Monday, November 25, 2013

Blog Renovation

The research has begun. It’s time to say good-bye to my blog title, Beyond the Diapers and Spills, in favor of another that is yet to be determined. My goal for completion of the name change is January 1, 2014; which will be just over five years since beginning this enjoyable and addictive hobby.

This is not the first time I've wondered about my blog’s name. In January, 2010, I posted, What’s in a name? - a phrase taken from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Much of the post explains its origin which was the title of a manuscript I’d written when my children were younger. After interviewing several “stay-at-home moms,” I began my mission to explain our multifaceted lives to people who asked us what we do all day.

Beyond the Diapers and Spills—the manuscript, labeled me as a mother; specifically, a mother with a brain, a mother with interests that didn't involve children or a husband, blah, blah, blah… You get the point.  It may have seemed a little defensive, but I did my best to stay away from “Mommy War” material.  I simply wanted to answer the question of what I did all day with some expository writing. Also, I thought it would be interesting to women who wanted to have children in the future, and to those who worked the 9 to 5, but thinking about giving it up.

But just as I began to feel that I had something going and worthy of a second draft, I was seduced by the instant gratification of blogging. With no particular theme in mind, I put my fingers to the keyboard and wrote—just random stuff. Some of it includes my beloved husband, children, and dog; most of it does not. Some is trivial, like wanting to know how long you keep your Christmas decorations up; and others serious, like defending my right to not divulge my political opinions or who I’m voting for.

So now I’m twelve years older than when I got the idea for the book and five years older than when I started the blog. My three children are teenagers… waaaayy beyond diapers. I am Mommy for the rest of my life and proud to be so; however, I can take off the badge and let the younger/newer moms wear it.

Just a week ago, a woman at a party (also a mother of teens) was relentless in telling me how important my job as a stay-at-home mom is. B-o-r-i-n-g. I already know. I also know that she is just as important to her children even though she leaves her home daily for her professional job.
Anyway, I digress.

In a nutshell, I like my Beyond the Diapers and Spills title. I appreciated my readers liking or supporting the title back in 2010 and even now, but I’m changing it.

NOW, how do I do that?

You’re part of my research. This is what I’d like:
  • a new blog with a name that does not include “blogspot” as part of it
  • I’d still like for it to be a Blogger blog
  • an email address consistent with the new blog name
  • all of my old posts to be available within the new blog
  • automatic linkage to my new blog when someone goes to the old one, if possible
  • graphic art as a blog header that reflects my new title

(Do I have to hire someone?)

Many of you have really creative sites. Any how-to instructions, advice, warnings, etc. that you’d like to share is greatly appreciated.


Based on your comments, I realize that one of my statements is not clear about what I’m asking for. I should have said that I want a new URL name that does not include “blogspot” as part of it. The techy aspect of the change is the challenge; the blending of the old and new. As for the name that will replace Beyond the Diapers and Spills, I have a idea or two. However, I am open to your thoughts. It doesn’t have to be a title, but your opinion of what my blog conveys.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The World is Changing - Part 2

When I wrote a recent post with this title, I didn't know that there would be another.  Tere, Hhe subject matter is different; however, my thoughts on both posts stem from witnessing life situations that feed my curious nature—the first one, seeing “other” as a third gender selection on a registration card, and now, the rise in egg, embryo, and sperm donations.

Years ago, it didn't seem strange because I viewed it, simply, as a married couple needing sperm to make a baby when the husband’s sperm count was too low. It was actually a while longer before I realized that women were donating eggs. In either case, I thought of it as charitable; helping others to have long awaited children.

But since I’ve had my children (almost 18 years), I don’t gloss over these stories like I use to. My innate sense of fascination with the making of a baby has been heightened by constant media attention. A couple weeks ago, I saw a news story about a woman donating her eggs for a substantial fee. Young, smart, and attractive, she seemed so nonchalant about it; though she said she was happy to help couples have babies. As a repeat donor, I wonder how many children will carry her DNA. The same for men—how many children are created by their donations.

There’s a movie titled Delivery Man that is being released this month. The adult male character finds out that he has unknowingly and biologically fathered 533 children. Based on a trailer I've seen, he ends up having relationships with many of them.

Maybe 533 is far-fetched, but how about 100, or even 25? This is big business. Do egg and sperm donors truly know how much of themselves proprietors are selling? It’s a little unsettling to me; however, I am not against it for certain people. I actually know someone who has a child via artificial insemination. Hers is a common story—single woman without a boyfriend and who does not see marriage around the corner, but really wants to be a mother. She told me and a friend (Donna) her story and that she is honest with her son about his beginnings. He is in elementary school, living a typical childhood, but is experiencing a little moodiness here and there; all kids do. But Donna (who was adopted as a baby) and I read each other’s minds and wondered if he’s starting to want to know his other genetic side, or for that matter, the other person—the biological father. A grandmother of two, Donna just found her biological father earlier this year.

As I was surfing the web for this post, I found a diatribe of a sperm donor detailing the awkward donor application process (just short of humiliating), the embarrassing creation process, and the life altering effect that it has had on his life; the latter causing women not to date him when he tells them his story. Can’t say that I blame them.

The donor guy also wondered about the possibility of accidental incest among the numerous children he has probably sired since the parents of these children are likely to be living in the same city or state. Hmmm…

And then there are the frozen embryos that are not carried by the natural mother. I suppose their implantation into carrier moms is more controlled than the distribution of eggs and sperm, but who really knows? Based on loose regulation in all these cases , I don’t think we know neither the full and overall extent, nor the future impact—health wise, legally, etc.

However, so many people find these processes necessary and consider the outcome, their children, very worthwhile. I know a couple who have a child created by another couple then carried by a surrogate. Five hearts have given a little girl life and she in turn, is giving her parents much joy.


Cynthia Wilson James, the founder of InSeason Mom, has featured me on her blog as the November InSeason Mom. Her organization supports "older" women who wish to become pregnant, are pregnant, and new moms. This is a re-run of my story, but to those of you who did not read it when she initially posted it, you can click here to find it. No anonymous contributions in my case, but Cynthia did feature a woman on her September 6, 2013 post who has a child from a 19 year old frozen embryo.

image found at

Monday, November 11, 2013

Evolution of a Wardrobe

Our coats were made by Mom

Mom made a few items of clothing for my brother and me when we were preschoolers. Because she wasn't employed, and our two bedroom house was small, and Dad wrote the household checks for the mortgage, utilities, and insurance; she had time. Life wasn't easier for her as a wife and new mother, but certainly simpler in comparison to the lives of many women today.

Judging from childhood pictures, Mom had taste in clothing. The holiday and birthday photos show us fashionably dressed, yet still ordinary. She was very practical, though, believing it was a waste to buy so many clothes that we would quickly grow out of; plus, the funds were limited. So each season, she bought a small amount of clothing for us. In the summer, I got 5 or 6 shorts and top sets, Keds tennis shoes and sandals. Two or three dresses were rotated for church, and that was it.

During the school season, it was even less because I wore uniforms to the Catholic school I attended. Shoes were our major challenge due to my hard-to-fit, long, narrow feet that seemed to grow fast and require new shoes often. I was told that I had expensive feet because only the expensive store carried narrow shoes. Mom was happy to see them stop growing when I was in 6th grade. (I still like well-made shoes.)

The stage was set for my lifelong attitude toward clothes. I've always liked stylish clothes, but I've never been over the top trendy or adorned with accessories on every member of my body. During my teens, my cousins used to call me, “plain.” They didn't leave the house without hair and makeup done, a ring, bracelet, and necklace, toe and finger nails painted, and dazzling footwear. The cousins were not plain.

Me… I managed some of those accoutrements when I felt the need to spruce up. On a few occasions, I’d actually do the “works” and present an impressive package.

My twenties were my clothes crazy days—if you can call it that. The career had me excited about suits and high heel shoes until the corporations began “Casual Fridays” that put me back in my jeans and khakis. As employees who worked behind the scene, my coworkers and I had a revelation: we didn't need to dress up, therefore, eventually we made every day a “casual” day.

So much for my stint as a fashion girl.  Evolution came to a halt.

Children took my wardrobe downhill. Wearing a necklace—what was that? Something for my kids to yank off as they hung on to me for dear life saying, “Don’t put me down Mommy. I don’t want to walk!”

A nice blouse? Somehow it always ended up with a grease stain; the culprit possibly a chicken nugget or a french fry from a Happy Meal.

Sooo… I settled into my “Mom Uniform,” composed of shorts, tee shirts, athletic wear, jeans, simple shirts, tennis shoes, and clogs/mules. Nice and comfy.

During that time, a friend of mine stopped by my house wearing her career-wear that included a scarf. It was an aha moment for me; that I’m looking a bit, uhh, plain. I was even inspired to write a blog post about it; however, I still stuck with my nice and comfy attire.

But NOW… I've had another revelation! After exercising with a couple friends at one of their homes, Pam shows Katie and me some of her latest shopping finds—a studded belt, shirts that have the wrap-around look, and a bold necklace. As we’re oooing and aahing, my thoughts travel to how Pam and Katie (a decade younger than me, give or take) look when I see them out and about. They are stylish, but not overdone.

As we talk, I tell them that I like shirts with prints and that I have a hard time finding ones that are not old-ladyish. Of course, they jump right in and tell me that solids are more available and that I need to wear scarves.

A scarf… there it is again… the savior… the essential outfit enhancer.

I know this. It does make an outfit look good. My daughters wear them. They've even stolen one from me that I bought last year. It’s time to give in. I can endure the extra warmth around my neck.

So what did I do while in Macy’s returning an unwanted jacket for my daughter? I bought a scarf. (On sale of course, and with a coupon.)

I like it.

My New Scarf

The dress form belongs to my daughter, Girl #1. It’s what she wanted for Christmas, so Voila!
She named it Charlotte.

Epilogue: My style of dress has never dramatically changed; however, each phase of my life that presents a different look correlates to my lifestyle and age. My life as a series of pie graphs would show the 1995–2006 pie with the “Mom” slice holding strong at 75%, “Wife” at 20%, and “Anita” at 5%. On my 2013 pie, “Anita” has cruised up to 25%--which is why I might buy a few scarves and some fun jewelry for every day wear and not just for times when I have to dress up.

How do you like to dress? Are stylish clothes in your closet? What do your clothes say about you and do they reflect who you truly are?