I am a mom blogger

There is a great scene in the last season of the West Wing where Alan Alda’s character calls Jimmy Smits character a “liberal” with a great deal of disdain. Jimmy’s character says {and this is paraphrased because I am no Aaron Sorkin} You fling that word around like an epithet. Well I pick it up, dust it off and wear it proudly.

I pick up the term mom blogger. (I find being called Mommy by anyone other than my children a bit squicky)I am both a mom and a blogger…so that is fine with me. Sometimes I blog about fashion, sometimes my kids, sometimes my struggles with postpartum anxiety. All of these make me a blogger and all of these make up who I am as a mother. It’s not my favorite term, but it is what it is. Humans need to classify other humans and be that as it may…classifications change.

If you don’t take me seriously, that’s fine. No one took Barbara Walters seriously, no one took Bella Abzug seriously, no one took Coco Chanel seriously. I am not saying that I myself am a Bella Abzug, but I am saying that among us “mommy bloggers” we have some of the most creative, intelligent women I have ever had the pleasure to read. Great political minds, brilliant scientists, home schoolers who blow my mind, women who can make a bedspread from old milk jugs and women who’s photography rivals the brilliance of National Geographic’s best. Those who have come from the greatest losses imaginable and prevailed, starting charities and organizations to help others where there was no help for them.

There’s a lot of talk about whether mommy bloggers are relevant, to be taken seriously or are just precious, and it’s a silly argument. A group of women, opinionated, and media savvy are relevant whether you want them to be or not. Thems the facts. Simply by the sheer amount of discussion, posts and articles we are relevant.

First they ignore you (a what? a mom blogger?)

then they laugh at you (a mommy blogger? oh how cute!)

then they fight you (are mom bloggers relevant? what are you doing to your kids by writing about them?)

Then you win.

That Gandhi was one smart man.

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Sunday Obsession

For Christmas Zach gave me a cute little point and shoot camera, perfect for slipping in my over-sized purse/diaperbag. The problem was, that despite it’s brand name and great online reviews; it was utter garbage. After playing with it for almost a month I finally caved and took that dude back to Target. Because even my husband loves Target.

In it’s stead I got my new baby. I want to sleep with it. But I won’t just in case those absurd ads are right and co-sleeping (with a camera) kills.


I am forever a Canon girl now. It’s not the biggest or fanciest camera in creation, but it is perfect for me. And yes, I took a picture with my freaking phone OF my camera. I’m in love. Now I simply must find an awesome wrist strap and camera case! Etsy, oh etsy…I’m calling you! What camera do you have/love?

mini-obsession? My 1.99 purple nail polish.For WhyMommy, she wrote she would chose purple as her color and so we do. For Susan.

Steph's Camera 080
Maybe you will too, and if you do make sure you upload a pic to the Whymommy Lovefest on Facebook! (extra bonus obsession…Revlon LipButter. oh mah gah.)

(pic taken with new camera. natch)

What are you obsessed with?

I’ll paint myself purple. For Susan.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, I love me some WhyMommy. Don’t you? I don’t believe I have ever met anyone who doesn’t love her. Susan is the absolute embodiment of this quote by Mother Teresa, which I chose for my picture for the WhyMommy Slide show.

SusanandHuck
It is ALWAYS Christmas if you are with Susan.

Our Susan is having a rough go of it lately, her cancer has spread, she has a broken vertebrae, and has had to suspend treatment and have hospice care at home until she heals enough to re-start treatment. The very word hospice sent me in to a spiral of tears. But it’s not hospice hospice, it’s caring for her at home until she can get stronger.

And if I know Susan at all, she WILL get stronger. Susan made DC home for me. She welcomed me with open arms, introduced me to all of her amazing friends and just…is awesome.

The other night Boss wanted to go outside and look at the moon and the stars. I thought of Susan’s post about her little one wanting to do the very same thing. The big difference is that Susan is y’know, a real NASA scientist and I can barely find the Big Dipper. Okay, I lie I can TOTALLY find the Big Dipper but ask me to find Orion’s belt and I’m all “the accessories department of Nordstrom?” But Boss and I wrapped up and headed outside to stare at the Heavens.

One of my favorite Sondheim songs is from Into The Woods “careful the things you say, children will listen” Boss points up at the moon and says “mommy, it’s a cwescent moon!” Where did he learn that? Did I teach him? “When the moon is round it’s a full moon, mommy” I held him tight and thought of Susan looking up at the moon with her little one and told Max he was brilliant. Because he is.

In Susan’s last update she quoted her husband in a conversation they had while preparing for the hospice worker to come to their home.

I have not yet encountered a color you could not make yours. Purple?

She responds Purple.

So for Susan I’ll paint myself purple. Perhaps you will too.

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If you do, please post a picture to the WhyMommy Love Fest Facebook page

in the late, late, late night.

In the late, late, late night anxiety whispers to me, it’s voice feather quiet and razor sharp.

You don’t get to keep him. He won’t stay long. He is to precious for this world. He will be leaving you soon.

This is different than the anxiety I suffered from earlier, a World War Two air raid siren screaming through my head THE BABY IS IN THE OVEN! THE BABY IS IN THE OVEN!

The baby was not in the oven. He was safe in my arms, sleeping peacefully and making the sweetest sighs and little smacky nursing noises.

But it rang through my soul with an urgency of absolute fact that it was happening. THE BABY IS IN THE OVEN! THE BABY IS IN THE OVEN!

Again, the baby was NOT in the oven.

That same baby, now seven months old is sleeping – for the moment anyway- in his crib, tucked in the next room which seems miles away. He is safe. I hear his sleepy sighs over what his big brother calls the ‘momnitor’. And I lay there with these steely whispers in my head.

You don’t get to keep him. Anxiety whispers again.  He won’t stay long. He is too precious for this world. He will leave you soon. And worst lie of all: It will be your fault.

I’m watching Law and Order in the late, late, late night. Anxiety not only whispers but it wakes and won’t let me rest. I hear the character say “He was doing so well. On his meds but then he thought he didn’t need them anymore and went off of them” An often used plot device I used to find amusing. Who would stop taking medicine that was making them so…normal? Then I realized, I haven’t taken mine in days.

I didn’t make a decision to stop taking it. I just…forgot.

It happens every so often, as I am pretty open about my struggle with postpartum anxiety, that someone will say with a heavy sigh and not a small amount of judgement “I just wish you could have tried meditation or something before you turned to those drugs.” I want to scream out, but I just try to think of Jesus. Forgive them Lord, they know not what they do.

I wonder how well it would go over if I said to someone who had, say, a kidney problem “I just wish you could have tried meditation or something before you turned to drugs” or asthma “Do you REALLY need drugs for that? Can’t you just do yoga or something? Why don’t you try acupuncture, I mean do you really need those life saving drugs that let you be present for your children, participate in your life and laugh and smile again?”

Forget judgement. Screw judgement. I have postpartum anxiety, which means something in my brain is misfiring, my body is releasing adrenaline incorrectly. Our brains are our bodies, it isn’t a mental illness. It’s just an illness.

I reach over and thankfully take my pill. This little pill which let’s me be me. Then I hear the baby waken, hear his sweet mewling cry and the beginnings of speech- the mamamama. Gratefully I pull back the covers and hurry to his room, scooping him up, kissing his sleep warm cheek and stealing the heavenly scent of his freshly washed hair. We settle into the rocking chair and I tell myself he is here, he is safe, he is staying.

I thank God for him. And for Zoloft.

 

If you leave a Huckleberry…

If you should leave a Huckleberry, you will spend the whole next day with said Huckleberry attached to your face.

Small fingers kung fu gripping your hair, ears, cheeks, anything they can grasp.
And full open mouth kiss/bite your nose off I love you so much.

It’s next to impossible to get anything done. But it’s pretty rad.

I’m over at Just Be Enough today, talking about leaving Huckleberry for the first time.

I’m also vlogging over on iVillage. Just in case you can’t get enough of my mug!

Mrs. Dulli goes to Washington.

You know where the term “mom blogger” isn’t met with derision?
The White House.

But we will get to that.

(waiting to go into the EEOB)

Even though I didn’t wear the red shoes to the White House, it was indeed a bit like I got dropped into Oz. Not the creepy apple throwing trees part, but the can you even dye my eyes to match my dress (yes!) part.

We were greeted by a lovely White House staffer who said “Stephanie? I recognize you from your blog!” Squee! And also….duuuuuuude. Every one we met there was kind, pleasant and treated us with the utmost respect. The whole check in process was very smooth. They checked our ID’s and issued our badges while we were all “yeah, we’re at the White House for the State of the Union. No biggie” But inside we were all mentally doing the Roger Rabbit and imagining our own walk and talk ala The West Wing. (They call me the jackal)

We met with White House social media man extraordinaire Macon Phillips  and then settled in for the SOTU. First bummer of the night, President Obama did not begin with a song. I was hoping for a little I’m a Survivor by Christina Aguilerra. “I’m a survivor, I’m not gonna give up, I’m gonna work harder” Personally I think even Simon Cowell would give him a golden ticket. Okay, enough with the kidding. The State of the Union is serious business and  the air inside the room was electric and  we all hung on every word. A room full of democrats, republicans and independents all watching together.

(Emily Davis, Zach and I tweeting furiously during the SOTU- photo by Neil Davis)

If you ever have the chance to do this…SEIZE it! It was so awesome. Sometimes the room erupted in cheers, in a groan (spilled milk; I’m looking at you) and laughter or applause. The energy was infectious and it all culminated in the Q&A with staff after it was over. I loved being able to watch with all of you while I was there. It was amazing to be able to chat with you guy and hear your thoughts and your questions as it was happening. Man, you guys had some AMAZING questions. From marriage equality to health insurance to teaching to the test. Mind puzzlers from both sides of the aisle.I wish I had gotten to ask every question you posed. I want answers as well.

 

I thought President Obama rocked the house (hehe) during the SOTU. This speech was beautifully crafted and air tight on most issues. He was so confident. I feel like the first 18 months of his administration he was busy being polite and behind the scenes kicking butt and taking names (bye Bin Laden, don’t let the door and all that) but most of the American people didn’t know what he was doing because it wasn’t out there. He didn’t have the PR force that a Republican administration did. President Bush signed a birthday card and it was out there for him to be congratulated on. President Obama was getting stuff done but not making sure we all knew. He seems to have decided that is not the way to go anymore. Forget being a gentleman and just assuming that getting things done is enough. I thought he was extremely presidential, strong, elegant, charismatic and of course an inspirational speaker. But this SOTU was a call to arms. And an old school, genteel one at that. There was no mistaking his message. Let’s stop all this BS and get some work done. He also laid some serious truth fact bombs. BOOM. Twitter registered over 14,000 tweets per minute during the SOTU and the number one thing people were tweeting about was education.

And this is where the highlight of the night was for me. We talked a lot about higher education. But I have a 7 month old and a 3 year old. I am worried about elementary education. I read your blogs and see how your kids have no recess, no music or art- all of which stimulates the brain and helps with learning. I see how your second graders are struggling with two hours of homework. Algebra for pete’s sake and yet they aren’t being taught geography or freeze tag! Remember freeze tag? Good times.

Halfway through the Q&A Secretary of Education Arne Duncan came in to chat with us and answer our education questions. He started off by saying how he still was in awe that he got to be on Capitol Hill and work at the White House, fighting for our children. This put all of us at ease because we may have looked as cool as the Fonze but we were freaking like Ralph Mouth.(that’s a Happy Days reference in case you grew up when Nick at Night had already moved on to Full House) I didn’t get to ask a question during the organized session but after it was over Zach and I went down to meet him. I am so glad we did. He and Zach talked for a while and then he turned his attention to me and I introduced myself adding “I’m the mom blogger” I don’t know why I said it, but I am so glad I did. His eyes lit up and he said “I want to talk to you” I laid out my question. Why are our young children being forced to work longer hours learning harder subjects earlier without valuing play or even being allowed to burn off energy that will let them sit and concentrate on *gulp* algebra at age seven! This clearly isn’t working as the Secretary himself had stated that we are having kids burn out and drop out at a higher rate, so what is the plan?

He said he knew as a kid he needed to run around and that this was something they were very concerned with. I wish I had a final answer to give you, but he told me he was going to track me down to talk more. He said mothers, and social media mothers are such a valuable resource and he wants to hear from me. From US.

From there we walked over to thank Macon Phillips for having us, upon hearing I was a “Mom blogger” he too, lit up. Brands may not take us seriously. The press at large may not. But the White House sure does. We are covering new ground for them. This is new, and people we are blowing their minds. Here’s the thing. One of us right now at this very minute may be potty training a future president. (between my two I’ve got my money on Boss because he is you know, the Boss and he lays out a plan step by step of how things need to be) Of all the things I learned last night, and I learned a lot, the most important one is that we are not going unnoticed, the term mom blogger to them means something wonderful. Something POWERFUL. We are literate. We are involved. We are opinionated. And they are listening.

The White House talk back is going on all this week. You can pose questions on their Facebook page or tweet them using #WHChat #SOTU (and @minkymoo because I want to hear your questions too!) (also I am seriously thinking it’s time to change the old name. I mean, if the White House is listening…maybe I need a more respectable name.)

What did you think about the speech? Love it? Hate it? What was your favorite part? I loved when he quoted President Lincoln “Government should do for people only what they cannot do for themselves and no more”

Is it totally uncool to say my experience was totally amazeballs? Because it was. Yup. Amazeballs is the best word. And that right there is why we need to work on education. Ha! Amazeballs.

Sigh. They’re not going to invite me back are they?

You can watch the SOTU and ask questions here as well. Do you think Boehner’s teeth glow in the dark like Ross on Friends? I do.

The Question is…what to wear.

Because DC is awesome-slash-totally bizarre, little old me will be attending the State of the Union tomorrow live streaming at, you know, the White House.  HELLO AWESOME

Am thinking that my usual yoga pants and hoodie aren’t upscale enough and I should step it up. I believe I shall sport my new/old burberry skirt, a GAP blouse and a jCrew sweater. Belted of course. Because it’s what Michelle would do. I think the First Lady would appreciate my thriftiness.

 

(I’ll skip the red shoes, although I do feel a bit like I am being dropped into the emerald city in Oz!)
Here’s hoping I don’t embarrass the blogging world at you know, the center of our government.

Wish me luck!

xoxox

Minks

I’m calling it a win!

Every month I collect all the coins left about our room and in my husband’s pants when I do the laundry. (what? that’s how much I charge.) I put them in an old tea tin that my friend Suzie gave me ages ago while we were doing a show together and when it gets full I take it to Coinstar and then I unleash my shopping fury on the local thrift store.

okay, you and I both know I thrift more than once a month, but coin day is like a thrifty holiday because- to me- if feels like I got everything for FREE! And if there is one thing I like more than getting things on the cheap, it’s getting things for nothing.

Follow my logic?

Sigh. Oh that I had more quarters to satisfy my furniture craving because someone clearly unloaded a whole HOUSE full of kick ass stuff at my local goodwill. I’m still dreaming of one dresser in particular. I miss you dresser.

Boss is always up for a treasure hunt, and Huckleberry just loves being snuggled in the Ergo so he is a willing participant as well. The Boss flat our refused a Red Ryder bike for ten bones. I might go back…I mean, really. It was bee-yoo-tee-full!

I bought a Burberry skirt for 5 bucks, some awesomsauce red shoes (I’ve never bought shoes before but these were brand new and i lurve them) for 5 bucks, an activity table for the Huckleberry for guess what? 5 bucks. A Baby Einstein activity bouncer for 20, a bunch of picture frames and nick nacks for my soon to be up and running etsy store (yeah. you heard it here first! YAY!) including an adorable Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit bowl that is so cute I almost want to keep it. And, get this, a vintage Coach bag for 9 bucks.


Yup.

I listed a few of the things I’ve refinished on Craigslist and happened upon a ride on toy we have been wanting to get for Boss. For nothing. So we loaded up the car and we moved to Beverly…no wait, but we did head on over there to pick it up and BONUS! They were moving and gave me so many gallons of paint, stain, faux glaze…I cannot wait for Spring to get here so I can get my furniture painting on!

And then I cashed in my GC from my MIL and bought myself a real live Sewing machine. And I threaded it properly! So, I called that a win and walked away before I hurt myself.

Next up…attempt to sew. And maybe go back for that dresser….

I am so chatty today!

First off, thank you all so much for your sweet comments and emails regarding Huckleberry. He is doing really well! We are even working on transitioning him into the crib in The Boss’ room…even though he is still waking every hour. It’s not going well. Any and all happy advice will be graciously and thankfully accepted!
brothers
Today I am kicking it over at iVillage chatting about the weight loss challenge. I am down duh duh duh duh (that was a trumpet fanfare btw) 5 pounds! Yay me!~

I’m also mouthing off about Gay Rights on iVillage. Man, I love me some iVillage today!