Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Brightly colored crack for kids! Yummy!

So, I'm sure you have heard about the evils of artificial coloring in foods. And I agree with it all. Artificial food coloring, especially red 40, can have a crack-like effect on children with ADHD, and perhaps most children.

We don't allow Max to have any foods in the house with artificial coloring because the resulting effect is one wild child who has no control over his behavior. And toddlers already have trouble with behavior control.

No Fruity Pebbles, no M&Ms, no hard candy, no fruit snacks (except Annie's - this company's products do not have artificial anything in them). It can be extremely frustrating for my son and me when he begs for Star Wars fruit snacks or Scooby Doo fruit snacks in the store and we can't allow him to eat them. It angers me that these food companies advertise a child's favorite movie or TV cartoon character on their packaging ,and yet, put damaging ingredients in their products. Grrr...come on, they could use beet and other juices, instead. If they cared.

Anyway, we will let him have artificial coloring at birthday parties and holidays because we don't ever want him to be the odd child out at school or a party, the only child eating an apple or some other boring fruit while the other kids get to eat brightly colored sugar and circus candy.

So, when we went to a birthday party a couple of weekends ago, I expected food coloring in the birthday cake icing. It is pretty much inevitable in a child's birthday cake. But, what I saw was nothing like I had expected.

There on the table were the cutest Elmo cupcakes you've ever seen. So adorable! But, they were red. And I'm not talking a little bit red. The entire cupcake was red. Red 40 everywhere. The icing on top was red. Then, on top of the icing, was a picture of Elmo's face made with red icing. The cake part of the cupcake was even dyed red. RED. Fine for most kids, but not my kid.

When I saw the cupcakes, the look on my face was like I'd just seen a cougar in my bathroom. Total fear.

I walked over to a nearby table and whispered to my husband, "The cupcakes are red. The entire thing. Even the cake part. Rrrreeeeeeddd." Now, my husband looked like he had just seen a cougar in our bathroom.

So, we got our things together - we wanted to be prepared in case all chaos broke loose and we had to leave the party early, which we are used to doing. The effect of sugar and red dye 40 are pretty much immediate in Max.

Sure enough, after cupcake eating time, the other children stood around and watched the birthday boy open his presents while our child did a cracked-out version of the Super Bowl Shuffle in the middle of the room.

He was yelling. He was dancing. He was laughing uncontrollably. He kept running out of the room at top speed, laughing while one of us chased him down.

We looked at each other and nodded. It was time to go. Party over.

The good thing about all of this is that I have learned over time my child's limits. Because of his sensory issues, I know he can't be in loud places for longer than 30 minutes before he begins to break down. I know he can't have artificial food coloring. I know he lashes out with aggression if someone, like another child, yells at him or if Harry cries. I know to automatically cut the tags out of his shirts. I know to keep him distracted, calm, and talking about anything if I want to keep him from throwing a tantrum in public. I know that I have to stay calm and not get overly excited or overly angry about anything if I want him to remain balanced.
I know that when he is tired, it ain't gonna be pretty.

Of course, he doesn't need red dye 40 to be hyperactive. Monday afternoon when I picked him up from preschool, I peeked in the window before going in - and while all the other children in his class were sitting in their chairs eating their lunches, my son was on the floor under the table pulling on people's legs.

That's my boy!

And although his hyperactivity can be exhausting, there is something special about Max that no one can deny. He has more enthusiasm and passion for everyday life than I have ever seen in any child or adult. Everything makes him over the top excited. I made popcorn one night last week after he had night terrors and couldn't go back to sleep, and he said, "Oh Mommy! Popcorn makes me so happy! Yaaaayyyy! I love you, Mommy!" And he gave me a big hug. I never want that enthusiasm to be extinguished.

So, if it takes many, many challenging and exhausting days for me, then that's okay. If his enthusiasm has to go hand-in-hand with his hyperacitivity and overstimulation, then I can handle it. I never want that smile, that over-the-top enthusiasm, to leave. I will do anything to keep him feeling happy and cozy. Anything. And if that means making popcorn in the middle of the night, then heat up the oil and put the lid on the pot! We are making popcorn!

But, we'll keep the red 40 out of it. I don't need my son running naked through the streets, screaming at the top of his lungs just yet. He can wait until after a long night of drinking gin in college - like his dad did.

On second thought, I never want him to know that story.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hey, all you bad moms out there! This is for you! (but don't worry. It's okay! - apparently, I'm a bad mom,too)!

So, I was doing some blog browsing last night on my phone in between light saber fights with my 3-yr old, and I found a couple of blog posts that I felt to be quite irritating and stifling.

Internet blog wars aren't really my thang, so I won't mention the blogs. I'm not here to piss anyone off. I am positive these women writers are wonderful and kind ladies - I just don't agree with their antiquated ideas on motherhood and child-rearing. Oh, did I say antiquated? Was that judgmental? Oops. How careless of me.

Basically, both posts were these two womens' opinions on being a good, Christian parent and if you are one of the mothers who look forward to the time when your child goes to school in the morning or in the fall, then you are a terrible person who doesn't enjoy her children and you don't deserve to be a mother.

Does anyone else have a problem with this? These women are making sweeping generalizations about an entire population of mothers. And I believe it is sooooooo wrong to judge other mothers. Aren't we mothers supposed to stick together? When did it become wrong for a woman, a woman who is not just a mother but also a WOMAN, to need a little time to rejuvenate and recoup? When did it become wrong for a mother to not only play the role of mother, but also of a living, breathing woman with needs?

The women who wrote these posts have no idea of another mother's situation and how dare they make a mother feel even more guilty than she already does. Every mother struggles with guilt of some sort. Why would one mother want to make another one feel even worse? As one commenter of the post wrote, what if the mother has chronic pain or an aging parent to take care of? She may need the time to rest.

In my case, my husband works most of the time, so I am here with my children all day, every day, seven days a week. If my children are awake or home, I play with them. I'm not doing housework (anyone who comes to my house can attest to that). We play light sabers, play with action figures, finger paint, color, read books, play outside with the neighbors. I am not doing anything for "me". In addition, my 3 yr old has a sensory processing disorder and he, through no fault of his own, can be a challenge some days - he gets easily overstimulated, has texture issues, has night terrors, he is hyperactive, and can be aggressive.

Do I look forward to the time when my 3 yr old goes to preschool for that 3 hours in the morning, three days a week? You bet I do. Do I look forward to nap time? You bet I do. Not because I don't enjoy my children, but because I need that time to do laundry, dishes, mop, EAT, go to the bathroom, take a shower, talk to an adult on the phone, catch the news, pay a bill, go to the grocery store, wrap birthday presents, start dinner, maybe even get to shave my legs or maybe even SIT DOWN for once during the day. Does that make me a bad mom? Hell no. It actually makes me a better mom because I can recoup, accomplish, and keep from feeling overwhelmed.

What is wrong with needing some "me" time, again?

One of the posts actually said that we, as the older generation of women, need to encourage our young girls to be homemakers and not be whatever they want to be when they grow up. Really? Really? Is this a joke? One of the commenters of the post even said that as a good Christian mother, you are supposed to deny yourself and only do for others. That is what God wants.

I know that this is off subject, but this way of thinking makes me CRAZY.

And if I'm not mistaken, you aren't supposed to judge others as a good, Christian woman, either.

I am a homemaker, but if I had a daughter instead of sons, I would encourage her to reach for the stars. You want to be a stay at home mom? Great. You want to work corporate or be a research scientist? Great. You want to dress up like a princess and sing at children's birthday parties? Fantastic.

So again, all you moms out there, don't let the judgey moms make you feel like a bad mom. You're not. If you love your kids and let them feel that love everyday, then you are doing just fine.

And you know the question that these ladies might be surprised to know the answer to?

Do I look forward to the time when my son comes home from preschool or wakes up from his nap?

You bet I do. There's nothing better.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


So, two of the things I hate the most are cleaning up other people's pee and poop and raw chicken. Why insanity set in and I decided to tackle them both in the same day, I will never know.

Potty training and cleaning a raw chicken - two of my worst fears. My third worst fear is not the government or earthquakes or high fructose corn syrup or fluoride. Not even cancer. It's taking away my son's paci. More terrifying concept than starvation. Haven't tackled that one yet.

Anyway, this morning I woke up insane and decided to put my son in big boy underwear and rinse and de-skin a whole chicken in the sink for the slow cooker.

At first, potty training was going great. I took him to the potty every 15 minutes and finally he peed in the potty (he had also peed in the potty twice two days before)! Yay! He stayed dry for the first hour. Then, it all started to go downhill (and down his legs) very quickly.

First, he peed on his bedroom carpet. No big deal, I thought. I expected accidents. Nothing we have done with Max has been easy. I expected several bumps in the road. So, I continued to take him to the potty every 15 minutes.

But then, I had to put my 11 month old down for his nap and while I was gone, he peed on the bathroom sink (okay, I need to explain this one - we are remodeling our front bathroom, so the sink is lying on our living room floor behind the couch).

No big deal. Meanwhile, I am trying to clean my whole chicken. I have an intense fear of raw chicken. I think I might have died from salmonella poisoning in one of my past lives. I am really afraid of raw meat with no tangible reason for my fear.

I put on my gloves. I put the chicken in the sink and take it out of its packaging. So far, so good. I rinse. Then, I get freaked out. The sink starts filling up with pink water because the packaging is clogging the sink drain. I plow through my fear and take out the innards. I change my gloves.

The recipe says to de-skin the chicken. I get my knife and start to de-skin, even though part of my fear is that a piece of raw chicken juice will splatter and hit me in the mouth.

I keep working and eventually realize that I have no idea what the hell I am doing - I've never de-skinned anything before, so I just put my mutilated chicken in the slow cooker and add the spices. With a new pair of gloves, of course. (You all must think I'm insane for real now. My husband already does).

Meanwhile, my son pees on the living room rug, even though I had just taken him to the potty five minutes before.

Then, the big one.

I could tell my son had to go #2 because he always hides when he does it. I saw him hiding behind the curtain in the den, so I rushed him to the potty where he sat there for 20 minutes, looking at a book and doing no pooping. I told him that the poo-poos needed to go home and see their mommy and daddy, so he had to let them go. He understood. He really wanted them to see their mommy and daddy. He tried. And tried. And nothing.

After 20 minutes, I tell him that we will try again in 10 minutes. I could hear my other son yelling from his crib to be let out after his nap. And in the five minutes it took for me to change Harry's diaper and walk into the living room, Max had hidden behind a chair and pooped in his underwear. Sigh.

Now, I had a sink full of pink contaminated water and squished poop all over my son's legs to clean up. I won't go into the details here, but let's just say this particular changing of underwear wasn't a pleasant scene.

I was exhausted and thoroughly grossed out and out of clean underwear, so I put Max back in his diaper for lunch and naptime.

And now, I smell poop and stinky chicken everywhere I go - the smells are permanently burned into the hairs of my nostrils and I can't tell the difference between the two odors anymore. And frankly, at this point, I don't care if Max is wearing diapers at his sixth grade graduation.

Before his nap, I told Max what a great job he did practicing using the potty and that we would try again later after he woke up. That is what I said. But, what I really wanted to say was, "I don't understand! Are you trying to torture me? I know you know you are supposed to go on the potty! It's easy! Why won't you do it??? This is so GROSS! AAAAAAACCCCCKKKKKK!!!!"

But I didn't, of course. He was trying. I think. And he was awfully cute sitting on the toilet "reading" his There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly book. I had to restrain myself from taking a picture and showing it to everyone. Not sure he would appreciate that as a teenager.

I have read that kids with Sensory Processing Disorder, like Max, have a tougher time with potty training because they tend to have more trouble "sensing" that they need to go. This potty training stuff may be my greatest parenting challenge yet...

well, that and trying to determine whether I am smelling poop right now or just the chicken cooking in the crock pot. It's a toss up.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I know why I'm not drunk. How about you?

So, sometimes I wonder why I'm not drunk everyday.

I really wish I had more time to blog. I could write a daily blog post about my mishaps if only my munchkins could learn to use the oven and do their own laundry.

I must enjoy my reality to some extent because I do nothing to try to escape, relax, or self-medicate. I just plow through, popping ibuprofen for tension headaches and laughing at my own expense. And, of course, I do enjoy my reality - my kids are part of my reality ... just not ALL parts of my reality.

For instance, I really didn't enjoy it two nights ago when I caught my 11 month old, Harry, sitting in his highchair, playing in his own poop (and having a blast, by the way) because his diaper had exploded during dinner. Then, when I took him to the bathroom for a bath, I found TWO dirty diapers ripped to shreds by our dog that my husband had left in the bathroom trash from bathtime the night before. Those tiny urine-filled crystals from inside the diaper were EVERYWHERE (slimy!). Then, when I finished his bath and went to clean the kitchen, a block of shortening fell out of the refrigerator door and splattered all over the kitchen floor. Ugh.

And yesterday, I really didn't enjoy it when my 3 yr old, Max, took his new Darth Vader light saber and hit my 11 month old in the forehead with it. On purpose.

And I didn't like it when I told Max to stop jumping on the bed, but he didn't listen and almost immediately lost his balance and performed a perfect horizontal spin off the bed and onto the hardwood floor, hitting his head on the way down. Or, when Harry threw a monster temper tantrum because I wouldn't let him eat his brother's shoe, so he catapulted his whole body backwards, hitting his head on the hardwood floor. (I think the moral of these stories is that hardwood floors don't mesh with little boys and helmets are hightly recommended).

However, my boys do provide some comic relief.

For example, yesterday at Lowe's, my husband and I had to hang out in the grout and caulk aisle for 10 minutes because Max said he was pooping and we couldn't leave until he was done. So, he hid behind a pole and finished his business while I prayed that the woman standing behind him didn't smell anything suspicious.

Or two nights ago when I told Max that if he wants to sleep in mommy and daddy's bed, he can't talk because it is sleeping time. So, he hummed instead. And then whispered to me that he had tooted. I guess I should have been more specific.

And, in addition to the laughs, my boys do provide some "awwwwww"s, too.

Like, when Max kisses Harry. Or he goes to Harry's room to bring him a blanket or a toy. Or like yesterday when Harry slept in my arms and cuddled with me in the morning before anyone else woke up. Or when Max can't control his excitement about something I take for granted, like popcorn or staying up late, and he runs up to me, hugs my legs and screams, "I LOVE YOU, MO-MMY!"

If I was drunk everyday, I'd probably miss those things. Or at least not remember them the next day.

I guess I'll just keep popping the ibuprofen and laughing at my own expense.

Because I never, ever want to forget these days. All too soon, my boys will be grown up and these days will be gone. And while I could do without the diaper explosions and the temper tantrums, I could never do without the sweet smiles, hugs, sleepy eyes, "I love you"s, the small hands holding mine, and the whispers in the night, telling me that my son has tooted.

I love you, boys!

(by the way, today is Max's 3rd birthday, so I might be feeling a little nostalgic. And sad that he is growing up too fast. And co-dependent. And tired. And brain-fried. And over the moon that my oldest baby is turning 3! But still a little sad. I was already crying by 8:30 am. Stop growing!!)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Chuck E. Cheese, How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways...

So, my brain hurts. Not from over-thinking, but from under-thinking. I have done nothing for three days but play with light sabers, look for lost light sabers, watch light sabers in a Star Wars movie, attach light sabers to action figures with tape...I have been hit in the back with light sabers, smacked in the finger with one, and had my hair pulled because I wouldn't play light sabers. I would be so happy if I didn't see anything related to Star Wars again for a long, long, long time and if I could stay far, far away from any and all light sabers or things that look like light sabers. Ahem.

Please, somebody, call me and tell me about a book you are reading or tell me what is going on in the news or just call me and blurt a bunch of swear words so I feel like I am still an adult with a brain who can react intelligently to information besides what the Bubble Guppies are eating for lunch and whether or not Sam and Freddie are dating on iCarly.

Man, I am all about run-on sentences today...but I can't help it. I'm really reeling from a lack of educational and intellectual stimulation - I'm losing my grammar skills.

Yes, my son's 3rd birthday party was this past Saturday at Chuck E. Cheese and he got Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace as a gift from his grandparents. And that is ALL he has done for the past three days is watch the Darth Maul fight scene over and over and over and over and over and over and ask me to play light sabers with him and then get upset when I have to stop and give some attention to our OTHER child...and my brain hurts.

I have to say, though, that I will never have another birthday party in my home again (okay, except for Harry's 1st birthday party in a few weeks, but after that! I'm done!). It is SO MUCH EASIER to have the party somewhere like Chuck E. Cheese. They do everything for you! They even cut the cake! I was actually available to TALK to other adults and smile and SOCIALIZE! I had forgotten about socializing. All I could remember about it was what I have learned on Yo Gabba Gabba. Don't, don't, don't bite your friends! and You have to wait in's only fair to wait right there!

The party was still exhausting, but I was WAY less stressed. I was almost relaxed. Well, not quite. But almost.

Here are some photos from the big day:





Thank you, Chuck E. Cheese, for keeping me from stroking out this weekend.

And, by the way, today is MY birthday. I am turning 27. I mean, 32. Er, I meant 35. Crap, fine, I'm 37. But, I have the maturity of a MUCH younger woman, so I've got that going for me.

Let's see if I can get out of changing any diapers for the entire day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mr. Grumpy Pants

So, I've got a grumpy one today. I know we are all entitled to our bad days and our baby fits, but man, a toddler in a bad mood is way worse than an adult in a bad moood. Way worse.

From the moment he got up this morning, he has been a Mr. Grumpy Pants.

"Mommy, I want to watch TeeVeeeeeeeeeee."

"Okay, what do you want to watch?"

(a commercial for Special Agent Oso comes on the Disney channel)

"No! I don't like that show!"

"Yes, you do. And besides, this is a commercial, not a show."

"No! I don't like that show!"

"Okay, do you want to watch Mickey Mouse?"


"Do you want to watch Phineas and Ferb?"


"Do you want to watch Jack's Big Music Show?"


"Toot and Puddle?"


(geez - so, I turned on Jake and the Neverland Pirates and he was happy for about 2 seconds)

"Mommy, I want some chocolate milk."

"Okay, what do we say when we want someone to do something for us?"


"Nope, that's not it. What do we say?"


"It starts with a "puh" and ends in a "lease"."


"You aren't getting any chocolate milk until you say the magic word."


About 10 minutes later, after he finally said "please", I brought him his chocolate milk - he took one look at it and threw it over his shoulder. Moody!!

"Mommy, I need help. Put Darth Maul's light saber on him for me."

"You can do it. I know you can!"

"NO! I CAN'T!"

"Yes, you can. And I am driving, Max. I have to look at the road. I can't do it right now."


"Just try, Max. You are going to have to do it yourself."

So, finally, he tries and does it himself.

"Mommy! Look I did it! I put his light saber on him!"

"Yay! Good job! See, you are such a smart cookie!"


I have accepted that I am not going to win today.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Motherhood is difficult, no matter how you slice the Xanax

So, I have never pretended that motherhood is easy for me. Motherhood is the biggest challenge I have faced and no adult could ever scare me again after surviving day to day life with a hyperactive, aggressive 2 year old and an infant.

And really, my blog is about my struggle with being a stay-at-home mom. I can't read the sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows motherhood blogs where every post is about how much they love their lives and love being a mom and how ADORABLE their children are and how cute it is when their son puts the TV remote in the toilet.

That is not cute to me - now the remote doesn't work and so you have to get up to turn the channels but what mother has the energy to do that, so you have to disinfect the remote and wait for it to dry out and now you can't watch TV and escape from the fact that your child won't stop asking you the same question every five seconds.

My blog is more of a stabbing chest pains, upset stomach, and throbbing stress headache type of motherhood blog. I have no shame filter (anyone who has ever dated me could tell you this after we broke up and they caught me driving by their house with my head ducked down to see if I could catch a glimpse of them - and don't judge, you know you did it too), so I will tell you just about anything. I have no feelings filter either. My heart is smeared all over my sleeve.

Now, I love my children just as much as the sunshine, lollipops and rainbows moms (we will call them the SLRMs) - I can't imagine my life without them. But I have trouble giving up my entire life to my kids, husband and dog. I like eating my food while it is still hot. I like peeing without an audience. I like watching the news. I like talking to adults. I like getting a chance to make my coffee before noon. I like using words besides, "no", "quit", "stop" and I like saying sentences besides, "Stop hitting your brother", "No, I don't know where Darth Maul's light saber is", "If you hit me with that light saber one more time, I am going to take it away!" and "Don't get out of bed again, please." I like getting dressed without a toddler stealing my makeup brushes and using them to paint his Star Wars action figures. I like getting to take care of myself when I am sick. I like reading a magazine or a book and actually making it past the front cover.

Sometimes, on the motherhood side of things, I understand why Sylvia Plath put her head in the oven. Although, I'd probably be in there looking for cookies. Being a mom is tough. No matter how much you love your children, it is so tough. Cookies can help.

I guess what I am trying to say to all you moms out there who are having a hard time is: Don't let the SLRMs make you feel bad about your ability to be a good mom. It is okay to not always enjoy motherhood. It is okay to wish your kids would go away for awhile so you can breathe and sit down. Sometimes, you've just gotta go crazy, be silly and sing, dance...although my toddler always screams, "DON'T DO THAT!" when I dance, so I'm back to eating cookies out of the oven.

Just remember, you aren't alone. Give me a call or send me an email. I'm probably crying, too. Or at least chewing ibuprofen while looking for the corkscrew.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Birfday Farty

So, we have a lot of birthday parties coming up in the family. My son is having his 3rd birthday party in 2 weeks and it is pretty much all he talks about. And he's driving me crazy.

"Mommy, I want to go to my birfday farty."
"Can we go to my birfday farty now?"
"I want to go to Chuck E. Cheese for my birfday farty."
"I'm goin' to my birfday farty now."
"Daddy, I want to go to my Star Wars birfday farty at Chuck E. Cheese."
"I want my Star Wars cake now."
"I want to eat Yoda farty cupcakes."
"I want my birfday farty cake to have Luke Skywalker and Darf Vader with Luke Skywalker hanging off like this:" (then he hangs from the side of the couch or the TV stand or Harry's crib)
"I want Darf Maul on my birfday farty cake."
"I WANT TO GO TO MY BIRFDAY FARTY NOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWW!!!!!!!" (and then some fake crying)

He asks about his birfday farty at least 10 times a day. And really, if it wasn't for the adorable fact that he can't say his "p's" or "th's" and uses an "f" instead, which always makes me laugh inside, I might go insane.

Three days after his farty, I will have my 3oth birfday farty. Okay, okay, it will be my 37th birfday. Whatever. Then, 5 days after that will be Max's actual 3rd birfday, so we will want to celebrate again. Then, 11 days after that will be Harry's 1st birfday (small family farty) and then we will have a bigger birfday farty for him 2 days later.

I'm tired just typing all that.

I am going to be all fartied out by mid-September.

But then, oh then, I will have my husband's 40th birfday farty to plan in November. I have trouble believing I am old enough to be married to someone who is going to be 40 years old. And that my 20 year highschool reunion is next year. And that my phone says it is 109 degrees outside.

I need a nap.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Yellow. How you haunt me from the seat of my toilet.

So, I love yellow. It is my favorite color. Yellow is full of joy. Yellow is soft and kind, strong and full of heat! Yellow is happy. Yellow is the color of the sun, the ruling planet of the fierce and loyal Leo woman (I'm a fierce and loyal Leo - or at least a stubborn one). And yellow looks good on me (of course there is a little bit of vanity thrown in...I mean, I am a Leo. Olive green makes me look sick and atrocious, therefore, olive green is not my favorite).

There are times, however, when a color will haunt me - with its brightness, for example (any neon color), or putridness (like olive green - again, not my favorite - funny, olive green is my husband's favorite color - go crazy with that you marriage counselors) or what a color represents.

This is one of those times.

Yellow has become my enemy because of this:

and this...

Our bathroom.

Go ahead and make icky, pukey faces. I do it every time I walk in there.

Now, I've had a yellow bathroom before. In my single lady days, I lived in an apartment with my best friend and this apartment had a canary yellow bathroom. And I LOVED IT. The color would have been a little much for most people, but that color sang happy songs to me every morning when I took a shower. Almost made up for the fact that the landlady didn't tell us before we moved in that two people had been murdered in our apartment a few years before. Almost.

Anyway, my husband and I bought this house three years ago and my husband remodeled most of it. However, we couldn't afford to remodel the bathrooms. So, both bathrooms look like abandoned subway bathrooms. I think even a homeless person would turn his or her nose up to my bathroom. No thanks, I'll bathe in the sewer system. It looks like it smells better.

This bathroom in particular has been the bane of my life for three years. I dread taking showers because the bathtub is so old and porous that it always looks stained and dirty. There is a window in the shower with a wood sill that is rotting from the moisture. The shower is encased in cheap, yellowed, plastic panels instead of tile. Mold and mildew grow on the caulking at a rapid rate and we can't keep re-caulking it. The flooring is a pattern straight out of the disco in Saturday Night Fever.

I cringe when someone comes over and and asks to use the bathroom because I don't want its appearance to reflect negatively on my family. We really aren't swamp people, but if you judge us by our bathroom, you would think we are filthy pigs. Or that we at least have a drug problem.

Sitting on the toilet is the worst. There is nothing to do on the toilet, besides the obvious. So I sit and stare at the dirty color of the bathroom until my disdain for the cowardly wood paneling becomes so great that I finally pull out my phone and play Bejeweled so I don't have to look at it anymore.

Now, psychologically speaking, this bathroom represents things about me that I don't like and have tried to change over the years...blah blah blah...which is one reason I am so embarrassed and frustrated by it.

In my family, I have been perceived as the unorganized, messy member and I have tried very hard to change that perception of me in recent years (although, since having 2 boys, I've pretty much given up on ever being organized or clean again). Second, my embarrassment of it obviously brings up some self worth issues. And, I don't want the bathroom to ever affect our boys. I want it fixed more than anything before they get old enough to be embarrassed by it, as well. Also, the continued presence of this ugly bathroom has just been a constant reminder to me that we can't afford to fix it. It represents financial strain and failure. And emotional exhaustion.

Now. This is all about to change. Look at it now!

Ta Dah!

Okay, so these pictures are a little anti-climatic. The bathroom actually looks worse, but these pics are signs of progress! And progress is gooooood...

This past weekend, after a few sincere, fed up, and embarrassed tears from me, my husband ripped out the shower paneling, then found that there was moldy sheet rock underneath, so he ripped that out, then found horrendous 1960's aluminum pink tile underneath that, so he ripped most of the tile out. Then, he thought he might as well get rid of the bathtub too, so he grabbed an axe and a sledgehammer and busted out our cast iron tub.

Now, we have no real plans about what is going to happen next. This was kind of an impulse demolition spurred on by emotion and a need for change. My husband loves me and didn't want to see me continue to be upset, so he crushed that ugly bathroom like an ant.

And I have complete faith that this will work out. Don't know how or when, but the progress in itself has given me a great feeling of hope and excitement. I never have to look at that rotting window sill or moldy caulking again. And that makes my smile really, really BIG.