Wednesday, December 5, 2012

an idea, a novel. a novel idea.

for months, i've been ignoring this blog for a number of reasons.
  • due to a horrible clerical error, i managed to delete all photos i've ever posted to this blog. and being the perfectionist that i am i haven't been able to bear the thought of adding content to something so imperfect.
  • i'm so far behind in documenting the happenings of our life, i've figured 'why start now? and what's the point?'
  • it's sometimes just another nagging 'to do' in the long list of 'to do's' in my life
i come here, to this place following three simultaneous moments of clarity. first, sean and i were given a wonderful gift last week and were able to take our first vacation sans kids to the beautiful island of kauai. my dear mother in law graciously flew out and watched our kids for SEVEN DAYS. i've returned feeling rested, rejuvenated, and re-set which has me feeling both motivated and scarily determined to accomplish this that and everything on my mental 'to do' list. now, it's december so this list is cluttered with christmas cards, gift buying, tree trimming, and cookie baking but why stop there...

i'm going to go backwards and start with the most recent 'ah ha' moment which happened just moments ago. i'd semi successfully gotten the kids to bed, and was leaning up against the wall in our hallway awaiting my kids imminent exits from their rooms. these occur nightly as all you parents know, which include complaints of being scared, needing water, or needing assistance with that pesky hangnail that is preventing them from going to sleep. i thumbed through my facebook news feed to find a blog writer i follow 'gluten free girl' had written a new post. this post, as i scrolled through had me quickly standing from my slumped position and reading faster, soaking in her words like you would those of your therapist. as if each word was going to change your life for the better.

she says, 'The voice I’m having a harder time quieting these days is the one that says, “Do more. Put it on Pinterest. Answer every email. Address every question. Be bigger and brighter and have more readers. Earn more money. Do it on time. Go.”

i put a lot of pressure on myself in my life. we all do. and i think women/mother's especially. we want to be the best moms of the best kids. we want our kids involved in activities, the more the better! we want to do well in our careers and appear super human. we want to document our lives and proclaim it to the world like, 'look what i can do!' we facebook, we pinterest all the things we want to do but could not possibly find the time for. we volunteer in our kids classrooms, we keep a nice house. we want to feed our kids healthy meals and in non-toxic serve wear. we want our homes to look like a crate and barrel catalog, with just a touch of rummage sale. we want to appear perfect.

the fact of the matter is, these child rearing years are HARD. the fact of the matter is, on a friday night when i get home from work my house looks like a bomb hit it. there is no clean laundry in sight and the fridge is bare. the fact of the matter is, we can't possible do it all. and when we can't, we see failure. i always see failure. i see balls dropping. i get calls from the water company that my bill is un-paid and i wonder, 'where is the bill?' i send the kids to school without their homework, and without their library books. i juggle work, i juggle kids, i make every attempt in the world to try and workout and be fit which works out 1 in 10 attempts, i try to be a good mom and wife but what ends up happening is a sore back from picking up the balls scattered all over the floor.

women want to be liked, they want to be appreciated, and they want to be admired and i truly believe it has the majority of us spinning in circles in this invisible competition of 'who's doing more, and who's doing it better'. it's a load of crap. 

my gluten free blogger says, 'The truth is that we don’t need everyone to like us, we need a few people to love us. Because what’s better than being roundly liked is being fully known—an impossibility both professionally and personally if you’re so busy being likable that you forget to be yourself'. 

it's so true. 

the fact is, i am loved. i am loved by a wonderful man who cares not what i do but loves who i am.  who probably appreciates my sense of humor more than the organic food i try to make. or appreciates what i do for our children, and not what i haven't gotten to yet. i have wonderful friends. one of which this week (and is reason #2 that i'm back here) said to me, 'your blog is not perfect, and you lost all your photos, but you did not lose your words. and that is the important stuff'. and my family, my wonderful family loves me and knows me and gets me. the whole jumbled mess of me. the good and the bad.

the 3rd and final reason that i'm here, is due to an impromptu nintendo playing frenzy i encountered this week after a long and tiring day of work. being one of the busiest days of my work month, i came home feeling quite depleted and defeated. i was sulking, and in one of those, 'i'm failing everywhere' moods when ian handed me the controller and said, 'mom, i can't pass this level can you help?'

and i began to play.

i was lost in super mario land when i heard their cheers. they were jumping and clapping and screaming 'go mom, you are the super mario king!' i felt like a hero. i am their hero and it's not because i went out of my way to place the 'elf on the shelf' in new and creative places each day this month. and it's not because i had just made them a 4 course healthful dinner and passed them their vitamins, it's not because i 'pinned' all sorts of holiday craft projects for us to do together, and it's not because most ever minute of every day i spend either working for their future, or thinking about their future. i mean, i had done all that but it's not what mattered. i defeated bowser and passed the castle in world 1. 

my blogger goes on to say, 'I was a lifelong perfectionist who couldn’t enjoy most moments because I was so worried they weren’t good enough. I wanted to please, to be the best, to be the funniest. Somehow I have forgotten about what I want.' 

she later says 'what i want is to accept the warm rays of the sun'.

and that is why i am here today. because believe it or not, with all the things there are to do in life. this, this blog is something i love. and it's not because i want to document every aspect of my kids life, or our life. and it's not because i want to show or prove that i can be super mom and super career woman, super wife and friend. it's because i genuinely like writing. for a girl who crunches numbers all day and finds no soul filling satisfaction from that, this blog brings me joy. it's like a ray of sunlight.

so, i've broken the ice. i hope to bring more words here, and eventually after my wounds have healed, maybe some more pictures. and i do this for nobody but myself, and not to be perfect but to be me. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I can't even believe it. still.

so, last week. in a rush. I decided to upload some of the kids pictures from their first soccer game. I was 'click click clicking', paying a bill in one window, uploading photos in another, checking my facebook on another, and ordering some swimsuits online on yet another.  in my normal frenzy, i was doing too many things at once.

and I screwed up big.

i deleted some file that held and stored all the photos posted to my blog and now they are gone. forever.

when i realized what happened, and did the proper research to believe that really truly they were gone and my blog was dead and the world might as well end i clicked 'close' and haven't been back since.

so today i took a peek and they still aren't there.

and i'm not sure what to do.

i don't know if i should ignore it and never come back. one day when my kids are 14 and 16 maybe I'll send them the link telepathically because by then, there won't be phones or computers, we will just have to think things and they will happen. they can read it if they want, or not. then i'll watch them (on the built in camera's all kids will have surgically embedded in their frontal lobes by then) tell their friends how both lame and stupid their mom is for a)worrying about a blog and b)accidentally deleting all the photos of their childhood.

or, i come up with some sort of plan to find them all on my old computer, new computer, and various external hard drives laying around and eventually someday upload them. all WHILE, catching up on the last 6 months I haven't written about.


so for anyone that comes here. and you wonder what those big black boxes are with the nasty exclamation mark proclaiming, 'carrie, you are a royal idiot' and 'why did you push OK, when you should have pushed CANCEL?' that's the story.

i may be back, i may not. after i work through my feelings of loss and despair i may lift myself up by my bootstraps and keep on keepin' on.

until then, black boxes of stupid pronunciations. you are dead to me.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


it's been awhile since i've posted some funnies. and maybe they aren't really funny, and i'm just a sleep deprived hag that would laugh if your 5 year old spilled a gallon of orange juice all over your just cleaned kitchen floor.

oh wait, that really happened.

most of what happens in our house these days, is not funny. the mornings are spent frantically rushing around to get us all out the door with all the right things. mom and dad need their coffee, kids need their lunches and camp gear, and sunscreen on their faces. dog needs food, water, and his bed drug into the laundry room where he resides when we are gone to prevent the chomping of alex's last remaining barbies that actually still have heads and arms. 

then we go to work. and we do what we do there.

then i get home at 6, and start the drill sergeant routine of bossing the kids around to drag the dog's bed to where it belongs, feed him once again, put their shoes and backpacks away, and throw their lunches in the sink. dinner's made, baths are had, stories are read and we all dump ourselves into bed.

not a lot of time for funny. so maybe i hold on to the funny that happens at inopportune times when you aren't expecting the funny. maybe i make funny out of the not so funny. 

luckily or unluckily, i have a nice long commute that a) gives me 45 minutes of 'me time' before i pick up the kids and then another 30 of 'quality time' jibber jabbing with them on the way home about their day and answering ian's 1 trillion questions that he's apparently been harboring all. day. long.

'mom, i'd like to talk about god. is she pretty as you? and was she the first human alive in the universe?'

before i have a chance to answer, he's moved on to the next...

'mom, if the sun fell down would it always be the night?'

'mom, do you think bee's are scary? do they know they sting you or is it an accident? what if we had a bee for a pet? can we get a turtle?'

and as we pass mcdonald's each day, and I come up with yet another excuse WHY WE CANNOT STOP (albeit the quick and easy option) conversations as follows occur:

Ian: 'Can we go to McDonalds?'
Me: (silence)
Ian: 'I want a new mom'
Me: 'we can go to Safeway and get you a new one'
Ian: 'I guess I'll just keep you'


Ian: 'Mom, is Sunriver in India and can I take my water gun on the airplane?'

(Sunriver is a three hour drive from our house)

and sometimes it's laughter as opposed to crying as the two fight over their respective art projects, ask for snacks i do not have, proclaiming out of fatigue and car boredom that they 'hate their lives' or 'are proud of nobody'. Or, when I almost get run off the road by an impaired driver, get sprayed by a sprinkler (while inside my car), and spill a large diet coke on my lap on a day i cave at the mcdonald's request.

ian, since he was 2, and we made that impeccably irresponsible decision to move him from his crib to a 'big boy bed', has been teetering on the edge of either cracking us up at bedtime, or driving us madly insane. 

one night, rather than sleeping he came to the top of the stairs to tell us the following in an effort to stay up:

1. Dad, you smell like rotting tomatoes
2. Mom, my wall broke
3. It smells like dog food in my room
4. My blankets are too heavy on my bruise

other complaints arise regarding non-existent slivers, dying of thirst, and being concerned that he hasn't yet read all the books on his bookshelf. between these stairway visits, we hear sounds that have sean and i wondering if there are 12 construction men upstairs tearing down walls. he tears his room apart, has pillow fights with himself, and talks and sings until ultimately, he ends up falling asleep (rarely on his own bed) and can be found most often on his floor on a pile of blankets and toys, or in our bed. 

recently, while on vacation he told his pop that he must be 'really really really really old' and asked his gramma if she really retired, or was she just fired? the brutally honest observations of a 5 year old....

in other news, his pathological lying has somewhat waned and we believe that all the google searches of 'everything my 5 year old says is a lie' were correct in that it is a normal stage of development and ensures our youngster has an incredible imagination and that we should feel confident he's maturing normally. 

if nothing else he's extremely modest like his father, and would never go outside in his skivvies wearing nothing but a bike helmet and tennis shoes.

oh wait...

Monday, July 30, 2012


i thought i was going un-noticed. that my lack of blogging would just disappear into cyber land and nobody would know I had left. but when i traveled east last week to see sean's amazing family, i realized that i was wrong. i have a few loyal followers who even though months have passed, check for updates each day and in a very nice and not pushy way, called me out.

so, i figure there is some catching up to do. and i have many stories to tell, but first there is an important person to discuss...


my ian turned 5 last month, and even still i have to look at the ceiling and blink a few times to avoid tearing up. my baby. discussing the fact he's going to kindergarten this year, cannot even be a topic of discussion in our house. and the fact that i found so much joy in holding his giant, long body in the airport last night while he slept in my throbbing arms is a topic better suited for a therapist I suppose. 

there is something about 5. you come to terms when your kids turn 2, that they aren't a baby anymore. then 3 and 4, they are still so little. at 5, something changes. they have ideas and thoughts, and big questions. they don't need you as much in the ways that have become so normal over the years. they get dressed and brush their teeth on their own, and can open the fridge and help themselves to a snack. there is no surprise that society deemed this the age kids can go off to school and leave the arms of their mommies to learn and become smart, and grown-ups. sigh.

the last 5 years have flown by. i think about alex the day he was born. how much she has changed. i think about the week following his birth which held so much fear and uncertainty. i think about how much he's grown and how much he has stayed the same. and i think about what our life would be without him. we were a family when we had alex, but now we are so much more.

this week, we were at an amusement park and the kids had just finished a ride. upon getting off they couldn't find me right away. alex grabbed ian's hand and pulled him close looking frantically all around for me. i saw her turn to him, and assure him that mom was close and to stick with her. he looked at her with the most genuine look of trust and smiled. and the tears well up again...

as we were waiting for our flight home last night (trip posts to follow), and i held him as he slept, a family of 7 came and sat near us. i watched the siblings fighting over a bag of cheetos from the vending machine. i saw the mother struggling with bags and looking exhausted. it's these moments where my heart splits in two in my want for a larger family and the fear of what that would mean for us. i saw her pull out a giant bag of pill bottles and rest them on her lap, she slouched back in her chair and let out a deep sigh. i glanced to the father also looking exhausted while trying to care for all the kids and that's when i saw their middle son.

he was bald from chemotherapy, and had a 'make a wish foundation' necklace around his neck. he carried his many souvenirs from disney world with a giant smile on his face. he sat next to his mother and put his hand on her back and he smiled and said, 'tired mom?' 

at that moment, i thanked god for the health of my kids. parents talk about the struggles of parenthood, and the fatigue of sleep deprivation. they talk about the balance of work and home life. they discuss the best diet for their children, and the trendy toys of the year, they want the best for their children. the best schools, the best life, the best programs and activities and i'm guilty of all of this. but in that one moment, all i wanted was for the continued health of these two amazing kids in my life.

like those mornings after one too many glasses of wine when you proclaim, 'i'm never drinking again!' i vowed, (as i have before) to never take the health of my family for granted again. not ever.

so on ian's 5th birthday, i'm so thankful for the last 5 years and i'm so hopeful that he'll have 100 more. he is a bright, caring, LOUD AND BOISTEROUS love who cares immensely for his sister and LOVE LOVE LOVES his momma (and dad) and has the best one liners!

this year, despite the struggle to get everyone together on his birthday (the 4th of july holiday sends so many out of town) i decided, it was his year for a smashing party and he chose superhero theme (i'll post pics of the party shortly) i made him part of the planning, asking his opinion on 'this and that', showing him pictures on pinterest on possible cake ideas. he looked forward to this day for weeks.

this year, he's so big, and SO OLD we got him a set of golf clubs so that one day, he can buy his momma a great big house and an Audi TT from winning the PGA tour. this kid has a swing that will blow your mind and a smile that will melt your heart.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

walking the fine line

tonight, i lean up against the kitchen sink and glance out my large window to the backyard i'm so thankful to have. it's cluttered with lawn furniture and chewed dog toys. the grass is long, and the weeds abundant. i have plants from last year holding firm and dead in my pots. the deck is green and needs cleaning. the kids have dug holes in all my flower beds looking for worms. 

i flinch. i wonder when we can clean it up. surely, we need the sun and a good 12 hour day to get it in tip top summer shape.

i rest the weight of my body on the counter and close my eyes. a decision weighs heavy on my mind. so heavy, i woke up in a panic the night before and tore something in my back as the muscles fought to protect my spine from the worry that surrounds it. i take a huge gulp of water at the chiropractors request. 'lots of water, rest, and just try to take it easy'.

'ok' i mutter. knowing only the water is within my control. so i drink feverishly.

i close my eyes as the kids beg for a snack, and for dinner, 'mom, do you know where my book is?' i sigh. because i don't. and it reminds me that the 'read-a-thon' paperwork was due. and i realize i have no idea where it is.

i tip my head back and it hurts. it tip it forward and it hurts more. i wonder what it's like not to have chronic neck and back pain.

i open my eyes and focus on a giant tub of 'johnsons caramel corn'. it's a family favorite from the jersey shore sent as an easter gift from sean's parents. i smile. i focus on a week there in july where this rest and relaxation my chiropractor speaks of may come true. i can do this.

ian grabs my leg and whines, 'where's daddy, i want daddy' and i muster the words i say so frequently these days, 'he's working late, honey'. i look down at his perfect little face, marred imperfect with a scar over his right eye from a biking accident. he's now spotted with tiny freckles across his nose and he's filthy. from digging for worms i'm sure of.

i smile.

i wonder where alex is and i feel sad for our conversation this morning. where she told me she is sad in her heart that she's the first to daycare and the last to leave. 'why mom, do you have the longest work ever?'

i frown.

i finally pull myself away from the kitchen counter and walk to the dining room where a pile of papers a foot high waits for me. i search for the read-a-thon packet and find only bills, and kindergarten enrollment papers, and due dates. i pull out all the magazines and junk mail and set it aside. the 'to do' papers are now half the size. i breath a sigh of relief, this was productive.

i look around the house, i'm thankful to have and see clutter. everywhere. a house i cleaned over the weekend now looks like a tornado came through and turned everything on it's side.

i make a mental note to de-clutter, and drive a car full to the goodwill.

i hear the dog scurry to the garage door, whining and whimpering in gladness. could it be? is he home? no, he said after bedtime.

and sure enough. it's sean, he's here.

i smile.

now that my backup has arrived, i pull myself from the table and walk to the cabinet that holds our many vitamins and pain medicines and find a bottle of muscle relaxers. like it's gold, i fumble the lid off and wash one down. more productivity, i'm drinking water. clean, fresh water. i'm thankful again.

in one moment, life can seem so imperfect. so hard, and impossible. and in the next, you feel so overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation for all you have. i wonder, is this the journey? coming to terms with the good and the bad and finding that balance? teetering on the tightrope of life, swaying left and swaying right and trying to find that middle sweet spot. the spot where you stop and breath and notice the small imperfect freckles on your perfect 4 year old's nose?

i smile.

Friday, April 13, 2012


blogging has dropped off my radar. i have moved from 'blogging as an outlet to relieve stress and organize thoughts' to 'i have no time for stress relief'.

also, our computer is old and memory capped and i can no longer download photos off my camera. so in an effort to clean off old photos, i started a project awhile back and finally finished.

as mothers and fathers, we love our kids unconditionally. but i think you'd be lying to yourself and the world if you couldn't admit you love them just a little bit more when they are peacefully sleeping. 

we've been blessed with two pretty good sleepers. one in particular an amazing car sleeper. as soon as the car lurches into drive and the hum of the freeway fills the car. our ian, is out. 

here is a small (a very small) sampling of photos I have snapped over the years.

After a long day of boating on the river

Christmas Tree hunting is hard!

Easter Egg Hunts can wipe you out

Cheetoh eating = HARD

Disneyland wipeout

trick or treating can take it out of ya

birthday parties are energy suckers

Lollie Pops are a lot of work

Karate is exhausting
beach trips are so draining

Thursday, February 9, 2012

another chicklet gone and I think Alex is now carrying more cash than me.

Alex lost her 6th tooth this week. It's official. She has more cash in her wallet than I do. 

My glorious week explained in photos and videos. (Sarcasm is present in this message)

So, Sean was lucky enough to piggy back a work trip to DC and attend his brother's engagement party last week. I was not jealous AT ALL and really not resentful of this, AT ALL. I was however, very happy he could make it as we are both so thrilled for the exciting year his brother and adorable fiance' have ahead of them.

The timing was not ideal as I was heading into my 'close' period at work. For those of you 'non accountants' or finance guru's. This is basically the week where you don't see the light of day and go cross eyed from number over-dose. For me it's the day I curse my decision to obtain my finance degree and solemnly swear to buy a lottery ticket. Plus, five days with no backup on the kid front can be a long 5 days anyway. To all the single mom's and dad's in the world. I salute.

Both kids thought this perfect timing to get sick. Ian with an ear infection, and Alex with bronchitis. With three combined days at home during this 'week where I shouldn't see the light of day and go cross eyed from number over-dose' I found myself working well into the night while the kids were asleep and managing the best I could in between catering to their very demanding sick needs. It was super fun. And boy did I ever just have a positive attitude about it all.

Here we have an example of any number of moments on my day home with Ian who had a fever and clearly was making it super easy for me to focus and accomplish any work.

We did manage to have a bit of fun amidst the chaos while Sean was gone. 

Who knew how much fun playing with TP rolls could be?

Alex got a haircut

Ian blew mom's mind knowing where all the states belong.

Gage eyes me, eying his ice cream at John's Incredible Pizza.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Big Pink

One of my fondest memories as a child (and there were many) was fighting with my two sisters over 'Big Pink',

Big Pink, was my mom's huge furry robe. To say it was fluffy or plush would be an understatement. I'd like you to think of 'Kitty' from Monsters, Inc. This guy is the closet thing I can think of to explain big pink. Minus the horns of course.

My sisters and I would fight over that thing all the time. We wanted to be the first to wrap that monstrosity around us feeling the cool silk liner on the inside. After many years, the liner started to detach itself from the robe and we'd find ourselves climbing into two layers of softness. 

On Friday nights in particular, we'd wait in anticipation to see if Mom would come down for family movie night wearing it, or if it was fair game which would send the three of us girls racing up the stairs clawing our way past each other to reach it first.

Awww, Big Pink.

Over the years, Big Pink started to deteriorate until one day my mom had to toss her. I must have been in college at the time as the separation anxiety I felt was minimal despite my love for her. I assume she was out of site out of mind and my mom just quietly disposed of her.

I still think about her from time to time and today I had a giant warm childhood memory hit me with a wave of nostalgia as I covered my sick little girl into her bed for a nap. She whispered through fatigue, fever, and a 
Tylenol coma that she wants, 'big pink'. 

Big pink still lives, just in blanket form, and from the nearby target store. I sit here wishing I had another daughter to re-live those moments from my mom's perspective where her girls fought over not plastic expensive toys, or video games but a giant pink, hole filled robe.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

a week or more in iPhone photos

so there is this picture that was taken on our recent trip to black butte and it's awesome. it's so awesome, i can't wait to share it. however, it's on my real camera which only get's downloaded in a blue moon. so until then, enjoy these.

here is my week in iPhone photos.

Ian, (from his sick bed) made me play-doh lunch. Looks good eh?

Alex is now reading on her own, silently. Which allows me to do something fantastic! Read alone, silently.

Ian and Beck's friendship begins to blossom.

A typical day, a typical moment, my typical kids.

I pulled over one early morning on the way to work to snap this. The picture does not do the beauty justice. What a sight.

Tooth #5! Death by cantaloupe.

Ian thanks his sister for finding his long lost buddy! Hiding Place you ask? In the bottom of Ian's closet in my wedding keepsake box. OF COURSE! 
A terrible scene left by two dogs. Yes, that's my new carpeting folks. And thanks Stanley Steemer for your prompt arrival.

My nephew

This is what it means to live with a man. Socks have a hole? Shoes have broken soles? Throw them in the tiniest trash can in the house. Brilliant!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The not so shiny, sparkly, and glittery stuff.

Dear Carrie & Sean,

Just writing you a note, since I miss you at pick up time. It was another rough day for Ian, and I am not sure what is going on. Today he continued to touch people near their private parts, was potty talking, and burped directly into teacher Julie's face and thought it was funny.

If I can give you some advice as a teacher, mother, and grandmother I think his smile and charm have got him far in his short life. I think 'love & logic' is an excellent approach and he may need some tough love.

Please know I am only trying to help. Ian is such a great kid, he is just going through a rough patch and needs firm and constant direction for awhile. 

This is the letter we received from his preschool this week. When I first read it, this is what I heard;

Dear Carrie & Sean,

Just writing you a note since I'm never here when you drop off and pick up. Since he is one of the first here and last to leave I hardly get a chance to talk to you. In fact, I barely know you exist. Ian is not just here for preschool but before and after extended care as opposed to some of the other children who have mothers who can raise their own kids.

Ian has been a total shit lately and it's all your fault. Your too easy on him, and instead of punishing him in the 1 hour a day you have with him, you are letting him get away with murder. Please, in the time you do not have to parent your child please read 'love & logic' which should give you some tools you obviously do not have.

I know I'm being dramatic, it's what I do. But that was my initial response. There is SO much guilt involved in being a working mother. And just in case anyone isn't sure, (as friends have commented on this in the past) this is not my 'choice'. Had I the 'choice' to be home with my kids I would. But we are not all so lucky to have that choice. So I've done the best I can, and sometimes SURPRISE! It isn't enough. 

A friend of mine keeps a blog and recently wrote a post titled, the scraps of motherhood. This is a person who get's my life, and more times than I can count over the past 3 years has been my lifeline into the light. It's her and I that swear we'll start a club titled, 'extra-curricular activities against working moms' as we've scoured the internet simultaneously looking for dance, karate, and soccer we could enroll the kids in that wasn't on Tuesdays at 3pm. It's her that I text from my car, fighting tears when I forgot to send Alex with her lunch, or for the umpteenth time had to turn down classroom volunteering or chaperoning a field trip. We have both been through a lot in the past few years and picked each other up when we were down, offered a laugh when needed, but most importantly we've been there to say, 'i know it's hard. it's the hardest. you can do it, you are doing it, and your doing a good job'. 

It was these words, her words that got me through this one. 

After I had some time to let this letter sink in, I did what I always do and came down to a level of sanity and because I cannot change the amount of time I have with Ian I will have to come up with a new game plan in how I spend that time. 

Of course we have weekends to provide 'firm and constant direction', and in the evenings it will have to be less about me and filling the void I have from being away from him and more about him and steering him in the right direction. I guess.

Most evenings I get home at 6:15, start dinner and from that moment on I start my barking. 

'Alex, unpack your lunch'

'Ian, take off your shoes and coat and PLEASE HANG YOUR COAT UP rather than tossing it in the air'

'Alex, get out your homework'

'Ian, check Chips food and water bowl'

meanwhile, dinner burns and festers.

Some days Sean arrives home and we quickly eat dinner and head up for baths. Other days (and these are frequent as of late) I receive a text that he's 'running late', or 'won't be home til after bed'. These are harder days as I rush them through and maybe/maybe not give a bath.  My #1 priority is leave enough time Alex's 15 minutes of nightly reading. If I don't do this, I receive notes from her teacher like, 'what happened this week' and 'please make sure your making time for reading!'. Through it all there is still a lot of barking going on here regarding 'settling down', 'quieting our voices', 'stop fighting', 'Ian please stop running', 'Alex comb your hair', 'Ian, brush your teeth'. All the while the clock is ticking in my ear TICK TICK TICK. It's now 8:11 and the kids really need to be in bed at 7:45 latest so we can yank them out at 6:45am without too much of a meltdown.

With quick kisses and 'I love you's', I tuck them in and leave their rooms to go and clean up the hurricane that occurred in the chaos of the last hour. I at this point feel defeated, and sad, and lonely for their conversation. I then rehearse all the things I could have done differently, how I could have made better use of my time, and how I could have given each of them more. And then I wonder how I can possibly do it again the next day.

So you may understand that I'd rather gloss over the running, kicking, coat throwing, the burping, potty talk, and toy fighting because I do enough barking as it is. And the guilt of working, piled with the guilt of rushing through my only time with them, piled with the guilt of it not being enough is just sometimes crippling.

When I decided to have kids, I was afraid of being able to care for a newborn. There is so much emphasis on having a 'baby'. The long nights, the lack of sleep, the inability to get out of the house in less than 4 hours, the absence of a social life'. The newborn/baby stage was a blast to me. Taking care of physical needs is a piece of cake! Nobody talks about the really hard stuff. What comes next. Raising a responsible, respectful and caring person, citizen, and human being. That stuff is intense. It is only now as my kids approach 5 and 7, that I feel I have entered the throws of parenthood.

I must say that I love Ian's school. With the time and energy I have put into finding my kids good quality care over the years I could have swam around the world by now, but it's important. And his school and teachers mean the world to me. Despite my initial feelings on the letter we received, I can only commit to doing better and thank them for their caring so much for him and his well-being to make this an issue.

Today, after just 24 minutes at work I received a call that Ian had thrown up at school. My initial response was 'oh my god, i just got here', and 'i have so much work to do', and mostly, 'my poor poor baby'. but now, after having some time to process and as he sleeps quietly on the couch I think, 'oh joy!, a whole day with my sweet boy'. It's the little things.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

He's got it, ooh baby he's got it. Okay it's not cool what he has, but it is what it is.

Funny Get Well Ecard: Maybe you'll start feeling better if you stop reading WebMD.

i love in fact, i love it so much i've thought of sending cards to myself. like this one. i can't even tell you how many times in the 13+ years I've known sean he's said these words to me; HAVE YOU BEEN READING WEBMD AGAIN?

it's true. i'll get on there, type in my minor ailment or kids minor ailment and BINGO! I have glioblastoma. sounds bad, right?

kids are bound to inherit traits from their parents. it's also just the luck of the draw that they get some of the good, and some of the bad. 

ian got my mild (i like to call it mild because it sounds better) germaphobic tendencies and moderate (as opposed to severe) case of hypochondria. you'd think he took his fair share of challenges with one bum ear. 


so most days, he's sick. and now his teachers know to ignore this. and unfortunately for him, unless he has a fever or is vomiting, his not feeling well comments go where the boy who cried wolf cries go to. nowhere.

he comes home upset if someone at school has a cold, claiming 'they coughed on me and now i'm sick'. or grocery store visits end with disgust when he wants to sit in the cart, but 'there are germs all over it'. 

it's cute right? not when he's flailing on the floor in the morning before school pretending to be hit with the plague.

sean isn't as sensitive to it as i am. but i too have physical symptoms of illness when those around me do. i live in fear that whatever bug someone has is coming for me so i end up feeling ill 80% of the time. when i turned this age not to be spoken of i finally admitted this condition to myself and therefore have come to terms with it in a way. and just like i've learned to breathe myself out of a panic attack. i can now talk my way off the 'i'm about to die from a varying number of diseases' ledge. so when ian is concerned that the tiny red bump on his arm is the first symptom of the next 'swine flu', i can sympathize.

ian however, has taken this to a whole new level. 

now whenEVER he's mis-behaving (which is frequent as he nears 4 1/2) he claims to have been hit with a 'naughty bug'. he goes on to explain that the naughty bug lives inside him and the other kids gave it to him. the bug is telling his body to be naughty and 'sorry, mom. i can't fix it'. 

later he said, 'is there medicine for naughty bugs?'

last night in the bath as he was splashing around and ignoring my plee's to stop slopping water all over the floor he simply and nonchalantly shrugged his shoulders and said 'naughty bug mom'. then for good measure, he coughed. then wiped his dry nose. 

i think if i wasn't over the moon in love with this child, i would classify this as annoying. annoying is when he visits the toilet in the night and forgets to lift the lid, sleepily pee'ing all over the toilet and floor. annoying is getting up at 6am and persistently begging to go downstairs. annoying is growing up too fast and squirming when i want to rock and snuggle him.

Annoying, is strategically placing all your toy cars and planes in a 'deathtrap' formation for mom to ski down with a full laundry basket.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Four Year old's perspective on MLK day

Denver was kind of a while ago, but is still worth mentioning. Warning: this post could be classified as a novel.

When life get's busy, and when my list of to do's get's overwhelming I for some reason come here. It's like writing it all down somehow makes things organized or if the past is documented than maybe I can focus on the future.

Kind of like how I could never study in college unless my dorm room was clean. Or even now I can't relax unless the house is picked up. It's a sickness.

I blame my mother.

December was beyond busy. It was a month packed full of fun, but mixed in with the holidays it I believe pushed me over the edge a little. I moved past 'stressed' to having scary panic attacks and heart palpitations which lead to a doctor visit that resulted in a 'try to remove some stress in your life' talk.

For someone with a full time job and two kids you initially say, 'YEAH RIGHT' but it's true. I may have over-did it.

A weekend trip to Seattle for some needed girl time was followed by a weekend in Denver. In between there was a lot of packing and shopping and gift wrapping and planning. This trip was short notice and may have grown from an imminent need for Sean and I to have a break together. In our 'almost' ten years of marriage we have been away together exactly twice. Once for a wedding (3 days) and once to Seattle (one night) so you can probably understand that after 6+ years with little people running our lives we were beyond ready for a breather.

So, we scanned the country for not too far places with not to expensive flights and unanimously agreed to go and visit Sean's sister Lauren in Denver, CO. It didn't hurt that Sean's beloved Chicago Bears were playing and who'd miss a chance to see Tim Tebow down on one knee kicking the Bears arse's.

We flew in early on a Friday morning and spent the day walking around downtown Denver. It really is a charming City. The people are friendly, the buildings unique, and the sunny skies overhead were beautiful. We popped into a pub for lunch had a beer (or three) which reminded us of our elevation.

Sean doing his 'Tebow' move. Choreography credit goes to Chad Bartley who provided Internet imagery for inspiration. 

Tebow #2 in front of the baseball stadium

Weird but cool sculpture. 

Once Lauren was off work, we ventured out again and landed at a Brazilian restaurant I like to refer to as 'meat, meat, and more meat'. Really, it is called Rodizio's. We went hungry, and excited with the promise of men walking around with various kinds of meat skewered on large swords. Who wouldn't get excited about that.

The pawn of gluttony and the culprit of our pain

We started off slow with a salad bar and eased into the meat carnival. You had this little red/green puck thing you'd flip when you were ready for more meat. Green was GO and Red was, slow down or 'come back later'.  Sean kept flipping to green and Lauren and I struggled to keep up with the slabs of tri-tip, salmon, garlic beef (OH THE GARLIC BEEF!) and bacon wrapped shrimp was sliced onto our plates.

That's when it happened.

We got the meat sweats. Our faces flushed from wine and meat we started to slow down. Our puck was red unless garlic beef man came by to which we'd beg for more. It was one of my lower moments in life. And then Lauren and I ordered dessert.

After hobbling to the train, our stomachs full and aching I realized I had pushed the limit. I spent the next 6-8 hours lying in bed freezing, then the meat fever would come again, and then the cold. It cycled like this for munch of the night my stomach clenched and throbbing.

I blamed the meat, I blamed the wine, and I blamed the elevation. Lastly, I just sucked it up and blamed myself.

I woke up feeling tired but ok and perfectly well enough to move forward with our already planned road trip to Breckenridge. Lauren made sure that my dream and an item on my bucket list was fulfilled by riding up a gondola in a quaint little snow village.

It was a beautiful drive. We saw old gold panning buildings, lakes frozen over where people sat ice fishing, mountain after mountain of snow packed valley's and above it all the beautiful sun shined.

Breckenridge, CO

Breckenridge, CO
The town of Breckenridge was adorable. The main road lined with cute little shops and restaurants. We huffed and puffed around the small town gasping for air as the elevation was intense. We reluctantly decided we should 'probably eat' even though we were all still full and ill from the previous nights gluttony. And really, I just wanted to sit down and catch my breath.

Next we took the awesome and surprisingly FREE gondola ride up to the upper ski lodges. The view was breathtaking. The picture taken through a horrible scratched plastic gondola wall does not do it justice.

Later that night, we rallied. And I mean RALLIED because any one of us probably would have been perfectly content throwing on our sweats and curling up in front of the TV but we don't get much time to spend together, and we were on vacation! And in Denver! So we did what anyone would do and went to a local hot spot called, The Tilted Kilt. I think it should have been called, the non-existent kilt. Or, the too small shirt. Or maybe even, 'oh my gosh where are these girls clothes'. However, a place that dresses their girls in scantily clad outfits, serves mediocre food and serves beer in large personal beer dispensers is sure to drag in a fun crowd. It also drug in the large population of Bears fans that were there to see the big game too.

We walked around downtown, passing a few of the Bears players and a lot of decked out fans. People were hooting and hollering and yelling 'BEAR DOWN' and I think if Sean could decide his heaven it would have been there. In those bear fan lined streets.

Day 3
Game Day! I'll be honest. This was originally the part of the trip I was not looking forward to. I don't love or hate football. It just is. When it's on in our house, I'm usually puttering around after the kids to give Sean space or cooking food. I don't sit down and pay attention so really after all these years still don't REALLY get it. I try.

So on this day, with a lot of money invested in tickets I was sorta 'WHA WHA' about the whole thing. Plus, it was freezing cold and I hate freezing cold.

But something crazy happened. First we went to Sam's #3. To say this place is good is an understatement. In fact, only a picture can really do our experience justice.

See? There's bacon in my Bloody Mary.

Second, I really got into this game. The fans around us were great and energetic, there were fireworks, sky-divers, fighter jets, blonde girls on horses, and the noise was incredible. I mean, the Bears lost. No, they really threw it away. But we got to see Tim Tebow do his thing and then equally exciting we got to see the thousands of fans freak out about it.

We headed from the game right to the airport and prepared for reality. We really did have a great weekend together and with his sister. I'm so glad we did it, despite the work and preparation to get there.

Thanks so much to my parents for giving us this weekend away and who after the couple days with our darling kids, still loved them...barely.