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Thursday, June 30, 2011


I’ve been working nonstop for the past few weeks—between 12-hour nursing sessions and attempts to exercise that are foiled by wildfire-smoke-filled air—and I was clicking between my four email accounts today with my left pinky because Little M wouldn’t nap unless he was on the boob. Surprise surprise. And Wimbledon was on, so I couldn’t veg in front of Dr. Phil (I know, I know, but it’s like watching a train wreck. I like to turn it on and cringe when there’s absolutely nothing else to do). And I only have four TV channels since they took away my Bravo (all you people who don’t have cable, you know what I mean. ANNOYING!)

So anyway. I was clicking around in my email, and came across I found the website because an adorable onesie caught my eye in the email, so I clicked onto SoRad’s website, then I noticed that there was a blog post about marketing, so I clicked on that, and I found this girl’s website.

I started reading her blog. And I came across this post.

And I started thinking, “Who is this girl?” This post. Is. Me. Exactly. I think April Bowles-Olin is my doppelganger.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I've been slacking on the insightful blog posts this week. Mainly because I've been busy, but I've also been spending time with my happy baby. Little M loves to laugh. He laughs at the dog, he laughs when you surprise him, and he laughs the hardest when we tickle him. Check it out:

Check out other Wordless Wednesday posts at Hobo Mama and I Thought I Knew Mama!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Baby T loves his brother. Or, as he often says, "I love my Mason brother." As you can see.

Monday, June 20, 2011


As Baby T gets older, I find myself talking more. Sometimes it’s more like barking. I try not to tell him not to do something unless it’s unhealthy (dangerous), immoral, or illegal. But lately it seems like everything he does is at the top of the stairs, precariously close to the edge of the pool, or involves a sharp object and his mouth.

He’s pretty good at reading my verbal and nonverbal cues. He knows I mean it when I yell to stop before he runs into the street or falls with a pencil in his mouth. Last night when Big T fell asleep on the couch and Bay T had a devilish look in his eyes and said, “I wake up daddy,” his eyes got big and he took me seriously when I explained how waking someone up while playing is much different than waking someone up for real. But I’m afraid the more I talk, the less he’ll listen. 

Today, while getting out of the car on a busy street, I parked little M’s car seat on the sidewalk and asked Baby T to watch Little M (AKA stand on the sidewalk). Thirty seconds later, Baby T was at my side by the car. This time, it was my turn to listen. 

“I not watchin’ Mason, mommy.”

Or, after his birthday party, when several of the adults were trying to kill all the flies that had come in with the guests (I know—what kind of company do I keep, right?) he whacks our dog with his hand and says,

 “I kill Sully, mommy.”

He is talking up a storm these days, and the more he talks, the more I listen.

This post is part of Capital Mom's Monday Moments series. Check out her blog at

Friday, June 17, 2011


I'm a little late in posting my Inspiration Thursday post, but who's keeping track?

While researching children's illustrators last week, I came across Crystal Driedger. She's a mom to a toddler who is Baby T's age, as well as an artist. While I was checking out her website, I was struck by her amazing paintings that represent different aspects of motherhood:

This one is called "Sharing Sleep." I can certainly relate, since Little M is all about cosleeping these days.

"Becoming Mother." Need I say more?

"Fed With Love"

"Wearing Baby"

When I came across these, it was almost like looking at a snippet of my own life in pictures. I contacted Crystal to ask about her illustration, her life as a mom, and her inspiration.

This is what she said:

"Mostly, I'm a stay-at-home mom these days. I find time here and there, in between naps, to fit in work as an illustrator, but it's not my focus, and I no longer consider myself a working mom. I have no regrets for this hiatus from my full-time working woman status. I still get to sit down at my easel, at least once a week, and draw or paint. Making time for myself, or even for a client, to create, is therapeutic, calming and wonderful.

It's been a wonderful change of pace and a wonderful change of expectations. Before I became a mother, I fully expected to be able to continue almost as vigorously in my career, regardless of who was crawling around my feet, but becoming a mother has opened my eyes to what my true priorities are. I don't mind being a penny pincher and I'm creative in finding ways to make one salary work with our entire family. I realize that I am truly blessed that my husband makes enough to support us and we are grateful every day for his hard work. My 2 year old and I have been enjoying life, exploring our world together and learning with each other. I'm happy when I get work, because I'm creating, but I'm equally happy when the work is handed in and the deadline has passed because the extra stress makes me a less patient mother.

I would highly recommend, if you are seriously considering working from home, a job like illustration. It's going to take a while to get trained in techniques if you're not already proficient in the software or with the different illustration mediums (acrylic paint, for example), but once you get over that hump, if working and staying at home are a priority, you can make it work. On a serious deadline, I could put in almost 25 hours of work a week, without outside help from a care provider, and make enough money to pay for extra things here and there. I'm not sure being a freelance illustrator is something that a single-parent should consider, because it has no stability, especially when you're first fishing for jobs, but it'd be a great place to start if you have another income to lean on. A graphic designer has more potential for a stable income,  there is more need for design work in the current market (think logos, magazines, fliers, business cards, etc), and you can always work your illustrations into any design work that you do. Going to school for this type of work is even more essential than if you want to become an illustrator.

I'm not a superstar illustrator at the moment and that moment will have to wait until my kids go to school, because right now, I'm in love with being a mom and my day-to-day activities with my son keep me as busy as I need to be. Life is great!"

Can you tell I dig this chick?

It's not just because of her bold, colorful style. It's because she recognizes her passions as well as her priorities. She is an artist at heart, and she recognizes how creating art is good for her soul. Yet she is even more inspired by motherhood and is a devoted mom. On her blog, she posts a monthly free coloring page that people can print out for their kids.

I'm inspired by the way she intertwines mothering and her art. It's something I'm striving for, too, and I feel like it's no coincidence that I found someone so much like myself during my first foray into this research. We mamas have to stick together!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I love pictures of kids being kids. Unposed, candid shots with messy faces and funny expressions. Here are some I took this week:
Yummy muffin

Little M's first food

Something up there is more interesting than food.

It's the light!

When Baby T wants to play...

He dumps...

everything out.

I know it's blurry, but it perfectly captures little baby stretches.

Brother love

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday Moments: Talking

Speaking Spanish with Baby

I'm trying to keep up with Capital Mom's Monday Moments themes. She writes these beautiful narratives about her kids--little snippets from her life that seem like they are pulled out of a novel that every mother would love to read. I'm not as eloquent as her, but I love how she shares, and I want to be able to share our moments as well.

When Baby T was a baby, I was so excited once he began to communicate. When he started waving “bye-bye” and doing the sign for milk, I was ready for him to communicate more. It’s frustrating when your baby cries and you don’t know what they want. I couldn’t wait until he started talking.

I speak fluent Spanish because my parents are from Argentina, and I grew up speaking both Spanish and English simultaneously. It is a gift to know another language, and I always said I would give my kids that gift. But when Baby T started talking—and he started pretty early, well before he was a year old—I didn’t want to do anything to hamper his communication. I didn’t want to confuse him with sounds and words from a different language, so I didn’t speak much Spanish to him.

At his one-year well visit, the pediatrician asked, “Does he have a word or two?” He had at least eighty.

At his two-year well visit, the pediatrician asked, “Does he have twenty words or so?” He has hundreds. We can carry on full conversations. Right now, in fact, he’s sitting on my lap, watching “Curious George” and telling me that George has a duck in his hand; the ducks are hatching; and there are three ducks on the TV. It’s such a relief to be able to fully communicate with him these days.

But he doesn’t speak Spanish. Or, I should say, it’s limited. There are things I have always said to him in Spanish. When he asks where daddy is: “Está en el trabajo.” When he asks where Sully is: “Está en casa.” So he can say those things. And I just taught him that motorcycle is “moto.” He likes that one. And he asks for his “leche bottle.” And that’s about it.

I want to be better with Little M. Since I’m home with him, I know I have the opportunity to speak Spanish when we’re alone together. I want my kids to have the ability to speak another language; it’s gotten me to places I never would have otherwise reached in my life.

I would love to hear tips from other moms out there who speak another language themselves: Do you speak it with your kids? How did you start? Do you have a specific routine or time of day that you speak another language? Once they are older, do you feel the need to explain what you’re saying, or do you just talk, hoping your child will eventually pick it up?

Because at this point, Baby T just looks at me like I’m crazy when I speak Spanish to him.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


The Beginning

I started this blog after Baby T was born because, through him, I was inspired to take the leap to the second stage of my life: motherhood. It has been the most profound step I have taken in my life so far. It sounds so cliché, but all of a sudden my life has a meaning it never had before. Coming home from the hospital with Baby T, I remember Big T saying, “It’s amazing how everything he sees is new to him.” And all of a sudden it hit me how malleable and impressionable children are. And I was the one who was responsible for guiding him, teaching him, and inspiring him.

That’s a tall order, and that same thought has been known to freak a lot of mamas out.

Inspired by Baby

But I was ready for it. I became engulfed in bonding with my baby. The guilt I felt for not being able to be a completely attached mama—because I worked full time (and because sometimes I lose my mind in the middle of the night)—ate away at me. Through nursing strikes, ear infections, and first words, I held him and looked into his eyes, wishing I didn’t have to leave him every morning.

If You Can Make a Baby, You Can Make Anything, Right?

At the same time, I was also filled with an urgency to create. I’ve always created in some way. I used to fill notebooks with stories about princesses, I wrote a “book” in high school about first love. I could sit and draw the day away in my sketch pad when all the other kids wanted to play hide and seek. I’ve gone through various phases of inspiration in my life, and this was the strongest.

All of a sudden, between a 40-hour workweek, a baby who didn’t sleep more than an hour at a time during the day or night, and spending time with Big T, I began to create. I started my blog and my Etsy shop. The ideas began to trickle in.

It Comes in Waves

Fast forward one year. I found out I was pregnant with Little M. It took me by surprise. The thought of having another baby exhausted me at first. I was physically exhausted as well at the beginning of my pregnancy. But I kept creating.


Baby T was getting to the stage where he could really interact. I started looking for activities that I could do with him to enrich his own imagination and creativity. I love the way his voice gets excited when he says, “I want do project!” and runs to the kitchen table. I learned that paper mache is a little advanced for a 14 month old. He had fun pouring the torn newspaper from container to container, though. I started to get nervous that my son had ADD. He loves projects, but they usually don’t hold his attention for more than 5 or 10 minutes. But he inspires me. The way he concentrated so hard on dropping the eggs into the jars when we dyed Easter eggs;
the way he scribbles over a picture I’ve drawn and tells me he just drew a doggie; the way he draws on his chalkboard wall: furious and firm vertical lines punctuated by flowing circles. 

Starting to Write Internet Content

Then I had Little M and went on maternity leave. I had been dabbling in writing for the year before that, but started concentrating on it more intensely, because I knew that if I could bring in a consistent income, I could quit my job and stay home. Writing brought a whole new inspiration to me. I’m the kind of person who totally understands the commercial for the Bing search engine, where people spout out their free-association search phrases. One leads to another, to another, and to another… that’s how I am with knowledge. I like to learn. So writing Internet content for other people about who knows what is kind of fun. I get to use my brain, my creativity, and learn about something new every day.

And I get to hang out with my new little muffin every day, too. 

Can I Really Go Back to Work?

I started to feel physically ill at the thought of going back to work. That was the hardest time for me after I had Baby T. I was dreading it even more this time. Not only did Little M get stuck with only half of our undivided attention because his older brother commands so much energy, he was going to end up in daycare at only 3 months old? It hurt to think about it.

Can I really Stay Home?

So I prolonged my maternity leave another month and finally made the decision to cut the cord. To my full-time salary.

So here I am. I’m fully inspired. I’m ready to go. I’m writing up a storm these days. I consider it my day job, in addition to cuddling with Little M and trying to get some laundry done. I stripped my diapers for the first time today (I finally had a need to, since I’ve been able to full-time cloth diaper with Little M). It’s the little things.

Finding a Method for my Madness

I’m just trying to figure out what I want my career to be long term. I am passionate about a lot of things. One of the things I have realized is that even though I’m a homebody, I like to belong to a network of sharing. Beyond the friendship, I like being able to share what I’m passionate about and learn about other people’s passions. Hence the blogging. And I’ve been teaching childbirth education classes. For a while, I wondered if that was really what I wanted to do. But I’m passionate about it because I want to share one of the most inspiring moments of my life with other women because I want other women to know how amazing it feels. 

And I’m passionate about creating. So how can I combine all of this under the Tmuffin umbrella? Because Tmuffin wears a lot of hats, and I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be. 

I’m working with a career coach—who also is a very inspiring woman—to help me figure it out. She says that you eventually get where you’re going, but there’s a long way and a short way to get there. I still don’t know if I’ve taken the long way or the short way, because I feel like I’ve taken the meaningful way. Everything I’ve done in my life has had a deeper meaning. And I realized that at this point in my life, I am surrounded by people who inspire me. 

That helps.

The Third Stage in Life

So even though this blog post was probably the long way to get my point across, I’m going to be doing some research this month to find out where I want to go with the career part of my life. The third stage of my life: my career. 

It’s kind of freaky to say that.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Camping, Baby T's 2nd Birthday, and a Lovely Spring

Baby T found Batman at the lake

Little M liked being outside

Happy boy first thing in the morning

Daddy and his mini me

Little campers

Babywearing camping family

What life is really like with a toddler and an infant

The more relaxing times...

Dirty faces, lots of hugs

Our first date in over 2 years

Baby T is convinced this is Little M's potty

Baby T's garbage truck cake and trash can cupcakes

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