MegaEarly Bird


*CRACK* The thunder wakes me. Squinting at the clock, to make up for the lack of glasses, I see that it’s 5 am. I just nursed baby an hour ago. I hope the thunder doesn’t wake her, too. My next concern is for my other two girls and their sleepover friend, in the tent in the yard. Will they be scared? Will they get soaked? 

Ok, time to wake hubby and check out the situation. I ask him to go get them. Out of bed he gets, and I trail behind, a few minutes later. He is already back inside; no girls. “I brought them an umbrella,” he tells me. Well, that just won’t do. I want them inside, in warm, dry beds. By now, it’s pouring. They must be awake and wet. Hubby heads out again, while I go to Jeana’s room to turn on the nightlight and make ready the bunk beds. They are already full of kids! “I heard the thunder, so we came in,” Jeana tells me, excitedly. Ah, good. Poor hubby is the only one who gets soaked; back to bed we all go.

*WAAAA* The baby wakes me. Squinting again at the clock, I see it has only been a half hour; I had only just fallen back to sleep. How many times has she woken, now? Three? Four? I’ve lost track. I curse the gods for creating this whole teething business, and out of bed again.

After an a bit of nursing and rocking, baby is back to sleep. It’s after 6 am. I can only hope that I get a little more sleep. How long will baby give me? 30 minutes? An hour? Opening my eyes again, I see she was kind. It is almost 8. This is considered sleeping in, in this house. My lovely hubby gets up with her, allowing me to drift off one last time.

The next time I see the clock, it’s almost 9. This really IS sleeping in! Still, I don’t want to get up. I almost want to keep sleeping; I have a lot of wakeful nights to make up for. But, what’s that smell? Eggs? Pancakes? Ah, life is good.

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MegaEarthy: The Great Greening, Part 1


I’m always interested in living more green.  These days, however, it takes a conscious decision and a bit of a commitment to really make it work.  It is easy to walk into the grocery store and pick up a bottle of laundry detergent, but even though my clothes may look cleaner, is it really the healthiest choice? They make “free and clear” alternatives, but those are usually still full of irritants and chemicals that are harmful to us.  The best option is to make our own alternative cleansers.  I’ve made attempts at this and do use some green cleaners, like Dr. Bronner’s, and also have made use of things like vinegar, baking soda, and tea tree oil to get things clean.  But, I do not feel my meager attempts are enough.

Green Cleaning Ingredients

Inspired by, yet another informative documentary, I have renewed my green resolve.  The film, Chemerical, follows a family which vowed to remove all the toxic chemicals – from cleaning supplies to make-up and shampoo – from their home.  I want to do this for my family!!  I have already made some steps in this direction, but I want to go all the way!  But, where to start?

The Nursery

May the Great Greening begin!

I’ll begin with the most vulnerable member of the family, the baby.  I began going green for baby a few months ago with replacing her disposable diapers with cloth diapers.  This was a move that surprised even me!  Another documentary, No Impact Man, inspired this decision (along with my crunchy friend, Anna!); one that I wish I had made sooner!  It requires a bit of a financial investment – one that you make up for quickly – and also a time commitment for laundry, but it’s worth it!  Such a simple way to go green!  I recently began making my own baby wipes and booty-cleaning solution, to replace the chemical-laden commercial wipes.  I’m a novice at the sewing machine, so it’s slow-going, but they are under way!

Next, for baby, I plan to look at replacing her shampoo, baby wash, and lotion.

The Laundry Room

Baby is also exposed to the same chemicals in laundry detergent as the rest of the family.  Now, this one seems trickier to me.  I do have a recipe for laundry wash, but am feeling pessimistic as to how the clothes will feel without softeners and anti-static preparations.  I will, however, keep an open mind and give it a try.  I am also wondering how well an alternative cleaner will work in my new high-efficiency machines; we shall see.  I am excited to find out!

To Be Continued . . .

Check back with MegaMomma Musings to see what other changes will be made, and how successful I’ve been in what I’ve done.  Please feel free to respond with tips or recipes to help me out!

MegaLoud: A Day With No Yelling, Part 2


Tired of yelling at my children; basically letting them turn me into Momma Monster, I decided to see if I could get through a day without losing my cool. As described in Part 1, my childrens’ ridiculous behavior often leads me to exhibit my own ridiculous behavior. Call it “going crazy,” “losing it,” or “acting like a fool,” I thought it needed to change. How can I teach my kids to deal with stress and frustration properly if such things drove me to throw an adult-sized, toddler-worthy tantrum? Could I possibly change this behavior and go a whole day without yelling?

Short answer, YES! I did it! I can’t say it was easy, but it helped that my hubby woke up on the wrong side of the nursery rocking chair (where he “napped” with baby at 5am), which left him the irritable Daddy Monster, yelling in the early morning hours. It is surprisingly easy to keep my cool when I witness someone else acting the fool. Calm down, I think to myself, upon hearing him act the way I usually do. I kept this in mind during times when I would usually blow up.

Paige, being especially Impish

When tempted to freak out, I would instead bring my child (ok, usually Paige the Imp) close and whisper to her about her behavior. I noticed myself getting more quiet, as opposed to louder. It helped that my Dad didn’t think I could make it past 2pm. My folks actually stopped by around then and, strangely enough, this was when I almost lost it. After repeatedly asking Paige to put away a toy that baby wanted, but could not have, and her repeatedly ignoring my request, I felt my blood begin to boil. I needed to prove to my Dad, as well as to myself, that I could do this, I was able to keep my rage in check.

So, yes, I made it the whole day and didn’t lose my cool. The next question is, how long will this last? Hmmmm. After getting up with baby every two hours (again) last night, coupled with the kids stuck in the house on a rainy weekend, I honestly don’t know if I’ll make it to lunch. I’m going to remind myself, when the steam begins to pour from my ears, to set a good example and, maybe more importantly, not let them see me act the fool. I do want them to take me seriously, after all!

MegaLoud: A Day With No Yelling, Part 1


Bad habits are hard to break. I know; I’ve broken some (like smoking and drinking soda) and practice, still more (namely, yelling and nagging at my family members).  Yes, I yell at my children. I hate that I do this. One thing about bad habits is that you KNOW they’re bad, but you can’t seem to stop. I yell because I am trying to express how angry and frustrated I am. In the heat of the moment, I don’t see any other alternative.

Silly, exuberant, Paige

The anger and frustration is generally directed at my 7 1/2 year old, Paige. She’s the kind of child you might label, challenging. She knows exactly which buttons to push to make me crazy. By “crazy,” I mean red faced, steam coming from my ears, yelling, and door slamming. She refuses to listen to me with regard to. . . anything and everything. She refuses to eat any dinner, at least every other night. She neglects brushing her teeth, then lies about it. She plays too rough with the baby, despite constant reminders. Anything I ask her to do, she responds to by calmly explaining why she’s NOT going to do it. This makes me crazy.

Can you guess which one earned the nickname, “The Imp,” from my sister?

There is actually a second part to how she gets to me. Discipline is all but impossible with her. Nothing seems to get the message through to her. Time-outs (our old stand-by) don’t work (sometimes, she volunteers), and neither does being sent to her room. I’ve taken away countless toys and clothes (I have 2 garbage bags FULL in my closet), I’ve grounded her, and spanked her. I’ve forced her to eat, as well as sent her to bed with no dinner. She just doesn’t care. She’ll just smile and help load toys into the plastic bag, because she doesn’t want to put them away. We’ve tried reward charts and chore charts; bribes and allowance. Nothing seems to have any impact on her behavior. This also makes me crazy.

A quiet moment between Paige and Sophie

Until now, making me “crazy” had one sure result: my yelling, slamming doors, and generally throwing a fit. I’m sure I look ridiculous. I would be mortified if my friends, family, and neighbors saw my behavior. I hate feeling so angry and I hate acting so outrageously. I always start out with good intentions, and with a calm demeanor, but my fuse is short. It doesn’t take long for me to go 0 – 60. I just need to CALM DOWN! I’m not sure how I’m going to accomplish this, and I’ve already spoiled the experiment for TODAY. Starting TOMORROW, I’m not going to yell and I’m not going to slam anything. I’m just going to go cold turkey. Any mental preparations I’ve made in the past have not helped. So, please stand by and find out if I can make it one whole day without yelling. It’ll be a Saturday, so all three kids, my husband, and the dogs will be here to present challenges to my resolve. Wish me luck!

MegaMixed Messages


As parents, we all want to do what’s best for our babies. Many do what I do and look online and in books for the answers to parenting questions. It is a quick and convenient way to find advice but, many times, the advice is so widely varied, that we end up more confused than when we started. It’s funny to me that, as different as all the views are, people often swear by their words as the “right way.” We may lean toward the attitudes of our family and friends but, even those I’m close to have very different opinions than mine.

So how do we decipher the best-for-me answer?  Does it help to get MORE information? In trying to figure out how on earth to get my baby to sleep, I’ve read several books and have been to many websites. I often feel I have only really succeeded in feeling guilty for failing all the different methods I have tried to utilize.

Really, what I have done is armed myself with an arsenal of ammo for my bag of tricks. I tend to prefer to be consistent, but Sophia is completely unpredictable; sometimes it helps to be able to change things up, when the going gets tough. For example, Sophia “usually” takes a nice, long 2 hour nap around 9:30 in the morning. Afterward, she’ll take another nap of an hour or so in the early afternoon. If she skips or shortens her morning nap (like, only 20 minutes), then I might try to get some catch-up sleep for her by attempting to put her down every 1 1/2 – 2 hours that she’s awake – as advocated by some sleep-trainers.  If did this technique with her everyday – which I did for a while – she would take cat naps all day. When I did this, I felt tied down to the rocking chair ALL DAY. However, it helps on off days.

There are so many mixed messages out there, regarding parenting techniques. It may get confusing and frustrating to figure out what to do but, tempered with your personal experience and opinion, these can be a great tool. The key is to keep an open mind and to know yourself and your child well. I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I know to gather my tools and use my own judgement, before buying into the first thing I read about or to rely on only one “expert’s” view.

MegaEarthy: 50 Shades of Green


Since I was young, I have been concerned for the environment. I even had a Greenpeace tote bag and T-shirt in Junior High. I probably felt that this meant I was “green.” Besides sorting the recycling for my mother, I’m quite sure I was not. But how much does one have to DO in order to say you’ve “gone green?” Are there different levels of greenness? When, exactly, can I say I’ve done my part and can stop feeling guilty for killing the planet?

So, how green am I, really? On the one hand, I keep my house toasty in the winter and as cool as possible in the summer. I let my car idle to warm up and while waiting to pick my kids up from school, sometimes with the air conditioning on. I buy products which are disposable, and are sold with far too much packaging. I could go on and on.

On the other hand, there are many things I do to try to be green. We recycle, and I recently put our bins where we can easily access them – they had been in a closet and I’m pretty sure I was the only one aware of their existence. I’m constantly turning off lights and TV’s (usually left on my on of my children . . . or husband). We buy local produce, when possible (which isn’t often, in our little town). I try to conserve water, whenever I can; I even purchased a high efficiency washer and dryer set. I still feel that all of these things do very little for the world; like I’m living at a low-level of greenness.

Our cutest cloth diaper, bumGenius in Lovelace ❤

A couple of months ago, I made a change that I feel ups my green level and actually makes a daily difference. I began to use cloth diapers on my baby. Now, I’m sure that I’ll be writing more about this in a later entry, but I’ll sum up for now. It makes me feel like I’m actually achieving something. After diapering my first two children in disposables, I’m proud that this child’s waste is no longer (she started in disposables) rolled up in indestructible, plastic packages, taking up space in a landfill for the next 1000 years. The amount of garbage we accumulate has gone way down, since making this change. Now, I’m still using disposable wipes (the hard-cord cloth mamas use cloth wipes!), so I’m still creating garbage in the nursery, but am feeling more green than ever! Babies tend to use 10-12 diapers a day, for the first 2-3 years of their lives. That’s a whole lot of nasty, if you ask me! It takes a small investment to start, but you save tons more, in the long run. It also takes a commitment to spend time washing and reassembling them, but it’s all worth it to make a difference in this way! However, I know that there is a lot more I can do, in my daily life, to do better.

We hold the health of the world, in our hands!

When it comes down to it, it’s the everyday decisions that matter. If you make a conscious effort to make “green” choices, then that’s the difference you make, today. I plan to ask myself, “how green can I be today?” upon waking, from now on, and to remind myself to make good choices throughout the day. There have to be at least 50 shades of green, in terms of how our daily decisions effect the health of the environment. I’m going to try, every day, to make my shade the greenest that I can.

What shade of green will YOU be today??

MegaMomming at Home


When a woman becomes a mother, whether for the first or the fifth time, the decision of whether or not to leave home and baby to go to work is a difficult one. I know, because I’ve been faced with this decision three times, now. Leaving my first two babies to return to work was one of the most heart-wrenching things I think I’ve done. Yes, it is good to rejoin the world of adults and to be productive, and it was essential for my family, financially, at the time. That didn’t make the transition any easier.

New baby, Sophia!

This time around, with the birth of my third child, I’ve decided to stay home. My husband would love for me to bring home a paycheck, but he hasn’t complained (yet). He did, in fact, agree to this arrangement before Sophia was conceived (though he claims he doesn’t recall this conversation). Staying home with baby was my only condition when considering having a third child, and he agreed to my terms. Luckily, he now has a well-paying job and, so far, we have been able to afford this arrangement. I am now a stay-at-home-mom!

Being a full-time mom is not exactly what I imagined it to be. I envisioned an immaculate home, running errands, doing crafts, making nutritious meals for my family, and having plenty of time left over to play with baby. Somehow, however, these things aren’t part of my daily life. I do keep my home pretty clean and orderly, but as I look around, I see much that needs attention. I very rarely run any errands, partially due to the unpredictable nature of Sophie’s naps (I also detest grocery shopping). I do cook, once in a while, but that time of day usually includes a fussy babe who is severely lacking in the nap department; can you say “clingy?” Additionally, my children are notoriously picky-eaters; who wants to slave over a meal that you have to convince everyone to try? I DO play with Sophia, continuously throughout the day, but who has time for crafts?

Lunchtime!

One of my biggest time-eaters seems to be Sophie’s naps, or lack thereof. Sometimes it feels like I spend half of the day (or more) nursing and rocking and TRYING to get baby to sleep. It’s so frustrating when I KNOW she’s tired, but she won’t stay asleep, after falling asleep, then waking when put in her crib. Nap-strike days are the worst for me. She, funny enough, seems fine these days, and even energetic. . . I’m not sure how. The lack of her naps leaves me exhausted and frustrated.

Time-eater number two: laundry. Between daily diaper washes (which take a couple hours, at best) and regular laundry (every other day, or so), my washer and dryer are working almost constantly – and so am I. With both of these time-eaters working against me, I hardly have time to load, run, and unload the dishwasher, make lunch for Sophia and I, clean the kitchen, sweep, mop, vacuum, and pick the kids up from school (no busing in my small town).  How do moms who work full-time get any of these things done, when I can barely keep up??

Playtime with Momma

It is true that being a working mom is tough – I’ve been there, too – but I argue that it can be equally tough (though in different ways) to be a SAHM. The stresses brought on by everyday baby-rearing (like Sophie’s nap issues and sleep-deprivation), combined with the pressure to keep up the home, and the lack of adult interaction really does make being a mom the hardest job you’ll ever love.  That being said, I am thrilled to be able to share my days with my little one; they are only this small for a short time, after all. I feel blessed that I get to be with Sophie all day and am witness to every first in her young life. In fact, I just saw her take a couple, wobbly steps, while writing this! I wish all moms could have the opportunity to stay home longer with their babies; I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else!!

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