Blogging Mama

Total Pageviews

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Crazy Pregnancy Dream

disclaimer: This post may not appeal to anyone much less everyone - I am not going to over-analyze it so I would appreciate only supportive comments. This is a dream about a miscarriage, so with that warning, please do not read this if that topic is going to disturb you. 

Crazy Pregnancy Dream

I had such an awful dream last night. I know pregnancy dreams are supposed to be vivid and wild, but this one was ridiculous. About 2 weeks before delivering Carmen (my now 6 year old) I had a dream that I gave birth to a cat. I woke up very angry at the nurses for not telling me. I thought that dream took the cake, but this was far worse.

Things began normally - we were playing in the yard as a family. Everyone was there, my 6 year old daughter Carmen, 5 year old son Andre, and my husband Mark. We were playing tag and checking out all the goodies in the garden. Andre reached over to rub my tummy and say hello to his new little brother Breccan. As he did so, he looked up at me asking what was so lumpy on my tummy. The look on his face said "what's wrong here mom? something isn't right!". The rest of the family came over and we lifted up my shirt. There were two very small legs sticking out of my belly button. Carmen exclaimed "It's time to have the baby Mom" and my husband ushered the children inside while I sat down on the lawn. I was dizzy and couldn't breath. Logic didn't kick in to remind me that this is NOT how a baby comes into the world ... I just freaked out knowing that a baby at 22 weeks is not considered viable.

I rocked back and forth on the lawn praying that my new little son would crawl back into my warm uterus and finish growing. I knew my husband was busy calling 9-1-1 and I hoped he would call my Pastor too. I knew Breccan was not going to survive and that the ambulance would do us no good. I felt torn - I wanted to call my Pastor and beg him to drive to the house as fast as he could to baptize my son and pray with me. i didn't really care about the ambulance because as more and more of Breccan's body appeared, I knew there was no chance of saving him. I couldn't move my hands away from him for even a second to grab my phone. I was praying that my Pastor would somehow know what was happening and would appear at my side.

It didn't take long and my little itty bitty son was in my arms. He was crying, I was crying, and we were rocking together. He was tiny but he was absolutely perfect. I was telling him how much he was loved and wanted and the grass beneath us was so incredibly plush it felt like we were floating on clouds. I remember not wanting to take my eyes off him to look in the sky, but I heard the gentle rustle of the breeze in the trees and could feel the warmth of the sunshine on my skin. I felt calm and peaceful and then I woke up.

-- the dream ends here and I woke up late ... but I didn't wake up freaking out or feeling stressed ... for some reason the dream hasn't left me either, so I felt that getting it down on paper might help me put it out of my mind so I can have only happy dreams tonight.

crazy though, right?

~May your paths  be abundantly filled with lemons, sugar, sunshine, and happy dreams that always do come true! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Review - The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult

The Tenth Circle
By Jodi Picoult
Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto 

The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult, published by Washington Square Press is a fabulous work of dramatic fiction. The paperback version was released in 2006 and I’m ashamed to say that it took me this long to lay my hands on it. This is a great book for young adults as well as those who are young at heart. The Tenth Circle appealed to me as a parent but vividly brought me back to those years of middle school and high school.  Devoted husband and father, Daniel Stone, is brought back to his own childhood as he struggles to put the pieces of his family puzzle back together. The story and the characters are sure to draw you in and take your breath away.

The rebellious artist falls in love with the good girl and gets her pregnant. Fast forward fifteen years and the comic book artist is married to the college professor and they are raising a teenager daughter. On the outside they appear to be the all-American family. On the inside, Daniel, his wife Laura, and their daughter Trixie are fighting their own demons. Those demons aren’t all that different than the super-hero’s of Daniel’s comic strips. Each character appears docile on the outside but there’s anger and destruction bubbling beneath the surface.

Daniel’s wife is teaching her college students about Dante’s Inferno while their daughter is tumbling into a hell of her own. The Tenth Circle talks about some very tough topics such as date rape, marital fidelity, suicide, and the struggle between good and evil. This is a memorable book with characters you cannot stop thinking about. Picoult is a master of her trade; the vivid imagery and detailed descriptions of each character make this a book that will stick with you long after you’ve closed the cover.

Visit Jodi online:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What Was I Thinking?

I didn't get much sleep the night before last. My husband has this alarm issue that I won't go into, but I will just tell you that from 12:30am until 5:30am either his phone or his alarm were going off every ten minutes. I love him dearly and wouldn't want him sleeping anywhere other than right next to me ... but I would have preferred a solid five hours of sleep as opposed to eight minute increments. Last night I didn't get much sleep either - and I was really optimistic about it. I purchased a body pillow which I was confident would help me sleep better and wake up more refreshed (for those who have never slept with me, I'm a tummy sleeper - but with this baby in my belly, that doesn't work so well). The pillow made all the difference in the world and I was snoring, drooling, and dreaming in no time. Weird dreams too ... but again, that's a story for a different day. At nearly 1am I heard screaming from my little guy who is four. I jumped out of bed and ran to his room - or at least I like to think I jumped and ran ... in reality I rolled around like a beached whale, stumbled out of the bed, and waddled down the hall. When I got to Andre's room, I sat down on the bed to assess the situation.

He was warm, but not too terribly warm considering that he was in bed ... but he was crying and said his belly hurt. We headed to the bathroom to see if that would help. I'll leave out the details about him tossing his cookies on the bath mat, all over me, his 1:30am bath, my 1:45am shower, and the two loads of laundry I managed to wash during the middle of the night and hang on the line this morning. I'll leave out the gory details of his apologizing while throwing up all over me and the amazing self control it took for this pregnant mama not to just sit on the floor and cry at the hopelessness of the situation. I pulled myself together and at some point, we both crawled into bed and slept until this morning.

This morning ... yup, the time of day when my first task isn't running to the bathroom ... it's changing my daughter's sheets. The strong scent of urine is awful and this is a job I do not look forward to. Yes, she helps (she's 6) but the fact is that it's my job as the mom to get these sheets washed and dried. Oxyclean helps, but those few moments before I close the lid on the washing machine are deadly ... yuck ... then I spray down her mattress protector and hold my breath ... then finally, it's time for me to hop in the shower. You moms know what this is like - it was once a time you had all to yourself, you could shave your legs, deep condition your hair, stand under the water and dream about a beach vacation, waterfalls, or plot out your next novel - and now that you have children, you are thankful if you get out with clean hair, one shaved armpit, and you've hit all the important parts with the bar soap. Gone are the days of luxurious exfoliation, perfumed body washes, and smooth legs ... not that you would change any of this. After all, in a few years, the children won't need you at all. You will no longer hear "mommy mommy mommy" while you are trying to tune out the world for just 60 seconds ...

Well, this morning my shower was a bit cold because of all the laundry and other cleaning that had been done, but I still took a moment to close my eyes. I thanked God for the chaos I call life and then I tried to envision life without my children, our stinky cows, my handsome husband ... there's no way I would change a single thing - not even last nights events and the lack of sleep. Then it hit me - in 18 weeks we will have an infant in the house. My eyes sprung open wide with that realization and the voice in my head screamed "what are you thinking?". I had to chuckle ... during the day, our two children are potty trained, they make their own beds, they can crawl in and out of the truck, and they can ride their bikes without training wheels. They carry groceries, feed themselves, say please and thank you, and they can tell me how they are feeling and what they are thinking.

I smile as I write this because I know exactly what I was thinking. I was thinking that my life began the moment I became a mother. My children taught me how to love, laugh, and embrace life. I am not going into this blindly. I know all about sleep deprivation, dirty diapers, and I am all too familiar with the smell of souring milk in my hair. I know about the noise, the toys, and the chaos that comes with a house filled with children. I am aware that my house is not spotless, that there are dirty socks shoved under my sons bed, and the laundry is never done. None of this matters and it won't be mentioned at my funeral. What matters is that God has blessed me with the opportunity to love more deeply than I ever thought possible, to put others before myself, and he has filled my life and our home with a kind of joy I didn't understand until I had stretch marks. It seems to me there is a sort of wisdom that comes with those stripes...and I would trade the wisdom, the stripes, or my children for all the money in the world. Now I say to the voice in my head: THAT IS WHAT I WAS THINKING - BRING IT ON!

As if that weren't enough, I am attempting some new parenting strategies that I'll be sharing in future posts. Stay tuned to hear about cloth diapers, cloth wipes, and green parenting. I am going to rock this farm girl mommy thing!

Ta ta til then -

May your paths be abundantly filled with lemons, sugar, sunshine, and plenty of moments that take your breath away!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Book Review: Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away by Trisha Slay

Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away
by Trisha Slay
Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

I don’t remember watching Star Wars and I was born two months after it was released in theaters, but novelist Trisha Slay made me feel as if I had been there in the theater taking in each frame of the film. Slay’s novel, Not So Long Ago, Not So FarAway was so well written that I imagined myself a troubled teenager, coming of age and being transformed during the summer months of 1977.

Erika (the lead character) is the reason I loved this book, because she is every teenager girl; awkward in her own skin and unsure of herself. Not only does she struggle for acceptance, but struggles will self-doubt. Erika doesn’t see what the rest of the town sees which makes her character so real.

Erika had been the chunky side-kick to her teen beauty queen best friend, Cassie. When Cassandra disappeared, all the attention moved to Erika who had been plotting Cassie’s escape. Each question made Erika question whether she had really known Cassie at all. Erika even had her own doubts; she wondered if Cassie had arrived safely in Hollywood to live out her dream.

The summer was dragging on for Erika, with no word from Cassie. Erika would write letters to her friend. Letters she never intended to mail, but letters that helped her feel less alone, less like an outcast. Erika felt totally misunderstood and completely alone – that was until Star Wars was released. The movie and her summer cleaning at the Bixby Theater made all the difference in the world to Erika.

Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away is filled with interesting characters and even though the majority of the novel takes place at the Bixby Theater, Slay paints a lovely picture of the world surrounding Erika. The Bixby may be crumbling, but it is a lovely historical theater filled with plenty of rooms to explore.

Sonny and Jeff are fascinating characters, but the most intriguing character in the book may be the missing teenage beauty queen Cassie. I couldn’t decide if I loved her, felt sorry for her, or hated the way she seemed to leave her supposed best friend in her shadow.
Even though the story took place before I was born, you get the idea that parts of it happen every day in schools across the nation.

If you want to find out how Erika’s life was transformed, you’ll have to read Not So Long Ago, Not So Far Away for yourself. I’m hoping Slay is working on a sequel because I can’t get enough of these characters and I want to know what happens next. I would definitely recommend this book to others; I give it two thumbs up!

To order your copy (or pre-order if you are reading this before May 21st), click here:

Thank you to Trisha Slay who I have had the pleasure of working with. I love the opportunity to work with fabulous authors and it's so exciting to read great novels before they are released for the world to fall in love with. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

We are preparing for Mother's Day - making sure the menu is complete, making cards, planning the cleaning frenzy, and arranging our schedule for Sunday. Even though I am a mother, I don't feel this day is about me. My children may tell a different tale, but as long as my mother, mother in law, and other strong women in my life are roaming this earth with me, this is a day to celebrate them. That's how I see it at least. I had to explain that to my husband because he couldn't understand why I would want to host mother's day at our house. His thought was "why do you want to do all that work on a day meant to celebrate you?" so I had to explain it to him. Needless to say, I have been blessed through the years with many strong female role-models and since some of them are still with us, it is my turn to thank them for being amazing!

This is a great time to put a name and a face with each life lesson. I'll share a few of my own blessings and then provide you with a blank list and you can 'fill in the blank' for the women in your life.

Joan Stutzman taught me the value of eating well (and spending $ at the grocery store instead of the Dr. office)

Patricia Casavant taught me to take a deep breath and stay calm in even the most trying situations

Arlene Prust, Lu Meilke, Joanie Matz, and Lynn Hanson taught me to love music (and to play it with my heart and not just my fingers and voice)

Tracy Froelich and Jan LeClair taught me to enjoy little children and babies


As I think of each of these women and the lessons we learned together, it brings me great joy. I am not just me and I am not in this alone. I am strong because these women have given me a bit of themselves and I carry it with me - ready to pass it on at any time. Thank you to all of you mothers out there, and all of you non-mothers who have done more mothering than most. You know who you are and you have made the world a better place because of your love!

________________________________ taught me about eating well and taking care of myself

________________________________ taught me about loving and friendship

________________________________ taught me about patience and kindness

________________________________ taught me about laughter and fun

Hopefully you'll fill in your own stories to go with each of these and maybe you'll even write it down for your children to enjoy.

May your paths be abundantly filled with lemons, sugar, sunshine, and more amazing people than you can count!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Be The Best YOU!

It's a gorgeous day here - the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and it was warm enough to leave my sweater at home. It's certainly not the weather that put me in a bit of a funk this morning ... and I'm not sure if that's the best way to describe my emotions anyway ... let me explain:

I've been the super busy burning the candle at both ends person. The one who feels under appreciated and over-worked as well as the one with that voice inside screaming "what about what I want? Does NOBODY care what I want?" When I was living that life, I thought I was doing a good job being mindful of others. I would talk about 'perception is everything' and I thought I was being careful of my tone, my body language, and choosing my words carefully. You get the picture. I felt like I was walking on a tightrope that was a bit frayed on one end - I knew eventually the darn thing was going to give and I was going to plummet toward the ground. I didn't think I would die ... I was counting on my friends, family, and faith to form a safety net to help me back up. The question is: Why would I want to get back onto the same tightrope?

That was a bunch of faulty logic and misdirected talent, but that's another day.

Today, a friend told me a story and I can imagine it's exactly the way others viewed me in my previous life. I want you to listen as I describe the person I never intended to be. Keep in mind, I appreciate reflecting on  these things so I don't become that person on the tightrope again. I want to be the best me as I'm sure you want to be the best you. Please take this information and make sure you are taking care of YOU so that you can BE THE BEST YOU you possibly can be. Give yourself rest, healthy nourishment, fun, friends, and ask for help before you need it.

and now ... an example of how you wouldn't want others to see you...

*No one can get a word in edge-wise
*He/She doesn't listen and talks over people
*He/She complains that others aren't pitching in
*They always talk about mine mine mine or my my my instead of us and we references
*He/She makes hasty judgments and nasty comments about others
*I don't trust him/her
*His/Her delegating skills stink
*He/She gives vague directives like "someday" and "when you have time" then complains nothing gets done
*He/She rants and people tune out
*People can't wait to get away from him/her because of the negativity

It wouldn't be like me to leave you on a negative tone. So, the problem is clear in the examples above. The solution is taking proper care of yourself so you can be fabulously fabulous. And for the desired outcome:

*He/She is such a good listener - I lose track of time when I am with them
*When he/she has something to say it is usually a question or idea and not an insult or problem
*He/She lifts people up and makes them see the best in themselves
*They talk about we and ours instead of mine mine mine
*He/She is slow to judge and couldn't say a bad word about anyone
*I know my secrets are safe with him/her
*I don't mind pitching in because he/she gives great instructions and is approachable if I have questions
*People seem so engaged when he/she is speaking
*His/Her date calendar is always booked, people just crave time with him/her

Ah yes - sometimes knowing where we don't want to be can help us get where we want to go.

On that note - I'm going outside to play! (barefeet in the grass, because that's how I roll)

"May your paths be abundantly filled with lemons, sugar, sunshine, and a full date calendar with people who find you approachable!"