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.

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...