In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Grateful Day

It's Friday and I'm glad.
Even better, it's a long weekend! No big plans, which makes me even gladder.
I looked at all the Labor Day Weekend traffic heading out of town and rejoiced that I wasn't sitting in the bumper-to-bumper traffic jam.

Lots to be thankful for.

I'm thankful I got through this week. I started the week feeling loaded down with things to do and finished the week feeling the same way. Lots to do. Still lots to do. I guess it's better than being bored, right?

I'm thankful for a new computer hard drive. No more error messages on top of error messages. I didn't look at the bill yet. Don't want to know. And, as Rob said, it was worth the cost. I'm no longer banging my head on my keyboard.

I'm thankful that I liked how my first radio interview went. Of course, when I heard it on the air I thought, "Is that my voice?" But my family and friends assured me that yes, that's what I sound like. And, I sounded fairly intelligent and encouraging, so I'm satisfied.

Lots to be thankful for: sunny days and cool nights and walks with my caboose kiddo and my husband and hugs and the chance to Instant Message (IM) with my son who lives in NYC and the chance to kiss my kiddos goodnight ...

May your day be anchored in gratefulness.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

For Your Listening Pleasure

Another mom-friend sent this to me, and now I'm sharing it with you.

Clicking on the link will take you to Anita Renfroe's Web site. Anita's a comedian, musician, author and speaker. She's been called “a triple shot of espresso in a decaf world.”

What you'll see and hear is a partial clip of her singing William Tell Momisms to the William Tell Overture. It's everything a mom would say in 24 hours--reduced to 2 minutes and 55 seconds. Listen closely--you'll be laughing and nodding in agreement by the end of the song!

A local radio station here in the Springs plays this song every Monday morning at 8:15 AM.

Bravo and Encore!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


So, I'm sitting on the couch with my caboose kiddo, Christa.

We're watching TV together. Actually, she's watching TV and I'm reading a book. But we're together and that's what counts, right? Sometimes she'll put her feet in my lap and ask me to rub them. She likes me to rub them "real soft so it tickles." And if I don't it properly, she lets me know.

I'm enjoying the down time, ignoring the fact that I need to get dinner on and clear off the kitchen counter again when I hear Christa say, "Mom, you look just like me when I was a baby."

What did she just say to me?

I look up at her and she is smiling at me.

"Really, Mom. You look like me."

She smiles at me again, obviously enjoying the fact that we look alike. And then she goes back to watching TV.

Even now, I'm not sure what happened. Somehow my daughter caught a glimpse of herself--as a baby--when she looked at me. And she liked that. She liked that mom-daughter connection.

You know what? Me too.

Monday, August 27, 2007

In the News August 27, 2007

Here's news of interest for mommies-come-lately, starting off with a rather startling and disturbing headline:

More U.S. Women Dying in Childbirth
Though the risk of death in childbirth is still very small, experts say an increase in both maternal obesity and Caeserean sections are to blame for the increase.

Read that headline with a grain of salt--and take the time to read the article and the stats:

The U.S. maternal mortality rate rose to 13 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2004, according to statistics released this week by the National Center for Health Statistics.

The rate was 12 per 100,000 live births in 2003 — the first time the maternal death rate rose above 10 since 1977.

Also know that a change in how deaths are reported could have affected the stats.

Pregnancy Not a Grace Period for Junk Food
Research suggests that eating junk food during pregnancy or while breastfeeding may contribute to childhood obesity.

High Blood Pressure Often Undiagnosed in Children
In a study of high blood pressure among children age 3 to 18, nearly three-quarters of the group had gone undiagnosed despite having at least three previous medical checkups, according to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Changes to Pregnancy Weight Guidelines Possible
The private medical organization that advises the federal goverment is considering changing the guidelines for how much weight a woman should gain during pregnancy. Some doctors feel that the current guidelines do not take into consideration the country's obesity epedemic--and that overweight women are putting on excess pounds.

Overweight Moms More Likely to Quit Breastfeeding
A recent study in Denmark suggests that the heavier a woman is when she becomes pregnant, the less likely she is to breastfeed her baby long-term. The study suggests a hormonal imbalance may stop heavier women from breastfeeding.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Grateful Day

It's been a frustrating week, what with my computer doing a slow-death spiral. Despite a tech-guy-in-the-know working on it for more than two hours yesterday, it continues to taunt me with error messages. I took it to the computer wizard's office for intensive care today. I'll let you know the prognosis later.

Despite my continuing computer crisis--please notice the alliteration--I have much to be thankful for.

I am grateful for:

  • a wonderful three days with my son Josh and daughter-in-love Jenelle. The newlyweds flew in from NYC last weekend to surprise my husband and to belatedly celebrate his birthday. We hid them in one of his exam rooms and his medical assistant told him he had a walk-in patient he needed to see. Surprise! There were Josh and Jen! We celebrated all weekend long!

  • a long walk with just me, myself and I this morning. Lately, walks have involved trying to keep up with Christa as she bikes around the neighborhood while also walking our two dogs, a.k.a. Laurel and Hardy, and trying to have a conversation with my husband.

  • Christa rating the first day of school an "Awesome times 9!" Doesn't get much better than that. She loves having her own desk with a lid that raises up.

  • my slow crawl up the learning curve for my new job. I'm now the editor of Connections, a quarterly magazine for leaders of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers International.) I love MOPS and what it stands for--meeting the needs of every mother of preschoolers. And I love how this new challenge is stretching me and challenging me and bringing me into contact with women I respect.

May your day be anchored in gratefulness.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Crocodile Tears

Why does my daughter watch herself cry?

Here's the scenario: I'm downstairs cleaning the kitchen. It seems like I'm always cleaning the kitchen, but that's another blog.

Suddenly, I hear Christa howling upstairs. Sobbing. Louder and louder and LOUDER.

I vault upstairs--pretty good for an old mom--and find Christa draped against her doorway. She's crying so hard she can't tell me what's wrong. She collapses on her bed and sobs some more. She finally manages to tell me that she scraped her leg on the edge of her dresser drawer.

Yep, sure enough, there's a long scratch on her leg. No blood. Just a scratch.

As I administer some "Mom medicine"--a few well-placed kissess--I realize my still-crying daughter has positioned herself on the bed so that she can watch herself cry in her bedroom mirror.

Oh, come on!

What's Christa's fascination with her tears? Is she making sure she's doing it right?

"Stop watching yourself cry," I tell her. "Enough's enough. Get up off your bed and find something else to do."

I had one other child who indulged in this behavior too. I didn't know why she did it either. A few days later, I asked Christa why she watched herself cry.

"It's fun," she said.

Oh, really? The thought of watching my nose turn red and my eyes get all puffy doesn't sound all that entertaining. But then, I'm not a six-year-old.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Blogging Blues

Some sort of wretched, wretched techno-demon has taken up residence in my computer. It's making my writing life pretty miserable. I'm none-too happy, either. My ever-patient husband has tried ever trick he can think of to help me out--and endured a long and fruitless chat session with a Dell techie.
And things keep going from bad to worse.
I can't access Blogger.
I can't access my music.
I can't access the internet.
I can't print anything.
Don't ask me how I managed to finally find my way to Blogger. Suffice to say, it involved some wailing and gnashing of teeth and a lot of dead ends.

So, here's my plan:
I'm going to backup all my important files--Word documents and photos, especially my son's recent wedding photos.
Then I'm going to roll my chair back over to the old computer at the desk behind me, which is working better than my newer computer. Thank God I have that option.
Then I'm going to start shopping around for a new computer.

On the mommy-come-lately front: Christa proclaimed her first day back at school "Awesome!"

It doesn't get better than that. She has a lot of her friends from kindergarten in her class--and she's on the lookout for new friends. Oddly enough, I didn't cry as I walked back to my car. I didn't go skipping back to my car either. I was content knowing she was happily settled in first grade with her very own desk. And I was looking forward to some uninterrupted time to do all the things I've ignored this summer.
All in good time. All in good time.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Grateful Day

But first, news of interest to mommies-come-lately:

Woman has Rare Identical Quadruplets

On August 12th, a 35 year-old Canadian woman gave birth to identical quadruplets--daughters named Autumn, Brooke, Calissa, and Dahlia. The babies were delivered by Caesarian section about two months early and weighed between 2.6 and 2.15 pounds.

It's been a busy week, which means it's been a normal week. And for that alone I am immensely grateful--finding normal again. Christa starts first grade next week. I keep trying to get her to try on clothes to see what she's outgrown over the summer. However, she's too busy riding bikes with the other kids in our cul-de-sac. That's as it should be.

I'm also thankful for:

  • the encouraging things people are telling me about Baby Changes Everything. I know not everyone will love my book. But so far, people have given me some encouraging feedback--that they laughed, they cried, they could hear me talking to them while they read the book.
  • Christa's older sister Katie Beth spending time with her. The past couple of weeks, Katie Beth has taken Christa out for for several play days--maybe to swim at the pool at her apartment complex or to paint pottery at the local shop. I know she's helping me get some time to accomplish things without a six-year-old interrupting me. But she's also loving on her sister!
  • my writers group, Inkspired. We've come up with a motto: Inkspired: Where Grace Abounds and Dreams Come True. We meet on Wednesday mornings to pray for one another and critique each others work. Sometimes we crack ourselves up--and the laughter is so refreshing.
May your day be anchored in gratefulness.

Count the Cost--of Kids, That is

My husband and I figure that most things in life require either time or money. Sometimes both.

When it comes to raising a family, you're going to need a lot of money.

Anywhere from $143,00 to $290,000, according to the Center of Nutrition Policy and and Promotion's report.

I'm not going into detail about the report's findings. There's a great article on for those of you who want all the whys and wherefores. But here are just a few interesting facts:

  • The cost per child goes down for larger families

  • A child with no sibling costs more than one with a sibling

I'm thinking this is because a mom with one child has more freedom to go shopping than a mom with four children. It's much easier to manage my caboose kiddo's "I want this" pleas than it was when my first three were begging in unison!

The survey doesn't take into consideration the loss of income if one parent stops working. It also doesn't add in the cost of private schools or extensive medical bills. And, because the survey involves children up to age 17, it doesn't include the cost of college. Big mistake. I have two kids in college now--and one post-college with the student loans to prove it. I guess the study had to draw the line somewhere.

Take the time to read the article. It's got some interesting financial facts. And it has some great money saving tips too.

I've been a mom for 24 years now. Honestly, I never had the time to figure out how much our kids cost my husband and me. Sometimes they exhausted both our energy and our bank account.

But, all in all, they've been worth every dollar spent and every night I've collapsed into bed and groaned, "I'm worn out. Where's the replacement mom?" My four kiddos' value is best estimated in the intangibles--hugs, kisses, meaningful conversations between me and my teenager, seeing my child become who God created them to be. You can't put a dollar figure on that.

Monday, August 13, 2007

In the News August 13, 2007

News of interest for mommies-come-lately:

Video Baby Brain Boosters May Not Create Einsteins
Early exposure to DVDs and videos may have a negative affect on a child's language development, researchers report in the August issue of the Journal of Pediatrics.

Pre-pregnancy Obesity a Risk for Structural Birth Defects
Research suggests a woman who is obese before getting pregnant puts her baby at a greater risk for spina bifida and other structural malformations, according to a report in the August issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.

Panel Worried about Baby Bottle Chemical
A U.S. panel of experts reported that a chemical used in plastic baby bottles and other products may affect unborn babies and young children, and recommended further study.

Lovin' It: McBranding Hooks Preschoolers, Study Finds
Research suggests marketing affects young children too. Preschoolers preferred hamburgers and fries wrapped in McDonalds wrappers over the same food in plain wrappers, according to a recent study.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Grateful Day

True confession:
Most Fridays I think about skipping this blog.
Isn't that a terrible thing to say--er, write?
I have lots and lots of things to be thankful for. But usually, by the time Friday rolls around, I am so focused on all the things I still need to get done before the weekend rolls in. I think, "I don't have time to blog today. I have to answer my e-mail, do the laundry, edit some articles, work on my newsletters . . ."
You get the idea.
Deep in my heart and soul I know there's a huge problem if I can't take a moment or two to stop and be thankful. I'm going to miss out on savoring all the blessings--big and small--that came my way this past week. It's one thing to know I have reasons to be thankful. It's another to take the time to say, "Thank you."

Okay, I feel better now. Without further ado, I am thankful for:

  • how the laughter of friends filled my kitchen last night. There's nothing more heartwarming than talking and laughing with friends. There's nothing more satisfying then ending an evening with hugs and saying, "I'm so glad you came over tonight."

  • the chance to read aloud the Junie B. Jones books with my daughter Christa and my husband. Author Barbara Park created a delightful kindergartener name Junie B.--and her antics keep us all giggling.

  • the people in my life who take the time to speak encouraging words to me--who challenge me to be me, honestly and truly, and to not waste my time trying to be somebody else just because I think it will make others happy.

Now here's a thought:

Be you. Nobody does it better.

May your day be anchored in gratefulness.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

What About Dad?

There's a lot of attention focused on late-in-life moms. Not so much on late-in-life dads. I admit it: at first, my mommy-come-lately experience was all about me, me, me too.

I was overwhelmed by my own feelings of you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me hysteria. Plus, once the pregnancy test came back positive, morning sickness hit with a vengeance--and lasted all day for the next four months.

It took me a while, but I finally realized that Rob had feelings about our unexpected blessing too. Here's what I wrote in BABY CHANGES EVERYTHING in the chapter for dads entitled It takes Two to Tango:

Well into my fourth month, my nausea dissipated and my emotional fog lifted. And I finally asked Rob, "How are you doing with all this?"

No response.

It was the end of a long day and we were lying in bed, so I thought maybe he had fallen asleep. Nope. I glanced over to see my husband just looking at me as if to say, "Are you talking to me?"

Rob seemed stunned to have any attention focused on him. He'd spent weeks pacing me as I mentally and physically wrestled with this pregnancy. If he'd now admitted to utter exhaustion, I wouldn't have been surprised.

"I was happy, but there was a part of me that was a little bit afraid," Rob recalled. "This certainly didn't fit into our plans. But more than that, I was concerned about how it was going to affect you and me. I was kind of waiting for you to whack me for getting you pregnant."

Better late than never, I realized my pregnancy threw Rob's life into upheaval too. He joked, "We saw light at the end of the tunnel--and it was an oncoming train."

Monday, August 06, 2007

In the News August 6, 2007

News of interest for mommies-come-lately:

Study Suggests More Evidence of Harm from Smoking During Pregnancy
Researchers said exposure to cigarette smoke before birth may raise blood pressure substantially in infancy, which could have consequences later in life.

Italian Mothers Wait Longer for Children
According to a study by an Italian social research center, Italian women delay motherhood more than women in any other developed country. Neary five of every 100 babies in Italy are born to a mother who is over 40.

Hearing Test May Be Marker for SIDS
Research suggests that newborn hearing tests may provide a marker for infants at risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS.)

Breastfeeding Rates only Halfway to 2010 Goals
Only 30% of the babies born in the U.S. in 2004 were exclusively breastfed for their first three months, according to statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC.) By six months, only 11.3% were exclusively breastfed. The national goal of Healthy People 2010 calls for 60% of all babies to be exclusively breastfed for their first three months.

Toddler "word spurts" Guaranteed
Forget high-tech gizmos. Simply reading and talking to your baby is the key to your toddler's "word spurt"--the time when his vocabulary explodes, according to a report in the journal Science.

Ovarian Tissue Successfully Transplanted Between Nonindentical Sisters
For the first time, ovarian tissue was transplanted between nonidentical sisters, succesfully restoring fertility, according to researchers.

Preterm Twin Births Not Reduced by Progesterone Injections
Weekly shots of progesterone did not reduce the risk of the preterm birth of twins, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Grateful Day

It's Friday.

Time to ignore all the things I could have/should have written about. Time to stop and think about all the reasons I have to be thankful. A lot of the things I am thankful for are wrapped around people in my life who have made such a difference in my life. Okay. Enough commentary. Here goes.

I am grateful for:
  • my writing comrade, Tiffany, who drove out to a bookstore to buy a copy of my book even though I told her I was going to give her a copy of the book. She helped critique numerous rough drafts, after all! But she wants to support me--so she talked about me to the sales associate, letting her know I was a local author. What a friend!
  • my son Josh, who "happy danced" all over his blog about my book--and who was okay about me being published first. "Happy Dancing" is a little writing tradition I started with my writing friends. We happy dance whenever anyone is published. No music required.
  • my daughter Katie Beth who went out and bought a copy of my book and stayed up reading it until 1:30 AM. Silly girl. She lived most of the story!
  • all the wonderful people at Revell, my publisher, who have helped this first-time book author with her endless questions. I have been so impressed with their professionalism and their servant hearts.
  • my husband Rob who is turning out to be my best marketing tool ever! Sometimes I think he talks to more people about my book than I do.
  • all my family and friends being so excited about my book. Their excitement makes me excited. It makes it all the more fun.

Yes, I realized this post has focused on being thankful about things related to my book BABY CHANGES EVERYTHING. But that's the big news this week.

May your day be anchored in gratefulness.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


10 chapters.
188 pages.
17 "Cameo Appearances"--interviews with other mommies-come-lately--and one daddy-come-lately.
1 glossary of medical terms.
1 postpartum depression quiz.
Somewhere between 15-20 proofreads before going to print.
Available at Amazon or CBD or Barnes and Noble or ask for it at your local bookstore!

Here's what I've learned in the process of writing BABY CHANGES EVERYTHING:

It doesn't take all that much to write a book. All I had to do was be surprised--stunned--by an unexpected pregnancy at 41. Survive almost 5 months of all-day morning sickness, birth one kidney stone, and experience labor with a body that forgot what it was supposed to be doing.

Then all I had to do was survive an emotional case of identity theft as I plunged back into mothering a baby at the same time I started emptying the nest. I had to let go of what I expected my life to be so I could embrace what was.

I bet you're wondering where the writing part comes in, aren't you?

Well, there's a well-known writing adage: Write what you know.

I know a lot about being an older mom. It's who I am. It's what I do. And I've met a lot of older moms (and dads.) It's the biggest trend in motherhood in the past 10-12 years--and it isn't going away any time soon.

So, I pitched a book idea to MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers, International)--and they liked it. And with the help--and bloodthirsty critiques of my writers group, Inkspired, I wrote BABY CHANGES EVERYTHING.

In some ways, the story begins now because the book is finally available to all those other Mommies-come-lately out there. My goal for the book is stated in the introduction: to offer encouragement and practical advice to other late-in-life moms.

So let it be written. So let it be done.

e-newsletter signup
Free Resources
Books and CDs
For Writers
For Moms Over 35