Friday, June 29, 2012

Car seats...A touchy subject?

I usually try not to post judgmental posts, but I am tired of keeping my mouth shut any longer. And I am not quite sure this is listed under a "judgmental" post either. So, if I offend you, I am sorry.

I am talking about car seat safety.

I am tired of seeing photographs of kids or seeing kids in public not in the correct car seat, not rear facing when they should be or seeing car seats used incorrectly. What is it people? What's the problem?

The other day, I saw an infant with the chest clip all the way down by the crotch buckle. Really? Do these people not realize that in a crash their childs neck could be broken or even better, they could be thrown out of the car seat? Those clips are supposed to be at the breast/armpit level for a reason!

What about the chest strap so low and the shoulder straps so loose the child could freely move his arms in or out of the straps easily? Or what about the infants who are facing forward (and I am talking about children less than 12 months) sitting in a booster seat, I mean, car seats that are made for children who are over the age of one or even two. No people, just because your eight month is the size of a one year old doesn't mean it's okay to put your kid in that car seat. Or just because your kid is demanding to be in a different seat does not mean you should do what your kid tells you to do. You're the parent. They have guidelines for a reason!

The recommendations for children being rear facing until at least two has been out for a long while now and what do I see??? Little toddlers still facing forward. Now, this one I am just not too sure on. Are pediatricians not telling or asking parents how their children are positioned in the car? Are they not telling them that they need to be rear facing until at least two, and the 20lb/1year rule obsolete? Just because your little 12 month old is 20lbs does not mean his neck is strong enough to withstand a crash. Oh, I don't want to hear about how his legs were bent and he may break them. I don't know about you, but I sure would rather have my kid break both legs than his neck or even worse, be killed. They make these recommendations for a reason, people. It isn't to inconvenience you. And if you think this is a lot of bull-honky google "internal decapitation" - it is real. It happens. It kills.

Yeah. I'll give you the "it's easier when they're facing you" or "they're happier when they're facing you" or the "it's cute to have them looking at you" but sometimes the consequences are just not worth it.

What about the parents who are completely clueless about car seat safety in general?! Yeah, harnessed boosters are a pain in the ass, I'll give you that, but they are safer. I actually read on facebook about another mother who had a child who didn't like the crotch strap, so she just lets him clip the chest strap? Seriously? I was rendered speechless..Um, yep, if this is how you're using a harness car seat, then go ahead and use a booster with a seat belt, because that plastic clip ain't gonna help your kid in a crash! Better yet, the kid would be safer with no booster and just a seat belt than being restrained by a measly chest strap. I just don't understand how people can just use car seats so wrong. I know I am being judgemental here, and please forgive me if I am offending you, but..............I just can't keep my mouth shut any longer.

I know the chances of us being in a car accident are small, but to me, I want to protect my child in any way possible from any life threatening injuries to death. I want to know that I did everything humanly possible to protect them in a crash. Call me overly protective, even paranoid, but to me, car seat safety is not something we should be taking lightly. And I admit, it drives me absolutely insane when my 36lb 6 year old talks incessantly about booster seats with adult seat belts....drives me crazy. But, she ain't the one who calls the shots. The parents do. Sorry kid!

Now, you may say to me, hey! I remember seeing your daughter forward facing before the age of two. Yes, you're right. When she was about 19 months old, she was getting out of her car seat, and able to get her arms out of the chest straps. I would find her turned all the way around looking at me and playing with the DVD player in a moving car. Unsafe. I spoke with different people regarding this safety issue, including a carseat safety technician at a hospital who all told me to turn her around. The risks of having her out of her carseat without me knowing were too high than to have her rear facing. Once I turned her around, I would know when she was playing Houdini.

So, there's my rant. Use your head people. It's not rocket science. Pull those shoulder straps tight. Get the chest straps nice and high, and keep those babies rear facing for as long as the kids can possibly tolerate. And please, OH please, use your car seat correctly!!! Yeah. We all survived just fine without car seats when we were little, but we are spending much more time in cars than we used to, and there are a hell of a lot more people out in the roads, too.

Keep those kiddos safe. Please!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Living the Maine life

Higgins Beach, Maine
Living the Maine life is what its all about, especially in the summer. After all, we do live in "Vacationland" as Maine is called. We live just a few miles from some of the most well known beaches in Maine. I love spending our summer at the beach, and so do the kiddos! We spent last week at the beach a ton because it was hot here. We'd meet our friends and the kids would play and the mammas could catch up.

On Friday night, we met up with some friends to have dinner at Higgins Beach. We picked up a pizza and headed down to the water. It was beautiful. It was low tide and we were on the hunt for some sand dollars. Mairead grabbed her boogie board and hit the water. This was the first year where she had no reservations about jumping right in and going for the gusto! She loved it, and it wasn't long before all four kids were in jumping waves, boogie boarding and just having fun exploring. I found some baby sand dollars, and the kids played with hermit crabs in the tide pools.
 Callum had a blast playing in the waves! While we've spent a lot of time already on the beach, we hadn't spent a lot of time on a beach that has real waves, but he didn't have a problem with them at all!

We played on the beach until 730pm and we practically had to pry the kids off the sand!

And while we were waiting for daddy to pick us up, Callum started to melt into my arms...Love him!

And I love what the beach does to my soul.....

Monday, June 25, 2012


Whenever possible, we try to buy local, farm fresh eggs. I don't know about you, but I think they taste better than the store bought ones. 

The other day all the kiddos wanted eggs for breakfast. I broke one...and then another, and another.....and then this BIG. RED. BLOB comes out of the egg. And I wanted to puke. OMG. I swore. Mairead asked what was wrong. And I told her...."A fertilized egg"

She immediately became concerned and upset. She didn't understand how the farmer didn't know, and if she had known, she would have saved it she could raise the chicken for its eggs. I felt bad for her. She wouldn't even eat the fresh batch of eggs I made for her after that. 

Afterall, it was rather disturbing... 

Sunday, June 24, 2012


It's strawberry season here in Maine! Which means lots of strawberries to eat! Callum even got down and dirty this year, too! 

We made an awesome homemade strawberry sorbet, too! I found this recipe last year and it came out really great! I love that it uses fresh squeezed lemon juice. This year I did cut back on quite a bit of sugar, and it was a bit sour, but I don't mind a bit. You could certainly use some maple syrup or something else, too. And don't forget to mix this with some sprite and a little vodka, and you will be one happy mamma! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A great daddy...

Happy Fathers Day to the greatest daddy to our crazy crew, who isn't afraid to get down and dirty with us and most of all a daddy who has sacrificed so much for his children time and time again... 

An amazing daddy who has moved his family back to Maine so we could be where we all love, and has to travel back and forth between Maine and DC. All for us. He is truly an amazing daddy and I am so glad he is ours! 

Here we are enjoying a beautiful father's day at the beach! 

And daddy with princess Mairead enjoying a beer, flatbread pizza and some family time... 

Sunday, June 17, 2012


I don't know about you, but I am sick and tired of hearing all about Time magazines "Mom Enough" article. I mean, who cares. And why does the press feel the need to promote all sorts of hoopla between moms over breastfeeding? I don't get it. Let people do what they want. If someone wants to nurse their child until they're 10, let them, and if someone chooses not to breastfeed their child at all, well, that's their decision, too.

There shouldn't be any competitiveness between moms over how long you nursed or if you didn't, or how involved in attachment parenting you are. WHO CARES. Or if you co-sleep, or cloth diaper, or baby wear, or if you do all of those things or none of those things. What is important is that the child is loved and cared for, being raised to be a good citizen in society.

Do I think those who do not nurse are missing out on a special bond between mother and baby. Yes. But do I think those moms are bad moms? No. Or do I think I am a better mom than she just because I nursed my babies or nursed them longer? Hell no. It's not my business to tell a mother she's a bad mom because she didn't nurse at all or nurse as long as I did, or that because I don't nurse my baby or toddler on a stool, or until he's 4 that I am not mom enough. Nursing our babies for 2+ years is a personal choice that a mother makes based soley on her child.

And why must breastfeeding be portrayed as this weird thing that some moms do with their babies? or talking endlessly about how military moms breastfeed with their uniform on. Why is this such a big deal? Why, why, WHY??? Instead, people should be portraying the amazing experience for the mom and baby and/or toddler...or the amazing health benefits...and even the great experiences moms have who are nursing an older infant or child.

I think about Clara, who is 2.5 and still nurses before bed on most nights. Just the way she asks for it melts my heart. I couldn't imagine missing out on this experience because nursing our girls into toddlerhood has given me some amazing memories. I think nursing a toddler is almost better than nursing an infant. It's almost like true love. They just love to nurse. And watching the excitement on their face is just awesome. There are no distractions for the toddler like during infant-hood, and there is no stress on whether or not your baby is getting enough or gaining weight. It's almost  pure enjoyment. But that's me. Extended nursing is not for everyone. And just because you choose not to nurse past one doesn't mean you've missed out on any worthwhile experiences because that is just not it.

So forgive me. I just do not understand where society gets off calling nursing gross or weird. Mothers all over the world outside of the United States nurse well into toddlerhood. And some could argue that they nurse because of limited food sources, etc, and while that may play a part, I still think those mammas would say such a statement is lacking in the understanding of the all around experience. Of course, there are nutritional benefits, but that is just a very small part of the decision to continue nursing past one.

It's not gross people. But I honestly do not think plastering a photograph of a kid in a weird, unnatural position on the cover of a magazine is a way to gain more acceptance of breastfeeding in society. I understand what the magazine was trying to do, I do, but I also think it was done in poor taste that only sparked controversy and made extended nursing and attachment parenting seem even more weird. 

So yes. I am Mom Enough but I am not Mom Enough because I choose to nurse our children past one. I am Mom Enough for so many more reasons. Attachment parent or not. We are all mom enough in our own way. Articles like these only further the gap between moms. Let's stop talking about being Mom Enough and start being Supportive enough to make each mom feel like a success rather than a failure.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Why I love Maine...

Evenings to explore at the Lobster Shack...

Sandcastles to be built... 

Little footprints in the sand....

Hermit crabs to be found...

Endless room to run....

and countless giggles and games of catch me if you can... 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I apologize. My blog has been seriously lacking. I am not sure what it is. I know I am busy, but there have been times I've gone to sit down on the couch to blog, and I just.....forget. My mind is running in a million different directions, trying to keep my "social" life straight. Life is just so much more...fulfilling? busy? crazy? different? whatever the in Maine.

Trying to establish a routine while daddy is gone during the week is getting there. Of course, mornings and daytime aren't any different since I am home with the kiddos by myself during the day no matter where we live, but trying to plan for dinners, keeping the kids from killing each other, trying to keep myself sane and trying to remember to do things like taking out the trash keep me sidetracked. I've had to get Mairead all registered for school next year (we've decided to put her into public school - she really wants to try, and I think she'll enjoy it. She knows homeschooling will always be an option, and knows that there will probably come a time where she will be homeschooled again).

I promise I'll try to do better updating the blog. I will also admit that by 830pm and the kids are asleep, I'm catching up with Kevin on the phone, sewing with my girlfriend so I can teach her (don't laugh) how to sew a pillowcase dress (stop laughing!), drinking wine and trying to grab a few minutes of solace before I head to bed that I just don't have the energy to write. Oh, and I should mention that my 6 year old has been giving me a run for my money - my easy going, easy to please and people pleaser has turned into a bad attitude ridden school aged child....good lord what is it going to be like when she actually goes to public school?! I am seriously afraid. So, my mind is absolute jello by the time my time comes around.....

I'll do better. :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

We survived!

Minus a call to 9-1-1 and a visit from a (cute) police officer, our first week was a complete success! Daddy had a successful week of work in DC and we had a great week at home here in Maine despite all the rain!

The three nights without Kevin went fairly well - really no complaints here! We kept really busy with the great help of friends and my mom who came to visit or invited us over to play!

The kids had fun playing in the rain, splashing in the puddles and countless play dates! The days went by fairly quickly and overall, the kids were well behaved. There of course were minor hiccups where I wanted to scream but that happens even when Kevin is home!

I know not all weeks will be as successful as this, I just hope the bad ones are few and far between!
A bike ride after the rain....

A playdate with friends! Callum has a little partner in crime, Colin, who is 5 days younger! They're so cute! 
Here's Callum - who likes to play "fetch" with the ball. The kid nose dived into the mud, grabbed the ball, and brought it back. No joke. 
A little walk down to the water....ahhhh
So, no joke...We were taking my mom out to lunch, and who do we run into??? The police man who came to our house after our "9-1-1" call. He recognized us immediately! And then, there were two other Scarborough police officers having lunch. Mairead had a field day with them. One gave her his hat, and the other gave her his badge! Have I mentioned how much I enjoy small town living?!?! 

Who needs a man to grill chicken??? 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


The girls were having a playdate yesterday with a friend.. Callum and Clara were napping, and the house was relatively quiet. The girls were playing "house" and I hear Mairead say something about 9-1-1. I didn't think anything of it really.

Then the phone rings. I assume it is Kevin as I hadn't talked to him since earlier in the morning. I answer the phone: "Hey! What's up?"

It wasn't Kevin. It was a 9-1-1 operator.

The lady identified herself and asked if there was an emergency. I then realized what had been going on. Mairead called 9-1-1. Great. I told her that the call was made by mistake by our 6 year old daughter and hung up with her.

About 5 minutes later....knock knock

It was the police.

I let him in and told him the call was made by mistake. I say he was a cop, but really, I have a hard time saying so because he was just a baby...seriously, I don't think this kid could have been more than 22? I just wanted to squeeze his cheeks he was so cute.....

Where was I?

Right. The cop was at our door, actually inside our house. I ask the officer to hold on a second, as I wanted to get Mairead to show her what happens when you call 9-1-1. By this time, she realized exactly what she had done and was crying. I assured her the policeman was not mad, and I wanted her to see him. He was so nice to her, and asked her if everything was okay, she shook her head yes, and said she was sorry.

To be honest, I am surprised it has taken this long for one of our kids to call 9-1-1, I am just glad they called 9-1-1 as an accident and not because something was wrong! I hope Mairead learned a valuable lesson!

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Road Less Traveled...

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;        5
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,        10
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.        15
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

- Robert Frost

Today, we start the road less traveled. Last winter, Kevin and I came to the place where two roads diverged. One road continued on the same path we had chosen last summer (to come together to Virginia), and the other would take us back to Maine living a completely different lifestyle than we had ever lived before. It was weird because we had been in the thick of making such a huge life changing decision for our family and I picked up a book and opened it to this poem. Was it a sign? I don't know, but it was so fitting for the moment.

And as you know, we chose the road less traveled. Less traveled because most people do not live the lifestyle in which we are about to embark. In the military world, it is termed "geo-bachelor" - meaning the husband works in one place, and his family lives in another. We will go from having nightly dinners together to having midweek dinners apart, and missing a few bedtimes, but hoping for the little bit of sacrifice on both ends will pay off greatly in happiness and quality family time for when he is home, which he should be home more than half the time - time at the beach, walks down to the water, family bike rides, dinners on the ocean, laughter filling our backyard, skiing in the winter and all the little things we love that fit in between. Kevin will be able to focus more on his job and hopefully not feel the stress about wanting to be home vs. needing to stay at work late when he is there, and when he crosses the salt marsh at the end of the week, he will feel at home. Hopefully we will continue to feel the great love and support from our family and friends, which I have no doubt we will. It is comforting to know we have so many amazing people in our life. Our kids will have their friends, and so will Kevin and I, and family close-by, too. We will live in the home in which we love, and in a place that truly feels like home. The big girls will start school. And they will be able to do the things they love, too.

While we know this will not be the easiest path, we hope it is the right path that will lead to happiness filled with quality time together. Feeling at home. Feeling at peace. After all, it is temporary and life is too short to be unhappy. It is a short time in the grand scheme of things. And I hope that by taking the road less traveled it will make all the difference...

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Well, excuse my lack of updates this past week, but we've been in a whirlwind! We made it successfully into our home here in Maine! With the help of our family and friends we had a very easy move in and got settled into our home pretty seamlessly! My dad and Kevin had a pretty easy trip north in two trucks. It was a pretty funny sight to see them parked tight in my parents driveway. Both completely full with all of our things! 

Overall, it's been an awesome week! We had so much help from our family and friends. On Sunday, we had a revolving door of visitors. Our friends were here early on Sunday helping unload the rest of the truck, and my girlfriends helped me get settled in our kitchen! Our neighbor across the street helped Kevin mow the lawn, and she even made us all dinner that night. We are so incredibly lucky to have such awesome people in our lives here! It truly feels like home... 

We've gotten almost 100% settled and we feel even more organized this time than we did when we, if you're looking to get organized, just move out of your house, and into another, then back out of that one, and into your old house! :) It has been nice moving back in because we know what we liked about it and what we didn't, so we were able to change what we could. In the room where the three girls will be sleeping, we just had one closet shelving for hanging, well, we took that out and did custom closets, so now there is plenty of room for clothing on shelves and hanging clothes, too! Now, we just have to decide how we're going to do the triple bunk! 

I painted Callum's room and Kevin did the custom closet shelving in his room, too! Kevin has the garage looking awesome, and we can even park a car in the garage if we wanted to - something that was close to impossible last night. 

The kiddos have been enjoying spending a lot of time with friends, too! We've had lots of playdates and Mairead has had a playdate at a friends house, too. We've gone for walks, and just spent days playing outside. Callum is having a blast, too. He absolutely loves playing outside. I think it's going to be a really fun summer with the kiddos!
Two trucks ready to head to Maine... 

While Kevin and my dad drove north, my mom and I spent the evening with my brother's family. They have two cutie pies who I am very excited to spend more time with in the coming months! The kids had a lot of fun together and the big girls taught Landon (2) lots of fun tricks on their new swingset!

Lilah, Mairead and cousin Olivia

For Mairead's 6th birthday, my parents bought her a new bike! 

On Saturday morning some friends including my parents met us at our house to help unload a few things...well, a few things ended up to be one entire truck and half of the other! After we finished we were able to hit up a friends birthday party! It was so great to see our friends. Later that afternoon, we stopped at our favorite meat market for dinner. When we got home, the kids got on their bikes, me and Kevin enjoyed an adult beverage and we headed for a celebratory walk to the water. If you could have seen the excitement on our dogs faces! They had a ball and our kids had a blast riding their bikes down to the water. I think they felt so good to have space to ride and just enjoy without being stuck on a sidewalk! 
Clara was so excited to get on her bike and ride! She rode all the way down to the water (which isn't far, but it is the farthest she has ridden her bike yet) and since then she has gotten really good with riding her new bike with training wheels! 
My flower garden! 

The dogs waiting patiently for their turn to jump in the water!

One thing we were so excited about is having space to have our own vegetable/fruit/herb garden in our backyard! Daddy built the start of our garden and when the rain ends, we'll be planting our very own garden.

This is the butterfly we saw on our Hosta in our garden! It was so beautiful! The girls were enthralled with it! 

Callum had his first bike ride and loved it! 
On Friday night, we met some friends at the Lobster Shack and had some yummy dinner! Our first Lobster rolls of the season! Even Mairead enjoyed hers! 
We took a break from settling in to have lunch at our favorite beach! 

Me and Callum waiting for dinner Friday night