Friday, December 9, 2011

No Thank You, Ma'am

So today I walked into my local Starbucks to order my much needed double chocolate chip frappuccino (the best frozen non-coffee drink money can buy) and the guy behind the counter says, “What can I get for you ma’am?”

Other than that frozen little bit of heavenly beverage, I would love, absolutely love, if people would stop calling me “ma’am.” I know it’s a sign of respect. I know no one is trying to offend me. Even so, each time I hear it, it makes me feel 40,000 years old. And for the record, I’m only 35. So you see the discrepancy there.

I really believe that there is no one (other than maybe some 85-year-old woman living in the deep south, drinking sweet tea on her wrap around porch) who wants to be called ma’am and it probably pisses her off too.

What happened to a nice “miss?” “Miss” sounds young. “Miss” sounds bouncy. “Miss” sounds like you still wear strawberry lip balm. (I love strawberry lip balm). So please, call me “miss,” hand me my drink, I’ll smile, hand you my 4 dollars and 34 cents and we’ll do it again next week.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Eternal Hi 5

How far is Heaven?

It's not very far.

When you're in God's temple

It's right where you are.

This past weekend, our family went to Cardston, and were sealed together for time and all eternity in the Cardston Temple. It ranks up there as one of the top 5 days of my life.

Saturday morning we all got up early and had a delicious breakfast of pancakes and turkey bacon. Then we all got dressed and hit the road for the hour long drive to Cardston. The boys were very tired, so it was a relatively quite drive.

When we entered the temple, we were greeted by the gentleman who was going to perform our sealing. And, to show you what a small community I live in.......the sealer was my high school principal. Crazy!

Ross and I were sealed to eachother first...........and as if my heart couldn't get any fuller -- the boys were brought in shortly after. I had to catch my breath when they came in the door, all dressed in white, and looking so beautiful. At the head of the alter were three chairs. My uncle, Tim and my cousin, Jake, served as our witnesses and they sat on the two end chairs, leaving the one in the middle empty. But I swear I could almost see my grandpa Max sitting there. I just knew that he and granny were in that room with us.

The sealing itself, of course, was fantastic. When Brother Bohne was finished and told the boys that we were now an eternal family and that we would be together, Ryker quietly started clapping. It was so cute.

When it was over and we were leaving the temple, Andrew decided to put his seal of approval on the day by giving everyone he saw an "Eternal High 5". (His words).

It was a wonderful, fantastic, joyful happy day.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Top Ten

OK, so if you were forced to go back in time to the "Olden Days", but were allowed to take 10 modern conveniences with you, what would you take?

I was thinking about this today, and here's what I came up with.

1. My hot water heater, so that I wouldn't have to take cold showers or baths.

2. My toothbrush, because for as weak and brittle as my teeth are, I hate not having them feel clean.

3. My washing machine, so that I wouldn't have to wash my clothes by hand (because, admit it, that would suck)

4. My bed -- my wonderful, comfortable king sized bed that adjusts the head and feet position for maximum sleep comfort.

5. My stove and oven, because I've actually gotten to enjoy cooking (being married to a chef has it's perks), and I would hate to have to try working my culinary magic without them.

6. My camera -- anyone who knows me knows how much I like to take pictures. And I would love to have tangible images of the memories my life creates.

7. A toilet, because lets face one likes doing their business in a nasty outhouse.

8. My much as I love horses, and think they are beautiful and magestic animals, I would not have to rely on them strapped to a buggy as my means of transportation.

9. The that I could keep food fresh and my family fed with unspoiled food.

10. My computer, complete with internet access so that I could blog about all my adventures (this one didn't really suprise you did it?)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's the End of the World as we Know it!

Actual sentence I overheard in the elevator this week that was so upsetting that I had to write it down so I wouldn’t forget it:

“But I thought she been done did that.”

Really? You thought she “been done did that”? This is what we’ve come to, blonde-girl-in-the-elevator-who-makes-me-cry-for-our-future?

This is the point when I’d come up with some sarcastic line that’s actually more atrocious than the thing you just said but I’ve been working on it for the last two hours and I think it’s pretty much totally impossible.

Forget “prolly”, “birfday” and ”liberry”, you’ve just made all of those seem like quaint colloquialisms. Next time I see you I’m punching you in the face.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Sorry for the echo. No, I have not abandoned my blog. But between work, play rehersals, practices, costume fittings, family time, and the little bit of blissful sleep I get, I really haven't had the time, brain power, or energy to be here.

The play will be over near the end of November and hopefully before the Christmas chaos starts, I will be here a little more frequently. I'm still reading you all when I can, and I'm sorry for not being my usual amazing self. :-p

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Love Letter To My Husband

To the man who holds the key to my heart:

If someone would have told me 14 years ago that I would be here, married to you..I would have laughed. Honestly, the summer that we met, the last thing I was looking for was a relationship. But there you were.....tall, handsome, confident. You knew you could have had any girl in town. And yet somehow you chose me.

I'm still not sure how I snagged you. But I'm sure someone else had a hand in it, and I thank Him every day for bringing us together. And if I could go back in time and choose whether or not to marry you again I would.....over and over and over.

Thank you for being you. There is just something about you that I cannot resist. There always was, right from that first night over the pool table. You weren't like the other men, letting me win in the hopes of gaining my affection. You beat me.....badly and repeatedly. You challenged me. You still do.

I’m so proud to call you my husband. It means so much to me to be your wife. I want to thank you so much for loving me. For seeing something in me. For marrying me. For listening to my concerns and working to make our marriage better. For putting up with my moods when I’m dealing with issues.

I love you so very much and am committed to making our marriage last through the eternities. There will always be times when we’re not getting along the best. There will be times that are low on money. There will be trials. That is part of life and God’s plan. But we’ve made it through the stretch that can be the hardest, and now here we are. We've made it. And I love you for it!

Saturday, October 8, 2011


As (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend is upon us, and even though I have to spend the entire weekend working I’m grateful for many things. Here are a few of them:

Obviously thankful for my hilarious and awesome children, my totally amazing hubs, our good health, a roof over our head and food on our table.

I’m grateful to be living so close to my family. I cherish every moment I can spend with my siblings, nephews, and parents.

I’m thankful that the sun is shining and Mother Nature is showing us the most beautiful display of fall colors.

I’m thankful for the power and inspiration of music, and that my children willingly immerse themselves in it.

I am so very thankful that live in a country where I can be myself, work if I choose, have my own opinions and not live in fear.

I am grateful for my knowledge of the Gospel and for the blessings that have been poured out upon me and my family·

I’m also very grateful that right now I can go give my kids a big hug and tell them I love them. That they say it back to me and squeeze me, too, makes everything perfect.

What are you grateful for today?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Live in Your Season

My friend Megan left her professional life after her oldest child was born.
She told me once that she used to worry about it.

"Will I ever get back in the game? Will I excel again? Will I be a success?"

On one occasion when she was fretting about it, her mentor told her to “live in her season.”
“Now is your season of motherhood,” she said. “There will be plenty of time later for you to focus on your career.”

I think about that a lot… about living in my season.

I haven’t been particularly focused on my career since I became a mother.
Consequently, I’m not winning any awards for my innovation or influence in my field.

Instead, I’m doing what I can at fourty hours a week, and at the same time prioritizing family life in general.

As a result, I've established a good work – life balance.

That feels important... and worth it.

But sometimes I still have moments where I worry that I should be trying harder professionally.
In those moments I try to remind myself...

"Live in your season, friend."

Now is my season of motherhood.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

35?!? Are you kidding me?!?

Today is my birthday. I turn 35. This means that I can no longer claim that I’m “in my early 30′s”. I am halfway to 70 years old. I’m just a few short years away from (GASP!) FORTY YEARS OLD!

Most of me is very excited and the remaining part of me is manic, as I try to get my head around my mini mid-life crisis. When you turn 30, you are so excited to get your 20’s out of the way because you know that everything about your life is about to change. Then 5 years later you think, “what the Hell just happened?”.

Turning 35 is like a check point, where your mind goes reverse and you start rifling through that “list” you made when you were 25 of all the things you wanted to do and see, where you’d hoped to be in life and with your career, love, marriage and kids etc etc etc and check check check.

I have to be honest. I woke up not wanting to be 35. I wanted to stay 34 forever or at least just get me through these next 5 years and straight to 40 “for the best years of my life”.

Some of you reading this are probably not understanding, but wait until you get to 35 and when you do, you’ll think of me - It will hit you like a ton of bricks. Even though I am truly and honestly the happiest I’ve ever been, I woke up this morning in shock and a little dazed and confused - Oh crap there is really no turning back from adulthood.

Not only am I in the next age bracket (no longer 25-34.....but now 35-49 --eep) but where does the time go? It may just be me, but when you are a teenager there is nothing you want more than to be older. When you become older, all you want is to find some more “time”.

I’m still in denial, I think I can find some “time” hiding underneath a rock or perhaps in the places where the lost socks go. If any of you happen to find some more “time” just laying around, can you please pass some along my way?

It took me about a half hour to get over my mini mid-life crisis mode and I realized, life isn’t so bad. I have to accept that fact that my body is not what it use to be (but it's getting closer hee hee) and that I might be experiencing peri-menopause shortly. But I am in the best place right now, surrounded by the best people.

So here’s to being 35. Growing old is a mandatory process and there is no point in trying to resist the changes.

Monday, September 19, 2011


(For full effect, all italics must be read in a munchkin voice.)

I love you, buddy. I'm glad you're mine.

But what if I wasn't?

I would make you mine.

What if I was somebody else's?

Then I would steal you.

But what if they had laser beams?

Then I would hold up a mirror so the laser beams would shoot back at them.

But what if they shot out spikes that would break the glass?


I'm not sure. I might have to get back to you on that one.

(more silence.)

But what if I was an alien with suction cups? Then you could have me. And what if you were made of metal? Then I could stick to you. Couldn't I?

Couldn't I, Mama?

Yep. You could.

I love you, Mama.

Love you, too, Monkey.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Rolling Around My Brain Today

Sometimes when I see parents with little girls I feel a twinge of envy. I wonder what it would be like. I project dreams and expectations for my own life's do-over onto a little girl with messy hair and striped tights and a dirty dress.

But then I see a mother five years my senior laughing over lunch in a hospital cafeteria with her teenage boys and my heart swells, threatening to burst at the seams, spilling flashes of my future out onto my lap.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Too often it takes trauma and tragedy to force us to look at our lives with fresh eyes. To re-prioritize. To let go of the little things and to show our love and gratitude daily. I wish we could just remember to do those things on our own, but we easily get swept away by the daily and weekly issues that loom larger than life in our short-sighted vision.

We seize on the differences in opinions or philosophies or beliefs and we inflate them to a size disproportionate to their importance. We get hung up on the unmarked bumps and detours in our days.

But there is SO.MUCH. to be thankful for. So much to appreciate, to marvel at, to sing praise for.
And I don't want it to take grief and sadness to remind me of just how lucky and blessed I am.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Over the last couple of years, too many of my most-loved people have been drop-kicked by pain and suffering. Illness, betrayal, and loss hung like a heavy fog over life for a while.

And now I am deciding to make a few promises to myself.

I will let go of the little things that don't really matter. Seriously, life is too short to stress about things not going according to plan.

I will not invite drama into my life nor will I let it stay when it crashes in uninvited. I'm so over it.

I will show my love and express gratitude to the people in my life. Why do we wait until people get sick or die before we talk about how great they are and how much we love them? Why do we keep to ourselves the qualities we admire in our friends and family, assuming they already know? Tell them now! If we don't, they may never know how we feel.

At the end of each day, no matter how stressful and tiring, I will go to my kids in gratitude. This last one may seem out of the blue, but it's a big one. There are days where I am ready to clock out but they keep on needing me to give. It is easy for me to stew in a toxic brew of resentment when I just want a chance to unwind but I am summoned back again and again. In the scheme of it, they are only little for a very short time.

So I have made it a priority that I will not get frustrated when my children need one more hug or snuggle or song or kiss at bedtime. When my boys wake for the third time before midnight or they sneak out of bed for the eightieth time or just want someone to snuggle them for just a few more minutes, I take a deep breath and I go to them and hold them and love them and cherish every moment of that closeness. I stare at their eyelashes resting on their cheeks and I smell their sweaty little heads and I rub their backs or arms and I remind myself that this time with them is so very short and sweet. And I am so, so lucky to have them.

I find that patience comes easier when I approach life with gratitude.

And I am so, so grateful for what I have today.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wanted Poster

Wanted Dead or Alive


Aliases: Me time, leisure time, naptime, shower time, curled-up-with-a-book-time, down time, shopping time, occasional-spa-time, wasting time, killing time, vegging time

Last seen: Heading south of the border with partner in crime, “My Spare Cash”

Reward: Am short on cash (see above), but am willing to clean, vacuum or fold laundry for whomever apprehends suspect. After all, if caught I will have the time.

Wanted for: Cruel abandonment and petty theft (see above)

Description: Has that "just back from the islands" pre-kids glow, drink in hand, looking for the next party

Watch out ladies everywhere! You could be next. Crime usually occurs shortly after storky visit.

Not armed, not dangerous…but certainly wanted….NOW!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Random Wednesday......Just Because

OK, you can all stop sending me emails and calling my house asking if everything is OK.

You can stop the mushy notes telling me how much you miss me and how badly you want me to blog again.

I'm here.

I'm still alive.

I'm just a little busy with three brats at home for the summer who require so much of my time and energy.

Is it September yet?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A stranger grabbed me by the elbow and pulled me close.

"I just have to share this with someone," she said.

She broke me from my zombie-like march down the apple aisle at my local Safeway. I went to the market for fruit and vegetables because I'm really starting to like the new "skinnier" me, and I've been trying really hard to win in my eternal struggle with junk food.

The stranger at the market pulled me towards her.

"Look," she pointed. "I think they meant crop."

The sign above the Rome apples said,

"Delicious New Crap!"

I bought a five pound bag.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Winning the Lottery

Tonight I put Ryker to sleep.

We were right at the end of the routine where the light is already off, I give him a kiss and leave the room. He took my face in his hands and said, "Mommy, you're my"

"I'm your favorite Mommy?"


He was searching for the right words.

"Your my... your my whole world."

Winning the lottery ain't got NOTHIN' on that.

Monday, June 6, 2011

What's your Sign??

I was reading my cousin, Meagan's blog, and she was talking a bit about horoscopes, and astrological signs. And while I don't put a lot of stock in the whole astrology thing, I have to admit, that I do fit the qualities of a Libra to a tee.

Libra natives are generally thought to be sociable, somewhat intellectual souls. They have an almost innocent way about them that makes them very approachable. Generally quite eager to cooperate, Librans spend a lot of their time trying not to rock the boat. (True enough, I do tend to be a bit passive aggressive)

In theory, Libras are peace-loving. In practice, they can quietly stir up all sorts of trouble with their ways. Because Libra enjoys balance in their lives, they seek the middle ground. In the process, they may end up trying to be everything to everyone. This is where their reputation for untruthfulness comes from. Generally, their untruths spring from a true desire for peace and fairness--although they may not be comfortable with direct and malicious trickery, they feel totally justified when they lie in order to avoid making waves. Peace at any price! In this sense, they seem harmless. But, what can result is quite a ruckus! People involved with Libras may crib about their lack of directness and their apparent inability to take a stand. Librans are experts at avoiding being the one to blame. When confronted, they'll (calmly and reasonably) say, "What, me? No, I just want peace." (So, while I don't think I'm necessarily a "liar", I did have a reputation in my younger life as a person who would "cloud the truth" in order to avoid confrontation)

Some more powerful signs may consider Libra a little on the weak side. This is all a matter of opinion, however! Without Libra, life simply wouldn't be as fair. Society needs rules, and these rules attempt to bring justice, equality, and fairness. On an individual level, Libra represents these laws of civilization. Libra comes across as very civilized and rather refined.

Because this drive for harmony, peace, and sharing is so powerful, Librans are apt to do a lot of conceding. (True) They are sympathetic and concerned for others, enjoy socializing, and revel in a good debate. Mental rapport with others is especially important to them.

Librans are sensitive to the needs of others and have the gift, sometimes to an almost psychic extent, of understanding the emotional needs of their companions and meeting them with their own innate optimism - they are the kind of people of whom it is said, "They always make you feel better for having been with them." (Well, I'd like to think so)

Libras are very intelligent, they often hide this inside their easygoing exterior. They express their intelligence through creativity, most are involved in some sort of artistic or creative pursuit. Many people overlook just how intelligent a Libra actually is. (I am so SMRT)When others see a Libras wide range of interests and hobbies, their intelligence and creativity is more then obvious.

Libras love excitement, new situations, adventure and the unusual. They make friends with people from all walks of life and they are always up to something new and exciting with enthusiasm. Libras are great at getting along with people, everyone likes a Libra. They are all about partnerships and groups, they are the glue that hold a group together because they are the ones responsible for keeping harmony and peace. Libras have mastered the art of relationships, not just romantic but business, personal, and family relationships just to name a few. No one is able to see another person's point of view better then a Libra.

So, do YOU live up to your sign?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Monkey turns 7

My Little Monkey,

I love you.

For all that you are, and all that you do!

You're magical. And sweet.

Your smile makes life a treat.

You're playful, and such a delight.

You make me laugh, all day and night.

Whether you're glad, sad, silly or spunky...

You'll always be, my little monkey!

- book By Sandra Magsamen

Ah, what a bittersweet day. Today I have been a little teary - eyed, more than once, because it is my Ryker's 7th birthday. He is my youngest, my baby........but not a baby anymore.

I can't believe it. Where did the time go? How did this happen? One minute he's crawling, and the next he's running around and next he's singing along to The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars.

I'm writing this post late at night on his birthday because, quite frankly, I didn't want to think about today being his birthday. That would mean I would have to admit that he is growing up. I would have to think about what an amazing little boy he is. I don't want to realize how fast he's growing and how small the window I have with my kids really is.

But then I realize that one day I'm going to take all these blog posts and put them into books for each of the boys, and I am going to want Ryker to know what a caring and brilliant and wonderful boy he is. A boy that is strong and funny. A boy that I love and am so proud of.

Watching him with is dad cracks me up. Dad spoils him rotten and Ryker knows it. He knows just who to go to when he really wants something. And man, Ryker are you ever your dads mini me.....from his crazy curly hair to his infectious smile.

And boy can you giggle. When you get going, Ryker, it's just unstoppable. I really think you must be the happiest, silliest boy in the world.

And while you may have daddy's curly hair, you definately inherited a music gene from your mom. You can remember lyrics to songs like nobodies business and have a sense of rhythm that would make some people jealous.

And you are the most caring and generous child I have ever met. How does a 7 year old learn to be as compassionate as you are? I honestly think it was just something you were born with, because you have always been that way.

You've told me and your dad that you are going to live with us forever, and on days like today I really wish that were true, but selfishly, I wish you could live with us forever as you are now, not the grown up you.

Happy Birthday my little monkey. And thank you for all of the joy you have brought into my life; I would not be the same without you.

Thank you for all of the lessons that you have taught me. Thank you for all of the laughter and creativity and most of all, thank you for being you. I could not ask for a more wonderful child.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Popular, I wanna be pop-uuuu-lar

I was not the most popular child in my class. In fact, I wasn't in the popular circle at all. I was way, way down the popularity totem pole and I knew it. But what I couldn't figure out was why the popular kids were popular.

I mean, from where I stood (way, way down on the totem pole) it appeared that nobody liked the popular kids. So how could someone be "popular" (i.e. widely liked) if most people secretly despised him?

Leave it to my 11-yr.-old son to answer this question for me. He's at the age where popularity is becoming a very real concept. He's in school, and he played on the basketball and badminton teams, and he -- like all the boys -- are well aware of who's popular and who's not.

The difference, my son said, between the popular boys and the unpopular boys is that the popular ones have power and can get people to do things.

Ah-ha!, I thought. I remembered hearing about a books some years ago, Queen Bees and Wannabees, that dealt with female popularity. Queen Bees, it said, are usually attractive, charismatic and skillful in maniuplation.

Seems the same things apply to popular boys.To my son, the concept of someone being popular but not well-liked makes perfect sense. The popular boy might be powerful and respected, but deep down, the boys he's manipulating may not like him all that much after all.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

You Know You're the Mother of Boys When.....

* You have 2 laundry piles -- dark, and underwear

*You spend hours watching tractors and machines on the Learning Channel

*Wrestling is a typical after-dinner activity

*Your home resembles an ammo depot -- in small scale plastic, of course

*Your couch cushions are off more than on

*You can mark the 4 seaons by the debris on your kitchen floor: mud (Spring), sand (Summer), leaves (Autumn) and slush (Winter)

Care to add to my list??

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Do you know who I am?

I know it's been a slow month here in Blog of Mayhem.....but I couldn't see THIS video, and not share it. It made me smile.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Do You Know What Today Is?

Today is my middle son, Max's birthday. And he's 11! How did that happen? He went from a newborn baby to this

and then straight to this

at least that's how it seems to me.

It was just yesterday that I was debating on how to tell hubby that we were again expecting our second child (having suffered a miscarriage the fall before). I settled on buying Drew a plain white t-shirt and taking a fabric marker to it. I wrote on it in big blue letters


And I took him straight to the hotel to visit his daddy at work. Needless to say, hubs was a bit stunned.

The day he was born I should have known what a stubborn child he was going to be. We ended up walking the hospital for HOURS. I was stuck at three centemetres and the little bugger woudln't budge. But then when he did decide to make his entrance, it came so fast that I didnt' even have time for those glorious pain inhibiting drugs.

Randall Max made his entrance at exactly 4pm on May 5, 2000. I remember looking down at his sweet little face and wondering how anyone can hold a newborn in their arms and not believe in the existance of God.

If having my second child has taught me anything it is to expect the unexpected. My first pregnancy was a breeze, the actual delivery a breeze and Drew's first few months were a breeze. Max by comparison was a much fussier eater and a horrible sleeper. We had him in the hospital quite a bit his first year with bout after bout of RSV. He spent a lot of time under an oxygen tent, and at home he had to get used to nebulizer treatments, which he didn't like AT ALL!!

He crawled early, walked early, ran early and climbed all over my furniture early. But he did it in his own time....along with eating solid foods, potty training and giving up the bottle (which he didnt' do until he was almost 4).

A couple of weeks after his 4th birthday he became a big brother -- which he took pretty much in stride.

Instantly protective, he didn't like it when someone would reach down and touch his little brother. Even now, with all their fighting, no one is allowed to mess with Ryker.

Max is a tough kid....always has been. I always said that if he ever did actually cry after a fall that we better get him to an ER because he is actually hurt. But he is a very sensitive young man, and would give you the shirt off his back if he thought you needed it more.

He's got a sharp wit, and a sharp tongue which I both applaud and abhor (sometimes). He thinks for himself, stands up for himself and doesn't take crap from anyone. He has an opinion on everything, and has a fantastic memory for animals and all things scientific. I've had many teachers tell me how remarkable it is that he knows so much stuff about so much....stuff. Seriously, the kid is like a walking, human discovery channel.

Max is my mirror image in how he looks, but is probably the child least like me in attitude and mannerisms.

He is an amazing kid, and I am thankful every day for his quick wit and quicker hugs.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Picture This

Sweat pants, t-shirts, and tennis shoes: it’s the mommy uniform. I should know since I wear it every day. I remember when my closet contained cute clothes. The tag of nearly every garment read ‘dry clean’ or ‘hand wash.’ Those were the days when spit up only got on your duds after your friends made you laugh so hard that it flew out of your own mouth.

When I look in my closet now, I cringe. It’s pretty pathetic. If a t-shirt is stained, I wear it anyway. If a pair of pants has a hole, who cares? It’s sad but true. My main clothes criteria three kids later: is it washable? I see how the mommy uniform grabs you and never lets go.

Enough is enough.

Take a look at this top from Hale Bob. The kimono style blouse is silk. A four letter word that’s rarely allowed in my home anymore. The floaty fabric is embroidered with sparkles and falls at the hip.

I’m so excited that it’s dry clean only!

It’s the perfect uniform for date night.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The More the Merrier

I've been thinking a lot about friendships lately.

My friend's 7-year-old granddaughter is having some issues on the playground. She can't quite understand how her best friend can be her best friend one day and completely ignore her the next.

"That's just rude, Gram. And it hurts my feelings."

It's tough being a girl. Women are difficult creatures. We desperately need each other but we push each other away, claw and snap and bitch, and talk behind each other's backs.

My friend assured her granddaughter that "one day" she'd find that one true best friend:

"Really, Gram? You promise?"

"I promise."

I told my friend that I thought that had been a terrible promise to make (we're honest like that). I'm not sure I really believe in the notion of a best friend anymore, although lately (and here's the truly ironic part) I feel I am in some of the healthiest relationships of my life. The notion of That One True Best Friend--the promise that little girl is holding out for--puts a whole lot of pressure on her and especially on the girls around her. No one person should be responsible for being every thing to anyone.

That little girl may be so busy looking for that One Girl that she may miss out on all the ones skipping happily around her on the playground.

* * *

In spite of the fact that most people would probably describe me as very outgoing, I've actually spent most of my life being somewhat anti-social. Growing up, I was never accepted into any of the Cliques Of The Moment, and more often than not, I'd find somebody who was "like me" (read: a little too loud or a little too dramatic or a little too awkward or a little too whatever I happened to be at the time) and I'd latch on. I'd found her: my friendship soulmate! And eventually, as is almost always inevitable with females, she'd screw me over.

There was Jessica in 3rd grade, who one day came back from lunch and abruptly and silently pulled her desk a few inches away from mine and refused to speak to me. I remember Susan, in middle school, who decided hanging out with "the other girls" was way cooler than hanging out with me (she was probably right). The list goes on and on.

I realize there were probably many times that I, too, had disappointed them...I don't doubt that I said something completely inappropriate to Jessica that day at lunch, but couldn't she have told me what that something was?

What I've come to realize over the last couple of years is that all that time I spent excluding everyone else to be with my One True Best Friend, I had missed out. A lot. On people, outings, experiences, adventures, life lessons.

I now find myself surrounded by a lot of really remarkable women...some are just the type that I had pushed aside for years because I simply "didn't have the time" to spend with them. I am more open, less judgmental, and having a whole heck of a lot more fun. My "collection" of girlfriends are all incredibly different: with some I can discuss, in great details, Marc Jacobs's personal make-over...others shop "exclusively" at Walmart. For some of my friends, sweating is restricted to dancing and sex...others are game for anything from a 5k to a full-out adventure race.

I would not call any one of these women my Best Friend. I know who I can call in the middle of the night when my kid is running a fever of 105. I know who I can call when I'm desperate for a vent about like, work, kids. Some of these women know secrets about me that the rest of the world would be shocked to know. Others, I'm just starting to truly trust.

I recently started to talk to someone at work who seems to be so amazingly interesting and intelligent and just plain "cool," that I stepped out of my old comfort zone and, after 30 minutes of chatting about designer galoshes, world-wide travel, Christian Louboutins, mamas' boys, marriage and children, I decided to make a plan to get together next week. This may seem like a totally normal thing to do. But for me, it felt foreign. This woman may become one of my girls. Or, perhaps we will get together and have absolutely nothing to talk about (although after that 30-minute-all-inclusive-chat, I doubt it!). But the point is that I have finally figured out that I don't need one Best Friend. I need lots of really fantastic friends.

I am no longer disappointed, because I don't put all my eggs in one basket. I have lots of baskets, and I'm skipping happily around with them on the playground.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The answer is simply, "Because"

I'm sure we all go through this, where a random thought or question pops into your mind, and you really don't have an answer for it. I seem to have silly questions just about every day. Well, I have the answer to any and all of those questions, thoughts, and concerns. Because.

1. Why, when they were little, did the boys poop every time I change a diaper that is only full of pee? Therefore, making me 'waste' another diaper (no pun intended seriously).

2. Why am I the most tired, after I have gotten a glorious night of sleep? Therefore, making me 'think' I will be totally rested and ready to go in the A.M.

3. Why does a kiss always have to lead to getting it on? (The answer to this is probably more like "Because.....he's a man")

4. Why can the boys face-plant into the side of the bathtub (this actually happened to Max years ago -- I almost cried. And I WAS watching him) and walk away mark free, but my big ass can come around the corner and knock them over and they looks like we went 12 rounds together?!

5. Why can I think of a dozen things to write about while I'm in that funny sleep-awake state of mind, but then I wake up and can't remember a thing? (Is tha a super power? Do I have a genius brain when I'm sleeping?)

6. Why is it every time I wash my car, a bird (like a seagull) always poops in a spot that my windshield wipers can't reach?

7. Why can't my husband admit he only does 15% of the "helpful" things around here and that I really do keep this house together, while watching the kids, working full-time and all that other crap (please see answer number 3)

8. Why do I always miss taking the cutest pictures and the funniest videos of the boys?

9. Why won't I ever finish all medications per the doctor's orders?

10. Why can I be a complete hard ass , but then get so sensitive when I think about my sons, and I become such a softie for kid things in general?

11. Why do I know that the second I finish this post, I am totally going to remember five more things I wish I would have written?


12. Here's one more... Why does my hair always look like crap when someone wants to take a picture, but my BEST hair days are when no one even gets to see me?!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Andrew

Fourteen years ago, I gave birth to my oldest son. Even though I knew that my life would be turned around, I never could have imagined in how many ways my life would be changed for the better. Those four words, "You have a son" made me a mother, and the last fourteen years have seen an incredible amount of growth and a love that knows no boundaries or limits.

My son. Words that I longed to hear for so long. Words that made me a mother for the first time. These past 14 years have brought many first's. These past 14 years have seen an infant come into the world, hold up his head, turn over, smile real smiles, sit up, crawl, eat real food, say words that meant something, say I love you, walk, run, and do all kinds of amazing things.

The most amazing? His ability to be compassionate. His love for his brothers and his family. How he isn't afraid to show love and affection, even at his his public. How he knows when someone needs a hug or a smile, or a stupid joke just to make them smile.

Even today, 14 years after he came into my world, scrunched up face, crying his newborn mewling cry, I stand in awe. I am in awe that I am a mother. I am in awe that regardless of the crappiest day I may have encountered, or how tired I am, or how much they suck the last dregs of energy within me, there is no other place I would rather be, or anybody I would rather be with.

I am in awe of how much I have changed as I brought home that beautiful newborn baby boy. I am stronger than I ever thought I was, weaker than I would like to admit, and know that there is so much that is out of my hands. Motherhood has made me challenge myself in ways I never thought possible, change aspects of myself I thought were engrained genetically, and constantly makes me want to be the person my kids already believe I am.

On the early morning my son was born, as I gazed into the eyes of this tiny creature whose survival depended solely on me, I knew I was in trouble. I knew that I was about to experience a love I had always heard about, but could only imagine. I knew. I knew that there would never be an enemy too great, a fear too insurmountable. I knew that I would do whatever I needed to do to make sure that this child (and the others that would soon join him) would never know fear, hunger, anxiety. In those brief moments, as the doctor showed my husband and I one of the greatest gifts ever bestowed on us, I knew I was a mother.

My dearest Andrew, you have taught me to believe in what I know exists but cannot prove. You have taught me that there is NOTHING that isn't possible when you seek it with a pure heart and pursue it with love. You have shown me that I am capable of being the person you know is there, the person I always knew I could be.

You have been a joy from the moment we knew of your existence. You have been an endless source of pride and joy, a source of happiness and amazement for your father and I. We are blessed to have you as our son, our firstborn. Rest tonight, knowing in your heart that your father and I love you as much as any person can love another; hopelessly, fully, truly, deeply. We love you to the moon and back. Happy 14th birthday.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Drinking while driving

Husband: (Tilting back bottle and gulping)

Me: Hey! Where did you get that! You can't drink that in the car. What if Ryker saw that?

Husband: I bought it. Want some?

Me: Hell yeah! Pass it over. But pass it down low so Ryker can't see what it is.

Husband: Here. Don't hog it!

Me: (Tilting back bottle and chugging) Man that's good. I needed that.

Husband: I know. I love chocolate milk

Monday, March 28, 2011

Remember that Saturday Night Live Commercial????

You know, the one about "Mom Jeans"?

Sometimes I think one of the hardest things about being a mom is resisting the siren call of stereotypical mom clothes. And by stereotypical mom clothes, I mean clothing that doesn't take too much effort, clothing that celebrates comfort over style and function over form, and clothing that, if I am truly honest with myself, I would not have been caught dead wearing prior to giving birth.

I'm not trying to be a smart-ass: it really is hard.

We moms are tired and rushed a lot of the time. Time and money are tight, but our bodies? Not so much (not mine anyway). And I think that drinking in the silky skin and shiny hair of our children - our beautiful children - goes a long way towards satisfying our inherent need to feel the presence of beauty in our lives.

And that's not necessarily a good thing.

Ease and practicality might not sound like the worst things in the world but the problem is, if you continually let them start to dictate your wardrobe choices, your fashion confidence starts to erode.

Once you start to become unsure about your ability to pull off fun and stylish clothing, you become less and less apt to wear it and enjoy the boost of confidence it provides. It becomes a vicious cycle and before you know it you're telling yourself that you don't care about what you wear or looking good anymore anyway: you're a mom now.

I don't pretend to be the most fashionable person in the world, but I have established a mental list of clothing items that I consider to be beyond the pale. If ever I find myself softening my strict no-go stance on these items, it indicates to me that a strong dose of retail therapy is in order.

In keeping with my firm belief that we moms have to stick together, I'd like to share my list with you:

1. Crocs. Straight up: they are evil and hideous and have no place on the feet of anyone between the ages of 12 and 65. I don't care if they're comfortable and easy to clean and practical: so are flip flops. I will never, ever wear Crocs and you shouldn't either. Seriously, trust me on this one.

2. Clothing with your children's picture on it. I know it's easy to get wrapped up in how gorgeous our kids are but don't, just don't. If you must broadcast their beauty, give fashion a fighting chance and opt for the World's Greatest Mom mug as opposed to the sweat shirt.

3. And speaking of sweat shirts...I'm not big on 'em at all. Ditto for sweat pants. With the exception of the cute yoga pants that have been all the rage the last few years, I don't think any clothes designed for wear in the gym should be worn outside the gym. Sweat suits might spell comfort for some people but to me they just say, "I've given up."

4. Your husband's clothes. I'm sure some young ingenues can roll out of their sexy beds and into their sexy boyfriend's clothing and look all sexy as hell, but chances are you can't. Once you're past a certain age, rumpled and baggy isn't a fashion statement it's just dumpy. Remember those photos of Katie Holmes wearing Tom's jeans? She's like 5'10 and 100 pounds and she looked like she was wearing a potato sack. If Katie can't pull it off, neither can you.

5. Pants with pleats in the front. They are dorky. You know this: I know you know this. But one day when you're feeling self-conscious about your tummy, you're going to find a pair of pleated pants which are a nice color and reasonably priced and butt flattering and you're gonna to think: I should just get these - they aren't so bad. But they are. Pleated pants are the banana peel on the slippery slope towards full-on mom jeans: do not allow them to throw you off balance.

That's my list. How about yours? Which clothes do you consider strictly in the mom zone?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Making no Sense at all

I am out of sorts.

So much so, in fact, that I have been unable to write. I have no coherent thoughts. Lately, my brain has been a jumble of mashed randomness. Or, completely blank.

This emptiness can sometimes be a welcome reprieve for me, but it's been going on too long. So I thought I would write about just that: my out-of-sorts-ness.

It seems this may not have been such a good idea, however, because it has taken me 11 minutes just to write this little bit. And that's not even counting the several minutes during which the cursor blinked on my screen, urgently, expectantly, right after I wrote that first sentence:

I am out of sorts.

And then, I had nothing.

Hubby once told me: "Your highs are really high, and your lows are really low."

It's true.I don't really do "medium."

This is both a blessing and a curse, 'cause when I'm happy...woo-hoo! But when I'm not,'s not good.

I struggle with this, because I'm never really sure what's "normal."

Is it "normal" to have as many mood swings as I do?

Is it "normal" to be giddy one minute and overwhelmed the next?

Is it "normal" to feel lost for no reason at all?

Am I normal?

There are days when I think it's just physical: I need to get back in the gym. I need to take my vitamins. I need to eat right. I need to be on a routine.

Then there are days I think it's more than that: Maybe I'm just an overly sensitive person. I over-think everything. I get wrapped up inside my own head. I dream. I plan. I stress. I worry.

It's normal to be in a "funk", no?

I am intense, and usually, I have little tolerance for those who walk around unmoved, blase.

But sometimes I am jealous of those people.

It must be so much easier...walking around with quiet simplicity in their heads. They must not struggle, as I so often do, with the everythings and nothings of Life. Do they ever feel indefinably out of sorts?

I have a Jack Kerouac quote in a drawer on my bedside table:"...the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop..."

I am sure I am mad, and certainly desirous of everything at the same time. I'd rather have a mad, loud existence than a quiet, simple one.

But sometimes I think perhaps sanity and nonchalance are a much easier way to live.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Idol Chatter: The Top 12 Girls

OK, I seem to be experiencing some confusion with the results show tomorrow. Are they voting out 2 of each guy and girl or are they eliminating it to the top 10 already. Hmm....guess we'll find out tomorrow. As for the girls tonight.....

*Tatynisa: "Only Girl in the World" -- I hated this number right from the third note. She was flat through the whole song. I thought I was watching American Idol, not the Gong Show. It wasn't even okay as Randy put it. It was downright horrid from start to finish.

*Naima: "Summertime" -- Okay, so this one wasn't horrible, but it wasn't my favorite. She was just ok for me, but nothing special....well, until that last note which was dynamite. But it was too old school, cruise ship lounge singer. Meh!

*Kendra: "Impossible" -- I really liked it. I thought it was soulful and seductive. She nailed every note. Really well done.

*Rachel: "Criminal" -- The music overpowered her. I could hardly understand a word she said. Her vocals were all over the place, and her performance was even too campy for Broadway. It was horrible. I hated the whole thing.

*Karen: "Hero" -- Her voice had a bit too much vibrato for my liking. I don't think the Spanglish thing is going to work for her either, regardless of what JLo said. I don't think it was a smart move this early in the competition.

*Lauren T: "Seven Day Fool" -- It didn't blow me away but it was definately the best of the night so far. This girl definately has potential to go far. She's got some mad skills.

*Ashthon: "All over Me" -- ZZZzzzzz..........oh sorry. I was sleeping. I had a dream that Whitney Houston had a love child with Chaka Khan. What?? That was Ashthon's performance song? Oh, my bad. That was the most boring thing I've listened too all day.....and I had CSpan on earlier people.

*Julie: "Breakaway" -- This girl is nowhere near powerful enough to pull off Kelly Clarkson. It was awful. Breathing - sucked, arrangement - sucked, vocals - sucked, blowing your big American Idol break......priceless.

*Haley: "Fallin" -- Is it just me or does she look a bit like Miley Cyrus? Anyway, I don't really like her and I hated her wannabe sexy stripper dance moves.....but she definately sang the crap out of that song. Holy powerhouse!!

*Thia: "Out Here on my Own" -- For the most part, I really liked it. She was flat on a couple of notes, but other than that, she was pretty remarkable. Really well done.

*Lauren A: "You can Hear me on the Radio" -- Another great performance. I really like this chick. She's kind of a Kelly Clarkson / Carrie Underwood hybrid. I really enjoyed this. Oh my gosh....Randy just said what I said about the Kelly/Carrie thing. I'm a genius!!

*Pia: "I'll stand by You" -- I thought it was really nice. Sweet, tender vocals, and a powerhouse, blowout ending. Awesome. She was fantastic. if they are only sending two of each home tomorrow, I'm going to stick with Jordan and Tim for the guys, and I think Rachel and Tatynisa for the girls.

If they are only putting 5 through from each group I think the guys will be James, Scotty, Paul, Jacob and Casey. And the top 5 girls will be Pia, Lauren A, Thia, Haley and Lauren T.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Idol Chatter: The Top 12 Guys

This post could also be titled "The Idol Gods are Smiling on Me". Because when I woke up this morning, I didn't have telephone or internet. It just wasn't working, and the cable company couldn't tell me why. It was out all day no matter what I tried to do.

Then, as if by a miracle, just as Idol was set to start, my TV booted up, and the show came on. It was amazing.

So, thanks to the Idol TV Gods out there, I can bring you tonights rundown.....

*Clint: "Superstitious" -- What an amazing start to the show. He has some seriously amazing vocals. I loved the entire performance. Great job.

*Jovaney: "I'll Be" -- He seemed to have a bit of trouble holding his notes, like his breathing was labored. But his big sustained note was amazing. I wasn't blown away, but it was okay. I agree with what Randy said, it was sort of mediocre karaoke.

*Jordan: "Pow Pow Pow"??? (Don't know the song title) -- He started off way too low. The whole song was really weird and gimicky. He was slow than fast, low than weird falsetto. I thought it sucked. Usher should slap him in the face.

*Tim: "Come on Over" -- First let me say that I hate the whole fading sideburns look.....The music overpowered him and he didn't belt it on his power note. He picked the wrong song, without a doubt. It didn't have that mellow songwriter vibe that I like about him.

*Brett: "Light my Fire" -- It was too low in the beginning. His voice is a little too "vanilla" for a song like this. He needed more grit. But I like him and given the right song I think he could be great. (His mannerisms remind me of Michael Jackson)

*James: "You got Another Thing Comin'' -- This guy is a rock star. I love his voice, love his attitude. He was fan-freakin-tastic. He's already golden. Love him. He's crazy good.....wait, was that a tail??? What the French?? Oh well; still love him.

*Robbie: "Angel" -- This song holds special meaning for me. So I was really wanting to like it.....but I didn't. The timing of the arrangement was weird. I hated his falsetto. It was not beautiful. It was bizarre. And again I agree with Randy. What's up with that??

*Scotty: "Letters from Home" -- I'm not much for country music, but I live this guys voice. It's like hillbilly butter. Damn. Great song choice.

*Stefano: "The way you Are" -- I love this song, and there is something funky about this guys voice that I like. Song and voice weren't a perfect fit, but I still liked it.

*Paul: "Maggie Mae" -- This guy is my favorite. He's just so funky and I love his vibe. And he sang a song that always makes me smile, 'cuz it reminds me of my momma. So really, what's not to love. Great job.

*Jacob: "A House is not a Home" -- I love his voice and could literally listen to him for hours. I'm not sure if sticking to this style of music will bode well with him on Idol, but I adore him. And AMEN to everything Steven Tyler said.

*Casey: "I Put a Spell on You" -- Another favorite. I adore this guy, and I'm loving the old school vibe from the guys tonight. This dude is just crazy, mad talented and I love him.

So there's my thoughts on the first BIG show of the season. I have a feeling that Jordan and Tim are the two that will be booted off on Thursday. So, let me know what YOU think?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Perfect Woman

It seems that creating your "best self" is a recurring theme throughout many of the blogs I follow. So many of us are trying to find/create/recreate/improve/figure out who we are. In my constant quest towards self-improvement, I am occasionally inspired by those unreal women in the fantasy world of Hollywood.

I once played a game with a friend: "If you could be any celebrity, who would it be?" This incredibly shallow and unimportant question became surprisingly difficult to answer and the cause of much back-and-forth:

"Well, I'd like to be Fergie, but with smaller boobs."
"No, I'd like to be Catherine Zeta Jones, but with more sass."
"How about Sarah Jessica Parker with 5 more pounds and a better nose?"

Bottom line? We came to the conclusion that there are many facets to a woman that make her who she is, and the Perfect Woman is more a combination of ingredients than just one simply perfect person.'s my combination of celebrity ingredients to make the perfect woman. Yes, I realize these are just celebrities...they are not heroes or our mothers or our closest friends. And yes, of course, I have fabulous women in my life--real women whom I admire and respect and emulate. But this is for FUN, people, just fun. So without further adieu, here is my version of
The Perfect Woman...

1. Scarlett Johansson's Body: That girl manages to be petite and voluptuous at the same time. Everything about her screams "Sex." Even in a t-shirt and jeans, she's the picture of Woman. No, she's not runway thin. No, she's not 5'10". But I don't really care to be either of those things anyway.

2. Drew Barrymore's Overall Quirkiness: She has this adorable lightness about her...this effervescent personality...and I admit I love that side-of-the-mouth thing she does when she talks.

3. Pink's Badass-ness: I know, she's kinda scary, but I sorta wish I were too, sometimes. I mean, you definitely get the impression there is no messing with this girl. She's the reason I often find myself singing "So what? I'm still a rock star..." really loudly inside my own head when someone pisses me off. (No, really.....I do)

4. Jewel's and Alanis Morissette's Writing Talent: Have you ever really paid attention to these women's lyrics? Brilliant for very different reasons. Jewel is soft and sensitive. Alanis is ironic and insightful. Some of their lines have gotten me through the toughest times in my life.

5. Shakira's Hips: Watch the video. 'Nuff said.

6. Sarah Jessica Parker's and Gwen Stefani's Style: If I can not have any of the qualities listed above, this one alone would make me a better person, I am sure of it. Even though I don't find her remotely attractive, I love the frills and elegance of SJP's red carpet style. And I adore the everyday glamorous rocker-chic look of Gwen. The two mixed together is Fashion Perfection.

That's it. All I ever wanted to be...with a dash of ME mixed in.

What about you guys? If you could be any celebrity, who would it be?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

101 Things About Erin

So, I'm not sure how many of you readers know me in real life, or if you do know me, how close we actually are. So, I've decided to tell you a few things about myself, that you may -- or may not -- know.

101 Things About Erin

1. I'm 34 years old.
2. I was born in Magrath, but consider myself a Raymondite.
3. I own 56 books of piano music -- but not a piano.
4. I hate shoes....and socks. I would go barefoot all the time if I could
5. I hate the color pink
6. I LOVE reading. I often have 3 or 4 books on the go at once
7. When I was a little girl, I really wanted to be a teacher when I grew up.
8. I also wanted to be a singer, a nurse, a pharmacist, and a journalist
9. I have 7 younger half siblings, but was raised with only 3 of them (although I have since connected with my youngest (half) sister
10. I try to have some form of communication with my mom every, single day
11. I secretly want a tattoo, but am deathly afraid of needles
12. I am also afraid of spiders.....I mean irrational, paralyzing, tear inducing fear
13. If I could be on any reality show, it would be Amazing Race or Biggest Loser
14. I have been pregnant 4 times
15. My second pregnancy ended in miscarriage......on my 2nd wedding anniversary.
16. I never want to jump out of an airplane.
17. I would love to retire in Hawaii.
18. My favorite person in the whole world is my grandma Court. I miss her every day.
19. I have a photographic memory when it comes to music, but can't remember where I put my purse on almost a daily basis
20. I love photography.
21. I work in a hospital, but the smell of hospitals makes me sick to my stomach.
22. If I could choose a super power, it'd be the ability to teleport.
23. I want to get certified in scuba diving
24. I would love to learn taekwon do
25. I am freakishly know, for a girl
26. But I also cry...a lot.....I'm kind of a wuss
27. I love swimming and can hold my breath under water for a REALLY long time.
28. I look remarkably like my paternal grandmother.....whom I never met
29. My youngest son was named after a character on Star Trek (Hubby's a trekkie)
30. I secretly wish I had a daugher (but we're done with babies)
31. I still consider wanting to adopt a little girl
32. But, I think God knew if I had a girl, I'd drive her--and everyone in the house--crazy with my good intentions..
33. I believe in angels.
34. I hate driving...I wish I could afford a chauffer
35. Mint chocolate anything is like kryptonite to me
36. I wish life was like a musical.....complete with the singing and dancing
37. I talk too much
38. I love peanut butter and bananas on toast
39. Growing up, I always wished I was tall, athletic and beautiful like my sister
40. When I am playing with pirate swords or Matchbox cars, sometimes I daydream about Barbies and dollhouses
41. I sometimes wonder what my life would've been like if mom had married my biological dad
42. I'm grateful every day that she married the man that I call my dad
43. I wish I were thinner
44. I have a bucket list
45. I hate when people say things like "prolly", "supposably", "preggers", etc....
46. Sandra Bullock would play me in my Life Story
47. I resent Photoshop in fashion magazines, but would be okay with using it on my own pics
48. I sing all the time.....even at work. I shocked my supervisors with my voice
49. Sounds that drive me nuts: static, car alarms, people eating while on the phone
50. I am constantly afraid of "the other shoe falling"
51. I'm not as tough as people think I am
52. The best part of being a mom is seeing your children become actual people
53. I could eat Chinese food every day
54. Sometimes when I'm sick, I just wish hubby would baby me the way I baby everyone else
55. I hate watching the news because there are never any "happy" stories
56. I don't believe in coincidences
57. My teenage son and I have the same taste in music
58. I'm the "cool mom" in my kids circle of friends
59. I don't iron. Ever.
60. I'm a sucker for romance
61. My favorite flowers are lillies and orchids
62. I love doing laundry
63. I hate being late for anything.....before I was married I was ALWAYS early for everything
64. I love a good chick flick
65. I have no tolerance for incompetence
66. I'm really good at keeping secrets
67. I believe there are times when a good curse word is necessary
68. The websites and never fail to put a smile on my face......even on the worst of days.
69. I have near-perfect recall when it comes to song lyrics....I'm sure I know well over 5000 songs by heart
70. Elizabeth Bennett is my favorite literary heroin
71. I have always liked older men
72. I tweeze my eyebrows at red lights
73. I tend to have a sarcastic sense of humor
74. I got engaged on my 20th birthday
75. I was married 12 days later
76. I regret not having my ''dream'' wedding
77. I'm the shortest one in my family
78. I'm also the only fat one
79. I'm working on changing that
80. I'm a Libra......and the discription of Libras suits me to a tee
81. I wet the bed until I was 10
82. My favorite holiday is Christmas
83. My dream car is a cobalt blue BMW Z4 roadster
84. I hate brussel sprouts
85. I have never fed brussel sprouts to my children
86. I am allergic to cats
87. This is okay with me because I'm definately a dog person
88. I like Pepsi better than Coke
89. I passed my driving test the first time, even though I couldn't parallel park.....and still can't
90. I can't drive a stick shift
91. I am a fast walker and am annoyed by people who walk slow or stop to talk in a crowded hallway
92. My favorite season is Autumn
93. I can speak with a near perfect British accent....I've even fooled some Brits with it
94. My husband thinks the accent is sexy :p
95. When Ross and I were first married, he did all the cooking (he's a chef). But I have fallen in love with cooking and now do about 90% of it myself
96. I am a spelling and grammar nazi. I will judge you on your ability to spell and use proper grammar
97. I love the rain.....and the way it smells
98. I also love the smell of sawdust, fresh cut grass, and new baby smell
99. I like all nuts except walnut
100. I love seafood
101. I always wanted an older brother

Holy crumb.....I can't believe I actually finished that.....even if it took 3 days. Anyone else up for the challenge? I would love to read them.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Idol Chatter: The Long Overdue Post for the Austin auditions

OK, so I'm an entire week late with this entry, but I'm here......and unfortuantely my DVR didn't record the LA auditions, so I won't be able to post thoughts on that. But here's who I thought deserved mention from Austin:

*Cory (the guy with the long lost sister): I thought he wasn't bad, but he went overboard with all the runs.

*The British chick that sang "At Last" was really pitchy and way too slow. Why even bother giving her a second chance? Her second song was still pitchy, but apparently every girl who cries this year gets a ticket to Hollywood.

*"Circle of Life" guy literally gave me a headache listening to him.

*John Wayne was good....he was really good. He had nice, smooth vocals and showed real emotion in what he was singing.

*The Seacrest Stalker - I seriously hope that she was acting, because if not, Ryan needs a serious restraining order. As far as her singing, I thought her voice was mediocre and she probably won't go very far.

*The Idol "power couple": She was annoying and couldn't hit the high notes. He was pretty good -- better than her, but neither one of them really blew me away.

*The cute blonde who sang two songs -- again not bad, but nothing spectacular.

*Casey, "The Scatman".....he was the best of the day, hands down. Really awesome sound.

So there you have it. I pinky promise to start posting these in a more timely manner.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dear Fat Pants

Thank you for serving me so well. You have been reliable, trustworthy, comfortable, and--depending on what I paired you with--almost fashionable. We have been through a lot together: You were there for me during three first-trimesters, when the nausea and early bloating threatened to take over my life and general opinion on pregnancy.

Even when I didn't button you, and hid you beneath too-long shirts, and pinned you with rubber bands and belts and maternity bands, you never complained. You waited patiently while I upgraded (or downgraded?) to full-blown maternity pants, and when I came back to you postpartum (all three times)--ecstatically, joyously, thrillingly--I even started thinking of you for a short time as my Someday-to-Be-Skinny-Again Pants. But it was inevitable...a few weeks later, the dew was off the rose. You were back to being my Fat Pants. No matter how hard you try, you can't change what you are. You're just too much for me.

And this past weekend, I knew it was time. Some of your chic-er and more upscale cousins started to call to me...beckon to me...seduce me. "Give us a try," they said, alluringly. At first, I was afraid. Afraid of rejection. Afraid that, in spite of the hours spent on the exercise bike, doing stairs at work, and trying to watch what I eat, I would still not be worthy of getting out of the "teens".

But I was. Oh, I was. And I'm sorry, Fat Pants, but now that I have gone back, remembered what it feels like to be accepted by The Elite, I just can't be with you anymore. You understand...I can't settle. And that is what I'd be doing with you. I mean, sure, I look fine when I'm with you. But that's not enough for me. I want more. So it is time to say good-bye. I know you will find someone else, someone who will appreciate you, be thankful for you, wear you with pride. I will never forget you.


The new Size 12 Me

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

OK, so This IS what I Wanted

"If you had do it over again, would you have children?"

This is the question that was posed to readers in a famous Ann Landers article from the 1970's (check out the article here). The results were shocking. 70% of the readers responded NO.

What kind of a mother would ever have doubts about whether or not she should have had children? What kind of mother would think back to her pre-mommy days and miss them? What kind of mother would be jealous of her childless friends?

An honest mother.

Because I have done all of this at one time or another, and I know that most other moms out there have too--even if only for a second. Most of us just feel too guilty to admit it. We think that admitting any of these thoughts means that we don't really love our children...that we are not grateful for their existence. When really, admitting to any of these negative feelings has absolutely nothing to do with who our children are or how we feel about them, but has everything to do with us--who we are--and everything we are required to give up in order to be parents.

It has only been in recent years that women have started to open up more about motherhood and what it's "really like." It is almost as if it has been hidden beneath a veil of half-truths: "Parenting is the best thing that has ever happened to me." "My children are my life." "You don't know joy until you have a child." "It is so wonderful."

These are all true. But there is so much left unsaid.

I have had days when I have wanted to run away. Literally. (Fortunately, I am married to someone I like so damn much that I'd actually have to reveal my final destination to him so we can meet up.) I have cried. A lot. I have wondered why I ever got into this parenting thing, and whether I'm any good at it. I have mourned my old life. I am often so overwhelmed from the general noise, chaos, and chores required when raising three children that I think I might have a complete and total breakdown.

But here's the thing: I think if we were all to be more honest about parenting, about motherhood, about what it's really like...all the good AND the bad, then maybe we could all handle it a little bit better. If we knew more about what we were getting into, if we could turn to each other and cry/laugh/vent more honestly about how much it can suck sometimes, we would all be less frustrated, less frightened, less alone.

Motherhood is not a competition. With very few exceptions, we are all doing The Best We Can. And if we can all admit that on the very best days, it's still work, then maybe we could start supporting each other a bit more. Then we could stop beating ourselves up for not feeling the way we're "supposed" to feel.

We took the boys to Sea World a couple of years ago, and while we were sitting at the Shamu show, I was looking around and watching the families interact. I loved looking at the big screen replays of the moms, dads, and kids sitting in the front rows, laughing and squealing and being splashed by the killer whale. In that moment, the simplicity and joy of being a family was so evident. And I pictured us...the five of a few years when the boys are older, and we'd all be there, maybe huddling together in the splash zone too, and I felt so grateful to have them, to be a part of this family. I was almost taken aback by the certainty that came rushing at me at that moment that THIS is what I wanted.

I am always startled by the moments that bring on this clarity. It always happens at the most unexpected, oddest times. I can never really explain why these slices of life trigger these feelings of parenting bliss and amazement, and to tell you the truth, I don't even care. I am mostly too relieved and ecstatic when these moments do happen to care that they are prompted by something as random as a whale show.

Because within the doubts, complaints, frustrations, tears, and exhaustion that come with The Every Day, there is The Big Picture. What I Wanted My Life To Be. So when I can see myself, sitting there, content and happy, sure of my role as "Mama," I know that my answer to Ms. Landers' question would be a definite and certain yes.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Idol Chatter: Nashville Auditions

I was excited to see that the auditions in Nashville were in the Ryman Auditorium, because even though it wasn't for an American Idol audition......I have sang and been recorded on that very stage. It was awesome.

But enough about's my thoughts on the contestants

*OK, first girl (the one with the cartoon voice) -- Seriously?!? WTH was that?? My husband could sing better than her.....and then to tell people that Steven Tyler told her yes?!? What a nutcase.

*The "Exes" were great together. The guy had a really funky sound. I really liked him. And she was pretty good too. I think her "new boyfriend" must be extremely understanding.....but I think he's going to get his heart broken.

*Tattoo'd rock guy looked like he was in serious pain. And he was screaming a lot more than he was singing.

*Donald Trumps beauty queen was just ok for me. She sang a little too fast, and just didn't have that "spark". Again Randy had no balls in telling this contestant the truth. I may not be a fan of J Lo's, but at least she tells it like it is.

*Black girl with the adopted white parents.....while it's definately weird to hear a black girl sing country music, I thought she was great. I liked her a lot.

*What was with the nameless Blue Man Group reject??

*Jackie Wilson -- she was great. Reminds me a bit of Kelly Clarkson. She's a big girl with a huge voice.

*The "diva recording artist" -- Bwah ha ha ha!!! She sucked! Big time! She was seriously nasally and her "make love to the camera" attitude made me want to vomit. Hey, diva! Shut up! Seriously!

*The guy that sang "Maggie Mae" was great.

*Dude who sang Josh Groban was great. He was a good singer....not super fabulous, but I really liked him.

*The last girl -- yeah, she was good....She wasn't "the best I've seen all day", but she was good.

OK, until next week (when I can hopefully post on time)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Idol Chatter: Cheeseville.....I mean, Wisconsin

OK, let's get right to it shall we....

*1st guy: Man, has he got a low voice for a 16 yr old. He's definately got some talent. I'm not a huge country fan, but he was impressive.

*Ron Burgendy.....oh, I mean big guy who wants to be a radio DJ. He made my ears bleed. He was horrid.

*Emma (True Colors) was a waste of a 16 hour road trip. Her audition was terrible. Randy is a wuss. He should have stuck to his guns and not put her through. She's going to get eaten alive in Hollywood.

*The "Gaga Groupies" will give me nightmares. Especially the big black chick with the green/black lipstick.

*Bob Marley's love child was pretty good. She sang a little too slow, but I liked her.

*The bar mitzvah singer was pitchy. I thought he was sharp through the entire song.

*Thia Magia -- she was impressive for 15 (seems to be a pattern with the young kids this season). I really liked her.

*The civil war dude -- I kinda felt sorry for him. He was obviously in tune, but he needed to sing something lower.....and not look so creepy while he was singing.

*Harvard girl that Randy punched sounded....ummmm....porny?!? Is that a word? It was breathy and weird in the beginning. But then she was sort of good-ish. I don't know. Bizarre.

*Hayley -- ugh! She still hasn't improved from before. She just throws some more runs in her vocals now. She is completely undeserving of a golden ticket, and annoys me for reasons I don't quite understand.

*The black guy that sang "Twistin' the night away" was great. I really liked him.

*I had to laugh at the "rejected wannabe" contestants. You know, especially that caring, supportive mom who told her sobbing daughter to "shut up".

*Fat Albert that sang "Stand by me" was horrible and he sang the song waaaayyyy too slow.

*Nerd-ny Dangerfield was awesome. I loved him. Totally loved him......even if he was wearing lipstick.

*Opera Bieber.....WTH? That was horrible.

*The rocker chick that sang "Come Together" was great. I really liked her. I don't know how the judges didn't think she was good. She was a helluva lot better than some of the crap they put through tonight.

*And finally the last guy.....with the injured girlfriend. What an amazing man.....and YAY!!!! He can actually sing. If you were not touched by his interview than you have no soul. What an amazing guy. I'm so glad he made it through (and I'm kind of in love with Steven Tyler after seeing how sweet and tender he was with her).

So that is it....discuss amonst yourselves. I have the Nashville auditions on my DVR and will watch them tonight, I promise. Look for my synopsis late tonight or tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sometimes you have to Abuse your kids just a little bit

Ok, take your hand off the phone. No need to call social services.

I was watching Christopher Titus last night on the comedy channel, and in one of his many whip-smart, hilarious rants, he used that phrase. Brilliant comedians don't just make you laugh, they make you think. He is one of those comedians.

He talked about how crazy it is that we reward kids for basically showing up (trophies for everyone!), and want to do everything in our power to keep their ever expanding egos ever expanding.

Don't criticize.

Don't discipline.

Don't show disappointment.

So, what are we creating? What kind of next generation can we expect?

I'm sorry to say, but I think it's going to be a generation of emotionally stunted, egocentric, weaklings who don't have the ability to pick themselves up by their bootstraps, because they were never knocked down.

I've written about it before (once or twice). How we over-praise our kids. We over-involve ourselves. We over-protect. And yes, by we I mean myself included.

I grew up in a house where praise was in short supply, but I still knew I was loved. I tried to work hard, because so much was expected of me, and I was certainly going to hear about it if I fell short. There were no trophies just for showing up. You lost. Maybe even cried about it. And then you moved on.

But the greatest successes in my life came from people telling me I couldn't do something. I write this blog, and the single biggest motivating factor in doing it was that my husband said that he didn't think I would do it. Not that I couldn't, but that I wouldn't. You'd be amazed what can be accomplished if for no other reason than to prove someone wrong.

I know it feels good to pat your kid on the back. But maybe if we only do it when they deserve it they'll work just a little bit harder. Because they'll know when that pat on the back comes, they earned it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Idol Chatter: New Orleans Auditions

OK, let's get right to it. No time for blah blah.
*The first guy -- the music teacher -- yes, he was not a bad singer, but I get really annoyed by people who hide their talent behind vocal acrobatics.
*The girl with the big lips -- I didn't like her at all. I didn't think she was very good.
*The sexy Cuban -- what a great voice. DAMN!! I didn't understand a word, but it was amazing. (On a side note, Steven Tyler has some pretty nice abs for an old guy. It's definately not helping my "is he old and creepy or is he hot" dilemma.)
*The chick who came with Randy's old football coach was powerful, but she sang too slow and was flat several times.
*The weird redhead who sang "Bohemian Rhapsody" was great. Seriously! I loved him.
*The dude that sang Lady Gaga was a freaking nutbar.
*The guy that went to "Idol Camp" needs to get his money back. He was ripped off.
*The kid that sang "Dock of the Bay" was phenomenal for only being 15 years old.
*And the last girl wasn't really that good either. She was way too shouty. She got through because of her story about her daughter. Seriously, don't give people the sympathy vote if they don't deserve it.
OK, talk amongst yourselves.....what do you think?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Idol Chatter: And so it begins.....again.

First off.....Jersey? Really, we don't get enough of the bad accents and big hair with Real Housewives and the Jersey Shore?? Seriously, I was half expecting Snookie to show up and audition. But thank heavens for small favors.

Anyway, right off the bat I noticed that the idol logo on the door is now a red background instead of blue.....and I've got to say, I don't like it. And that's saying a lot, considering red is my most favorite color.

Also, I think I'm going to find Steven Tyler highly distracting this year. I can't quite decide if he is an anorexic, creepy old guy or a super hot rock star. I'm thinking he's a little of both, which is very confusing.

Now, onto the contestants:

The first girl, the one who sang "Hallelujiah", should be writing a letter of apology to Leonard Cohen for murdering his song. She didn't deserve to go to fact, not one of those first three deserved it. Methinks the new judges may be a big soft.

And did anyone else notice the window washer in the background? Did he plan that? Was he trying to get on TV??

The chick with the big stars on her boobs.....sigh! Why do people have to be all "LOOK AT ME". It makes me think they have no actual talent. She sang a horrible "original" song, and then completely butchered the lyrics to a Celine Dion classic. But -- and this was suprising -- the girl could actually sing.

The young kid who sang "Yesterday" was amazing. He is easily one my early favorites.

I LOVED the crazy "Liza Minelli" girl. She was hysterical. But she actually had some talent. I agree that her voice is probably better suited to Broadway and musicals, but I reserve complete judgement until I have heard her sing some more "mainstream" music.

The singing waitress was awesome. 'Nuff said.

The last guy did a bit too much with the vocal acrobatics. It's going to be interesting to see how he stacks up in Hollywood.

So, there is a quick synapsis of last nights episode. More after tonight. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Six years later and I still wonder.....

What was I thinking? Three children?

I wasn’t, not rationally anyway. But the thing is, it’s easy to blame the mayhem on number of children.

How many times have I heard about how things change when the parents are outnumbered? The comment about zone defense. (Really, it’s not so much the defensive skills that need to be polished as the offensive; but more about that another time.)

But wasn’t it just as out of control when there were only two? Yes, it’s not so much the children as everything else.

Oh how naive I was. But now that the thrill of new motherhood is behind me, I am standing knee-deep in the life I so desperately wanted.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hand in Hand

As my husband and three children piled into the pew a couple of Sundays ago, I noticed an older couple who had recently celebrated fifty years of marriage. For a moment, I thought about my own marriage a little over 13 years ago.

This Sunday, this couple sat a pew in front and to the left of us. The husband, after saying the opening prayer, came back to sit next to his wife. He promptly took her hand into his own, laid it on his knee, and with a single stealth move, covered it with his own.

My heart stopped. I looked down at my own busy hands, intermingled in those of my youngest sons. I saw my husband's hands, they held the hands of our middle son. My heart ached, just a tiny bit, in longing for days gone by. Days when it was my hand that was nestled in his, fingers intertwined, palms inseparable.

Those days gave way to days of holding newborns. Soothing their frantic, hungry cries; rubbing their bottoms to ease away gas, wiping dirty behinds and running noses of restless toddlers. Now, these hands fold laundry, check homework, write checks for violin tennis lessons, afterschool activities, school fundraisers. These hands make dinner; whether a thoughtfully put together menu, or a quick warming up of the potluck of leftovers in the refrigerator. These hands wash dishes, load the washer; clean up after the bounty is consumed. These hands have held the hands of the sick as they recovered. These hands have held the hands of loved ones as they passed from this Earth. They have wiped tears of those who needed comfort; large or small.

They have been involved in covert operations: wrapping secret Christmas presents for their beloved, surprise birthday presents for sons who may have thought that their hints had not registered. They have addressed envelopes for invitations to share in joy, in sending well wishes to those far away in distance, but close in spirit. These hands have seen so much. They have changed from those of a pudgy child, to those of a thin, well manicured teen. They have proudly worn a plastic ring pop, and have been graced by a hard-earned, modest engagement ring. They are slightly more wrinkled these days; desperately in need of a good manicure and pampering. They treasure the moments in which they can be useful to someone. They are happy to lend themselves to whatever task lays ahead of them, to better a little corner of their world. They work tirelessly at whatever is there to be done. Filing, signing school papers, praying, typing, washing hands, cleaning toilets, making beds, paying bills, bringing in groceries.

So much to do. Only two of them for so much to be taken care of. The biggest reward are moments like the one in church that Sunday morning. In feeling my youngest son's small hand within my own. Of seeing the remarkable growth of my oldest son's hand as compared to my own. Of witnessing the gentleness in which Ross's hands held Max's, with such ease and familiarity, that it made my heart break just a little.

And yet, as my eyes moved forward, back to that older couple, I got a glimpse of what lays ahead for us. Back to the days when there was no one else but me for him and him for me. When there was no race to see who would hold whose hands and the inevitable fight over who did. Back to just the two of us.

I suppose that there will be other little hands to take the place of those that are so rapidly growing. More little people to soothe, but in a different capacity. But, what I most wish for is my hand on his knee, his protective, loving hand covering mine. As it once did. As it will again.

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...