A Monday Lift

January 31, 2011

If you want to laugh until your guts fall out, the solution is very simple. Just search the term "ski lift" on YouTube.

Here are two of my most beloved clips:

(if you squint really hard, I think you can see some schnuts)

Happy Monday!

Happy! Happy! Happy! Mormon Housewives

January 28, 2010

My response to this article.

If you're Mormon, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about when I write the phrase, "Relief Society Voice." For those of you who aren't Mormon, let me explain.

Twice a year, the LDS Church holds it's semi-annual General Conference. Basically, the leaders of the church, men and women alike, give talks to members all over the world from the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. The talks are broadcast on the internet, on television (even on basic cable in Maine), on the radio, and everyone is encouraged to listen to each of the four two-hour sessions.

The female speakers, who tend to hail from the West, all seem to have the exact same sing-songy voice, or as it's commonly coined, "Relief Society Voice." Even my father-in-law, who is the Momonest Mormon in the whole entire universe, can sometimes be seen quietly excusing himself from the room when the "Relief Society Voice" comes on. It's a great time to refill your bowl of peanuts.

Now don't get me wrong, the talks given by the women are usually the best talks of them all. But the voices, ohhhhh the voices, are not so easy to swallow. Usually, I end up reading their talks after the fact because I love the content, I just don't love to listen to them. They're deep and insightful and lots of times they make me cry--but only when I take 'em in through the church magazine. The audio brings me to tears in an entirely different way.

There's this particular talk called "Hold On" by Ann M. Dibb that's become one of my favorites. I've used it over and over and over in Sunday School lessons and Seminary because the message is completely powerful, but hoo boy, it's a perfect example of this phenomenon.

As reluctant as I feel to do this (because it's a great talk, she's an amazing woman, and I don't want people making fun of someone who's trying her damnedest to make the world a much better place), here's the link to the talk on Youtube. You only have to watch the first minute to see how cheerful! Sister! Dibb! is! as she describes a completely tragic accident.

I'm sure she was nervous, and in the end her talk has a positive, encouraging message. But the tone and the voice is really kind of strange.

And really kind of normal for middle-aged Mormon women.

You don't hear it so much in Maine, but you hear it a lot when visitors come from out West, and I heard a whole mess of it in Texas. Enough to last me a lifetime. Also enough to lead me down the path of swearing.

But this voice, this Relief Society Voice (by the way, Relief Society is the name of the women's organization of the LDS Church), never ever comes out of the mouth of a thirty-something female Mormon. The voices is saved for women who are forty and up--and probably more like fifty and up.

So what happened to the Relief Society Voice? Where did it go? Why has my generation failed to carry it on? It's a well-known fact that that energy can't be created or destroyed--and this voices appears to take a hell of a lot of energy--so really now, where has this energy gone?

Clearly, the voice has morphed, and it's taken on the form of the current day Mormon Mommy Blog.

You might know what I'm talking about. They have three or four kids, they haven't hit thirty, they're beautiful, and they bake. Considering all these factors, why should today's Mormon women be so sing-songy? Makes no sense when they can make a blog header with little happy birds, and a model-looking husband, and kids with perfectly mismatched clothes.

These blogs portray perfection. And you know what? No one is perfect. These blogs place an intentional slant on life. I doubt that those fifty-year-old Mormon women used to yell at their kids with happy! happy! princess! voices! And I know for a fact that these picture-perfect bloggers aren't happy! happy! happy! day in and day out.

I don't consider my blog to be the typical Mormon Mommy Blog--or a Mormon Mommy Blog at all, but to be fair, I'll admit that my blog is just as slanted as theirs' are. They paint it to look like their husbands fart flowers, and I've pretty well convinced you all that I'm the life of the Tupperware party. Trust me, I'm not. Total party dud....right here.

I wrote about a tween flashback sometime last week, and a couple of commenters couldn't believe it was true. "How," they questioned, "can so many funny things happen to just one person?"

Well, I guess I could have summed it up this way, to make it sound more believable:

Once upon a time there was a really frazzled mom on my street. Her kid was an only child and he was bored. She paid me five bucks a week to take him up to the park and play so he wouldn't be so annoying. The End.

But that's no fun, now is it? These Mormon Mommy Bloggers are doing a really similar thing. The only difference is, they have some serious photography skills.

If I had to guess, those girls watched Sleeping Beauty when they were little, and wished, wished, wished for a prince of their very own. I, on the other hand, watched Pee Wee's Playhouse diligently, and still want a set of talking chairs so, so, so, so badly.

Different perspectives, same degree of slant.

Bottom line? These girls are sugar coating the sh!t out of their lives. And maybe I am, too.

Do Mormons tend to be happy people? I guess so. I think most people who find truth and meaning in their religion (or community, or a cause) tend to be happy--at least most of the time. But we haven't cornered the market on happiness, or family fun, or cute husbands. And as much as Mormons value motherhood, we haven't cornered the market on the fact-of-life either.

I was Catholic for my first twenty years, and trust me, that whole Mary thing? That's some very powerful stuff when it comes to venerating the role of mothers.

And don't even get me started on my super hippy friends. They not only stay home with their kids--they sleep with their kids, cloth diaper their kids, grow food for their kids, knit hats for their kids, nurse their kids forever, write songs for their kids on the guitar, and you get the picture.

It's an absolute true fact that Mormons have something that outsiders don't. We believe certain things that make atheists roll their eyes and give some born again Christians a nervous twitch. But every religion has a richness that other religions don't--and if you believe what you're devoting your existence to, chances are, you'll be very happy.

But just because you're happy, don't expect to have kids who wear Mini-Boden, and a perfectly decorated house, and vintage party dresses, and perky boobs, and an insane sewing talent.

Because that? Well that's art. And Photoshop101 is the prerequisite.

(Aaaaaand commence with the hateration. Or the love. Either way.)

My Response is Coming

January 28, 2010

After two weeks of rumination over this article, I finally feel like I know what I need to say.

Apparently, there's been all sorts of hoo-ha over this snippet--on the internet, and pretty much every form of media out West. I've seen a few responses, but I live in Maine, Utah's hoo-ha is a world away for me.

Stay tuned. Between my long run and kid chasing, I'll rope my thoughts onto this blog.

In the mean time, go ahead and read the article. But in case you're not up for it, I'll give you the jist--a self-proclaimed youngish, feminist, over-educated, athiest woman can't figure out why she's so obsessed with blogs written my Mormon housewives. Actually, it's her guilty pleasure.

My guilty pleasure is x-rated texting and chocolate/peanut butter desserts. But you know, to each her own.

Sit tight. But remember, I suck with deadlines.

Makes a Bad Day Good

January 27, 2011

Ya know. I'm just having a day. One of those days where the craptastitude completely overshadows the fabulosities of being alive. I really, really hate days like today.

Sometimes, when I stop and think about it, I have a lot going on my life. But please don't get me wrong, for a person like me, that's a good thing. For some reason--and I honestly don't know why--I thrive when I have a zillion balls in the air. When I think back to my undergrad days, there was only one semester that I landed myself a 4.0 GPA. It also happened to be the semester that I was taking 21 credit hours, working two jobs, and planning my wedding.

Blamo. Nailed it. Four. Point. Oh.

These days, I've got a lot going on, and just like the good old days, I really seem to like it. The calendar on my phone is jammed full of business meetings, crazy hat days, road races, dates with Jared, sit-downs with the accountant, and I really, really feel happy with the way my life is shaping up.

But just because I like it, doesn't mean that everything is always going well.

To help you understand the triumphs and vicissitudes of my life, I drew you a super scientific graph. Actually, it's so scientific, that it has legend to go with it, too.

As you can see, when one thing, for example motherhood, is unbelievably good, something else, like work, might be a complete and utter shizfest. And when I'm rockin' the whole 'awesome marriage' bit, chances are, I'm constipated as all get out.

Very rarely do all the forces work together for good. And very rarely, as evidenced by the big black circle on the graph, do all the forces line up to kick me in the front teeth.

Guess where they're lined up today?

Right. In the circle. Sucker punching me over, and over, and over.

Thankfully, at 3:45, the world will tip back up onto its axis, and I won't care about the stupid, stupid, bad stuff. Take a look:

I've finally, after thirty long years, found something on this planet that's more fun than skiing....WATCHING MY KID SKI!

Skiing might be an expensive hobby, but if I die with one dollar in the bank and a whole mess of kids and grandkids who love to ski, I really won't give a damn.

So listen up you crappy poopfest of a day. At 3:45, you can get right out of my way. James is going skiing.

Ten Links

January 25, 2011

I'm a really bad blogger. Probably one of the worst I've ever come across.

Good writer? I guess so.

Good blogger? Absolutely not.

I rarely comment back to my commenters, I'm not so good at commenting on other blogs, I don't share a lot of links, and I have no idea what a 'blog carnival' is supposed to be. I don't troll the internet for new readers, I don't have a button, I'm just a complete under-achiever in this blogging game.

But the one thing I'm really proud of, is the fact that this blog is still here. So far, I haven't fallen victim to the whole 'vanishing blog syndrome' that snatches my favorite characters away all too often. And really, that's pretty much my only goal--keep doing it. Because I like to do it.

If you're offended by my severe lack of blogging etiquette, I really am sorry. But if you're offended by my seriously immature humor, I'm not sorry. You'll have to get used to it, because I bet you anything, that there will be all kinds of great quotes recited at my funeral that I'm tentatively scheduling for 2085.

Anyhoo, I do read blogs. Actually, I love to read blogs. In no particular order, here are ten of my favorites. You should probably read them all:

Sweet Cheeks in the Kitchen -- I'm lucky enough to know Brianne in real life, and I'm even luckier than I've gotten to eat some of her kitchen amazingness. She can photograph a cupcake like no-one else, and I regularly find myself leaving comments on her facebook page that say things like, "How do you not weigh 800 pounds?" Thanks to her ridiculously cute baby, she's been light on her blogging lately, but if you sift through her archives, you'll drool yourself to sleep.

Life Begins at Thirty -- I just love Pam. She runs, she has a couple of dogs, and she takes vacations that I'm jealous of. I feel like I know her, even though I totally don't. Maybe someday!

Fast Punx -- Another running blog. This guy is actually married to Brianne from Sweet Cheeks in the Kitchen. He qualified for Boston last fall and has 85,000 tattoos. I think he even has a tuba tattooed on his back--I don't know, he runs too fast for me to tell.

Runner Belle -- Another real life Boston blogger. I really wish this girl was my neighbor. We have similar running styles and I hope I can get to her level in the next couple of years.

Then She Made... -- A crafty blog. Amy is one of my favorite people in the universe and her projects are just really stinking cute. If you're crafty, you really have to check her out.

Honey Rock Dawn -- Some random girl who lives in Wyoming with a coyote, a goose, some cattle, and I don't know what else. She has this wicked hot cowboy boyfriend and I want to touch his butt.

Carrots n' Cake -- The last thing this girl needs is another link. She a bazillion readers already. I'm not sure why I'm so drawn to this blog, especially since I don't like pugs. All I know is this: Her blog is like crack cocaine. The first time I read it I said to myself, "Not gonna do that again!" And now I find myself always clicking for more.

Easy as ABC -- If Caitlin and Adam aren't the cutest couple in the history of the planet, then paint me red and roll me in some feathers. They're a college-aged married couple and I completely love them. Their little, tiny apartment and their HUGE haul of wedding gifts reminds me so much of my marriage to Jared in the early years. Someday, when they have a baby, I'm sure I'll send them a cute little gifty from Etsy...even though we've never met.

Reagan's Blob -- Okay. Reagan's blob will simultaneously make you laugh, cry, hug your kids, want to be a better person, lose twenty pounds, and put on some make-up. Oh yeah, and move to New York. You absolutely have to click on that link and get to know Piper Jane--she's probably the specialist little girl on the face of the earth.

Georgia Snail -- A nice, southern gentleman who likes to run at a nice, leisurely pace. One of his favorite words is 'asshattery,' which automatically makes him one of my favorite people on the internet. Please, please, please read his January 19th post. Seriously, January 19th. Do it. For real. And click on his link. Seriously.

Now Don't Get Me Sarted -- Okay fine. Eleven links. This one goes out to my A #1 commenter, Karen. If you want a New Englander's view on this wintry weather, click on Karen. But I'll give you a preview--she thinks you're all a bunch of wimps.

Happy procrastination!

Finally Back on Track

January 25, 2011

Well phew. After a whole bunch of months with ass-crazy computer issues at my house and at work, it's finally all taken care of. Every last issue is wrapped-up, solved, over and done. How often do I get to say that about anything in my life?

In honor of this new ability to actually turn on a computer and connect to the internet, stay tuned for some of my very favorite links tomorrow. And you know what that means....! You'll have a whole variety of new and creative ways to not cross things off of your to-do list! Yay!

But in the mean time, here's a little preview:

Strength Training for Runners: A Tween Flashback

January 20, 2011

I wish you all lived in my neck of the woods, because something really ridiculous is happening tonight. In an effort to bolster up two things I love--my local running club and my husband's chiropractic office--I'm hosting a group called Strength Training for Runners at 7 o'clock.

I can't do a push-up. I can't touch my toes. Actually, I kind of have a hard time wrestling a gallon of milk from the fridge to my cart at the grocery store. Oh, and sometimes I fart when I do squats.

This is basically the equivalent of me hosting a book club meeting about anything longer than 89 pages. Or teaching an Intro to Etiquette class.

All I keep saying to myself is, "Welp, at least they won't be intimidated by my strength and skill."

I will admit that I'm having some crazy flashbacks to my tween years as a result of this insane idea. You see, once upon a time in 1989, my dad bought me a forest green tennis racket from Caldor. I couldn't hit a tennis ball to save my life, but honestly--honestly--I thought I might have had a chance at Wimbledon. If I practiced enough.

And practice I did.

Lots of afternoons--especially during middle school--I'd get home, grab my racket, and walk up to the elementary school, where I'd hit a ball against the outside wall of the school gym for a zillion minutes straight. You know, the brick wall that said, NO GAME PLAYING AGAINST THIS WALL? (Really now, the swearing Mormon thing shouldn't surprise you one bit. Even back then I had no respect for the rules.)

Despite my hours and hours and hours spent at that wall, I never could get a handle on the backhand. Or the serve. Or making contact with the ball in any way, shape, or form. I was a huge, clumsy mess. One time, I actually walked home with the racket tangled to high heaven in my ponytail. That's how awesome I was.

One day, as I was leaving for the elementary school, my neighbor across the street came out to her front stoop and called my name. She was all, "Amy! Aaaaamy! I'm wondering if you'd be willing to teach Matthew some tennis lessons."

I was like, "Uhhhmmmmmm. Yes?"

And she said, "Great. Can you do it twice a week? I can pay you five dollars a week."

And I was like, "Uhhhmmmmmm. Yes?"

And then she said, "Can you start today? Matthew's really anxious to learn the basics."

And I said, "Uhhhmmmmmm. Yes?"

So off we went, me and the token neighborhood chunky kid. We were about to have our first tennis lesson. This, I recall, was also the first time I crapped my pants in public.

We walked up to the school mostly in silence, and when we got there I turned to him and asked, "So what do you want to learn first."

He said nothing.

Not knowing the names of any tennis-related skills and absolutely dying to break the awkward silence, I said something like, "Well Matt, how about the double loop-de-loo? That's a really good one."

His eyes lit up, so I showed him how to do it.

For those of you who are curious, basically all you do is throw the tennis ball as high as you can, do two giant arm circles with your racket, miss the ball, and go get it out of the ditch.

That spring we also learned the triple loop-de-loo, the quadruple loop-de-loo, the mega-slam....and yeah, I'm pretty sure that's it.

Needless to say, those were the only tennis lessons I ever taught.

So tonight? My Strength Training for Runners group? It could be the first and only. Just please pray that no one gets hurt.

The Accidental Power of the Written Word

January 18, 2011

Yesterday, I was scrounging around the house looking for some kind of notebook I could use as a running log. As much as I love the online options, there's just something about a good old fashioned paper and pen that lures me in.

I logged all my training miles for my first two marathons in cheap little notebooks from CVS, my next two marathons I logged online. These days, I do both. I like the graphs and fancy crap on The Daily Mile, but c'mon now, I also like the stickers I give myself on long run days--can't do that on the ol' internet, now can ya?

So anyway, we have a whole bunch of built in book shelves in our super-seventies basement, and they really are lined with books--old college text books, empty baby books (I swear I love my kids), paperbacks, phone books, I dunno. I scanned the collection and spotted a spiral bound journal that I didn't quite recognize.

"Perfect," I thought. "I'll just rip out any of the pages that are written on." I figured I'd find another failed attempt at keeping a personal journal. You know, two entries and then never again? Don't you dare pretend that you haven't done it, too. The blog is so much easier--we'll just have to see if my posterity believes all the lies in the 23rd century.

Anyhoo, I opened up the journal, and sure enough, the first [and only formal] entry was about a month after we moved to Texas. It talked about how lonely I was, how I had no friends, how I was ready to hop a plane to anywhere in New England and never look back. Honestly, it was really sad to me since there's nothing in the world I hate more than loneliness, and that entry was nothing but sob, sob, sob, lonely, lonely, lonely. I just wanted to rewind time, give my 23-year-old self a big hug and say something encouraging like, "Appreciate your boobs, Amy. They won't be so perky when you're 30."

But I don't have a time machine, so I just kept looking through.

There were some random notes for my graduate thesis, some happy little love notes back and forth between me and the J-man, there were a few things that I'll purposely fail to mention, and then, the real piece-de-resistance, there was a six page marital spat completely written out.

There's no other alternative, we must have done it during sacrament meeting at church. Seriously.

As far as I can tell, sometime back in 2005, we sat in church, writing out all manner of curse words, unpleasantries, and lines starting with phrases like, "You're wronger than wrong because....." I was pregnant with James, Jared was working at a dog food store, and it was his first semester of chiropractic school. Definitely not the good old days...not by a long stretch.

I ripped up the fight pages before I showed the rest of the journal to Jared--actually, I didn't read it from start to finish either. I think it would have been totally humiliating for both of us to read. Definitely not constructive.

But you know, it got me to thinking. If my life depended on it, there's no way I could even begin to remember what that fight was about. Six years later, the subject matter of that squabble couldn't be more inconsequential. But the words I wrote to him. The words he wrote to me. I wonder if any of those have stuck with us.

Deep down, does he really think  that I think he's an idiot, because once-upon-a-time I told him he was?

Oh man I hope not.

Instead, I hope he remembers the fights when I yell things like, "Make your own damn sandwich! The ham is in the DELI MEAT DRAWER! Right where it's SUPPOSED TO BE!" Or, "If you don't learn how to sweep up the dog hair, I swear I'll SHAVE YOUR LEGS IN THE NIGHT!"

Those are the words I hope he remembers, because those are the words I really, truly mean. Well, those words, and things like "I love you, but I'll love you more if you take me on a vacation."

In the grand scheme of things, none of us will remember the Great Tax Bill of 2010, or that time he got that speeding ticket. We probably won't even remember the secret purchases I possibly made during those secret trips to TJ Maxx.

My point is, the stress fades, but the lasting effect of the stressed-out words might not.

Today I pledge to be a nicer wife to Jared. And then maybe he'll finally take me to Aruba.

Love Stinks: The Story of a Slightly Dislocated Shoulder

January 13, 2011

Every two weeks or so, I go to the library. And for some reason, I never go to the library alone. Sure I have time to go to the library by myself--I could always go during one of my work days--but every time I end up at the library, I'm there with an over-tired baby and a kindergartner who's about to pee his pants.

Our routine is always the same. We enter through the back door in the rear of the building--the door that opens right into the children's section. We wander over to the movie section where James picks something completely random that will hold his attention for four seconds (documentaries, Baby Einstein, princess stories, and so on and so forth), I pick out a movie that he can watch fourteen times in a row without a speck of boredom, and then we get a Star Wars book.

We pay our late fee (because I'm Amy Lawson, we always have a late fee), and we walk upstairs to the adult section. By this time, James is inevitably doing that way-too-close spitty whisper thing into my ear. He's all, "I NEED TO HAVE A CHEESE STICK WHEN WE GET HOME," and Maggie's flopping around like a haddock out of water--I can barely hang on to her.

You can imagine that I don't have a whole lot of time to chose a book for myself. I've come to realize that browsing, and words like hmmmmmmmmmmmmm, are for library patrons who don't have kids. As a result, I've gotten into the habit of walking straight over to the New Non-Fiction shelf, picking two books based on completely on their covers, and getting the hell out of dodge.

I've done all kind of reading on account of this method. I now consider myself to be an expert on drug addiction, gardening, cheese making, reflexology, and business.

This past week I ended up grabbing a sewing book, and a book called The Power by Rhonda Byrne. For those of you who don't know, it's a sequel to the wildly successful book/movie, The Secret. According the The Power, it's all about love. Love, love, love, love, love.

Want to get rich? Love.

Want to be famous? Love.

Want to have ginormous boobies? Love, love, love.

To sum it all up, if we can all just learn to love, we can all achieve our wildest dreams--every single one of them.

After reading the first three chapters, I thought to myself, "Well sh!t. Here's what I've been missing! I'm just gonna love my way into the Boston Marathon. Love, love, love, love, love."

So I went down into my basement, I hopped on the treadmill and thought, "I love running, and I love this treadmill!"

Then I turned on the television, you know, the television I love, flipped through the channels and found The Real Housewives on the CW--a show which I happen to looooove. I watched the girls for thirty-eight minutes or so, came to love each one of them individually as if they were my rich aunts, and was cranking along at a 7:45 pace.

It barely felt like I was working. It felt a lot more like I was gliding. Effortlessly. Like a winged gazelle. There was no other explanation--it had to have been the love. After all, I was even loving on my red carpet and dark wood panelling. I was like, "I loooove1970s home style choices!!!!"

Love, love, love, love, HOLY #$%^!

Right in the middle of my looooove fest, my treadmill--the one I love so much--went and gave up the ghost.
It went from 8.5 mph to 0 mph in less than a second flat. Clearly, I was on my ass--and let me make it abundantly clear that the foot to ass transition was not even slightly graceful.

James, who was down in the basement practicing his ninja skills, turned toward me with huge round eyes and his mouth hanging open. When he finally had the wherewithal to speak, he said, "Wow, Mom. I really, really LOVED that trick."

And I was like, "Well bud, I really, really think I dislocated my shoulder. Go get your father."

The End.

The Instruction Manual!

January 11, 2011

I have a few statistics for you:

88% of parents mutter the phrase "Where's the instruction manual?" within 48-hours of having a baby.

Another 11.5% turn to their hospital roommate and say things like, "What are you? A fart head? Of course there's no instruction manual!"

The remaining .5% are just all, "Oh hey! You're cute! Let's snuggle!"

And here's my last statistic for you:

By the time that baby reaches preschool, 100% of parents will say something to the effect of, "Seriously, what the hell am I supposed to do with this child?!" or "My hair is on fire!" or "Children are a blessing....now really, where's that instruction manual I asked about back in '06?"

Today, I come bearing good news...and I'm dead serious here...

There is an instruction manual.

Okay fine, it's actually a blog--but that makes it even better since it's free. And you can read it while you're 'working.' And your kids won't feel all curious when they see a book called How to Handle Your Very Terrible Child on the nightstand.

The blog is written by my sister, who's far more than just a fabulous couponer. She's way humble, so she'll probably kill me for writing this, but Katy is the child/adolescent social development expert on the South Shore of Boston.

She works with all kinds of kids--some are on the autism spectrum, some struggle with being shy, some are just your run-the-mill tween who can't seem to get the grasp of making friends. Schools call her for help, parents call her for help, and I call her for lots of help (ie How do you get Sharpie marker off of a face?!?! Oh yeah, and what are the deep seeded issues that caused him to do that? But seriously...Windex maybe?).

Lucky for us, she started a blog. So now we can all get snippets of her fantabulous parenting tricks without getting an invoice in the mail. What a deal!

Check her our at http://katyshamitz.blogspot.com. Make sure you tell her I sent you, so she'll send me a thank you gift in the mail.

And just so you know, she gets her good qualities from me. All of them.

Bedroom Secrets: The Glitter Raisin

January 10, 2011

I don't know where it stems from, but I absolutely love to eat in bed. My husband, on the other hand, feels very strongly that food in bed is the equivalent of wearing saran wrap to church--a total and complete no no. To me, it doesn't matter what kind of food or what time of day--a steak and cheese, some chips and salsa, two or four cupcakes--it all tastes better on my queen-sized pillow-top.

On our honeymoon, when I looked at the room service menu I was like, "Oooooh, Jared. We'll have to order breakfast in bed!"

And he was all, "Gross. What if a dollop of syrup drops on my pillowcase? I'll die."

So I was like, "Doesn't matter to me. I was planning to see if they could cook me up a pillowcase made out of pancakes."

We both should have known right there that our long haul would feel much longer than average.

Last night, when Jared slipped into bed, he was feeling kind of cranky. So when something squishy and food-like landed between his two little toes, it didn't go over so well. Once his inner storm had [finally] calmed enough for an investigation, he bent down and came back up with a raisin pinched between his thumb and forefinger. A lint covered raisin.

He held it up to the light, then turned to pierce me with the fiercest of gazes. "This is your raisin," he demanded.

"Yes," I said. "I had raisins last Tuesday. That must be mine."

"Then eat it," he said. "Eat it now."

So I did. Lint, glitter, dust and all.

And then I slept like a baby.

A Post for Moms

January 7, 2010

(Wow, I don't think I used potty humor once during this entire post. I prrrrromise I'll bring you some on Monday.)

I've never, never, never been a player in the whole 'working mom' versus 'stay at home mom' debate, and believe you me, I'm not about to become one. I'm a huge believer in the idea that we're all individuals. What works for one family doesn't necessarily work for another. If my dogs--you know, the ones who voluntarily eat out of the trash can?--are special enough to have their own personalities, preferences, and routines, then damn it so am I. We all are.

What I do believe is this:

Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values.

That's a quote by Ayn Rand, and it's my absolute favorite phrase in the world--I buy it hook, line, and sinker. I truly believe, that if a mom can honestly identify her personal and family values--flexibility, stability, attachment, education, faith, adventure, etc--she'll wake up and find herself and her family, for the most part, happy.
Will challenges come? Yes. Will plans fall apart? Probably. Will every minute of every day be fun? Of course not. But I do think that living according to a set of personal values can make for and undertone of happiness--a better default mode if you will.
Honestly, I find it hard sympathize with the plight of the unfulfilled mother. I can definitely commiserate with the frazzled, overwhelmed, stressed out, I-can't-handle-this-whining-for-another-second mother. Of course the depressed mother gets so much of my compassion and understanding. And the I-don't-have-enough-minutes-in-my-day mother? To her I say, "What up, sistah?!"
It's the I've-lost-my-identity-and-I-think-I-hate-it-but-I-won't-do-anything-about-it mom, that I find hard to handle.
My point is, if you can figure out what makes you tick, go for it. Finagle a way to make it happen--even if it takes eight years. Working, staying-home, whatever you feel you need to be doing--just please make your kids believe that it's a great/happy/nice thing to be alive on the planet Earth.
Don't convince them it's a crapfest. Because it's not.
Before I go on with my random (and probably obnoxious?) soap boxery, I can't ignore how fortunate I've been since I've become a mother. I've always been lucky enough to have a foot firmly planted in both worlds. From the time James was born, I was able to adjust my story depending upon who was hearing it. If I was talking to a working mom, and she asked what I did for work, I was able to say, "I'm in grad school." When I was chatting it up with a group of stay-at-home moms, I'd say something more to the tune of, "I'm home with James and go to school part time."

Either way, I was able to fit it. Somehow, I still am. I work part-time. My kids are in daycare part-time. I can 'pass' with either group. I'm so glad to say that I've never been the subject of the "How can you leave your kids all day?!" or "You're only a stay-at-home mom?" type of questions. Either way, those words make me want to barf.

And as a side note, I just need to say that there are some really crappy day cares out there. But I can promise you that there are some really great ones, too. I'm sure this sounds cheesy as all get out, but I love my daycare provider like she's a member of my family. I'm pretty sure I'm not deluding myself when I say that her time with my kids enriches their lives and she adds a whole different dimension to my parenting. I feel happy when I drop them off and when I pick them up. Plus, she feeds them organic food and plays classical music--beats the heck out the saltines and PBS they get at home. Seriously, if James and Maggie ever turn out to be the valedictorian of their high school class, they'd better thank their daycare provider in that speech, because hoo boy, it didn't come from me.

Moms, let's be nice. Let's help each other along. We all love our kids so much that watching them do something as mundane as eat soup makes our head want to explode into a million, little pieces of heart-shaped confetti. Really now, doesn't it?

A happy mom makes for a happy kid, so go ahead and figure out what has value to you, and find some happy for yourself. Teach your kids that they're loved. Show 'em that life is good. Chances are, they'll be just fine--after all, they've got you for a mother.

(That was, hands down, the corniest ending I've ever mustered up.)

The Day After the Marathon

January 5, 2010

I know I just posted thirteen seconds ago, but I saw this video on facebook and had to share it with the runners of the bunch.

I wanted to embed it here, but it was too wide....or something. So click this link instead.

Is it true or is it true?

Don't Wake the German Shorthaired Pointer

January 5, 2010

When it comes to mothering, I've never been a DON'T WAKE THE BABY!!! kind of girl. If someone decides to ring the doorbell, or call the house phone, or let me know in a ridiculously annoyed tone that I should have ironed his work shirts during nap time, so be it. If the yearly urge to vacuum the stairs comes to me once the baby's down for the night, I whip out the Hoover with no hesitation.

I'll freely admit that I'm not afraid of waking my kids. Probably because they're pretty good sleepers, and when they're awake I'm a moderately neglectful mom. Trust me, when your kid spends 90% of her waking hours in a high chair with a mountain of Goldfish on the tray it kind of eases things up. Try it. Really.

But I'll tell you, as hard as I try, I just can't relax around this dog:

I'll let you guess which one.

If he's not eating my potato peeler, he's pooping out a baby sock. If he's not stuck between the couch and the wall, he's doing laps around the house with a cereal box stuck on his head. He eats tampons. He shreds diapers. He eats the shoes right off Maggie's feet.

Right now, I swear on all things powerful, he just trotted through the dining room holding my casserole dish in his mouth.

So let me tell you, I completely relish the moments when Coach is sleeping. Seriously, if you wake him up from his nap, I'll kill you.

Happy Wednesday!