Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Why must true wisdom be served with a side of fine lines, gray hair and a wider waistline!?!?

I'm feeling quite reflective and nostalgic of the life that I have LIVED over the last 20 years; my 40th birthday is waiting not-so-patiently in the wings.  And I must say...I'm beyond grateful for it ALL...the good, the bad and the ugly. 

From each and every loving, fulfilling relationship and friendship, to the hurtful moments when I walked away from those of whom I had either grown apart from or was betrayed by. Each of those connections has made me the woman that I am today. Only recently have I accepted that not everyone is going to like me…and that’s okay. They don’t have to.  They don’t have to want to get to know me…they don’t have to hear my story…they don’t have to give me a second chance, if I think that they have the wrong impression.  I no longer feel the need to make everyone my friend…if you’re in…you’ve got my undivided attention, loyalty, company and support.  If you’re out…I’m not going to force it, just because I think we would be wonderful friends…I now require the same out of relationships, as I put in…and THAT feels good…in fact I’d say it’s worth a gray hair or two.

There has been a myriad of thrilling experiences and an equal amount basic life skills acquired through trial and error. It makes me feel both proud and accomplished that I have crossed plenty of things off my bucket list, like skydiving and scuba diving, but I also know how to live alone, iron a shirt and cook an entire meal from scratch. Both the adventurous and the mundane moments, feed my soul.   

I’ve had few hard life lessons that definitely left marks, yet with so much FUN and BEAUTY peppered in-between the painful mistakes, I can hardly see the scars anymore.  I can’t imagine if I walked around with bitterness in my heart.  But I don’t totally forget either (I’m talking to you bf who after you had me help you MOVE into your new girlfriends house *unknowingly*, only to wait to break-up with me over the PHONE, AFTER I had driven six hours home…yeah…that was messed up. I haven’t forgotten that one, but I do forgive you).

I’m happy that I’ve been able to paint with a wide economic brush; it’s taught me a lot. I have had years of living a true top-shelf, five-star life, where a budget wasn't really a concern and then I’ve had years on the “other side of the tracks”, living pay check to pay check, in a questionable neighborhood.  Although most of my life has resided in a happy medium of the spectrum and that mid-range is definitely my sweet spot. Knowing how to live and be happy under different sets of circumstances is invaluable.  I learned when I had less....that truly equals more, in so many ways, there was less stress with a small space, you learn how to be resourceful when you don’t have unlimited resources, the library is a wonderful place to use the internet, read the latest publications and get DVDs (who knew?!?).  There is no pressure to "Keep up with the Joneses", when you're not a Jones. There is REAL beauty in simplicity.  I acquired a decent skill-set of street smarts, scary neighborhoods and rough looking people aren't necessarily bad.  Lawn and nose-bleed seats are JUST as fun, as the front row.  I learned that a $5.00 bottle wine can be as tasty as a $25.00 one.  But I'm also thankful for the highfalutin times...I learned that I really, really like first-class air travel, fancy hotels, a six hour spa day is where it's at and a $200 sushi dinner does taste better than a $20 one.  

I have learned to love my body, it’s strong and beautiful.  I do my best to take care of it and protect it…but there is always room for improvement.  I wish that I could go back and slap my 20 something year old self! When I was 123 pounds, I wanted to be 110…I was rocking tiny bikinis and thought I was a cow. I was never tan enough, because I thought that helped make me look skinnier. I’d take diet pills and only consume 500 calories a day.  All I can do is shake my head at that girl and hope that my own daughter knows how beautiful she is no matter what the scale or boyfriend says.  Perfection doesn’t exist, but being comfortable in your own skin is as perfect as you can get. I want my daughter to honor her body and cherish her health, as I have learned to do,  too late in the game.  I no longer pray to lose weight…I pray to stay healthy.

I’m pleased that I’ve grown out of most things silly and stupid…like buying every color of a sweater, lipstick or pair of pants that I like…pretty ridiculous…and wasteful.  I’ve got a retirement to fund and kids to send to college!! The list of stupid is pretty long…I’m actually lucky to be here if I really think about it…which I try not to do…I always thought I had a good head on my shoulders….but looking back, I was not only naïve, but dumb.  Like that time that I was flirting with a guy on the 101 freeway, he motioned to pull off at the next exit and I did!!!! If that wasn’t enough of a red flag, he only gave me his work number…what the hell was I thinking?!? I was a Dateline story waiting to happen!!!! Good thing I don’t do stuff like that anymore…my husband probably wouldn't like it too much if I did.

I’ve learned to not sit on my words…I no longer have only an inner dialog when something moves my meter in a negative way.  I’ve spent so much time in life keeping the peace and going with the flow, I never was one to give my opinion.  But with the fine lines that I’ve earned on my face, has come a BOLDNESS that I embrace…being bold does not mean that you are a bitch and the two should never be confused. It took about 35 years, but I found my voice and I like how it sounds.

Well…here’s to NOT being 21….I wouldn’t go back if I could, even knowing all that do now, because it wouldn’t lead me to where I am today and that would break my heart.  Cheers to the next 40 years!!     

Saturday, July 18, 2015

All I want for Christmas is 2 nights sleep!!

That's two nights SLEEP Santa, not two front TEETH...please hear me clearly....it's not a typical request...but it is mine!  With all this "Christmas in July" business, it's got me thinking about the holiday.  And all I truly want is to sleep, uninterrupted for two nights in a row....hell...one uninterrupted night of rest would do the trick!  Pretty sad that I've been wanting to write about this for weeks, but am too exhausted to put my fingers to the keyboard.  

 I know that I'm not alone.  Every parent has been sleep deprived from time to time.  It's a phase, and this too shall pass. But we have been in a BAD sleep cycle for MONTHS. What I wouldn't give to sleep for more than 2-3 hours at a time.  I'm in a dance with my kids that consumes me from 8 PM until 6 AM....first the fight to go to sleep.  Never, in my life have I meet a better negotiator or staller than my 4 year old. One more book....more water....I need a Band-Aid....I need to pee....really???? I've never seen someone suck down so much fluid as to move the potty meter like this kid.  And I'm the sucker that falls for all of it...one more book...absolutely...I want to promote literacy after all!! More water....of course...it's summer and we should stay hydrated.  You have to pee and it's not a fight....let's go! *Sigh* An hour later we're both fast asleep, I make my escape.  My husband has had the baby down for at least 30 minutes prior and thus beings my "me time".  Where to start???? Clean the house....nah.....catch up on email and social media....such a time suck.....folding laundry while watching my shows....ehh....I should go do some sit-ups and push-ups.....Maybe read....I haven't done that in 4 years...argh!! I've spent an hour frozen dabbling in everything and accomplishing nothing and now the baby is awake. 

I get her back down and call it a night myself...at this point it's 10:30 PM.  Around 1 AM my little teether *who's currently cutting 6 theeth at once* is back awake....this poor kid....if she's not teething, she's been sick.  A bottle and diaper change for my sweet girl and we're back to sleep by 1:30 AM....now I'm kicking myself for waiting until after 11 to fall asleep the first time.  But it's ok.  It's only 1:30....I can still get 5 good hours. And I had that nap from 8:30 until 9:00 PM...remember???  3:00 AM....the loudest whisper yell is in my ear "Moooooooommmmy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy!!" Oh for crying out loud....little mister is hovering over me....it's feels like I just fell back asleep.  Maybe it was a bad dream....unable to locate his favorite "blue blanket" in the dark....the need to potty from drinking a gallon of water before bed....hard to say...but he's up and needing some minor assistance to go back to sleep.  Done....I crawl back into bed.  I still have 3 hours before I have to get up.  It's okay....I try to convince myself. Then I think for a second that I should just get up and do the "me time" stuff I wanted to do at 9:00 PM...no that's dumb...sleep....I need my sleep!!! I'm officially losing it thinking that I should wake up at 3:30 AM to scrub toilets...fold laundry....return some emails...watch Dateline....and do some sit-ups!!

My dreams/hallucinations teeter between being startled awake thinking I'm being called in a whisper scream or I hear "something" on the baby monitor.  OR....and this is my preferred end of the spectrum....my bed...fresh sheets....lightly scented....a dark room that is completely silent, with only a gentle breeze moving in the trees, washing over my body, keeping me at the perfect temperature for blissful rest.....I drift off reading and only awaken by the warmth of the sun on my face and birds chirping.  Nirvana.  I'm sure some day...but not anytime soon.  And that's okay....I love that my littles need and want me and that's what keeps me going....but dammit....I do miss the 8 hours of sleep that used to be my norm!

 I implore you, if you have managed to solidly sleep for 6 hours straight, at least once this week.  Be thankful.  And when I crack....because I will, if this cycle doesn't stop soon, please come visit me at the hospital.  But not at night.  


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Potty training is NOT for pansies!

If you are one of the lucky ones who had a just turned 3 year old wake up one morning and say *Yawn* "Mommy I'm done with diapers" *Big Stretch* and from that day moving forward never had one misstep to the toilet, embraced their new super hero undies with pride and would run not walk to the bathroom.  There may be no need for you to continue reading. 

Had our first and only experience with potty training been our second child, I may have never been compelled to reflect on the CIA esque "training" that I'm up to my eyeballs in with my older child currently.  My 11 month old daughter uses the potty, as if on command, like she was born knowing how, going on over a month now....she has a 98% success rate. I'm pretty sure she's my husbands favorite, because she's the only one in the house who seems to care about saving a dollar along with the environment and if she could only talk and/or walk herself to the bathroom...I'm certain that she'd be 100% "trained".  The girl has got it down.  

My son, my son on the other hand has been in the "program" as I like to call it for over a year now.  Yes, I said YEAR.  We started right after he turned 3, he wasn't showing any interest. But what the heck, we thought we'd give it a go. He's smart, but super busy and active...maybe he just needs some encouragement.  I was in the last trimester of my pregnancy and I'll be honest...shadowing my toddler like I was his understudy for a hot Broadway play was not at the top of my to-do list.  Watching him like a hawk, putting him on the potty every 15 minutes and not really being able to leave the house.  Yeah, my heart wasn't into it.  I had bigger fish to fry.  And after all....I had heard LOTS of urban mommy legends about how "they just were ready one day, and that was it", story after story of self trainers.  Cool.  Even better when I took him to his 3 year old well check visit and his pediatrician pretty much told us to stop, and I quote "If you push, he'll push back." Wonderful! We're off the hook...We can have our weekends back...Woooohooo!! Besides, the kid could not be bought or bribed.  No treat, sticker or toy seemed to motivate him.  Now I could retreat from stock piling Dollar Tree Store crap.

Life then moved forward, FAST.  Baby was born, toddler moved schools, we sold our house and moved to a new one, it was the holidays and we got hit hard with illness after illness. Can you say "REGRESSION CITY?!?"  And just like that, we are a year down the road and still struggling for an accident free weekend.  So I did it.  I got serious about it this past 3 day weekend.  My husband and I were committed and there was no turning back.  I am here to tell you....you DON'T KNOW POTTY TRAINING until you've spent a long weekend solely focused on it and by focused I mean, you feel like you're in a hostage situation.  Held up in a bathroom....just you and the resistant one.  There is a stack of children's books, a tablet (maybe watching a show will help), a couple of bottles of water, the foam letters and numbers from the tub to keep all parties entertained, yet educated at the same time (might as well kill two birds with one stone), and that's it.  There you sit, and wait, and wait and wait and wait and wait for nature to kick in....for me I passed the time in numerous ways, I used a towel as a pillow to lay down for a bit...keeping one eye on the kiddo at all times, there was no place to hide, I did a few sit-ups to feel productive too and that way if anyone asked how I spent my weekend I could honestly say that I worked out.  It felt a little bit like being in prison, if you could have a plush bathmat there. Not that I know what prison is like, this is just a guess. Stuck in a small room, not a lot to keep busy with, staring a toilet. Miserable right?

I'm here to tell you, if you say that you're still toilet training your just turned 4 year old...you're going to get some looks.  This is a mommy war that hits below the belt.  No one wants to still be buying diapers or cleaning up messes. Trust me.  To think that a parent is somehow at fault for this progression or lack there of is unfair to say the least. So don't do it, don't get caught up in judgmental stares when you see someone buying not just size 4 diapers for a baby, but size 6 too and pullups and underwear, because they want to be ready for anything. But I digress, back to the bathroom floor,  no one was leaving until a #2 happened in the toilet.  NO ONE. Because that is the part of the process that trips my son up. The kid has been peeing in the toilet like a champ, forever. But we all know...there are two parts to this puzzle.  At my last pediatrician visit I asked the doctor the same question...to which I was met with an unsettling reply...."This is normal, I have 5 year old patients that still don't go #2 in the toilet.  Don't worry, you aren't going to be breaking any records." Whaaaaaaaaaaat....hell no....I'm not going to have to quit my job over this to home school!  Although I do partly blame working full-time because consistency is the key in learning anything new and when you work hard on something Saturday and Sunday, then don't do anything with it Monday-Friday, can you really hope for the best outcome?  

So my husband and I took shifts this weekend, there were snack breaks and yard walks.  We were serious, but not cruel.  We talked about nothing else. We were primarily focused on the task at hand! My repetitive chants to my son were the background music of the weekend and potentially for the neighbors too, so sorry about that! In a cheerleading-like voice we had this exchange about 40 times:  Where do we go to the bathroom?? "On the toilet" Where do we ONLY go to the bathroom? "The toilet" When are we going to do that?? "All the time". You want to give up, you want to give in...wave the white flag and just hand the boy a pullup already.  But we didn't and we had a victory.  It's hard to process that a whole day was spent hanging out in a bathroom or by a potty, for one win.....but that's how this played out.  And guess what....it was worth it....I think we all shed a tear...my husband and mine were of happiness and joy....my son's...well I'm pretty sure his was relief...pure relief that we'd now get off of his ass *pun intended*...and relief for finally letting it go...we may have encouraged prunes as a snack...and he may have eaten more than a few.  Hey, these are tough times....and you do what you have to do!

So the next time someone complains about potty training their toddler...and it took them less then 3 days or only 3 days.  Tell them they don't know what they're talking about....unless you've been so starved that you ordered a pizza from your bathroom floor, because there was no time to cook.  The same floor that you were previously doing sit-ups on and reading 6 Elmo books about using the potty over and over again, you now have them memorized, along with binge watching Dinosaur Train, ALL DAY LONG with a half naked kiddo. You.Just.Don't.Know. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Celebrating the Simple!

It is oh so true what they say…whoever “they” are.  That life is about enjoying the simple things.  The small victories are what makes our heart sing.  And for me, this couldn’t be more on point.

This has been a great week.  I was productive at work.  I kept my family alive to see another weekend.  And at the moment, we are all healthy.  Praise the LORD.  I didn’t realize how appreciative I’d be to have all four of us healthy at the same time.  You’d think that this would be an easy task, not so much.  My heart breaks for all of those who have to deal with chronic or serious illness! This day to day stuff is exhausting and I know that it could be so much worse.  The annoying childhood germ bugs that can’t be avoided are the bane of my existence.  One child gets sick, then the other the following week, then Dad, then Mom.  Sometimes all at once, that’s fun.  But usually it is evenly distributed over the course of a month.  So much so that I don’t remember what “healthy” feels like.  But then one day…no one is sick.  And I think…we should never leave the house AGAIN.  EVER.

Speaking of my house.  It, at the moment is not falling down around our ears.  The floors are clean, everything is wiped down and looking good.  But don’t look in the hallway, there you’ll find 5 loads of clean, unfolded laundry, chilling getting super wrinkled and don’t go into the garage, you could get hurt!! But overall, not too shabby!  The kids aren’t home just yet, so this is only going to last another 10 minutes or so.

I’ve stocked my fridge and pantry for the week.  No foreseeable need to venture out this weekend.  Which gives me an unreasonable amount of joy and happiness. Hold that thought, was just informed by the hubby that the keg is tapped out and we need beer for the long weekend….off to Costco I go.  It would have felt weird to not join the masses anyway.

I offered to do something for someone and I actually did it.  No need to go into the details.  But we’ve all been there.  Offer to do something nice and not labor intensive, but there is no immediate need.  And you forget, that is until you see that person again and feel like a jackass.  But I’m no jackass this week.  I offered and executed.  Win.

I put photos in my daughter’s photo album.  It was 6 pictures.  But still…it’s a start!!

And lastly.  I had ONE baby gift, ONE first birthday gift and FIVE out of town graduation gifts to package and mail.  Before the baby outgrew the onesie, before the toddler had moved past the baby puzzles and before it was no longer 2015 and the gifts that I purchased with “Class of 2015” peppered all over them were no longer relevant (because that has happened circa 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, for which I apologize).  And I DID it, I boxed them up, wrote in cards and drove my tooshie to my nearest Postal center.  I’m pretty sure that I either danced or skipped on my way out of the Post Office, SO HAPPY.  This is my life.  Timely mailings of cards and packages equal pride and victory and I’m going to relish in the moment.  How I came to this place is a mystery, but more importantly I don’t care and I’m feeling pretty good about myself! 

This momma is celebrating a hugely uneventful, yet so successful week.  Starting with a glass of wine….and if I want to go for the gold…maybe I’ll start folding.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Tale of Two Colds.

Two people have colds…maybe allergies…..either way, not feeling awesome.   Their symptoms are identical.

Here’s a synopsis of what transpires over a 48 hour period:

Person A:  Sigh, moan, cough, sigh, sneeze, moan, cough, more like hacking.  I just feel awful,  just terrible…clears throat.  Sigh, sneeze, deep breath, more moaning.  Some throat clearing *loudly*, sighing, another big breath.  Sniffle, sneeze, cough, sniffle,  clears throat.  Big deep breath, pathetic moan, obnoxious sniffling and coughing ensues.  Can hardly get through the day.  This continues for a solid 2 days.  I won’t give you the entire transcript, as I’m already annoyed by what I just typed.  But you get the idea.

Person B:  Suffers silently, confident that this too shall pass. Life goes on.

My husband is “Person A”, I am “Person B”. Shocking, I know.  And before I start getting hate mail from the guys.  Please note…this IS funny because it’s true.  You know it.  Own it.  And while there are certainly exceptions to the rule….most males can’t take sickness “like a man”.  Generally, illness + men= disaster. 

So it got me thinking.   There should be a halfway house that husbands can go to when they’re sick.  A safe place, where eye rolling does not exist and the people there are happy to listen to you complain incisively.  They will gladly cater to your every whim…bring you OJ, make you soup…unless of course it’s too warm outside and soup doesn’t sound good to you, so you’d rather have a nice fruit salad or something…they’ll do that…because that’s their job.  They will leave you alone to suffer properly, and by properly I mean watching TV, playing video games or reading a book on the couch.  There will be no one to yell at you “get up off your butt and help with the kids, you giant baby”. No that doesn’t ever happen at the house of Manly Sickness.  But before you get worried ladies that your men will catch a cold and never come home…fear not…because remember there are others like your man staying at this house too….moan, sigh, sneeze, cough, sniffle, big breath, sad moan.  They’ll want to get the heck out of there real quick, just like you want to run away from home when they are with you and under the weather.

So who’s going to start this business venture? Anyone?? I’ll take your first lifetime membership!  Please.  Because if I have to listen to one more, sigh, moan, hacking cough, sneeze or sniffle that is non life-threatening and over exaggerated like someone is trying to win an Academy Award…I’m going to scream!

As you can see my husband has been fighting the good fight with the pharmaceuticals below and I will happily pack these up for him to share with his new friends at the house. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

It Goes Way Beyond Dirt and Dinosaurs.

You’re having a BOY!! What??? No, that can’t be right…I’m as girlie as they get…I “felt” as though I was expecting a girl…I’ve been calling this baby Delaney for the last 5 months!  A boy?!?!? What am I supposed to do with a boy??

After the shock wore off,  the excitement started to settle in! I’m married to a male, I have 3 younger brothers, my husband isn’t my first relationship….clearly I like and I’m familiar with boys.  I can raise a boy.

I knew what to expect (somewhat) and have a plan in raising him to be a well-rounded little dude.  Despite my best efforts to maintain a degree of gender neutralism in our home, for example: by buying him a play kitchen in which he plays “house” where sometimes he’s the “Mom” sometime the “Dad” and sometimes the “Grandma”, I still can’t control what he mostly gravitates towards, which is ALL of the stereotypical “boy” stuff…dirt, monster trucks, trains, bugs, rough housing, the color blue, being gross and at times inappropriate. I still feel confident that he’s well on his way to being a great, thoughtful and sensitive gentleman someday.  Not a beer guzzling, belching jerk.

 Even though I felt pretty prepared to have another male in my life, my son still manages to surprise me on a regular basis, even four years into the job.  This past week has been no exception.  Starting with a bowling party that we went to last Saturday…In-between sets he rested his head amongst two bowling balls…as though it was the most comfortable spot in the place…not the loungey sofas….but the bowling balls…I couldn’t stop him.  You like what you like, right?   

Later in the week as I was putting him to bed and he farted…loud.   Before I could remind him to say excuse me he said “My butt is talking” and he proceeded to blow several raspberries.  Intrigued I asked him what his butt was saying….to which he replied.  “I don’t know, it’s baby talk.” I guess we’ll have to ask your little sister to translate.   

The next day as I was getting him in the bath I noticed that he had dirt in EVERY nook and cranny…what the heck? “I like to roll around in the dirt like a pig.” he said. Alrighty.  5 minutes later he was snorting, needing to blow his nose.  When I handed him a tissue he refused.  “I’m just sounding like a pig and breathing at the same time.” Did he go on a fieldtrip to a farm without my permission? Why all of a sudden is he channeling a pig?  I don’t have the answer for what makes a boy's boy tick.  I just know that I’m going to have to up my aromatherapy game before puberty hits.  So bring on the boogers and ball scratching…I’ve got his. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Patience for the Picky Eater.

Tonight’s dinner for my 4 year old consisted of blueberries, a slice of cheddar cheese, a bowl of cheerios, ¾ of toasted pub bun (which happened to belong to my salmon burger, that I’m happy to share, I don’t need the calories), a plate of baked steak fries and a 50/50 mix of OJ and water.  Don’t judge…if you are the proud parent of a picky eater, you understand.    I NEVER understood…until I had a picky eater.  The only thing I didn’t like as a child was liver and onions and beef tongue *both VERY reasonable dislikes* and mashed potatoes…maybe a texture thing…maybe they were instant??? Who knows…I’ll still pass on the liver and onions and beef tongue today…but bring me a plate of garlicky, cheesy mashed potatoes and I’m all in! Which gives me hope for my son…picky today….a foodie tomorrow!?!  But that still doesn’t mean that I don’t get frustrated from time to time….for example:  Are you eating freaking chicken nuggets this week or not????

 In my freezer I’ve got 3 different varieties of “nuggets”…Dino…which were popular for some time….Micky Mouse….less popular *mostly rejected* and “regular” which seem to be hit or miss.  What the hell??? A chicken nugget is a chicken nugget, right??? Not so much…As far as I’m concerned they’re all nasty.  But my son, he knows what he likes and what's unacceptable.  Right now nuggets are out.  Maybe tomorrow they will be in.  Who knows!?!  This is why I keep them all until they’re gone, collecting freezer burn.   I know this for sure.  I don’t believe that for one minute at 22 he’ll only being eating a strict diet of peanut butter, pancakes, grilled cheese, fruit, yogurt, cucumbers, carrots and gummies.  So maybe I should go ahead and make a reservation for him and I….in the spring of 2033 at French Laundry in Napa?  As a sign of faith.  I would have never thought that I’d be sad that my child wouldn’t eat pizza or mac & cheese.  I should be celebrating this…not upset!  I know that this kid in going to turn the corner at some point and be stealing my salad and asking to order a whole pizza….as for now…as long as he has a fruit, veggie and a reasonable amount of protein in a 24 hour period, I’m happy! 
And for all you parents who have toddlers loving on quinoa, kale and tofu…congratulations.  I’m happy for you.  But guess what, that doesn’t make you a superior parent.  So if you roll your eyes at my cheese stick-breakfast bar-fruit leather loving son one more time…your eyes are going to stay in the back of your head!   Just saying…we all should pick our battles…within our walls and outside of them too.