Sunday, March 31, 2013

So, I Know...

...that I haven't been writing as much lately, but you have to understand that my life has suddenly been taken over by a Tasmanian-devil baby.

She is mischievous, sneaky, and moves like the wind!

Last week, I poured her a glass of milk, and when I turned back to pick up the cap to the milk jug, both E and the cap were gone. My first concern was finding her. Luckily, there aren't many places she can hide. I found her sitting in our little hallway, in front of the bathroom door, holding her prized possession, cradling it in both hands in a very "My preciousss" kind of way. After prying it out of her vice-like grip, the temper-tantrum started. It was as if I had taken her most cherished item, her one reason for living. The screaming, the tears, the kicking.

Then, when she looks up at me to see that I'm not giving in, she throws her head down, presses her cheek against the wood floor and cries as if her life is over. All for a cap to a milk jug.

I'm absorbing the entire scene, internalizing it in some part of my brain that keeps me sane, and I say, calmly, "Find something else to play with," to which she sobs, "Noooo..." I walk away, barely holding it together.

Then, every 20 minutes for the rest of the day, the scene repeats itself. There's always something she wants that she's not supposed to have. She'll spot it across the room and suddenly decide it's more valuable to her than the rarest stone, the most sought-after prize.

A marker on the kitchen counter
A glass jar
Some eyeshadow on the bathroom sink
Nail clippers

It's not enough to just baby proof the house, I feel like I have to keep everything hidden from her view.

Yesterday, while driving in New York, she threw one of her temper tantrums in the car when I wouldn't let her play with a crochet hook. She screamed so loudly that the car seemingly got smaller and smaller, and I finally had a meltdown. I grabbed the door handle and breathlessly told Mark to pull over. I kept my seatbelt on to keep myself from jumping out at 60 mph. Then I started crying uncontrollably too.

When the car stopped, she calmed down (probably thinking she was going to get out and find something new to claim as her own). This gave me time to think of a plan as I gave Mark the go-ahead to drive on, and she started to cry again realizing we were staying in the car.

Your mind goes to weird places during times of high stress. The solution: I acted out Raiders of the Lost Ark, with her stuffed dog as the fearless Indiana Jones, meanwhile trying to channel my own inner-Indy to make it through the last part of our trip without killing myself. Humming the theme song helped. As long as the dog was scaling the back seat of the car, taking a "leap of faith" from the headrest to her carseat, or fighting off snakes, E was perfectly content.

And between the tantrums, so was I.

I'm so content, in fact, between the few minutes of misery, that the rest of the world just fades away. I'm only called back, when she points out some new object she's found -- a bird, a star. The rest of the time, I'm lost in her smile.

It's almost like being in love for the first time, but it's real love, pure. It isn't clouded by weird relationship troubles or insecurities. It's simple. I'm hers, she's mine. We have to make it work.

Side note: She makes my marriage feel like this, too.

An hour later, after we both got bored with the dog's antics, she grabbed my hand, held it against her cheek, closed her eyes tight, and said, "Oh, Mama..." with a happy sigh.

Oh, E, what am I going to do with you?

Today, in the restaurant, she licked a spoon, then hit a waitress with it. After a stern talk with her about respecting people's spaces, the rest of the meal went well... Sticking to the 20-minute rule, she only had one other meltdown when she snagged a butter packet, and I had to use the jaws of life to get it out of her clenched teeth. I gave her the Mama-means-business-and-will-not-stand-for-screaming-in-here look, and that seemed to do the trick.

After we were home for awhile, she politely asked me for a baby fruit bar then proceeded to put the entire thing in her mouth, while gagging. I told her that I would hold it for her, so that she could take bites. I turned my head to say something to Mark, and when I turned back, I was holding a dime-sized piece of fruit bar.

The chaos and baby antics continue, and in between, I'm smitten. There's hardly time to write, but I will as I can!

Much love to you all,

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Good Day

Picked up E early from day care for her follow up doctor appointment. Her left ear is still a little pink, so will see how she is in a few days. The doctor says she's doing great, though -- can't believe how much she's talking. She even counted to 5 on her own today!

We stopped at the toy store on the way home, and she made her way through every bin and basket until she found something she wanted. She settled on a little pink dog with a rattle inside. I asked her if we should leave the doggie at the store, in the basket. She said "No, no" followed by a "Please, Mama." I gave in, and home we went with the pink doggie. She loves it.

We got back and made some banana bread. She helped me mash bananas in a Ziploc bag, add some flour to the batter, and stir it up. Then we baked it and ate it! Haha! I love my little buddy.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Family Time

I don't know what to write about lately... The latest plague -- the famed upper respiratory virus -- just went through our house. What a nightmare that was! I'm left feeling tired, worn out, and fed up.

Still, my apartment is up to this mama's cleaning code, and E is happy and has made a full recovery!

She's saying every word imaginable right now. I'm in awe of her every moment. She's memorized most of her books, after reading them only a few times and shocks us by saying words like "zucchini," "butterfly," and "temperature" so clearly.

The other day she asked me for some milk. When I got it for her, she said with such sincerity, "Thank you, Mama!" I melted. She gives the best hugs and kisses, loves to be with us, and is a real little member of the Strange family.

She seems to have my goofy sense of humor, too. She makes silly faces and laughs at every strange thing I do. I love having a little audience who clings to my every word and dances to every song I sing. Hide and seek is a favorite game right now, in every form -- whether it's peeking out from under a blanket or chasing me out of my hallway hiding space.

I feel like I've known her my entire life. I keep having these strange déjà vu moments, where I remember that years ago I had a dream about being in this apartment with her. Somehow I just knew that she existed, but being by her side now is like being in heaven. The rest of the world just fades away. There is no bad in our corner of the universe -- just our sunny little moments spent sneaking up on each other, laughing, and smushing our faces together.

God is great, and life is good.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


In 1 hour and 20 minutes, it'll be a full week since I've written a post. That is not OK... But I have good reason!

I'm head over heels in love with this kid of mine -- smitten, taken. My heart is hers.

I'll share more later. I don't even know where to begin. She's doing so much!

Friday, March 15, 2013


My sweet E is running around all day and night, pointing at different objects and screaming, "Mine!"

Usually these include anything I'm eating, her shoes, and toys.

Then there are these...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I'm Alive and Talking to Dead People

E is fighting a really rough virus this week... We're all hanging in there, but getting to bed early and not having much time left over for the fun stuff!

I'd like to share one of my readings, though! Here are some excerpts from a recent one. I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing or what I believe, but I'm forging ahead. I feel like that's faith, though!

When I do a reading, I just spend quiet time before I fall asleep focusing on the person. I hadn't met this woman before, so I focused on what I knew -- only her name. Then images start playing in my mind, like a movie. I write them down, then share with the person the next day.

Me: Wildlife! Maybe it's just because spring is in the air, but I see gardens and bright sunshine!

Her: I love gardens, flowers, animals, nature! I have been photographing flowers for 28 years.

Me: I see a light teal long-sleeve shirt. It's almost aquamarine color. I've been seeing lots of aquamarine, so maybe that just denotes aquamarine properties. The ones I relate most to are calmness, letting go of emotional issues, and courage in difficult times. The person wearing this shirt is younger (late teens to 30s) and has jet-black straight hair, possibly with bangs.

Her: Aquamarine is my birthstone. There is one woman I work with who may fit this description. Not sure, so I will pay extra attention to this.

Me: I see an older woman (70s-80s, possibly). She has weathered hands, and light-brown nail polish on. She has short, brownish hair and is wearing a white top with small brown polkadots or small brown flowers. I think she may have had some trouble walking in life and maybe used a cane, but she came up to me with both arms stretched out to greet me. She is one of the warmest people I've ever met. She sat down next to me and put her arms around me to give me a hug. I get the feeling that she would hug anyone, or that maybe she's just really pleased to have the chance to come through. :-) From her, I get the following impressions: an extreme amount of pride in her family, of sincere love, and an abundance of joy. If this is someone you knew, she is on your side 100% and so proud of your strength. It's difficult for me to put into words the amount of love coming from this person, and I hope it brings comfort to you.

I also saw a white, shaggy dog with the older woman. When she spoke to me, I couldn't hear her, but I could feel the emotions she was emitting -- love and joy. I felt this was a grandmother figure.

Her: I am feeling this may be my mother or my dad's mom. We used to have a white dog when I was young. I have a small white dog now. My mom came through with a medium I saw and my mom told her to tell me that I was her greatest gift. Every time I dream of my mother, I get so emotional I wake up. I know she's with me now and again and am filled with love and gratitude just knowing this.

My grandmother had difficulty with her legs. What's interesting is that she has been supporting me in the spirit world. We never spoke the same language but on the other side we speak the language of the heart. It is said that when you can heal your life, you heal many generations past and forward. We are living in an amazing time right now.

I know my grandmother is very happy about all the work I am doing. To me, a dog is a symbol of unconditional love. My dog, Snoopy, was white/blonde with long hair. His hair would cover his eyes.

Me: I've never had someone come through as strongly as the older woman. If this is definitely someone you know, and you have questions for her, please let me know. I may not be able to connect with her this strongly again, but I will definitely try!

Her: In spirit my grandmother is very supportive and extremely happy when she can get a message through to me. This is a beautiful confirmation of her support and love. I know she has been looking for any opening to relate a message to me to confirm to me that she is with me. I so appreciate this and you relaying this message to me. It's great to know she's still here with me. Many blessings to you on your life journey. :)

Back to me! I can't write enough about how much I love doing this. This is by far my favorite reading and favorite spiritual connection. I have 7 more readings booked for next week! I can't believe I'm doing this!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Inspire Prints!

Hi, everyone! I'm starting a series of quick prints in an inspire series. These will be digital printables for $1, at my Etsy shop, here! I've finished the first one and hope to have more up soon! (Gray striped background not included in final file.)

Saturday, March 9, 2013


When did my little bugaboo turn into such a little person? She has her favorite toys, her favorite songs. She knows how to get my attention by screaming, and pretending to put things in her mouth. When I gasp and run after her, she runs and laughs. She knows just what to do to trigger the right reaction.

Today I told her that I needed her help with groceries. I had 3 heavy bags to carry upstairs, her, and a gallon of milk. I asked her if she could walk. I set her down on the patio and grabbed my bags. She darted to the door on her own and attempted to get inside. I panicked that someone was going to fly out the door and knock her over. So, I ran over and scooped her up, and attempted to carry her while trying to pick up my bags. She's gotten so big now, I just couldn't do it.

Finally, I told her again that I needed her to help me by walking and carrying her doggie. She went to the opposite end of the patio, sat down, and took her shoes off. Then she started crying.

I went to her side and helped her with her shoes. I tried to figure out how I was going to carry everything upstairs with her, without making 3 trips, when my guardian angel showed up -- a tall man in a cowboy hat. He asked if he could help me. He carried all my grocery bags up for me, and I carried E. I thanked him 100 times. Cowboy, take me away!

I got E inside then had to step back into the hallway to grab the grocery bags. She had a complete meltdown seeing me walk out the door. As I ducked back inside with the groceries, I lifted her into my arms and told her, "I won't leave you for a million years, I promise." And I meant it.

Still, every time I put her down for the next half hour, she cried hysterically. Finally I told her, "Listen, it's you and me, kid! That's all there is to it!" She seemed to understand that, and proceeded to help me put groceries in the fridge.

I handed her a brick of cheese (her favorite). I was sure she wouldn't recognize it in brick form. I always cut it up for her. As she was stretching to put it on the shelf of the fridge, she stopped and looked down at it. Then she looked up at me questioningly.

"Cheese?" she asked.
"Um... yes."
"Yes. But, we're not going to have any right now. We have to finish putting groceries away."

Now I understand my absolutely insane cheese cravings I had throughout my entire pregnancy. Just like the cravings that wouldn't quit, E wouldn't quit either. The world stopped, and we ate some cheese.

We played blocks. We played "These boots were made for walkin'" (our own silly game), and watched TV, chased each other around the apartment.

When I changed her diaper, she grabbed a book to read. I laughed hysterically at her nonchalant way of reading like an old man flipping through the newspaper while on the toilet -- the book: Alexander, and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Before bed, she asked me to read "Roar!" and "tuh-pillah" (The Very Hungry Caterpillar). She finished each sentence of the book. Her favorite is to say "Pop!" when the caterpillar pops out of his egg.

At the end of the book, it says, "... and he was a beautiful butterfly!" She usually says, "utta-fy" or some form of the word.

Yesterday, though, while reciting the story riding in the car, she insisted that the caterpillar turned into a beautiful "Mama." I know she was just experimenting with word combinations, but it made me cry all the way to day care.

Does she intuitively know that I'm striving for that -- to come into my own, to be the best Mama to the best kid in the world? Am I close? I hope so. Every day she becomes more of a little person, the more I want to be a better person for her to look up to.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

eShakti Offer!

Hi readers,

eShakti has an exclusive offer for YMIS fans! I love this site!! I ordered a custom-fit dress from them last spring, and it's one of my favorites! Read my review here.

$25 gift coupon for you to pick up anything on the site, valid thru March 31, 2013.

Gift Coupon Code: YRMMSSTRNG99
Gift Coupon Value: $25

Here's one of their new dresses that I completely adore!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Genie Bra Re-Review

When I first started this blog, I used to create lots of goofy info-graphics, taking my often lofty, naive ideas about things and showing them in a more realistic light.

I decided to do the same with the Genie Bra. In my original, casual review of the Genie Bra, I wrote a silly post about it not being invented by a genie and added a Photoshopped image of a woman whose breasts were clearly fighting a losing battle with gravity.

The company contacted me, apologized for my disappointment, and even offered to send me two new bras, more suited for my body type -- the Milana bras. I graciously accepted!

They arrived last week, but Mark has been on laundry duty in the evenings while I've been busy doing (ahem) medium readings, and working on a new creative project that I hope to have wrapped up by the end of the month. Our paths just haven't crossed at laundry time, and the Genie Bra hand-off didn't happen until last night, when I finally got all my dirty clothes together.

This morning, I woke up and pulled the Genie Bra out of the dryer. I decided to wear only this bra all day -- to put it to the full test. I mean, I didn't do jumping-jacks or anything, but I did load the dishwasher, which is pretty much the same thing for me.

First, I want to say that I absolutely love the look of this bra and the feel of the material. It's cozy, and supportive. It looks like a nice tanktop and has a pretty, lacy overlay that can be slightly exposed with a V-neck for a nice, layering effect. I really didn't want to put anything else on over it but decided to anyway... because I didn't want to end up in a real-life episode of Seinfeld.

I did find this version of the bra to be much more supportive than the first Genie Bra I had. I can easily see myself wearing it for a full work day.

As for the cons:
  1. Though Mark later admitted that he dried all my clothes on the "Extra Heat" setting, I still found it unusual that one of the bra's cup inserts (the left one) migrated inside the bra during the washing and drying process. The bra is completely sewn shut, so I had to move the insert blindly through the fabric to get it into its proper place on the left side.
  2. I still didn't feel like this bra was quite as supportive as my regular one. After 12 hours, there was some "slight slippage," as you'll see below.
  3. I also didn't like the seams on either side of the bra. In certain lighting, and when wearing tighter shirts, um. Oh, I'll just say it... they look like nipples -- two small, sad, droopy nipples.
That said, I'll continue to wear the Milana Genie Bra to work daily. I only work part time, so I dress for comfort and a reasonable amount of support. As for the awkwardly-placed seams... well, it's cold on my side of the office anyway.

All joking aside, this is a great product. It does what it says for a reasonable price. Since having my daughter, anything too restricting makes me very uncomfortable, and this bra has just the right balance of support and comfort. I give it the YMIS vote of approval!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Battle of Land and Sea

I can't resist drawing little doodles on E's paintings. I love looking for little scenes and finding creatures in the contrasting colors, in the negative space. The only problem -- I hate defacing E's beautiful paintings., and I don't like forcing scenes when I think the painting speaks for itself.

BUT... I figured that it'd be okay to do it digitally, right?? The painting is preserved, so it's okay! Here's our first official mommy-daughter collaboration. I'm finally going to make a real book. Honest.

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