Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Moms: The Cockroaches of Emotional Warfare

I know, catchy title.

But when you think of it, aren't we, as women, just about the hardest creatures on Earth to crack? Are we not the human equivalent of cockroaches when it comes to getting back up when there should be no possible way that we could or should?

From the get go, there is drama. I see the difference between my boys and the little girls we are in contact with. With girls, everything is about the drama. I think it is a warm up exercise to what we go through as adults. And while this might sound cynical, I am truly not mocking.

I think that women, particularly mothers, put themselves aside for the well being of others. And often, it is more than any heart should have to bear.

Broken hearts. Everyone has a couple of these lurking around. Whether it is puppy love or a bitter divorce, women converge to help the afflicted along. Armed with Ben and Jerry, a bottle of vodka or both, your girlfriends, sisters, etc. will be there to hold you up, tell you are justified, to you to just F*** Him. Just what we need, in the right dosage.

Friendships betrayed. This drama usually finds its peak in middle school and high school. Intrigue and soap opera antics never fail to deliver the bemoaning and the fledging alliances. But sometimes, these new friendships will pass the test of time, and more often than not, they will be the ones that support you through some of the hardest stuff you will encounter in life.

Messed up families. How do you reconcile relatives that often make you wonder how on God's green Earth you could possibly be related to them? You love them, but can't expose yourself or your kids to their ways, bringing sadness, denial, unwillingness to accept. But the ability to look at a situation truthfully, and be able to walk away without regrets takes some serious gumption.

Work related drama. Both yours and your spouse's. If it is heart-wrenching to experience it first hand, it is even harder to hear about it happening to your spouse. The conniving evil that some people spout off is just unbelievable. I often wonder why some people choose to make so much trouble, cause so much harm. What's wrong with them?

Motherhood. Nothing piles up the emotional arsenal like motherhood. The hormones, the sleep deprivation, the worry. Am I doing it right? Are they okay? Will I mess them up too much? Motherhood breaks your heart like nothing else. After all, these children are a piece of you. Your body grew them and sheltered them for nine months. The first two years of these children's lives are spent assuring their survival, marveling at their growth and newfound skills. Their elementary years are filled with making sure they know right from wrong; their adolescent years spent making sure that they practice it. Then, they leave. As they must. And with them, they take a piece of you. If you've done your job right, you get to enjoy them in a different capacity.

I think that the common thread here is that women have hope. They have hope when the odds are stacked against them. They have hope when everyone else in the world is ready to call the game and head home. That hope is born from love. Love of our families, love of our friends and love for making sure that wrongs are righted, that justice prevails, that the happy ending happens. In spite of the odds, is spite of the difficulties.

Rest assured, when an emotional holocaust is omnipresent, there will be a group of women who lead the way, to help support those who need some wind in their sails, to hold the hand and comfort those who need it, to tell a raunchy joke and alleviate the tension. In spite of a broken heart. Finding the strength where there might be none. Because it is in our nature to be indestructible like no other creature.

We are there.

The cockroaches, and us.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Saying Yes -- To Me

There are many things on this Earth that require an incredible amount of faith, of taking an enormous leap and just jumping into the thick of things. Marriage, parenting, friendship, faith in ourselves. All of them require an affirmative answer to unasked questions: Yes.

When you marry, inevitably, a question gets asked; an answer is given. But before that question and answer, there are many moments that clearly define where you are going, what you are sharing, what you are seeking. And in gestures, in nonverbal acceptance, the yes comes. Yes to creating a life and home with someone. Yes to maybe going to bed angry once in a while, but knowing that the anger will subside, the cheeriness will return and all will be well. Yes to piles of chores and things to do, but always with companionship.

In parenting, the yes begins with the incredible leap from two to the thought of baby makes three (or 4, right Emily?) In the positive pregnancy test. In the delivery and congratulations that new babies bring. Afterwards, we walk around in a cloud of positives and a sleep-deprived state. And many decisions. Yes, we want the best for our offspring, but the no's come in rapid succession. Sometimes, we could have easily said yes, and we wonder why we don't more often...

Is it that we are afraid that they will become accustomed to having their way? Or are we afraid that they will not know how to handle when things don't go their way?

In friendship, we say yes to helping, supporting, enjoying each other's company. We lean on one another when situations call for it, hold hands when things are difficult, share in celebrating the joyous occasions that life brings.

But how many of us say yes to ourselves?

How many of us do for ourselves like we do for our spouses, our children, our friends? How often do we drop everything when we feel sick? How many of us call in sick to work when our child is running the slightest temperature, but will drag ourselves, half dead to work, on an ongoing basis?

We often short change ourselves with respects to parenting skills, too. We sometimes falter in the day to day stuff of parenting and worry that we are screwing up our kids. But, aren't we doing the best we know how, with our hearts in the wrong place? Don't we provide them with a clearly defined support system? Don't we encourage them from the very start? Don't we soothe them when they are upset?

Why don't we do it for ourselves?

It has taken me a long time to realize that yes to me means not being too hard on myself when I goof up, giving myself a little more credit than I usually do, and not feeling guilty when I do something that is just for me. Because, when I say yes to myself, I am happier. I am a better partner to my husband. I am more likely to say yes to my kid's non life-threatening request to doing something that will bring them happiness. I am a better friend to those who bring me happiness. I am a better me.

Saying yes to my needs and wants is just as important as saying yes to my husband, my kids, my friends. Saying yes to me helps me renew me, makes me someone others want to be around.

As I see it, there are enough martyrs in the world. I am not cut out to be something that I am not. However, I do believe in improving myself.

And really, who could say no to being better company for others, and more importantly, yourself?

Monday, December 6, 2010

We Don't Live in a Pig Sty!!!

For the last few weeks, it feels as though that phrase is all that comes out of my mouth when I look around my home. There is clutter, of course, because we have three children. But apparently, the clutter, much like it's amorous neighbor, laundry baskets, likes to get frisky and multiply.

I am sick of picking up after people. I realize that I have a long way to go in this never-ending race; but seriously, I feel as though I am living in a frat house. No one cares if things are growing on the bathroom floor, the garbage is overflowing or whether or not you can walk on the floor. And it would be really cool to make a wall entirely of empty milk jugs...All we need is a toga party to be right up there with Animal House...

I get it. Boys are messy. They smell if not reminded to bathe and practice personal hygiene. They like to grow hair and nails (on both their hands and feet). But what about having some dignity? And the whole messy house thing? I cannot deal with it. I work a full day. I come home to homework and making dinner. Sometimes, I would like to go for a walk or read a book. But, I ignore the clutter like I ignore the laundry and it debilitates me.

I glance from corner to corner, wondering why people send my children gifts, wondering if they will ever understand that I cannot (and will not) jump over book bags, lunch boxes, binders and other junk in order to walk from one end of the house to the other.This evening, when I walked into one of the boys room to put away some of their stuff, I found clothes on the bed, hangers on the floor, shoes everywhere, and the drawers in the dresser bulging open. When I opened said drawers (or tried to) I couldn't. The shirts and whatnot were so crammed in there, I had to take everything out and re-fold them. And I was angry.

Because I think a little neatness can go a long way. Because a little neatness can make my life a lot easier. Because there are children that are old enough to go through their things, get rid of the stuff that they no longer use or need. They can use things, and then put them back where they belong after they no longer need or want them.

But they are not entirely to blame. Perhaps it is my own fault. In an effort to be efficient, I have always gotten restless waiting for the kids to finish picking up. And I jump in to do it. Or, I tell them that the way they were doing it was not the "right" way. And so I would show them, and end up doing it myself. So, I guess that the saying , "You reap what you sow" is really true.

So now, it's time for this little piggy to pick up his towel. And this little piggy to pick up his shoes. And this other little piggy to pick up toys and put them in right place. So that we don't live in a pig sty.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hey, do you want some WHINE with that??

At my house, whine is something that it served up on a daily basis, and there is no need to wait until Happy Hour, because it never comes...

My children are never without Whine. Whine appears at daybreak, with complaints of waking up too early, of not having anything good to eat for breakfast (code for: why can't we eat a pound of bacon and chocolate chip pancakes with chocolate syrup and whipped cream?), of having to share the bathroom sink, of not finding the water bottle.

Miraculously, Whine disappears at school. Regardless of what is expected of them or assigned for class work, there are no complaints. Why is that the minute they walk in the door at home, Whine picks up like a paused movie. It is usually accompanied by its constant companions, Jab and Poke.

Jab and Poke are not allowed on the school property, so they hang out in the house all day plotting new games to play while I am cleaning, making dinner, on the computer..... Jab and Poke have taken up a permanent residence in our home. They are constantly on the prowl, and it is nearly impossible to determine who came first, Whine or Jab and Poke.

They especially like to come and play at quiet places, like the doctor's office, restaurants, church, and any time I am on the phone on serious grown up business, like fighting with the insurance company.

It used to be that Max was the resident interpreter for Whine. Being the middle child, I am sure that it is his God-given right to complain about every blessed thing. Ryker is now very fluent in Whine as well. I know, he is so young, but Max has taught him well. But you know what? I. CAN'T. STAND. IT. ANYMORE.

It's all the time, without rhyme or reason, and frankly, Whine needs to move the hell out and find another family in the Exchange Program for Parenting Hell. Andrew is the keeper of Jab and Poke. These three have become fast friends and are not afraid to prey on Max, who will immediately resort to invoking Whine at increasingly higher decibels, depending on how present Jab and Poke are at that particular moment.

Then, the Ghost of Not-Me (of Family Circus cartoon strip fame) claims all responsibility. Wherever Whine and Jab and Poke appear, Not Me is sure to follow. Not Me likes to switch sides fairly often, which makes it incredibly difficult to corner Whine, Jab and Poke. Not Me is by far the worst of The Fab Four, as I like to think of them, and truly needs to move on as well.

Now, I understand that my children are finding their voices. That Whine, Jab, Poke and Not Me appear where they feel safe and secure (although, really, if they knew the visceral reaction I have to The Fab Four they would not come around anymore!) and I should feel as though I am doing something right, because my children invite The Fab Four to come hang out at the house. But I have a pretty good hunch that the psychologist and behavioral specialists who wrote those theories didn't have these troublemakers as permanent residents in their own homes.

And I really am beginning to think that these four have been responsible for many a mother just going off the deep end and winding up in a padded room, quietly whispering to herself for the rest of her life. So, I guess I have to lay some ground rules here.

I can be glad that my home is such an inviting place that The Fab Four have decided to stick around for a while. I guess that it is to be expected, given the amount of testosterone that exudes from my home. But The Fab Four need to settle down. I can accept that they are going to squat for a while, but they gotta play by my rules. They can only come out to play when we are home, and they need to stay away from the dinner table, no exceptions. When I am doing official grown up stuff, they need to keep a lid on it. NO INTERACTIONS IN THE CAR OR AT CHURCH WHATSOEVER. Just a couple of rules to keep things on the up and up.

But I guess that what really has me so upset is the reality that these four are really here to stay for a while. They had made sporadic appearances for the last couple of years, but nothing really permanent. And now, here they are, a fixture that is truly an eyesore. And a headache.

And another thing. Didn't their mothers teach them any manners? Don't they know that you always bring the hostess a bottle of Pepsi as a gift? Maybe then, after a glass or two, The Fab Four and I can become friendly, you think?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Don't Postpone Joy.....

I saw this on a bumper sticker on my way home from work yesterday. The message is so simple, but oh, so hard to put into practice.

As women, as mothers, we are ALWAYS putting ourselves last on the list. And really, when we wonder why we aren't appreciated, thanked, valued the way that we want or deserve, it is because all too often, we have taught others how to treat us. Although times have changed mightily and we enjoy the choices and freedoms our mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers struggled to secure for us, we are rarely content with ourselves.

It is not that we are not happy, we are overwhelmed. With the choices we must make to help our families stay afloat, with being torn into a million different pieces, with the multitude of roles we must fulfill in one given day. And all too often, we are too tired to try to find some joy within our days. Some days, it is all we can do to fulfill our job requirements to a bare minimum, come home, be mothers to our children: feed them, supervise home work and baths, tuck in bed. Then be wives to our husbands: lending an ear, holding a hand, comforting.

We never stop to think that we CANNOT do these things for them, yet, repeatedly, we DON'T do this for ourselves. How many of us have ever stopped our husbands mid-story and said, " I just need you to listen to me." How many times have we sacrificed our children's needs for our own...we are just not programmed that way.

And I am NOT saying that our joy, our comfort for ourselves should come at sacrificing our children and spouses, but that we should also take the time in our day for ourselves...Because we ARE important.

If you think of it, so much is balanced on these shoulders of ours. We need to be on our game for the other people who desperately depend on us. Our children, spouses, elderly parents. How can we give when we ourselves are spent? And what do we tell ourselves each day?

"Tomorrow I will...When I am done with this task, goal, whatever, I will..." Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, months into years. We postpone our joy. Daily, constantly, decidedly, without compassion.

Perhaps it is not one big to-do that must happen to fill us with joy. Perhaps it is changing our expectations. I would rather a year's worth of silly or quiet moments with my family than a big blowout of a celebration for a few hours in one day and then 364 days of nothing.

I find that opening myself up to the beauty of each day: the gift of molding my children into the adults I would like to see, the gift of having a job that I somewhat enjoy (on most days), that I live with a man whom I so love and respect; I prepare myself for the joy that the day will give me. Because the joy maybe disguised in many ways.

It may not be flamboyant. It might be that a particularly difficult day has finished with no one worse for the wear. It might come from a kind word from an acquaintance or the knowing smile of a stranger. The gift is unexpected, but there. Or it might be something that I give to myself. That at the end of the day, the joy comes from knowing that another day has come and gone, that progress of some sort has been made. That I have crossed the finish line.

The reward of joy might be a cup of tea, a few pages from a magazine that has been sitting abandoned for weeks, soaking a warm bath, clearing the slate for the next day; but something; something that is just for me, must happen. However small, that daily offering to this weary domestic goddess must be made. So that she can continue to exist in balance...and joy.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Warts and all

Last night, after my son had been complaining about his brothers, we talked about how families are...that we love each other, "warts and all," I said. He looked at me with this puzzled face and I went on to explain...

"When we love someone entirely, in spite of their faults and we still like being around them, we love them warts and all."

Many of us are raised with the notion that because someone is a family member, you should automatically feel something for this person...Not always so. Shared lineage does not a family make. We don't really get to choose who ends up in our families, we just have them.

We sometimes cannot reconcile the fact that they are indeed sharing the same genetic codes, and in spite of that, we have to distance ourselves. We don't like who we become when we are around them, we don't like the many arguments, (besides those that occur at the dinner table over which way food should be passed), too many hurt feelings, too much bad drama.

You can tolerate being in their presence for brief, highly controlled situations, and then move along. You take one for the team, to keep the peace, but there is no allegiance.

Families usually start when a boy meets a girl, they have babies, their babies have babies, and so forth...but families are cultivated with love, history, shared stories and concern for one another.

And that often includes people we choose to include, that don't necessarily share Granny's ability to touch the tip of her nose with her tongue! Bird of a feather, flock together kind of thing...and that sometimes means taking the good with the bad.

And isn't this especially true of marriage. After the wedding dress is preserved and stored, after the monotony of daily life sets in (because it does), the warts really start to appear. They are very easy to spot on our spouse, but every once in a while, we see shadows of our own warts staring us in the face. When you really love someone, you can acknowledge all the warts (his, hers, ours), all those imperfections that make us, at times, intolerable, and still love them and the person they are attached to.

It is not that you are blinded by your love for this person, you just love them enough to look past it, and they return the favor. And if you are really lucky, you might even get a running joke out of one or two of them.

Warts and all is the cornerstone of parenthood, I think. We love our children desperately...we give up sleep, sick days, our waistlines, sanity, and bank accounts because of our love for them. But that love does not diminish our abilities to see our children as they are. At least for me, that love gives me a sense of clarity when I look at my children as a whole. I can see their imperfections, and as their mother, perhaps I can help them fine tune those that need tuning.

Our warts shouldn't be a barrier or something that prevents us from the love of another. They are there to remind us that we are constantly in need of improvement within ourselves. That there is always the opportunity to improve those things in us that seem to make us uncomfortable. That if we love ourselves enough, we can really make those changes. And maybe, just maybe, if we can diminish our own warts, we might just be the inspiration for someone else to do the same for us.

After all, there is always more to love without the warts...

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Best Day Ever

This past Saturday was a date I will remember for the rest of my life. A day that has been 5 years in the making. A day I sometimes lost faith in the fact it would ever happen.

It was the day my two oldest boys were baptised, and became members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was the day my husband was worthy to be the one to perform these baptisms and confirmations.

My oldest son, Andrew, is now 13 years old. He could have been baptised several times over the past five years.....but he wanted to wait until his dad was able to do it. And in a way, I'm glad he waited. It made a wonderful day all the more special.

The weather wasn't ideal, and unfortunately it kept a lot of family members from being able to come; but the ones that were there made the day all the more special.

Grandma Kate and Uncle Tim gave fabulous talks. The spirit was there in abundance. The music was great, the missionaries were great, the video presentation was great. The day was just....well, great.

I am so glad that my boys have made the choice to be baptised and to live their lives according to the Gospel. It's just one more step in our family's journey to eternal life.

Monday, November 15, 2010

An Ode to the Men in my Life

Dear Guys,

In the past 15 years (YIKES!), I have had every childhood dream come true. I cannot pinpoint the exact moment I realized that the chain of events was set into motion, but I cannot believe how wonderful the ride has been so far.

First off, to Hubby:

I remember the day that we first met, so long ago. I remember your kind smile and thinking that everyone should be greeted by a smile like yours; warm, inviting and just a slight bit devilish. There was an easiness between us that just felt right. When our interest in each other became more than just platonic, there was a certain amount of fear on my part. Could I succumb to this delicious, intoxicating lull that was love? Could I really say that I loved you and not be marked in some way? No, I could not just say it and not be changed. The fact that you had chosen me, even at just nineteen, was a gigantic leap of faith. You were a guy, in love with a girl, and just wanted a happily ever after. There was no trepidation on your part, and you simply caught me. You saw further than I could imagine...and in your eyes I saw a forever that made me feel cherished and equal. Because of you, I changed for the better. I became less defensive, more accommodating, more silly, more able to laugh at myself and my craziness. You gave me an empowerment that I had never known, and for the last fifteen years, we have stood side by side, certain that our strength together can overcome all that life has sent our way. Fears, job concerns, long shots that beat Vegas odds...together, we have withstood all of them, stronger, more in love, and deeply loved by the other.

Among all the gifts that you have bestowed, you have given me three beautiful sons. Yes, beautiful, because they are truly the best parts of each of us. They are a constant reminder of what true faith and a lot of love can produce. So I say to you, with all my heart; let's stay in this moment and enjoy...the best is yet to come.

To my Andrew:

You were the first real miracle that I had ever been witness to. When I first looked into your newborn eyes after months of waiting for your existence, I knew that I would be hopeless in my love for you. You changed me in so many ways. With you, I became a mother, without any idea of how profoundly that would shake me to the core. I know that there is still much that I need to learn. We are learning from each other, pushing each other's boundaries, finding our way together. You are brilliant in ways I still cannot comprehend. Your capacity for learning is something I envy. And yet, I think that of all my children, you are the most like me. You are a paradox of devilish, boyish humor, and wisdom that takes a lifetime to achieve. Know that every time I look into your eyes, I see boundless possibilities. You are my gift from God and I love you dearly!

To my darling Max:

You are the one who looks most like me, but reminds me so much of your dad. I watch you struggle between being the younger and older brother, the one in the middle. Yet, of the three of you, you have had the most courage. You are constantly analyzing those around you, thinking of how to fit in, how to please. I want to see you stand on your own, strong in your sense of self. I want to help you find the voice you keep silent to find your place among your brothers. As I once told you, you were sent to be the most important brother; you try to bridge the differences that separate you from the others. You are so bright, yet are humble. Kind, but not willing to take anyone's nonsense. You have an incredibly sharp wit, and are quick with the one liners. You are a series of contradictions, yet you love with your whole heart, without reservations...Life will reward you with a great love that will be as boundless as your very own heart. You have had my heart since I gazed upon you when you entered this Earth. You are my strength and my inspiration and I love you dearly!

And my littlest angel, Ryker:

You came to us the way the sun brightens a somber day. You came to us against all odds, and you have brightened every day since the day we knew you were on your way. Even though you are the youngest, you have an old soul. You are wise beyond your years, and your ability to comprehend things that should be above your head is astounding. You came to us at a time when we were pretty sure that we wouldn't have another baby, and in that way you taught me that all that is important cannot be rushed. It must come in its own time, at it's own pace, so that the anticipation gives way to acceptance and joy. When I look at you, I see all that Daddy and I have prayed for, a healthy son whose very presence in our lives has been the cause of so much joy. I know that of all of you, you will be the one to handle hardships with patience, acceptance and humor instead of frantic worry and overdrive in trying to remedy the situation. You are just so perpetually and infectiously happy. You have taught me that all you really need is love and faith. You are living proof of both. I love you, peanut!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Going MIA for a few days

Hello loyal readers. Sorry things have been sparse here lately, but I have BIG NEWS.

We bought a house. So needless to say the next week is going to be insane with packing and moving and unpacking, and moving the kids schools.

I promise to post and update and some pictures in a week or so.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Insomnia: My Arch Nemisis

After an eventful evening with the elders and some family members, I retired for the evening. Expecting my fatigue to have worked it's magic on such a tired and willing-to-succumb-to-slumber body, I gleefully jumped into bed and waited. And waited...and nothing.

Insomnia is a bitter enemy of mine. I can remember many a night spent fighting a losing battle against it. As a child, it is frustrating, but your inability to sleep does not carry horrible consequences the following day. The game changes as you age.

The older you are, typically, the greater your responsibilities. Add three children, and you are as good as done. Last night, I would doze, wake up drenched in sweat, glance at the clock try to settle back in and repeat. (On a side note, not looking forward to menopause...) My old nemesis Insomnia was back, and getting sweet revenge from the woman who could sleep all day long.

See, the thing about motherhood is that you are a closet superhero. Childless people stand in awe at what can be accomplished when there are bodies hanging onto to you in every direction. Other parents understand the intricacies of parenting multiple children, and often compare notes on the easiest ways to accomplish tasks in spite of the children. Parenting is simply the stuff of superheroes. Even when you can't, you must. Your needs take a back seat to the needs of your children. And somehow, in spite of whatever challenge you must overcome, you don't (generally) feel neglected.

It's what you signed up for. There ARE times when your needs MUST come first. You must replenish the source that fuels you, but it is amazing to find how much mileage you can get from refueling...I have often longed for Elast-A-Girl's super powers in trying to keep my boys together in a busy parking lot. But Insomnia is the kryptonite to this Superwoman. No amount of caffeine can counteract it's nightly victory.

Much like a good cover up stick, caffeine can hide some of the damage, but never really make up for the lack of rest. Alas, superheroes are separate from the rest of us. Most are not entangled with mere mortals. They do not have to worry about groceries, dinner, homework, sick children, overstressed spouses or their menstrual cycle. Most can function with very little going for them...that is of course, as long as their powers work.

Their biggest concern is saving the world. Piece of cake! Ever tried putting a teething baby to sleep? Yeah, I thought so...That being said, this Super Mom rolled out of bed this morning, determined not to have Insomnia have the last laugh. You see, I have three grumpy, sleepy children. The ones who demand so much of me and require me to have at least four hours of sleep. But even on the days that the sleep does not materialize; that the kryptonite is hanging around my neck, I have the ultimate power source: the love of my boys. Even Insomnia is powerless against that! And in this super-parents headquarter, everyone is past teething...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Love/Hate Relationship with The Amazing Race

The Amazing Race! The reality TV Show where dynamic teams of two (the quirkier, more boisterous, cliche ridden the better) are sent on a life changing race around the world!

Why do I love this show? Courtesy of CBS, and from the comfort of my own couch you are ushered to the exotic locale of your dreams and many places you would not want to visit in your darkest nightmare.

You don't pay for any of it and have thrilling adventures along the way! Could it get any better then that! Yes! Because as you travel your relationship with your love one either crumbles (and the inevitable test you were doing is abruptly over) or strengthens harder then concrete! Oh...the voyeur in me LOVES to have this sneak peak into how other people communicate, what do they think is a good relationship, and how do they handle the difficult situations.

It's not long before the hubby and I are playing along! Ohhh...who has the nerves of steal? I'll take this one. Why? Not because I'm the bravest, but because I know somewhere alone the line there is going to be that exotic eating thing and my weak stomach is not going anywhere near that one. That's all you baby!

The Amazing Race transports you out of your living room...away from the doldrums of daily life and out into the world. It is simply the best hour on TV.

So why do I hate the Amazing Race? Jealousy.

Do you know how long it is going to be before I have a chance to see even 1 or 2 of those incredible places? Every week you spark the lusty traveller in me only to have cold reality slapped back in my face as the credits start to roll.

Another realization. I am not 22 anymore! When this show started airing I pictured myself as one of the young newlywed couples ready to tackle the world. One of the cute ones in pretty good shape and matching outfits, that could handle the physical challenges with grace and ease and even use my looks to my advantage. Tonight I realized that is no longer who I would be!

Who would we be now? The happy middle age couple..married for more then 10 years with 3 kids. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I would have to get my butt on a treadmill in order to spare my self the embarassement of not being able to climb up a hill, and start some kind of skincare regime before I could let this face be seen on camera without any make-up! Oh and getting by one my looks? A girl can dream? LOL

But you know why I hate the Amazing Race the most? Canadians need not apply! C'mon! We must be a huge part of the viewership! Just because we start out from Vancouver, Canada does not mean we would not be great competitors and fun to watch, eh? (see I could be a cliche) Plus I know I would absolutely be cheering each and every week for my fellow Canadian!

CBS...I'll never stop watching...but give us a crack at the dream!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How to Make the World a Better Place

I’m sure we all wish there was world peace, no famine, cures for the worst of diseases. You know, that pageant queen answers. The big wishes are obvious and universal. Today I’m just after a few subtle changes to the way the world works. That’s all I’m asking for. Ya know, to make my life easier, cause it’s all about me.

I wish Tim Hortons delivered. I would have a standing mint hot smoothie order.

I wish cars were bendy. Wouldn’t it be easier to park? Then I could squeeze my giant van anywhere!

I wish homework was banned on weekends. Just sayin.

I wish toilets were self cleaning.

I wish new boots were already broken in when you bought them. Feet hurty.

I wish cell phones bounced.

That is all. For today anyway.

What little things would you wish for?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I Got Told

My middle son walked into my room after dressing for church; he was wearing the same dress shirt he's worn the last three Sundays.

"Hey, Max, why don't you wear something different?" I suggested.

"Why?" he asked. "This one is my favorite, and it's clean."

"Well," I explained, "you have several handsome shirts, but people are going to think that's the only one you own."

He looked at me squarely and did not miss a beat. "Mom, what people think doesn't matter nearly as much as what I know to be true."

My first thought: Well, I'll be darned. The boy has been listening after all.

My second thought: Well, I'll be darned. I just got a smack-down from a ten year old.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ode to Fall

I love fall.....it's my favorite time of year. Besides my birthday and anniversary, here are my favorite things about fall.

The smell of chimney smoke

Open windows

The fashion

The colors of changing leaves

Herbal tea and apple cider



Sunday, October 3, 2010

If I Were.....

If I were a month, I'd be October.
If I were a day of the week, I’d be Saturday.
If I were a time of day, I’d be 4 pm.
If I were a planet, I’d be Venus.
If I were a sea animal, I’d be a dolphin.
If I were a direction, I’d be southwest.
If I were a piece of furniture, I’d be a bed.
If I were a liquid, I’d be an ice cold Pepsi.
If I were a gemstone, I’d be a sapphire.
If I were a tree, I’d be a Redwood.
If I were a tool, I’d be a screwdriver.
If I were a kind of weather, I'd be clear skies and a cool breeze.
If I were a musical instrument, I’d be a piano.
If I were a color, I’d be purple.
If I were an emotion, I’d be content.
If I were a mythical creature, I'd be a gryphon.
If I were a fruit, I’d be a raspberry.
If I were a sound, I’d be laughter.
If I were a car, I’d be a cobolt blue BMW Roadster.
If I were a food, I’d be pasta.
If I were a place, I’d be home.
If I were a material, I’d be satin.
If I were a taste, I’d be mint chocolate.
If I were a scent, I’d be fresh cut grass.
If I were an object, I’d be a camera.
If I were a body part, I’d be a muscular bicep.
If I were a facial expression, I’d be a sarcastic one.
If I were a song, I’d be The Winner Takes it All by Abba.
If I were a pair of shoes, I'd be platform heels.
If I were a flower, I'd be a lilly.

What would you be?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday......mine and hers -----

That's right. Our similarities are endless.

But like I said........

Today is my birthday. I am 34 years old.
How did that happen? I feel like I am still an awkward, gangly teenager full of low self esteem and needing attention. Except I am a grown up who is anything but gangly and I write in this blog to get the attention I crave.
I am a mother. A wife. I have responsibilities.
I am mature.....at times. I have learned alot getting to this ripe old age.
I appreciate my mother. I appreciate my mother's mother. I appreciate family and now understand why grown ups always say that "family is the most important thing". Because it is.
Christmas isn't what it was when I was young. It isn't all about the presents and Santa. It is about happiness, family, giving and smiles.
School isn't what it was. Instead of dreading the first day, I now look forward to seeing my children off to school and hearing the stories when they come home.
Mealtime is not showing up at the dinner table and eating. It is preparing, cooking, family time, cleaning up and starting all over again at the next meal.
Shopping used to be buying things for me. Now it is a treat when I buy myself a magazine.
Saturday nights no longer involve going out to socialize, drink, dance and stay up late. Now I read bedtime stories and look forward to bedtime at 10pm...if I make it that late.
Love is not a crush on an older boy or rock star in a picture. Love is my husband. Love is my children. Love is my family. Love is my life.
I guess it isn't so bad being 34.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Because this blog is really all about ME

I was asked to complete this questionnaire that is often featured on "Inside the Actor's Studio". So, if you really wanna know even more about me -- read on.

What is your favorite word?

What is your least favorite word?
~I have a few, but I really dislike the words moist, hate and hopeless

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
~My kids, music,

What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
~Abuse or intolerance of any kind

What sound or noise do you love?
~Music.....in all it's forms

What sound or noise do you hate?
~The sound of someone eating while talking to me on the phone

What is your favorite curse word?

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
~Broadway star or journalist

What profession would you not like to do?
~Ocean Fisherman or mortician

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
~"Your grandma is waiting for you over there"

Friday, September 17, 2010

Another Shout Out For Moms

How do you sum up all that is Mom?

Keeper of the cookies, and the peace.

A chauffeur, a chef, a cleaner, an errand girl, a tutor, a therapist, a top level negotiator, a playmate, a nurse, oh and a bank to name a few.

Somehow, this just does not begin to adequately describe a Mom.

We can be glamorous, sporty, refined, stressed, content, or happy. We are chameleons!

We are the one’s cheering the loudest at every little league game.

The one’s offering advice, even if you don’t want to hear.

We are the safe, reliable, warm hug you need at the end of the day.

Moms are the magic that can take away your pain with only a kiss.

Moms are the one’s who will love you the longest, and the hardest.

Moms, they have to be a little bit of everything.

Now that I am a Mom, I know the joy only a babies first smile can bring. I understand the primal need to protect ones young. I have experienced the sweet agony of nursing a sick baby through the night. I have felt the fierce pride of a child's first words, first steps, first accomplishments.

I know what it meant to have your heart walking around outside your body. I have silently wept for their pain.

Now that I a Mom, I strive to be a better daughter. I am more thankful for my relationship with my Husband then ever before.

Before I was a Mom, I didn't know how much work it was to be a Mother. Work of the best kind, work I love and am thankful for every day.

I’m so glad I get to be someone's Mommy, I wouldn't change a thing.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Honor Among Mamas

There are certain unwritten rules every Mama knows exist. You want to survive on the momosphere? You better toe the line baby!

1. When you get invited out for coffee, wine, dinner.....whatever. PLEASE don’t spend the entire time talking about yourself, your husband, your business, your kids, your fabulous house. Sigh. Self centered Mama’s don’t get invited out a second time. They are boring…oh and self centered.

2. Don’t check out another Mama’s husband. That is against the code….and it is super gross.

3. If you see one of your Mama friends out and about and her toddler is having a temper tantrum that rivals an episode from The Supernanny -- just smile and let her know we have all been there. Don’t judge. She is already having a bad day.

4. See a Mama out there and she looks like hell? Clothes are wrinkled, bloodshot eyes, wearing the baseball cap of invisibility. Pretend you don’t see her. She has got something going on, and trust me when I say, she is not up for a friendly chat.

5. Try and remember that gossip spreads in the momosphere like wildfire spreads in California. Once it starts, it takes an act of God to put a stop to it. Remember what your Mama taught you, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

6. Oh and of course, the Universal rule among loving caring Mamas… no matter how many doughnuts she’s been eating, despite any extra trips to Taco Bell, even if her zipper is split and she can’t breath when she sits, never EVER admit that she looks fat in those pants!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Perfection of Morning

Morning ---

Hopeful and filled with untouched possibility.
I am always excited to begin again.
Grateful that life affords us opportunities with each new day.

The mistakes of the past are done. I shut the door on yesterday and look toward the garden - toward the sunlight - with new eyes.

On this day everything is new.

What will I experience?

Who will I meet?

What will I learn?

Whom will I forgive?

What love is in store...

Within my heart and within yours?

Today is a day to love.

To embrace all that you are in a spirit of wholeness and acceptance, knowing that you are exactly who you should be and trusting that life will take you exactly where it is going.

Trust. Laugh. Live.

And on the brink of a brand new morning, Be. Still. Contented. And loving.

Living in the fullness.
And noticing everything.

Fresh linen and new fall foliage.

The comfort of the quilt my mother made me.
The promise in a stranger's eye.

A seagull on the wind.

A prayer filled with hope.

Joy is accessible every moment we are blessed to be breathing.
And on this Sunday morning, my hope is that today will be beautiful.

For myself, I can't think of anything that I enjoy more than what I call "country weekends."
These are the weekends I make a conscious effort to stay home, slow down, and enjoy all of the beauty I have in my life. In my own backyard, bedroom, and comfortable corner of the world.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Men's Priorities are finally explained.....courtesy of my inbox

A little known fact.... The first testicular guard "Cup" was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was not used until 1974. It took 100 years for men to realize that the brain is also important.

Yep! That pretty much says it all!

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Cheers and Jeers of Emmy 2010

OK, so I don't typically do two blog posts in one day, but when the boys first day of school falls on the morning after Emmy's...........well, you see my situation. How do I not comment on the bestest and baddest moments of the year? Simple -- I don't not comment on it (just like you won't comment on that double negative in this sentence.)

So here we go -- the super and the suck-tacular that were the Emmy Awards

*First bit of awesomeness: The opening number. The Emmy's do Glee. This was bust a gut hilarious.......and usually I'm not a fan of the musical opening number for the Emmy's. Yes there have been a couple that didn't completely tank, but this one outshines them all. Getting the Glee cast to sing with Fallon and Fay, and that fame-whore Kate Gosslin was fantastic, and "Born to Run" was an awesome song choice.

*Sucktastic moment: NPH not getting his just rewards. I have nothing against Eric Stonestreet from Modern Family, and he’s very funny, but this was supposed to be Neil Patrick Harris’s year to finally get some recognition for his hilarious portrayal of Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother. I KNOW he won for Best Guest Performance for Glee, and that was great, but he shouldn’t have won that one. THAT award should have gone to Mike O’Malley, who plays Kurt’s dad on Glee, who made his character into a very three-dimentional and beloved man to fans. The whole thing was all backwards.

*Epic Goodness #2: Jane Lynch is the bomb: Jane Lynch, Sue Sylvester on Glee, has been in the biz doing screamingly funny comedy for countless years now, and to see her get the recognition she so richly deserves for her incredible performance on Glee was fantastic. I just thought it was great to see a biz veteran get long-overdue recognition, and the fact that her character is genius on the show didn’t hurt either.

*Gag-inducing moment #2: Julia Ormonds entire presence on the show. For one, the woman obviously did not wash her hair. Two, her speech was terrible. It’s one thing to have no idea you’re going to win, but to spout nonsense and dismiss your winning film Temple Grandin as “A chick flick with bulls’ balls” is super lame, Ms. Ormond. It made it seem like she was putting down the movie, (which swept the made-for-TV movie category, and is a film I am now dying to see) and you should have been more gracious. And WASH YOUR HAIR, for the love of muffins; this is an AWARDS SHOW.

*Cheers: Speaking of Temple Grandin, the real Temple was there with her mother, and every time her name was mentioned, she jumped out of her seat and waved to the audience. Damn right, Temple. It was about time your story was told, and time you had your moment in the sun. I loved it more every time she did it, and loved that her story is a complex story of autism, and much more than a “chick flick with bulls’ balls, MS. ORMOND. You TAKE your moment, Temple. Good on you.

*Jeers: Al Pacino’s um…"speech?" I THINK Al Pacino gave a speech when he won for You Don’t Know Jack but as the open thread opened he seemed either: drunk, stoned, like he was having a stroke, or some other impediment or impairment non-specified. You’re AL PACINO. You’d think he knew how to accept bloody awards by now. It was painful to watch.

*BOOYEAH: Ricky Gervais sends us all to the floor in agonized, uncomfortable laughter, as he is wont to do. Ricky Gervais is a genius, and his talent is making the audience laugh, then groan, then laugh again, then nervously look around to make sure anyone else is laughing, and he did it spectacularly when he made a joke about Mel Gibson’s drinking (easy joke) into a comment about the history of oppression of the people of Jewish faith, and everyone wailed laughing, then groaned audibly, then writhed a bit uncomfortably, and my mouth hung open so long i almost swallowed a bee, and it was genius.

*Just BOO: Claire Danes’ Makeup Artist Must Be Slain. Claire, who won for her portrayal of Temple Grandin, had perhaps the worst makeup job I have seen since Bozo the Clown. Seriously, the shading and eyeshadow made her look so old and weird that I couldn’t look away. Seriously! Bette White looked hotter than her. I was OFFENDED by this makeup job. It was overdone on a lovely woman, it was odd as Hell, and it aged her about 20+ years. Absolutely dreadful. Who DID that to her? Was there a vendetta involved?

*Greatness: JIM PARSONS JIM PARSONS JIM PARSONS WINS. Okay, I’ll try to not write this paragraph in all caps. Jim Parsons is screamingly funny on The Big Bang Theory, and was adorable and humble in his speech, and it was SO deserved, and I fist-pumped like I was at the Arsenio Hall show, and it was fantastic. In a night of first-time winners and surprises, this one was my favorite, and I loved every second of it. Now someone go feed that boy a sandwich, he’s far too thin.

*Ghastly: The long and overplayed “Bucky Gunts” joke. For those who didn’t watch, Bucky Gunts won for the production of the Tony Awards, and heehee, his name is funny, OK, we get it. When Ricky Gervais said it, it was funny, but guys? It’s called letting a joke go. Don’t beat the dead horse, please, you’re entertainment PROFESSIONALS and you should know better.

Okay, I’m going to wrap this up, because I could go on and on about how this was a great show and there were so many surprises and non-surprises (Mad Men and Edie Falco win Emmys? You could knock me down with a feather. Not. But in closing, I thought it was a tight show, a well-produced show, and a damn entertaining show. Well done, Emmys 2010. Now someone tackle Julia Ormond and wash her damn hair.

Back to School

So, Ryker started the first grade today. He’s going to all day school today for the first time. We said goodbye to the preschool years today, and I feel like I said goodbye to all of his childhood. It's like trying to hold water in your hands...it just trickles through your fingers no matter how hard you try to keep it contained. He's trickling...

Randall started grade 5. Next year he'll be in middle school. He's moving out of my "little boy" phase of his life. He's starting to make great strides on his road to growing up. Even Ryker can't help but compliment him lately on what a good big brother he has become lately.

Drew is in his last year before high school. Where the heck have the years gone with this kid? Last time I blinked he was a baby, just learning how to crawl......now he's an 8th grader. It's a bit painful in my heart, but it also makes another part of my heart soar to see the wonderful young man that he is turning into.

So here we go......another year. And, hopefully this will be the best one yet.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Real Housewives??? Seriously???

I caught a little of one of those "Real Housewives Shows" last night.You know the Real Housewives of Atlanta, The Real Housewives of the O.C. Yeah right.

It was like a car wreck!

I could not look away. In what warped world did these women become "Real Housewives"??Without an ounce of exaggeration I will tell you these poor hard done by women had Personal Chefs, Estate Managers, Personal Shoe Shoppers, Party Planners for their daughters 11th birthday party's, make up artists and hair stylists in their homes and a Personal Assistant.
These are not real housewives.

Real housewives cook for their own families....or at least know how to order in.

They manage their own houses...or boss around their hubbies and kids.

They buy their own shoes. Sometimes with a girlfriend, but often alone and in a rush.

Plan the birthday party's for their kids, exhaust ourselves and love it.

Real Housewives do our own make up and wash our own hair. (when we have time)

We get our hands dirty.

We fund raise. We run bake sales and car washes.

We have split ends and chipped nail polish.

We run our car down to the E.

We pay the bills, just in time.

We sneak cookies before dinner and sometimes...... we can't wait for bedtimes.

We know what we signed up for.

We are blessed and love almost every minute of it!

These are the things that make Me a Real Housewife and I just know that here, in the real world, I am not alone.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Hubster

I like togetherness. I rarely like to be completely alone for any length of time. Sure, a nice hot bubble bath with music and all doors shut is fun for .... oh, about 15 minutes. And then I like to come out with my bright pink legs and greet my boys to settle in for some real fun.

My idea of "alone" always includes Hubby. I'd rather be alone in a room with him doing our own things, than to be by myself doing those things. The rest of the world around me requires my attention, but when I'm alone with Hubster, I can just BE. And I love that about our relationship.

Through different places and positions the Hubs has worked over the past several years, some of them included working nights, early to late, all day, and other various not-so-fun schedules. I don't mind a bit being at home with the kids alone during the day, but there is something about the sun setting that suddenly makes it lonely.

I don't do evenings and nights alone well at all. Especially when the boys go to bed. The doors are locked, the blinds shut tight and the gun comes out. (Well, not really but........I don't mess around.)

Evenings are boring without Hubby. Television isn't exciting, food doesn't taste good .... it's just no fun! Ryker asks a gajillion times "When is daddy coming home?" and with any tiny noise he hears, he turns and looks at the door, hoping to see The Daddy. I have to admit, I do it too sometimes.

He just has that effect on us. Hubs makes everything better. He brightens our evenings, and when he comes home it's as if he brings in rainbows and sunbeams -- or something like that. He is simply a wonderful guy to be with, live with, and walk through life with. Simply put... he's my favorite.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hang on.....I'm having a moment

Sometimes all I want is just a minute.

Well, that's a lie. I want more than a minute. I'd like 5, 10, 45 minutes, or hey - how about a whole afternoon? A whole day? A weekend? That's probably pushing it...

My life has a tendency to spin a bit out of control at times, just as I'm sure yours does from time to time. Things pile up, the stress continues to mount, and I reach a point where I have a hard time just carrying on as usual.

Sometimes it just gets to be too much, and if I could just have a minute (and by minute I mean at least a couple of hours), I could function oh-so-much better.

Do you ever have those times in your life where you feel like so much is going on that you don't have the ability to just sit? Just be? Just think and ponder and reflect and get back to basics?

That's what kind of time I'm having.

I try to wind down every night by reading a book before bed. It relaxes me, it distracts my mind, makes my eyes tired, and helps me get a restful night's sleep. But even that doesn't give me what I ultimately need, and the majority of the time, I don't make what I need a priority.

I think it has to do with the fact that there are these unspoken expectations that go along with being a wife and a mother and, in general, a woman in today's world. I think we're finally making some progress as it is becoming more acceptable to take care of ourselves, but that is not how it's been for women in our society.

You can talk about women's liberation until you're blue in the face, but the fact is - we are still followed around with these expectations that we are supposed to do certain things and be a certain way.

Cook dinner. Take care of your babies. Listen. Nurture. Behave. Don't be bitchy. Don't be rude. Volunteer. Don't lose your temper. Don't confront. Say yes. Go there. Be there. Do this. Do that.

It's so sad that for many of us, it's like pulling teeth just to say no to something. We're plagued by this guilt, and for those of us that are moms, we all suffer from Mommy Guilt in its many forms.


For not spending enough time with our kids.
For not feeding them organic or fresh food.
For giving them pre-packaged, microwave it in 30 seconds lunches.
For plopping them in front of the TV so we can have some silence.
For wanting to get away.
For using formula instead of breast feeding.
For getting mad at them.
For yelling at them.

We're scared...

Of being judged.
Of not being perfect.
Of not being as good as those other moms who appear have it all together.
That we really can't handle all that comes our way.

But, that's not how it's supposed to be.

We shouldn't plague ourselves with guilt. We shouldn't be scared of failing or of being judged or of falling short of the mark.

We are humans. We are moms. And we are doing the best that we can.

But, if there's one thing we suck at, it's taking care of ourselves. Taking care of ourselves without the guilt......

.....Realizing that just because we want to get away from our kids and our spouses and our homes and our responsibilities - THAT DOES NOT MEAN WE ARE BAD MOMS.

We can't be on our game if we're burning the candle at both ends and constantly on edge about something because we've just had it up to HERE and feel like we're going to crack. We have so much on our plates as women - I don't care if you have kids, work outside the home, are married, are single, whatever. The mere fact that we are women automatically means that we have a tremendous amount of responsibility, stress, and unrealistic expectations.

We all just need a minute. A minute to breathe, to think, to be ALONE and not be bothered.

I've felt the need for my own little minute coming for quite a while now, and the events of the past couple weeks, with my husband being out of work and both of our stress levels being through the roof, have only made that more clear to me.

I have so much on my mind. I feel so overwhelmed. And I am still stressed out about everything that has happened. But, I came home to past due bills, piles of laundry, not a clean pair of underwear in sight, and a kitchen full of dirty dishes. I couldn't just melt down. I had things to tend to.

So, hmmm...have a much-needed cry fest and let everything out, or gee - get our bill payments out in order to avoid late fees and annoying calls at 8:45 p.m. from the idiots at the bank, electric company, credit card holders.......Let's go ahead and just make that payment. The breakdown can wait for another day...

I want to be able to just sit and think. I want some time to myself where I don't feel the need to accomplish chores and run errands and be productive.

And one day, I'm going to have my minute -- I'll a free woman. Maybe I'll get a spa pedicure at a fancy little spa where they have huge cushy chairs that you sink way down into. They'll have big copper bowls with marbles in the bottom, bubbles galore, and rose petals on top of the bubbles where your toes soak and soak and soak. There's scrubbing and massaging and hot paraffin wax dips. And beautimous toes, freshly painted in what I'm guessing will be a deep, sparkly red.

Who knows what will come after that. All I know is there will be no washing of clothes or dishes, no paying of bills, no naptimes (unless I decide I want a nap), no crying, and no stress.

I don't have a plan. And that's how I want it. No strings. No real plans. Just time. Time to chill out, to let things sink in, to cry if I want to, and to get myself back together - back where I feel like I can handle things again and where I feel more at peace.

What would YOU do with a minute

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Why yes -- I am SuperMom!

Are there superpowers that were activated the moment you became a mom? I think so.....in fact, I think that you would suprise yourself if you thought about it for just a minute. So here you go -- the amazing superpowers that came to me when I became a mom. How many do you have?

*The ability to deal with disgusting bodily fluids without throwing up. My entire life, I've been a sympathy gagger. If you throw up, I'll throw up. If I smell throw up, I'll throw up. If I see someone throw up, I'll throw up. I clearly remember a day inkindergarten . All of us kids were lined up on the driveway and a kid threw up. The smell made me throw up. Then a bunch of other kids down the line threw up. It was like a barfarama . But the moment I became a mom, I was able to deal with all kinds of disgusting things coming from my child without feeling even slightly nauseous -- even when my son vomited all over my face and shirt. However -- and this is important -- this superpower applies to your own children only. If I see someone else's child throw up, my stomach heaves and the nausea descends. And when my husband caught a stomach bug and was vomiting all over the place, I could not be within 10 feet of him without feeling sick.

*The ability to see signs of genius based on what others might call "very little evidence." I don't know about your child, but my children are geniuses. When Drew was just 2 days old, he was showing the reflexes of a 8-day old! Although the pediatrician persists in saying my son is undergoing "normal development," I know better. What other 4-year-old (Ryker) answers "razzmatazz " in response to the question "What is your favorite color?" (It is so a real color! Just check the 120-color crayon box.) Although he may seem like a normal 4-year-old boy to you, I am his mother and my superpowers allow me to see the genius within. You see a scribble; I see Picasso. You hear acacophonous banging, I hear the next Keith Moon (drummer for The Who). You hear a boring, repetitive story; I hear the next Faulkner. You see a kid throwing a tantrum; I see a future Oscar winner.

*The ability to tell lies without even thinking about it. (Or, if you are morally opposed to lying, call this "the ability to provide plausible explanations at the drop of a hat to suit your own purposes.") I have never been a good liar -- no matter how hard I tried to master it in my young life. But once I became a mom, I found myself able to think up and perpetuate amazingly complex lies quickly and easily. Consider how I deal with the biggest lie of all -- Santa Claus. As my sons have gotten older (and remember, I'm dealing with geniuses here), they're thrown a bunch of questions at me about exactly how the whole Santa things works. "What if you don't have a fireplace? How does he fit everything into the sleigh? How does he watch me all the time and watch all the other kids?I don't understand why I have to donate some of my toys to Goodwill -- why doesn't Santa bring toys to all the poor children who don't have toys?" I've faced all of these questions and been able to come up with a brilliant lie each and every time. (Well, except for the poor children one. That is a doozy. Even my superpowers couldn't come up with a good answer for that one.) And I've become a master at telling little white lies: "We can't stop atMcDonald's ; the sign says they are closed for renovations." "Oh darn...the ice cream place just closed --they close at 3:00 p.m. in the summer." "That toy is only for children who eatbroccoli every night. It says so on the box."

*The ability to fall asleep anytime, anywhere, anyplace. Some may call it "a normal reaction to sleep deprivation," but I call it a superpower. Ever since I became a mom, I've been able to sleep in uncomfortable situations without any advance notice -- even if I just woke up 45 minutes before. I could be at a very noisy party and if there is a lull in the conversation, I'll just drift right off -- even if I'm standing up and have a drink in my hand.

*The ability to love and be more selfless than you ever thought possible. When I became a mother, I found that I was gifted with a capacity for love that blew away any kind of love I had ever felt before. (Apologies to my husband ... I love you, sweetie, but it just isn't on the same level.) In addition, I was suddenly able to put someone's needs ahead of my own without being filled with seething resentment. If I was filled with hunger, I would still take care of my son's needs first. "Mommy's empty stomach be damned. Baby needs a diaper change!" This superpower amazed and surprised me -- and is perhaps the only one that allows me to handle this very difficult and challenging thing called motherhood.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fun Little Challenge

OK, so a friend of mine told me she read this on a blog somewhere, so I thought I would give it a try. Here's the rules:

Write a 26-line poem using all the letters of the alphabet, where the first line starts with the letter "A," the second "B," the third "C," etc., culminating with the final line starting with "Z."

I sat down and started writing a poem all about raising boys, and fart jokes, and violent play fighting and smelly socks and how I hadn't showered in 2 days, and I was pretty impressed with myself for the line that began with the letter F. The preceding lines had been about dealing with said boys and such, and it was high time for an expletive, so the line went like this: "Frick, frick-a-frack, cock-a-doodly-doo." I was too proud of that not to share it with you. Unfortunately, that little piece of genius didn't make the final cut because my crazy children, fart jokey, non-showery poem sucked.

It just wasn't coming together. So, I deleted what I had, took a step back, and decided that I needed to write something that didn't have to do with being a mom or the "joys" of child-rearing.

So, without further adieu, I present you with my poetic masterpiece...

Alphabet Soup

All things that are chocolate,
Books that are or aren't true.
Candy and
Daisies, but not
Even theFlu.
Girly accessories,
Hair ties and rings.
I'm talking about all of my favorite things.
Jumpin' Jehosephat - that's fun to say!
Karats -- yes diamonds,
Lillies and steak
Norah Jones, but not
Pretty stuff and juice.
Quite frankly I even like Dr. Suess.
Randy from Idol and
Singing, oh Grace..........
Try to hurt me and I'll spray you with mace.
Umbrellas in rainstorms and
V-Dubya bugs.
Weddings, my family, and
Xeptional rugs.
Yard sales, and interior design - some sparkly bling.
Zeze are a few of my favorite things

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Romance is Overrated

I was reading some posts over on the mommies board that I belong to, and I came across a young mom who was asking advice about leaving her husband. She said that her marriage is not what she thought it would be and that she wants to have a chance to find someone else, someone who is more attentive to her and is more romantic.

I paused, seriously considering if I should reply. I considered: I don't actually know this girl and being "more attentive to me" might be code for "stop sleeping around with every woman that he meets at the bar" or "admit he's gay." "More romantic" could possibly mean "stop beating the crap out of me and the kids" or "stop spending all our grocery money on booze." Besides, she was asking about how to leave him, not if she should.

So, I clicked on out of there before I opened by big ol' mouth and inserted one or both of my feet. But, now that I'm safely back on my blog, where I say what I think, I'm here to tell you: romance is overrated. We don't live in a chick flick where there are grand sweeping gestures of romance on a continuous basis. This isn't some Nicholas Sparks novel where everyone weeps at the beauty of the love between a couple.

It's life.

Before you go get all huffy and tell me all about the romance in your life, let me clarify a bit. I DO love my Hubs. He loves me. And we do romantic things for each other. They have just changed as our family has grown.

He did used to do big sweepingly romantic things for me. Most of the time I laughed at him and told him he was a big cheeseball, though I did appreciate them. But, flowers, gifts, spontaneous trips, love letters, and other such romantic gestures have been replaced by more practical things.

It's romantic to me that Hubs chooses to come home every night to a house full of children under the spell of the witching hour and a wife who is exhausted. Because no one is making him. That he works his ass off to provide for us is romantic as hell to me. I'll even take that he doesn't always fluff the comforter after he farts, as romance.

It might sound boring. And he does still occasionally throw in a big romantic gesture every now and then. But, the real romance to me is knowing that I have a husband who will always be there for me and the kids. Who loves us through our worst days and moods. Who is a true friend to me. Whom I don't worry that he'll ever leave us- we're in this for the long haul.

Really, anyone can be romantic in the beginning of a relationship. It's time that is the test for how a relationship really is. I believe that love is a decision and that we'd never stay with anyone if we left every time the romance seemed to fade.

Romantic comedies and novels...well, they can bite me. I have my own version of happily-ever-after here.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Soundtrack of my Life

So, we survived the Canada Day chaos no worse for wear, other than a few mosquito bites and a couple of painful sunburns. But it was so much fun having all that family around. There is nothing better than a lot of fun, family and food for three days straight.

If your life were a movie, what songs would be on the soundtrack?

This is a hard question for me...because I can't narrow it down. I've always thought of my life in terms of having a soundtrack. And there are many songs that, the instant that I hear them, I can clearly recall a memory associated with them. For example: "Might as well be walking on the sun"...instantly back in college, at a bar with my roomie slamming her fists down on the table and screaming out that line...and the crazy night that followed. And no, you're not getting that story out of me.

I thought about being sappy, with "There Goes My Life" by Kenny Chesney or "You're Gonna Miss This" by Trace Adkins or "The Dance" by Garth Brooks.

And then I thought about being funny like "Much Too Young to Feel This Damn Old" by Garth Brooks or try to convince you that "Dancin' For the Groceries" by Kenny Chesney was my life.

But, instead, I decided to go by stages of my life. And, I'm sorry if you don't like my taste in music, but it's my blog so.......

Stage 1: Young woman eager to get out into the big world and make something of herself, striking out on her own to "find herself." I actually sang this song in the car a la Jerry Maguire singing Free Falling as I was moving far, far away from everyone I knew.

Song and Artist: Wide Open Spaces by The Dixie Chicks

Most telling lyric: To find a dream and a life of their own, a place in the clouds, a foundation of stone...She needs wide open spaces, room to make the big mistakes...

Stage 2: Angry young woman, tired of being stereotyped by the people around her, who weren't actually taking the time to see who she really is

Song and Artist: Welcome to my Life by Simple Plan

Most telling lyric: Do you wanna be somebody else?Are you sick of feeling so left out?Are you desperate to find something more?Before your life is over

Stage 3: Woman happily in love with her husband. We never had a wedding song, but I think this may have possibly been the one I would have chosen......if it had actually been made before 1997.

Song and Artist: Lucky by Jason Mraz and Colbie Callait

Most telling lyric: I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend, lucky to have been where I have been.....I'm lucky we're in love every way.....

Stage 4: Mommy madly in love with her little boys and wanting the best for them...a stage that, like stage 3, keeps on going

Song and Artist: My Wish by Rascal Flatts

Most telling lyric: My wish for you is that your life becomes all that you want it to

Stage 5: Woman realizing that, to hell with what other people think, I am who I am, I want what I want, and if you don't like it, well....

Song and Artist: Settlin' by Sugarland

Most telling lyric: I ain't settlin' for just getting by, I've had enough so-so for the rest of my life....I ain't settlin' for anything less than everything

I hope some of you decide to try this little exercise out, because I would love to see what some of you come up with.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Few More Truths

~It never hurts to dream.
~Men may have selective hearing......but women have selective listening!
~You can't possibly appreciate your Mother until you become a Mommy.
~Never date a man who wears more make-up then you.
~You have to prepare your child for the path, not the path for the child.
~You can re-heat your morning tea three times before it is deemed undrinkable.
~Life is better if lived with intention.
~Puke never really comes out of shag carpeting. UGH!
~Broken hearts can heal.
~There will never be enough hours in the day. Accept it.
~True girlfriends are a gift.
~Once you have had 3 babies, you will never look at a trampoline the same way again!
~You have to love yourself before you can really love someone else.
~Sometimes nothing makes you feel better then a sexy new pair of shoes! They always fit.
~We are our own worst enemies.
~A newborns smile will melt your heart.
~Worry gets you nowhere. So why the hell do we do it??
~Trust. We all need someone we trust.
~Being a Mommy is the hardest.....and the best job in the world.
~If you are at a crossroads, choose with no regret. There is no other way.

Friday, June 25, 2010


~ I love my children above all else, they are my joy.
~ I dream of seeing Ireland, Greece, London, Italy and Tokyo.
~ I love to write
~ I love the way the world looks through the lens of a camera.
~ I am a crier.
~ I have a good heart and a generous spirit.
~ I have not reached my fullest potential...I still have dreams unfulfilled.
~ I'm learning to stand up for myself
~ I think women, and now know young girls, are often cruel to each other.
~ I have had my heart broken.
~ I like cinnemon toast and tea for breakfast.
~ I am slow to trust and do not easily let people into my life.
~ I am blessed to have a few good friends.
~ No one really knows me.
~ I love reading good books in abubble bath.
~ I am striving to cherish the moment.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Where are you going, my little one?

Have you ever heard that song? It has been in my head all day today......because my youngest child "graduated" from kindergarten today! (just substitute the word "girl" for "boy") *tear*

My "baby" is growing up. In the past week he's lost his first tooth, used enormous words that weren't in my vocabulary until Jr. High....and he knew what they meant. And now, he's officially going into a "number grade". Time really needs to slow down.

It's funny though....when you are in a situation with a number of other parents, the parents of your childs peers. Why is it that parents feel the need to constantly compare children? There are an awful lot of women playing what I like to call the comparison game. I refuse to play this game! When they were babies it was ridiculous things like:

"oh my little one has ALREADY cut her first tooth."

"My darling can already sleep through the night..you mean yours isn't."

"My sweetie takes baby ballet." Yeah OK. (The kid can't even walk yet so who is doing the dancing anyway!)

As they get older the comparison mommies keep the game alive, they just change the competitions.

No I will not sit down and compare my child's report card with you.

Yes I got your oh so subtle hint that your darling daughter got a 95 on that latest test...and no I do not feel the need to reveal my sons grade.

Yes, your son's project is amazing (but there is no way in hell he drilled all those pieces together himself who do you think your kidding).

Your child got a part in the school play..congratulations. (so did every child in the school)

So what is this need to have the superior child? To compete and win some invisible prize? Is it pride of ones offspring? Is this a new form of passive aggressive bragging? What does this teach the children who hear these conversations? Are the children of these very competitive mommies the ones who end up forming the ultra cool cliques in high school with the strictest rules of entry?

Maybe that's why I don't quite understand. I was never in those cliques. I never quite found my group. I had many friends but not a tight great big group of dress alike. think alike zombie friends that many seemed to thrive and survive with in high school. Maybe I missed out on something? Maybe I should be helping my child compete? Maybe I should get in the game.

Then again.......maybe not. There's no need for competition when you KNOW your child is perfect -- just the way he is.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

That's Twilight Zone music.

Yes it is.

Ok. I've got a problem. It's a small problem. Sort of like a pimple. But not really like a pimple because I can slap 50 layers of makeup on a pimple and voila it's not a problem anymore.

It's more like a boil. You can't cover up a boil. -- No, I don't have a boil. My problem is this:

See, one day, the arm on my office chair just popped off. I felt all powerful and destructive, like a female wrestler hopped up on endorphins and Twizzlers. But it was irreparable. So I went to my local Staples and bought me a fancy new chair.

It took me ages to put it together. But once done, it was a masterpiece of office equipment. My booty was nice and comfy. I made sure I didn't use my super strength on the arms. And try to roll gently.

But.(Ironic, the word "but".)

But, at some point, either my butt has gotten larger and heavier or something in the chair is malfunctioning. Because as I sit typing this, my chin is right above the desk and my arms are practically over my head to reach the keyboard. I've fiddled and adjusted and yelled at and coaxed and pleaded and bribed and nothing I do keeps my chair from sinking about 8 inches. But see, it's tricky, this thing. It's not like, dropping down suddenly like a ride at Disney.

Nay, it's slowly sinking. Just slow enough to make me forget I'm going to be 6 inches shorter in an hour. Just slow enough to make me wonder if that Mini Snickers bar was laced with brick dust and if I should have used the recumbant bicycle this morning instead of hanging my wet towel on it. Just slow enough to make me wonder if my arms being slowly pulled out of their sockets by my lengthening reaches and if I'll resemble a caveman by Friday.

Just slow enough to write this.

This gives whole new meaning to low riding.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Happy Father's Day!!! To all of the fathers, papas, dads, daddies and misters....if it weren't for you? We'd have a LOT less housework.....er, I mean a LOT more grumpy days.

You are the momma's right hand man. Our wingman...our partners in crime. If nothing else, it's easier to say, "Daddy said no," than have to come up with a reason. It's also a good threat for the kiddies, "You just wait until your daddy gets home...." insert ominous music here. Mwa-ha-haha!!

OK, enough about that. Let's talk about my dad. My dad's pretty awesome. He can do just about anything. He can teach you to whistle, tie your shoes or ride a bike, show you how to make a yard look awesome, cook, clean.....well, you get the picture.

When I was little I was pretty sure that he got up before the rest of us, just to wake the sun up so it would be light out when we got up. As I've gotten older I realize that he didn't wake that sun up. But without him, the sun would be less bright.

So, with this post I just want to thank my dad. Because, Heaven knows he didn't have to be my dad. I love him and appreciate him probably more than he knows.

Monday, June 7, 2010

For Granny

Dear Granny;

Although you've been gone for 11 years, I still think about you every day. I really miss you. Lately I seem to miss you more than usual. Perhaps it's because July 1st is drawing near, and still after all these years, the holidays don't seem the same without you.

I miss the way you closed your eyes and threw your head back when you laughed. I do that too.

I miss how you welcomed the chaos that was a house full of grandchildren. You seemed to thrive in the insanity that was our big, loud family. I miss the taste of your hot cross buns, bbq chicken and potato salad. To this day, no one makes it as good as you did.

I marvel how you cooked huge holiday dinners in that little tiny kitchen, with no counter space, no air conditioning, and for many years, no dishwasher.

I miss all your "grannyisms" like : "Good manners and a good set of clothes will take you a long way". I laughed at them all back then. But, you were truly wise, and now that you're gone, I find the memories of your advice invaluable.

I miss our drives when we would just drive around and go to the store for a Fresca and a Royale chocolate bar.

I loved how you would say, "Everyone needs to be quiet because my show is coming on!" and within five minutes of Matlock or Murder, She Wrote starting you would be sound asleep -- and snoring so loud it raised the roof.

I miss the smell of Oil of Olay and Chantilly Lace. I miss you letting us all crawl up on your big bed to watch TV.

I really hate that you died, before my two youngest children were born. I think you would adore them, although I'm sure that you met them before they came here. I also believe that you are watching over the baby that I lost. But, I really wish that my boys could have known you. I can't think of a better role-model, mentor, relative or human being than you. I am so proud to be your grand-daughter.

I know it was a gift to have you around as long as we did, but that doesn't mean I will ever stop wishing that you were still here.

Love you forever;


Friday, June 4, 2010

Oy! I've been such a slacker

OK, so I've been mired in sports and moving stress, and now.......I'm sick. Not just, "ugh, I don't feel good sick", but I mean "Holy crap, I just wish I could die rather than endure this pain and suffering, have to stay away from work, don't want to breath on anyone, just want my mommy" kind of sick.

So, I really apologize that this blog has been somewhat neglected over the past couple of weeks. But, just for today, I thought I'd write a few thought provoking "have you ever" questions, and see if you, my fabulous readers, would let me know if I'm the only one in the world who thinks the things I do.

So, here we go:

Have you ever taken a picture for no reason at all?

Have you ever done something that terrified you?

Have you ever laughed so much you peed a little?

Have you ever choked on your own saliva?

Have you ever allowed your children to do something just because you were too tired to argue about it?

Have you ever worn orange?

Or bright green? (Why?)

Have you ever smelled your dog's feet?

Have you ever barbecued a banana...with chocolate chips...brown sugar and marshmallows on top?

Have you ever appreciated another person's kindness?

Written a thank you note for something small?

Told someone they are "swell"?

Have you ever thought that summer would be even better without mosquitoes?

Have you ever thought that Lindsay Lohan might die young?

And thought Bret Michaels might just have 9 lives?

Have you ever wondered why anyone would allow a picture to be viewed by the world (Kate Gosselin)?

Have you ever wished for less freckles?


Stretch marks?


Have you ever wished you looked like this?

Have you ever {really} missed someone?

Have you ever felt alone?

Have you ever wanted to be alone....just for a bit?

Have you ever stopped...looked around and thanked God for your life?

Me too.

Easy Ways To Be Happy

In the monotony of daily life, chasing after happiness can seem like an endless, really big project. And sometimes, it is. But sometime...