Still running for the cheese (or why this blog still exists)

As my regular readers can tell, this has been a dry year for me. Just look at the number of posts this year vs. 2008! Awhile back, I had considered either shutting down the Maze, or starting a new blog that would more accurately reflect where I am in life now. Truth be told, sometimes I come here, look around, and feel distinctly hypocrytical about the things I want to write. I'm sure I'm not the only one to ever be in that kind of place.
As the time in between posts has grown longer, I came to realize something. Without the past years' material, where I am now makes very little sense. What good is the destination without the journey? As Christians, so much of the best stuff that happens to us is in the times God is molding us to His image. To throw away the evidence of that process would somehow cheapen the result, I think.
So, here we are, dear friends. I think my little mousie may just have rounded a corner finally. Some things will change around here to reflect the changes in my heart. And you know what? That's ok. As much as I typically rage against anything changed in my life, I'm learning to accept the God-given ones. My prayer is that some of you may be encouraged by what you read here. Hey, you may even be challenged. And of course, if you know me, then you know you always stand a good chance of being offended too. Not intentionally, to be sure! Just know that what you find as you wander this Maze with me may surprise you as much as it does me.

All that to say this:

Welcome to

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A New Direction

I recently started a new blog, and I've decided to park this one in neutral indefinitely. So much has changed in my heart in the last year that it felt right to me to make a fresh bloggy start. Come visit me over at Double Yellow! Let's take a new direction together!

Til next squeak,

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Irene, bring it on!

Here in CT, we are preparing as best we can for the oncoming hurricane Irene. We've got our bottled water, candles, and basic supplies. We've cranked down the temp in our fridge and freezer. We're currently making a hot dinner, and planning 2 other meals made tonight that will be good cold in the next day or so.
For all my readers and friends in the path of the storm, we're praying for your safety as well as our own.

Til next squeak,

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Well, I'm stuck. My brain feels like goo most days, and although I participate (or at least lurk amongst) many fantastic intellectual conversations online (mostly Facebook), the idea of blogging about, well, anything beyond the random family update confounds me. Maybe it's the summer heat (91 today in Connecticut). Maybe it's still adjusting to life with 3 kids. Or maybe I'm just too dumb to continue acting as though I am not. *shrugs*
I'm kicking around the idea of starting a new blog. Not abandoning this one per se. Just a change of pace. I often wonder if anyone still comes here and reads this blog. Now that I have either been banned from or simply left 99% of the message boards I once frequented, I doubt word gets out about what few new posts I make anymore. I tell myself I'm ok with that. I'm in a new phase of life. Perhaps this is God calling me to more "IRL" friendships? That is admittedly a terrifying prospect.
Since April of this year, I've felt as though I've lost my moorings. I've never once felt as though I fit in anywhere, and much like my 4th and 3rd grade aged sons, that hurts my feelings. I think that deep down, everyone wants to belong. Even those who stridently claim "I'm confident in who I am and I don't need anyone!". I just can't believe I'm 30 years old and still haven't found my way.
So, yeah. If you're reading this, thank you. We'll see where this new path takes us, yes?

Til next squeak,

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Heart and soul.

A week and a half ago, our lives changed forever. My husband, my heart and soul, was hospitalized for 4 days. He was diagnosed tentatively with cardiomyopathy, and congestive heart failure. Prayerfully, we will find out more when he has an angiogram which will be scheduled at his cardiologist appointment later this month.
While I believe with everything in me that God only gives what we can handle, and that He has a plan far greater than our own, I admit I am having an incredibly difficult time facing this. I'm terrified, as is Mr. P. I'm angry, not only at myself, but at God. These last 7 years have been trying for us, both as a couple and as a family. God must think we are super strong people. Personally, I have my doubts.
It's hard to face the future, knowing nothing more about my husband's diagnosis other than it is not reversible, and that it will shorten his life span. I've always been the kind of person who needs to know, even if only vaguely, what the future brings. Not my best quality, to be sure. The thought of losing Mr. P. really spikes fear into my heart. I know he is probably sick of me constantly asking him if he's ok, and telling him how much I love him. I heard this song on the radio while running errands with the kids today. I was unable to curb the urge to call home and tell Mr. P. just that. Just to make sure he knows not only does he have my heart, but that he is my heart.
I think of the 2 friends I have who are widows, and how I've admired them so much for their strength. Staring into that possible future makes me wonder if it came to that, would I be as strong as them? Could I hold it together for our kids? And would I ever be able to forgive God? I just don't know. Fear is speaking now, even though I know fear is not of God.
This all seems so much to bear, especially for a little family who has already endured so much. So many of our friends and family have said if they can do anything for us, we need only to ask. I wish I could just ask, and have them take all of this away. I wish I could just ask, and have them make everything magically better. I know it doesn't work that way, but oh how I wish it did. I worry about what else God feels like dumping on us, what more He thinks we can handle.
My mind cannot think of an eloquent way to close this post out. It's late, and my fear and sadness are overwhelming tonight. If you think of us, please pray. Maybe God will hear you more than He hears me right now.

Til next squeak,

Friday, April 8, 2011

Food is love. Part 2

1st, I want to thank you all for your prayers and words of encouragement. These last 2 weeks have been quite stressful, and knowing friends were lifting us to the Lord made all the difference. Ladybug had her weight recheck this morning. According to both our pediatrician and all I could find online/in books, a breastfed baby of Ladybug's age should be gaining 1/2 ounce a day. Some quick math told me that she would have had to be 9 lbs. 11 oz. to be on track for weight gain. I was a complete wreck this morning, my stomach in knots. We got the boys off to school, and tried to get on with our morning. Mr. P. fed the baby some mashed up banana mixed with my milk while I got a shower. I have to admit, it was nice to take a hot shower without a screaming baby in the background. For some reason, she always gets hungry as soon as I step under the spray. We got to the doctor's office a little late (par for the course for our family) and the nurse shepherded us into one of the exam rooms. After asking us what we've been doing for her weight issues, she had us strip Ladybug down and pop her on the scale. The moment of truth had arrived. I thought I'd puke. Our sweet baby girl weighed in at... ...9 lbs. 12 oz.!! Mr. P. and I fist bumped. The doctor said to just keep up with what we've been doing for her. And with that oh so sage advice, we left. I feel as though a literal weight has been lifted from my shoulders. It's been many years since I've been that scared and stressed out. I'd forgotten just how horrible it is to feel like the fate of your family rests on 1 little choice that could go wrong in a heartbeat. I'm glad that's over with. Again, thank you so much for your love and support. Ladybug thanks you too. Til next squeak,

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Food is love.

The last 2 weeks have been quite trying around here, and after much thought and prayer, I've decided to share about how we've been doing. On 3/25, we had Ladybug's 4 month well-baby visit. Although I had thought she was healthy and otherwise fine, she was labeled as failure to thrive (FTT). She had gained only 10 ounces in 2 months' time. According to him, that was less than half of what she should've gained. The doctor ordered us to give her 2 ounces of formula at least twice a day in addition to nursing on demand. Upon hearing that dreaded "F" word (formula), I became pretty hysterical. I can admit that I didn't hear much of what the doc had to say after that. Thank God I had Mr. P. with me! Honestly, I praise God for him all the more during these last 2 weeks. He has had patience with me while I burst into tears every few hours, while I questioned every choice we made, while he literally held me up at Walmart when we bought bottles. I think it's safe to say that Mr. P. has had his fill of my tears for quite awhile. We spent that first weekend after Ladybug's diagnosis in a real panic. She utterly refused formula, no matter what we tried. A variety of bottles, droppers, syringes, cups and other infant feeding devices, and several brands of formula all ended with the same results. Her little face covered with formula she'd spat out, and tears of failure and self-loathing streaming down mine. The week began and we called our pediatrician's office. A return call from the nurse made things seem just that much more dire. We were slowly starving our daughter to death, and if we did not get formula or at the very least, rice cereal, into her, she would not survive. If I was freaking out before, now I was essentially not able to function for the fear coursing through me. Mr. P. and I decided to try following the advice of our mothers and some friends. We started Ladybug on solids. Some she likes (yogurt, sweet potatoes) and some she doesn't (carrots, rice cereal). While I am not terribly thrilled, our sons are beyond excited. They have each had a few turns feeding their baby sister. We have also stepped up the nursings. Currently, I offer the breast every 45 minutes. Some days, we nurse 18 times! My sheer panic has died down a bit, but I'm still struggling. It's so hard not to hate yourself for failing to provide all your baby needs. There is so much contradictory information out there about babies with FTT or slow gainers. I'm fearful of her weight check this Friday. If she hasn't gained enough to satisfy the doctor, what is the next step? Hospital admission? A DCF referral? No one will tell me, which of course makes the fear worse. Many have advised us to find a new pediatrician. It's something I am considering, but knowing me, I won't go through with it. Mr. P.'s family has used this practice for 3 generations now. I think my in-laws would utterly flip out if we switched. Our sons receive great care there. It's just hard in the first 2 years, especially if you breastfeed or are picky about vaccinations. The question becomes one of if we can live with going against our gut instincts? I'm not sure what the answer is. If you think of us this Friday, please pray for our family. Fear is not of God, and living in fear like this leaves me feeling distant from Him. Hopefully (prayerfully), this weight check will relieve this near constant panic over my daughter's well-being. His will be done. Til next squeak,

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Romans 12:15

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

It's late tonight, so please forgive me if this post seems all to brief or somewhat jumbled.

My heart is heavy tonight with a burden not my own. I've been blessed enough to never have lost someone dear to me. Yet God has called me to live out the above verse this night.
Please join me in prayer if you read this. Let us lift up those who mourn to the One who can mend broken hearts and lives. And if you are like me, having never experienced the horrid fullness of grief yourself, praise Him as well.
I can't help but think of my dear friends who have lost children, nieces and nephews, parents or spouses. My loving family who grieve for lost fathers, grandmothers, mothers and friends. And so very many other people around the world in the same boat.
Love should carry us always, and the love God showers on us can be so easily turned outward for something as simple as prayer.
Again, please join me. And if you, Dear Reader, are one of those who mourn, know we mourn with you as well and are praying for your heart.

Til next squeak,

Monday, March 21, 2011

Car seat cacophony

Sigh. It seems every time I get back in a mellow groove, free of Mommy Wars drama, there's an updated news release or headline that fans the flames.
Today, the AAP released it's newly updated carseat recommendations for American kids and parents. With it has come an uproar in self-styled educational advocates, out to show just how ignorant the masses truly are.
Lately, that has become my biggest pet peeve. Snark, superiority, and general nastiness all wrapped up in the guise of "educating other moms, so if even 1- just one!- changes their ways, it was all worth it". Sigh. Anyone else tired of it all?
Perhaps it's because there is not a single issue or hot topic that gets me in a tizzy. I can't honestly think of anything that I'm passionate least to the degree most of my friends are. Or maybe it's because I find that way too many of my recent parenting choices have been made out of fear- fear of being torn up and lit on fire by my fellow moms, fear of being criticized on the streets, and fear of forever screwing up my kids. Whatever it is, "armchair advocacy" is getting my goat in a major way.
It never occurred to me how bad it was until I realized I'm afraid of bringing Ladybug in public. Because of the zeal I've seen in moms correcting others, I worry someone will have something to say to me about any number of things, but her car seat is my prime concern. I've seen mothers "educate" strangers online, on blogs, and Facebook pictures. I know I do not have it in me to show grace, "be educated", and not burst into tears if I am confronted. Let's face it, those sort of things are never done in love. There's always at least a small air of superiority when it comes to parenting issues.
So there's no real point to this post, I guess. Just expressing my frustration with extreme motherhood these days. What do you think? Can advocacy go to far, or is it worth alienation in the name of education?

Til next squeak,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Product review: Glisten & Glow


I am not being compensated in any way for the product reviews on the Maze. I have found over the last 3 years that I prefer to buy from home based businesses whenever possible. Often times the products, customer service, and attention to detail are far better than anything you could find in a major retailer. I love helping promote home based businesses because, let's face it, advertising is hard to come by, and word of mouth can bolster them quite effectively.

Recently I had some Paypal burning a hole in my pocket, and I decided to treat myself to some body butter and shampoo/conditioner from Glisten & Glow. Jill is an old friend, and I think I'm not biased at all in saying that her line of products is definitely quality stuff.
I ordered myself some of the body butter, as well as a 2 oz. bottle of both shampoo and conditioner. Honestly, the hardest part was choosing a fragrance! There is literally something for everyone. I ended up going with the Pumpkin Pie Paradise for my body butter, and Coconut Lime Verbena for my hair care products.
I have been totally lovin' the body butter. It smells just like my favorite candle! I'm a bit of a lotion junky, and the body butter exceeded my expectations. It's such a light formula, and not greasy at all. Just melts into your skin. The fragrance is lingers for quite awhile, which is something I just love.
My shampoo and conditioner were a pleasant surprise. Salon quality for a fraction of the price. I have long been searching for a conditioner that would give me good moisturization without leaving my hair flatter or worse, oily. Jill's conditioner is just that! As a plus, the scent I chose is so clean and bright. Only draw back? Singing this song in the shower each time I wash my hair.
Since shipping was a non-issue for me (we live in the same town), I thought I'd ask Jill how she handles out of state orders. Here's what she had to say!

Our shipping policy for out of state orders is flat rate priority boxes that range from 6.00-15.00 depends on the size! Once the order is placed the shipping is determined by how much I can fit in the box, not by weight! more often then not it's the 11.00 box for any orders over 3 pieces... you can say shipping ranges from 6-15 or more depending on size and destination!

If you're on Facebook, go check out the fan page here. I hope some of you will give Glisten & Glow a try. You won't be disappointed!

Til next squeak,

Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Meme

It's been awhile (consistent I am not) since doing one of Cat's Monday memes. So here I am, noticing it's a Monday and all, and I thought, "Hey! Let's do this thing!"

1) What two colors do you think look the best together?
This is actually harder than I thought it'd be. There's lots of colors I love and many that look great together. My 1st thought is a nice deep red with black or maybe silver. But then again, purple and blue are great as well. Hmmm. I guess as long as there's no pukey looking colors involved, they all work for me!
2) For your memoir, describe what you looked like as a teenager.
Not much different than I do now. A little less fat but definitely still hefty. No gray hairs. More zits.
3) Do you know anyone born on your half-birthday?
That would be August 31 and nope. Most of my family was born in August (mom, dad, and brother all within a week of each other, and SIL's wife is also in August I believe) but not any on that specific day.
4) Show and Tell. What comes to mind first when you see this picture? Or, tell a story if it reminds you of one. Strangely enough, it makes me think of what my apartment complex might look like in a few hundred years. Hey, I haven't had my coffee yet.

Til next squeak,

Sunday, February 27, 2011

If I had a million dollars...

My friend Kristy humored my Facebook call for blogging ideas. So, without further ado, here's what I'd do with a million cool smackers, tax free.

The first thing that comes to mind is saving for the future. I assume that, done properly, $1 million can go a long way. So, take around $250,000 for savings/investment of some sort.
I would donate 10% to the groups that helped us so much to not only get our sons back from foster care, but restore our marriage as well. So, $100,000 to Casey Family Services and Klingberg Family Centers, split down the middle.
I'd probably buy a Ford Flex. With all the bells and whistles I want, we're looking at $56k. Worth every cent. :)
I know there's more I'd do- buy a house, help out friends and family, take a vacation. I have a feeling we'd buy my mom a trailer, maybe Mr. P.'s mom as well. It'd be fun to come back to this after talking with the husbeast to see what he'd do.
It's nice to dream, that's for sure. What would you do with that kinda cash?

Til next squeak,

Through a mother's eyes.

If you're a mom and part of Facebook or any online forum for mothers, then you've probably at least heard in passing about the controversy surrounding pictures of nursing infants.

"Oh the obscenity!!"

I took this picture today while nursing Ladybug, who will be 4 months old this week.
As I learned before her birth with all my internet research, NIP (nursing in public) is quite controversial. Both in real life and online, NIP brings with it a whole host of issues. Cover or not? Nurse at the table when out to eat or hide away in the bathroom? Leave the house at all? Is it legally protected or subject to public indecency laws? Mom's right to breastfeed or baby's right to eat or the public's right to not be grossed out? That's just the tip of the iceberg!
There are Facebook groups, blog posts and carnivals, news articles, and forum debates about breastfeeding. The arguments go back and forth, and honestly? I don't think any one person is more right or more wrong than any other when it comes to all the different opinions on nursing mothers. I truly believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion, regardless of whether or not I agree with them.
When I see other moms nursing, yes, it makes me uncomfortable. I am embarrassed to admit it, but there it is. I personally choose to cover up when NIP because, as you can see, my boob is 3x the size of my daughter's head. For me, covering makes me less afraid of a confrontation with a belligerent or ignorant stranger.
Yet when I'm at home, I look down at my baby and see nothing but the love I have for her. I am often overwhelmed by how much stronger I am as a woman and mother because I am nursing her. We have overcome much on our journey. From a past riddled with sexual abuse and body image issues, to flat nipples and painfully broken/bloody skin, to oversupply and thrush, to paving the way as our family's first breastfeeder in this generation, Ladybug and I have shown ourselves to be strong women.
I guess I can now understand why women want to post pictures of themselves breastfeeding their kids. After all, in a formula saturated society (no pun intended), breastfeeding for any length of time is something to be proud of, and something to celebrate. It's not about making other moms feel bad. It's not about getting our jollies by showing off the goods. And it's not even about promoting breastfeeding. It's about seeing the world through a mother's eyes. It's about the love we have for our children and the pride we have in ourselves.

Til next squeak,

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Confessions of a confused parent, Part 2

Now that Ladybug is nearly 4 months old, I thought I'd revisit my feelingsCheck Spelling on different parenting techniques.

I have become "that mom". You know her. The one you never really wanted to be but somehow find yourself walking in her shoes. The one you'd whisper about at the grocery store.
"See that chick over there? Look at her kids! I'd never raise my kids like that!"
Yup, I am her. Much to my chagrin.
In my previous post about my parenting choices, I really waffled about how things would be once our baby daughter arrived. I'm still waffling. Mommy guilt is a real...well, you know. It makes us doubt ourselves as not only mothers, but as women and wives as well. We do it to ourselves. We second guess, and we wallow in the guilt of not being whoever it is that we think we ought to be.
One day, I want to be able to say that I own my choices and am happy with them. I don't know when that day will come, if it ever does. I want to be able to hold my head up with pride and say, "Look at my kids. They're good kids. I've done well in raising them, and yes, done well by them with xyz parenting."
The unfortunate reality is that although there's not much I would currently change about how I parent my kids, I don't do any of it with purpose. I think we all know a few moms (maybe more than just a few) who follow their parenting techniques because they have researched out their options and can quote studies and statistics about why they parent the way they do. Not me. More than ever, I've just been trying to get by. Having a new baby in the house has changed everything. Not just my identity as a mom, but how I treat Mr. P. and how I parent our sons as well. I'm a different, though not nessecarily better, mother now.
Perhaps taking the time to study and look into all the various schools of thought will help me to be a more purposeful mom. Or maybe it will serve to only confuse me more. Either way, I think my kids will turn out all right, despite their confused mother.

Til next squeak,

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Just a quick update!

First, happy New Year!
I realize it's been awhile since I've updated this blog. Life with 3 kids has been challenging, to say the least! I don't think Miss Ladybug is going to give me much time to type (she's sleeping in our BabyHawk and is waking up) so here's a quick recap of the last few months.

Our sweet baby girl was born November 4, 2010 via scheduled c-section. Her birth was perfect!

My recovery was pretty easy, and breastfeeding got off to a great start. Once we got home, things got a bit crazy. The boys have adjusted well to having a baby sister.

Now, we are finally getting in a groove. Life is good, and God is even better! It's my goal to come post about our breastfeeding journey at some point next week. TTFN!

Til next squeak,

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