Friday, November 20, 2009

Burning The Candle

To answer some questions.

No - I didn't keep my promise to blog.

Yes - I am completely, 100% WORN OUT, as I knew I would be, trying to keep up with my job, my family, and my class.

Yes - I am burning the candle at both ends.

Yes - I love it. I am loving school. I got an A on my first mid-term in 5 years. Do you KNOW how good that makes me feel? I want to be in school forever.

Yes - My Husband nearly burned down our new house. (Didn't see THAT coming, did you?)

For as long as we've been together I've had an aversion to candles. Not because I don't like them, because I am terrified my sometimes space cadet of a Husband (love you, Nate), will leave them burning.

I have a habit of blowing out the candles he's lit before going to bed. This behavior is always met with an eye roll, but I don't care because I KNOW he will forget.

Tuesday night he lit a candle on the computer desk.

Wednesday evening, he beat me home by not very much. On my way there, I called him and had a conversation that went like this:

Me: Hi. You know, I'm thinking, I don't really want to cook tonight. Maybe we could go out to eat?

Him: (distracted) Yeah, um, that sounds really great.

Me: OK, could you get the diaper bag ready so we can just leave right after I get home.

Him: Yep. (pause) OK, now I have to tell you something, but don't be mad.

Let me just pause right there and tell you that if you're significant other begins a sentence like that, it is time to immediately GET MAD.

You don't have to be a genius to figure out that the candle never got blown out. We are fortunate because it was sitting on a ceramic candle tray-like thing and there was nothing flammable in the immediate area.

The candle did have a little twine tie that went around the middle, so when my Husband got home that piece of twine was on fire and the smoke detectors were going off. It couldn't have actually been on fire for very long, the house was not completely filled with smoke, and from what I understand that piece of twine had not completely burned (I never got to see the evidence--SOMEONE disposed of it before I got the chance).

So. Yeah. My new house almost burned down this week.

And my Husband? Now completely banned from burning candles.

I guess you could say I'm burning the candle at both ends--figuratively and literally.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Exposed

Moving.

I'm really not a fan.

It's not just the packing, and the loading, and the unloading, and the chaos, and the unpacking, and the stress. All of those things I'm not so much a fan of either.

But more than that? It's this feeling that my insides have been suddenly ripped apart, and until I get EVERY SINGLE blasted item that belongs to me back in it's proper place, I feel...exposed. I can't relax until my insides are neatly put back in place. Back to their proper closets, or cupboards or shelves. And because this process can take weeks, I have this constant nagging feeling that my whole life, all wrapped up in my things, is just hanging out there for the world to see.

More than that? I dislike figuring things out. Why doesn't the water dispenser work? How do we turn on the heat? Which freakin' switch turns on THAT light (because I've tried a dozen already)? Why doesn't the garage door go up? Where did that one very important item go? Who are my neighbors? Where are my children? How do I get to work? Where is the grocery store? And so on.

And then the arguments come. You know the ones. They come when Nate and I have just about had it with the trying to figure things out, and the feeling exposed, and the losing all of those important items. It's about at the boiling point of all those things that the arguments come and we're about to completely lose it on each other. And Liam is saying, "You guys, you have to be nice to each other!" And then we shut up and simmer.

Did I mention I hate moving?

But then, I take a step back. And I look at my beautiful new house. The house I have always wanted to be able to provide for my children. The neighborhood, full of children, I longed to live in growing up. I look at my big backyard, and my children who are so happy with all of their new found space to roam. I see how happy everyone is to be in this new and wonderful place.

And I remind myself that I DO NOT EVER intend to move again. I remember that this is the place our memories will be made. My children will take their first day of kindergarten pictures on those steps. We'll be putting our Christmas tree in that window. We'll share family dinner's in that dining room. And we'll undoubtedly throw numerous birthday parties in that backyard.

That's when I realize, everything is going to be just fine.

More than fine, perfect. I don't have enough fingers and toes to count all our blessings.

We're home. That is the best feeling of them all.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Day, The Rundown

I really enjoy it when people tell me just exactly how their day goes. I think probably because I'm nosy, but also because it's just fun to consider someone else's day. Something different from my own.

I think I enjoy it just like I enjoy it when people leave their curtains open at night, and I'm out for a walk, and I can peer in and see how my neighbors decorated and what they're watching on TV. Am I the only creepy person who enjoys that? Yes? Okay, moving on.

My day is always different. It depends on whether or not I actually get up with my alarm, or hit the snooze five hundred times. It depends on whether or not daycare comes to me, or I take the kids to daycare. It depends on whether or not I am feeling ambitious about my morning routine, or really if I'd just rather skip it all together. BUT, okay, in general my day goes like this:

5:00 AM: My alarm goes off. This does NOT mean I get up at this time. Typically it means that I use my super find-the-snooze-button-in-the-dark-and-half-asleep skills. You have those skills too, right?

5:00 AM - 5:30 AM: Depending on how many times I found that snooze button, this is when I drag myself out of bed. The next 30-45 minutes is 'me' time. Or, the only time I have to make myself look somewhat presentable.

6:00 AM - This is when I'm supposed to be heading out the door with the kids, but typically it's when I'm doing my darnedest to drag Liam out of bed and get him to go potty for dang sake.

6:20 AM - I'm fortunate enough to be able to simply get the kids out of bed, find clothing and shoes, add a jacket and put them in the car. (Ha, as if that was simple!) This is typically the time we are actually pulling away from the house, a good 20 minutes late.

7:15 AM - Usually, this is when I make it to work. Something like 15 minutes late. Most people seem to just understand that when I say my start time is 7:00, what I mean is my start time is 7:15. (Note to self: I should maybe start setting my alarm for 4:30 AM).

3:15 PM - I don't take a lunch so that I can maximize my time at home with the kids. And since I showed up late, it seems only fair I should hang around that extra 15 minutes. This is when I'm doing all I can to escape the office. Sometimes I make it, sometimes I don't, because of course, it's in that 15 minutes that my phone will ring or I'll get called into an inpromptu meeting.

4:15 - 5:00 PM - Time for the kids to play while I make dinner. Or, while I call Domino's, or while Nate makes dinner. You know, one of those things. We do try to eat at 5:00 PM though, and amazingly enough, we usually make that mark.

5:30 - 7:00 PM - The best part of my day. My time with the kids. We play, or maybe go to the park, or maybe it's bath night, or maybe we're having complete melt downs, but whatever is going on, this is the fleeting time a working mother like myself gets to have with my kids during the week. This hour-and-a-half is the reason I try so hard to get to work early, and skip lunch, and do my best to leave on time, because otherwise I wouldn't have this time at all.

7:00 PM - There was a time that the kids stayed up until more like 8:00 PM, but then we figured out they weren't getting enough of this little thing called sleep, so we pushed bedtimes back. This is the time we are wrangling the kids into bed. I should say wrangling Liam to bed...Quin has always been, and continues to be, a superstar sleeper. (Note to Quin: Keep that up, please.)

8:00 PM - 9:30 or 10:00 PM - Time to catch up on a book, or my favorite show, or lately, homework. Yes, this is the bit of time I've reserved each day to complete my MBA.

And that's my day. Evangelical stay-at-home mothers everywhere have just said a silent prayer for me and my misguided ways, but you know what, I wouldn't change a thing. (Well, maybe that thing about the snooze button.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Kinda Corny

Last fall, we discovered that a nursery not far from our house does a lot of great things for kids in the fall.

Like, filling up a regulation basketball court sized area with three feet of corn, like actual kernels of corn, to play in.

Last year, Liam had a blast, but poor Quin was only two months old and he slept the entire event away.


This year, Liam couldn't be happier to be back.

Quin wasn't so sure.

Liam took to the corn like a fish to water a kid in a vat of corn.

Quin considered. Got anxious.

Liam sprinted away.
Quin took the plunge.

Liam found a random pumpkin.

Quin got more gumption.

They had fun. And I mourned the loss of two perfectly good pairs of socks.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

MBA or Bust

Do you that opening scene in Finding Nemo where a presumably kindergarten age Nemo is bouncing all over the anemone chanting First Day of School! over and over again?


OK, now picture me doing the same thing. Because I totally am. Minus the anemone.

I am part of a cohort MBA program which meets one night per week (Thursday night if you're slow on the upkeep). Each semester will include two courses, except the first semester. Meaning my first class starts mid-semester, meaning that my first class starts TODAY! First day of school!

Nate thinks there is something very wrong with me, given how excited I am to go back to school. I don't know what he's talking about. What is wrong with wanting to fill your head with as much knowledge as possible? Nothing. The answer is nothing. In fact, if I could just figure out how to get paid to be a professional student, I would totally spend my life racking up degrees. It would be fabulous!

And, AND, I got to go SCHOOL SUPPLY shopping! Check it out, I've got my books, a brand new tote bag, new pens, new notebook, HIGHLIGHTERS! You guys, life doesn't get any better than this.


To top it all off, I even went shopping for a cool new first day of school outfit. I didn't have anyone to take a picture of me on the front steps this morning, but I did want you to see that I bought a necklace! Yes, I am actually wearing a piece of jewelry today. It is possible hell froze over. Just sayin'.


I run around the building screaming First day of school! today because I'm not drowning in the work that will inevitably follow pursuing this MBA of mine yet. But that's okay, because I know I'll love that too. Even if I don't always have a snazzy new necklace to show off.

First day of school!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Targé Boutique

I love Target. Like, really, I have a love affair with Target.

I'm pretty sure there isn't a single thing I can't get at Target. Cool, trendy, hip person kind of nice things at that. Well, okay I can't really get the sectional I want for the new house, but that's just details!

I'm not ashamed to admit that we ate our dinner, as a family, at Target last night.

And then, I sauntered over and got myself a primo tetanus shot. No, not because eating at Target is risky, because it's been more than 10 years since my last shot and those crazies over at the University are insisting I get it updated. But thanks for asking.

While I was doing that, my fabuloso husband was grabbing some groceries.

And we topped the night off by allowing the kids to look at toys while I found myself an adorable new tote and some school supplies for my inaugural day of graduate school.

I love Target. Where else could I achieve so much in one place? It makes me feel like superwoman or something. I am SuperTargetWoman, hear me ROARR.

*This post was in no way endorsed by Target.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tough Questions

This morning, while driving my kids to daycare, Liam asked me a question.

"Mommy? Who builded the world?"










I paused, and immediately proceeded to panic. Recently, my tenacious 3-year-old has been asking me a lot of questions that I haven't prepared answers for yet. Prime example. A week or so ago he asked me, referring to his little brother, why we chose that baby. I explained that we didn't choose him, we made him. And, as you can imagine this led to more questions, ones I wasn't prepared to answer.

Many parents have their standard go-to answers for big questions such as these. I don't. I didn't realize I need to be prepared to answer them so soon.

But, back to the question at hand. Who builded the world? And my panic.

We're not religious. I don't associate with any one religion, but I DO believe in God. To put it simply, I don't believe any one person on this planet can claim to know the answers to all those questions most religions try to answer. So, I don't associate with any of them.

But, I do believe in God, so I could say that God builded the world and that wouldn't be disingenuous to the beliefs of our family.

On the other hand, I don't want to confuse my three-year-old too much. We don't go to church, and we haven't really brought up the religion questions yet. It'll come, just not yet. I don't want to open up a whole can of worms I'm not prepared to deal with. Especially on a morning when I'm completely sleep deprived (a whole other story), and I have a mere five minutes before arriving at our destination.

On the other hand (I have a lot of hands), what better answer could I possibly come up with? Well honey, you see there was this big bang at some point eons ago and it created the entire universe, along with earth. We're really just a star among many stars constantly spreading further and further away from the point of origin. I'm no astrophysicist, but I think that's the basic theory.

UGH, I can't even tell him, with certainty, the scientific answer to the question.

The pause I was taking to answer his question was growing too long, so finally I said with the most sincere and genuine voice I could muster, "I really don't know, Liam."

And he replies, "Did road workers builded the road?"

"OH! Who builded the road?! Yes, Liam, road workers built the road."

Sometimes, this parenting thing is not as hard as we make it out to be.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chaos

Right now, my house mostly looks like this:



Because we're moving as you might recall. Which means packing up all of our stuff and realizing too late that half of the things we STILL NEED are already packed away, stacked in the garage and awaiting transfer. Which roughly translates to: we'll just have to do without.


In the mean time, there's a lot of this going on:

Which doesn't get old to watch, but does mean that we have to be that much more on our toes.


Also, do not forget that I START SCHOOL this coming Thursday. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this whole being a graduate student thing. But for better or worse, MBA here I come!


The good news? Liam didn't nap today and Quin only napped for 1-1/2 hours which equalled two boys completely asleep by 6:45 tonight. With my other half out on a man date, I am enjoying the sweetest of all luxuries: a quiet house. A week from today, that'll undoubtably mean homework time, but right now? Right now I'm just going to soak in the quiet. The calm in the middle of the storm.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Team Spirit

I don't know if it's the human condition, or just an American thing, but have you ever noticed how everyone seems to have this irrational need to pick a team? I'm not just talking sports here people, I'm talking every little thing in our lives seems to be oriented around "us" and "them." In sports, in politics, in social settings, in lifestyle choices, in just about every way imaginable we choose sides. And when a side isn't chosen, that goes against the grain and is just not right.

I do this, too. Even though I am well aware I am exhibiting behavior I've come to loathe, it is like a strange compulsion to be on one side of the fence or the other BUT NOT BOTH. And as such, it is also my obligation to sneer at the other side with rueful spite, or so I'm told.

I wonder sometimes if the reason this country is so seemingly evenly split politically is because we are too afraid to let go of our team. It's like, no matter what our politicians do, right or wrong, we stick by them because they're on our team. I'm not innocent in this, I celebrate MY democrats and sneer at THOSE republicans. Why? It makes no logical sense (the team part, not the sneering at republicans part, that makes perfect sense).

As for me, I am on the Broncos team, but no matter how hard I tried to resist it, I am also on the Vikings team (go Favre!). To clarify, if the Vikings were pitted against the Broncos, I would root for the Broncos without question. I am NOT like that silly woman I saw on Monday Night Football last night wearing the cheese head with Vikings braids and a half-green, half-purple #4 jersey. Because that's just absurd.

There are other teams for whom I'll proudly wear the home colors. I'm part of the mommy team, and the working mommy team. I am on team Edward, swoon. I am PROUDLY part of team getyourkidsvaccinatedforgodssake. I am a card carrying member of team Colorado, well, at least I used to be until they made me change my card to Minnesota, but I'm still on the other team in spirit. I support team gay rights, and team right to choose (and frankly, I don't really care what you think about that).

I am also a full fledged member of team respect. As in, no matter which team I root for I make it a point to respect and try to understand the other point of view. Well, unless you're a Raiders fan, then I can't really help you.

And really, shouldn't we all be part of team respect? Which teams do you root for?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Full

I think it should almost be my mantra that I tend to bite off more than I can chew. For the brief moments in my history when I have the "right amount" of things going on, I tend to feel really shifty and ready for my next big thing. Ready to get married, ready to buy a house, ready to have a baby, ready to change jobs, ready to move states, ready to have another baby. And so on AND SO FORTH.

I don't know why I have always been so restless, but it's just a fact of nature. So it should come as no surprise that in addition to working full time at my Advertising job, and raising my two beautiful boys I've decided to add in the start of graduate school and a big move to a new house within only a week of each other.

There was this article in the local newspaper this morning about this woman who is a Minnesota Vikings cheerleader, and though I didn't manage to read the entire article, the basic gist was something like: feel sorry for this poor, tired, overworked Target executive who somehow manages to also be a cheerleader and a wife. And all I can think is BIG WHOOP lady!

There are times when people ask me how I manage all that I do. My response to that is, I don't really know how I'd manage to not do all that I do. I'm compelled to do them. It makes me happy to be constantly striving for something more, it give me something to reach for. I like that.

I think that what I'm trying to say is that I can sense a change in where I'm heading with this blog. Because if a 30-something cheerleader who also has a job (GASP!) and a Husband (you mean, she manages to be a cheerleader and isn't single?!) is somehow a big feature article, then surly you, my loyal 5 blog readers, will find entertainment in me: the 20-something career woman, wife, mother-of-two, graduate student. Right?

Would you enjoy the latest details about what a nightmare it is to pack for the big move? And on that note, for some godforsaken reason we have kept every single bill we have received in, like, TWO YEARS. Do you know what a chore it was to go through each and every one to be sure that there isn't anything IMPORTANT in that pile? And also, do you know that U-Haul has the gall to charge nearly $400! for a set of boxes and markers needed for a move? No, I didn't pay $400! for boxes and markers, but for the love of all that's holy ARE YOU SERIOUS?

Would it interest you to know just how excited I am to go back to school? No, really. Like so freaking out kind of excited that I actually read the descriptions AND CUSTOMER REVIEWS attached to the textbooks I ordered from Amazon. Yeah, that excited. And I may be changing my tune when I'm up to my eyeballs in school work and can't even catch a glimpse of Grey's Anatomy because there is too much to be done, but, would you be interested to know about that when it happens, too?

Do you care to know that I sometimes lie awake at night wondering what I'm going to do with myself when my kids are grown up? This is because I am a young mom and I'll only be in my early to mid-forties when that happens and above every other thing I have going in my life, raising my kids is 100% number 1, and when that job is gone, then what?

I don't update this blog as often as I should, mostly because I often convince myself I don't have anything interesting to say. But you know what, this blog is as much about preserving this time in my life as it is trying to entertain other people, and in that respect I have A LOT to say. So say away I'm going to do. You know, until I am completely overwhelmed with my job as mother, wife, employee and graduate student.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Of Milestones and Memories

In about a month, I'll be living in this house:

And my kids will play in this backyard:
And we will eat in this kitchen:
And decorate this playroom:
And given where I've come from in my life, all of these facts make me feel pretty damn good.

And I am not moving. Ever again.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Consider This Forwarded

I really don't like forwarded emails. I am that person that will immediately run to Snopes.com everytime I get something in my inbox that seems even the slightest bit incredulous (and most of the time, I'm right).

But today I actually got a good one. A few lines that made me laugh out loud. So, rather than forwarding to random email contacts (which is my policy to NOT do), I'm posting it here.


Random Thoughts From People Our Age...

Editor's note: I'm pretty sure that by "our age" it was inferred 20-30 somethings.

1. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

2. More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can't wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that's not only better, but also more directly involves me.

3. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

4. I don't understand the purpose of the line, "I don't need to drink to have fun." Great, no one does. But why start a fire with flint and sticks when they've invented the lighter?

5. Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you're going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you're crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.

6. That's enough, Nickelback.

7. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

8. Is it just me, or are 80% of the people in the "people you may know" feature on Facebook people that I do know, but I deliberately choose not to be friends with?

9. Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn't work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There was no Internet or message boards or FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft.

10. There is a great need for sarcasm font.

11. Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the f was going on when I first saw it.

12. I think everyone has a movie that they love so much, it actually becomes stressful to watch it with other people. I'll end up wasting 90 minutes shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone's laughing at the right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little bit harder (and a millisecond earlier) to prove that I'm still the only one who really, really gets it.

13. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

14. I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

15. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

16. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I’m trying to finish a text.

17. A recent study has shown that playing beer pong contributes to the spread of mono and the flu. Yeah, if you suck at it.

18. Was learning cursive really necessary?

19. Lol has gone from meaning, "laugh out loud" to "I have nothing else to say".

20. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

21. Answering the same letter three times or more in a row on a Scantron test is absolutely petrifying.

22. My brother's Municipal League baseball team is named the Stepdads. Seeing as none of the guys on the team are actual stepdads, I inquired about the name. He explained, "Cuz we beat you, and you hate us." Classy, bro.

23. Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart", all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart".

24. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?

25. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent a dick from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!

26. Every time I have to spell a word over the phone using 'as in' Examples: I will undoubtedly draw a blank and sound like a complete idiot. Today I had to spell my boss's last name to an attorney and said "Yes that's G as in...(10 second lapse) ..ummm ...Goonies"

27. What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other?

28. While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it...thanks Mario Kart.

29. MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

30. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

31. I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and THEN turn on the water.

32. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

33. I would like to officially coin the phrase 'catching the swine flu' to be used as a way to make fun of a friend for hooking up with an overweight woman. Example: "Dave caught the swine flu last night."

34. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.35. Bad decisions make good stories

36. Whenever I'm Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their profile is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who just got the Red Ryder BB gun that I always wanted. 546 pictures? Don't mind if I do!

37. Is it just me or do high school girls get sluttier & sluttier every year?

38. If Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring would probably just be completely invisible.

39.. Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from, this shouldn't be a problem....

40. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you've made up your mind that you just aren't doing anything productive for the rest of the day.

41. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don't want to have to restart my collection.

42. There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

43. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

44. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this ever.

45. I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people watching TV. There's so much pressure. 'I love this show, but will they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren't watching this. It's only a matter of time before they all get up and leave the room. Will we still be friends after this?'

46. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Dammit!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

47. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

48. When I meet a new girl, I'm terrified of mentioning something she hasn't already told me but that I have learned from some light Internet stalking.

49. I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it's on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.

50. As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.

51. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

52. It should probably be called Unplanned Parenthood.

53. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

54. Even if I knew your social security number, I wouldn't know what do to with it.

55. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, hitting the G-spot, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I’d bet my ass everyone can find and push the Snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time every time...

56. My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day "Dad what would happen if you ran over a ninja?" How the hell do I respond to that?

57. It really pisses me off when I want to read a story on CNN.com and the link takes me to a video instead of text.

58. I wonder if cops ever get pissed off at the fact that everyone they drive behind obeys the speed limit.

59. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

60. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay.

61. The other night I ordered takeout, and when I looked in the bag, saw they had included four sets of plastic silverware. In other words, someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think about it, and then estimated that there must be at least four people eating to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating by myself. There's nothing like being made to feel like a fat bastard before dinner.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Jedi Quinlan

There is a secret my Husband kept from me until after our nuptials. He is completely and unequivocally a geek. G.E.E.K. He's probably read every Star Wars novel out there, he asked for (and got) a Luke Skywalker Lightsaber for Christmas and was totally serious about wanting it. He knows all manner of Star Trek trivia, and his latest foray into Geekdom would be an OBSESSION with World of Warcraft (oh yes, he is).

I didn't know is was so bad, or maybe I ignored the fact, until long after he'd captured me for good, so by then I was just stuck having to understand his quark and GET OVER IT.

This got harder when he started secretly inserting his Star Wars madness into our daily life, by oh so subtly making sure everything living creature in our home was somehow Star Wars themed. This is how he agreed to name our first dog together Maggie, because (wink, wink) there is a character named Maggie in one of the novels.

When he suggested the name Luke for our second dog, it DIDN'T EVEN OCCUR TO ME why he did, but I liked it so I agreed. That guffaw goes directly to me. How obvious.

He told me months after our first child was born that he liked the name we'd picked out together so much because, you guessed it, Liam Neeson played Qui-Gon Jinn in Phantom Menace, so it MUST be a good name.

Oh, and here's a picture of Daddy and Liam on Halloween one year:

Sigh.

I'll grant you that the Star Wars enterprise is so vast that it would almost be hard not to find a link, but this next one, oh it's a doozie. When naming our second son, we'd both decided that we liked 'Quinn,' but I wasn't sure that a one syllable name was sufficient enough. I'd come across the name 'Quinlan' in one of my baby name books and had determined that we'd name him Quinlan, though more often than not we would call him Quin. (Note: ONE 'N' because his name is NOT spelled Quinnlan.)

I really thought I'd won this time. Quinlan is such a unique name that there was NO WAY it could be Star Wars related. But I guess I'd never Googled the name, because I was wrong.

So wrong.

My friends, I give you Jedi Quinlan. Quite possibly the MOST Star Warsish name yet. And may I add that there are maybe three people out there who show up in Google with the first name Quinlan? ONE of them HAPPENS TO BE A FREAKIN' JEDI. In fact, I'll bet that a certain portion of the population, when hearing the name Quinlan, thinks to themselves, "Oh yeah, like the Jedi."

Nate denies any knowledge until this day of such a fantastic discovery, but I'm crying fowl. It's a conspiracy! Just when I think I've topped his game, he pulls me back in.

Oh, and P.S., Jedi Quinlan Vos carries a green lightsaber. Let me just tell you how tickled-pink my Husband is to discover such a glorious thing, because of course, so does Luke Skywalker.

And this is the point at which I say: Oh my dear lord, I live with three boys. And if genetics has anything to do with SciFi geekiness, I AM IN SO MUCH TROUBLE.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Wiggles and Giggles

A video to share. Why? Because there is nothing better on this blue planet than my two giggly boys. It's possible I am the teeniest, tiniest, little bittiest bit biased. But, whatever.

(And, don't worry, they're okay there at the end.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Family of Fairies

The other day, while I was flipping through my Parents magazine, my eye caught the first paragraph of one of the articles because it started something like, "my son, Liam, was 3-1/2 when I figured out how to get him to pick up his toys." Obviously, my interest was piqued.

The author went on to describe how she invented the Pickup Fairy, who would swoop in and take away all of her Liam's toys for one week if he didn't pick them up at night. It seemed to work like a charm for him.

I stewed on this for a few days. My Liam would do little more than half-heartedly toss a toy here and there into his own bin at night, or any other time for that matter, so maybe there was something to this.

Opportunity presented itself a few days later, on a Friday evening, as we were headed home from the store. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Liam, when we get home we're going to need to take a bath.

Liam: I don't wanna! Whine, whine. whine.

Me: Well, Liam, you're going to have to take a bath or (pause) or the Bath Fairy is going to (long pause) um, take away you're bedtime snack!

Liam immediately stopped whining. I watched the wheels turning in his head through the rear view mirror, before he finally said: The Bath Fairy?

Me: Yes. The Bath Fairy is going to take away your bedtime snack if you don't take a bath.

Liam: Oh. OK. I will take a bath.

Me (seizing the opportunity): And Liam, the Pickup Fairy is going to take away your toys for one week if you don't pick them up before bedtime!

At this point Liam started asking a lot of questions. By the time we got home it had been established that the Bath Fairy and the Pickup Fairy lived in Wigiland. They are sisters, you see, and they live in a blue house together. They do not fly, but rather they disappear and reappear when they want to go somewhere, like say, my house to take away bedtime snacks or toys for one week.

Liam took his bath, and picked up his toys that night.

While I was shampooing my hair that night, I was congratulating myself on my victory and wondering: how could I parlay this into the dreaded potty training. Oh potty training, a sore subject in my house. Despite fully understanding the concept of using the potty, my son has had absolutely no interest in doing such a thing. Zip. Zero. Zilch. I had pretty much convinced myself that he'd be at least 16 before potty training could even begin.

I contemplated for a while. I didn't want the Potty Fairy to be a negative thing. She couldn't take anything away for not going potty, that would be counterproductive, I was sure. But what if, what if, she just got really happy whenever Liam uses the potty?

Yes! That's it!

First thing Saturday morning I took Liam's diaper off and explained to him that the Bath Fairy and the Pickup Fairy had a cousin: The Potty Fairy. (Who, if you must know, lives in a yellow house across the street. In Wigiland.) I told him that the Potty Fairy would just be really, really happy if Liam would go potty in the potty.

He had one accident first thing that morning. I told him that was OK, but next time he should try the potty, and the Potty Fairy would be SO HAPPY!

And that was it, that did the trick. He used the potty for the rest of the day. And the next day. And the following week, he had a few accidents here and there at Grandma's house during the day, but HE WAS USING THE POTTY!

This weekend was the real breakthrough. He doesn't want diapers anymore. He wears big boy underwear, no more looking back. Of course, it may have helped that about midway through the week I informed him that, as an added bonus, once he was completely done with diapers the Potty Fairy would come in the night to take all his diapers away, and would leave cookies behind. I can't be sure, but I think he's just in it for the cookies.

But that, my friends, is how I potty trained my 3 year old in one week. The Potty Fairy and I are new best friends. In fact, I think I'll take her out for a drink sometime soon, she really deserves it for all her hard work.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Day a 747 Came to Pick Me Up

I submitted this story to This American Life. If you're familiar with the show, you'll understand why I believe it to be the perfect venue for such a strange experience. Since I haven't really shared this story with may people since the event (given that it is so long), I thought I'd also put it here.

My Mother booked what was to be a “vacation of a lifetime,” to Fiji in December 2004. She and her Husband, along with my sister and I and our spouses were geared up for a 10 day tropical getaway.

Getting there turned out to be among the most interesting, and strange things that has ever happened to me.

The problem began at our home city airport in Denver. We had a layover at LAX before heading on to our flight to Fiji on Air Pacific. The associate at DIA offered to check our luggage through, so we could head straight to our next gate. She handed each of us one of those standard airline ticket envelopes with tickets that were clearly marked “boarding pass,” for our connecting flight.

I should mention that my Mother and sister were terrified of flying. They each took a Xanex before leaving Denver.

So, right, back to the story. The travel agent that booked our trip did not provide enough time between flights at LAX. And on top of that, our flight out of Denver was delayed. This meant that when we got to LA we had to RACE across the airport, to get from the United terminal to the International terminal, which I swear were three miles apart! There is only one flight out of LAX to Fiji EVERY OTHER DAY.

While my step-father, my Husband, my brother-in-law and I were running to catch our next flight, my Mother and sister were happily strolling behind us, completely unaware and uncaring of the emergency we faced. Xanax, remember? They may as well have been star-gazing or catching butterflies.

Finally making it to the International terminal, we headed straight for security. Right, because we had “boarding passes.” The TSA officials eyed our boarding passes a little suspiciously, but still let us through. We got to the gate as they were boarding the flight. Whew, right? Not so fast.

When we got to the front of the boarding line, we were informed that we did not have boarding passes and would have to GO BACK to the check-in counter, the one before the security check. We argued and argued knowing that this seemed silly, we were already here, and couldn’t they just check us in at this counter? But we were only losing time with arguing. They would not budge.

Those of us who were not all high on Xanex flatout ran back to the check-in counter. There we found one employee who was clearly about to leave. We explained that we needed to get our tickets. She told us that it was “too late.”

This is where the story really takes a turn for the weird.

I pounded on the counter, telling her she had to check us in. Our bags were already being checked through, the flight is still boarding, just CHECK US IN!

At this point we were about 15 minutes from the scheduled departure.

She repeatedly told us “no,” but when she realized that we were not going to go away, she strolled back to a back office and got someone I can only image to be a supervisor involved.

This person strolled back out, very unaware of our near total-panic-state and proceeded to ask us for our passports. We happily obliged. And she sauntered (I’m not making this up—no sense of urgency at all), back to her office.

Fifteen minutes come and go. Thirty. Maybe even forty-five (I can’t quite remember) before she comes back. Obviously, at this point, we’d lost all hope that we’d make it to Fiji that night.

She proceeds to explain that she can get us on the flight, but that there will not be enough breakfast’s on board to feed us, and, is that OK? We all look at each other dumbfounded and agree, that yes, of course we can forgo breakfast.

She needed a breakfast decline confirmation, though, so the solution? She pulled out a blank sheet of copy paper, and had each of us sign it. She didn’t write anything on it, just had us sign it.

We are now probably an hour past the regularly scheduled departure.

Once we signed the blank sheet of copy paper to prove we did not require breakfast, she gave us our passports and the real boarding passes and told us to follow her.

She mentioned that the flight was now at a different gate. So the six of us followed her quickly through security, down a flight of stairs, onto the tarmac, and into a waiting shuttle bus.

The shuttle bus driver proceeded across several runways, and then parked the bus in a row of other buses, apologized, and got out. We peered through the bus windows to see that the gentleman was, well, taking a leak. Yes, he took a bathroom break in the middle of the tarmac, at LAX, in plain view of his passengers. I guess our destination was just too far to wait.

We get to our destination (which I’d guess took another 5 minutes—he must really have had to go). The shuttle bus driver indicates that “this is the place,” but doesn’t give much detail. There was no plane here. Just an isolated building, with a door. Inside the door was a ramp, leading up to a room. A room with a door, and a breezeway. No Plane, just a room with a door. And we were the only six people in this room with a door.

Forty-five minutes we waited in our room with a door. No one came to tell us what was happening. We started contemplating how we might escape our room with a door without getting run over by airplanes attempting a landing or a takeoff, or perhaps a deranged shuttle bus driver.

Finally, an Air Pacific employee shows up at our room with a door. She said no words, just waited with us.

And then, the most incredible thing of all happened. Two hours after its scheduled departure, a Boeing 747 bound for Fiji pulled up to our room with a door. It was there to pick us up. And, it was full of hundreds of passengers. Passengers who’d been sitting on that plane for the last two hours. And, our seats were at the back of the plane.

After pushing and shoving each other into the breezeway (no one wanted to go first, to face to angry mob of passengers). We all marched past rows and rows of wary passengers, and took our seats.

As it turns out, the plane was having some sort of mechanical issue. We sat on the tarmac for another two hours before finally departing for Fiji. Though the passengers didn’t soon forget us, and in fact, some even recognized us on the flight home and congratulated us for making it on time.

We made it to Fiji, our bags even made it with us, and the rest is, well, history.

We also enjoyed a lovely airline breakfast on the way. We’re not ones to turn down food when it’s presented to us, after all.

Note: I have a picture or two, I'll post later tonight when I get home.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Identity Crisis

It occurred to me the other day, while I was shampooing my hair, that when my youngest son graduates from high school I will only be 43 years old.

Forty. Three. I started to panic. Forty-three is so young, and my children are my life. What am I going to do with myself when they no longer need me? I’ll have most of my life left to live and the most important thing I will ever do, raising children, will be over!

Then I started to hyperventilate. Have I really let my entire identity become so intertwined with my children that I no longer know who I am? Am I really panicking about something that will happen 17 years from now?

And this is where the motherhood conundrum gets messy. I love my kids so very, very much that I WANT them to be my world. My everything. But I also want to have my own identity. But I feel guilty about having an identity separate from my family. But I know I should have my own identity. But how could I do that, when they are my identity. But…you get the idea.

When I look at Liam, so often my mind pops right back to the very moment he was born. The tiny ball of baby placed on my chest, the collective gasp in the room when he let out his first cry. But here I am, 3 lightening-quick years later, and he’s not even close to that little baby anymore. I love 3-year-old Liam, but I’m STILL wondering whatever happened to my baby?

The other day I stared hard at Quinlan, cruising along the couch with those cubby little legs. He's beginning to say words! Actual english language words! He's feeding himself, seeking independence, rapidly moving toward his first birthday. All I can think is, Wait a minute! Wasn’t he just born, like, last month? I cannot fathom how almost a year has already gone by.

And before I know it, I’ll be 43. Setting up the cake and decorations for my youngest child’s high school graduation, and wondering, now what?

It's important to me that my kids see that I have my own life, my own identity apart from them. I want them to form their own opinions, seek their own passions, have their own unique and glorious identities. But I just can't shake this gut-wretching, heart-dropping feeling that when my job is no longer raising my children, I will no longer know what on earth my job is.

Forty. Three. Oh my god, what will I do?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Update

Remember this post?

I can almost, kinda, but not quite scream I TOLD YOU SO.

But, only almost and kinda. Because this tragic story has a good ending.

I am a magnet for layoffs. I mean that, or at least I meant it because I am SO DONE with that. (P.S. Read The Secret, it will change your life.) And I’d just been expecting something to go wrong. And so, just like the The Secret said it would, it did.

The bottom line is this: of the eight positions on my team, four would be eliminated. Mine was, obviously, one of them. Two new positions would be created, and one position would be “outsourced” to our advertising agency, which would presumably hire one of us. Long story short, it was a cruel game of musical chairs, one of us is out. We all had to re-interview, and wait. And wait, and wait, and good gracious it’s been five weeks already! (I am working on that “patience is a virtue,” bit. So far, I haven’t done well.)

Well today, my friends, I accepted one of the new positions on my team. I get to keep my job. Okay, collective sigh in 3, 2, 1…

No more am I a magnet for layoffs. I am a highly sought after, very valuable employee. So there. End of story.

There is the update you seek. Get back to work.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mouths of Babes

Me: Liam, look at the fog!

Liam: I can't see! Too many clouds in the way!

_________

I've been MIA. I apologize. Many things rapidly changing. I'll update when the dust settles.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Down With Poo!

There is a revolution happening, and I'm jumping on board.

It began with an article I read a few weeks ago. It described, in detail, why so many people are no longer pooing. It's the No Poo movement.

I was pretty skeptical at first. It sounds so gross. I was sure it would only make me feel, well, icky. Like so many other people, I'm quite used to pooing at least everyday. Sometimes more.

The article went on to describe how pooing is a relatively new and modern concept, which I really didn't know. It also talked about how not pooing may even be healthier, and included many testimonials from self-described non-pooers who proclaimed how much better it is not to poo. They were very persuasive. They even had pictures.

But there is a downside. There is a period of up to six weeks where your body has to adjust. I have a job to go to everyday, and I wasn't sure if I could just quit pooing cold turkey and still show my face at work everyday. I mean, what would people think?

So I stewed on the idea for a week or so. I'd decided that this No Poo thing just wasn't for me. I couldn't just give it up, I was far too used to my daily regime. But, it lingered and lingered until finally I decided to jump on board.

Rather than just giving it up completely, I decided to ween myself off poo. Last week I thought I'd just poo every other day. Just to see how it goes. And, although it made me quite uncomfortable, it was tolerable.

This week I'm moving to pooing every two days. Today is my first "day two" of no poo, and although I'm a little embarrassed, it's still fairly tolerable. I know it will get better with time.

I'm hoping it won't take too long for my hair to adjust to no more shampoo. I plan on washing with some baking soda and apple cider vinegar. I'm convinced that this is the solution to my frizz problem. Shampooing only strips oil out of hair, and then the scalp adjusts to compensate, and it's a vicious cycle. But once the oil level in my hair evens out, it will be SO worth the effort, I am sure.


Wait. What kind of poo did you think I was talking about?

If you're interested in the article, you can find it here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Week in Pictures

This past week, my family and I traveled back to my home state of Colorado for family, friends and a good 'ol (if not cold) time. Since this blog generally lacks pictures, here's a pictorial recap.

Loaded the kids on an airplane.

The boys played with Nana, while mommy...

...attended a bachelorette soiree.

Enjoyed some lunch.

Jetted to the Children's Museum for painting.

And mirrors.

And a forced picture brotherly love.

Quin thoroughly enjoyed himself.

Liam became an ant.

Quin took in the view at Nana's house.

And thought it was great.


Went to see some bugs at the Butterfly Pavilion.

And fish.

And butterfly's too.

Who probably weren't all that happy to see us.

Posed for more forced pictures family love.

Met up with some friends.

Liam made a new BFF.

And did everything she did.

Took in the sights at Red Rocks.

And found some dinosaur footprints.

Nate and I took in the view at Lost Gulch. (Nate closed his eyes in disbelief.)

Gave a speech.

Attended a wedding.

For one of my dearest friends.

Made some new friends.

And reunited with some old ones.

Loved up on my hubby.

And enjoyed some much needed good wine.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Kid IS That Special

A few days ago, I read this article, erm opinion, titled "You're Kids Aren't That Special" on CNN. In it, a gentleman of mature age describes how he was never the greatest of parents, and was also an alcoholic, but he'd like to give his two cents about parents these days.

I've been mulling his opinion for a few days now, trying to decide if I agree, and I've decided: I'm pretty sure I'd like to punch him in the face (metaphorically speaking, of course).

To be clear, I've certainly encountered my share of parents that I'd like to grab by the shoulders and ask, "What the hell are you doing?" Children running amok in a department store, pushing and shoving other kids at the playground, generally raising havoc. It is true that some parents really do need a reality check.

However, raising kids today is nothing like raising kids 20, 30, 40+ years ago. Parents are absolutely bombarded with often conflicting messages about the best way to raise our children. Let them cry it out, don't let them cry it out, give them free expression, don't give them free expression, buy intelligence-enhancing toys, NO blocks are the way to go!

Along the way, more than a few of us have gotten confused. We all just want to do what is best, we're just not all sure what that is. One thing many of us cling to is the notion that our children should know that we think they are special. It gives them confidence in a scary world, something some of us wish we had more of.

And, by the way, my kid is that special. That's way he calls me Mom, it's my job to think he's that special. No, that doesn't give him license to act poorly in public, but young children can't be reasoned with and I don't know of a single parent who hasn't dealt with less-than-perfect children while glaring faces look on. There is nothing we fear more than a miserly old man scowling down our back when our child is throwing a fit at a restaurant, or on an airplane, or in print on CNN.

Maybe Mr. Cafferty forgot about the time his young children flung spaghetti at Grandma's or had a meltdown at Woolworth's. Or maybe, he's stuck on his own childhood memories, "I remember as a kid I was expected to behave myself out in public or suffer the wrath of one very angry father."

Perhaps that's why he's become an abject old man with a stick up his ass. Just sayin'.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I Hate Dell

I’m furious. Fuming with anger.

Because my new computer from DELL has been delayed five times now. Let me repeat that, FIVE TIMES!

At this point, we have no realistic idea when it might actually arrive. Customer service tells us, over and over, that it should ship “within a couple of days.” But, clearly, they’re lying. We ask what is holding up the order, and customer service doesn’t have that information. Okay, so we ask to be transferred to someone who does. Response, “there’s no such department.”

What? Then which department is it exactly that updates the ship date, out of curiosity? Because it happens like clock work: the ship date arrives, I check the status, and it’s been delayed again.

So, some component or another is holding up our computer, but no one at Dell knows what that is. Some where in oblivion someone is diabolically delaying our order, it’s the only explanation I can come up with. Realistically, I don’t expect to see my computer until August. And also, they can’t even cancel our order for us.

So, I’m taking the only recourse I can. I’m blogging about it. I will never do business with this company again, and if I can convince just one other person to join me in my Dell boycott, my work here has been accomplished.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading.

http://www.ihatedell.org/

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Confession Session Wednesday

Aside from the radio contest for the best “I Spied” kind of story, I’ve never considered talking about it. And, I never called the radio station either. It was just too much. But my story is a cautionary tale, and I’m ready to spill the beans.

Nathan and I had been together for about a year and had decided that though we were young, we wanted to get married. He came to bed one night as asked me questions like, “If you got a ring, what would you want it to look like?” I tried to set up a “wish list” online, you know the kind where you can design your dream ring and share the design with that certain someone? He would have none of that.

That’s when I did the unthinkable. With my knowledge that he’d most likely been looking at rings on the computer, I accessed the internet files folder. Yes, the folder that, with a little finesse, will allow a person to track the browsing history on that computer. Shame, shame.

Turns out, he had most definitely been looking at rings. One ring in particular.

And, I didn’t like it.

I mulled my dilemma for several days. I tried to do this ring thing together, but he wanted to do it on his own. How could I blame him for that? On the other hand, if I caught him early enough, wouldn’t he rather get a ring he knew I loved? I talked to a few people; I can’t recall what their advice was. In the end, I decided that we were honest with each other about everything else, this should be no different.

I waited until he came home from work one night. And then, I tried to bring it up gently. Yes, I’d been spying. Yes, I’m a horrible person. But, maybe we should look together, I’m not sure I’m in love with the ring you picked.

I, however, was much too late. He’d bought the ring that very afternoon; it was sitting in the (locked!) console of his car.

I was more ashamed than I have ever been in my life. I tried to smooth it over, but it was just too late. Not only had I just told my future fiancé that I didn’t like the ring he bought (before he even had a chance to give it to me!), I’d also just ruined the surprise. I felt horrible. And more than six years later, I still feel horrible.

He proposed a couple of weeks later, and I obviously wasn’t surprised, but I was thrilled just the same. Elated, to be sure. The best part of the proposal was when he opened the ring box, and displayed a beautiful 3-stone diamond ring. It was more brilliant than any piece of jewelry I’d ever seen, and it was just for me. I instantly fell in love with the ring. Not just because it was beautiful (much more beautiful than displayed on a computer screen), but also because it came directly from his heart. That is really all that mattered.

Today, I’m just as in love with my ring as I was that day. And, my love for my husband has only grown since the day we met. I love him for everything about him, and he loves me for me, stalker tendencies and all.

***

I invite my blogger buddies to start their own Confession Sessions. I won't give out prizes for the best one, but I will have an awful lot of fun reading them!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Thwarted Again

I'm trying, unsucessfully, the get my oldest child potty trained. So, I thought it'd be a great idea if I got his 3-yo cousin Leo to tell him how fun it is to use the potty yesterday.

Leo (at my urging): "Hey Liam, it's a lot of fun to use the potty!"

Liam: "Yeah! And it's awful fun to eat cookies!"

Damn.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Confession Session: The Day I Killed a Fish

I'm going to start a new feature: Confession Session Wednesday. It's time to stop giving this blog lip service, and actually demonstrate all my, um, imperfectness. And trust me, there's a lot of it. So, for better or for worse, I'm going to lay it all out there. (Well, okay, maybe not all of it!)

***
I don't remember exactly when it happened. I do know I was in college, and Nate and I were together, so I'm going to guess 2003. I also don't remember why we stopped at the local PetSmart that night, perhaps it was just boredom.

While Nate was off looking for something of importance, I was mesmerized with the fish. Not so much because of their brilliant color or shapes, no I was enamored with the tanks full of minnows who were surly destined to be some other creature's lunch.

Enamored because I discovered that these gaggles of fish were skittish, and I could flick my hands and them and they'd all swim away together. Except they couldn't swim anywhere and that made it all the funnier, because they'd just all squeeze momentarily against the back of the tank. Hundreds of them in unison.

But finally, I flicked my hands and they all tried to swim away, away to no where, and instead they flew toward the top and out popped a fish! Right at my head!

And, I didn't know what to do. I squealed. And I backed away. And I was too afraid to touch it. And I called for Nate. He did his best to scoop it up, but by that time it was too late. The poor little minnow was gone.

And that's how I killed murdered a fish at PetSmart.

But, before you go railing on me, know that I was sincerely sorry, and I've rarely shared this story since because I was so ashamed. And, most importantly of all, I've never flicked my hands at a gaggle of fish confined in a tank since. So there.
***
Stay tuned for next week's Confession Session Wednesday; I'm going to share a story that almost no one knows, because I've been too embarassed to tell.

Also, I invite all of my blogging buddies to join in Confession Session Wednesday, I can't possibly be the only one out there with stories to tell!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mommy Wars

There is this girl. I met her on craigstlist, after hastily deciding not to send my first born to the daycare I'd been planning on for months. She and I had many similarities. We lived in the same town, we got married and had kids at close to the same age, we both had one son. But that's exactly where the similarities ended, because everything else amplified my personal, daily conflict. The one where I chose to work.

I knew, almost instantly, that she would be the perfect person to watch after my newborn three days a week. He would get personal attention there. She was skilled at looking after young children, and she seemed to genuinely care not just for, but about him. I really couldn't ask for more. And he did do very well in her care.

I still consider her to be my friend, but I doubt she realizes just how much knowing her has put my own life's trajectory in question. Of two differences I don't question. She is devoutly religious, while I am anything but. I believe in God, but I'm just not sure what kind of God, and I'm pretty sure I'll never know. That's just fine by me. She is also very conservative, and I am quite liberal. This, too, is just fine by me.

But it's the final difference that I grapple with everyday. She is a stay at home Mom (SAHM). She is there for her kids every single day. No matter what the day holds, rain, shine, happy kids, sad kids, trips to the library, or snuggles on the couch, she is just simply there. Soaking in every detail of their upbringing, not missing a second. To be clear, she is not the bane of my existence. She is more the metaphor for the struggle that so many Moms like me have. The struggle that has inspired a fervor of emotion on both sides of the debate. But, I'm here to tell you that my emotion is as much directed at those who resent my decision to work as it is at those who applaud it.

I've reminded myself a hundred times over, being a working mother is as much for my benefit as it is for my family's. I've told myself that I'm not cut out to be a SAHM. Staying at home during two different layoffs had all but driven me to the brink. I considered my career ambitions to be a strong part of my identity. And I've always firmly believed that I really can "have it all."

But I also backpedal on my convictions, almost daily. How on earth do I manage convince myself that I'm not cut out to stay at home with my kids? I maintain a warm, loving, and mostly even demeanor when my preschooler is begging me not to leave in the morning. Only to climb into my car and let the tears fall freely on the way to work. I study my infant's sleeping face when I lay him in his crib at night, knowing that he'll still be sleeping when I leave in the morning and I won't get to see him until the following evening.

It's gut wrenching, this struggle. The hard facts are that, at the moment, I couldn't afford to stay at home if I wanted to. But, I'm not so sure that I would if I could, and does that make me a ground breaking American woman, or does it make me a bad mother? I'd be proud to raise boys who understand that the woman's place is not necessarily in the home, but I have to constantly convince myself that I'm not doing long term damage in the process.

I realize now that this term 'Mommy Wars' is not so much about two groups of women tongue lashing each other for their personal decisions, most of us are far too civilized for such banter. Rather, it's about a personal war that so many mommy's have. I know I'm not alone when I say that.

Walking around any office, it's easy to see which co-workers have kids at home. They're the ones whispering into the phone to the caregiver, grasping for minute details of the day that would otherwise be lost. They're the ones spending too much time uploading and arranging pictures for their computer screensaver. They're the ones found occasionally gazing into space, yearning to be home. They're the ones with that look of guilt that just can't be cleanly wiped away. And, occasionally, they're the ones sneaking off to their car just to cry a little bit.

I don't need a working mother to tell me I'm doing the right thing, nor do I need a SAHM to tell me I should be home with my kids. Because this war? It's far more nasty when it's fought with yourself.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I Spy

I'm a stalker, by trade. As evidenced here.

So, naturally, I have a tendency to check my stats every so often. See how many people really care what I have to say. What part of the country they're coming from. You know the drill.

This morning, I was a little surprised to notice a disproportionate amount of hits coming from a babycenter.com group. And, when I click on the link I see that it is a group specifically for mommy's of twins born in October 2007 (clearly, I don't belong to this group, haha!). It's a closed group, so I have no idea what led these obviously wonderful ladies to by blog.

BUT, I did want to say "HI!" to this very specific community. And ask, you're not spilling obscenities about me, are you?

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Confessions

It is time, I must profess. Time to set aside my embarrassment, and come clean with the truth. Because the truth shall set me free. Or so I've heard.

I have a confession to make. Revealing a truth obvious to many, but potentially hidden to others. I have an addiction. One known to bind my attention, and strip away my priorities. I have, at times, become a prisoner to my obsession. Spending countless hours toiling away at, and harping over the source of my grievance.

I'm speaking, of course, about Facebook.

It started innocent enough. I was even a late bloomer to Facebook because it didn't become popular until after I'd graduated college, long after my college e-mail address had expired. Meaning I was not allowed access. Then, one day, someone informed me that Facebook had changed all the rules, and now anyone could join.

Even then, I didn't care much for the application. Sure, I could keep in touch with friends, see what they were up to. Big deal.

Then, Facebook changed the rules again. They made these things called status updates front and center. And, suddenly, I was hooked. Because for some reason, the mundane things people confess to be doing from moment to moment are outrageously entertaining.

Suddenly I have found myself constantly thinking about what my next status update will be. Would people rather know that I overslept, or that I hate driving to work? Should I brag about my children, or rant about the weather? I find myself thinking in the third person, "Amanda would really like to throttle that obnoxious person over the cube wall." Inner thoughts, of course.

I even had a dream that the President was the grandfather of my children (it was unclear who's father he was) and we all got to spend the weekend at the White House. My biggest concern? How best to describe my good fortune on my Facebook status.

I take pictures in the context of how they will look on my Facebook page. And the last couple of parties I have been to featured Facebook as a major topic of conversation. A la, "Don't worry, I'm going to tag you in this picture!" And, "Hey, did you see what so-and-so said on their status?"

Even as I confess to my addition, I can be found continuously clicking back to the source. Checking and rechecking for new status updates or photos. Needing to know if someone has big news, or if they ate a bagel for breakfast.

I must be honest however, the Facebook addition isn't so bad. It allows me to keep my family updated on the insignificant details of my children's growth. I've rekindled friendships I might not otherwise have. Found old friends. Discovered new and interesting things about people, the context of which may never have come up (re: 25 things). For those things, I find it to be a worthwhile, if not always productive, use of my time. So I'll keep toiling away, and probably obsessing. It's the Facebook way.

Amanda is thinking that Facebook is freakin' awesome. There, I said it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Boring and Loving It

You could say, I've been a little absent in the blogosphere recently. It's not that I don't love you anymore, I do. But, for lack of any better excuse, I just don't have much to say.

For me, this is the most glorious place I could ever imagine to be. This place without words. Because that means that my life is boring. And lest you think that boring is a bad thing, let me give you a little timeline of the last, oh, nearly five years.

2004

  • June: Married my best friend.
  • July: Moved.
  • December: Finished my Bachelor's degree.

2005

  • March: Began my first post-collegiate job.
  • July: Discovered the impending arrival of my first born child, Liam. Not more than 3 weeks after the glorious benefits kicked in from starting that first post-collegiate job. Now that's efficiency.
  • November: Bought a house. Moved.

2006

  • April: Welcomed Liam's arrival.
  • July: Left that first post-collegiate job for a better opportunity.
  • November: Became the first victim of the housing collapse and lost my "better opportunity."

2007

  • January: Found a new job...that's post-collegiate job #3 for those playing along.
  • February: Got a new dog, a companion for first born dog Maggie. (We thought she was lonely.)
  • March: Made the decision, with my husband, to move closer to his family in Minnesota.
  • May: Found post-collegiate job #4 in Minneapolis, and moved. Leaving the house (re: 2005) on the market.
  • March-November: Tried unsuccessfully to sell the Colorado house.
  • November: Became a landlord.
  • December: Finally moved into more permanent residence in Minnesota.
  • December: Discovered the impending arrival of my second born child, Quinlan.

2008

  • March: Once again, laid off. This time from post-collegiate job #4.
  • June: Found post-collegiate (and current!) job #5. Despite being 30 weeks pregnant. Damn, I must be good at interviewing!
  • August: Welcomed Quinlan's arrival.

And there, ladies and germs, is where the hullabaloo ends. The last bit of crazy, turn-your-world-upside-down kind of excitement, was Quinlan's birth. Which was nearly six months ago. If you were paying attention, you would notice that we have a new record.

And for once, I feel so content. I've never been so pleased to lead a boring life. One where nothing changes. There is stability and comfort there.

So, I'm sorry to be so disappointing to my loyal blog readers lately. I search and search for interesting things to say. But interesting just doesn't come to me these days. Save for the things my two-year-old does on a daily basis, but that will only get me so far.

Rest assured, the first bit of interesting that comes my way will land here. In the mean time, I'll keep searching and searching.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I Heart Guts

Recently, a friend of mine tried to order a stuffed uterus (a whole other story). But, apparently said uterus was recalled. Something about a choking hazard and ovaries.


Today, she gets this email. It was just too good not to share.

Dearest I Heart Guts Customer,

We apologize for contacting you again, but we need to make sure you are aware of the female trouble going on with the uterus you purchased.

We have issued a voluntary recall for the uterus plush due to a potential small part choking hazard for children. No one has been harmed. If the uterus plush is within the grasp of a child, *please remove it immediately*.

For more info in this recall, please visit:http://www.iheartguts.com/recall/recall-email.htm

Please forward this email to any gift recipients.

On the bright side, the rest of our plush lineup meets U.S. and European safety standards for children's toys. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this recall, please do not hesitate to contact me, we want to be sure no harm comes from playing with our guts.

Again, sorry for contacting you again, we know you're busy and you get too many emails, we just want to make sure you are informed. And for anyone wanting to recall her own painful of annoying uterus, we are not currently accepting live human uteri at this time. We don't have enough ice. Or Motrin. Thank you.

Many Thanks,
Wendy BryanGut
Wranglerrecall@iheartguts.com