Friday, December 27, 2013

We triple-dog-dare you to have a merry Christmas

Perhaps my lack of posting can be forgiven with holiday wishes.

Holiday cards in 2013? Nailed.It.*

*Except for those folks who haven't seen "A Christmas Story." For those people: they were confused as to why we would dress the kid up as the Easter Bunny, they missed out. Mostly in life, because it's a classic and they should see it. But also? The card. 


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Toddler priorities

JJ: "Where'd mommy go?"
Ball&chain: "She's upstairs."
JJ: "Awwwe."
(the next second) JJ: "Where'd mommy go?"
Ball&chain: "She's upstairs."
JJ: "Awwwe. I wanna hug."
Ball&chain: "Do you want to go give her a hug? Go upstairs."
{me, upstairs melting. She DOES LOVE ME!}
L: "Hey J, wanna watch Doc McStuffins?"
JJ: "UH OK!" {feet running... not upstairs}

{passed up for a kid who talks to her toys}

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Catching up - barely

Holy hell. It's only been a month - maybe two but so much has happened I don't even know where to begin.

In no particular order, because I don't know how to keep track.
  1. My baby is no longer in Kindergarten. SAY.WHAT. 

  2. My baby baby is no longer a baby - she's two. WHAT THE WHAT?
  3. The summer is here and we are working it out to make it fantastic.
    Dinners outside and spent loving.

  4. We took a 2 week vacation, haven't done that - almost ever.
  5. Related: the Jersey Shore is not just for trancing and MTV reality shows. It's magical.  More magical than the magic capital of the world.
  6. Related to the 2 week vacation, we did so by way of a 10 hour road trip - each way.
    Local fun - and Google photos makes gifs? All good.
  7. We are making friends - or trying to. It's hard work.
  8. Took JJ to her first real movie. We all survived. It was very much like her sister - popcorn is key.
  9. We have our first lost tooth. After weeks of wiggling and throwing up in my mouth (it's a horror show - loose teeth) we have one down, one to go that is loose. In the meantime? She has shark teeth - rows of teeth coming in it's horrifying.

  10. There are so many real stories within these small
    Summer outside movie fun.
     line items. So many stories to tell - but we're busy. Livin. Put that on a magnet. Pin it.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Scholar vs. Clairvoyant

I interrupt this unplanned - can't get my act together to update - blogging hiatus to give you this. 

In walking through the book store the other day - this happened:

Me, "You know what we should start to get, kid?"
Her, "What?"
Me, "Some chapter books - I think you are ready for longer stories!"
Her, "Oh yea. I'm also going to start reading minds."
Me, ....
Her, "What?"
Me, "What did you say??"
Her, "Reading mind."
Me, .....
Her, "What?"
Me, "Sorry. What do you mean?"
Her, "You know. When you read. IN your mind."
Me, "Ohhh - you are going to start reading IN your mind - so reading to yourself."
Her, "Yes (irritated and in an oh so scary mini-me-like familiar tone). That's what I said, I'm going to start reading minds."

For someone who is in fact ready to read to herself & read chapter books - she really needs to learn that adding or leaving out certain words in a string of words (sentence) matter.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

My Dodo

Did you know a "dodo" was a dad of daughters only? This is the rumor we hear - and I love it. And I love my dodo. Hard. And my girls? My girls are so freaking lucky. And I am lucky for my girls, for me. I mean, it's Father's Day and he is insisting on changing our stink ass little girl's diaper. I mean? It doesn't get much better than that, folks.

My dodo is difficult to compare to. He's everything to us. To me. To them. He's the kind of man they will know is possible, the kind of partner a girl can have. There, 100%. And I don't know how many of there of him there are out there.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Show me how big your brave is

Step 1, press play:

Step 2: Try not cry.*

*Ok fine, I get it - it's probably just me. But I cry almost every time I sing (scream) this song. It isn't waterfall city, just welling up - damn this hurts. Or does it feel good. Or does it hurt? I don't know. But damn.

I try to think about what I want for my girls. I can't ever seem to put it into a word. I have many words, but never just one word.

The story behind the music: one day I heard Sara Bareilles was putting out a new album (CD, iTunes download - whatever).  and there is a release of the song - with the lyrics. Truth: I am excited because she's a favorite of mine. Bonus: I feel like we'd totally be friends, if I could make a damn friend. Home girl can sing a song riddled with truth (and curses) and it's lovely. Her songs make me happy and when they are sad, I feel it. When she isn't dropping F bombs there are songs that my kid can enjoy & I don't want to poke my ear out. Wins all around. So I look it up, and I press play.

And I can't. I can't stop. I can't stop listening to it. I can't stop crying. The good, cleansing cry. The kind that is not quite sad, but not quite happy. But also the kind that hurts, because I realize it's a song - while likely intended to be a civil rights anthem of sorts - it's my song to my girls. I want to see them be brave.

I'll be damned. Everything I want for my little humans - wrapped in a catchy tune that just makes you want to move. Dance. Like no one is looking. And we do - we dance like no one is watching. Singing like no one can hear us.  The kid & I haven't stopped singing the song. We scream at the top of our lungs - windows down - fake microphones and circle school until we get the song in.

I fear for what is ahead for them. Beyond the chaos of the unexpected tragedy, that has proven to be the possible - in an impossible way. Beyond the disappointments they might experience and heart break. You want to protect them -but a big part of me wants them to push past it all and come out on top. Be the kind of kid who is someone's hero. And if they are in the position where they need a hero, they need someone to be there for them in a darkness - I want need them to have that. Be bigger than they think they can be. Be more. Life is going to be hard. And I want them to speak up. I want to see how big their brave is. 

All of this is to say, I hear this song and I think - this is it. What I want need for my babies. I want them to have the strength  - because lord knows I don't know how I will. I'm paralyzed with fear for what lies ahead of them.  In talking to some friends, seasoned moms, of how I was feeling this little piece of advice has stayed with me: you make sure they know that they are loved completely and unconditionally. And then I hope the rest will work out. 

I hope they do- know that I love them. With everything. And when the times comes they will have that behind them. To be amazing.

Brave - Sara Bareilles
You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
And they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

Everybody’s been there, everybody’s been stared down
By the enemy
Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

Innocence, your history of silence
Won’t do you any good
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Pro tip: Don't ask questions you can't want to hear the answer to.

A few weeks ago, the kid told me she knew the D word. More on that here. The long & short of it? Totally innocent.

So when the kid said, "I know the F word." I figured:
  • Fudge
  • (At worst) freak or frig maybe a little 
  • Friggin
Lesson learned, don't ask. Cause out it came, and it went a little like this:

I went through the motions. "What's the F word, kid?"

Her, matter of fact in face & tone: "F_CK."

Me, {silent shock - this, my friend, was no innocent dang
Her, "That's it."
Me, "Yes, it is. But don't say that again - ok. It's kind of one of the worst words you could use - where did you hear that?" {silently thinking - please don't say me. PLEASE don't say me.}
Her, "Missy* told me."
Me, {thanks G, it wasn't me. Just a little buddy at school. I can't even be mad at her hooligan friend, I'm too excited it isn't me. Or my hooligan friends.  I had a phone call on speaker the other day and didn't say "you are on speaker" and F bombs were thrown. Good, I'm glad it's a friend. Better her than me. Better her than me.} "Ok, well listen - it's not a nice word, please don't say it again. Don't tell others about it - it's not OK."

*Names changed to protect the guilty. Did I mention, I'm so f'ing glad it isn't me?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

To be filed under/ another reason I have a hard time making friends: I judge.

Our neighborhood has an "active" FB group. Sometimes it's great. Often times people are selling items or giving them away - we got a jogging stroller for free! Not for me, because I don't run unless I'm being chased, but the ball&chain has been running again so it'll be great for the babe. There is local yard sale information or call out for help. Like the other day when an adorable old dog was found in my yard. I had to call the city to pick him up but I wanted to try & find his owner. I named him Chewy and the long story short is while the owner was out looking for the pup, she asked someone who had seen the picture that I posted in the group. Due to that picture, Chewy was picked up by his owner. Side note, his real name is Buster. But he'll always be Chewy to me.

Sometimes local events are posted or local business recommendations. Most times? It seems to be about animal poop. Dogs not being curbed, cats roaming free. We live in a nice neighborhood that is basically the poop police.

True story: one guy said he was going to be posting pictures of non-dog curbing offenders. This dude is basically going to hide in a bush and take a picture if you don't pick up after your dog. Watch out. Cause people around here have time like that.

Currently there is a ridiculous, angry, passion filled discussion about cat poop.  There is a 33 deep comment string, ranging from one liners like "Cat diapers should solve everything. You're welcome." and paragraphs about the "invasive species" of cats in our neighborhood FB group. And the poor girl who is clearly not a cat person then gets attacked and questioned in terms of why she is in this piece of poop police blotter (as apparently she doesn't actually live in the neighborhood). ALL I want to do is hit reply and say things like:
  • For a state where the presidential votes are depended on or weighed heavily - this is your big issue? Seems like crap. {ba-dum-cha I'm here all night. Or 2 more years, unfortunately.}
  • So what I'm getting here is if I kill the cat OR I save the cat - I am 50% likely to find a friend among you. What if I don't care - either way? Does that make me the outsider? 
  • If I technically live in this neighborhood, but I absolutely don't care about this issue: would you attack me? Or just those that disagree with those inside the coveted neighborhood. 
  • Cats are the devil's pet.
To be filed under/ another reason I have a hard time making friends: I judge.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Still the best big sister ever, just a clear view on the reality of the situation

Prologue: I would have posted this - either way.  I like to document the things my kids say & do. Sometimes I post something on Facebook that I think is hilarious. I wonder... am I the only one that finds this hilarious? And then something happens. People crawl out the woodwork & like it.

Huzzah - validation! Nailed it.

This is one of those things. Our life, a direct quote.

Hot off the presses:

L, "I wish JJ was good. All the time."
Me, "Ya, I know - but then she wouldn't be the baby sister. She wouldn't be her. We love her - so we like her the way she is."
L, "Yea, I just wish she was good all the time."
Me, "I know you think it isn't ideal..."
L, "What's 'ideal?'"
Me, "Like, the best way it can be..."
L, "Oh, like if we sent JJ to live with someone else."

The big sister who put up with it all has left the building, 2 years later - she's ready to bargain.

Friday, May 17, 2013

No iPad = apocalyptic reality

We have an iPad. Sometimes Most times, the kids use the iPad more than the adults to. The truth is, I have an iPhone & a laptop - so the iPad doesn't really do it for me. I know, tough life. As I type this out I realize how ridiculous all of it sounds. But it's our blessed reality.  When I need to keep JJ awake in the car, as I'd rather her nap in bed verses a quick cat nap in the car, I bring the iPad. She won't fall asleep, she'll play or watch a movie. I did this the other day. Then this happened and I realized I may be relying on technology too much.

L, "But if JJ has the iPad, what am I supposed to do?"
Me, "Sing songs, look out the window, close your eyes... want me to keep going?"
L, {insert stereotypical whiny voice you are imagining} "But I don't have anything to do! It's not fair!!"
Me, "Are you serious? You are whining about not playing with an iPad? {insert stereotypical 'when I was your age tone' you are imagining} When I was your age, we didn't have iPads. We didn't have cell phones. We didn't have iPods."
L, "Wait. What? No phones?"
Me, "Well, we had phones, but they had cords and they were only in your home."
L," Wait. What? Did you have music???"
Me, "Yes, we had music! But it was on the radio or tape cassettes. Not CDs, not until I was older. No DVDs, no list of movies on the TV to pull from. Just VHS tapes, like the ones Nana Lu has?"
L, "Wait. What? {Mind is blown each time I explain what we didn't have}

I went through and told her how we didn't have computers, like we do now. She started to think about all the things she has or knows now and trying to figure out if I had it. Like toys.

"No, we played with only sticks and dirt."

{horrifying silence}

"I'm kidding, we had toys. They weren't the same as your toys - sometimes they were better, sometimes yours are better. It depends."

"Did you have ..." and she proceeds to ask at different times the following because without iPads or cell phones we must not have the following:
  • Banks
  • Stores
  • Police men
  • Playgrounds
  • Lights (as in electricity, people)
  • Cars
Man, this game is fun. And yes, as my child started to wonder the reality I lived through I wished we had two iPads.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"I know the D word."

L, "I know the D word, but don't worry. I won't say it."
Me, "Ok, that sounds like a good plan."
L, "But I know it. I just won't say it. It's a very bad word."
Me, "Ok."
L, "I won't ever say it, the D word."
Me, "Do you want to say it? Do you want to tell me what it is?"
L, "No no I won't say it, it's the worst word, the D word."
Me, "How do you know the D word?"
L, "Brian told me. At school, the very bad D word."
Me, "Ok. Well, I feel like you want to tell me this word. Say it, just this once to tell me what it is."
L, "Ok, if you want me to. But it's a very bad word. The D word."
Me, "No, I get it. Say it once, if you want, whisper into my ear - but never say it again. Deal?"
L, "Ok. The very bad, the worst D word? It's dang."

Meanwhile? I say dang on the regular.

Mom of the Year - 2013.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The day I ruined my kid's love for rollercoasters

In preparation for Disney World, we watched a slew of documentaries. They showed us what to expect, the parks, the rides - it's on Netflix. It was perfect. Since she was tall enough to go on most rides we got to hear all about them, and this kid loves details. She decided which rides she would want to go on and others she would skip out on. Space Mountain was one she wanted to go on.

July 2012: when her spirits were free & full of love.
Background: when she was 3 we went to Disney. She rode the Barnstormer kid coaster and loved it. Since then at every carnival or fair she rides all the rides. Fast and nauseating - she's into it.

Back to Space Mountain: we got a Fastpass, and when it was time to go - the ball&chain let me go on with her. He'd been before, but I haven't. And when it came to rides JJ couldn't go on we took turns. As we walked through the endless twists and turns of what should be the line it got darker and darker. That's her kryptonite. Darkness. Outside & fast? She's in. Dark? She isn't a fan. I started to get nervous, but she saw the video clip about it? And she was still into it? I tried to play it cool. Then we saw the loading dock.

It's here I realized that I wouldn't be able to sit next to her. It's here I remembered a story a friend told me, about bringing her nephew on this very ride and how she and his mom spent the entire ride trying to reach him across the car. How they had to stretch out to reach him as he screamed, "I am not having fun. This is the worst idea ever!!!!!!" She still seemed into it, so I went with it.
Notice how far above t
he seat back her head was.
I put her in front of me - so I could reach her easily. If anything, I could keep my hands on her shoulders at least she'll know I'm there.

We sit down. She's still excited, though slightly nervous. But there is no out now - we are going.

The first few minutes, we are talking to one another.

Her, "I don't really like this. It's dark."
Me, "It's cool, kid - just enjoy it! It'll be over soon."
Her, "When. It's really dark."
Me, "Love you kid - isn't this fun!!! WEEEEEE!"
Her, "No."
Me, "Are you having fun??? Do you love it?" (I knew the answer to that - was trying my hand at reverse psychology.)
Her, {silence}
Me, "Babe, I'm right here. Don't be scared!"
Her, {silence}
Me, "Hello. L. You there?"

The answer was yes & no. Perhaps in body she was there, but her spirit? Was far far away.

By the time we got off the three minute ride, she shut down and scooted so far down so far that the T bar
The scoot down begins.
Notice her face? Dead inside.
Not seen: the worst picture possibly ever taken of me -
trying to get to her & failing.
that should be in her lap was up to her shoulders. She went to a far away place. She wasn't crying. She wasn't upset. She was shut down. 

It took a few minutes for her to come back, knowing that she was now safe - not in a darkness spiral. She came back to us, but was forever changed.
That's how my once roller coaster loving child lost her love for roller coasters. I jacked her up so hard, she wouldn't even go on the kid coaster she loved so dearly 2 years previously. In related news, I'm still awaiting my "Mom of the Year" award, surely this puts me in a strong lead {sarcastic font}.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Surviving the Mayhem & Enjoying the Magic

We've been gone on a magical adventure to the Disney World. It's a trip, I remember more fondly than I think the reality was - and that's what Disney is all about: a magical facade of wonderment. I am not hating on it, but it's a lot of work. Here's how we made the trip more magic, less mayhem.
  1. Plan, but don't over plan. This time around I was prepared, far more than I have been in the past. Holy Pinterest, it's helpful. The most important thing, I think that helped this trip? We decided we wouldn't freak out on seeing or doing everything.  We were going to miss stuff - and that was ok. Having a collective okay on that decreased the stress, 100%.  We know we'll be back (in a few years, the FDA approved wait time), so there was no reason to make sure we saw everything. We'll see it all, at some point. Or maybe we won't - it's still magical.

    We made reservations for meals, where we could. The thing about Disney is you can make reservations 180 days in advance, which in my last minute procrastinator head is Amanda Bynes level of crazy. I conformed and it was absolutely worth it. 100%. Makes sense. I'm a believer. We made no more than one reservation a day, to allow for the whole "take us where the day takes us" mentality, but provided the ability to actually sit down & eat.

    Personal favorites:
    Tutto Italia Dinner
    In Epcot: great food, pitchers of beer. What more can you ask for?

    Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
    In Epcot: Good food, Princesses who come table to table chat, are adorable and it's not crazy town - at all. Like Chef Mickey which I find cra cra. And to quote my husband, "They should serve antacid pills with your breakfast. This is insane."

  2. Magic can be made, not bought.  My kid likes details, she's into them. I don't know where she gets it {sarcastic font}.  To quell the constant questions I created a personalized itinerary for the girls. Each day, it was laid out where we would go, there were words easy enough for her to sound out and images to match. I won't lie, I took it slightly too far - as I do.  It was a perfect way to make sure the kid knew what was up and we will be able to look back on as a memory. After a week in the magically land of Disney, it all starts to blur together.
    *Names changed to protect the innocent - and those who will
    be embarrassed by Mom's crazy when they are older.

    The itinerary is created through Word, I downloaded a few free fonts to jazz it up and swiped images off the Internet which I'm fairly sure isn't Kosher but to be fair, I'm not 100 %. My best discovery was searching for images with a "transparent" background. This allowed for an overlay where I didn't need to baulk the system. Another option is clicking on the image and choosing the option to place the image in the background for easy layering. This might not make any sense, but if you are into it - it will.  There were surprises layered through out the week - laid out created fun anticipation.

  3. Magic that is bought, can be done on a budget. In the weeks leading up to the trip, I would scour Dollar Stores or sale racks for treats & surprises. Glow sticks, Princess or Disney themed jewelery, arts & crafts and Princess costumes.  Did you know that some Princess dresses are 80 bucks? Like what the hell, it's dress up - not prom. Every morning the girls would wake to a few small trinkets left by Tinker Bell & her fairy friends. I used some of the fonts I already downloaded and wrote a quick note. Each note was encouraging, thanking them for their good behavior (self-fulfilling prophecy hopes). Each note came with a small trinket that I probably would have bought anyway (sandals, Mickey band aids) or help to defray the whole "TOYS TOYS TOYS I NEED A TOY!" madness (jewelry, princess costume, arts & crafts). I sprinkled each delivery with a little glitter and magic ensued. Though, at a certain point the kid could be heard saying, "Why does Tinker Bell keep bringing me all this stuff? I don't need all of this!" Oh my practical girl, how do I tell her the Dollar Store knows no bounds & mommy wanted to make sure we had enough?

  4. Characters, man. Beyond waiting on lines for character autograph books (which for the right wait time - is totally worth it). See exhibit A. There are other opportunities that can't be missed, see exhibit B. It is taken in the midst of a dance party.
    Exhibit A
    Characters are actually everywhere. First, there are parades. Pro tip: you don't actually have to set up an hour earlier. We would get there moments before any parade, get a great seat and enjoy with minimal crazy town.This doesn't mean a crazy woman won't bum rush your child to wave to the princesses... but that could happen after waiting an hour in the same seat in anticipation. Second, there are dance parties. They are our favorite. I didn't see them - at all - last time around. But this time? In most of the parks we stumbled across dance parties. DJ, kid friendly music, an MC that was all "let's do the electric slide" and then characters would come out to dance with the kids. Honestly? It was my favorite part - for real. There could be these really, truly, magical moments of love with the characters without the rush of an autograph
    Exhibit B

  5. If you got 'em, dress up like 'em. Encourage dress up, if the kids are into it. I mean, first - it's hilarious, adorable & magic. But the cast members of Disney? Freaking, slow clap to a standing O. They are amazing. Of course all the staff at Disney are pretty much magical, but throw a princess dress on your kid? They are curtsying, calling the kids princess. Asking if they've seen Aurora, Arial... telling story of Tinker Bell flying past them. Amaze. Pro tip: Kohl's sells Princess costumes, and for the right deal you can get them under 20, which is lovely. That said, what UP Disney? How ya gonna stop (easy to access) sizing at 6? Mama's got a tall glass of water - and throwing me a 7 or 8 would have done us wonders. We also did low key, inexpensive dress up options that wasn't the princess garb 100%.

    Example: Princess t-shirts with coordinating skirts or color themed outfits. Like yellow, blue & red = Snow White or blue = Merida or green = Arial. We made it work. We also did different hair themes. Best day ever, for the kid, was revitalizing some Rapunzel throw backs. We did her hair in braids and included some flowers. I am hair challenged, but easy enough: 3 braids, made into 1 braid. I stuck in some fake flowers and she got more compliments that day, than any. Even with her Bippity Boppity Boutique day (AKA Honey Boo Boo school of rejects). And she beamed. And I wilted.  Their happiness, made this "vacation." Dare I say made us so tired had us yearning for the end, it was still pure magic.

    These kids, man. The magic moments, made the mayhem worth it. 100%.  If you listen to nothing else, don't stress- too hard. Enjoy it.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Anger + sadness

I'm pissed. And I'm sad. But mostly, I'm pissed. Nope, changed my mind again, more sadness. I'm sad for the people, the children, the families that have been touched by the most recent tragedies in the news, the avoidable news. I mention the difference, because there was a lot of gd loss this week, every week. I'm talking about the Marathon Bombing. It's sad. And sad isn't even the word. And the fact that that line & feeling is familiar to me. Pisses me off. And that isn't even the word.

As a person or American or mother or woman or friend or sister - pick a word, any word - as news broke I became numb. Almost like I didn't know if it was actually happening. Some of my closest friends live in Boston. Many good friends were yards away from the blast. I had friends who were running the marathon or watching their loved ones run and then others who ended up quite literally running for their lives. My brother works in Boston and surrounding areas. I lived a few blocks away from the blasts what seems like the other day (reality: 7 or 8 years ago). As I watched the video and photos unfold I knew these areas well. Video looped on streets and store fronts I walked by often. In the wee beginnings of our relationship when he was in San Fransisco and I was Boston I would talk to him, for hours. Since I pace when I'm on the phone I decided to walk instead of wear out the carpet. I walked that street weekly, if not daily.

Later in the week, the locations of the shoot outs, explosions being thrown out of cars in a chase, manhunts and the such - all local. I drove those streets, I know those towns. When the chaos moved to Watertown, most of it took place a few blocks from a friend's home with two small children like me. It was their reality.

The families or people who were directly effected: killed, hospitalized, surgeries, psychologically shaken or broken. Unimaginable. I can't process it. More than it all happening in a neighborhood like yours or where you might have lived lifetimes ago. More than having friends that weren't physically hurt but you know someone who made slightly different choices that day that changed their life. More than all of the six degrees of fucked up Bacon circumstances - these people whose lives are changed, forever, unimaginable. There are truly no words. What can you say?

I was numb, in disbelief. Worried. I was sad. And then, then I got pissed.

This is my reality now. Horrifying news, in my 'backyard.' I see posts on twitter or Facebook like "imagine if this happened all the time" or "this is what it's like to live in X Y or Z." And all I want to do? Scream, FUCK THAT. I don't live in X Y or Z. I do not want to imagine what it would be like for this to be normal. I shouldn't have to, no one should. But more than that? My babies shouldn't have to. But they do. Scratch that, they don't have to imagine what it would be like where shit like this is normal - because in their small and short life times: the middle of September will always be a dark time, shootings at colleges, movie theaters, fucking elementary schools - it's possible. And now bombings - it's all in the realm of their reality. And so much more, and not in a good way "but wait - there's more!" - pedophiles, kidnapping, parents killing children, children killing children, bad people doing bad things. Oh "but wait - there's more" - all the things that cannot be controlled - sickness, disease, accidents, natural disasters. Fuck.

(It's around this time, I needed to take a break. I was feeling like all I wanted to do was say fuck and it was feeling like too much. So I backed away from this post and I saw this. And that's when I realized there was entirely not enough fucks articulated. Because this sums it up: Fuck this week written by Lindy West on Jezebel.)

Taken about a week ago.
When she was that much safer.
So where was I? Oh right. Horrified & numb with sadness.

I'm scared for all of us, literally and figuratively. I'm angry. I'm angry my baby (even if she is 5 years old) tells me in the wrap up of her day she hides in her cubby in her classroom when they have "lock down practice."  Then I have to be asked "Mommy, are you crying???" What the hell happened to fire drills? Am I grateful schools are getting prepared and smart about the threat that is out there? Absolutely. Am I pissed that the threat is there? More than absolutely.

Do I run my own drills with her? Yes. 100%. How to scream "this isn't my Mommy/Daddy help me!!!" if someone grabs her. To look for helpers - other mommies or daddies with lots of kids or the police or firefighters. The helpers, that there are good people in this world - but hell if I'm not going to give her some strategies for the sick bastards out there. To run and scream and don't be afraid. Because that's our God damn reality. That's hers. And I'm so fucking angry about. I'm so fucking sad.

I want to protect her from the unimaginable. The heavy in my heart, it is actually imaginable possibilities, she may witness or experience. Obviously. More than that? I want to protect her from the knowledge of the possibility of the horrific (un)imaginable events.  She's 5, but what about the baby baby (1 years old)? What in the hell will be her reality? 

On Friday, the kid wanted to wear her Red Sox cap. Boston pride. She wanted to wear it because it's her favorite hat. She loves Boston, she loves that hat. She was born there - visits fairly regularly. See: family & friends in the area. It's her first home. Frankly? She just loves the damn hat. She loves telling people about Boston. We've moved around a lot, it's her schtick. She saw me wearing mine. I don't know why she wanted to wear it. But on Friday, I talked her (gently) out of wearing the hat. Not because I don't love her pride in (one of) her hometowns, but I didn't want someone to think that she knew. She's in kindergarten, why would someone talk to her about the bombing, just because of her hat? I don't know, but I don't want to find out. I want her to be naive to her reality for as long as possible.

She'll experience loss in her life. Her great-grandmothers, her grandparents - God willing - eventually her parents. Possibly friends & other family members. In the order it is naturally intended. For just a little while longer, I need her to not know the (un)imaginable. For her not to be as angry and sad as I am - just for a little while longer.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A magical Easter

Holy delay, Batman... err Bunnyman, as it were. 

Here's what I know about Easter:
  • I know that it's not really about bunnies, eggs or scavenger hunts.
  • We usually go to church, and a better part of me feels like we need to go regularly verses holidays.
  • We most certainly didn't go this year. To keep the beast JJ still for 10 minutes, let alone an hour would take a miraculous event, indeed.
  • I believe this gets filed under: WTF.
  • All of that said, the kids? Big fan of the bunnies, the eggs and the hunts.
Time out: what is UP with the bunny thing. I get chocolate bunnies (indirectly/kinda). But what's up with packaging a real bunny up in a cage... to then eat?

Time in: onto the magic.

This year, we decorated eggs without the baby, for the most part. We left her one egg and it was pure joy for her. Pure. Magic. This year, we were reminded that you can have the simplest of activities and win. 100%.

Note to self:
  1. Keep it simple. While I appreciate all the wonderful, natural and/or complicated possibilities of decorating a damn egg - freaking Pinterest - they have egg decorating packages on the cheap for a reason. $2.50 a box? Don't mind if I do. I will say, I read somewhere (freaking, Pinterest) that if you add more tabs you get brighter colors. So I went for more than one box. And it worked. It didn't matter though, all the eggs turned a green or blue - because eventually every egg was dropped in a blue or a green. The kid couldn't leave well enough alone. No egg was ever truly "done." It was like a Pringle... once she started popping she just couldn't stop.
  2. A clean work area is a happy mom. Or whatever the saying is. Boxes. Boxes man. In the last few weeks I've used boxes for creative mornings, getting my car out of mud - and now a table top to decorate the eggs. There is going to be spilling. And if you consider the baby? There is going to be splashing. The box down on the table top? Just totally kept the stress level in check. And clean up? WAY easy.
  3. Hoarding helps. I have longed hinted at my label in this house as a hoarder. But I tell you, it has it's benefits (if you can remain semi-organized). I mean, the boxes alone have been invaluable. Beyond that I save the same grass where I can, Easter baskets, plastic eggs - all the makings of what we need for our festivities without waste or unnecessary cost.
  4. Free is good. Some years the Easter Bunny and Santa seem to be at odds, in some kind of competition. I He doesn't like to over do it with the candy, so a few little treats or prizes typically turns into an unwieldy amount of goodies from the Easter Bunny. This year, we I he didn't go too crazy. With an upcoming trip to Disney, it was reasonable & just things the kids needed with one extra or two little extras. Things I would get anyway and some real necessities. Yea, the Easter Bunny got straight necessity this year and gave socks & underwear. The kids made a bunny out of a toilet paper roll for cuteness-sake with craft supplies already in the house.

    The best parts of the day,  were totally free.
  • A tradition we have is a scavenger hunt, just like the ball & chain had as a child. Rather than written clues, as he remembers, we the Easter Bunny hides plastic eggs (see hoarding benefits). In each egg there is a clue to the next spot. At the end of the scavenger hunt the kids find their Easter basket. The clues are a picture of where the next egg is. This year, since the kid is starting to catch on faster we the Easter Bunny got a little more abstract with the photo hints.  For example, instead of including a picture of the small ottoman in the living room, there was a picture of the pattern of the ottoman. It's a great, simple, fun, and practically free bit of fun. Big hit. Each year, after she's done the kid usually wants to "do it again."
  • This year, I think a new tradition was born. In the move we cleared out a lot of stuffed animals. The thought was to donate a lot, but it's never actually gotten out of the house. Not a win, in intent. That said, it worked in our favor in the column of magic. Every bunny that was previously tagged for donation and each bunny that was in their room was unearthed. In the morning, as the kids (well really just L cause JJ didn't really get on board) ran through the house and upon walking in the play room the scene was intense. Well, to an adult - totally creepy. But magical to the babes and that's what mattered. JJ even participated in their tea party. I mean. Come.On.

One day, they won't believe. And when that day comes, I'll be sad. Bright side? I'll be excited that there will not be hours of set up for 20 minutes of action. The math doesn't add up.  Scavenger hunts take time. Staging takes time. Hiding eggs? The ones that go bad, complicated in the morning. Doing it all quietly as to not stir suspicion? Even more time. I hope though, when it's all over, they remember these little snapshots of magic. Creepy bunnies & all.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

week 14

I mean, her onesie is on the outside of her pants. Work out girl.

The suns out...
and she has a side poney. Life is good.
Prepping for the BIG SURPRISE!

2 cameras set up - for said BIG SURPRISE!

When I should have known, do not surprise today.

1 hour later, some semblance of happiness. However Goofy.

Video of said surprise. Click here.
Sisters. Like love. Forever.
Princess dining.
Or not.

Hair piece. Do it girrrrl.
Suns out. Again. Life is GOOD.
Foot in a box.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

My wish for my girls: find a partner.

As I type this, here is what my surrounds are like: 
  • I'm in the living room watching TV that is inappropriate for children. CSI something or another. Blood, violence: not your Saturday morning cartoons. 
  • The kids are screaming, crying and whining in the kitchen. 
  • Their dad is taking care of it. Making breakfast, dealing with the aforementioned screaming, crying and whining. 
  • I'm drinking coffee. Tuning it out, typing this. 
It's the weekend, and so starts our routine. We take turns waking up with the kids. I got up with the kids, this morning. We watched a movie & snuggled on the couch. As goes with our sleep patterns, since the ball & chain fell asleep a little after 9 - when he slept in to 9:30, he got more than an allotted and suggested 8 hours. Refreshed, he came down stairs and started making breakfast for the kids.
  • He just came in and asked if I wanted a homemade pancake. 
We take turns in most areas. Though we have our roles and what we are good at - and we take the lead in those areas. He loves to cook, so dinner? He owns. I help clean up, but to be honest he is crazy about keeping the kitchen clean so he takes the lead. We typically take turns dealing with bath time. In the ways of balance, I make out in the dinner & bath routine. We use our powers (and obsessions) for good.

When it times to do a massive house clean, we take our areas. I'm the living room & dining room girl. He's the kitchen, bathroom & bedroom. He's obsessed. I don't fight it. Plus if I'm being honest, he doesn't clean the living room like his OCD kitchen cleaning self.
  • He just came in, and delivered my pancake. Time out. 
  • Time in. That was delicious. 
We are in the process of planning a vacation. He booked the main details (where, when, flights, hotels). I take care of the day to day plans. I worry about any organization to the lead up: packing, planning. I go over board: there are spreadsheets, outfit planning for the kids, supplies to acquire. I'm on it. Holidays? With the exception of a gift or two - I take the lead. I have lists, I shop sales, I work out shipping (when I don't forget), I get the deals - keep us under budget - which we don't actually have. But I keep us reasonable.

When the kids wake up at night, whoever wakes up first usually takes them in. It's typically him, mostly because he's a light sleeper. When we have babies, if I'm on maternity leave - I get them. With the exception of the weekend. Then, we take turns. Most times he insists on going for it. And never, not once, does he keep score.

Never, not once, will he bring up that he's washing dishes right now. He's likely going to take one or both of the kids to the gym with him at some point, this morning. To leave me in silence. I might clean up. I might not, I might continue to watch TV. It's hard to say.

I will end up brushing L's hair 9 times out of 10 over him. Because while no matter who does it - it's painful- it doesn't get me as frustrated as it does him.  Never, not once, will I care the snarl mayhem falls on me.

I deal with doctors appointments, school stuff, activities - in terms of sign up. The games or practices? He's in.  Something breaks, falls, needs to be hung - all me.

We need to move, and this happens often. I'm the details girl: coordinating, planning, tracking, planning (yea I meant to put that twice), new schools / classes / camps, new doctors, new everything? Me. Unpacking? Both of us.  Making the house a home? We both bring that... but I take credit for the design of said home. 

I'll never understand how single parents do it. Bottom line, but (almost) more than that? When it comes to parents who are together and one isn't involved? It's a major unsolved mystery. I quite honestly don't know how it's done. To have another able body in the house who doesn't participate?  I know I'm one of the lucky(iest) ones. I know that men like my ball&chain aren't the norm. I know that most every day, at least once a day, I am grateful to be the exception to the rule.

I want for my children to be happy & healthy. Forever. Beyond that? I want them to find a partner. I want them to be the exception to the rule. Whoever their partner may be, I wish for them to find a true partner.  One who they balance out with, because any other life would be unimaginable to me.  I may be one of the lucky(iest) ones, but I need them to have this. I need them to know it's possible.

I hope what "they" say is true, by growing up - seeing this reality - that they will know it's out there for them. I just hope they find it.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

We're going to Disney. A true unveil: leave your tissues at home

The mistakes I made:
  • Over thought the surprise element.
  • Got a balloon too big for the box - part of said over-thought unveil. 
  • Expected too much. 
  • Rushed the announcement, it wasn't a good time. 
  • Set up too many cameras. There may have been at least 2 in sight.
  • Announced the big "WE'RE GOING TO DISNEY!" after a unique 2-3 hour nap. 
  • Built up "we have a surprise for you" before she even came down to unwrap said over-thought unveil. The nerves kicked in with the case of sleep coma she was in and add to that complete stage fright.... 

When life hands you an underwhelming response, you make an iMovie.

An hour or so later she was vibrating with excitement. It will be wonderful.

Taken after the "surprise" element wore off. I asked her to
hold the sign... she came up with this face all on her own.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

PSA: Finding Nemo gives mothers a moment.

The picture with L & Marlin was better,
what can I say. Trust me, she loved Nemo, most.
When the kid was a baby, as our baby is now, the first movie  she loved was Finding Nemo. I don't remember her calling it anything special, but we knew she loved it. Or at least we thought she did. When she was three, she got to stand by Nemo and was enamored.

We thought what they had was love, but what JJ has with Nemo is special. It is quite literally the only movie, thing, activity, noise, anything that will stop her in her tracks. It is the only thing she will sit and watch. Therefore, I watch it daily. In the mornings, before work, while I shower. Nemo. After work, while I'm making dinner. Nemo. Even if I'm not the one making dinner and mommy just needs a minute. Nemo.

I love the movie for those reasons, and more. No, of course I like Nemo. It's because I like Nemo, I don't want to be with him every day. It's a complicated... emotion.

If that sounded familiar, it was reworked from the movie. I watch the thing so much I look for someone in my life to chant Shark-bait, HOO-HA-HA! with. Or grab shell, dude! Righteous!!! RIGHTEOUS!!! When I'm thinking "Find a happy place! Find a happy place! Find a happy place!" it's straight to Nemo I go. Or Chico, Fabio, Bingo, little Harpo or Elmo. As JJ calls him, Neeemie. 99% of this paragraph? Quotes from the movie... don't mind me. Isn't there another way? He's JUST a boy!

OK. Now I'm done. It's on a continuous loop on our TV and my mind.

It's totally normal to squeal like a tween (in the 90s and/or a woman in her 30s) at a New Kids on the Block concert when you find out there will be a sequel to an animated movie, right? Cause I did. Truth. Is it the story? Is it the funny weaved within the smart dialogue? Is it that there isn't a ton of violence? (Minus the usual Disney kills the mother scenario... seriously, Disney/Pixar what's up?) Is it the characters? The voices? The whole package? OR is it just the simple hypnotic silence bliss that I can find when it's on? It's a movie that the baby can watch and the kid can enjoy. Ahhh... something for everyone.

A friend said something that rang true. Probably the most valuable piece of advice another mother has ever given me - so I pass it along to you.

Nemo is the gateway movie.

Gateways have never been so good. Are you a mother? Know someone who is about to be? Get them Finding Nemo, for those moments where Mommy just needs a minute.


Because when it's over? Good feeling's gone.

Monday, April 1, 2013

week 13


  • Boxes are great for crafts and more. 
  • Kids are cute, but they are mischievous. 
  • They can make a mess fast, just like I can... trying to cook.
  • Easter, turns out is a fan favorite in this house.
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