Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Stories to Forget

Since a new year is starting I want to air my grievences from 2009 so I can rid myself of them and start anew. Here goes...
1) I want to forget all the times I said yes when I should have said NO!
2) I want to wash away the whiney kid voices sassing me.
3) I want to get rid of my poor body image.
4) I want to stop feeling like good enough is not good enough.
5)I need to remove my sad feelings of having my youngest start kindergarten.
6) I need to erase my feeling of abandonment when Chris has to travel for work.
7) I need to remember that sometimes people want to do things for me simply because they like me not because someone is holding a gun to their head.
8) I will drop the constant, futile attempt to keep up and fit in.
Well, there it is...I've said it...now, out with 2009 and bring on 2010!

Monday, December 28, 2009

This Old House

My parents have had my childhood home up for sale for months. There have not been any serious offers in all that time. I had myself convinced that they would decide to take it off the market and live there forever. Up until now. They have a decent offer and things could possible move at warp speed. Logically I know it is a house, made of material not flesh and blood. Somewhere between the plaster and wood this place became more to me then just shelter. It stopped being inanimate and became a part of the family. All the things that happened there and the memories that were created brought it to life. I know it seems silly to become emotionally involved with a house but sometimes relationships take on a life of their own. That old house saw me through loose teeth and skinned knees. It was there for birthday parties and sleepovers. In more recent years it has been the central gathering place for holidays with my own children and their cousins. I know my dad is tired of dealing with the upkeep that comes with a 100 year old house and my mom is tired of cleaning 3 full bathrooms when it is only the two of them. I know that logically a smaller home would be more practical for them. Logic sometimes can't supersede feelings of the heart though. I can't help but be sad knowing that goodbye is coming. Luckily when I close my eyes and think about my childhood I can still recall all the special times that played out between those four walls that were our home sweet home for so many years. I hope whoever it is that is going to acquire the house will love it like we have. I hope they can make memories of their own and find a special place in their heart for that house on Garden Road.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Eyes Wide Open

Fresh out of college I headed into teaching with an unbridled passion to make a difference in the world. I interviewed lots of places but ended up accepting an offer from a small rural distract with dilapidated buildings and lots of "everyone knows everyone" mentality. I had my eyes opened right a way to reality. My class was filled with impoverished kids that had dirty faces and ill fitting clothes. Many lived in one room apartments with sleeping bags on the floor as their beds. One little boy was stumbling around one day wincing with each step. I took off his two sizes too small shoe to find his bloody toes sticking through thread bare socks. My morning lessons were constantly interrupted by tiny tummies growling. I brought in cereal and milk to feed them but it was never enough. Once I caught a little boy sticking the cereal box in his backpack. When I asked him why he took it he told me to give some to his baby brother and mom. He said it in such a matter of fact way with no regret as if he had had to go to such drastic measures before. I won't forget the empty look in his eyes or the eruption of shivers that flew down my spine.
My own children have so much and I want them to know....NO I need them to know that there are children out there who face hunger and cold in their own homes. Kids who have to beg, borrow and steal just to survive each day. I want them to know that these are just kids like they are who have interests and personalities just like they do. Over the last eleven years that I have been a mom I have often wondered how those kids turned out. My short time with them had such a profound effect on me but I can't talk myself into thinking I made the same sort of impression on them.
Years ago when I went to my Principal and told him I was going to have a baby of my own and that I wasn't coming back to teaching he said something to me that will forever repeat in my head. He said that I am the kind of person that should have lots of kids. That I would spread to my own children the same type of integrity and positive spirit that I worked so hard to spread to my students. He said that he knew that any children of mine would grow up to make a positive impression on the world. Now my eyes are wide open to the evils of the world and I think of his words often and I spend a lot of time hoping he was right.

Friday, December 18, 2009

My List

Instead of doing a traditional list of some of my favorite things I have decided to make a list of things I don't ever actually have to try to know beyond a shadow of a doubt I will not like...

1) Sushi

2) Mowing the lawn or shoveling the snow

3) Ironing

4) High heels

5) Massages, manicures or professional waxing ...of any kind

6) A colonoscopy

7) The McRib (how can a rib not have a bone???)

8) Sarah Palin's book

9) Biggest Loser

10) Cigarettes

11) Moonshine

12) Getting a ticket

13) Being a room mom

14) Shopping with my mother-in-law

15) A bidet

What is on your list??

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Magic in Words

This holiday season I have been struggling with what I can find out there to give my most favorite people. In my lifetime there seem to be that handful of friends that I classify as the ones who are just simply my people. The ones that I feel a kinship with and what I hope is a mutual admiration. Some are friends I have had a lifetime and others are newly found but all fit into the narrow category. All I hope to keep until I am old and gray. The obligatory bottle of wine or plate of cookies just don't seem to be enough. This year I have an odd, tugging feeling inside telling me to seize the moment while I have the chance. Instead of wracking my brain to find a material gift I should wrap up my words as their gift. I feel like what I have to say can make them realize what incredible people they are and how much I respect and enjoy them. These things are often an unspoken feeling between friends but sometimes it is good to actually affirm the sentiments. So although I didn't find these gifts in stores I hope they find value in the hands of the people that receive them. If I can convey the gift they have given to me through the simple use of words then I have found the true meaning of the holidays.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sibling Reflection

Lately I have taken some time to sit and observe the interaction between my three kids and it has really made me start thinking about how and why siblings can be so different. They grow up in the same house with the same parents so logically you would think their experiences would be similar. My three kids could not be more different. I see parts of my husband and I melded together ..the best and the worst parts..and deposited into each one. The main thing guiding those traits though is the unique personality that they were born with already in place. At my house we have Miss Drama With a Heart of Gold, Miss The World is Against Me, and Miss INTENSE. This tells me that we can parent each one the same and come up with three very different outcomes. I see it in my own siblings. We all grew up in the same house and lived through the same experiences yet none of us remember it in the same way. One of us will remember the lesson we learned, someone else will remember the punishment and usually the third doesn't even remember the incident happening at all (that one is usually me..I tend to block things out). Every time I try to create a memory or teach a lesson for my children, I reflect back on the fact that whatever I am trying to teach or ingrain in them will be tossed and turned and interpreted in three very different ways. The one thing I want to shine through beyond the differences is that I love them and support their ideas and feelings. Not in spite of their uniqueness but because of it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I Am That Mom



I am THAT Mom....

....who lets my kids lick the bowl after making cookies, raw egg and all

....who pretends I don't hear anyone crying in the middle of the night so my husband has to deal

....who has to dig for matching socks every single morning for my kids and if I can't find them then I just tell them to wear boots

...who bribes my kids with treats, even at 7am

....who uses Google to help with homework

....who avoids all volunteer "opportunities" at the school

...who puts my youngest in the babysitting place at the grocery even when I have absolutely no shopping to do.

....who loves the invention of Uncrustables and Lunchables

...who wears sweaty workout wear and a hat to the bus stop every day

....who must have fountain Diet Coke on a daily basis even if it means raiding my kids piggy banks or my husbands wallet

....who stays awake all night worrying about my daughter that is struggling in school

....who sees my own preteen angst in my eleven year old's eyes

....who sometimes tears up when I realize my baby isn't really a baby anymore

I am that mom.

Are you that mom?

inspired by Susie.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Bigger Picture

I keep getting caught in all the details and detainment of every day life. Situations in the here and now seem to consume me and weigh me down. I can't get past all of that to see the bigger picture. I want to and I try to but I can't seem to move all those things out of the way to get a clear view. I try to remember that in the larger picture a lot of the stress and hardships along the way don't really contribute. The outcome is what it is whether or not I spend my time in a state of anxiety. What seems to be the worst thing in the world while it is happening might simply be the steps that need to be taken to reach the finish. Telling myself doesn't seem to be enough though when I see such bad things happen to such good people. Challenges like sickness, death and addiction seem like more then just parts to a bigger puzzle at the time they are happening. In reality they lead us all in new and different directions and often make us stronger and more resilient in life. Adversity turns us into who we are and who we were always meant to be.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ribbons and Bows

If I wrote a yearly Christmas Letter (which I don't) it would probably look something like what I have written below. It is a sort of showcase of some beautiful classic snapshots of our whimsical,warm, happy holiday season so far.

*After dragging out 6 decoration boxes laden with memories of Christmas past I quickly picked 2 things out of each box then dragged them all back to the basement where they will sit untouched for another year.

*Instead of pouring over cookbooks and planning the holiday meals this year I am focusing on what is really important: the wine list and the dessert.

* I am relishing in the fact that my two older girls are having a really hard time finding anything to put on their Christmas lists. They are much more interested in shopping for the foster kids we are sponsoring this year and even want to help pay for the toys on their lists.


*In an effort to stop myself from eating all the treats laying around I gulped some hot cocoa and bunt my taste buds. Too bad I decided that I could remember well enough what everything tastes like so I would just go ahead and eat them anyway.

*The girls and I have found a nifty alternative use for the Advent calendar this December! We are using it to keep track of all the days Chris is traveling between now and Christmas.

*I caught Amelia screaming at the classic Rudolph on the TV. She was telling the Burl Ives snowman how annoying he was and informing him that he better get off the screen as she fast forwarded.

*I am pretty sure that the girls special elves that come to visit every year are following me around this year. I hope they haven't seen or heard anything that they shouldn't!

*I am having a major stand off with Mother Nature. She wants the cold, snow and ice to come and I refuse to acknowledge it...I continue to get up at 6:30 and run most mornings. Hopefully she won't teach me a lesson by making me fall!

*Chris has set up his usual elaborate Christmas train display. The cats are enjoying lounging around the town and chewing on the wires and the little people. It is like they think he set it up just for them.

* I have taken on a holiday job this year! I am working as a neighborhood exterminator specializing in birds and mice. I like payment in the form of Starbucks and holiday cookies.

*Sorry this letter didn't make it inside the Christmas cards...it might have if I hadn't let my 5 year old seal, stamp and put labels on all the cards. At least it entertained her for an hour. Unfortunately it took me an hour to go back and peel the stamps and labels on and straighten them out.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Loosening the Grip

The other day one of my kids decided to wear two different socks to school. Another wore cowboy boots with sweatpants. At one time this would have sent me into a tailspin. When the girls wore little cutsie outfits with frilly bows were a must. Mommy and me classes and comparing developmental milestones were the norm. They seemed important. Back then what people thought of my parenting seemed so attached to what they thought of my children. Over the years my parenting has morphed into a more laid back style. I have realized that giving the kids choices in every aspect of their lives gives them depth and diversity. It creates individuality and self reliance. When they make mistakes it gives them the chance to create solutions that will hopefully help them when they face similar problems later. When I hear other parents say that their kid is the most perfect athlete or the smartest child out there I worry that they are setting them up for failure. NO one is perfect 100% of the time and I can't imagine the pressure an expectation like that puts on a child. I want my kids to set tough but obtainable goals that they feel comfortable working towards. People on the outside might think I have gotten lackadaisical over the years but to me that refers to being lazy or not caring. I prefer to describe myself as relaxed and flexible but supportive and encouraging. I want my children to grow up to be independent self starters with an affinity for diversity and the ability to find solutions within themselves.

Friday, November 27, 2009

In One Ear and Out the Other.

I love my husband. I really do. We have an unspoken connection that appeared the moment we met. Loving someone and understanding their pattern of thought are two different things. I feel like he is hearing about every third word I say to him and most of that goes in and out without any absorption. Almost like a ball bouncing back off a wall. What I say doesn't permeate into his mind but comes back for me to rehash in my own head over and over. Then I come up with a few scenarios that he could use in the situation to fill the emotional void without any hurt feelings or anger.

Men want only pertinent info and a quick and unobscured solution. No details especially when they involve gossip or personal stories. When you read what the supposed experts say about communication between men and woman I feel like the men are given a sort of out. Woman are advised to be straight forward..men aren't mind readers tell them what you need or want. Appreciate and praise them like puppies and let them get away with only scraping the surface of every situation. At some point in a lifelong relationship there must be at least a glimmer of speaking the same language or a commitment could never be formed. If they can do it once I know they have the ability so there is no excuse to continue the typical, easier, mannish behavior. Trying to shoulder the emotional needs of two people makes me really tired. Instead of him being from Mars and me from Venus I want us both to come down to Earth.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Over the Dysfunctional River and Through the Woods to Grandmother's House We Go!

The holidays are supposed to bring about joy, peace and love but this year everywhere I look I see exposed raw nerves , distaste and selfishness. It is like the season brings about so many unresolved issues and deep dark emotions then they bubble to the top and take control. Everything gets tangled together and it is hard to sort out who and what the holidays are all about. To everyone the right and real reason is different. Sometimes it is about the kids and sometimes it is about the elders. For some it is about faith and beliefs. Whatever the reason for the season it is almost impossible not to lose the magical, fuzzy, kid like feeling on the quest to figure it out. While trying to juggle 4 or 5 different people's happiness in the air your own is sure to get tossed aside. When it is the kids that are the ones in question then I don't mind being tossed away but if it is selfish people who can't see past their own wants and needs I find it time to re-evaluate. Why should my sanity come behind those who chose to consistently disregard everyone else the rest of the year?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Blogiversary

I have been blogging for one whole year. When I started I didn't expect to get much out of the endeavor. I started on a whim and just let it roll....and roll it has. It has picked up steam with every turn and has become its own entity. A friend and a confidante. I have found so much more out about myself and other people through expressing myself through writing. I find it easier to be honest when I have a chance to gather my thoughts and ideas and put it into a post. I really like writing about things that mean something to me. Most of the time I forget that other people are even reading what I write. I enjoy provoking thought and even debate. If what I have to say means something to someone it is worth me writing it. Someday I will print my blog off and give it to my kids as a "baby book" of sorts since I am really bad about actually filling those kinds of things out. I hope that what I have to say means something to them and they realize that I am not just their mom but also a person with memories, feelings and ideas of my own.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Lost Art of Love Letters

Let me preface this by saying Chris has been gone a week and a half and I am a little sappy. Plus I am hoping he might read this and get the hint ;)

Sometimes I wish I was back in the time before the internet and phones where available to connect people. I wish I was back when men wrote love letters to their wives. The written word can evoke such emotion by speaking the truth in a way that is hard to verbalize. Even 15 years ago when Chris went on a lengthy trip to Russia I remember waiting for the letters and cherishing every word. They were the key to remembering why we were so connected to each other. When I felt alone or sad all I needed to do was read the words and remember that we aspire to each other. Even now when I come across the tattered letters I sit and read them and tears easily come to my eyes. It makes me remember the sadness I felt when he was away and the exhilaration I felt when he returned. Those letters encase the rawest form of our blossoming romance.
When you write a love letter it is like putting words to your feelings for eternity. There is something so simple and beautiful about sharing emotions in a handwritten form that it makes it intimate and real. To receive something that is so pure and beautiful, when it is really meant, is a treasure to embrace forever.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Experience

I looked down at my eleven year old's hands today and I saw my own hands from years ago. Smooth nimble fingers with shapely long nails. Hands from before. Before any innocence is gone. Before love or graduation or babies. Before heartbreak or losing a loved one. Her hands reminded me of myself from years ago. I wish there was a way to prepare her for all the things that are to come. To let her know that the tears won't last and that the dramas will subside. That she should be true to herself and her knowledge of right and wrong. Experience will teach her all these things better then I can explain them to her young unsuspecting mind. Experience is something that can not be taught but has to be gained over a period of time. When I was eleven I remember looking at my grandmas hands and thinking about how they were weathered and gnarled. I didn't understand then how they got that way but now I know.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Trust

Have you ever noticed how all things in life are cyclical?? Things run smoothly for a while but then a period of rough times comes along. The smoother the time the more invincible you feel and the harder it is to remind yourself that the tougher times are coming. When things seem tough and you get sucked under it is almost impossible to see that it is only a matter of time until things even out again. A lot of that really depends on investing yourself in the concept of trust. To have a confident expectation of something in the future. What we know to be true through past experience is likely to happen again. We know the sun will rise every morning and set at night because we have seen it before. We are confident it will happen tomorrow because it happened today. Things are rough now but I trust that soon they will revert back to the smooth sailing. My cross to bare may not be as big as some I have heard lately but it is still my burden to struggle with. For now I am relying on the certainty of the future and all I trust it has in store for me.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What Changes Stays the Same

Change is something I am fearful of. I like things the same, known and repetitive. When things change instead of feeling the adrenaline rush of newness I feel the overwhelming need to breath into a paper bag. I totally believe that situations change and needs change but I have a hard time convincing myself that people actually change. Mostly I think people try to change and pretend to change, maybe even to themselves, but stay the same person that they always have been. I want to give the benefit of the doubt to those who show up a seemingly better person then they once were. When they seem no longer petty or cut throat. Back to me not being a big fan of change. I feel guilty because I can't embrace the idea that someone isn't who I know them to be. Someone who has proven to me over and over that they are a wolf in sheep's clothing and every time I give in a little and begin to trust the sharp teeth come out. See, I can't change either no matter how much I try. I am the same person I have always been.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Veering Off Course

Sometimes I feel like I didn't sign up for this. When I got engaged and started planning a wedding and a life everything looked so simple and easy. I was full of optimism and ambition. I saw myself living in a big (clean) house with my 2.5 kids and my husband who got home at 5:30 every night. My husband always brought me flowers and we never fought in those visions. My kids always got straight A's and said please and thank you. Everything moved smoothly and happily and there were never any bumps or lumps. I certainly didn't sign up for the sassy mouths and the messy rooms. Nope. Didn't ask for Chris to travel endlessly or for all the hiccups our house has given us over the years. Of course now I realize that is just life. Even though most of my optimism has turned to sarcasm and my ambition has changed course I do realize I have gotten some really great stuff I didn't sign up for too. I could never have known the depth of love and connection I would feel for my children. How their tears would make my heart hurt and their laughter would make it smile. I certainly didn't realize how much my husbands support would mean to me through all the highs and lows. I also couldn't see that happiness without some anger and sadness just isn't as vibrant or real. So here I sit in my messy house so far off my intended course I could never in a million years find my way back. Sometimes going off course is the only true way to discover new things and find what you may have never even known you were looking for.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Grinched

My daughter's newest favorite book is How the Grinch Stole Christmas. She wants me to read it over and over to her night after night. I realized this weekend, as the calendar hit the first of November, that I feel a great kinship with the Grinch. I have a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach about the holidays. As much as I hope I can push past the stress of the in-law get togethers and all the planning to get to the magic I never seem to be able too. As a kid I remember all the fun stuff. The glittery magic of Santa and the many traditions of the season. The thing that I have realized is that that is what we as parents want the kids to remember from their childhood. We don't want them to shoulder the family drama or the monetary problems. We need them to see only the warm fires and the pretty packages. We want them to bake cookies without thinking of the calories. We want them to say what they are thankful for around the holiday table without reservations or maybes. We need them to be innocent and gullible because that is what the best memories are made of. They have plenty of time to realize that there is always something more going on behind the curtain. For now I want to try and push aside the heaviness of trying to pull the wool over their eyes and recapture the magic. I want my heart to grow a few sizes and I want to remember what it is like to enjoy the season.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pity, Party of One

The glass just can not get half full around here lately. Sickness is abound. School conferences are coming my way not to mention the dreaded holidays. Chris is traveling. A lot. I can't seem to catch a break. Just when I think there might be an upswing something else manages to happen. I keep trying to tell myself that there are way worse things that people are dealing with in life. That my problems are a mere drop in the bucket and I should get over it and make the best of all that is good. Unfortunately in my everyday world and my life the things that get me down are what I am facing. To me those things are what I have to figure out and deal with. Although my struggles might be considered simple to those who face bigger things to me they seem as mountainous. I look at the horrible things out there that I read or see on TV and I feel compassion and I hope for good things for all those people. Still though the fact that others face larger obstacles does not make the challenges I face feel smaller or less significant to me. Thanks for joining me at my little party glad you could come and hear rationalization at its finest.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Different Makes the World Go Round

When I started college many moons ago I bounced around from major to major. At first thinking about speech therapy then moving on to nursing and eventually settling on special education (which I think is now called something else but since my diploma says that I will go with it). Through all of the choosing the only thing that stayed the same was that I wanted to help people in some way. When I settled on special ed. I took a lot of courses introducing me to all sorts of different types of people with varying alternative needs (as I like to say). Everything from babies and preschoolers to adults in group homes. Some of it was shocking and most all of it was heart wrenching. I know that coming into someones life after the difference is noticed and identified makes that a part of who they are. When I met my students they were labeled and had plans already in place to address their needs. The difference is that whatever challenges they had weren't really decipherable from who they were ...it was all blended into just them. What I am coming to find out is that if you already know and love someone before the difference is identified I think it might be harder to accept or understand. You try to have a clear vision and listen to the experts but through the jumble of terms all you really see is the person the same way you did before. This can be good and bad. Good because they are the same person, just with a new dimension added into the complexity of their personality. Bad because it makes you realize that there is no such thing as perfect or easy. Nothing is tied up neatly with a bow. More like wrapped in used Sunday comics and tied with an old piece of twine. Luckily perspective is a friend in all of this. From some angles all the differences glare but from others they are starting to meld together.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mommy Mask

No matter how hard I try to be the kind of mom you see on TV and in books I just can't get there. I feel like an impostor, someone who is going through the motions but just doesn't have their head in the game. Half the time I look in the mirror and am shocked at what I see. I could never be a 38 year old mother of 3 when I still feel 15 inside. No matter how hard I try I can't figure out where all the room moms and volunteers get their motivation. I hide from that. I break out in a cold sweat when I even think about having to be in charge of a party or an event. Some would say being a good mom is having total focus on your children but I feel like that is wrong. How can you forfeit yourself as a person to focus on your children? It is important to nourish your relationships and interests so that you can be a happy person and in turn a happy mother. When I hear moms brag about never spending time alone with their husbands because that would mean diverting attention from their children it makes my skin crawl. Children can't learn to have a healthy relationship without seeing one with their own eyes. Being a good mom doesn't always mean being the top dog of the school or the cookie mom for girl scouts. Sometimes being the best mom starts with being a happy mom who doesn't have to hide behind a mask at all.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bubble Wrap Extraordinaire

From the very beginning I have done all I could to protect my kids from the evils of the world. I don't want them to be cold or hungry. I certainly don't want them to face illness or injury. I don't want them to be bullied or have hurt feelings. But I realized today that there is only so much you can do to protect them. You can not wrap them in bubble wrap or lock them in the house. You can't be there 24 hours a day to make sure they are ok and you definitely can't follow them around with a bottle of lysol. All this flu talk has everyone on edge and it has certainly made me take notice. I have thought about it and I think that spending hours worrying and agonizing about the what ifs will make you miss out on the for sure happening right nows. I won't keep my kids home from party's or the mall to avoid possible germs. I can't stand at school and make sure they wash their hands ten times a day. The whole thing seems similar to when your kids learn to ride without training wheels. You have to trust that they will pedal and steer. You have to let them experience the skinned knees and bruises so that they are tougher and more persistent. You have armed them with a helmet and taught them to balance. Besides imagine how miserable they would be trapped inside a bubble with no human contact. They would miss the thrill of the first day of school, they would never have that first homecoming dance or enjoy their first kiss. Sometimes it is hard to remember that you have to take the bad with the good but the good is just so worth the risk.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Birthday Like No Other.

We trained. We bonded. We ran. We finished! What a happy Birthday!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Celebrating Introspection

Some day when I am telling my grand kids the story of my life I will certainly make this year an epic chapter. My 37th year has been full of lots of self discovery and new enjoyments. I have unearthed some old friends and discovered some brand new ones. I have thrown caution to the wind over and over, constantly widening my comfort zone.
I started my blog on a whim during this year and it has become a friend and confidant for me. It lets me vent one day and express my feelings the next. Writing has become an important part of my daily life again and I love feeling the sense of accomplishment when I can convey my thoughts. I enjoy the conversations I have with my sister while we debate and decide on new and interesting blog topics. She and my friend Heidi are my sounding boards and I appreciate and trust their opinions and ideas.
I also found a new addiction this year. Running. At first I thought that training for my first 1/2 marathon would be about becoming more physically aware but I have learned it is about so much more. It has made me realize that I have the ability to conquer whatever goal I set my mind too. I have also found something that doesn't come along too often after you hit your 30's...new friends. Don't get me wrong the physical differences are great but the honest truth is the other things I have found are more important to me.
This year has also given me a chance to face some of my old demons from childhood through my middle daughter. She is so much like I was when I was her age it is almost eerie She looks like I looked at her age and has the same sort of quirks that I did. The frustration I feel when trying to make sure that she doesn't feel the hurt I felt has been hard to deal with. I want to take it from her so she doesn't have to find her way through the anxiety. I am beginning to realize the only way she can overcome the fears is to face them head on. I can not relive the things that I have already faced any more then she can skip over the road blocks set out in front of her.
Another challenge has been realizing that sometimes people's problems just can't be fixed in one foul swoop. Sometimes they can't be fixed at all and as much as I hope for it and try to make it happen it may never be able to come true. Sometimes the only thing you can do is walk away. That can be the best thing for everyone involved. Even if you still care and want the best for them sometimes you just can't continue to be a part of their life.
The most important thing I think I have concluded in the last 12 months is that humor in the face of sadness and adversity makes those hard to handle things a little less intense and a little more able to digest. If you can't see the humor in yourself and your life how can anyone else?
When I am all gray and wrinkled, telling this chapter of my story I will remember this year as important and endearing. One that made me think and made me cry. Mostly though I will remember the laughter and the friendship. I hope that my 38th year will be as memorable. I have a feeling it will since I am starting the first day by running 13.1 miles in my first 1/2 marathon along side some of my favorite people!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Have the Jitter Bug

I am always telling my kids to calm down and take a deep breath. To count to ten and slowly release the air all the while imagining whatever is stressing them out disappearing into thin air. Too often I push their angst to the side in my head regarding it as nothing and just a stage. Then I get a much needed cold slap in the face when I have to go head -to- head with nerves and anxiety myself. I get a refresher course in the horrible jittery feeling and the inability to concentrate. I get the jumbled brain and the teary eyes. My shoulders tense up and my thoughts are scattered. Butterflies on a major caffeine high soar around in my stomach. I am an adult with 37 (Ahem almost 38) years experience dealing with these uncomfortable feelings and it still bothers me and makes me feel out of sorts. Kids are small but to them their problems are humongous and earth shattering. Even if I think the reason for their panic is not a good one I have to remember that they are experiencing the same physical response as I do when I am nervous. Just because my stress might be about an adult issue doesn't make it feel any worse then if it were about a spelling test or forgetting your lunch money. I love it when my kids teach me something important about myself. Now please excuse me, I am going to take a deep breath and count to ten and hope my anxiety disappears.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Parenting 101

I hate being confronted with a parenting issue mid chaotic situation. I don't like having to make those kinds of decisions 1)on my own 2) quickly and 3)in front of my three kids. I take my girls to the pediatricians office rarely. They are healthy and have only been on antibiotics a handful of times and have had no major issues. I took all three in today for the flu mist and at the same time my oldest, Caroline, needed a well child visit and several booster shots. Let me first say I have put off taking her over the past few years because of her intense fear of needles. I shouldn't have but I did. As much for myself as for her. Finally I figured I would kill two birds with one stone and take them all for the flu stuff and to get her all caught up on her vaccinations. I knew the whole thing was going drastically wrong when during my ELEVEN year olds routine exam the word shot was mentioned and she started hyperventilating and crying. The Dr. was actually really good with her and talked to her in an adult way and calmed her down. When rewinding the whole visit I realize NOW that the whole thing could have been easily prevented IF the Dr. had just given her the shots then. Instead we had to sit and wait for a while between her exam and the nurse coming in to give the mist and the shots. The nurse came in gruff and pointy. My two younger girls were arguing about who got to go first to get the mist. She said it doesn't matter and threw a tissue and one of them and quickly shoved the syringe up and said BREATH IN! Then did the same to the other one. Meanwhile Caroline had time to build everything up inside and was in total panic mode. As the nurse came toward her with the nose syringe she totally lost it. Hyperventilating, coughing crying. The nurse grabbed her by the arm and shoved the syringe in her nose and yelled at her to BREATH IN. What happened next keeps happening again and again in my head in slow motion. More importantly how I handled it vs how I should have handled it is in high definition and theater sound. The nurse took the cap off the needle and stood there with it in the air. Caroline took one look and started trying to fall away from where the needle was toward the floor. I grabbed her and tried to reason with her while the nurse began to YELL at her and tell her that she needed to hurry up and get over there because she had other people she needed to go give shots too. By then we got one shot done and Caroline was screaming about how badly it hurt and the nurse started yelling that it only hurt because Caroline kept moving around and not acting her age or standing still. The entire time all this was going on Amelia was sitting to the side with her hands over her ears shrieking at the top of her lungs. I had the words formulated in my head of what I wanted...no felt I needed to say to that nurse but I couldn't say any of it. I wanted to tell her that she works in a pediatrician's office and that although my child isn't a baby or toddler she is still a kid with a fear. I wanted to say that she could have handled it better and been more gentle and persuasive. But the other side of my brain was saying loudly in my ear "hey your kid was being a major asshole...she was embarrassing and ridiculous and if you say something to the nurse about her inappropriate behavior in front of Caroline then she will feel justified in her actions." So there I was once again in that parenting no mans land that calls for a quick decision and once again I left feeling like I hadn't been my child's advocate. Why is being a parent like one giant game of Battleship where I end up feeling like the ship that sank into the dark cold water??

For Suzanne

Nine years ago today, on a Friday the 13th ,I welcomed my second child,Olivia, into the world. She was born with beautiful big eyes , white fuzz on her head and a delicious dimple in her cheek. We loved her from the moment we saw her and felt that Friday the 13th was the luckiest day ever. We basked in the highest elation possible and rode the wave of pride and love. That day was so special to me in many ways. She was born the day before my mom's birthday and just a few days before mine. I felt a certain kinship with her right away and still do. When I looked at her I somehow saw myself.

As much as this day holds picture perfect memories for me that isn't the case for my friend, Suzanne. October 13 is a day that she would rather forget, a day that can never be erased. It is a day all her waves came crashing down. On October 13, 2005 her precious son, Austin, lost his battle with Spinal Muscle Atrophy(SMA). He was four. For her the day certainly holds a deeper sorrow then I have ever known. I can only imagine how hard that day was and how much courage it must have taken to continue to go on afterward. I did not know her then but I feel our paths crossed recently for some greater good in both of our lives. I feel a connection for Suzanne a lot like I did for Olivia when she was born. We seem to really understand each other.

When I get out of bed today I will spend my time thinking about the great joy of that day nine years ago. What I was doing as each hour hits and how my anticipation and excitement built leading up to Olivia's arrival. I will remember the happy barrage of visitors and the many well wishes. I will be able to hug Olivia and tell her I love her today. When Suzanne wakes up today her thoughts will be in stark contrast to mine. She will remember each minute of that day too but with reluctance and heaviness. Please take a moment to check out this site to learn about Spinal Muscular Atrophy and the research that is being done to eradicate it. Also check this site out to join in with me and my running group which includes Suzanne on a walk/run on November 15 to benefit SMA research.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Is That a Light at the End of the Tunnel??

Tunnel vision is a terrible thing to have. It is impossible to have perspective about anything when you can't include all the details to the side. People who have tunnel vision are often unable to take into consideration the hurt that they may cause by spouting their narrow views. Many times I think that jealousy and desperation fuel the inability to see outside that dark claustrophobic tunnel. I understand we all get caught up in being righteous about one thing or another but sometimes in the quest to be morally superior compassion and truth are forgotten. The last few days have been a lesson in being judged for me. I don't think I deserve it and I don't like it even a little bit. Mostly though I think it is unnecessary for people in glass houses to toss boulders. When you want something more then anything in the world and you can't have it but you see someone else out there with three of them well I guess you disregard humor, every day experience and real life to try and make yourself feel less like a lost soul. I have decided not to let it impact my ability to see the humor in my life and my ability as a mother. After all laughter together with love make the world go round.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Prouder then any Peacock

I have always been rather wishy-washy when it comes to finishing what I start. Books get half read and walls get half painted. I tend to get distracted and unable to focus on goals especially ones that take lots of time and energy. Sometimes it is a self confidence issue that steers me away from completing what I start. I would rather not complete the task at all then do it the wrong way. The last ten months I have really proven something to myself. I somehow got it in my head that I wanted to run a 1/2 marathon. At first I wasn't sure how I would accomplish such a hefty feat but surprisingly after I really set my mind to it everything fell into place. I connected with a fabulous running group right in my neighborhood that has been a great support system for me. Together we put together a plan based on as much information about running as we could gather. We all posted the plan on our refrigerators and we have all stuck to it with amazing tenacity. We have dealt with varies and frequent injuries. We have run in the heat, the cold and the rain. We have woken up early 4 times a week and committed ourselves to our goal. The race is only a week away and I have to say I feel ready to run and more importantly I feel excessively proud of myself for sticking with it through good and bad. After all is said and done the true benefits go way past the actual running. I have found a camaraderie among women that I probably never would have known past a casual glance. I have increased my confidence and I have realized that I can do whatever I put out there for myself. I am looking forward to completing the 1/2 marathon on October 18th and I plan to run the whole 13.1 miles even though I feel like I have already gone the distance.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Like Leather....

I keep trying to remember that it is important in life to have thick skin. Pretty much anything that is crucial and meaningful involves shoveling through a bunch of garbage, naysayers and criticism. Sometimes I feel like I have a soft soul and that makes it so much easier to get wounded. Much of this insecurity arises from a deep-seated belief that my worth comes from what I do, because what I do defines who I am. My thin skin lets the tiny glances and small words permeate easily and travel straight to my heart. Of course you can't just disregard all negative feedback and live in a fantasy land but at the same time you can't let the negativity change the course of your life. The key is finding a balance somewhere in the middle where you use the negative comments to make improvements but are able to totally disregard the downright abusive crap. My eleven year old daughter is just emerging into the stage where is she is going to face the cruel years of peer ridicule. I want to arm her with the tools to develop some scar tissue so she isn't open to the hurt and pain caused by teasing and rejection. The problem with that is even though I know how much it hurts to deal with those situations because I have been through them there is no way to truly give her immunity. The only way for her to build up the callouses is for her to be immersed in the situation and hopefully fall back on the strong foundation that I have laid for her. I know thicker skin protects you from feeling the hurt with such depth and resonation. With such thick skin and a heavy heart you can't feel the bad things but it is equally as hard to feel all the good things. I want her to have a flexible heart that still weeps and hurts because without those raw emotions I find it hard to have compassion or love.

Monday, October 5, 2009

NOT Me Monday!

Playing along with the blog carnival over at My Charming Kids... join in and laugh at all your faux pas like me and relish in the free therapy!
There is no way I have removed scissors AND a hole punch from my kindergartner's room at least 6 times in the last week...she could never be climbing up a cabinet to find out where I keep hiding them and sneaking them in at night.

Amelia could never have worn her costume for 12 hours straight including to the bus stop and to Costco. I certainly did not have to glue the mask back together even though we only bought it yesterday at Walmart.
I am not afraid to use the new toilet my dad and husband so nicely installed this weekend and I don't have a recurring nightmare that it will fall through the floor with me on it..nope not me!

There is no way my sister's mother in law faked a heart attack to get out of watching her kids for the weekend and there is certainly no way they ended up at my house while she got to go out for a romantic evening


No way my 3rd grader tested positive for the flu AND strep and missed 3 days of school..no way one of the days was picture day.


My 11 year old could never have disappeared into her room and emerged ten minutes later with glitter eyeshadow thinking I wouldn't notice.


I am not super duper excited to go shopping and to lunch for my birthday this week while all three girls are at school nope not me!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Mending a Broken Heart

The other day my nephew and my five year old were playing upstairs. Suddenly my nephew came running down in sheer panic. He told me that they had been playing Dr and that they were trying to fix his broken heart. He lifted his shirt and showed me his chest and it was covered with a barrage of band aids. He thought the band aids were super glued on and would never come off. I quickly tore them off and his crying slowed but the whole incident really made me think. How easy would it be if a broken heart really could be mended by an outer force like a band aid? Or a kind word? Or maybe a hug? The thing I have learned about broken hearts is that the only person who can truly mend them is the one who owns the hurt. Sometimes it takes soul searching and time to get through the pain. Sometimes it takes wallowing through self pity and grief to get there. Even when the heart is mended though it is still really tender and not quite as strong as it was before. An important thing to remember is that a broken heart is still a beating heart. No matter how much it hurts and how much despair you feel you have to keep living. You have to move past the hurt to a future no matter how painful it is to get there.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

As Funny As Running in the Rain


Life seems so ironic lately. It's like when you get ahead of the game then fall on your face. When you try to sneak a nap and forget to wake up. The house is all clean then the craft drawer explodes. Laundry is caught up and sheets are fresh and someone gets the flu. Finally take the time to fix a home cooked meal and no one is hungry to eat. Manage to avoid the pediatrician for 6 months and then have to call four times in one week. All three kids are in school during the day but every evening is packed to the gills with sports and scouting. The temperature drops and frost shows up but the coats are still packed away somewhere in the basement. Its like when you take up running to get skinny but the only pants you can find to run in are maternity pants from years ago. It is like life is trying to play a practical joke these days. When the good shows up the bad is only a hiccup away. I will take the chaos though as long as the next joyous moment is just around the corner.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Not Me Monday!

Joining in with My Charming Kids and the blog carnival Not Me Monday!



I certainly didn't almost NOT write a Not Me Monday today because my week has consisted of whooping cough, running in the freezing rain and learning disabilities and I really do NOT find much humor in any of those things. REALLY.

My husband could never have been staring at my chest and I didn't ask him why...he certainly didn't answer I think your boobs are getting smaller with a big frown. I didn't jump up and down and cheer about someone thinking my boobs looked smaller that would have been silly.

I could never have run 12 miles then sat through a volleyball game and then a soccer game and then another soccer game...nope not me. I certainly didn't look at my watch and think CRAP it is 5 o'clock already, my Saturday is GONE!

We didn't go to a party where I planned to have 1 or 2 glasses of wine but ended up having considerably more because the hostess was a little too good and kept refilling every time I took a sip..no way! I certainly didn't drunk text with my sister when I got home from the party and there is no way I IM'd with a friend and totally erased it from my memory....that would be just so juvenile.

I didn't run a 5K in the POURING rain and I certainly didn't strip my dripping wet shirt off in the parking lot in front of a bunch of people to put on a dry shirt, that would be way too scary a sight.




Sunday, September 27, 2009

Life Is Unfair....Or Is It??

Sometimes I sit and watch my three girls and observe the differences in their personalities. They are all three such individuals with such unique characters. I often try to get a glimpse into what type of path each one will choose to take in life. Then I start to wonder if the path actually chooses you. Why is one child born knowing how to slide through life easily with no snags while another faces challenge after challenge struggling at every turn? Some kids learn to read and write with little direction as if it was just instinctual. Some kids are automatic people magnets and can mesh with anyone in any situation. Other kids seem to have to fight to stay above water. Academics present as much of a challenge as social situations. I wonder if not being able to sail smoothly is preparing them for something that they will face later on down the road. Maybe they are destined for something that is not easily found. Something that takes practice with patience that they learn as they endure all the struggles of their early demons. Something that seems so unfair now might actually be preparing them for eventual greatness.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Fall of the Easter Bunny the Tooth Fairy and Even the Jolly Old Guy

Yesterday I read a little blurb that mentioned something about the Easter Bunny and didn't think a thing about it but when I fell asleep I had one of those memory dreams. The kind of dream that comes from something so monumental in your life that each instant is recreated exactly the way it happened. My dream started out with my family traveling in our rustic (aka rusty) old green VW van to Arkansas to visit my Grandparents. I think it was the Spring of 1981 ...so I would have been 9 and a half. We used to take the middle seats out of the van and put sleeping bags on the floor so we could sleep during the 15 hour trip. This was before car seats and seat belts were the norm. My brother who would have been 12 at the time sat on the back seat and my little sister who was around 5 and I laid on the sleeping bags on the floor. My mom had tons of shopping bags suitcases squeezed in around us and I remember wondering what might be in the bags. Once everyone was asleep I began to peek in some of the bags. At first I wasn't sure what I saw was really what it seemed to be so I kept digging. I had come upon our Easter baskets and all of the goodies that were to go inside including the bright pink grass and the sickly sweet jelly beans. It took a few minutes to sink in as I laid there in disbelief. I tried to rationalize it all to myself that maybe the Easter Bunny had packed it up and left it for my mom to bring on the trip but eventually the reality hit me like a landslide. The magic of the Bunny faded to almost nothing. I didn't say a word about it and still haven't to my parents. I played along but inside my head I kept thinking what a joke. It took me only a few more minutes to realize that if the Easter bunny was a lie then the Tooth Fairy had to be one too. The hardest one to reconcile in my kid sized brain was Santa. He just had to be real. He was so magical and jovial. How could my parents fake me out for almost 10 years?? In the end I decided to pretend to believe so I could still receive. I ended up receiving more then I bargained for. I really do still feel the magic of the characters. Even now I don't know for sure my parents realize that I don't still think the Easter Bunny hops in and fills the baskets or that dear old Saint Nick slides down the chimney on Christmas Eve. I just assume they do since I am now the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Santa to my own children. My eleven year old hasn't said a word to me. I have gotten a few winks when the Tooth Fairy occasionally forgets to show up and she tells her younger sister's with a twinkle in her eye that I sometimes help the Easter Bunny and Santa. I think she knows the adult truth but is choosing to keep the magic alive for her sister's for as long as possible. Her glass is still full of childhood wonderment . Don't we all need a little more magic in our lives??

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pay No Attention to the Crazy Lady Behind the Curtain

I am having one of those parental conundrums and I feel like the joke is on me. It is like I can't step up to the plate and make the choices I need to make. I keep trying to get there but I keep slipping and falling in the mud. Inside my brain I still feel like I am the kid and not the parent. I want to hide in the corner and let the real adult take over. Instead here I am covered in mud and trying make decisions that will affect my children now and for the rest of their lives. One slip and I might end up with a bank robber or a hooker in the making. Obviously I am exaggerating a tiny bit but the reality is that the choices seem just that crucial. Maybe I should just fall back on all that training I received before I had children to assure that I would be a good parent. That test I had to take to get that license to prove I could parent with the best of them. OHHH that is right, parents don't need a license like fisherman do to catch FISH and real estate agents need to sell HOUSES. You give birth to a HUMAN BEING and two days later you get sent home to practice fly by the seat of your pants parenting..making it up as you go relying on our own perceptions other then a predetermined plan. The poor first kid is the voodoo doll that you practice with all your unsolicited tips as needles and if they survive and come out unscathed you might consider having a second child. Unfortunately each little voodoo doll is made of a unique material and the same needles that worked on your first certainly won't be as effective on your second or subsequent children. Sometimes all you can do is throw caution to the wind and learn from your mistakes. Luckily kids are much more resilient then their parents.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Not Me Monday!

Following along with the blog carnival over at My Charming Kids! Join in the fun!



I could never have hidden in the locked bathroom more then once(or twice) this week so I could play on my phone in peace. I certainly didn't sit on the edge of the tub in only a towel so I wasn't technically lying when I kept saying that I was getting dressed to my five year old when she knocked every 2 minutes.

My five year old certainly did NOT choose to wear fashionable shoes over comfortable ones for a walkathon at school and she absolutely could never have gotten bleeding blisters because of it.

I did not consider running 7 miles easy because that would be utterly ridiculous and I didn't regret thinking that when I was limping around afterward.

I didn't roll over in bed and tell my kid to go get herself a bowl of cereal just so I could sleep an extra 15 minutes...nope not me!

My five year old could not be SO obsessed by Halloween that she went through the costume catalog and circled possible costumes and x'd out ones she didn't like. She could never have called me over while she was looking at the catalog and said in horror "LOOK Mom! Little Red Riding Hood stole Dorothy's ruby slippers" that would have been too funny!

I certainly didn't go to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese over the weekend and feel my blood pressure rise when the guy dressed up as the mouse came out and started hugging everyone...no way would a 37 year old woman feel that way!

I would never attend a school carnival and sit and socialize with everyone I usually try to avoid. I certainly didn't dress up in something cute to go and I could never have spent extra time on my hair and make up..nope NOT me!

There is no way we got a family picture taken for the very first time EVER and my friend of 30+ years certainly didn't' take them for us. We could never have all worn white shirts for the pictures and by the end of the day the shirts surely could not have been stained beyond recognition.

I didn't have to dig through the crumbs on the bottom of my purse for quarters so I could feed my new Starbucks iced tea addiction more then a few times this week ..nope not ME!

I could never have felt my heart break a little when I heard Patrick Swayze died and I certainly didn't start singing Dirty Dancing songs in my head..absolutely not!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Remembering

I choose today to remember that life can change in a split second. Today six years ago it almost did. My nephew was born after a fairly normal pregnancy into a traumatic first few days of life. While our focus was on him my sister's condition also became extremely dire. We almost lost both of them. Our lives almost changed then for the worse. Instead things stopped free falling into disaster and improved and life went on as it was intended. That day is left behind as nothing more then a small blip on our lives, a story for him to tell his own children. Owen is now a happy, healthy energetic boy who loves Lego and Star Wars. He has no memory of that day and what could have been. How narrowly he escaped a whole different kind of existence on this earth. I choose to take this day every year to remember to live each day to its fullest and to cherish each memory. To not put off what I can do today until tomorrow because tomorrow might never come. To tell those I love how I feel so they hear the words. I love you Abby and Owen. Have a happy birthday!


September 2003
September 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Chosen One

Let me preface this by saying that I love all three of my children to the depth of my soul and center of my being. They are all three beautiful, intelligent and special.

You know how it is as kids grown into new ages and stages and there are some you like better then others?? I have to say that if I was asked at any given moment who my favorite child is there might be a different answer. Sometimes I think Amelia is just the cutest most adorable smartest 5 year old. Other times I find her voice to be like nails on a chalk board and her shrill laugh sounds like the Devil himself. Sometimes I find Olivia's sensitive unique outlook to be an endearing quality. Other times I want to cover my ears so I can't hear the whining and crying and go running in the opposite direction. Sometimes I think Caroline's need to describe every single minute of her day to be cute and grown up . Other times the incessant jabbering makes me want to saw my ears off. I guess what I am trying to say is I have favorite parts of each of their personalities and when they are letting that part shine through then they are by far the chosen one. That might last a minute or a day or even a week but eventually they will fall away from the spotlight and another sister will pop in. Each enjoys their reign as queen. I think this is the quintessential lesson in sharing..don't you?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Not Me Monday!

Joining in with Mckmama over at My Charming Kids with Not ME Monday! Come along for the ride!

My five year old certainly did NOT take her bike for a ride without asking and go knocking on neighbors doors telling her friends to come for a sleepover. She absolutely did not get in huge trouble and have to go apologize.

I definitely did not run 15 whole miles. I could never have run the whole way imagining all the food that I would eat..nope that would have been counter productive.

I could never have finally gotten my diamond anniversary band back from the jeweler after a month and I certainly didn't spend the rest of the day staring at it sparkle in the sunlight.

I could never have gone to a volleyball game and two soccer games all in one day and all three teams certainly didn't lose.

There is no way we got new wood floors on the first floor of our house and it is impossible that I found a few mistakes. I could never have pointed out the mistakes to Chris and then gone and hid in my car so he could deal with the floor guys because I can't deal with confrontation..no way that would have been immature and silly.

I did NOT have a blog follower drop me after I posted my opinion of the whole Obama speaking in the schools thing...no way that people could be that narrow minded. I could never have felt horrible about her dropping me even though I don't really agree with much of what she says anyway.

We could never have run totally out of toilet paper and have to move on to tissues and I certainly didn't get tell the girls to only use half so we could make it one more day before I had to go to the store...nope that would have been lazy and unmotherly.

I haven't had insomnia over the last week thinking about 9/11 and remembering all the details of that day and I certainly haven't woken in a cold sweat in a panic ...nope not ME!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

9/11

Every year during this second week of September a dark shadow creeps into my heart. The sounds of planes overhead brings a shiver to my spine and my thoughts drift back to eight years ago. The sheer panic and immediate pain we as a nation felt was so profound and enveloping it hard to remember that there was a carefree time before. I remember the exact moment on that day that I knew nothing would ever be the same. I was holding my 11 month old and trying to get my 3 year old ready for her very first day of preschool. The phone rang and my dad told me to turn on the TV. At that second in time the loud chaos around me turned to a whirring and I had to sit down. It wasn't clear yet exactly what was happening or why but it was clear it was tragic and life changing. As the morning went on and the rest of the horrific reality unfolded in front of the world it was quite clear that this was not just a horrible accident but a purposeful act of a despicable group of people. In the days and months that followed that terrible day my thoughts turned to the people left behind that had to live the rest of their lives impacted by those acts. I can't imagine their pain but what seems to surprise me more is their courage. Many have used their own loss to make our nation a better place. Around this time of year I think it is so important for all of us to come together and show unity and strength. We must all support each other and not split apart and fight among ourselves. Weakness and uncertainty are what those secretly watching wanted and hoped for eight years ago. Instead we came together and made it through the crisis and came out the other side a more compassionate unified nation.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Journey of a Pack Rat

For me inanimate objects represent memories of real life. Seeing a certain dress might bring back a fun time with friends. Drinking from a favorite mug and closing my eyes returns me to another place from years ago. With the memory comes feelings and emotions. Cleaning out a closet becomes a dreaded task because of all the memories lying in the piles of threadbare fabrics. The same 3 or 4 items make the cut every time I try to get past my pack rat tendencies. Even our newest project of taking out our old stained carpet and replacing it with fantastic new wood floors is giving me heart palpitations. Each stain and hole represents a family dinner or a beloved pet. The bright pink marker spot was like a thorn in my side reminding me every time I walked past of the time the girls got out of hand with the markers. Seeing the carpet disappear out the door made me realize that I now have no tangible thing to spur that memory or many others. The fresh, perfect wood will surely capture our memories in the future but for the moment it feels like a new member of the family naked as the day it was born.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Embrace the Future

If you are a planner then you have a spreadsheet in your mind for what the future is supposed be. Sometimes things fit neatly into the plan but most of the time life veers off the blueprint and things spin out of control. The new path is often necessary to gain the knowledge to help you find your true future. When you push past what the crystal ball predicted to the reality staring you in the face you realize that there are no predetermined events in the cosmos. The most important thing to remember is that the real future could be more awe-inspiring and exciting then you could even imagine.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

On My Soap Box

I have such a bee in my bonnet today (is that even a real phrase??). Obama is going to make a speech to students addressing education specifically the importance of staying in school. A speech about education. Shown at school. To students. I say great...history in the making and exposure to political impact on education. Regardless of what political party I belong to or who I voted for I would be all for it. I like my kids to see different views and diverse people. I want them to have information and make up their own minds when they are old enough to vote. I really don't understand all I am seeing about pulling your kid out of school so they don't have to be forced to sit and watch Obama pushing propaganda and talking about abortion and religion. OK number one the speech is on EDUCATION. That is separate from abortion and religion as far as I know. Obama is not Hitler as far as I know. I just don't' get the parents that are taking their anger and aggression about the fact that Obama was elected president and turning it into a reason to stop their children from being able to be a part of something that will open the door for discussion. He is the President of the United States not the President of the Democrats. Our country elected him. Isn't anything that gives face-time to the importance of education a good thing?? Diversity makes the world go round folks and prejudice stops it in its tracks.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Focusing on Distraction

Too often lately I have felt like I am juggling so many hats in the air trying to decide which one to put on that I can't even see straight. I want to be the best mom I can be and the best friend and the best athlete and the best wife and on and on but in the midst of trying to be all of these things I don't think I am doing my best at any of them. My focus is fragmented and everything seems blurry and my mind flips from one thing to another. It is what I imagine having attention deficient disorder might be like. The other thing that is starting to frustrate me about myself is that if I don't feel like I am doing something to a state of completeness and flawlessness then I would rather not do it at all. So basically at this point I am living in a state of discord with myself. The side effect of this seems to be the thing that is bothering me the most. I can't praise my kids without also throwing in something they need to improve on...it is like a sickness or something. My mouth opens and I gush words of praise but they are immediately cancelled out by words of what could be done better. This is obviously not my ideal parenting strategy. I want to breed confidence and independence. How do I pick the right hat and regain my focus?

Friday, August 28, 2009

How Firm Thy Friendship

At this point in my life I am so lucky to be surrounded by people that I enjoy and respect. People I can laugh with and cry with. The stories of how and when I crossed paths with each person are unique and varied. Some I have known for years. Some are more recent gifts. My relationship with each of them started when our lives intersected. Whatever happened before we met fades into the backround and it is easy to forget that there are details and adventures that were previously experienced. Sometimes these things are revealed through time and bring new facets to the friendship. Other times the details never surface and end up on the chopping block of unimportant facts. Everyone enters a relationship with baggage. Some only have light carry ons that are easy to manage. Other people have a large oversized suitcase full to the brim with intricate secrets and extreme adventures. It is what it is and makes us who we are. Opening your arms and accepting someone into your life, baggage and all, brings the sort of friendships that will be worth cultivating and cherishing forever.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Just Me.

I spent the entire summer preparing my baby for Kindergarten. We talked about the bus and found a new lunch box and backpack. We toured the school and met her teacher. I primed her for all the new friends she will meet and all the fun she will have. We set out a special outfit last night and packed her lunch for the big day. I felt like I had remembered every little detail to make it a great day. The one thing I forgot to consider was what I might feel like. I have been through this twice before so why even bother to consider it. Up until the last moment before she walked on to the big bus I was worried about her reaction and her feelings but the minute that bus door whooshed shut it all hit me. I gave myself to the kids completely and readily for the last eleven years. All of my teaching and care leading up to this very day. There is no turning back to chubby baby legs and preschool. I have been telling myself all summer that I was excited for the bus to arrive and the beginning of new things. I yearned for silence for so many years but when you get to the actual moment the silence is actually deafening. Emotions are such a funny thing. They are so random and uncontrollable. Predicting how you will feel in a new situation is nearly impossible so there is no way to safeguard your heart.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Not Me Monday!

Following along with the blog carnival over at My Charming Kids with this weeks Not Me Monday! Read, commiserate, enjoy!

I could never have traveled 12 hours straight in a van with 3 kids and my husband with out going crazy nope not me.

I did NOT arrive home to two piles of cat poop on my bed directly where I sleep. That would have been super gross and it also would have proven that cats are way too smart for their own good.

I certainly didn't take the girls to Walmart to check out the new Miley Cyrus clothes the weekend before school starts. It was NOT so crowded you could hardly move and I didn't run into two people I know doing the same thing as me...nope certainly not!

I could never be sitting here waiting to take my baby to meet her kindergarten teacher and be hearing every bad word she knows streaming out of her mouth from the other room (you know like pee pee poop and booger :) I could NOT be slightly (OK VERY) worried about what she will do when we meet the teacher and I am certainly not even more worried about what she will do when the door to the bus closes Thursday.

I am definitely not having major anxiety over the school year starting that would be silly since I am not the one actually going to school.

I am certainly NOT brushing off my party dress and digging out my party blower for Thursday morning when I send all three kids on the bus for the very first time..nope not ME. I am sure I will NOT have a few tissues hidden away in my pocket just in case I might need them absolutely not!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Turn Over a New Leaf

It seems Fall is always a time for change. With the dawn of a new school year ahead there is always a chance for reinvention. I remember when I was going into middle school and then high school how I would sit there in the days before school started almost writing my own story for the school year in my head. Who I would be, what I would wear, how I would react to things and exactly who I wouldn't be from my experience the previous year. I am a little past the school days now but not past the need for change and reinvention. With my last little bird flying off to kindergarten this year I have some choices and decisions to make myself. Exactly who I will be and what I want to accomplish for just me as opposed to the last 11 years of me being ME with a kid attached to my hip. My thoughts are really jumbled at the moment so it is hard to find a clear path. I guess that is what happens when you lose sight of your own thoughts and goals among playdates and dirty diapers for so long. It is almost like a new beginning to the second half of my life. Exciting because there are so many options available but scary at the same time. I certainly wouldn't trade in the last eleven years that I have had the opportunity to be the one the sun rises and sets on for my kids. I have learned invaluable things about myself that I wish I had known before college. I wouldn't have chosen the same education path then if I had owned a crystal ball. I know life doesn't work that way though you have to live some things to get to the point where you are ready to make changes and informed choices. The one thing I can see clearly through the fog of the unknown is that I want to...no actually I believe I really need to...make a difference in whatever it is I chose to do in the years to come. It is like I am staring up at a vast night sky with hundreds of twinkling stars and I am reaching for them.