Posts

Showing posts from 2012

Thankful for my First Grader

I loved first grade. I loved my teacher and I loved to learn. I remember writing stories on that paper with the blue lines and the red dash in the middle. I'd write page after page, crafting stories about mermaids and princesses and castles. I remember how excited I was to share them with my teacher. If I close my eyes, I can see her. I can see the classroom, with the chalkboard, the alphabet letters and days of the week on the walls. We learned about dinosaurs that year. I remember learning their names and how amazingly exciting it was to imagine dinosaurs. To imagine and dream about so many things. My passion for learning started when I was 6 years old and I never stopped loving learning, straight through graduate school. After college I was lucky to return to my school (well, new building)to substitute teach. I had lunch in the teachers' lounge with my first grade teacher and several of my other grade school faculty. It was so hard for me to call them by their first nam…

When in Rome, Talk Like the Romans

When I was in college my friends were afraid to have me meet their families. I don't really blame them. I'm not totally sure what all of the reasons were, but I think the primary was the fact that I have a mouth like a sailor. I'd like to thank my family for the gift of vulgarity. I was raised among blue collar workers, loggers, truckers, and a generally loving, yet tough crowd of people. I spent many a night coloring at the kitchen table of my grandmother's house, surrounded by adults chain smoking, drinking coffee or beer, and arguing about anything and everything. Every other word was an f-bomb of something of the like. My mom, a selective swearer, taught me a few rules about using my vocabulary wisely. I was allowed to swear at home but never at school or in the presence of non-family adults. I'm proud to say I never got detention in school nor do I think most adults in my life knew about my potty mouth. That is except for my BFF's mom, whose house I spen…

Today My Dad's Chewing Is Going To Drive Me Insane

Ever since I was a teenager I have had this problem. (Andy would say I have LOTS of problems, but this time I'll focus on this one). I clearly recall, one summer afternoon, after getting off my housekeeping shift at the nursing home, sitting at the dining room table having a snack. My dad was seated across from me, doing paperwork. He was eating an apple. With each crunch, and breath between, rage sparked inside of me. Crunch. Breathe. Crunch. Sigh. Crunch. My chest tightened and I felt that was about to explode with insane anger. "Dad!" I asked as calmly as I could, "Can you please stop eating. So loudly?" This comment sparked my dad's own rage and suddenly we were in the middle of a heated argument which ended in me leaving the house for the night. This was the beginning of my "problem" with certain sounds. A illness I have been plagued with for years. A secret I've hidden. Well, sort of. See, this is how it goes for me. I suff…

Yes You Can

I grew up surrounded by superwomen and I married a man who was raised by a superwoman. The thing about superwomen is that you never see on the outside that they are on the verge of insanity on the inside. If you follow my facebook status updates, or what I like to think of as my mini-blog, you may have caught the Andy quote update about his mom working the fields with a baby on her back and one in her belly. This statement, a story that almost seems legendary and one that I've heard often, stemmed from Andy's remarks that women of our generation just aren't as resilient as the women of ye olden times (aka, our own mothers). Our moms are awesome moms. They are incredibly strong, survived some difficult family situations, manage health concerns, volunteer for the community, hold down jobs, support their spouses, care for family in need, and raised sometimes unruly, and always needy, children. Not to mention, those children grew up to support themselves and raise families of…

Our Lake

I consider swimming a survival skill and enrolled Caroline in lessons at six months old. We attended weekly "Mommy and Me" classes, which she delighted in, and I managed. I always felt self-conscious in my "body shaper", armor-like swimsuit, with what seemed like a pool full of dads. (Andy is the family anti-swimmer. I've only seen him swim once. In 2006. In Puerto Rico.) All was well in the pool until Caroline turned three and "Mommy" wasn't allowed in with "Me" anymore. A series of private swim lessons (in which Mommy slowly worked her way out of the pool) ended my near nervous breakdowns fighting Caroline as she screamed at the top of her lungs in refusal to swim without me. Everybody was a happy clam at her fifth birthday and she swam with a bubble strapped to her back and I even floated around a bit while Char shrieked in the arms of another mom. When I was a little girl, I loved to swim. I carried around a jean purse with a bikin…

Reflections on Summer with the Girls

I've been thinking all week long about how to summarize my summer home with the girls. For me, one who is never short on words, I just can't quite figure out how to explain the last eight weeks.A poem, or two, perhaps?How quickly work fades/When two little faces smile./Can I stop time, please?A real summer here,/Made for easy days at lake./Everyone is tan.Three mile point love./Makes winters here easier./Beautiful upstate.Caro is a fish./Handstands, front crawl, doggy paddle./So proud of my girl.Char pees on the pot/sometimes but not every time./She gets candy, yay!Oh Canada trip./Thank you to Grams and Opa./Memories for life.Visits with Nana./Got in the lake, yes she did!/So proud of her, too!Days spent with good friends./Playing is so tiring./Let it never end.Me: stay at home mom./Borderline insanity./Hardest job ever.In trying to draft something for this post, I looked back at my posts from last year at this time and I felt relief. Well, first, I felt really bad for myself.…

Warning: This Blog Contains S*&^^ and Poop

*I apologize to Andy, and my friend Elise,or your granny, or you, if my use of profanity or the word poop offends you.* This has been the shittiest summer ever. You guys! I'm serious! I had no idea how much food children consume nor how much poop they, in turn, produce. We are frequest grocery store shoppers, so much so that I'm pretty sure we're close to getting a free tank of gas, or at least a highly discounted rate each week. Here's what our summer days, in relation to food, look like:7:00 am: Children wake up. 7:02 am: Kids tell me they are starving. 7:03 am: I feed them breakfast. 7:08 am: I offer drink refills and seconds. 8:15 am: They tell me they are starving. 8:20 am: They eat the breakfast I just got around to making for myself. 10:00 am: Snack 11:00 am: They eat everything out of the cooler I just packed for the beach. 12:00 pm: They tell me they are starving. 12:01-4:00 pm: At the beach, they eat everything out of our cooler and then they stalk the beac…

Armchair Psychologist: Now Taking Clients

I've got a number of hobbies from scrap-booking to running. One hobby you may not know about draws on my professional skills (MBTI certified)and my keen understanding of human behavior. I like to think of myself as an arm chair psychologist. From the comfort of my living room, or car passenger seat, I witness the behavior of my family, sometimes do research via webmd and support group chat forums, and then announce my observations and provide my analysis. Andy is my primary research subject and perhaps you and I have engaged in a conversation deconstructing his behavior and labeling his actions. My favorite quote from one such conversation is, "But what if Andy doesn't have x, y,z disorder? What if he's just being a d*(&k?" Lately, from the comfort of my couch, I've been observing Andy as he frantically vacuums, dusts, vacuums more, scrubs toilets, and washes the dishes before the dish hits the basin of the sink. We don't have the dirtiest house, but …

A Change of Scenery: My Not a Vacation

It's that time of year again- VACATION! We are so very lucky to be jetting internationally this summer. That's right, we're headed north of the border to spend some time with my in-laws who presently reside in Canada. We've been planning our trip for months and have already begun preparations. I've made packing lists and checked for our passports twice a day for the past several weeks. I check weather.com frequently to help refine our packing list and have browsed the TSA site for any new updates to what we can, and can't, carry on with us. I have prepared a binder containing our flight details, travel insurance information, and copies of other important documents. And, I'll confess, we're days out, and I've already got the girls' bag packed and ready by the front door. I've established our ETD from home, have snacks planned and at-the-ready, and have discussed in-flight entertainment with Andy. (No- not the mile-high club! What have you be…

Factory Mom

It's the most wonderful time of the year- summer vacation! I am furloughed from my job for eight weeks, meaning that I get to be a stay-at-home momma for two whole months. I feel incredibly fortunate to have the "best of both worlds" by being a member of the workforce, bringing in some income to the household bottom line, and to also spend extensive quality time raising my kids. Not everyone has these opportunities and I try to appreciate both sides as much as possible. I don't want to argue whether or not being a stay-at-home mom is harder, or easier, or the same, as being a working mother. Being a good parent and being a good anything else (including, friend, spouse, employee, advocate, or just being yourself) is very hard. Raising a child is all encompassing; it's 24/7. My knee-jerk response when one of the girls says, "Mommy!?" is, "Yep, that's me. All day and all night." During the summer, I love the change of pace from the rat …

Sports Apparel and Me

I once read in a fashion magazine that wearing work out clothes when not exercising is a major fashion faux pas. On my days outside the office, a sports bra, tank top, and exercise shorts are my uniform. Is this because I have no taste in clothes? Possibly. Is this because I'd be a great candidate for What Not to Wear? Probably. Is it because I have no money to buy clothes not intended for work? Likely. Is it mostly because I work out each morning and then do not have five minutes to shower or change until the kids go to bed (and then I switch from running tights to sweat pants). Why yes, yes it is. When you have kids, particularly little mobile ones, you must have your eyes on them at all times. Now, my mom is tisking at this post already. I can hear her reprimanding me for not having a play pen. We are not a play pen generation. I've rarely seen a child in a Pack 'N Play for anything other than sleep or a diaper change. We are a continuation of our predecessors-helico…

Addendum to NYRs

As we have come to the half way point in the year, I thought it would be *fun* to look back at my New Year's Resolutions and see if I've screwed up minimally and therefore have been able to accomplish any of the heafty goals on my list. Now, you may recall my NYR post in which I explained that I spend my days fudging up life and consequently making new goals for myself: 1. Don't swear in front of children. Or neighor's children. Or children on playground. 2. Turn off car before pumping gas. 3. Clean bed sheets every week. 4. Watch kids more so that they don't climb onto kitchen counter and grab knives. 4. Remember birthdays of everyone; of anyone. etc. etc. It's been a busy year of blundering in these five short months, but I am still curious to see if I've made any progress in the "wishful thinking" category. To remind you, here are the lofty goals of colder days gone by followed by a brief synopsis of my progress toward said goal. 1. Drink mor…

A Running Story in 13.1 Parts

Part 1: Well, I ran the Pittsburgh Half Marathon on May 6th and I lived to tell the tale! Some of you have heard, or read, a little bit about my running journey and others have heard about it a lot. I'm an external processor, so I talk, and talk more, about what's on my mind and this damn race has been on my mind for months. I began my training before the new year and, at that time, I had it all mapped out. When I first started, three miles was my average run and 13 was miles, and months, away. I slowly and steadily increased my overall mileage and my long run by a mile per week. Before I knew it, 4 miles turned to 6, and then to 8, 9 and 10. My confidence increased and I had some moments where I could feel myself running the half. I could envision my accomplishment. I even considered signing up for a pace group. I set my goal to finish in two hours and 30 minutes.Part 2: Then, on the day I wrote my training inner thoughts post, I injured my hip. This was after I had al…

It Takes a Village

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, I'm certain that it is taking a village to raise me. On the eve of Mother's Day, I'd like to reflect on the many people who have mothered (or parented)me over the last 3 decades. Many blogs, including my most recent, sing the praises of my Moe, my numero uno. Second in command is, of course, Andy, who took the baton from my mom 10 years ago. Then, there are all the oher people over the course of time, from my grandmother, my many aunts, uncles, and cousins, my childhood friends' parents, my old boss (he always said he was a big brother but we called him Dad anyway), my college friends, in particular Smitty, who has watched out for me for a long time, and all of my current mom friends who support me daily. There are a few friends in particular, who ironically don't have kids of their own yet, who have done the most extensive parenting of me: Sara D and Teresa. Teresa, my oldest friend in Cooperstown, has fed me, c…

Somebody Who Matters

At first glance, one may not think that my mom and I are alike. Moe is shy and reserved. She's calm and thoughtful. She's a good listener and keeps things to herself. She's grounded and sensible. She's practical. You may be laughing now if you know me. I'm loud and outspoken. I'm dramatic and irrational. I talk too much and share too much. My head is often in the clouds and I lack common sense. I 'm a dreamer. How did this kid come from that mom? Well, if you know me, you also know that my mom has had the greatest impact on me and that we are actually very much alike. For example, Moe isn't really shy or reserved. She's just waiting for the right time to tell you what she thinks and you're going to hear it whether or not you like it. She uses the F-bomb freely, and sometimes inappropriately. In her own right, she is a feminist. She's a loyal friend. She's the family organizer. She has a quirky sense of humor and knows not to take herse…

I'm soooo Holyoke

It was a hot sunny day last Friday, and on my way home from work, all the college girls were out and about. As soon as the temperature hits 50, the kids around here start pulling out their flip flops and shorts, and for the girls this means the short shorts. As I sat at a stop light, I watched two girls cross the street, sporting espadrilles and t-shirts for dresses. I thought to myself, "You just wait 15 years and you will not be able to wear outfits like that!" Then I realized that 15 years ago, I didn't wear clothes like that at all. Ever. I never looked like your typical college girl. I never had long, pretty, shiny hair. Thanks to my boy hair cut, I didn't own a brush for all four years of college. I never wore makeup. I preferred Teva sandals over stilettos. Neither my looks nor my personality fit the norm, so instead of trying to fit in, I did what came naturally to me. The final product-me-wasn't a social outcast by any means, just a funkier, quirk…

Running: My Inner Thoughts

So, the big race is a month away. I've been training since before Christmas and boy am I ready- for it to be over. While my fab cuz will be running the race with me, she lives a few states away, so we have been training solo and reporting out weekly about what we call, "The emotional and physical roller coaster that is preparing to run 13.1 miles." Honestly, I don't know how real athletes do it. Training for a long-distance race isn't just about putting on your sneakers, going for a run and then going on with your day. You have to think about how much you sleep, what you put in your body and how you take care of your body at all times. For a mom who is already struggling to manage a job, a home, and a family, it seems that this 1/2 marathon is taking up a great deal of my already tapped mental and physical strength.

I have been getting up at 5:30 two to three days a week to run 3-4 miles on the treadmill. Since I'm an early riser, this part hasn't been …

Our Three Kids

Andy and I have three children; Caroline, Charlotte and each other. Most mornings, I wake up, run, and shower, and then I rouse the lazy daisies. I'll spend the next hour, sometimes gently, and more often angrily, demanding that the rest of my family get ready for the day. I scurry between rooms, reminding each of my family members about their next task: "Caroline, put on your shirt. Charlotte, brush your teeth. Andy, get off of the computer and go take a shower. Caroline, NOW! Charlotte, NOW! Andy, NOW!" The pattern is almost exactly the same each day. I can count on all three of them to be incapable of getting themselves ready without my cajoling.

Yes, you're right. You're thinking that my expectations are a little high for a 5 and 1 year old. Perhaps this is true. Perhaps I'm asking too much for my kids to independently dress and prepare themselves for school. What about my big kid? Am I asking too much of Andy, the only other adult in the house, who mind…

The Small Stuff

From time-to-time, a friend or relative without a child will ask me why I wanted to have kids. The comment usually comes when one, or both, of my girls are throwing a tempter tantrum or are climbing on me like a jungle gym and I am near tears and insanity. It is often hard, particularly at those moments, to clearly articulate exactly why it is that having kids is so truly rewarding. In the end, unconditional love would probably sum it up, however there are a million reasons why I love being a parent. From seeing someone who looks or acts like you, getting tons of hugs and kisses to knowing that you have the ability to mentor someone to become a change-maker, the rewards outweigh the challenges.

With small children, one of the biggest perks I've been given is that I no longer take things for granted. I can honestly say that I don't even remember what it was like to not have kids. I mean, I remember being in high school and college and I look back on the crazy times of my yo…