Thursday, December 19, 2013


sometimes, i think i might be going crazy. like, i even have visions of seeing my own face on the news of that mom that finally cracked. because you see...i know what my brain is thinking all the time. sean can sometimes tell when he see's that slightly crazed look in my eyes or if i start storming around the house with obvious ADD half doing the million things that need to be done and huffing and puffing and sweating a little.

sean is one super amazing guy to not judge me. at least not out loud and to my face. i wonder often, what goes on in his brain sometimes.

i digress.

this morning (like most mornings and the reason i haven't slept in in FOREVER) my brain ticked on before the alarm.

and what it thought in roughly the span of 16 seconds was this:

i forgot to get the kids teachers a christmas treat and i have one more day-but i have a work thing til 9pm and can't do it-talk to sean about doing it-also talk to sean about picking up kids thursday since i have a work thing til 9pm-WORK make sure to get two weeks of work done in 1.5 days before vacation-oops, food drive, clothing drive, book bank donation $-did i remember to move the elf last night?-i have a christmas card left to mail but am short a stamp-i need dish soap-and body wash-and alex has no pants-we are late on a bank payment it's not showing up online-still need to call kids doctor for immunization records SCHOOL WILL MAKE THEM STAY HOME IF YOU DON'T-DOCTORS, they are both past due for well visits and dentists-me too!-need to return nike stuff-deposit check-omg we sold sean's car need to find a new one-girls scouts saturday need alex's uniform and baked good-CLOTHES! omg the clothes have been molding in the washer for 3 days-remember to ask dad about washer/think the drum is off center-need wrapping paper and tape-should i have carpets cleaned before or after christmas-CHRISTMAS...need a ham and to email family on what to bring-clean house-wash serving platters-napkins?-table setting ideas-my tree is still crooked-mail packages SERIOUSLY MAIL THE PACKAGES to east coast-return tile samples to lowe's-figure out what house poject to do over break-out of paint brushes, need wallpaper scraper, return home depot cabinet knobs, order cabinet knobs-laundry room floor needs cleaning real bad think the ant trap spilled goo-bonus room hasn't been vacuumed since we moved in-need more ant spray-figure out what animal is living in wall next to our bedroom-kill animal that is living in wall next to bedroom-email sean's mom back-organize desk in kitchen it's atrocious-wrap gifts-wrap everyone else's gifts who sent via amazon-need wrapping paper-already said that-ALARM RINGING PUSH SNOOZE still more things to do-email alex's book battle club parents back/arrange meeting-remind alex to read her book-alex wants a christmas break play date-ashley asked her to church/text her mom back-ian haircut-sean haircut-sean's last check stub erased vacation hours, did he figure that out?-what to get sean for christmas-forgot to give donation money for ian's school party-email his teacher i can't volunteer for his school party/must work-make it up to ian because i promised-stop making promises-order pictures-get frame for print in living room-does the tree have water? i moved the elf, I MOVED THE ELF!-has sean practiced her recorder i think she's tested tomorrow, did i say sean? i mean alex-wow, not sure we've returned library books and movies-or kids school library books-do the laundry and make sure the dirty clothes the kids threw on the clean bin get moved to dirty bin-take your vitamins and stop wondering why your so tired-anemia is gonna ruin your break-find car title-organize office papers-buy a small safe for our important docs-do we still have that shredder?-work out, it's been a year-close gym membership you haven't worked out in a year.

and then i got up, and went to work til 9pm. and guess what went threw my mind the next morning when my brain ticked on.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ian's Room

ian wanted a black room. 'all black mom. floor, ceiling, walls, and all of it'. i shuddered, then i panicked, then i googled child therapy sure that i had a 'goth kid' on my hands. then, i worked with it. i met him in the middle.


kids rooms are always hard for me. it's like buying them clothes, they won't last forever. they will change, their 'likes' will change. they will grow up. i don't like themes. but i let it go a bit with ian's room. let him have a bit of a say. i'm learning to relinquish control in some areas. because it's exhausting otherwise.

i don't actually have a before pic of ian's room. mostly, because i thought it would be the guest room but we switched it up. but it looked more or less like this:

like all the other rooms in the house. off-white walls, brown trim, yellow'ish ceilings. ridiculously thick carpeting conducive to having kids and a black dog.

photos are a bit blurry because a) the lighting is bad in his room and b) chip licked my camera lens and I need to have it cleaned.

Photo compliments of Christina Gilchrist

Photo compliments of Christina Gilchrist

Photo compliments of Christina Gilchrist

Monday, November 11, 2013

impromptu & important

last week, my grandma sent out an email that her beach condo was open for veterans day weekend. we haven't been in...i might say years? we used to go quite a bit. but life just seems to somehow get busier, and the kids get more involved in sports and leaving for a weekend seems well, hard. 

we decided to hell with hard, and 15 hours later than i'd hoped we hit the road. i must admit, i was a bit grumpy at first. after a long week, i spent my friday night doing laundry and packing and it once again felt like more work than it was worth. but saturday morning, once we were beach bound, those feelings gradually melted away.

there is something so awesome about hitting the road with just our little family. we are on our own time, nobody to answer to but us and every once in a while when life get's busy as it has for us lately... to take the time to reconnect is healing. for me, not being at home is the best way for me to spend quality time with my family unit because there, i notoriously find something to do. whether it be laundry, or some painting project.

so this weekend we played games. we read books. we watched movies. we played football on the grass. we walked and explored on the beach. the kids swam in the pool. we ate out, a lot. there was no 'just a minute's' and 'i'll be right there's' or 'i'll just do this, and then we can's'. it was whatever we felt like doing, exactly when the mood hit us. it's a treat, and something that doesn't happen too much.

it was wonderful. all of it but that one little incident where ian gave alex a bloody nose at 9pm from flailing around in bed. that was not cool. but otherwise, simply lovely. 

Sean taught the kids how to play cribbage

we were silly

we searched for whales

Sean ran drills with Ian

we found weird things on the beach

we skipped

and got our feet wet

because we were on our own, we had to set the timer for family pictures

sometimes it worked out

and didn't

we had so much fun, i impromptu took monday off and we stayed another night.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


halloween is always so much fun. the perfect excuse to throw all caution to the wind, wear weird stuff, eat a lot of garbage, say HELL NO to homework and a chance to pretend to stab your angel sister in the chest and get away with it.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

the game of life

ever since my kids turned 5, i'm consciously aware that they will remember a lot about their lives from here on out. they will remember this piece of their childhood. they will look back one day and associate the kind of person they are and attribute it to what kind of life they had. what their parents were like. how sean and i 'did' as parents. and maybe they will blame us for who they are or who they aren't.

it's a lot of pressure.

and now, in this day and age we have all this technology and visibility into our lives and our friends lives via facebook and twitter and pinterest. we can actually get a glimpse into how other families operate. how other moms throw birthday parties, how other dads coach sports, how other kids dress for school and how they are doing in school. we can see which mom's volunteer in class, which work, which stay at home, which homeschool, who has nannies, and who makes custom signs for their kids to hold in 'first day of school pictures' indicating which grade they are going into.

we look at all these pictures and posts and pinterest pins and we feel like we aren't doing it all. and we can't possibly ever do it all. and i have a suspicion that nobody is really doing it all and please raise your hand if you're actually doing it all. or maybe you don't have time, with all that doing everything. but come on, pinterest is a dreamland amiright? it's where you hold your dream kitchens, your dream yards, dream dinners and dream birthday parties. it's your dream closet right there on the screen. and we see only these glimpses and we judge ourselves against them and feel failure. last week someone pinned a pair of 'frye' boots that i've been drooling over for years. and i thought to myself, 'so and so got those boots! GRRRRR! I want those boots!' but 'so and so' probably didn't get those boots. me thinks they are in her virtual dream closet just like mine.

when i look back on my childhood, albeit i was a child and oblivious to anything that didn't revolve around 'planet carrie' i don't remember my mom feeling this pressure. i don't remember her making me pose to take 15 photos to get that perfect shot she'd post online where all three of us girls were wearing coordinated outfits and smiling and looking at the camera ALL AT THE SAME TIME because she probably knew that that was effort ill spent. i don't remember her caring or feeling pressure  that we were in 3 sports while juggling dance and karate. i don't remember her obsessing over what we ate and if it was all organic, and vegan and gluten free and sugar free and void of anything that was, or ever could be harmful 40 years down the road.

and i don't remember my mom telling me 'just a minute' 15 times and hearing her tell me to HURRY UP all day long. i don't remember life being so rushed and busy and chaotic. but, again. 'planet carrie' is probably a lot different from 'planet earth'.

 i've been pondering these things as of late and i want my kids to have the same memories i do as a kid. i want them to remember playing outside in the dirt for hours, not being in the car THEIR WHOLE LIFE or being entertained to death and rewarded at over priced pizza places with lame rides for being what should just naturally be expected of them. i want them to remember playing board games with their mom & dad, not mastering candy crush. i want them to remember camping trips, and beach trips, and have those be some of their fondest memories. i want them to have imaginations and creativity and not an over abundance of structured extra curricular activities. i want them to remember their first day of school, not the annoying photo op and argument over what they were wearing that came before. i want them to remember that they were loved, and validated, and nurtured. not obsessed over. i want them to remember a mom that appeared to have enjoyed being a mother as much as they remember loving to be a kid.

the other day, sean and i were texting each other from the same couch. it's ridiculous. but so was the movie we were watching with the kids on family movie night. so we were complaining to each other about how horrible the movie was. so the next night we did family game night instead. and we played 'life'. you know, the game where you have a job and a salary and you buy a house and get married, and have little kids you get to put in your car? i love that game. mostly because i drew a career more awesome than mine and a salary WAY more awesome than mine and it's fun to pretend and live in dreamland for a second.

and it was so fun!

it was so fun to engage with the kids without electronics, and talk to them about jobs and the importance of a salary. we had a real life talk about how the mortgage get's paid, and why mommy and daddy go to work. and we talked about who wanted to get married and who didn't. we talked about how it's okay if ian wants to marry a boy and have only boy kids because he only likes boys and doesn't want girls in his car. we talked about how it's just fine to be a policeman, an artist, a teacher, or a doctor. and i only lost my temper once when ian kept cheating and spinning the dial every time he landed on 1. and we counted money and realized what a math whiz ian is. and we talked about loans and student loans the choice between college and just heading out into the workforce. and i walked away feeling great. and that we for real parented in a fun and educational way and then i posted a picture of family game night on facebook.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

S & S

fall in our house means two things: school & soccer. we live and breath it. it's what our life revolves around M-F. sean and i speak only of these things. who's taking the kids to school, did you pack his lunch? where are alex's cleats, ian has one more page of homework, when are those forms due? when is the game the weekend, can you be there for practice thursday, or is it me? that's it. 



so i figure i should keep to the important stuff too.

school: here is the picture of the kids on their first day of 1st & 3rd grade. i almost can't believe sometimes how much i love these two humans. life can be hectic with kids, and it's these two smiles that make it all worth it. they really are happy, loving kids who despite the arguments and bickering they have they love each other and look out for each other always.

soccer: and here we have them after their first soccer games. ian, is proudly (and in true ian form) holding up 4 fingers. one for each of the goals he scored. alex, more demure per usual realizes it's not about winning but about having fun. but let's for the record say, she did score the first goal in her game. 

ian had to get his bragging from someone. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

blood sweat & tears: Alex's room part 1

blood, sweat & tears. all of these happened as they typically do during home remodeling. i've cut myself a handful of times on various paint lid openers, or stabbed myself with a screwdriver in the foot a time or two. and there is always sweat. working on a house is hard. and i tend to work at a feverish pace in fear that my time will be abruptly cut short due to the kids needing something, or needing to be somewhere. the good news is, this success story didn't include tears. at least not mine. my body still hasn't been able to replenish it's tear reserves since the infamous closet door debacle at the last house.

this is the story of alex's room makeover. which is funny because she doesn't even sleep in her room right now. she prefers the floor of ian's room, or our room, or this room. mostly this room because i bought a new duvet cover at IKEA and she thinks it's SO SOFT. (it's not)

it's a good thing this project of a house came with ample space and an extra bedroom so the princess could have her pick. 

ever since we moved in she's been terrified. I repeat, TERRIFIED of the 2nd door in her room that goes into the bonus room. and this is where the tears come in.  two doors is super creepy, i can see that. even AFTER i installed a new doorknob with a lock this room continues to be where she 'keeps her stuff'. which is okay for now. ask me in a few years how i feel about waking up to find her 10 year old body sleeping on my bedroom floor. now that's creepy.

so here we go.  part 1. part 2 will be years from now surely when we have the floors replaced and put decent moldings up. but don't hold your breath, i'm not. we didn't get the moldings up on our last house until there was a for sale sign in the yard. THE BEFORE.

aaaaannnndddd the after.

See the creepy door? SO creepy.

her room didn't require much. i had all her furniture at the last house. all items i pulled out of 2nd hand or antique stores. just a little paint on the ceiling, walls, and the trim which I HATE PAINTING and will be doing throughout this house.

up next: living & dining room. it's almost done. ALMOST. on hold due to cut finger...

for anyone who cares about this sort of thing. walls are SW sea salt, and trim is alabaster. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

thought i'd stop by and visit hell for a few's not worth the hype. (also don't read if you are judgemental or are offended by swearing because there is some)

i finally feel like i can write about it. last week i was in a bad place. in a deep dark, hate the world, woe is me, feeling sorry for myself bad place. this week i'm in a good place. an 'i got this' place. an 'i can do it, because i did it a million times before' place. so i can write about it now, and laugh at myself. last week there was no laughing. not any.

see, last week straight donkey punched me in the face. i'm not gonna lie.

after a wonderful 10 day vacation out east to see sean's family, and an awesome labor day camping weekend here with my family, 'real life' came crashing back upon us with a vengeance. maybe it was just a good old fashioned swift kick to the gut reality check. but it was hard. so hard.

on monday, the last sad day of labor day weekend, we drove home from camping dirty and smelly and packed to the gills with things that needed washing. we came to the realization that we had no daycare for the kids on tuesday. portland public schools started on wednesday. we'd known this for awhile, but i think we pushed it out of our minds and frankly i get SO tired of dealing with childcare and the logistics of our life that i ignored it. i ignored it until there was no time left. and then...


it was as if a semi truck came and settled itself on my shoulders. it was my month end close at work last week. and a quarter end! it's a week i cannot take time off under no circumstances and the days are long. LONG. and parents know, that getting our kids back to school is hard in itself. the school supplies, the backpacks, the having enough food in the house to put together a solid healthy lunch. the 'what bus are they riding and when?' and 'where will they go after school?' and oh hello folks! It's a new school for the kolmer family this year with new teachers, and new classrooms, and hopefully new friends! did i mention we have soccer practice on mondays? and tuesdays? and wednesdays? AND thursdays? no problem, right?

so what does this mom do? she freaks out.

what choice did i have but to work from home on tuesday the single busiest day of my work month. sean had done it 3 days himself the week before. it was so my turn. so i resorted to the fact we had no other options and silently talked to myself 'i can do it, right? oh, totally. i got this.

i didn't.

in the end, it was a 15 hour day with 30 minutes of work here, a 5 minute 'get a snack for the kids' break, followed by a 'plug in ANOTHER movie' for the kids break, followed by an hour of work and so on and so forth. let's not forget the breaking up of nearly 100 arguments over things as important as lint on the carpet and who got the bigger spoon and who is sitting too close to who on the couch and OMG kids fight over the stupidest stuff. i may or may not have said, 'get a real problem' a handful of times.  and let's also not forget the trip to target, fred meyer's and office depot for pre-sharpened tichonderoga #2 pencils, a ream of paper, and zip lock bags. all items i forgot on on my original school supply run. and by run, i mean shopping extravaganza on amazon. delivered right to my door thanks to amazon prime.

anyway, it was long and hard and in the end i felt like a crappy employee and an absolutely crazy and frazzled mom who remembers snapping at the kids for flushing the toilet while I was on a phone call amongst MANY OTHER things that did not call for the wrath i put forth on them. please if anyone is reading, don't call the CSD. and if you work from home with kids on a regular basis, my hat's off to you. you know what? make it my shirt and my pants and my hat and my shoes. because i'd rather be naked in public then do that on a normal basis.

the fact is, the day pushed me further than i've been pushed in a long while. the amount of work i physically have to produce on this day of the month is staggering. when i'm AT work AT my desk withOUT getting up to pee or get a drink or lift my head to acknowledge the presence of another human it takes me 10-12 hours. so imagine, how productive i actually wasn't...considering.

wednesday came soon enough. literally 6 hours after i shut down my computer it was time to get up and get going again. it was the first day of school! i decided to hell with the 2nd busiest day of work, i'm taking my kids to their first day and will be in late. so sean and i together walked them in, took them to their classrooms and watched their eyes get bigger and glassier the closer to 8 it became. and when it was finally time to say goodbye alex said 'don't go mom' and her eyes welled up and i said (I ACTUALLY SAID) 'don't do this alex', because i had yet to go to ian's room and check on him. and her eyes welled up more. i told her she'd be fine which was bullshit because i wasn't fine. i couldn't wait to get out of this room and this school and cry all the way to work. i rubbed her arm, told her i couldn't wait to hear all about her day later that night (not knowing if i'd even be home to find out) and i left her there.

and i went to ian's classroom where he was seated in the back of the class. SHIT! did i not tell the teacher he's deaf in one ear? do i say that now? 'hi, i'm carrie. ian's a new student can you please hold his hand all day and of the 30 kids in your class make sure he's emotionally coddled today? can you also position him closer to the front and on the left side of the room so he can hear?' do i say that? or do i leave with my face in my hands? and then he jumped from his chair and hung on my leg and cried silently not wanting the others to see and that's when my floodgates opened and i cursed the world. why couldn't i stick around just a bit longer like all the other parents standing around? why couldn't i be there RIGHT at 2:15 to pick them up and spend the afternoon with them. why couldn't I be one of the sahm mom's who could greet their kids off the bus in the afternoon. why couldn't i be one of the working mom's who took the day off to greet their kids off the bus in the afternoon and take them for rootbeers after to celebrate their day? WHY WHY WHY did i have to be this kind of mom that has to jet out after just telling your kid to 'hurry up and pull yourself together'? and then i did it again. yup. 'ian, don't do this. you're gonna have a great day'. and i looked to the boy (ethan) sitting next to ian and said 'you're gonna have a great day, right?' and he just looked at me like i was a crazy person.

and maybe i was.

i proceeded to drive to work, my eyelids blinking faster thru my tears than the windshield wipers ran to swipe the rain. feelings of self loathing and regret overwhelmed me. nobody will ever know how terrible i felt that day. how low, how angry, while at the same time working as fast as my brain and fingers would allow so i could hopefully just please god hopefully get me home by bedtime. i spoke to nobody. i responded to zero emails or texts. i hardly responded to people that would walk by and say, 'how are the kids getting on in their first week of school?'

because if i did, i broke my concentration and the floodgates that were hovering behind my eyelids all day long.

and at 6:30, i shut down my computer and raced home fully prepared to deal with two emotional wrecks (3 counting me) but what i came home to was two over the moon ecstatic kids who had 'the best day of school ever' and 'met new friends' and 'loved their new school'.

praise god. i almost fell down with relief.

the next two days although hard, felt like a breeze. i think because the emotional stress and worry of the kids sitting at a lunch table, alone, and standing around the playground with nobody to play with had lifted. it's a real eye opener when you clearly distinguish the difference between physical and emotional stress. i feel physical stress a lot. needing to be in two places at once, not feeling 'enough' in all these places in your life. wondering if i'm a good mom even though i work, wondering if i'm a good employee even though i have kids, wondering if i'm even a shell of the wife i used to be before life got bigger. the feeling of just not having enough to go around consumes me. never mind ever having the time or energy to give anything to yourself.  add to that emotional duress, and it can take you down to your knees. i've been to this place before. where a loved one is ill. where a loved one is sick. where you are overcome with worry about a friend or family member as i was for my two kids. i know that pain. this week was not THAT pain. but it was pain regardless.

i haven't lost sight that things could have been worse. that nobody was sick. that nobody was in physical danger. i'm aware as over the course of the week i had people say i needed to 'keep perspective' and 'it could be worse' and another told me their current struggles in order to make me remember i wasn't alone. one friend said, 'at least your new house wasn't a former meth house' and thank god for that. as that is a true and real tragedy happening to someone we know. and i would remember these things, and talk to myself and recount my blessings and i have many. one, being a friend that knowing what i was going thru as so was she said, 'you are an amazing mom to care this much and worry so hard' knowing that was the only thing i actually needed to hear. sometimes all the little things piled high feel like way too much. i wouldn't trade all my little things for any others or one big one. they are mine, all mine and it's why they are so personal to me. i take my work, my kids, my family and my friends very serious. it's my everything. and by nature, i want to be caring for all of them well. it's who i am.

it's been exactly one week and it's almost funny to me how differently you can feel one week to the next. i was low last week. low low low. and this week, i feel good. i can now look back and although i didn't do it in all the best ways, and I didn't appear like superwoman flying around with a magical cape making it all happen...i did actually make it all happen. i got my work done. i saw the kids thru their first week of school, with smiles on their faces at the end of each day. they both got to their practices ON TIME, with everything they needed (all with sean's help of course) and we survived. we all survived.

and at the end of the day, that is something to be damn proud of.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Office: Part I

We just passed our 1 month mark in our new house. Time sure fly's when your busy as hell. I think we've managed to eliminate all the boxes and are now left with random piles of things I have no idea why we moved them to begin with. I'm sure we'll find a home for everything one day.

I have this amazing vision of this house that is itching to get out, but time is limited with my schedule and with MAYBE an hour a day after the kids go to bed to work on anything it will be slow moving. BUT, I have progress. And here it is.

I decided to start with Sean's office. Mainly because it houses all our personal effects, paperwork, and if that's organized then our life feels so. Plus, he works from home a lot and I wanted him to have this space. With the hours he puts in, he deserves it.

So here we have before. Tan grasscloth wallpaper, gold track lighting, cords everywhere, overall blah yeah?

and now...

I still have moldings to replace and install and one day, one day a long long time from now the carpet will be replaced with wood floors. But this is improvement enough for me.

For now.

I also have a small pile of items not yet hung. These items I promised Sean he could display in 'his room'. But this late in the game, I'm just not seeing that they 'go'. I'm sure we can find a nice wall in the garage.

Paint: Benjamin Moore; dark harbor. Light Fixture: West Elm. Painting by a talented friend Tasha Bartley.*Everything else travelled with us in the move. 

A special thanks to Anna Labedz for her laborous assistance in applying many coats of primer, because that sucked.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

goodbye house

alex was 1 when we packed up our belongings in the townhouse we had brought her home to. it was time for a yard. a few more windows. a change.

and we moved across town to a house on a culdesac. it wasn't much bigger, but it had windows and skylights and a yard to run in. we knew it wasn't our forever house. we knew it needed a lot of updates and work, and care. and we gave it that. we made it our own, we made it 'home'.

and a year later, we brought ian home. and more memories were made. and we acquired more things and lost our guest room to the two kids. our family room became a toy room, and the entire house became the kids domain. 

and two years later, we brought home chip. this, probably a mistake in more ways than one made our small house feel even smaller. and as the kids grew, so did our claustrophobia. 

and this year, when sean was resorted to taking conference calls from our master bath toilet room to obtain 'quiet' with his computer on his lap we made the decision to move. and today we get our keys to our new home. it doesn't feel much like home yet. it's empty. and white. and needs the same updates and personal touches we gave the house we are about to say goodbye to. and although, i can be quoted as saying 'i will not miss this house', i will very much miss this house.

it's the house, i brought one of my babies home to. it's the house i painted every square inch of. it's the only house my kids know. i will miss my fireplace, and my culdesac where i can comfortably let the kids play in while making dinner. i will miss my tall vaulted ceiling, and the light that pours in from all directions. it's the house we gave our hearts to for almost 7 years. it's the house we hosted thanksgiving and christmas at. it's the house i held birthday parties for the kids at. it's the house that has 'ian' scribbled on the wall near the bathroom closet from when he learned to write and couldn't find a piece of paper. today, it's home. it's a house i'm proud to say 'we did that'. we made it something special.

tomorrow, it's the house we are borrowing until we move out. and that feels weird to say. someone else owns it now. and we have to get out. and move on. carrying all the things we moved here 7 years ago with, and all the extra we've collected over the years. i have to leave behind those curtain rods and light fixtures I carefully chose, and the cans of paint i spent hours and hours choosing. but the memories, i will carry in a large over stuffed box of photo albums.

i'm pretty sure i'm going to cry. and driving away will be difficult. and i really know that this move is important for the health and sanity of our family. a house with more space for the kids, and well, chip too. one day, maybe after i've painted every square inch it will feel like home too. 

sean keeps saying, 'home is where our family is' and it's true. and for someone who moved a lot in his childhood he means this. 

goodbye old house, and hello new. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

the story about a girl who was a mom and the conversation with her mom

once upon a time, there was a girl. well, she was technically a woman. but she felt like a girl still. so let's call her a girl.

ahem. never mind. makes her sound young and 'immaturey'.

once upon a time, there was a girl. a 35 year old girl.

okay, scratch that. she was a mom.

ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS A MOM. she was on her way home from work one day teetering on that 45 minute realm of 'this is my me time sitting here on this freeway not moving at all so let's try to enjoy it' and 'oh my gosh, i have no idea what to make for dinner and i think sean is working late, and we are totally out of eggs and bread', so PANIC!

so the mom picked up her kids from school and drove directly to the store. and the kids complained from the back seat that they always have to go to the store and they hhhaaaaaaattte going to the store and NO FAIR we have to go to the store.

so the mom explained that if she didn't sometimes go to the store, that when they asked for their 769th snack of the day there just might not be any food left. and they said that is fine with them. they don't need snacks!

and that is the moment the mom realized that this night was gonna be AWESOME. like, in the not awesome (it's going to totally suck) way.

so the mom, being sort of a 'go big and go hard kind' of mom decided that if the night was gonna suck she was going to make it as easy on her as possible. so she did what any mother would do (RIGHT?) and bought her kids dinner and the next days lunch IN A BOX. dinner being one of those 'kids cuisine' microwave meals the kids get once a year but get as excited about as mom and dad do for their bi-yearly date night. lunch you ask? a well balanced 'lunch able' complete with rice crispy treat.

the mom was excited to go home and 'beep beep beep' have dinner be ready in 2 minutes and 30 seconds and lunch ready as quickly as she could un-zip and re-zip her kids lunch bags. she knew she'd get through her 'mommy guilt' rather quickly on this one and would do better tomorrow.

so the mom arrived home and 'beep beep beep' popped dinner in the microwave.

when the phone rang and the girl saw that it was her mom (yes, she's a girl again. her mom is calling) she picked it up and asked her mom how her weekend was. and just when the girl started to have a conversation with her mom, of course the kids started fighting over the couch cushions and debating on who was taking up more room and who was on who's cushion and so and so looked at me funny, and 'MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!' so the girl asked her mom to hold as she had a super important debate to settle.

and when the super important debate was settled, she got back on the phone to ask her mom AGAIN how her weekend was. and just when her mom started to answer she watched her son fling his 'gummy sticky hand' he'd won at big al's over the weekend up onto the vaulted ceiling. 18 feet up.

'can you hold on please mom?, i have another situation' the girl asked.


she picked up her phone again 'sorry mom, go ahead' the girl said.

and as the girls mom started to tell her about her weekend, the girl went out to the cluttered and messy garage. you see the mom (yes, she's a mom again because moms have jobs and responsibilities and way to much to do) is moving in one month. and nothing is in it's place or easy to find or where it should be. so the mom rummaged around until she found her big long painting extension pole.

and she brought that pole into the living room and stood on a chair with her phone balancing between her shoulder and her cheek, and she began to poke around at this gummy sticky hand and tried to remove it from the ceiling while hearing her mom tell her about her weekend.

'sorry mom, can you hold on. i'm about to fall off this chair, or drop my phone, or accidentally swear in front of the kids, if i don't eliminate one task from my current state'.

so she puts the phone down and futz's with the pole and to no avail the gummy sticky hand won't come off.

the girl picks up the phone and explains to her mom what she was doing and her mom laughs. maybe at the visual picture, or maybe at the situation, or maybe because she's happy it's not her balancing on a chair with a big long pole in her hands trying to remove a toy that cost 375 tickets and probably $36 dollars from the arcade that we went to because it rained for 48 nonstop hours this weekend.

'so mom, you were telling me about your weekend...go on' the girl says.

so the mom heads upstairs to start her son's bath and when she get's to the top of the stairs and her mom is telling her about her weekend, she see's that her dog has ripped up her less than 2 year old loop carpeting. and she's staring at this scene, 3 weeks before she needs to move wondering where the dog is because she's going to kill him.

'mom, yeah. hi. sorry to interrupt. i'm staring at my carpeting right outside ian's door AND IT SEEMS THAT CHIP HAS TORN IT UP AND I'M BEGINNING TO FREAK OUT' the girl shouts.

'oh my' her mom says. 'please, try to remain calm. is it bad?'

'yes it's bad! the carpet is TORN up! like, he was trying to dig to china torn up and we are selling our house and what. the. hell. am i going to do now?'

'you are going to remain calm' her mom said.

so the girl marched downstairs and poured herself a giant glass of wine and tried to do just that. remain calm.

'mom, can we have a snack?' the kids began to chirp.

and the mom's eyes got big and crazy. 'oh, well. it's your lucky day. since we went to the store today if you'll remember. i do have a few snack items you can now choose from' she replied.

the children, not detecting her sarcasm screamed with joy and ran into the kitchen for a snack.

'mom, are you still there?' the girl asked.

'yes.' she said.

'so tell me again, how was your weekend?'

Friday, May 10, 2013

she was only trying to help.

a month ago, alex came running into the house asking for my keys. 'mom, mom, MOM!? where are your keys? when I didn't answer because I was 9 feet into our 10 foot deep hot and muggy storage closet, she yelled again, 'MOM, I FOUND THEM. I'M GOING TO GET THE MAIL!'

who knew that the fact I was in the dark depths of hell searching for an old tax return and unable to respond would change the course of my life and my bank account for the next week.

so she went to get the mail at the end of the street, and like any other 7 year old would do threw the mail  AND keys on the back of sean's car and continued to ride her bike.

life carried on for a bit. i found my paperwork and decided to spend an hour organizing this closet. and sean took the kids to our nephews baseball game. in his car. where the keys were set. without him having any clue.

so he drove to the game, and the keys surely flung off somewhere on the way.

and when i needed to go to the store later, i asked alex where she put my keys. and when she told us 'on the back of daddy's car', sean and i looked at each other with dread and started to frantically look. and look. and drive all around the neighborhood. and to the school, and back, and back again. going 4 miles an hour scouring the roads and sidewalks for my keys.

and then we gave up.

they were gone forever.

so i call the acura dealership and asked what to do.

me: hi sir, i lost my car keys. and my house keys and my mail key, and my work key, and my everything.

sir: well, we'll need to see the car to re-code your key and replace your key less entry.

me: well sir, how do you expect me to get my car to you without my keys?

sir: you have to tow it here.

me: awesome.

so i call a tow truck CHA-CHING, and take the car to the dealership where they code us a new keyless remote (CHA-CHING CHA-CHING) and make us 3 spare keys (CHA-CHING, CHA-CHING, CHA-CHING).

meanwhile, alex is irritated we weren't able to go to the park as we promised and needs our undivided attention for this or that while we try to (patiently) solve the mess that has become our day. because she wanted to help. and get the mail. which consisted of a rotor rooter flyer, and a coupon to sweet tomatoes.

we then replace my house key, and my work key, and after a long day at work and at 5:58 pm and two minutes before closing i step into the post office to replace my mail key. i promise the kids that if they please please please behave i will give them a piece of gum because bribery totally works with kids and i'm desperate for my weeks worth of mail.  and it's here where ian tells the post office clerk that his butt hurts and in fact, his sister has a fashina (vagina) and totally embarrasses me.

the woman smiles awkwardly, charges me $40 for the key, and promises to replace the key within the week and that they are now closed.

and when we get into the car and ian asks for his 'reward' for 'behaving', because he didn't actually say the words BUTT and FASHINA to a perfect stranger i calmly say, 'maybe next time'. because i'm chill like that.

and it's then, a week later, that the 'key debaucle' is finally solved so imagine my surprise when we pull int the drive and alex asks if she can get the mail.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

that moment.

it's that moment. a moment, you most likely will never forget. you're in the middle of close at work. you are working 10-14 hour days. your husband is doing the same and hasn't been home for the bedtime routine in 3 days. it's 8:30 pm and your kids aren't ready for bed as you're still finishing up homework. you're 45 minutes behind schedule. the lunches aren't made for the next day. you're dog tired. you have a baby shower to throw IN seattle (3 hours away) in less than 48 hours and have never felt so unprepared for anything in your life.

and your daughter starts ferociously itching her head.

and you run to your kids head, and you start digging thru it like a monkey mom would.

and you're worst nightmare has come true.

your kid has lice.

the kid with long, thick, curly hair to her butt.

you fall to your knees and swear, that you just can't.

and then you stand, and you get to work.

you strip the beds, pull all towels and clothing, and stuffed animals, and everything with real hair and fake hair and anything 'fabricky' in a 20 foot radius of anything your kid may or may not have touched and you toss it over your stair railing.

you start the first of 50 loads of laundry. laundry on high cyle in hot water.

you put your kids to bed with one single pillow and one single blanket and you apologize that it's just too late at night to use the lice shampoo and spend hours combing out lice eggs. your kid cries that she has to go to bed with bugs on her head. but you just can't. you can't do it tonight. it's now 9 pm and she has school tomorrow. but she can't go to school tomorrow. and your eyes get big, and your blood starts pumping and you wonder how you'll load your forecast when your kid has lice. and where is sean? he was supposed to be home an hour ago and where is a towel. any towel. because i'm throwing it in.

you tell them 'tomorrow'. tomorrow you will get lice shampoo, and comb out lice and nits. you will go to work and finish your deliverables. you will at the same time keep them home from school. you will plan a baby shower. you will drive to seattle. you will do all of that, and at the same time. try not to cry.

so you do laundry all night, and pack. and make lists.

you get 3 hours of sleep and you get up and you go to work. and you call the school and warn them of a lice outbreak. and YAY, you have a sore throat and seem to be losing your voice.  and your husband stays home to do the lice treatment. and you get into a fight with your husband, because you want to 'help' by offering advice because you just can't mess this process up. and your husband feels like you don't trust him. so you go to work and you come home 4 hours later to find him still hunched over your daughters hair. with a paper napkin and a fine toothed comb. digging.

you quickly shower and apply the shampoo to yourself too. just in case. because you don't want to take lice to seattle to 25 ladies awaiting what will hopefully be a fab baby shower that you aren't prepared for.

so you relieve your husband and you comb for two more hours, and then you finish packing your bags, and you go to the store, and you pick up your friend and her baby and you drive in rush hour traffic to seattle. and you have no voice.

you get up the next morning, sounding like a man. a raspy old man, and you and your friend throw a party for your other friend and it's a success. a smashing success and you thank and praise god you made it happen and nobody died, and hopefully HOPEFULLY there are no lice friends on your head that have travelled with you. you pray.

so you drive home, and help put away 700 piles of clean laundry, and you check alex for lice and find 3 more, and 9 eggs and you cry a little. and you check your son just to be safe. and they are there. everywhere. and you cry some more. more lice shampoo, 7 more hours of combing and your head itches. you hope it's psychological. you google everything to do with lice and lice eggs, and natural remedies for killing the little bastards and stress, chest pains, and depression.

you buzz your son's head which hasn't been shorter than a shaggy surfer dude since he was 1. you cry some more.

on monday you go to work, and pick up your kids not asking them 'how was your day?' but, 'does your head itch?'. you unpack their bags to find an urgent letter from the principal to all parents. 'there has been a lice outbreak. with two confirmed students infected...' you die of shame.

you being to talk to your friends and family and co-workers about your hell. you learn that everyone has gone through this. you find little comfort in that. you are so tired of combing tiny, microscopic eggs and living creatures out of your kids head. you are still living in fear they are on you. you have nightmare after nightmare of rodent sized insects overtaking your scalp.

your kids start to see you crumble. they tell you it must be so hard to be a mom. you fight tears nearly every hour of every day. you comb, you inspect, you pick at your kids like a monkey mom would. your behind at work and the chest pains...

and for days you shower your kids each night, and you wash their sheets daily, and you pick through their head for hours instead of reading books, and you tell them to hold still a million times. you're pretty sure that at this point, they hate you.

you repeat lice treatment after 7 days, you lather your kids hair with toxic pesticide for the 2nd time and mumble under your breath to DIE LITTLE VARMINTS DIE ALL OF YOU. you make a mental note to call a therapist. you might be going crazy.

and each day, you find less and less and one day you swear they are all gone.

and the next day you find one more. and you beg your husband to do something SUPER unromantic and pick like a monkey mom thru your mom head. because every time you think about lice which is 7000 times in one day your head itches. he doesn't find anything.

and the next day you swear they are all gone. and this time maybe they are. and you vow that you will send your kids for all eternity to school in shower caps, and put them to bed soaked in olive oil for the rest of their days.

and now, your 17 days post lice and you know more about these species than any other pest in the world.

and for just one moment, you think maybe you've survived it.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


i took this photo on my drive home from work yesterday. and when alex bounced home from school announcing, 'it's the first day of spring mom. which means we just never know if it's going to be sunny or rainy or cold or warm or cloudy or if there will be a rainbow or not.' she pretty much nailed it.

ian said he had a fact to share too. 'wait for it........', he taunted.

and then he proceeded to TOOT, loudly followed by laughter. i, of course did not find that amusing and excused myself from the table for a minute to pull my of course i was amused but totally horrified self together. when i returned 'straight faced' i asked him where he heard such a thing. this 'wait for it'.

'i made it up mom, i just thought it would be funny. you know, you say 'wait for it' and someone thinks something good is going to happen and BAM, it's a toot' giggles, laughter, and falling out of his chair at the dinner table ensues.

i then explained that this was not appropriate (not the wait for it, but the part that came next) and whichever 5th grade boys mouth he learned this trick from, his mother should be ashamed. just like i was.

but then i got to thinking how our conversation was quite profound. come march & april, when you live in the pacific northwest, you just CANNOT wait for spring to start. you throw yourself into the outdoors all pale, with dark circles under your eyes. your tired and vitamin D deficient. you shed you sherpa coats, knee high rain boots and snuggies and turn the thermostat in your house down 2 degrees to a comfortable 68.

you are so tired of the cold and rain, a tiny tulip bud poking threw your leaf strewn, over-grown, and soggy yard can bring tears to your eyes. the happy kind.

you feel hope, because you've waited for it. a-l-l w-i-n-t-e-r long.

and then the inevitable happens. what comes next is 3-4 months of just never knowing if it's going to be sunny or rainy or cold or warm or cloudy or if there will be a rainbow or not and you dream of summer.

and you wait for it.

Monday, March 18, 2013

i come here feeling like a guilty child. my head is down. i avert my eyes looking for the right words. i don't know where to start. i can't even come up with a title for this post that encapsulates the level of emotion behind it. and i hesitate to write the words at all but i'm doing this. i'm doing this because, when i look back on my experience as a mother it won't be with feelings of loss that i didn't do it perfectly. nor will i paint the picture to my kids that i was always right or good. but that i did it with honesty. and that i was real. with real feelings and real worries and real feelings of pride AND failure. and the honest to god truth is, it's hard. and sometimes, you are just too tired, and too exhausted, and have too much on your plate for one human person to handle.

and you snap.

yesterday, i threw the worlds largest adult tantrum. i may as well have thrown myself to the floor kicking and screaming and crying out alligator tears while proclaiming i hate everyone and everything. oh wait, i did that. i would also take all the blessings i have in my life (the roof over my head, my amazing husband, and two kids) and proceed to throw them to the ground and stomp on them like some self righteous child.

someday, when my kids open up this blog that i've hopefully bound and edited into a reality 'novel' of their childhood they may chuckle and say, 'i remember that. the day mom FREAKED out'. because it's 5, right? when you start forming long lasting memories and can start scarring your kids for life? perfect.

so to paint the scene, it was a day that should have been great. i had taken the previous friday off (as the kids were out of school) and did all that junk i typically have to do on the weekends. i hauled the kids around to costco, and trader joe's, and the bank, and the gas station, and so on and so forth. i did it all, in a mad and feverish dash so we could have a weekend of rest, relaxation and togetherness. all the while, apologizing to them for so much car time, and store time, and can you grab me this and that time.

on saturday night we had our first night out / break from the kids in more than two months and we were ready. SO READY. and it was all about me. a special dinner planned by sean for my birthday. 6 of my most favorite people, spoiling me plain rotten. life is good. things are good. my mood? good.

sunday however, i woke up possessed by something i cannot explain. the kids slept at my sisters and i started the day by watching a girly movie instead of 'good luck charlie' or 'spider-man'. i mean, heaven right? i chose 'rabbit hole' with nicole kidman. it's basically a story of a grieving couple who lose their 4 year old son when he runs into the street chasing his dog and gets hit by a car.

way to kill the mood, right?

i cry cry cry cry cry. the horror of the reality this couple endures is too much for me and sean comes down to find me a crumpled mess of chest heaving sobs. you should all totally watch it. it's uplifting and inspiring. just kidding, don't do it, it will ruin your whole day like it did mine.

after wiping off my face, i headed over to my sisters to pick up the kids that at this point i missed so fiercely for fear of them someday dying a tragic death by runaway dog, or car, or swine flu. when i got home, i did what any crazy mother of two that cannot sit still would do and got to work installing the double bi-fold doors on my closet.

it's taken me SIX years to install these doors. after researching and pinning (for pinterest lovers) all options for our smaller-ish house i needed something functional, space saving, and cheap.

'easy to install' says the box from lowes and after painting 3 times on each side and flip flopping them to let dry and paint paint painting and flip flopping for a week they were ready to go up and already feeling not so easy to install.

so 3 days of tweaking and many hours later, i find myself still wrestling with these doors. like, on my hands and knees face to the dusty hardwoods, kicking and fighting the clothes in my way hanging from within, fingers raw and numb from adjusting brackets here and screws there and shimmying this clip here and that lever there i wanted to scream to the heavens asking what i did to deserve this.


i mean, really! the closet was 1 inch higher on one side then the other and after i kid you not 6 hours i started to really lose it. throwing screwdrivers into my closet walls, swearing at inanimate objects, and cursing every decision that ever led up to purchasing this house i live in. i wanted to burn it to the ground. with a bomb.

sean would come in, and ask if i needed help. i mean, yes. i needed help. physical and psychological help. i needed a padded room. and a straight and level floor, and some form of medication. the fit i threw... it was big and bad and mean. and i believe the only reason sean is speaking to me today is because it's my birthday and he's probably secretly plotting my stay at the mental ward.

i told sean to save himself and go. go for a run, get out of here. never come back if you know what's good for you. and he did.

go for a run i mean. he came back, god bless him.

and i spoke to my mother, who talked me off my ledge and told me all the things i already know. that i'm just tired. and that i just have this overwhelming need for things to be perfect, and that you would be hard pressed to find a home with straight and level floors, and that someday i will move into a different house with different problems that maybe doesn't make me feel claustrophobic. and that sean will forgive me and the kids will forgive me, and to just walk away from the doors.

and i heard everything that she said, and as i stirred the dinner that was an hour past due, and i cried like a baby into my cooking seafood pasta and my babies cried at my feet that they were starving to death something washed over me and i felt peace. i remembered the pain i felt while watching that movie, the feeling of loss the mother felt in her empty quiet house and BAM it was all gone. the anger, the fear, the frustration. the feeling of entitlement that i should have the perfect house with level floors was gone. the ways in which i would burn my house to the ground stopped clouding my every thought. the only thing i needed to do was feed my kids.

i looked down at the two of them and i hugged them and i said i was sorry for paying more attention to my closet then them that day. i told them i behaved badly and they looked at me with confusion and ian says to me 'okay mom, i didn't think you were bad. but is dinner ready?'

and then sean came home and i poured a giant glass of wine and we ate dinner. me, with swollen eyes and fresh perspective. i gave the kids their bath, and read them their night time stories while sean fastened the closet pulls to the doors. my crooked ass closet doors. they are hung. they open and close. they block the clutter that bursts from within, and i'm walking away.

i'm walking away with a patient and understanding husband, loving and forgiving kids, and a mom that is so wise she knows always what to say to make it all better. what else could a crazy strung out, mother of two with a crooked house want?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


we used to call alex 'bean'. this was how big she was when we found out we were pregnant. the size of a bean. and it stuck.

then she was born and we called her lexi, and alex and lou lou and lou lou bean or bean bean.

here's our bean bean at 1 in the kitchen, trying to get the fridge to open with the will of her snack craving mind. they are so helpless at 1 aren't they?

and here's her today, at 7.

not so helpless anymore as she now helps herself to the fridge and a pan of scrambled eggs.

how time flies. i love my beanpole.

Friday, March 8, 2013

~sock hop 2013~

every year, the kids school has a father/daughter event and a mother/son event.

tonight was the 2013 father daughter sock hop.

be still my heart, i love these two.