It's a funny thing, gratitude. When everything is going great so many of us don't think about gratitude for their lives - I know that I fall into this category. Even more telling being gracious is something that is, for the most part, is a lost art - especially around here. In recovery one of things you learn first is that becoming gracious is part of the path of recovery. Realizing that it's about more than just you. In fact most of live is about everyone else. I remember being told "You aren't unique and you aren't special" was quite a shock for me. Of course, I didn't catch on to this basic tenement of recovery - I guess I was special - it took me several years.

Learning to say "Thank You" and "Please" had completely left my concept.

I've learned though. Through the years in recovery my first thought (most of the time) was "What's in it for me?" but rather "Sometimes in life you just have to do what you have to do".

I'm saying that I'm good at all this all the time but I did have to choose to be gracious this Thanksgiving. And I promise that it wasn't easy. But I worked through it. Or at least I think I did. You would have to ask my husband to know for sure but I know that he didn't have to remind me several times.

It's progress folks, not perfection.
xoxo, sober mommy

Zhu Zhu Pets & A MindFlex Game

Oh yes, the Christmas season is in full swing. It's *only* November 20th for Pete's sake. How do I know? I present the following discussion:

Me: "What do you want for Christmas this year?"
Sydney: A Zhu Zhu Pet and a Mindflex game. Without hesitation.

Not knowing what either one was I went off (like a good 'let me get you whatever you say because I have no idea what in the world to get you' mom does) and Googled them. Just in case you haven't yet heard of either toy (which would be shocking to me seeing how they are constantly discussed around here). Here is what I found:

Zhu Zhu Pet: Fake Hamsters - they do what hamsters do, but without mom having to feed and water them or clean up after them. They also don't die after two months because, well, hamsters just do. I would show a pic but they look just like a hamster. Only bigger and with a windup on it's bottom (I guess - I have yet seen one).

MindFlex: This otherwise simple game requires to wear a headset full of sensors, measuring the user's brainwave activity, which then turns into energy. The aim of the game is to concentrate hard enough to generate energy to power a fan, which in turn causes a ball to levitate and move through a series of hoops. ( My first thought was that it was surely something that would land in the garbage after 2-3 tries but after watching a demonstration it sorta seems like a good family game.

That said, finding both or either of these toys ranks right up with there with find a four leaf clover. I *might* be able to find them but only if I spend every waking moment searching for one. One the flip side I might go to the store one day and find 50. I'm pretty sure it's the first but I'm hoping it's the second. So far I've been to Toys R Us 4 times - 4 times over my vacation I might add - and have yet to find either toy. Oh wait, last Friday they did have a Mindflex shipment but there were only 3 and those were gobbled up by the women who ran past me when the doors opened.

See if I be a nice guy next time.
I'm about ready to rip either toy out of someone's hands.
xoxo, sober mommy

My Preemie - My Fight

When I was young I thought I had my life all planned out. I'm sure it was like many of yours.

I would:
1) Go to college so I could have lots of fun.
2) Meet a nice and fabulous looking guy and fall in love.
3) Have the princess wedding of my dreams.
4) Move into a house with a white fence.
5) Decide to have my babies at 28 or 29 and have two - a boy and a girl (in that order).

However also like many my life didn't turnout as I thought that it would. Don't misunderstand I did do the items listed above but not as I had planned. When I was creating the list above I never, ever added the detour towards parenthood that my life took. I never planned on going to the doctor over and over and over again trying to find out why I couldn't have a successful pregnancy. I never planned on having to make the decision that I wanted a child rather than a pregnancy. I never planned on any of it being so painful.

Imagine my surprise, when, at 39 I found myself pregnant. I was so happy but also so aware of the potential complications. I was: old, out of shape, and most of all, I had preexisting conditions that would make it difficult to have a successful pregnancy.

I began to do research, lots and lots of research. One of the first places that I went to was to March of Dimes. I remembered March of Dimes from the past when my mother would go door to door raising money for them. When I went to the website I found a wealth of information. When I knew that Anna Grace was going to be a preemie I spent even more time there - reading about the NICU, reading about gestational ages and what could be expected and when.

In the mist of all of the encouraging information though I also read about the children who were lost. The children that couldn't be saved because they were born too early. Babies who were (and are still) loved by their parents just as much as I love mine.

The March of Dimes is on a mission - the mission to make sure that Americans know that currently we score a 'D' on the Prematurity Birth Report Card. We scored a 'D' last year as well. The rate of premature birth in America is higher than for most other developed nations.

I write today to tell you that although my experience had a happy ending it is important to remember those who's stories did not. I write today for all the babies who were lost. For all the parents who have been through hell and have, or are trying, to make through to the other side. For the parents who continue to try and create their families and are having success due to the work of the March of Dimes. For parents who go an alternate paths towards having a family.

But most of all for the babies. Those that I never met but have gotten to know.
-Maddie -Myles -Abigail -Ella -Elodie -Olivia -Addison -Gabriel
xoxo, sober mommy

November 11 - Maddie's Day

As I sit here today I'm reminded again of the first time I laid eyes on Miss Madeline Spohr. She was a preemie and I found a great deal of commonality between Heather and myself.

Time passed. I got busy and reading blogs, well, time just wasn't there.

I always remembered Heather's blog though, and when I got some of my time back I went back and read her blog. And most of all, looked at the pictures of Maddie. Her smile, her eyes that showed such life and love. I remember thinking that I wished that Anna Grace had that much love for life.

November 11th will never 'just be a day' for me again. It will be Maddie's day. It's the day that I will celebrate with my children by eating a cream puff and remembering Maddie, Mike, Heather, and Binky. And I will wish, more than a thousand wishes, that Maddie was still here.

Heather, Mike - I've never met you 'in person' but you've reminded me to slow down, stop and spend time just 'being' rather than thinking about the next thing to do. You've reminded me that pictures not only tell a story but also are memories that have the ability to not only remind but also to hope and dream. Most of all though, you've thought me that feeling empathy towards others helps *me* to heal from my own loss.

On the left you will see the Fight For Preemies button that shows that, on November 17th I will be blogging for the March Of Dimes. I will blog for Anna Grace, for Maddie, and for all the children that have been lost but also the ones that have been saved by the research of March Of Dimes. If you feel inclined, please join me in this effort.

Maddie, I will always wish that I had a chance to meet you - to see your smile - to listen to your laugh.

On each November 11th.
xoxo, sober mommy

10 Honest Things About Me

Obviously I am little late in accepting my first !MEME!

1) My baby, Anna Grace, was my only successful pregnancy. I had a few miscarriages along the way though. My other two girls, Samantha and Sydney were adopted at birth.
2) I have been sober (or trying) for almost 5 years now.
3) It took several rehab visits to make it stick and be successful. Those are really expensive as an FYI.
4) During my final stint in rehab I was also diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder. The meds I take for this along with my husband’s support saved my life…literally.
5) I would love to try and have another baby, but alas, that is not to happen.
6) As much as I complain about my job I really do like it.
7) I don’t like my boss being a clock watcher however I do I really wish I could Twitter while working (note: I am well aware this might be an oxymoron).
8) I’m scared about going to Blogher 2010. I really want to go but I’m afraid of everyone drinking (which they have every right to do) and my either feeling left out or worse yet, feeling a lot of temptation.
9) I hate to go to any type of therapist. I went for almost a year after I got sober and finally came to the realization that I simply had no more to talk about. I also hate AA – I’ve gone many, many times and always wanting a vodka tonic or a glass of chardonnay (which completely defeats the purpose).
10) Ooh, a fun one (since my others have been…blah, blah, blah – alcohol, alcohol, alcohol). When I was young I was the nanny for Charles Colson’s (yes, the hatchet man in Watergate) grandchildren and got to stay with them at their house in Florida. It was the best summer of my life.

Those are mine- how about you??
xoxo, sober mommy

Why The Show Wonder Pets Will Make You Crazy

I've come to the realization that kids television today is even more mind numbing than it was the last time I (used it as a babysitter) watched with lovingly with my child.

Oh, and as a side note, why DOESN'T Blogger let you use strikethroughs. I need them for affect Google (or is it effect? I'm still on vacation so my command of the English language is even less than normal).

Going back to the story at hand.

Since last week was the 40th anniversary of Seasame Street I thought, "What the hell Sobermommy? You've done such an AWESOME job of being the crazy-ass mother of an almost 2 year old let's have her watch a little TV?" (Actually, she was crawling on me for the 800th time that day that and was about to pull my hair out so she AND I needed a little time away from each other.) I've suspected that she's been watching TV for a while now but honestly? How much ESPN can you actually watch and retain? What is it doing does do to the brain?

Wait, I can answer that.

Apparently watching ESPN for roughly 3/4 of your waking time DOES allow you to know the statistics of every college football player alive but DOES NOT allow your brain to remember things like: clean the kitchen, do a load of laundry, or take the overflowing garbage out.

Okay, REALLY going back to the story at hand.

So, after I patted myself on the back for the totally awesome job I went to the TV to find out when Sesame Street was on. I went to PBS and searched, and searched, and searched. I knew that I'd probably have to DVR it but still, I thought I would find it.

Turns out I couldn't.

So I went to the next option. Nick Jr.

And there we found 2 year old nirvana.

The show: Wonder Pets.

Wonder Pets, while I've found to be an excellent babysitter, does have it's issues. There's a duck on it named Ming-Ming and she's got some sort of speech problem. GREAT I thought. Let's just pay all this money for speech therapy and have her listen to the stupid duck while it lisps. But, in the end, my super parenting skills won out and I decided that my sanity was more important than the potential of my daughter having a lisp.

I mean, come on, we can get rid of the lisp.

xoxo, sober mommy

I'm On Vacation....Sorta

I'm on vacation this week with hubby. Actually my vacation started on Saturday but, as usual, this is the first time I've been *ahem* allowed time enough to, without further ado I'll catch you up on what, I'm sure, will be the most rockin vacation evah! (And why yes, I am aware that the previous sentence has no sentence structure at all - apparently I've gone on vacation from that as well.)

Saturday: Went to the Georgia/Tennessee Tech game and took the baby.... As usual hubby did not wish to have his picture taken and scattered quickly once we arrived at the stadium but the baby wasn't so lucky and was *forced* to allow mommy to take pictures. (Pic to come for Wordless Wednesday)

Sunday: Toyed with going to church but in the end decided that sleeping would be much more useful. We *must* jump back on that bandwagon, and soon. The remainder of the day was spent doing.nothing which is my husband's favorite activity on vacation.

Monday: *Did*Not*Go*To*Work*!!!!! We did however go to the dermatologist to see if we could get that nasty thing cut out of his back and was, usual, told that this would take multiple appointments. As would be expected I am ...ahem...somewhat annoyed by this multiple doctor appointment need. Clue: When someone calls to say they want something CUT OUT and goes to the level of explaining that their husband works nights and needs it all done within one week - PLEASE listen and take the time to schedule the appointments to have that happen. PLEASE?

But I digress.

We also went to Lowes, only the best 'dirty' ((so named by first daughter)) store evev, and bought two new lamps and a new doorbell. Note: these items are now in the car and will most likely remain there for a while. I think I can handle the lamps but the doorbell? I'm pretty sure not. Also, do you think that it would shock hubby when he wires it up if I press the doorbell button? Anyone want to know? I sorta do.

Okay that catches you up to this point.

So, Tuesday begins and guess what?
*It's*Raining*Again* here in Georgia.

I'm glad *I* don't have to go to the dentist and the eye doctor today....
xoxo, sober mommy

Laundry and Dirty Floors

Okay, I admit it. For many, many years now I’ve had someone come in and clean the house. I hate all of it. And don’t even get me started with moping the floors. I’ve never understood how they get so dirty with people who are walking around in their a) bear feet or b) socks. I mean seriously, shouldn’t the socks *at least* pick up some of the dirt?

Apparently not.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been cleaning the house myself. I would like to say that I am proud of the job that I’ve done but…..not so much. I clean like a mad woman for hours on Friday night (yeah – I know how to have a rocking time!) and by Monday….

Somehow though I guess through all the cleaning I’ve been neglecting the laundry. I can’t see how. I do a load a night. Where are ALL these clothes coming from?

Monday I started my stealth mission on finding out. It didn’t take long. In fact, it only took about 20 minutes.

Did you know that it’s possible for girls to wear upwards of 2-3 outfits a day? And do it somewhat legitimately. Here’s how:

1) Outfit 1: Pajamas
2) Outfit 2: School Clothes
3) Outfit 3: Gym Clothes (I thought briefly of saying use them again but honestly, they stink)
Now add in the following:
1) Fresh Towel
2) 2 Fresh Washcloths (One for the AM shower and one for washing face when you come home from school. Again, I thought about saying use them again but with the amount of money that’s been spent on trying to get the face sans pimples, well, just use another washcloth.)

Times two.

The baby is a whole other issue. She *has* to be changed multiple times a day due to her current desire to use a spoon. Man, I had forgotten that age. This sucks.

My husband and I? Work clothes, pajamas, towels.

Did you know that Kate Gosselin had a woman come in and do her laundry?
I didn’t but when I found this out this week I thought – THAT is what I want!
xoxo, sober mommy

When Reality & Insanity Converge

Definition of Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and hoping to get a different result.

Let’s be honest – we’ve all been there. Whether it’s thinking that “if I try just a little bit harder my relationship will work out” or “if I just look past this elephant in the room everything will be magically okay” we’ve all done it.

Or at least I have.
But maybe it’s just me.

See that definition above? That’s the true price of insanity. It never lets us see things for the way that they really are – they mar our minds into this false sense of thinking that we have control over the situation at hand.

Even when we don’t.

When reality and insanity converge it’s like a thunderstorm. You think it’s going to rain but then it storms and sometimes you have to wait it out. And that waiting is painful. Sometimes that reality is so unpalatable that while the storm is raging and you are waiting it out you parse the issue into microscopic pieces trying to control ‘just one piece’.

But we never really do.
xoxo, sober mommy