.  Please have listened to people like me that complained about the message Cinderella was telling our young girls.  Please have Belle be the strong independent woman I know she can be portrayed to be.

And while your at it, can you make the new live action Tinkerbell movie have an engineering minded Tink and not just a funny fluffy headed fairy?  Pretty please?

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Filed under Female Empowerment, Motherhood, Movie Review

How TV Movies and Moms Have Changed Over the Years (Guest Post)

Today’s Guest Post by the bloggers over at Sheri’s Berries is a fascinating study on the evolution of TV moms and is perfectly times for Sunday’s celebration of mothers. 

For many, the idea of a perfect family was quite simple, especially if they grew up watching shows like Leave it to Beaver and I love Lucy: a stay at home wife who took care of the household duties. But as the years went by, mothers started to take on new roles. By the 90s most of the TV and film moms were employed while still taking care of their household.
Shari’s Berries got really curious on the subject and researched the evolution of TV and movie moms starting with the 20s. It includes data about marital and employment status, the average amount of kids and even some fashion trends.

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It was common to see stay at home moms in the 1940s, as their primary duties were taking care of all the household and making sure kids got a delicious home cooked meal. Few such as Doris Walker in A Miracle on 34th Street stood out as a working mother.  As the years went by, there was a rise in the amount of mothers who held jobs—and even those who owned their own business—while still maintaining a household.

There is one trend that hasn’t changed much: martial status. Although we started seeing more divorces in the 1970s (along with widowed and single mothers), it seems seeing a pair raise children is still very popular in TV today. Of course, it’s important to note that some of these moms’ marital status changed as the show or as the movie progressed.

Perhaps the most interesting data we came across was the changing roles of moms in TV and movies. While being a housewife remained popular in all of the decades, by the 2000s we saw a large number of full time lawyers, doctors, talk show hosts and some in the process of retiring. Let’s not forget that there were also witches, vampires, fugitives, which of course fall into the “other” category.

How many kids can a mom handle nowadays? It seems as though the years have stuck with one or two as the most popular. But in the 80s we had mothers with a lot more kids. Carla Tortelli in Cheers had eight, while Claire Huxtable had five and still held full-time jobs. Talk about a super mom!

It’s never a good idea to ask mom what her weight is, but thin was very popular in the 40s. As the decades went by, we saw a rise in average-sized women on TV that continues today. Cheers to curvy women! Our favorites include Good Times’s Florida Evans and Maria Portokalos from My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

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Have you ever dressed up as your favorite TV or movie character? If so, you’ll realize that one of the most important part of the costume is the hair. So many iconic characters are recognized for it: Marge Simpson, Peggy Bundy, Katie Bueller—the list is endless. As time goes by, we see more of a classic, long wavy look.

Which era did you grow up in, and what TV and movie do you remember most?

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Filed under Female Empowerment, Motherhood, working mom

I Wasn’t a Feminist Until I Had Daughters

You would think as a advanced degree holding Mechanical Engineer I would also automatically be a card carrying feminist. Well it may be true now, but it wasn’t a few years ago.  Sure I chose a profession that was predominantly male but it was only because I always liked finding out how things worked.  Sure my classes in college (*cough* 20 year ago) were on average 15% female but the male students never treated me differently (ok there was flirting but hey it was college).  Sure, I still go to conferences or work with larger companies and I’m surrounded by mostly men.  BUT, I can’t say I ever felt strongly discriminated against.  The men have treated me like what I am, another engineer.

Now, working at a tiny company and not having to deal with hoards of male engineers and managers all day I can say that I’m lucky.  I know women who have had to deal with a lot of crap STILL in this industry so I’m not saying that discrimination isn’t out there, just that I haven’t had to deal with it.  Plus, I married a man who I feel truly thinks of me as his equal.  This meant that I could stay in my little bubble and not have to think about it.

Then I had daughters…

Having daughters changed everything.  Suddenly all the sexist things that I had ignored were a big deal.  The parade of pink useless toys down every “girl” toy aisle was appalling.  The movies marketed to my kids were full of anti-feminist messages.  I discovered a shortage in good STEM books that would appeal to and inspire young girls.  The older my daughters got, the more of an outspoken feminist I became (and the more my blog posts moved away from the fluffy kid stuff).  I knew to ignore the often subtle sexist messages but would my daughters?  Or would they grow up feeling just not quite as smart/strong/funny/equal to a man?

So I’m not actually a card carrying member of the ACLU but I am one of SWE (Society of Women Engineers) and I’ve started a Girl Scout troop (with my awesome husband) where we focus on more than crafts and fluffy stuff but throw in a lot of science and girl power lessons.

And most importantly, I tell my girls every day how smart and strong and clever and funny and wonderful they are.  They are our next generation of leaders and I want to see them excel.

I wasn’t a feminist before I had daughters, but now I would proudly shout it from the roof tops if it helps them to be successful both in their professional and (almost more importantly) personal lives.

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Filed under Engineering, Female Empowerment, Girl Scouts, Motherhood, parenthood, STEM

Evelyn’s 2nd Birthday

My baby girls turned 2 last Monday.  How crazy is that?  Since Rose was off on holiday with her Nana and Papa for the week, Steve and I took the opportunity to take Evelyn on a little trip of our own.

Obviously her father’s daughter, Evelyn loves trains.  She even  practiced crawling by chasing Steve’s trains.  Therefore, a trip to a train museum was in order.  We have been to the California State Train Museum a number of times, along with the Nevada County Railroad Museum so the Nevada State Railroad Museum was decided upon.  We actually took Rose there when she was near Evelyn’s age.  It’s a nice museum with a few steam engines and cars to look at.  They also run a rail car on the weekends and a really beautiful steam train on special occasions.

We rode on a rail car.

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We looked at trains both big,

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and small (these were her favorite).

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After a morning full of trains, we traveled on to spend a little time at the beach on Tahoe thanks to Steve’s awesome Aunt Gayle and family.  They live in Glenbrook and there is the loveliest beach there.  Plus some beautiful wildflowers this time of year.  I couldn’t resist some glamour shots of Evelyn. 🙂

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 Evelyn (my little fish) had a blast once she got over the chillness of the water. Although I think it was more the playing with her daddy that gave her the most joy.

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While we missed Rose like crazy, it was good for Evelyn to have all the attention from both her parents for a little while.  Something that Rose had for the first 3 years of her life.  Evelyn flourished and I think was a little out of joint (but happy) when Rose was back the next day.

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Filed under Evelyn, Fatherhood, Growth Update, Motherhood

Snuggling in the Memories

Tonight I was face down on the bed “resting my eyes” while Rose had her quiet time before bedtime.  Right when I was thinking it was time to drag myself up and put her to bed (or tell Steve too), I hear the padding of little feet.

“Mommy, I’m coming up.”

She crawls up and lays her head down on my out stretched hand.

After a few minutes I sit up and reach out and pull her towards me, tucking her body against mine.

As I cocoon my body around her I marvel that she is still a little girl.  So many times lately, when she recites full lyrics to a song or tells me an elaborate story or dances around the room looking a bit like Elaine on Seinfeld, she seems older then her 4.5 years.

But then, as I stroke her soft arm, I admire it’s softly rounded form.  For all her slenderness, she has the slightly pudgy wrists of a child.  It reminds me of that she is still a little girl, not much past her toddler years for all her “I’m my own person” outlook on life.

So I snuggle her slight form, breathing in her sweet scent, and try to cement every one of these feelings/scents/emotions into my memory.

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Filed under Motherhood, parenthood, Rose

Rose’s Birth Story. Part 2

Continued from Part 1.

So now I was all settled in comfortably and pain free.  I could finally relax and sleep, only being woken up every hour or so to be checked instead of every 3 minutes.  Sweet sweet relief.  Let me tell you, I admire those women who have a med free labor.  They are truly amazing.  Me, bring on the meds!!

There was only one moment of drama where the nurses had let me lay on one side too long and Rose’s heart rate slowed a bit, then the monitor moved so it wasn’t picking it up at all.  Let’s just say it was a little disconcerting to wake to an alarm and have about 5 nurses running into your room.  They very calmly and professionally moved me around ( I couldn’t move very well myself with the epidural) and found Rose’s heart beat again.  Phew!

At 2:45 am my water broke and I was at 7 cm. Having your water break is weird. I don’t think there was a popping sound but there was a popping feeling. Know what mean? The nurses noted that there was some meconium in there so they knew to be watchful when she came out. I figure it was because of the fairly long labor.

At 7:30, I was 10 cm and they called the doctor in. She could see that while my body was ready, Rose wasn’t dropped very far. She had a scheduled c-section so she had the nurse start me pushing a bit while she was gone. It was a good thing she didn’t push the c-section (it’s like she had done this before) because when she came back 30 minutes later, I wasn’t very progressed.

Of course this was the time that she felt around and discovered the reason. Rose was sunny side up. This prompted some very uncomfortable efforts to turn her around because no way was she coming out otherwise. After about 10 minutes when I think my doc was seriously considering sending me in for a c-section Rose finally flipped.

Even after a that, it was about another hour or so before she finally came out. At 9:20, Rose was born and despite the efforts of the nurses to suction the meconium, immediately gave some good cries and sucked some in.

I know that lots of moms talk about the “blessed moment where they see their baby for the first time and they feel they love pouring out of them”.  Me, I stared at the white film covered butt on my belly and thought, “Thank god that’s over. Man this is weird.”

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Steve dutifully took pictures while they cleaned her up and weighted her 7lbs 8oz 19.5 inches. All this I saw from afar while my doctor did her best to put me back together again. Unfortunately by the time they were done, Rose had developed a fever so blood was drawn for testing. The results of that are a post for another day.

Doing a little skin on skin with a proud Daddy

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Before I knew it, I was resting on my bed with a little wrinkly baby up against my skin.  Happy, but still a little weirded out.

Tune in next time for “It all turns out fine but not as planned”.

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Filed under Motherhood, Rose

Musings On A Weekend at the Beach

We took Evelyn with us for the first time on the annual family trip to Lawson’s Landing at Dillon Beach this weekend.  Last year she was only 3 months old and I didn’t want to put the family through living in close quarters with a crabby baby.  This year, she was walking and past the “put everything in her mouth” phase.  This meant we could put her on the sand and not worry about her colicing from all the sand ingestion (horse joke).

She still needed a little help “running down the dunes”.

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I’m amazed (although I shouldn’t be), what a difference a trip to the beach is when you have two little ones along.  Instead of chapters of a fluffy book being read while lounging in a beach chair in front of the waves, there was digging in the sand to build sand castles (for Evelyn to stomp on) and watching Rose running up and down and up and down the dunes.

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Instead of leasurly walks along the beach, hand in hand with my husband, it was “see how many kids Daddy can hold at one time”.

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Instead of cuddles in front of the campfire it was puzzles with my daughter (I was only allowed to watch, not participate)

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and reading books with Nana.

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I didn’t come back from the weekend feeling refreshed (I was a little worn out from ‘co-sleeping’ with Evelyn) but wouldn’t have traded it for the world.  The wonderful feeling of putting smiles on the faces of her..

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and her, made it all worth while.IMG_4232

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Filed under Evelyn, Motherhood, Musing of Life, parenthood, Rose, Travel

When the Daddy is away, the girls will play

Steve was gone this Friday for a boy scout overnight which was the perfect excuse to have our first sleepover.  But first, bath time with Elmo (of course).

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No slumber party is a true slumber party without snacks. (Note the required ketchup and ranch dipping stations)  I had seen this concept on a couple of websites and it went over like gangbusters with Rose.  She loved to have all the choices and dipping options.  I loved that they were all healthy (everything was organic and/or whole grain).

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Even Rosie the Engine had a little munch.
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We snuggled on the couches (I pushed two together and put a bunch of blankets and pillows on them) and watched Elmo to our (well her) hearts content.  Love love love!

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Thoughts of a working mother

Being a working mother sometimes reminds me of how women with curly hair often wish it was straight and women with straight hair wish it was curly.  When I’m at work I miss my little girl like crazy and wish I could be home with her.  When I’m home with her for a week I start to wonder how the stay at home parents don’t go absolutely nuts.  I love my daughter to death but after a week straight of ‘Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! x 3,000’ I’m thinking of investing in ear plugs.  I am not sure if I have the patience that it takes to stay at home with her all the time.  The toddlerness really tests my temper at times.

I also get restless and miss the adult interaction of the work environment.  A lot of my identity comes from what I do and I have a lot of pride in being an engineer. I know what I do will give my daughter a good example that she can be whatever she wants to be.

Plus, there is the biggest elephant in the room, money.  I posted a while ago about what the money I bring home provides for my daughter.  Without the hours I put in, the stress of balancing a demanding career and a demanding toddler and the terrible loneliness I feel sometime when I am sitting at my desk and know it will be a hours before I can wrap my arms around my little girl, I would never be able to have my daughter live in an place that will provide her a childhood full of natural wonders.

And, there is always that feeling that no matter how wonderful my daughters daycare is (and they are wonderful), if she was home with me, she would be learning all of my mannerisms, my expressions, my idiosyncrasies.  I would be the one helping to shape her personality for more than a few hours during the weekdays.  I would be in charge of every little thing that goes in her mouth and in her ears.

Most of me knows that she is happy and healthy and loved.  Most of me knows that my working is best for our family financially.  Most of me knows that I would be restless and unhappy at home all the time.  It’s that little part, deep down inside.  That little part that pokes me in the heart when I watch my daughter laugh over silly things or give me a hug and tell me she loves me just because.  That little part that wishes…..

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Filed under daycare, Motherhood, Musing of Life, parenthood, Rose, working mom