Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Advice to New Moms

Lately, I've been reflecting on parenting advice.  People gave me all kinds, and they still continue to do so.  Most of it was really helpful.  The best advice came from my mother-in-law, Janice.  She told me to let my kids be kids and not to turn everything into a competition.  As a former kindergarten teacher, I really value her input.  She said the only thing my kids need to know by the time they start school is how to use the potty.  That really takes the pressure off of me!

Some of it left me puzzled. For instance, one email from a parenting website informed me I should not watch tv, read a magazine, or even lose eye contact with my newborn while feeding her.  WHAT???  A mom would go insane if she were this devoted to her newborn.  Also puzzling was the ol' "sleep when the baby sleeps" line.  Yep, sleep when she sleeps, only if you have a live-in maid and full-time chef around to do your chores...

Daddy sleeping while Haley sleeps
A handful of advice only left me feeling more guilty and less adequate.  You hear time and time again, "Enjoy each moment because it passes by too quickly."  Guilty City to a new mom!  At least, to me, as I wasn't really enjoying a whole lot of the new mommy role I dove into.

Want my been there, done that/real world/be more specific advice?  Here goes:

1.  Buy batteries.  Lots of batteries.  Costco size packages of batteries.  When your new bundle of joy's musical aquarium stops playing in the middle of the night, those elusive C batteries will be your saving grace.
That smile turns to cries when her aquarium doesn't work!

2.  When the going gets tough, the tough gets going for a walk.  Yep, there is nothing like a little fresh air to calm the nerves for both of you.  When I was at my wit's end, I would throw both girls in their stroller and go outside.  It seemed to help...

3.  Tell your husband you will be delusional for at least 6 months after giving birth.  Sleep deprivation + raging hormones = cranky momma.  You reach a point where you have to take it out on someone.  Unfortunately, my husband was that "someone" for me.  All he had to do was sleep in an extra 15 minutes on Saturday to put me over the edge.  Before the baby comes, make a pact that neither of you will speak to a divorce lawyer until you both get a solid 8 hours of sleep for a week straight.

4.  Collect menus from every restaurant in the area.  Order takeout as often as your budget allows.  Use that extra time you saved from not cooking dinner to get some sleep!

5.  Don't stress about breastfeeding.  This may be stepping on some toes, but it just isn't worth the guilt if you aren't Bessie the Cow.  Some of my friends loved breastfeeding.  More power to them!  Just keep in mind, none of our parents and over 75% of our generation turned out just fine being fed evaporated milk and formula.

6.  Speaking of formula, don't be embarrassed to use coupons!  Sign up at and, and they will send you great ones.  Also, try to use coupons everytime you buy diapers.  Sign up at,, and   Speaking from a retail employee's prospective, EVERYONE uses coupons on diapers and formula.

Anyone have anything else to add??

Monday, July 26, 2010

And So It Begins...

About 6 years ago, we hauled this from Santa Fe, NM to Irving, TX:

Since then, it has sat in our garage waiting for a little TLC.  It is a 1947 Ford something-or-other that was owned by Bryon's grandfather.  He used it to deliver ice cream liquor babies car parts...oh, heck, I should really pay more attention when Bryon tells me things!  Anyway, it was used for something back in the day.  Now, it is used to store all kinds of things in our garage.  

The time has finally come for the ol' truck to get some upgrades.   What do you think of her new shoes?

Shelby loves them!  Now, don't you think she needs a name?  We are open to suggestions!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Squid Dogs

Every heard of squid dogs? Nope, me neither until I saw some instructions on how to make them. I decided it would be the perfect playdate activity for Shelby and five of her friends. Boy, did all those girls have fun stabbing spaghetti into hot dogs! Elizabeth made an airplane dog. Shelby made a short-haired dog. Paige, Selene, and Avery made deformed squids. Arden just sat the whole thing out, realizing how juvenile it was! Haley ate more than anyone. Needless to say, we will be making squid dogs again!

Squid Dogs
From FamilyFun Magazine
  • Rated by 16 members
Squid Dogs

These odd-looking but tasty treats (we call them squidlings, pasta dogs, stringy sausages, or hairy dogs, depending on our mood) are an ingenious combination of two toddler favorites. Let your kids play with their food: they'll find it nearly impossible not to.

  • Hot dogs
  • Dry spaghetti
  • Butter or ketchup (optional)

To cook up a batch, simply cut a hot dog into sections, then spear the hot dog pieces with dry spaghetti as shown. Boil the spaghetti dogs until the pasta is tender. Serve with butter or ketchup, if desired.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My Fairy Tale Weekend

You know those fairy tales where the main character(s) find a hidden door to a new world? I'm thinking The Chronicles of Narnia, but I know there are lots of other examples. Anyway, I've had a re-occurring dream for years that I find a hidden room in my house and am so excited to have lots of new storage. On Friday night, my own little suburbia fairy tale came true.

When we first moved in this house seven years ago, we noticed the previous owners had cut a hole in the ceiling in the garage but had patched it up. We assumed they were trying to make attic space and found out it wasn't possible. After years of contemplating the geometry of it all, Bryon decided there was room for an attic. I gave him the green light to cut another hole and take a look around.

It's like Heaven up there!

What he found was miles and miles of open, unused storage. I immediately started imagining all the closet space available to me after the attic was finished. Bryon immediately went to Home Depot to buy supplies. After sweating his you-know-what off for three days, the task is about 75% complete.

Pool poles holding up the attic ladder I helped install!


So, in anticipation of all the clean closets I'm going to have by the end of the month, I went out and bought this:

Monday, July 5, 2010

One Cousin's Junk is Another Cousin's Jewel

Your family has regular traditions like pizza on Friday nights or feeding the homeless on Thanksgiving. My family has unique traditions like snake hunting and crap swap. What can I say? We come from unique DNA!?!

My granny Nelle and grandpa Walt on their wedding day

This past weekend, we had our annual Poling Cousins' Reunion. It's a gathering of all of Walt's kids and grandkids. This is the 4th year in a row we have all managed to get together and not get into any screaming matches. I'm so proud of us!

Anyway, we all met at my grandfather's house near Fritch, in the Texas Panhandle. What started as a small trade has now become my favorite family tradition--Crap Swap! What could be better than getting rid of your crap-o-la and coming home with your cousins' crap-o-rama?? This year, I hit the jackpot from my cousin's wife Julianne. I stole her necklace, two cool toothbrushes that light up, and two really cool pillows. This one sums up our whole weekend:

Have a heart, have a dream, but most of all, have a ball!

Boy, howdy, did we ever have a ball!! Except for this little snake encounter, we had a blast picking plums, awarding door prizes, hunting ABC's with our digital cameras (for this project),
and eating delicious food. As soon as my ABC book is done, I'll be selling them on Amazon to fund next year's "unique" reunion!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Non-Mall Rat

Growing up in a small town 90 minutes from the "big city" of Amarillo, I didn't have a whole lot of opportunities to hang out at the malls like other teenagers. All the really rich and really cool kids travelled to Dallas for the weekend just to shop. Being neither really rich nor really cool, I was given $100 once a year for back-to-school clothes. Mom would turn my sister and I loose at Westgate Mall in Amarillo, and I would try to buy as much as I could. Needless to say, I wasn't wearing Nike, Guess, or Girbaud like all the rich, cool kids!

If there is one thing I learned from the obvious child abuse from my stingy parents, it was to be a bargain shopper. Sure, there was that period in my life post-college where I went a little nuts with the credit card, but it was only for a few (five!) years...Anyway, living in Dallas now, I'm always shocked that I am now like those cool kids. Only I get to Dallas-shop every day if I want to.

While I'm love browsing the Galleria as much as the next person, what I really love is two little-known outlets here. First is the Wisteria outlet in Carrollton. Today, I scored these stools, listed on their website for $99, for only $24

Shelby thought they were really cool drums...Sorry for the lack of clothes. She had just gotten out of the bath!
My second favorite way to spend an afternoon is browsing around Horchow Finale. It's a Neiman Marcus housewares outlet, and they have some of the most unusual stuff ever i.e. a mink fur collar for your spoiled dog, Kate Spade dominos (originally $350 marked down to a cool $50), random furniture that would only fit in a 10,000 square foot mansion, and $100 candles. Do you know anyone that would spend $100 on a candle??

Anyway, I just love digging to see what the rich, cool people were buying last year that I am now getting for 75% off. Today's big purchase was a huge painting for the kitchen that was marked $450, and I paid $111. In order to see it, you have to come visit me so that we can toast to Dallas bargain shopping!