Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Thought You Might Want to Know

I posted this almost a year ago, but I thought I would rerun it since I didn’t know a lot of you at that time. Enjoy and be sure to tell me about you! (I’ll be back live for Feel Good Friday)!
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I am on a scrapbooking league (I’m sorry if you thought I was cooler than I really am, but please do not stop reading here) with Ann, a friend I’ve had for twenty years and Joy, a friend I met in my daughter’s playgroup that I have known for 3 ½ years. As we were looking at some old pictures, we started talking about our lives before kids. Now, Ann pretty much knows everything there is to know about me. So it was kind of weird to have someone who I feel I know, but really knows nothing about me and my pre-mommy days. Ann was shocked that some of this stuff never has come up in the 3 ½ years that we have been getting together for play dates. What can I say? Mommies really like to talk about their kids. It’s safe, it’s relevant. I feel like we kind of jumped in to our friendship while we were redefining ourselves as mommies. And don’t get me wrong, being a stay-at-home-mom is pretty defining. However, I do feel there are things that I did before kids that are pretty interesting. So here are some of them. Maybe the next time we get together, let’s use this as a spring board to get to know each other a little more.

1. I went to U of M my freshman year of college and HATED it! I was wait-listed for a year and set up everything at a smaller state college. Then I received a letter asking if I wanted to remain waiting listed. I said no. My Mom sent in the letter (unbeknownst to me), and I was accepted. So I went because I was afraid to be so far from home and my high school boyfriend (even though we broke up during my first semester). I cried almost every day during second semester. I wanted to come home, and my parents said no. I thought everyone was too competitive, and after being defined by being a high school honor student I wanted a break and have some fun. After that year, I transferred to my original school and had a much better experience.

2. I worked a lot in the food service industry, but I was never a waitress because I can’t do math in my head.

3. I also worked as a secretary at a pet crematorium. That was interesting.

4. After living with an assortment of wierdos during my first two years at college, I lived alone pretty much until I got married.

5. I LOVE the Beastie Boys (I think Paul’s Boutique is genius), Weezer (Pinkerton is the best), Jay-Z, Kid Rock (I’ve seen him live 4 times), and No Doubt (I’ve seen them live 2 times).

6. I can speak Spanish OK, but get a few drinks in my, and I become magically more fluent. I also taught myself enough French and Italian to get by.

7. I once had dyed pink streaks in my hair.

8. I took a train from Michigan to California with my family and grandfather when I was 12 years old.

9. I used to love Tequila. I also used to drink Stoli and tonics with lime (soda if I was watching my weight).

10. I had a pimp and hoes party for my 27th birthday complete with costumes and Mickey’s Iced 40s in paper bags (a nod to my malt liquor drinking days).

11. I went to the bar in the New York Meatpacking District that Coyote Ugly was based on (but I didn’t take my top off).

12. I went to Europe three times by the time I was 27. My first time was a class trip to Spain. My second time was with my boyfriend after I graduated from high school to visit his dad that lived in Germany. My third time was when I went with my husband and, and we went to France and Italy.

13. I can’t tell you how many times I saw Pulp Fiction. It is one of my favorite movies of all time!

So there you go. There are some things about me that have NOTHING to do with having kids. (Ann, am I missing anything? Remember my Mom reads this)!

Now you spill it! Tell me something about you that is common knowledge, but maybe your mommy friends (or work friends) don’t know about you.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sleeping Beauty Awakens

Because I am writing this in advance and you are reading it now, I kinda feel like Doc Brown from Back to the Future. You know, when he writes himself a note about the flux capacitor. Jeez, I loved those movies. Well, the first two. I could have done without the third one that was all Western-y. But anyway –

So as you know, I am in Vancouver. Away from the Babes for the first time like this. And by this I mean clear across the country, thru three time zones, into the foreign land of Canada.

I have been writing a lot about personal changes lately. Those changes have slowly transferred themselves into changes around the house. The broken fridge was the catalyst for the transformation. We were going to get the same fridge, but the fridge makers don’t make that ugly color anymore. The make a similar ugly color, but not the same one. And guess what; you can buy a whole new fridge for $800 or a bunch of new appliances for a little bit more. We assessed if we were going to have to get a totally new fridge in a totally new color scheme, then we couldn’t have the stove mismatched. Come to think of it, the dishwasher was falling apart and rusting. So we basically got a whole bunch of new appliances with a new TV thrown in there, too. I think the whole color thing is a conspiracy to buy new stuff. And we are the suckers that bought into it hook, line, and sinker. By the way, Best Buy, you are welcome.

Something about investing in shiny, new appliances woke me up from my pregnancy/newborn/sleepless nights stupor. And when I looked around, Friends, it was not pretty. I was living in a shit hole! Thomas’s room looked like a scene from Hoarders with all his books and toys all over the place. Marie’s bed screamed, “Put a skirt on me already!” Our kitchen organization was completely lacking (as in our Gladware had reproduced like rabbits, however, some lids had run away so nothing matched). The closet that I share with Harrington was another scene from Hoarders: I understand that I no longer need maternity clothes in my closet and Harrington had to rid himself of undershirts that could stand on their own and clothes that dated back to circa 1997. The bathroom that kids used still had the original builder’s paint along with very old (too ashamed to tell you just how old) shower curtain.

Basically everything was a disaster.

I wondered how did it get to be this bad. When did it become acceptable to just throw our stuff everywhere? I am thinking sometime between getting pregnant with Marie and sometime after Thomas began sleeping through the night.

So the new appliances along with the Vancouver trip looming put my nesting instinct into overdrive. I organized like I had never organized before. So here’s my Big Reveal:

This stove gave us a lot of meals, all cooked on uneven cooking surfaces.  I feel the coils give it a certain vintage, rustic feel.
Oooo!  So shiny and beautiful!


I never realized how old and bad our stuff was until we went shoping for new stuff. I was not aware that the plate holder-
thingys were not suppose to be sharp and rusty.


Gorgeous. . . and quiet.


 
The salesman told us that they don't make almond anymore.  Of course they don't make that "unique shade' anymore.


I *heart* this!  I forgot that ice cream doesn't have to be all melty!


A whole kitchen view.  I left all the clutter there on purpose.  For dramatic effect.  Think of them as props.
Cleans up nice, right?  I got rid of all those props, you know, for dramatic effect.

Enough of Show and Tell.  So what have you let go that you are working to get back together again?

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Eve of My Vancouver Trip – Feel Good Friday

 

Be sure to check out The Girl Next Door Grows Up. I *heart* her!

I will be out of town in Vancouver (I just threw up in my mouth a little when I typed that. I need some Listerine). I will be posting from the future on Tuesday and Thursday since I am not sure what my access to a computer will be or what will be awaiting me when I get back. And I can’t use my phone since International Rates apply.

Check lists make me feel good.  I have a certain inner peace when I can cross items off my list.  Here's what I have so far:

- Clean house (otherwise called shoveling shit against the tide)


As I was cleaning other rooms, this was what was going on: another mess.  Instead of getting upset, I thought this was a chance for them to plot against me play together.  It was a success.  No fighting!

- Clean laundry . . .for everyone (I decided I was done when there wasn’t any more room to hang dry the clothes. . . and then there were towels)

- Meals made so none of the caregivers have to cook (feeling like a June Cleaver Rock Star for this one: black bean tacos for two nights and left over frozen pasta Bolognese for the other two nights).

- Packed (I am hoping I remembered everything.  And if not, there are stores there)

- Book to read (Eat Pray Love because I have to see what everyone is talking about)

- Grocery shopping (Fresh fruit and treats for everyone)!

- Instructions with important phone numbers (In addition to important information like when school starts, I added how The Babes prefer their food to be served.  Yes, I felt the need to type out how to cut up Thomas’s food. Yes, I think it’s a bit over the top. Yes, I think it will make me feel better even if they don’t follow it)

- Anxiety (on many levels: will I fit in with The Hubs’s work people? Did I pack the right clothes? Are my kids going to be OK? Will I be OK)?

- Guilt (because I’m leaving My Babes)!

- Excitement (because I’m leaving My Babes)!

- Hair highlighted, cut, and brows waxed (Roots, split ends, and furry eyebrows do not make the best first impressions)

- DVR set up (That thing is going to be ON FIRE)!

- Cliff bars (Because I am comforted by the fact that I have high protein/high fiber food available at all times)

- Passport (I dusted it off since it hasn’t been used in 5 years)

Am I missing anything?
Bon Voyage! Wish me luck! If I can check in, I will. If not, please still leave comments. I’ll respond when I get back!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Into the Vault

If there’s one thing that I have learned about myself since becoming a mom, it is that I am The Queen of Putting on a Brave Face. I don’t really process difficult moments until waaayyy after the fact. It’s not that I don’t believe I should not show emotion in front of The Babes. That’s not it at all. However, in a crisis situation revolving around a Babe, I believe it’s best to not cry and become all frantic. Chances they are already scared and/or confused so I don’t want them to have to worry about me, too. I want them to feel safe to express what they are feeling in that moment.

I have had great practice with this for the whole first year of Marie’s life. She was diagnosed with macrocephaly (big head) and low muscle tone; we weren’t sure if she had cerebral palsy, hydrocephaly, or if she would need a shunt. She did need physical and occupational therapy. During this time, I soldiered on. I didn’t think about how I am going to deal with this. My objective was clear and concise: Do Whatever It Takes To Help Marie. If that meant driving her to Children’s Hospital that was 45 minutes away every two months, I did it. If it meant taking her to physical and occupational therapy twice a week, then I did it. If it meant that I had to take her to get an MRI, I did it. Lonnnggg story short, she was eventually discharged from her neurosurgeon, and she was fine.

I was not fine.

As Willeta from Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood says, “Everyone’s ticket comes to.” After lots of nights waking up only to cry and dry heave, I eventually broke down and spent a lot of money working through my feelings with my very gifted therapist. (Money well spent if you ask me).

I processed my feelings, put all the paperwork (about 4 inches thick), and placed it in The Vault. Never to be opened again. Or so I thought.

At Marie’s four year old checkup, the doctor said her tonsils were large. I eventually took her to see the same ENT as Thomas went for his ears. He asked me a bunch of questions regarding her snoring (like an old man) and apnea (no gasping, usually just start breathing again). Here’s how that conversation went with that ass hat.

So we got the sleep study done to determine whether it was obstructive or central sleep apnea, which is related to low tone and/or a rare brain disorder. It was scary watching her get all those “stickers” with “fun-colored wire” attached to her knowing the objective of the test. And it was even worse when they took them off. Marie was so brave. I was brave, too, because I was not going to let her see my nerve endings becoming frayed. The sleep study did show it was a mix of obstructive and central, and required that I needed to see a Sleep Study Specialist. But of course, being a specialist, I had to wait weeks and weeks. So I took Marie to see her Former Neurologist. And then to another ENT. And then finally to the Sleep Study Specialist.

All of that required me to open The Vault and get out all her therapy report cards, MRI scans, ultrasounds . . . and all my feelings were still right there. But being who I am, I just powered through each of those appointments.

A few weeks ago, my ticket did come to. I broke down and cried. It was so stressful to think that an issue I thought was resolved had reared its ugly head. But I also was surprised by how far I’ve come since those early days. Putting on that armor and go to battle for your kid is not easy, but I feel more confident in my role Child Advocate.

So, although, this story does not have a definite ending, it has taken a better direction. I closed my account with That Asshole ENT and kicked his insensitive, pompous ass to the curb. The Former Neurologist and Sleep Study Specialist said everything looks OK and that maybe even getting her tonsils out won’t solve apnea this mild. And the new ENT, he’s incredible. He offered a nonsurgical option first to see if we can shrink her anoids and tonsils. All of this is TOTALLY CONTRARY to which That Asshole ENT said which was get the tonsils our right away. Oh, and he never even mention all that business with The Sleep Specialist, business HE ORDERED! (I wonder if the three piece suit worn by That Asshole ENT is directly related to his call for surgery. Ironically (or maybe not), the new ENT, wears Dr. Seuss ties and button down shirts. Just a thought).

So that’s what we are doing. It’s easy to second guess myself as a mother. But my instincts to get away from That Asshole ENT proved to be right. So I am hanging up my warrior gear for now and trying to catch my breath.

Thanks for letting me vent about this. I needed to get this off my chest before The Vancouver Vacation. Now I have room for all the anxiety for this adventure.

So, Friends, what did you follow your instincts on that turned out to be spot on?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

“Why don’t you start blogging?” The Beginning of Act 2

Before I stayed home with The Babes, I was pretty unhappy, and by unhappy I mean miserable. Of course I didn’t realize it at that time. I just thought everyone was so incredibly tired in the morning.

And didn’t everyone have a huge amount of anxiety at work?

I thought everyone cried and curled up in the fetal position on Fridays, waiting to recover from the hell that had become her life.

Didn’t everyone feel an acute sense of malaise on Sundays knowing what was going to happen in the next twenty-four hours?

So when my life-long dream of becoming a teacher didn’t “work out,” I pretty much felt like I failed.

Then I became a stay-at-home mom. In the beginning, I was confused. I didn’t know how to view myself as a mom. Then there were all these scary physical developmental issues surrounding Marie. I didn’t know what was wrong because we were always in a holding pattern, and I thought it was all my fault.

After she was fine (and more on that on Thursday), I worked pretty hard to get that under control with the help of a very talented therapist. I started to sort through some of my emotional baggage and redefine who I was. And then that very talented therapist said something that changed the course of my life: “Why don’t you start blogging?”

I didn’t even know what that was. But here I am a year and some change, blogging and raising Babes. And I love it and where it is taking me. I feel like this whole new world of opportunity is opening up:
I am starting to lay the ground work as a freelance writer.

I am meeting some amazing people that I am proud to call my friends because.

I am gaining a better understanding of myself through writing.

I have bad days, but I am generally happy and feel like I am doing what is right for me (as
opposed to feeling sick to my soul)

I am feeling a sense of community I have never experienced before.

And then this.
Can you believe I did something to inspire the Girl Next Door Grows Up? Me? What blows my mind most is that she INSPIRES me! She has helped me keep this momentum of good feelings going. She has helped me take a day I HATED (Friday) and helped me love it with her Feel Good Friday posts. So not only did Friday turn into a good day, but all week I was looking for the good so I had something to write about. And guess what? It was there, sometimes in big moments, sometimes hiding in conspicuous corners, sometime just in a memory, but there was good all around.

At 32 ¾ years of age, I thought my life had already been lived out. But this second act, this reinvention is just the beginning of a new era. The journey took an unexpected turn, and I am so grateful to the people I have met. Now when I wake up, I feel excited to have a place to write.

I feel alive.

I have said this before, but it’s worth saying again: I used to be a cynic when people would say that if you love what you do, good things happen. I think I didn’t understand that because I hadn’t found The Thing that I truly love to do.

Now that I have found writing and blogging, I can’t help but not believe that.

So, Friends, who inspires you?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Feel Good Friday. . . Sort Of

Be sure to check out The Girl Next Door Grows Up and her awesome blog!



Well, I have to say this week was really fun, pulling a John C. Mayer with my dear Aunt Becky.  Kathy M. Griffin, I *heart* you, and I hope that you see my post named As Maggie Griffin Would Say on Kathy Griffin’s show My Life on The D-List on Bravo TV Network, “Tip it!”  Anyway, enough of all that . . .for now.

So this time next week The Hubs and I will be going on an all expense paid trip to Vancouver for his work conference.  This will be the first time we will have gone anywhere together since Marie was 9 months old.  If you do the math, it’s like 3 ½ years ago.  And the only time I have ever left them both was my Spa-venture, which was only 4 hours away. 

So next week, The Hubs and I will be traveling eight hours by plane, thru three time zones, clear across the land to the foreign country of Canada.  YIKES!  Now Harrington was all worried about it being an 8 hour flight because that’s such a long time to be in a plane.  Really?  Eight hours where I can sit by myself and read and/or sleep sounds like a relaxing way to spend the day.  A far cry from the two eight hours days in The Mini with the Babes and my Mom all the way to New York for BlogHer.  Which was the longest. Car. Drive. Ever.

I’m also really excited because we’ll be staying at the Four Seasons!  Can you believe that?!  Plus we get to go on some tour of the islands and see wild bears and lumberjacks and the blue ox Babe.  (Well, I just threw in the blue ox part).  This is all Feel Good Friday stuff, right?

So here’s where the sort of part: I feel guilty about enjoying this awesome opportunity because I didn’t necessarily “earn,”  like I’m riding his coattails.  And when I think about it, that’s really ridiculous because when he’s working all those extra hours, I’m working all those extra hours, too.  It just feels weird to be doing something like this.  I guess he got to enjoy all my BlogHer 10 swag, like my Jimmy Dean alarm clock, Jimmy Dean Coupons, Eucerin lotion, DreamSakes package and my new LG vacuum from the Mouthy Housewives party (when I hopefully get it soon).  But somehow that just doesn’t add up to a free vacation (for me at least) in Vancouver at the Four Seasons. 

Also, I’m sick to my stomach leaving The Babes.  I know it’s good for everyone (me, them, their alternative caregivers), but it still makes me nervous.  I don’t even want to get into all the what ifs because there’s a gagillion. 

But enough, because this is Feel GOOD Friday.  I will feel GOOD about this because I deserve a break with Harrington.  And The Babes will be fine.  Don’t you think three years is a long time without a break?  I do.

So what’s going on with your, Friends?  Any exciting plans in the mix for you?

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

TAKE 2: As Maggie Griffin Would Say on Kathy Griffin’s show My Life on The D-List on Bravo TV Network, “Tip it!”

So guess what?  Kathleen M. Griffin doesn't pull up Kathy Griffin in Google.  So this is the same post as last time, but I switched it to Kathy Griffin.  Because I'm not quitter, yo.  This is pretty much the same thing except I added a few more links, like va-jazzled (as if bikini waxing isn't enough).  So don't feel like you have to  read it again, but pretty please leave a comment mentioning Kathy Griffin as many times as you can.  Thank you!  *hugs*
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Today I will be conducting an experiment in karma and SEO strategy. Or, since I am one of the Merry Band of Pranksters, a prank. Read how Aunt Becky is the George Clooney of practical jokes of The Internet. (Read it now, people, before you go any further or this is post won’t make any sense). (Thank you). (Don’t worry, I’ll wait for you). (Done)? (Great, now let’s get started). (And quality of writing is forsaken for the short time I have to write this).

Kathy M Griffin is my Target. Kathy Griffin and I have a history. I thought she was awesome since the first time I saw her doing her Play That Funky Music White Boy commercial. Pure genius! I remember seeing her do her standup routines on HBO when I was just a wee lass (Did I mention that Kathy Griffin is Irish)? She was also hilarious in Suddenly Susan with Brooke Shields. She was also in the Eminem Real Slim Shady video and one of my all time favorite movies, Pulp Fiction.

I have been a fan of Kathy Griffin for a long, long time. So imagine my sheer delight when she began her own show on Bravo TV Network called My Life on the D-List. My Life on the D-List debuted around the time Marie was born. Kathy Griffin offered the kind of comic relief that I so badly needed. Andy at Bravo TV Network, you are a genius to give Kathy Griffin her own show. You must never cancel her show My Life on the D-list. Ever. Kathy Griffin is so incredibly smart and I love how she brings causes to the forefront all while using her gift of humor.  I mean she va-gazzled herself to promote pap smears and acting out in the interest of poor, little girls forced to wear fake teeth to perform in beauty pagents. 

And seeing her live did not disappoint. Going to see Kathy Griffin was the first real outing I had with The Hubs after Marie was born. I was a nervous wreck leaving her for the first time. I had no idea what to wear because I was still mostly in maternity get-up. I think the name of that tour was called Straight to Hell. I also saw her for my birthday when she toured with She'll Cut a Bitch. Harrington came up with that idea as I was puking my guts out in the hospital with serious morning sickness. Great idea, Harrington! And then for the following birthday, I got her new autobiography Official Book Club Selection. Hard cover. Yes, that’s how much I love Kathy Griffin.

Yeah, Dude, Kathy Griffin ROCKS! 


Kathy Griffin, you have been a part of some very special moments in my life. You have taught me what it takes to be a Strong Black Woman. You have made a difference in my life because you made me laugh when all I wanted to do was cry a river of postpartum tears. Or throw up due to pregnancy hormones. Thank you.

And, Kathleen M. Griffin, if you are reading this, I know just how badly this post is written. It does not do your level of comedic genius any justice. Please refer to the following posts for a better sample of my writing. And please send my best to Tiffany Rinehart, Maggie Griffin, and Tom Vize.
Now excuse me while I go TIP IT!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

As Maggie Griffin Would Say on Kathleen Mary Griffin’s show My Life on The D-List on Bravo TV Network, “Tip it!”

Today I will be conducting an experiment in karma and SEO strategy.  Or, since I am one of the Merry Band of Pranksters, a prank.  Read how Aunt Becky is the George Clooney of practical jokes of The Internet.  (Read it now, people, before you go any further or this is post won’t make any sense ).  (Thank you).  (Don’t worry, I’ll wait for you).  (Done)?  (Great, now let’s get started).  (And quality of writing is forsaken for the short time I have to write this).

Kathleen Mary Griffin is my Target.  Please read her wikipedia pageKathleen M. Griffin and I have a history.  I thought she was awesome since the first time I saw her doing her Play That Funky Music White Boy commercial.  Pure genius!  I remember seeing her do her standup routines on HBO when I was just a wee lass (Did I mention that Kathllen M. Griffin is Irish)?  She was also hilarious in Suddenly Susan with Brooke Sheilds.  She was also in the Eminem Real Slim Shady video and one of my all time favorite movies, Pulp Fiction.

 I have been a fan of Kathleen M. Griffin for a long, long time.  So imagine my sheer delight when she began her own show on Bravo TV Network called My Life on the D-List.  My Life on the D-List debuted around the time Marie was born.  Kathleen M. Griffin offered the kind of comic relief that I so badly needed.  Andy at Bravo TV Network, you are a genius to give Kathleen M. Griffin her own show.  You  must never cancel her show My Life on the D-list. Ever.  Kathleen M. Griffin is so incredibley smart, and I love how she brings causes to the forefront all while using her gift of humor.

And seeing her live did not disappoint.  Going to see Kathleen M. Griffin was the first real outing I had with The Hubs after Marie was born.  I was a nervous wreck leaving her for the first time.  I had no idea what to wear because I was still mostly in maternity get-up.  I think the name of that tour was called Going Straight to Hell.  I also saw her for my birthday when she toured with Cut a Bitch.  Harrington came up with that idea as I was puking my guts out in the hospital with serious morning sickenss.  Great idea, Harrington!  And then for the following birthday, I got her new autobiography Official Book Club Selection.  Hard cover.  Yes, that’s how much I love Kathleen M. Griffin.



I *heart* Kathleen M. Griffin and The Offical Book Club Selecion!


Kathleen M. Griffin, you have been a part of some very special moments in my life.  You have taught me what it takes to be a Strong Black Woman.  You have made a difference in my life because you made me laugh when all I wanted to do was cry a river of postpardum tears.  Or throw up due to pregnancy hormones.  Thank you.

And, Kathleen M. Griffin, if you are reading this, I know just how badly this post is written.  It does not do your level of comedic genius any justice.  Please feel free to click around at any other post for a better sample of my writing.  And please send my best to Tiffany Rinehart, Maggie Griffin, Tom Vize.
Now excuse me while I go TIP IT!!


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why I Win at Being a Parent Today

I am in the middle of writing this post about all the crazy-stressful stuff that has been going on with Marie. It all started with the conversation with the asshole ENT. But you know, it’s just going to take a little bit to sort through all those feelings of frustration, confusion, and anxiety. I much rather talk about how I win at being a parent today.

Before Thomas came along, Marie and I used to do all sorts of fun projects. Now Thomas is getting close to that age, but just isn’t quite there yet. So I racked my brain thinking of something they can do together besides color. Projects with glue? No, not unless I want to clean the glue out of his hair. Markers? Definitely not. Finger paints? No he’ll eat those. Wait he’ll eat those. But wonder if I made my own with pudding, he could eat those and it would be good. In fact, it would be delicious. And he would get some calcium, too. SCORE!

So that’s what we did. Finger paints with pudding. When you look at these pictures, keep in mind, whenever I try to give Thomas some yogurt or ice cream, he acts like I am trying to poison him. Just when I thought he would hate all things creamy and delicious. . .

I’ll tell you what, I needed a day like this because I felt like I failed at being a parent on Saturday (I’d rather not get into it, but let’s just say that Marie missed her yoga class because of an unforeseen traffic situation. And I ran out of the bread she likes for her toast. And she had to drink Thomas’s whole milk because I forgot to get her milk). Enjoy the pictures while I enjoy the sweet scent of vanilla and white chocolate art work. (Which I may just send into DreamSakes since I just got my kit today. Yea)!


Pudding paint - she looks quite serious.


She thought pudding paints were awesome - fun craft AND dessert in one!

Thomas was more into using the spoon and eating it.

Yep, still not having the finger paint part. But at least I know he'll eat pudding. 
And yes, that's a new dishwasher box in the background, a post for another time. 

Maries's artwork
My pudding paint picture. . . I mean Thomas's masterpiece.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Life is Funny Like That, You Know?



                                            Be sure to check out The Girl Next Door Grows Up

Before I get started, take a look around. I changed up a few things and (gulp) put up some ads. I figured I might as well give it a try. If I don’t like it or it’s not working out, for whatever reason, I can take them off. Anyway –

So this was the first week of 4 year old preschool and even though I love having a schedule, my brain is a little mushy from getting up so early. Please, cut me a little slack with this post!

So yesterday, as tired as I was, I dragged my ass to the gym to try Zumba. I am not sure if this was a true Zumba class since the teacher had us do a watered-down version of Michael Jackson’s Thriller (all I could think of was that scene from Thirteen Going on Thirty when Jennifer Garner’s character got everyone to do Thriller dance at her work party), but it was fun.

I don’t usually go to this class but wanted to give it a try, and who do I see there, but my friend Nan. To give a bit of background on Nan, she was my eighth grade English teacher. I will never forget the writing assignment she had us do that asked us to describe fall with our five senses. I remember feeling excited about using the thesaurus to learn new words to use in this paper. I felt alive when I was writing it. (In retrospect, another clue that I was a future blogger, right?) She was also my mentor when I started teaching at that very same school. Nan became my friend.

Never in a million years would I think that I, a former English teacher, turned stay-at-home mom who is now a blogger/aspiring writer, would be doing Zumba with her eighth grade English teacher. (And the English teacher in me hates that that sentence is incorrect, but learning to deal with the fact that style and voice do not always go hand-in-hand with correct grammar). Nan just retired and started talking about her feelings revolving around this huge change. We talked about how you never know where life is going to take you.

All I ever wanted to be was a mom and a teacher. Well, I checked those two things off my list, and I thought I was done. I felt a bit disappointed when I discovered that the teacher thing wasn’t for me. The Mom Thing is great, but I felt that I needed a little something just for me. I felt a majorly despondent tad bit depressed when I thought, at thirty-two, my life had already been lived and this. was. it.

And then blogging came along. I used to think that when people said that you needed to follow what you love in order to be happy was a bunch of crap. I have reconsidered my position on this statement, and I do think it’s true. More true than I ever thought. I have always loved writing, and by doing it, not only am I becoming a better version of myself, I am meeting a whole new community of people who get me. I am also learning of different opportunities that have to do with writing and blogging.

It’s easy to get stuck in your life and not even be aware of all that is out there. For me, it has taken a lot of guts to break out of that rut and make new choices for the life that I want to have. And it’s slowly coming along. Big-time life changes don’t happen overnight. But I am just happy to see things going in the right direction, you know?

Are you in the middle of a transforming anything? Your life? Your closet? Your morning routine? Do tell!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Weekend Review

Labor Day weekend was just that – a lot of labor. Not of the birthing kind, thank goodness. But had it been, at least someone else would have been making my meals and cleaning the bathrooms.

No, this was the kind of labor where The Hubs and I took The Babes out in the world together as a family. We bonded at IKEA because all kids love to look at furniture show rooms in a store with a crowd that resembles that of Black Friday (or so I hear since I refuse to participate in that kind of madness). We went to IKEA in attempt to get some ideas for organizing Thomas’s closet contents that seem to have migrated all over the floor. No luck in that department but we did score some new plates (service for 12 retailing at $50 – WIN)! And you know how we celebrated? Taking them to our favorite Polish restaurant, The Polish Village, that just happened to be as crowded as IKEA and a quarter of the size. The upside (beside the awesome homemade food) is that it’s so loud in there no one noticed when Thomas decided to act like a caged animal. (And in his defense, he kind of was seeing that he was in a stroller, car seat, and a high chair all day).


Thomas's 1st time at Polish Village. He was more interested in flinging his toys than keilbasa.

Marie and Aunt Becky have something in common: their love of encased meats!

And because The Babes didn’t get enough inspiration from looking at home d├ęcor at IKEA, we took the appliance shopping on Monday. To back it up a bit, on Friday, I paid a service man $70 to tell me that the compressor on our fridge is dying. He also noted that it was $600 to fix it. So we decided to get a new one. Guess what? They don’t make that ugly almond color anymore. They changed the color to bisque, which it TOTALLY not the same. So to get a new fridge in a new color that would match NOTHING in our kitchen, it will cost about $1000. However, most appliance companies offer a fridge, dishwasher, microwave, and stove in matching stainless steel color for $2000. I think it sounds like a friggin conspiracy theory: let’s not make that color, make them an offer they can’t refuse, and practically force them to buy all new appliances. Surprisingly, The Babes were not as intrigued with my theory. They just wanted to get the hell out of the stroller and run around.



In between all this fun, I took Marie to the mall to return a few things and compensate her for her troubles with a trip to the Disney Store. Now, earlier that morning, I saw on The Today Show that people were not having BBQs because they were going to the malls to shop. Turned out that was true. And for all of Labor Day, my only thought was this: “People can suck it!” I really can’t relive all the details here (like the lady who peed with the door open as she talked to her son about Jesus and when I glanced up in the mirror claimed she couldn’t concentrate on going to the bathroom) (or the lady at Gymboree who sent her husband to pick through a pile of little girl panties so she can get to $250 for her Gym Bucks, and heaven forbid if she had more than one of the same pair) because it will stir up all those deep feelings of discontent for the general public.


Oh, and we snuck in a quick haircut. My brother came over and snipped a bit off (not too much since I think the bowl cut is unattractive no matter how young you are).

What's worse?  A new haircut or shoping at IKEA?  It's a toss up.

You know what I need right before I look at fridges AGAIN? A new haircut.
So I am ready for school to start tomorrow. I want to get back into a routine. I also need a break from watching Mama Mia and listening to Abba. But I have to say, I have that sinking feeling that I am sending my little girl out into the world and hoping that the world treats her well. If not? Well, at least we’ll have a new freezer to keep our ice cream therapy super cold, right?

So how was your Labor Day weekend? Laborious? Fun? Do tell.

PS - I hope that the audio works on this clip.  If not, just imagine a lot of screaming and yelling MAMAMAMAMA over and over again.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mental Snapshots - Feel Good Friday

My first Feel Good Friday in a lonnng time!  Check out The Girl Who Lives Next Door Grows Up!

As you know, I went to this little thing called BlogHer (at least that’s what some of my friends like to call it, although I don’t know if a gathering of 2,500 people is considered little). For a long time I was on the fence about even going, but since it was going to be in New York, I decided to go. I have family that lives both in New York and in New Jersey (about twenty minutes from the George Washington Bridge) so I justified going to BlogHer because I could bring The Babes and visit family that I hadn’t seen in awhile.

While visiting family, I was always ready to take pictures so I can remember all of The Special Moments. Ironically, most of those moments were not digitally captured. Mostly because The Special Moments looked so ordinary that I am sure that the photo would have looked so insignificant. Moments like

- Going to my Aunt Sherri, Uncle Micah, and Adam’s home after The Mouthy Housewife Happy Hour only to find a beautiful spread of cheese, olives, and fruit with an exquisite elderberry and champagne cocktail waiting for me. It was so nice to sit around and just chat in their home. They always make me feel so special when I stay with them.

- Stealing some girl time with Aunt Sherri as she drove me back to New Jersey after BlogHer. It reminded me of the times I used to visit her when I was a girl.

- Sitting around with family on my Mother’s side that I rarely see, looking at old photos of our thirty plus years of visits. I looked at all those photos and felt so thankful for all those memories. Uncle Dickie, who passed away almost 10 years ago, and Aunt Birdie are like the grandparents that I never knew on my Mother’s side. I felt so thankful that The Babes were able to meet Aunt Birdie and my cousins.

- Learning that these memories almost never happened since Uncle Dickie was supposed to be on an airplane that would have crashed 40 years earlier. Uncle Dickie was one of the most generous and funny men I knew. And everyone who was in that room? Their lives were significantly better having known him.

- Feeling a connection to members of my family that I hadn’t had in a long time. I hadn’t seen my cousin Jay in years, and I was able to meet his wife, Tee, who I thought was just an incredibly warm person. Uncle Dickie and Aunt Birdie taught me that family isn’t limited to the ties of blood and genetics. Family is made up of those who love each other. Jay and Tee taught me that family relationships aren’t weakened by the passage of time. We may be all on our different paths that take us far away from each other’s lives, but we’re never fully removed. The bond of family history isn’t so easily broken.

- Putting The Babes down together for bed. We were on a different nighttime schedule (read: they were going to bed very late). So I adopted an alternative bedtime routine where I put them down at the same time. There was a night when they were both so sleepy. We were snuggled together in a double bed reading stories. No one was fighting. No one was fidgeting. It was just . . . peaceful. After the story, we turned off the lights, and the three of us cuddled. Together. I sang each of them their special nighttime song and took a deep breath to inhale their sweet scent.

I’ve said before, that life is made up of moments.

And this moment was perfect.

We were this lovely bundle, our own little team huddling together after playing another away game. This tender moment of togetherness? This moment I wish I could print and keep it on my wall. Forever. Because it’s in tiny, unexpected moments like these that make motherhood magnificent.



So would you agree? A regular snapshot would have a difficult time capturing the intricate essence of these special moments, layered with emotion?

I can say that writing about them seems to make their imprint a bit deeper on my soul.

Here are a few shots that I did manage to catch:

They may look sleepy, but it's really the glazed-over look from watching Mickey Mouse come to life on the beautiful flat screen HD TV
I love yogurt. . . for today only.
I *HEART* ice cream on a stick!


Well, Friends, have you had any mental snapshots you’d like to share?

Have a great weekend!