Friday, October 29, 2010

Feel Good Friday – Halloween Edition

Today was my daughter’s preschool Halloween party. Not “party” in the sense that there was music and singing and treats.

No, it was more like a race to get through the 5 craft and skills stations in less than 45 minutes. And treats needed to be consumed in that time as well.

I would consider it more like a challenge than a party.

But Marie had a great time and that’s all that matters. (I’ll matter later tonight when I am drinking a Harvest Moon beer while catching up on the Jersey Shore reunion).

And let’s talk about treat bag that were handed out at this party. Our bag was modest with snack size M & M’s and raisins with a homemade tag that Marie used a “Happy Halloween” stamp and wrote her name. Some of these treat bags were over. the. top. Whatever.

So where’s the feel good part of this post you ask? I decided to post a picture from one of my happiest Halloween when I was a kid.

Me as Princess Lea, age 6

I loved this costume. My mom made it for me from white flannel. She did my hair up in those braided buns. And I had a laser gun. How cool is that?!

I won first prize at my elementary school costume parade.

And afterwards, my costume became a nightgown.

Maybe it was because I was a kid and everything was magical back then. Or maybe because times were different and Halloween seemed a whole lot simpler. Or maybe both. But that was one of the best Halloweens ever!

And here’s to hoping that Marie and Thomas will have memories like that as well.

Tell me, Friends, what is your favorite Halloween memory?

And guess what?! My next post will mark my 100th! Can you believe it? I’m so excited!!

Have a great Halloween!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Word About Instincts

At the ripe age of 33, I have come to a conclusion: Trust my instincts because they are rarely wrong.

Case in point: remember when I thought Marie was going to have to get her tonsils out? And that jack ass of an ENT said rip them out. And then all the specialists and new ENT said maybe not. Well, glad I checked with other specialists because with the Flonase treatement that the new ENT shrunk Marie’s tonsils form a four to a 2! Yea! He said the treatment doesn’t usually have this kind of success. DOUBLE YEA!

Talking about my issues with PMDD and Celexa were another issues I am glad that I trusted my instincts. There was a part of me that said, “Are you crazy?! You are going to talk about going on The Antidepressants?! That’s a private manner in which people are meant to keep SECRET! People are going to think you are nuts. Clearly.”

To which my instincts replied, “Clearly you are not crazy. You have a real medical condition that needs to be medically treated. People do not think that diabetics are weak or crazy if they need insulin to process sugar. Same difference.”

(Unless you are Tom Cruise in which I am sure exercise and vitamins are good enough).

Now I didn’t get a lot of comments on that post, but I did get a lot of hits which I interpret that more people may be dealing with this and just don’t really want to talk about it. Which I totally understand. I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to talk about it.

But I am glad that I did, because once I put it out there, it didn’t feel like this dirty, little secret.

And along with that, I just don’t think that there should be a negative stigma attached to a condition in which requires antidepressants, whether it be PMDD or Bipolar Disorder or OCD. I think the more people talk about, then the less shame, which in turn will evolve to acceptance.

So I’ll leave you with this:

“Instinct is intelligence incapable of self-consciousness.” – John Sterling

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rock that Roast Beef!

So how do I follow up a serious post about PMDD and Celexa?  With a sort of Wordless Wednesday post about cooking beef, of course!

I grew up in a meat and potatoes house. We had some sort of meat and baked potato almost every night for dinner. Yet I left home not knowing how to make a roast or the what cuts beef are for what. My Mom showed me how to make roast beef when I was treading water with Thomas as a newborn, and I had made it maybe one more time. I always get worried if I screw it up and then what will we eat for dinner? With a Costco-sized box of chicken nuggets in reserve, I threw caution to the wind because I’ll tell you what; I'm tired of cooking almost every day. So I fired up the new stove as I honed my mad, roasting skills.

That piece of meat turned out AWESOME! I stuffed it full of garlic and even made gravy.

And since I made a mistake and bought individual sized packages
of instant flavored mashed potatoes, we each got our own flavor. WIN!

The only thing missing was my dress, pearl necklace, and telling Eddie Hascal to stop being such a smart ass! (You know June Cleaver was just chomping at the bit to say that)!

So, Friends, have you mastered any new skills lately?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It’s Nice to Meet You, Celexa.

Everything changes after kids. Everything. I mean how it can NOT be different. I expected that my body would be different after carrying two human beings. I expected that I would be watching a fair amount of children’s programming. I expected that I would be running around taking The Babes to doctor’s appointments and social activities.

What I did not expect is the change of the intensity of PMS. Before The Babes, I would get a little bluesy, a little cranky, maybe even shed a few tears. After the Babes, I became a maniac. In May, I told my doctor, and she said that I may want to look into taking an antidepressant for the week before my period. But she told me to chart my mood for the next couple of months first to make sure it was hormones.

Around day 10, it would start with anxiety, proceed with extreme agitation, and conclude with full on meltdowns. And then, poof, it all went away the nanosecond I started my period. I would spend the next three weeks hating myself for the emotional outbursts and trauma I caused my loved ones.

In September, I remember just feeling like my moods were on this roller coaster, and I was out of control. I yelled at Marie for not getting in the car fast enough. She cried. I cried. I am totally ashamed of myself. I waited to make sure I started my period, and then called my doctor ASAP. I did it because I knew I couldn’t control it. I remember telling the nurse that I need help or I fear that I may turn that occasional glass of wine to a weeklong bender to get through this week. Clearly, white-knuckling it was not working out.

My doctor gave me a script for Celexa. I didn’t take it the first time because I was going to Vancouver and didn’t want to introduce a new drug into my system while on a business trip while 3,000+ miles away from my doctor.

I almost didn’t take it the next month. But there I was, sobbing that Harrington didn’t understand me. I was cranky with The Babes for no reason. And I looked at their sweet, innocent faces and knew they didn’t deserve this.

I went in the bathroom, opened the bottle of medicine, and took a pill. I didn’t care if it would make me tired. I didn’t care if I couldn’t have drink on my birthday. I didn’t care what anyone thought, especially for those who don’t think medication is necessary. I didn’t want my Babes to see me unraveled, thinking they had done something to deserve being yelled at. I didn’t want them walking on egg shells because Mommy might freak the fcku out. That’s no way for anyone to live.

The first day, I felt like I was taking a vacation from myself. I felt free. Free from anxiety. I never thought it possible to feel so relaxed during a regular day. It was like I had a nice, warm blanket on the inside. My muscles and stomach slowly became unclenched. This sensation kind of reminded me of that warm sensation of the epidural after having such strong contractions with Thomas.

I also noticed a change in my daily thoughts and reactions. When I had to pack the diaper bag, I didn’t have the usual trail of thoughts racing through my head:

Did I pack snacks? If don’t pack snacks, then The Babes will get hungry. If there are no snacks and they get hungry, I’ll be a bad mom. I don’t want to be a bad mom. So I better pack the snacks. Hey, why do I always have to pack the diaper bag? It’s not fair that I have to think of everything. Harrington’s here. Why can’t HE pack the snacks? No one’s going to judge him for forgetting snacks. Seriously, I think my head is going to explode that I have to think of EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING!! Now where the hell are those damn snacks already?! Shit, now we are going to be late because I still have to pack the snacks.

I just got the snacks and that was it. It was liberating not to be pulled down by those thoughts.

Through that week, I found that I slept better. I was too tired to stay up and be productive until 10:30 p.m. at night. I didn’t move at the speed of light to get everything done. Because if it didn’t get done, that was alright, too.

When I started my period and put the Celexa down, I did notice that my anxiety was coming back. So I think it’s safe to say that I am hardwired for anxiety. But I also realized that I could be making better choices to lessen that anxiety. For example, I need to get off the computer by 9:30 if I am going to have restful sleep.

I also realized that I let the moods of others slither across my personal boundaries and effect me more than they should. I need to build better personal boundaries to protect my sanity. I guess this is something I already know, but have realized on a much deeper level.

So thank you, Celexa, for showing me what life can be like without anxiety. I look forward to your assistance next month.

So, Friends, do you have any advice on strengthening personal boundaries? Any books or resources you recommend before I scour the internet and library?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Feel Good Friday – My New Favorite Place

Be sure to check out The Girl Next Door Grows Up and join in for Feel Good Friday

The journey to find My New Favorite Place was twisty and turney with no final destination in mind, really. It’s not like I started out with the thought that I would find My New Favorite Place, but it just sort of happened.

It all began with my first experience with yoga . . .

The first time I tried yoga, I was in my early 20’s, taking it in a big gym setting, and was not ready. I was not ready to quiet down the chatter in my head. I was not ready close my eyes and only focus on me; I was too interested in comparing looking at others.

The second time tried, Marie was 18 months old, and I was tired of trying to keep up in my traditional aerobic classes. I wanted to mentally recharge myself as well as workout. Even though it was in a gym (with the kick boxing class’s music blasting next door), I really liked it. It just felt right. I was ready.

And then I was pregnant with Thomas and was so sick, I had to stop.

Meanwhile, I was trying to find an activity for Marie to do that wasn’t competitive yet active. Her personality is not the kind that would do well in a team sports setting because she doesn’t handle pressure too well. Also, dance was out of the picture because going up on stage just isn’t her thing, either. So I thought yoga might be a good fit for her; active and engaging along with inspiring story telling.

I live in a Michigan suburb that hasn’t quite embraced the idea of children’s yoga. However, 3 towns over, I did find a studio that had a teacher trained just for children’s yoga. It’s a 30 minute drive, but it’s totally worth it. Marie has been taking yoga for about 9 months now, and she LOVES it.

My new favorite place is Red Lotus Yoga.

Why is it your new favorite place where Marie is taking yoga for 9 months, you may be wondering?

At its old location, there was only one studio so the parents waited in the lobby. Not just any lobby. A quiet lobby with the comfiest couch EVER! I would look forward to just sitting there for 45 minutes and not having to do or say anything.

But at their new location, there are two studios. So they have added an adult class at the same time as their kid’s class. GENIUS! So instead of sitting there, I now get to take a yoga class.

I didn’t think taking a yoga class in a yoga studio would be any different than taking it at the gym.

I was wrong, so very, very wrong.

First of all, the studio’s vibe is peaceful and happy. It appears that everyone who is there is happy to be there. It even smells peaceful.

Second of all, it’s quiet. Do you know how rare it is to be somewhere in the middle of a Saturday afternoon and have it be quiet? The lessons about self-acceptance that the teachers talk about during the class nudge something deep inside of me. I soak up all that quiet, peacefulness, and wisdom, and I feel rejuvenated.

And I can even be this calm and focused while Marie is there because I know she is having a great time in her own class. It’s not very often that I can relax like that when she’s doing her own thing because my ears are always perked in watchdog mode. Something about the atmosphere and the teachers make this “letting go” phenomenon possible.

When I say studio, I really should say center. They not only have yoga classes, but there are all sorts of special workshops that focus on wellbeing. I went to a meditation one a few weeks ago, and I loved it. It’s like this little community, and I am excited to have found it.

I feel there’s this side of me that I have always wanted to develop, a more spiritual side. Traditional religious services don’t always resonate with me. Besides that, I never knew where to go.

But perhaps I wasn’t ready yet.

So in the quest of finding the right activity for my daughter, I have stumbled upon an oasis that is helping me figure out how to be the best version of myself.

How could I not feel good about that?!

So what’s your favorite place to be? I’d love to hear about it!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Kickoff to my 33rd Year - In Photos

Birthdays are special to me.  Sometimes one day isn't enough to fit in all that is awesome with birthdays.  My birthday weekend started off with Disney on Ice Presents Princess Classics.  Afterwards, my mother-in-law gave me the gift of energy in a very generous Starbucks gift card.  She also picked out a very nice bottle of wine, too.  Yea!

On Saturday, off to Bucca di Beppo's for pizza and pasta party with My Crew where we were able to enjoy a free appetizer and a free dessert just because it was my birthday.  Yea!  Most of those photos didn't turn out so well.  Here's  one that I was able to salvage.

I love it when my eyes glow.  I feel it gives a certain creepy, Halloween vibe.
On Sunday, Harrington and I went out for coffee (courtesy of said gift card) and a movie.  Tip: Wait until you can see Life as We Know It for free.  But that's OK because now I have an excuse to go back to the movies and see Social Network.  (Any thoughts on that)?

On Tuesday, my parents and brother came over.  My Mom made her homemade cassada cake, which is a big white cake soaked in a rum simply syrup, filled with cannoli fillling and chocolate chips - YUM!!  She made it even though she had just gotten back from vacation and was exhausted.  How sweet!  (Literally and figuratively).  (And this cake is so good, we are just calling it The Cake).

My parents gave me Just Dance 2, and we had a riot!  My brother kicked my ass.  So did my Dad at which point he joked about all the money spent on dance lessons.  Well, turns out holding the wii remote control in the very specific way is key.  So I made a bit of a comeback once I worked out that user-error.  And because I don't hold grudges about loosing (because, as I tell Marie, we are all winners if we had fun), I will not post the pictures of my brother and his "dance face" all over the Internet.  

So, here I present to you, the rest of my birthday pictures: 

Marie and My Brother

Thomas and My Dad

My Mom, Me, and The Cake
Marie doesn't like the signing and candles fanfare. 
It actually freaks her out.  So I am pretending to blow out candles.


The Dance Off. 
Posted by Picasa

There is just something about getting together with family to celebrate each other that makes me happy.  I'm one lucky lady!

See you tomorrow for Feel Good Friday!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Beginning of my 33rd Year

I just celebrated my birthday on Saturday. It was just about the best birthday ever. I started out going to my favorite gym class, took Marie and I to our yoga classes, went to the Sprint store to get my birthday present, and Bucca di Beppo’s for dinner with The Hubs and The Babes. It was laid back. There was no pressure, just . . . fun.

I thought that the reason it was one of the best birthdays ever because I got to do a lot of my favorite things with a lot of my favorite people. And I am sure that has a lot to do with it. But I think there is more to it than that.

Last year, I wrote a post on the eve of my 32nd birthday in which I focused on my thoughts about relationships. A big part of that was honoring my personal boundaries in my relationships. That was the kick off of taking better care of myself. I freed up a lot of energy to focus on positive things instead of wasting it in situations that were negative and hurtful. With that energy, I began to see a better version of myself emerge.

I focused on my blog and writing. I tried to be the best mom I could be, even if it meant I wasn’t making popular decisions. I’ve tried being a better listener with The Hubs.

At first, I didn’t feel any changes, but then, little bit by little bit, I noticed I just felt different.


Not that I haven’t experienced setbacks in this process, but I think most journeys of self-discovery are taken with both steps forward and steps back. Overall I feel a bit . . . lighter. Maybe that’s why I don’t mind birthdays so much. I feel a bit more comfortable in my own skin year by year.

I would post pictures, but I have one more celebration tonight with my parents. I’ll post them on Thursday.

So since we are on the subject of birthdays, I'd love to hear about your greatest birthday memory.

Have a great day!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Feel Good Friday – Disney on Ice Presents Princess Classics

Happy Feel Good Friday!  Be sure to check out The Girl Next Door Grows Up and join in!

This Friday’s post should actually be called Feel AWESOME Friday. (This means a lot coming from someone who’s formerly worst day of the week was Friday).

So this morning, when she scampered into our room to say good morning, I surprised her with the news that instead of going to school, we were going to go to DISNEY ON ICE to see PRINCESSES!

It took a moment or two for the news to sink in (she’s not much of a morning person), and then she was EXCITED!

I was ECSTATIC! Kind of like that feeling when you bought someone the PERFECT Christmas gift and you don’t know who’s more excited, the giver or the receiver.

As we were all driving there in the Mini blaring our Disney Princess CD, it felt like we were getting ready for a concert. It was so much fun! And not because it’s my music of choice (even though I know every.single.word), but it was so fun to see her get all pumped up by something that makes her happy.

When we got there, the scene was pretty amazing. All these little girls were dressed up in princess outfits and totally giddy with excitement! And call me sappy, but when I am surrounded by the magic of Disney, I get all warm and happy inside.

Once the show started, both Babes were in awe. Thomas couldn’t believe that he was actually seeing Mickey and Minnie Mouse in person. He kept on poking me, yelling my name, and pointing as if to say, “Can you believe this?! I can’t believe they are REAL!” Marie was completely entranced by the whole entire show. During the first number with Jasmine and Aladdin (who floated on a magic carpet) turned to me and said, “So now when we draw Disney on Ice, we can draw this scene now.” I think we will be reliving this moment in some form whether it be drawing, acting, or reading the program for the next six-eight months.

The program: otherwise knows as The Script (for her reenacted shows)

Decided to put on her costume after she saw a little boy dressed up as Buzz Lightyear

With Grandma D

LOVED IT!  Couldn't take his eyes off of the stage
(until the second act when he wanted to become part of the show)

I wish I could add sound.

During the gilttery, gold finale

And I can see why: Disney and Feld Entertainment do put on a grand ice show. The sets, costumes, music, and choreography are amazing. (And I do consider myself sort of an ice show expert as I talked about in this post about Cedar Point’s ice show.) It’s like they literally take the magic of Disney and bring it right to your town.

But for me, there was something special to watch The Babes enjoying themselves so much I thought my heart was going to burst. We are really turning a corner as Thomas gets older. I feel like we are bonding as a family, and it is nice to be making memories together.

Feel AWESOME Friday, indeed.

Have you done anything magical lately?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I used to hate Change. Not just hate, but detest Change, cringe whenever things were not the same. If Change were a person walking down the street, I would avoid all eye contact and ignore it.

After having kids, I’ve learned to accept change. Because whether I like it or not, it’s going to happen. So Change and I became like Facebook friends; acknowledging each other but not really committing to a real relationship. Eventually that relationship evolved, and I would say Change and I are pretty friendly with each other. Especially when Change means less sleepless night.

However, there are certain circumstances when I want to revert to my prior relationship with Change and look away when it comes near.

Like when my Aunt Nicki and Uncle Ned sold their house in Michigan to live in Arizona for six months. I didn’t expect to become so emotional when I found out, but I did. I have so many wonderful memories in that house.

Like the time when I was sixteen and home all alone overnight. I thought I heard something, and they didn’t mind that it was midnight when I came over because I was scared.

I also learned to make golumpki (stuffed cabbage) from my grandmother’s recipe at her kitchen table. I also gained a whole new appreciate for the effort put forth for our traditional Christmas entrĂ©e.

I will miss the Heritage Hallway. There was a hallway filled with old pictures of my aunt and uncle’s family. Whenever I would look at these photos, I felt connected to my family, especially my grandfather, who passed away long before I was born.

Aunt Nicki hosted my bridal shower at her house and worked together with my parents and other aunts and uncles to create a beautiful party. And the next day, I went to Aunt Nicki’s house to visit with her and Aunt Karen. I remember eating a giant bowl of cherries and just chatting with them. Something so simple, but so memorable.

I also remember the time when Aunt Nicki and Uncle Ned came over to see me after Marie was born. She made homemade chicken soup and chocolate biscotti. A few weeks later, she helped me bring Marie, only six weeks old, to get an ultrasound of her head.

I remember feeling totally comfortable dropping Marie off so Aunt Nicki and Uncle Ned could watch Marie while I emptied out my former classroom with my Dad. She was only 3 months old.

When Thomas was born, she came to see us and then dropped everything to watch Marie when there was a change in childcare plans.

I am not sure if Aunt Nicki and Uncle Ned know how much those moments mean to me.

It’s like this part of me and my family story is moving away, and it makes me sad. When someone in the family network moves away, left behind is a gap. I look back at all those important times in my life and realize the richness they have added to my life.

So instead of being sad because she won’t be in that home anymore, I am going to adopt a new saying. Instead of saying, “Home is where the heart is,” I am going to change it to “Heart is home to our memories.”

That house is not theirs anymore, but it doesn’t matter, because we all still have those memories with us. They have done so many nice things for me and my family that I want to show my appreciation and support by cheering them on in this new chapter of their life.

Because that’s what family does.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Feel Good Friday – Things That Made Me Smile This Week

Check out The Girl Next Door Grows Up and her Feel Good Friday post!

In attempt to lighten the mood after my two gratuitous self-realization posts, I am going to talk about some things that made me smile this week.

First this xtranormal video by Mompetiton. Check it out.

Did you see the comment about asking for an interview? Well, it happened, and here it is.

It makes me smile that someone can speak the truth in such a funny way AND get recognition for it. I think that is awesome!

The other thing that made me smile was this:

This was not a get-on-the-dog-statue-and-smile-for-the-camera pose. This was not a pose at all. The Babes just played and laughed together. And I just so happened to get a picture of it. This totally makes me feel good. Remember when I was stressing about whether they were going to get along or not? Now Marie is offering Thomas things like parts of her lunch or toys because as she says, “She’s thinking of him.”

You can’t see it, but there’s a puddle in my chest where my heart used to be.

On that note, have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Vancouver Trip: Deep Thoughts Part 2

Alternate Title: I Am Not a Control Freak, but I May Be JWoww

Today will conclude my deep thoughts while in Vancouver. Because, seriously, there’s other important things to talk about like my crippling fear of raw chicken and my new favorite place. So here are some other observations I made while in beautiful Vancouver:

Planner vs. Control Freak
I have come to the realization that I am A Planner. I love to plan for things. It gets me excited. I love to plan birthdays and holidays and fun activities. I like to make sure my alternative caregivers know the plan so they know what the Babes like. If the plan doesn’t work out exactly so, that’s OK, but I think information like how many vitamins to give and what their favorite foods are is helpful information.

I do not think I am A Control Freak (well, maybe about germs and raw chicken). Control Freaks, in my opinion, like to be in control of people. For instance, Control Freaks like to push their views onto others. They see others as an extension of themselves. Control Freaks want their kids to be Just Like Them rather than Be Their Own People. I used to think they were one in the same, but A Planner is much different than A Control Freak. I believe that I am not a Control Freak because I really do encourage The Babes to independent and explore what makes them happy. And by happy, I mean what makes-them-light-up-inside-happy, not eating-a-bottomless-jar-of-cookies-happy.

I also think that the energy of A Control Freak is different than the energy of A Planner. A Planner is pro-active and wants to do and to experience. A Control Freak’s energy is more fear-based and passive aggressive. They are afraid so they control.

This is just not me.

Having said that, I am a lot tad bit obsessive about germs, especially those that are associated with raw chicken.

I think I’ve let the view of others seep into my consciousness and cloud my perception of myself. I think traveling so far away from home helped me to realize the difference. I’m not exactly sure how or why I was able to see this, but instead of trying for figure it out, I am just going to be grateful for the distance to see who I really am.

Faking It
I am becoming more and more proficient in putting on my brave face, not just for the Babes, but for others. Networking makes me nervous, but I wasn’t going to let Harrington see me sweat. I wanted him to focus on this conference and not worry about me. So after weeks of preparing for this trip and an incident of “delayed luggage” (which is a brilliant term used by the airlines for lost luggage) and the overwhelming feeling that it was finally over, I lost. It. Freaked. The. F*CK. Out. I didn’t get the kind of reaction that I wanted because The Hubs was freaking out, too. Part of it is we are both kind of stumbling around all the changes that are going on right now. Another part of it is that I have changed. I used to be that person who was the epitome of an open book.

So the great part - I am mastering grace under pressure. The bad part - people don’t know what I am thinking and then surprised if I have an emotional outburst. Harrington and I had a conversation about this prior to the trip after watching Jersey Shore:

Me: Wow! JWoww is one tough broad. She says what she’s thinking and doesn’t waver. Everyone listens to her.

The Hubs: Why are you so surprised? That’s you.

Me: I’m not that scary, and when my boobs got that big, I pumped.

The Hubs: Everyone who is that strong in what they believe in can be scary to people are insecure.

I am pretty sure that was a compliment, but the bottom line is, if you cut me (or JWoww), we both bleed. If I am going to be brave, then I need support to decompress and refill the tank. In fact, I think part of being brave is respecting personal limits and vocalizing needs. But I do get the confusion: there is a disconnect when actions don't match up to feelings. When I was a kid, it took my Dad a lot to get angry. And when he yelled, it totally took me by surprise. I never knew he was getting angry. Back then, I never understood how he did it, but now I totally get it.

So I am not sure what I think about this new part of my personality emerging. Part of me feels empowered to be in control of my emotions and strong to be there for my family, but sometimes I feel lonely.

Eat, Pray, Love
As I stated in a previous post, I said that I was going to read this book. I am almost done, and I will reserve any and all comments until I am done reading.

So, Friends, have you changed in ways that you didn’t expect? How? Why? Do you often get caught up and start to believe what others think of you?

See you for Feel Good Friday!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Vancouver Trip: Deep Thoughts Part 1

Alternate Title: The Man vs. The Mom

My last post about Vancouver focused on the all the fun and happy thoughts because it was Feel Good Friday. However, I did have some observations that will be divided up into two posts. Yeah, who knew I’d have so many deep thoughts during a vacation.

Vacation vs. Business Trip
I actually misspoke when I said “vacation.” A “vacation” implies that I do what I want when I want to do it. This was not a vacation. It was a business trip for The Hubs, and a welcome, yet at times stressful, change of scenery for me. (And beautiful scenery at that). There was a business side to it for me since I had to go to a breakfast to meet all the other wives. Networking is hard enough when you all have something in common, say at BlogHer. Here there was a bit more navigating to find common ground.

Full-time Business World vs. Full-time Caregiver World
I got a glimpse into Harrington’s world. I used to think that when he was going out to entertain clients, he was drinking and carousing and having a fun time. Kind of like when we were in college, except with a tad bit more money. I would like to retract that uninformed opinion because I now see that he really is working. (Yes , it is out here, for all the Internet to see that I WAS WRONG). He and his clients aren’t sitting around talking about their kids or what happened on Jersey Shore or anything fun. Well, maybe fun for a little while to grease the wheels (more on that thought later). They are talking about business. One night, I went out with some clients whose wives were not with them. They were kind enough to take a break from business talk to discuss private schools versus public schools (a conversation I had had with one of the wives earlier that day). So that was nice, but I could sense I was getting in the way. And I was exhausted. And I don’t understand the jargon of The Business yet (which sound a bit organized crime-ish, but could not be further from that). So I excused myself to go to bed.

Although it seems like they are talking about sports and fun stuff, it’s really just to get down to business. And each person pushing their own agenda. Harrington often wonders why he’s so successful at work, but when he comes home, he can’t swing in and use his same successful work techniques. I think I can wrap up the answer up in two words: Agenda and Ego.

At work, he is constantly, yet subtly, pushing his own agenda. However, when raising kids and being of service to them, my own agenda is pretty much dropped. (And “being of service to them,” I don’t mean giving into their every whim, I mean giving of myself to them without expecting anything in return). My agenda, when it comes to them, is to help cultivate healthy, happy, and independent people. I’m not thinking about how I can get The Babes to do This or That so it benefits me. And not that Harrington is bad for thinking that way; in fact, I think that’s how one must think when functioning in the business world. His job is to make sure what he does benefits The Man.

But that’s not how raising kids works. Raising kids is all about what’s best for them. And what’s best is not always the most cost-effective, or the easiest, or the most time-efficient.

The whole ego thing is tied in there because when pushing a personal agenda, a person is thinking of themselves (or The Man). When a full-time caregiver’s main duty is to change poopy diapers, the ego fades pretty fast. I have a bit more to say about that here (scroll down to #3).

And please don’t mistake this as martyrdom. I have this one friend who always says, “It’s all about the kids. I don’t ever have time to go on the computer or talk on the phone or take a shower because they always need something. And I’m happy to do that. Because that’s what I am. A Mom. ” I totally don’t buy that, but that’s a post for another time. I believe that anyone who is of service to others needs to refill the tank. I blog. I think that’s pretty obvious that I am a strong believer in Me Time.

In fact, my next post goes to demonstrate that exact thing.

So, Friends, what deep thoughts (or shallow, no discrimination here) are you thinking today?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Feel Good Friday – Vancouver in Review

I did it!  I made it across the country, through three time zones and Customs, and reached the foreign country of Canada. Overall, it was an exciting adventure, and since this is a Feel Good Friday post, I’m going to stick with the fun stuff and leave the introspective observations for another post.

I forgot how much I loved to travel. The thought of being somewhere different and interesting always got my blood pumping. I was reminded of this love when I saw this:

I live in the Midwest and the scenery where I live really lacks that beautiful, rugged mountain look. I always feel inspired when I see different scenery.

When we got to the room of the Four Seasons, we ordered a little snack:

I've never really ordered room service ever.  The cheese platter was awesome, and I felt the honeycomb added a little something extra to the blue cheese.  And the crab cake balls - outstanding!

We then got ready to go to the cocktail reception party. It reminded me a little bit of the Mouthy Housewives party with all the free wine and delicious snacks. Well, that’s pretty much the only similarity. And since I’m on the subject of food, there was this big, breaded thing on a stick, and being around The Babes all the time, I TOTALLY thought it was a chicken nugget. Ah, but alas, I was pleasantly surprised by finding it was a big, giant delicious prawn. Yum! Unfortunately, there are no pictures to document this delectable treat because I was trying really hard to fit in (because we all know networking is a skill I am trying to improve), and I thought that taking pictures may put a damper on my goal to blend right in.

The next day we went on The Tour. It was AWESOME! I have always wanted to see the nature of the Pacific Northwest. These pictures pretty much show it all:
Up Grouse Mountain in a gondola . . .

. . . to see some bears (which look really quite gently when taking a sip from a pond). . .

 . . . to see a lumberjack show . . .

 . . .then back down the mountain to see a resevoir. . .

. . . and a dam . . .

. . . then we walked across the Capilano Suspension Bridge which is 230 feet high and 450 feet long (unfortunately I didn't realize that this was going to such an Indiana Jones-esque adventure because I would have brought my fedora and whip). . .

. . . this is what is below the bridge. . .

. . . to a treetop area with lots of little suspension bridges which reminded me of where the Lost Boys from Peter Pan would live. . .

. . . then we ended our tour at the fish hatchery to watch salmon jump up stream and  learned all about their life cycle which sounds kind of uninteresting but was actually quite fascinating.

Something about this part of the world nestled itself right into my soul. I know that sounds corny, but I fell in love with this scenery. I am, what I consider, mainly a beach girl. But lately, I have had this yearning to go to somewhere mountainous. I would love to go back to a place like this and spend some time there.

In addition, I did meet some nice people. This is a good thing because now I know some people when I have to do this all over again in another six months in another city.

You know that saying about one of the best things about traveling is going back home. Totally true:

Home is where the heart is. . .right here with these Babes.

So, do you have any travel plans? Where’s your favorite place to go?

Hope you have a great weekend! It’s great to be back!