A Mother Far from Home

on becoming supermom


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Creating a memory book of quotes (+ a Typo giveaway!)

A few years ago…okay….almost ten years ago now, I lived a grand adventure with 4 best friends in Italy. We lived and taught English in Rome. One of them had a genius idea to keep a quotes book where we’d write down funny stuff that was said. To this day when I read it I laugh so hard I almost cry. It’s the type of stuff that would be weird, gross and completely unfunny if you weren’t actually there. Even when I read it, though, sometimes I find the memory of it fuzzy. As in, I know we said it and I see it written down – some in my own handwriting – but the memory is not clear as day. I know that if it was’t written down it would be filed away somewhere in the recesses of our big brains never to be laughed over again.

With my babies now becoming toddlers then becoming kids then becoming preteens (tranquilize me, please) and so on and so on, we decided we wanted to keep a journal of sorts, to write down all the funny and sweet quotes and memories that were sure to happen. Like the other day, when we gave my daughter her first lollipop, she called it a “poppilop.” It was so cute we thought we would die. We talked about it days later…. I know….we are in love.

Some pros for journal keeping. Continue reading

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What I Learned Hosting a Progressive Dinner with 20 Kids

A Mother Far from Home

To say I hosted 50 people at our house for a Christmas Progressive Dinner would be true. Saying that almost 20 of them were small humans just makes it crazy. Particularly when our current house is a modest 3 bedroom (of which guests don’t normally congregate to eat) with a small front and back yard.

It was a good ole time, though and here’s what I learned.

1) We needn’t be so worried about age appropriate toys. After about 20 minutes I looked in my daughter’s (20 months) room and saw a lot of girls having a grand time. One girl grabbed my arm, opened the closet and asked if I could take down the dress up clothes so they could play in them. Cute. But, the thing is, those weren’t dress up clothes. They were her real clothes. So, either my daughter’s clothes are fancier than normal or they are just weird. I may need outside help with this. They played in her crib, with her blankets, read her books, and lined up her stuffed animals. They were up to about 6 or 7 years old, but did the fact that my daughter’s stuff was geared towards babies under 2 matter? No. It made me realize that I can just get toys I think they’ll like and keep them around for various stages. Blocks may be for stacking at one age and for building obstacles at another. Continue reading


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What I learned getting a urine sample from an 18 month old

Here I am again, talking about things medically related. This winter we had quite a few visits to the doctor. But, this was a special episode. My – then – 18 month old baby girl had us convinced she had a UTI. She was acting all weird and she’d say peepee and then smack her diaper and scrunch her face as though in pain. This went on for a day or so until I, bright mother that I am, put two and two together. So, instead of simply heading to the doctor and waiting for him to tell me “it’s viral” and send me home, I decided I’d get a urine sample so he could do the test right there. We thought it could possibly save us from having to do the other UTI test that will go unnamed as it has given us horrible memories (more on that here). All I have to say is this. Wow, what a morning.

What I learned trying to get a urine sample from an 18 month old.

1) Kids are flippin’ stubborn. My mama always said, “I can’t wait until you have a daughter, I bet she’ll turn out just like you.” I, of course, took that statement to be a compliment. Now, I understand. It was neither a compliment nor an insult. It was simply a warning. My little girl has staying power. Did it matter that I’d given her two or three big sippy cups full of water, milk and juice? No. She was flat sure not going to pee just because I wanted her to. She was naked, on my lap, watching football. Wouldn’t you think she’d be distracted enough to pee? No. She probably focused specifically on not peeing, just because I wanted her to so bad. Continue reading


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What I Learned when my Baby Ruined my Bedding

For some reason the adult bed in the house is our hangout. Maybe because it’s comfy and my daughter likes to stand up and fall down. Maybe because I like to lay somewhere soft now and again. Maybe because I lay them on it before a shower or bath. That is when it happened. I like to put on my bathing suit and take both of them into the shower. In my mind, it helps prevent fear of water and gives them a little fun. I had the toddler and baby naked and ready to get into the shower.  I walk away for five seconds leaving the baby on the bed and – you guessed it – rear escape of recently digested dinner. All. Over. The. Bedspread. Okay, I got it 50% off at an end of the year sale. But it was thick, pretty, and not dry cleanable. I learned a few things after the not-so-disastrous-but-highly-annoying-event.

1) Many of the things we get annoyed at our children for are our own faults. Baby Boy had to go to the bathroom. That isn’t his fault and actually it’s a good thing. I’m glad his system is-a-workin’. The fact that he seriously stained the bedspread is my own fault because I – the adult here – left him there. We get irritated at toddlers for going through our purses, yet we leave them within their reach. We get annoyed at repetitive disruptive behaviors, but we don’t bother correcting or disciplining those behaviors. I heard it said once that most behaviors our children have are our own faults. We are in charge of the correction, discipline, praise, punishment and rewards in the house.

2) White gets a bad rap, but it is actually much more practical. People say you can’t have white upholstery or fabrics in a house with children, but you know what? You can bleach white. You know what you can’t bleach? Teal and ivory suede.

3) It is actually always better to be safe than sorry. Sure, my comforter doesn’t really matter and I can always get a new one. Or, even if I don’t, oh well. The point is that kids are unpredictable, fast and delicate. Too close to the edge of the bed and they could fall. Don’t lock the door and they can go out the front door. I’m not suggesting being paranoid (like I am) but I always tend to operate on a “better safe than sorry” mentality and don’t shortcut. As I said the other day, shortcuts never end well.

4) I have lightened up since having children. Before having children something like a ruined comforter would have made me flip out. I would have been angry passionate about the whole situation and had to take a while to calm down. After I saw the damage, because I heard the disaster from a few feet away, I just laughed. He laughed, I laughed and, well, we just took that shower we were waiting for.

Life is all about the little things that become memories that become stories. Maybe I’ll find another comforter (or doona, as they call it here in Australia) 50% off here soon. And if I do, I’ll make sure it’s white.

A Mother Far from Home

PS – for more What I Learned posts go to the Archives!


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Family Bonding

Hello A Mother Far From Home readers!  My name is KariAnne and I blog over at Thistlewood Farm.

Thistlewood Farm is a turn-of-the-century farmhouse at the corner of where a cornfield meets a long winding country road.

It is our forever and ever house.

A house filled with laughter and joy.

A house where games of Monopoly never end, where you can read books in the leafy branches of a treehouse, follow a winding path to create projects galore in  a tiny art house and tell jokes that always end with “orange you glad you didn’t say banana.”  A house with turtles and fish and dogs and cats.   A house where a warm fire, a good book and a cup of hot tea are always waiting.  A house for friends and family to know they are special.

There are a lot of chapters in our story.

This is one of my very favorites.

We have a family playlist for the car.

A list of songs that are true classics.

Songs that have been played for years….the lyrics memorized long ago.

Songs that only achieve their full potential when they are sung at the top of your lungs with your head moving side to side…..complete with hand motions and an occasional “Ooo Ooo.”

In unison.

Call it family bonding.

Here’s our family-bonding playlist:

The Eye of the Tiger/Survivor

The Lion Sleeps Tonight/ Solomon Linda and the Evening Birds

Long Black Train/Josh Turner

All Star/ Smash Mouth

We Are the Champions/Queen

Classics…..each and every one.

As usual, the other day the playlist was blaring in the car…..

…..with each of us singing like an American Idol audition was just around the corner.

And somewhere between “Hey now….you’re an all star….get your game on…..go play” and “It’s the eye of the tiger…..it’s the thrill of the fight”….

My twelve-year old paused the music.

And looked at me with all of the earnestness a twelve-year-old boy can muster.

“Uhh…..mom.  I don’t really think I can sing these songs much longer.”

(followed by an extraordinary amount of throat clearing)

“It’s getting really hard to sing….you know….  (and with great effort and some more throat clearing…..he finished with….)

                                       …..you know…..with my voice getting so low and all.”

To my credit…..I said nothing.

I sat there with my hands on the steering wheel.

Staring straight ahead.

Part of me wanting to laugh.

Part of me wanting to cry.

Part of me afraid to turn a look at him in case he had grown a moustache and seven inches in the last five minutes.

He’s growing up this skateboarding, cup-cake-eating, wildlife-sanctuary-creator of mine.

So I gave the statement all of the solemn consideration it deserved…..

…..and reached over to slowly turn back on the playlist.

And as Smash Mouth started the chorus again, I turned to him and smiled,

“I think you’ll be fine……

……as long as you sing bass.”  🙂

PS  Thirty minutes later he was making a fort in the creek…..maybe his bass-singing days will just have to wait.