We're getting him dentures next

There was a good reason why I didn't have time to blog yesterday. I was too busy watching my child get a baby root canal.

Yes, people, I've find an area of parenting that I truly suck at--dental hygiene.

Here's the deal. My oldest son at 6-years-old has had a total of 6 cavities. Do the math. That's a cavity a year--4 of which have taken place in the last 6 months.


Before you ask, yes, we brush his teeth twice a day. Do we make him floss? Hell, I don't even floss my own teeth. I always have good intentions--both with my own teeth and my children's--but the follow-through is weak.

Two dentist appointments ago, the Cheese had trouble taking x-rays for his teeth. Every time that they tried, he started to gag. So the dentist decided, and rightfully so, that we shouldn't force him and create a negative dental experience that might ruin him for life.

Well, apparently there was a cavitiy in there that really need immediate attention, but it was left to fester. And fester it did. So much so that the cavity got so deep that when x-rays were finally taking at his last appointment it was obvious that he not only had three other cavities that had creeped up, but there was one that was so deep that it would require a root canal.

Just take me out and shoot me because the guilt is just too much.

So after an hour in the dentist chair, the Cheese now has a silver cap on one of his baby teeth. The dentist said that it'll fall out when he's about 11-years-old, so for the next 5 years I'll have a constant reminder that I allowed the cavity bugs to totally invade my child's mouth.

The only thing that's making me feel any better is that the dentist said that her son had 8 cavities on his baby teeth. Hey, if the dentist's child is getting cavities, then I guess the Cheese is in pretty good company.

In this tough economic time, we figure if things get too bad, we can always sell our son's silver tooth. After writing the check to the dentist yesterday, that things worth a small fortune.

I wanna be a Clair Huxtable

I love "The Cosby Show." I always have and I always will.

Every night at 8 o'clock, "Cosby Show" reruns are on for an hour on TV Land. I think I've seen every single episode ever made at least a dozen times, but I still watch the reruns just to make sure. No matter how many times I see them, these shows still make me smile.

Yes, Bill Cosby is funny. Yes, the shows always sent a good message. Yes, the morals were the same that I grew up with, etc...etc. But that's not why this show means so much to me.

I grew up an only child living with a single mom. My parents divorced when I was 9, so I saw my dad every-other weekend and for a couple of months in the summer. Both of my parents were good parents who loved me very much. It wasn't a perfect childhood, but it was what it was and I'm grateful for everything that I did have. It made me into the fabulous person you see before you today.

"The Cosby Show" gave me something that I didn't have growing up--a two parent home with lots of siblings. It was totally different than what I had, which is probably what made it so appealing. I wanted a silly dad who was around and available. A dad that disciplined with humor and showed his love in silly ways like giving Zrbtts (pronounced "zurburts"). That wasn't my reality, so I got what I didn't have through a T.V. show.

There was lots to love about the show. Cliff was always funny and the kids always doing funny things. But the main reason that I loved "The Cosby Show" so much was because of the relationship between Clair and Cliff. Sure, I wanted them to be my parents, dreamed about it even. But more than that, I wanted to have their marriage when I grew up.

How could you not love these people?

It was clear how crazy Clair and Cliff were about each other. They were both well-educated, smart people who still knew how to have fun, raise their kids with lots of humor, and were absolutely crazy about each other.

I loved how tough Clair was and how much she loved her family. She never put up with any of their crap and they all respected her for it. She was adored by her husband, and she was just as crazy about him. The reason that their family was such a success was because their marriage was so strong. We're they perfect? Hell no, but they handled it all with love and humor just the way I hope I always do.

Am I nuts for giving too much credit to a T.V. show? Perhaps. But there are worse things to want to emulate.

I don't think that it's so bad to have a T.V. character as a role model, not one like Clair Huxtable anyway. She's a lot to live up to, but I'll continue to try. Now if I could just get the Golfer some husband lessons from Mr. Cosby, we'd be all set.

What's wrong with that?

The Cheese has his first parent-teacher conference today. I'm supposed to come up with 3 goals that I have for my child but I'm don't think I'll be able to finish my homework before I go to school.

School seems to be the one area in my child's life that he is doing really well. The goals that I have for my child involve not hitting his brother, eating all of his dinner, and not getting magic marker on the carpet. For some reason, I don't think that's what Mrs. Henry has in mind.

When I was a teacher, I always got so nervous before parent conferences. It was hard having to sugar coat the problems that someone's child was having at school. You can tell someone a hundred different ways that their child is great, but all of that goes out the window once they find out that their child is failing fractions.

I'll never forget the story of my oldest nephew's first parent-teacher conference. Sweet Sam--who is now a sophomore in high school and (gulp) about to start driving--was a bright little boy. One of the sweetest, most kind-natured children that I've ever known. Maybe I'm just a biased aunt, but I can't remember Sam doing anything wrong...ever!

My step-sister and brother-in-law walked into the conference with no worries.

"I have good news and bad news," Sam's first grade teacher told them.

"Sam is reading well above grade level and is an excellent student."

No surprise there, but then his teacher paused to take a deep breath.

"But...Sam's been cussing and I've caught him playing with himself more than once."

And after what I imagine was a brief period when Sam's parents tried their best to suppress their laughter, my brother-in-law finally spoke.

"And the bad news is?"

Here's hoping that Mrs. Henry doesn't have any bad news for us either.

Clueless Husband--Installment #273

The four of us were standing in line at Toys 'R Us, the Parental Hell captial of the world. The Cheese had saved up his allowance and was ready to blow it, so we had promised that after church we would take him shopping. Sunday mid-morning seemed like a good time to go. Surely no one would be there.

"...and don't call me Shirley."As we stood in the line to check out that was at least a half of a mile long, the golfer ever so sweetly put his arm around me. He didn't say anything, just looked deeply into my eyes.

I almost expected him to say something about how stupid it was to come to here on a weekend and why do they have ten cashier lanes if they're only going to open two, but he was smiling and kind of looking at me like...well...like he kind of liked me or something.

When you've been married for 8 years and have a husband that travels, you take romance wherever you can get it.

My quick mind immediately switched gears, waiting with anticipation for the sweet romatic words that he was about to say.

"Your eyes sure are bloodshot, babe. They're all red."

And there it was. I was a little shocked that he didn't think to mention the dark circles and the wrinkle lines starting in the corners.

Whose stupid freakin' idea was it to go to Toys 'R Us anyway?

"We learned something new today..."

Usually my DVR is reserved for shows like "Young and the Restless" and "Mad Men" but there's a new show that I've deemed worthy.

There's a fabulous new kid's show on PBS called "Sid the Science Kid." If you have young kids and haven't watched this show, you need to. Both of my boys (ages 6 and 3) really enjoy watching. And the best part is that my boys are actually learning new things from watching it.

My boys love watching television. They come by it naturally since their mother is a total and complete T.V. junkie. So to find a show that they love to watch that is VERY educational is more than I could hope for.

Case it point. There was a show where Sid wanted to know why his bananas always turned brown. So, Sid headed off to school where he and his three friends learned all about decay from Teacher Suzie.

A day or two later I packed the Cheese's lunch with a, you guessed it, a banana. Knowing that he wouldn't eat the whole thing, I cut it in half before putting it in his lunch box. Later that afternoon, I asked him if he ate his banana with his lunch.

"No. I was all brown on the end," he told me.

"But, buddy, if you had peeled back the peel you would have seen that the rest of the banana was just fine. It was only the end that was brown."

"Oh," he thoughtfully replied. "I thought that it had decayed."

So not only had he learned about decay from the show, he understood his new knowledge enough to get himself out of having to eat his fruit at lunch.

I'm not sure that's what PBS intended, but knowledge is knowledge and I'm glad that my boys are learning more and more, even if it is from the television.

Think on these things: Adam and Eve were environmentalists.

It's easy to say that you are green. It's the new "hot"thing to do. I realize that. But I don't want to be green just because. I want to be green because it's what I should do because it's the right thing.

I was reading a book, Velvet Elvis, that has nothing to do with being green--actually it had to do with Christianity and the modern church. But there was a paragraph or two where the author addresses being an environmentalist.

As he puts it, Adam and Eve were the first environmentalists. Think about it. God had just created the entire planet and everything in it and had told Adam and Eve, "Okay, here you go. Now take care of it."

Their only job was to take care of the planet. And what did they do? They immediately began using up it's resources, only worried about themselves and what the planet could do for them.

As the author, Rob Bell, of Velvet Elvis says, we cannot live independently from the planet. I love that! I read it over and over again. What a simple statement that makes so much sense! We need this planet to survive. Life's not going to work without it. But we continue to take it for granted. We assume that it's going to last forever, and that's simply not true.

The idea of being green has to bigger. We have to start thinking outside of our recycling bins.

There's a new movement called Creation Care. A book on my to-read list titled, Serve God Save the Planet, calls it a "Christian Call to Action." Obviously, you don't have to be a Christian to be green (there's lots and lots of people who have been a leading force in the green movement that are not Christians) but I believe that if you are a Christian it is your responsibility to be green. God has given you a gift and you should take care of it. Plain and simple.

I don't want to be preachy, I have no authority on anything. It's like celebrities talking about politics--they have no authority, but their opinions make for interesting discussion.

Here's what the Bible has to say about being green:

Why Be Green? Because the earth is God’s and full of God’s “stuff.”

“The earth is the Lord’s, and all that it contains…” Psalm 24:1

Why Be Green? Because God told us to.
“I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth…” Genesis 1:29

Why Be Green? Because abusing the earth hurts all of us.
“All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” 1 Peter 1:24-25

Why Be Green? Because it honors God.
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." Psalm 19:1

Why Be Green? Because the planet is one of the vehicles created by God to point people to him.

"Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth . . . Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad..." Psalm 96:1, 11

Why Be Green? Because it is what’s best for all mankind.

"Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…" Phil. 2:4-8

Why Be Green? Because is glorifies God.

"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." Rev. 4:11

Why Be Green? Because the earth is the Lord’s.

"All things were created by Him and for Him." Col. 1:16b

I think I'll choose to be a Godly shade of green. Just something to think about.

If you come over to our home, it will always look like we're getting ready for a dinner party.

Today's Tackle has to do with decorating. My dining room was the last room in the house that I really hadn't attempted to do anything with yet. But it was really starting to bother me because it is one of the first spaces that you see when you walk into our house. Nothing like a bad first impression!

Our dining room table is an old farm table that we bought at an antique store in Oklahoma City when we first got married. It's old and beat up and if you run your hand over it you'll get a splinter. But we've always loved it because it was different and unique.

After moving into the new house, I was feeling the need for a change. I didn't really want to get rid of the farm table, but I didn't have any other dining room furniture to go with it. I looked around, but couldn't commit to any new furniture. This old farm table had traveled 1,300 miles to our new house and I hated to get rid of it.

So instead, I decided just to decorate the top of it and make good use of what I had. I forgot to take any "before" pics, but basically there was nothing but the table and an old light fixture that came with the house.

As you can see, the room is fairly...blank. So, I bought some plain, cream dishes that will always serve as a base. I also got new napkins, and dark chocolate, square, grass place mats that help to darken the table a little and also brings out some of the dark colors in the rug. The mirror hanging on the wall was another re-purposed item that I spray painted chocolate brown.

I used a mixture of two different salad plates with fall colors--mostly brown, orange and mustard yellow. I'll change the plates out during the seasons. I already have some picked out for Christmas. The silverwear I already had. It's meant to go with my china and usually sits in a box in the closet, so I'm really glad that it has a purpose now.

In in few weeks I'll add some little baby pumpkins to the table for Halloween. I'll leave the table this way through Thanksgiving, and then leave my base items and change to red, brown, and green for Christmas.

This is the light fixture that I ordered to go above the table. I love, love, love it! It's a little funky and adds something different to the room. I still need to find some kind of buffet or sideboard to go in room. Once that's done, I'll feel like the room is finished. But for now, I feel good that I made my farm table work with just a few new plates and pretty new napkins.

Just don't sit at the table to eat. You'll mess everything up.

The first game...and everyone survived.

The Cheese had his very first flag football game this weekend. Friday night, I asked him if he was nervous or excited.


Which was good--the answer I was hoping for--because I was a nervous wreck.

My son is not the star of the team, and I am more than fine with that. Chances are, my son won't grow up to be a big guy, so a future in college football or professional football--or heck! even high school football--are probably not in his future. We signed our child up to play flag football because he wanted to and because we want him to enjoy the experience for as long as he possibly can.

But it is hard for any parent to realize that your child isn't the best at something--not for my sake, but for his. When he played T-ball last spring, he wasn't all that good at that either, but really no one on the team was so I never worried about the Cheese feeling badly about himself.

Now it's different. We have several little guys on our football team that are good little players--for Mighty Mites, mind you--and after a couple of practices the Cheese started to get upset.

When he didn't get to a guy in time to pull his flag, he would cry.

When a kid bigger than him blocked him well and pushed him down, he would cry.

When he got the opportunity to run the ball and he got his flag pulled, he would cry.

And this was just at practice. He wasn't crying because he was hurt or because it was too rough. He was crying because he was disappointed in himself and it was breaking my heart and causing me large amounts of unnecessary stress all at the same time.

That's why I was nervous--nervous about what would happen during an actual game. I wasn't worried about my child scoring a touchdown or having some big football moment, I just didn't want my child to be the one crying out on the field.

The Cheese's greatest strength and greatest weakness is that he is very sensitive. His sensitivity makes him such a good person, such a good friend, but he has trouble with controlling his emotions. When he feels that he has disappointed someone or gets into trouble, he can cry at the drop of a hat.

So there we were on Saturday morning, just praying that our child would have fun and not cry. Not too much to ask for a first game.

It didn't take long for our team to score a touchdown. Afterwards, it was time for the kick-off. The coach called our son's name to kick the ball.

The Golfer and I looked at each other. It could go either way. I stood there, muttering "Oh crap...oh crap...oh..." under my breath, quietly enough so that the movie camera wouldn't pick it up.

Turns out there was nothing to worry about.

After successfully kicking the ball--successful for a Mighty Mite team, mind you--the Cheese stood there, not really knowing what to do next. But that didn't matter. What mattered was how big he was smiling.

The rest of the game was a total success. The Cheese actually pulled two flags (he played defense the whole game) and I thought the Golfer was going to bust something he was cheering so loudly.

But all of the parents were cheering really loudly--in a good way. We all stood on the sideline with our movie cameras, cheering for everyone on the team--especially when one of our players scored a touchdown in the wrong direction. We even made a little parent tunnel for the kids to run through when the game was over (a suggestion that I had made at the beginning of the game and the Golfer had made fun of!)

The kids were having fun, the parents were having fun--it was a perfect Saturday morning in America. Turns out there was no reason to be nervous at all. Silly Mommy.

(This is my favorite pic of the day. I loved how all of the dads crouched down near there boys, giving a little extra advice and encouragement.)

But by next Saturday, I'm sure I'll be nervous for my child all over again.

The Monkey #1: Neglecting my poor second child

I've started to realize that the Cheese, my oldest, tends to get more blogging time than his little brother. I guess this to be be expected. He is, after all, the first to do everything. He's hitting all of the milestones first--having all sorts of picture/blog worthy experiences three years ahead of his brother.

Poor guy's been getting less press coverage because he lacks experience. That's just not right.

I love my sons equally. There's no doubt about that. But I love my two sons for totally different reasons, which only makes sense because they are two totally different little beings. But today, I want to talk about the Monkey.

The Monkey is pure joy. He's my lover--my cuddlier. He loves to kiss, kiss, kiss and gives hugs that are so tight you have to beg for mercy.

The Monkey is also a total crack up. He's a ham--a total goof-ball. It makes me smile to know that he has such a great, natural sense of humor. I know that it will serve him well throughout his life. And it doesn't hurt that he's so darn cute.

He's a great at sharing--quite a feat for a 3-year-old--and makes friends easily. He's really friendly and not a bit shy.

He'll tell you "I'm not a baby. I'm a brother." and that we live in "Califorjah." He loves to give you a thumbs up and a wink, and while sharing a bag of chips the other day smiled at me and said, "You and me, Mom. You and me."

I have no idea where he gets this stuff.

But my sweet baby is far, far from perfect. He doesn't listen very well and has already learned that his cuteness often gets him out of trouble. He can be very sneaky--especially when it comes to stealing his Pop's change off of the bathroom counter. And he will often do whatever he wants even though you've told him a thousand times not to.

He's ornery and is the child that every one in our family seems to think will give me fits the older he gets. But I don't believe that--I'm not going to speak that onto his spirit. His heart is good and I predict that whatever "trouble" that he gets into in the future will be because his adventurous nature will get the best of him.

I better start praying for him now.

My new mantra.

This is the new poster hanging in my laundry room {don't you love the green?} right next to the back door that I have to go in and out of seven hundred and three times a day as I take kids to school, to football practice, to My Gym, to church, back from school, to friends' houses to play, to the grocery store, to the bank, to PTA, to the post office, to Target, to workout, to the dog groomer, to the hair cut place, to the...

I think it's a good mantra to live by. Don't you?

Big thanks to {petit elefant} for the heads up on the poster. She recommended the "juicy orange" and I do love it!

Gorgeously Green

My friend Erica over at 3 Guys for Every Girl reminded me the other day of something that I needed to tackle: green up my beauty regiment.

I consider myself (among other things) an environmentalist. Environmental issues really concern me, so I try my hardest and do my best to make my global footprint as small as it can possibly be. But being "green" is more than just recycling and using reusable tote bags at the grocery store (although both of those things are very important and I do both religiously.)

Being green is also about making healthy choices for your family that also have a low environmental impact. Examples--I only use "green" products to clean my house with, not just because it's better for the environment but because I don't want my family breathing in all of those chemicals and toxins that are in a lot of your basic home cleaners.

Well, in the new book Gorgeously Green by Sophie Uliano the author addressed the issue of beauty. As she says, we spend hours on our beauty regiments every day, not realizing that we are lathering up and rubbing our skin with toxins morning, noon, and night.

"One product alone is unlikely to cause harm, but repeated exposure to these chemicals can eventually lead to health problems and environmental problems." So I headed to our bathroom to see what I could find.

Uliano gives you a Cheat Sheet of what she calls "Red Alert" chemicals to look for in your products. She said that products with any of these in them should be thrown out right away. She also gives you a list of "Orange Alert" chemicals that she says you could go ahead and finish using but shouldn't buy any more of either.

So I printed off the cheat sheet and headed to our bathroom. I just decided to get rid of everything on the "Red" list and the "Orange" list. I gathered all of the stuff from all of the bathrooms and sat it on the counter. After dumping things down the sink (not probably the greenest thing I could have done) I had the bottles lined up on the edge of the tub to go to the recycling bin. Here's a view of everything that I had to get rid of...

Kind of scary isn't it? And this picture was taken before I was even finished going through everything.

I won't bore you with a list of the chemicals that I found and what they cause but here are a few examples.

Aluminum was in both mine and the Golfer's deodorants. It is listed as a carcinogenic, toxic, and mutagenic. It has also been linked to Alzheimer's. Yep, uh, I wasn't about to take a chance with any of those. They went straight in the trash.

The other big one that I found in almost all of our products--especially our shampoo, conditioner, lotions, and hair products--were Parabens. Parabens are chemical preservatives that are estrogenic and disrupt normal hormone function.

When I told the Golfer that, trying to be funny smiled at me and said, "Oh...so that's why..." Uh, yeah, I really wasn't laughing.

Women of the blogosphere here me now--"Exposure to external estrogens have been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer." Uh, yeah, again I'm not taking any chances. Out they all went. (You'd be shocked how many things have Parabens in them that we use every single day.)

The other biggie is Fragrance. "This ubiquitous term is used to mask hundreds of ingredients, including phthalates, with disrupt the endocrine system and could cause reproductive and developmental harm." And we wonder why so many women of are generation are having reproductive issues? I'm not saying that the "fragrance" chemical listed on the back of your shampoo bottle is the lone culprit, but do you want to take the chance? Yeah, me neither.

So after recycling all of the bottles of all of the stuff that I threw out, I headed of to buy new. Luckily for me, there's a Whole Foods just down the road that offers a lot of green, earth- and people-friendly products.

It wasn't the cheapest thing that I've ever done, but I know that as a mother it is my duty to keep my family safe and healthy. The deodorant has taken some getting used to, and my shampoo doesn't really lather up the way that I'm used to or smell quite as good. But I'll forgo the lather now to still have both of my boobs and a sound mind when I'm an old lady.

But that's just me...

Last thought...in case you are thinking, "But yeah, there's not a store where I live that sells green beauty products" or "I don't have the time to look on the back of all of the bottles", Uliano gives you many websites that sell green beauty products online. Her product suggestions aren't always the cheapest ones, but hey, it's a place to start.

Even if you can't thow every thing out at once like I did, try to make the effort to slowly replace some of your regulary used items to greener ones. Your body will thank you for it later.

Happy Labor Day!

Mama in labor, February 2002