Monday, February 28, 2011

When I Grow Up To Be Big Me

I have been a mom for the past 15 years. I have been a working mom for the past 15 years. I have always enjoyed the balance of working and being a mom. I was raised by a strong single mom. So to me, this is how it works. This balance is not only attainable, but it's preferable as her example to me was that moms can juggle it all and do it all well.

At first I worked out of necessity. I was 20 years old and needed to support myself and my son. Once I was married, it wasn't a necessity but rather a preference. I loved the feeling of holding my own and coming home and keeping things running there too. And my favorite part of any day was that moment when mom walks through the door and the kids faces light up! Awe- some.

It was never my intention to be a stay at home mom for any length of time or for any reason. Not on my radar at all. So when I was put on bed rest last year and subsequently lost the job I had had for almost a decade, I panicked. My balance was gone. I was losing a big part of what made me...ME! But there wasn't much I could do about it. And to be quite frank, I had to pray on it to really feel at peace with what was happening. I feel that God is taking my life in a different direction because I was too afraid to do it myself.

So here we are almost a full year later. I am still not sure what I want to be when I grow up. I know I don't want to go back to what I was doing. Despite the fact that I was damn good at it. I want to find something that makes me truly happy. I mean, after being with my kids every day, whatever I end up doing will have to compete with them.

So right now I am trying to figure out what I will be when I grow up to be big me. I LOVE writing! But my blogs aren't pulling in the hard hitting cash needed to kiss my unemployment check bye bye. I know I have a lot to offer any employer. I am a hard worker and I LOVE challenges. But I can’t figure out what I want to apply that to. I look back into my childhood and I think about the only things I ever really wanted to be.

1) Mermaid- Off the list for obvious reasons
2) Miss Piggy- Ummm...half way there
3) Writer- I'm writing, but can I find a way to do it AND pay the mortgage?
4) Modeling- Hmmmm...maybe? But we can scratch SUPER model off the list (see #2)
5) Acting- Can this really be a safe option for a 35 year old house wife?
6) Ballet Dancer- This dream was abandoned years ago and is the ONLY regret I have in my life. I've thought about classes for fun but my broken body wouldn't make it.

So as I search Craigslist, &, each week I wonder which career will be the one I will love. What will allow me to be happy while being a super stellar wife, mom, & employee? What will I be happy doing for the rest of my life. Life should not be spent in a job you don't love right?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Am I TOO good of a mother?

I have always been proud of who I was as a mother. Part if this comes from the fact that my husband and I have a plan in place. It's to teach our children to be adults. Our plan is that they would be confident and prepared by the time they move out at 18. Therefore our 14yr old already knows how to cook, clean (this one is questionable), sew, do his own laundry, and has his own bank account. For the most part I have been pleased with his progress. Just last night he was researching the cost of car insurance and planning out how many hours after school he would have to work in order to be able to pay for good coverage. I was patting myself on the back!

Then this morning happened. I made breakfast for the family and after my 14yr old had cleaned his plate he decided he wanted two more hash browns. I told him to go ahead and make himself a few more which he successfully did. Then it happened. He brought his plate over to me and asked for me to put the ketchup and hot sauce on because he didn't want to put too much on. Okay. So I start pouring. But as I did, I began to think.

"Why does he need me to do it?"
"What would he have done if I weren't here?"
"Does he lack the self confidence needed to pour his own condiments?"

Does this mean that I am a good mother or am I not good enough? Have I not provided him the right amount of guidance and encouragement to make these minor decisions? Or do I take such amazing care of him that no hash brown would be as good unless mom flavored it herself?


So now I'm at a cross roads. Now that I've recognized a problem, what do I do moving forward? What do I say the next time he wants me to pour his hot sauce?

No one ever said parenting would be easy. But no one ever warned me about the hot sauce either.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Gratitude Challenge

Last year was a really hard year for our family and many, many bad things happened to us. Sometimes it seemed like more bad than good. But we just weren't looking close enough. There were amazing things happening all around us. So many amazing things came out of our bad year. And now in hindsight I am grateful for all the things we went through and I wouldn't change any of them. The exception to that being the death of my father in law.

So since things have calmed down my mind has been processing all the amazing things and the gratitude that I feel is overwhelming. I have been trying to think of the right ways to let all the people around me know just how much they have meant to me but nothing seemed big enough.

Today I figured it out.

I think that as people we are guilty of recognizing the crap in our lives and dwelling there. It's cozy. I think that for some reason it's harder to say "Thank you" than it is to say "That sucks". So I figured out a way to flip it all around and change that for myself. I am challenging myself to identify just who I am grateful for and to let them know just how much they have meant to me. And I want to see how many of you will take this change with me.

Here's the idea. I will pick one person (or place such as my church)each day in March and I will send them a hand written note (preferable) or email detailing why I am grateful for them, how they have been a blessing to me, and offering to return the favor to them if they ever need me. I'm going to start my list and letters now so that I am more likely to meet my goal of one a day. I will not let anyone know that I am doing this outside of my readers as I want these people to know this is sincere. I don't want them thinking they are just another name to put on the list as my intentions are true here.

My hope is that by the end of March I will have let 31 people know how special they are. I want to put good out into the world like these people did for me. Then in April I'll let you all know what an impact it had on them and me.

Who is willing to commit to take this challenge with me?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Grandma Has Taken My Body Hostage

So..... this should be me in about 50 years. However, this is how I feel now. Like a sassy young woman locked in an old lady's body. Although, it looks like she's in better shape than me.

It all started when I was 25. I used to exercise, do kick boxing, and go running. Around this time I woke up one morning in the most pain I had ever known. By back hurt so bad I literally had to call a friend to help me get out of bed! And much to my chagrin (proof of premature aging is the use of the word "chagrin") she also had to help me get dressed- underwear included. It was hell getting to the car and even worse riding in it. The doctor looked me over, asked what I had been doing lately and came to the determination that I had an inflammation of the joint that connects my hip to my spine. Pain killers, muscle relaxers & rest.

Over the next few years this would happen from time to time and the same routine would take place. Then my exercise program was in high gear in preparation for my wedding. By the time I hit my 3rd flare up in 6 months my Dr sent me in for an MRI. Turns out it was herniated disks. Awesome.

So over the course of the next few years I drastically limited my activity and revised my bucket list (No sky diving, no horseback riding, no bungee jumping, etc.). This all helped to tame the flare ups. But I put on 25lbs the first year from the change in activity level. Boo.

I got tired of just sitting. So in 2008 after my aunt dies of breast cancer at the age of 38 & my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer the next day, I decided I needed to get back out there and LIVE! Back problems be damned! The next 2 years I bowled, played laser tag, rock climbed (okay- it was a wall at the mall but it counts!, surfed, zip lined, snorkeled, kayaked and much more! It was amazeballs! It took some concentration to avoid flare ups but I had finally figured out how to ride the line between the young me and the old me!

Then in 2010 I was forced into bed rest for 23 weeks. Then I delivered, which was hard on my body due to the bed rest. Then I got hit by a drunk driver. Then I had surgery to remove my gall bladder a few weeks after the accident. 2010 left me feeling like my body doesn't belong to me. I don't feel strong. I don't feel like I'm where I want to be.

I've been in physical therapy, chiropractic & massage since the accident as they are trying to fix the neck issues I obtained from it and keep my spine in place to avoid a flare up in my lower back. But I woke up Saturday morning and when I went to get out of bed, my legs collapsed on me. Uh oh. I know this. My back is out. WHY? Why do I have to do this again?! I got to the chiropractor as soon as they opened, crying and cussing like a sailor the whole time. My body is twisted & crooked like an old lady. I FEEL like an old lady.

So as soon as this flare up is done it will be my goal to get my body back. I'm not talking about being skinny. 3 kids and a hubby who likey the curves have sealed that deal. I'm talking about being strong. To feel my age if not younger. I'm no old lady so I will get past this.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Who got an award? This girl!

I want to give a big thank you to The Belly Questions Blog for giving me this award! So sweet and thoughtful. There are rules that go along with receiving the award (because we have to share the love in the blog world!):

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers.*

4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!

* I just wanna say that it's awesome to get this award and I was excited to turn around and give it back to other mommy bloggers with awesome sites! I have started following so many amazing blogs this past week that it was hard to JUST award the 15! I love you all mommy bloggers!

Seven things about me

1. I have an amazing hubby & 3 beautiful boys! Boring because you already knew that!

2. I have monkey toes. Really. I can actually pick things up with them- which came in handy when I was pregnant!

3. I'm obsessed with blog stats. I can't stop checking them!

4. I have an allergy to water where if I wash my hands too much I get small blisters on the skin between my fingers. Therefore I am a hand sinitizer freak!

5. I have one or two (wink!) OCD tendancies. But I'm comfortable with them. They are cute on me ;0)

6. I am a control freak and have a steady stream of anxiety about things that could go wrong.

7. I believe humor is usually the best way to communicate.

The bloggers I nominate

1) Dysfunctional SuperMom Because her blogs keep me smiling and laughing!
2) Love Heals Gage because she is one of the the strongest women I know and I am grateful that she has chosen to share her son's life and his journey with us.
3) Better Husbands & Fathers because there is a NEED in this world for husbands and fathers to step up and do it right! Eric is helping that call!
4) Sawyer's Heart because this lady took a heart breaking moment in her life and is using it to bring love and inspiration to others.
5) Chasing A Miracle because we were preggo together and her blogs are sweet, inspirational, and funny!
6) The Cre8tive Mom because I think she sneaks into my room at night and sucks the thoughts out of my brain and blogs them! She is hilarious!
7) Muddled Mother because she is real. She's Muddled. She's a mom. She's funny as heck! YES! HECK!
8) Real Houswives in Blogland is the funniest group of moms on the interwebs!
9) Trying Our Best because it's an interactive blog. She likes to ask questions & interact with readers. She's a funny tweeter too!
10)Fond of the Silliness because I likes the silly! I like blogs that make me giggle!
11) EC Writes because she's on a mission to essentially embarass herself for a year through her blogs! I'm all about it!
12) Surviving Motherhood because she's smart enough to have figured out that when your kids do naughty things (see my blog "Naughty Stories") that you take pictures and tell the story!
13) Domestic But Not Martha because she's got a lot goin on! Crafts, give aways, and her own brand of sunshine!
14) Because I Don't Scrapbook because she has cute kids and her button rocks hard.
15) The Girl In The Zebra Pumps because I can't get enough of her son & she gives good button love.

Thanks again!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm Melting

I had my baby 5 months ago. So I'm hitting a stage in my post pregnancy life that I had blocked out after my last two babies. It's the stage where your body fat starts to go away (YIPPEE!). But you still have all that pregnancy skin left (BOOOOOOO!). This combination creates the appearance you are melting.

Oh you know what I'm talking about. Let's start up top. My chins. My face was round and adorable pregnant. Now, it's all slid off my face and is precariously dangling off my neck below my chin. Awesome.

Heading a bit south we reach the breasts. I'm still breast feeding so it's not as bad as it's gonna get. But I like to describe post breast feeding boobs as "An egg in a sock". You know, when you bend over after the shower to dry your legs and your boobs just dangle an egg in a sock.

Now head around back. Because we have another set of boobs making an appearance below your shoulder blades. That’s right! It's our old friend back fat! Once again, what was taut in pregnancy must now sag.

Back around front ladies we will find every new mom's arch nemesis. You know it. I know it. It's the post baby belly. This lovely piece of real estate can only be compared to a large deflated balloon. I just sit and poke mine. I dig my fingers in trying to find any sign of abdominal muscle. Nope. Not a sign.

Finally we move back around once more to take a look at what used to be your bum. I have a saying that wraps up my post pregnancy bum. "My J-Lo booty has turned into a Jell-O booty". Awe. Some.

This is not my first rodeo so I am aware that things will start to move closer to their original location in time. But it's this phase that I loathe. Where it looks like parts of my body are melting off and into a puddle on the floor around me. Here’s the part where I coo “But it was all worth it and I’d do it again!”. Um. No. I’m almost 35. This will never happen again.

Now where’d I put that Shake Weight?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Have you seen my snark?

I used to be funny. I mean, really funny. I'm kinda sad for you that you don't really know just how funny I was. I was your go to girl for a good laugh. I could find a joke in anything. But then 2010 came. And that bitch stole my snark. It crushed my soul and ripped out my funny bone. It laughed at me and mocked my loss. I hate 2010.

But now it's a new year. I am beginning to get back to me. I am starting to feel more like me. But I'm still missing much of the humor that made me who I was. I find myself to be more introspective now. I think about things more than I used to. Thinking things over will crush the onset of snark. Being snarky requires a quick wit. There's no time to think. Thinking ruins it. But here I am.

I think (there I go) that being bed ridden for much of 2010 gave me too much time to learn to think. Ugh. No wonder I avoided it for so long! I sat. I thought. I stewed things over. I processed that my life as well as my baby's life could have been lost. That I could have missed my boys' lives. That I may have missed the chance to get old with my husband. That we might not have ever met this beautiful baby that has brought us so much joy. Yes. I thought and thought. And now I can't stop.

To make matters worse, I am coming across all these amazing blogs full of snarky moms! They write hilarious stories about their kids or their husbands that have me in stitches. My kids do funny stuff. My husband is one of the funniest guys I know. So what's wrong here? What's wrong is that now instead of wanting to turn these funny bits of my life into a snarky blog for all of you to read and love, I stare in awe of my family. I listen to my 4yr old add "with a booty" to the end of every sentance and I melt with grattitude that I am alive and present to hear it. My husband will make some dirty inapropriate joke at just the right time and I just stare at him like I'm the luckiest girl in the world. My 14yr old....well, that's enough fodder to keep me up to my eyeballs in snarky anti-teen blogs for years. But I am just so glad he's my good boy. And the baby. OH THE BABY! He'll take a 12 wiper (parents know what I'm talking about) and I will praise him and thank him. THANK HIM! FOR POOP! But once you've almost lost a baby it's hard not to be grateful- even for poop.

Little by little the snark will return. I promise you, my dear readers, that the Queen will return to her snarky throne. I just need some time to sit and admire my subjects for a while.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Funny Valentines

I remember when I was growing up and in school, Valentine’s Day was this holiday that girls looked forward to each year. This was your boyfriend's big chance to declare his undying love (or like) for you in front of everyone. Surely he would have roses delivered and balloons on hand so you could walk around being the envy of all of the other girls. This was more of a competition than a show of actual romance.

I don't quite remember if I fell prey to this whole charade. To my memory I think that I only ever had one boyfriend who did the whole balloon & flower things at school. I think I was more into getting my girlfriends flowers and gifts to show my appreciation for their day to day support and friendship. Remember the student body rose sales where you could have a rose delivered to your friend or lover's classroom? Anyhew, that was more my style.

So it may not be surprising to hear that I'm not the kind of wife that expects elaborate shows of affection on Valentine's Day. I don't want jewelry, or flowers, or balloons. I'm more of a big dinner WITH the kids type of girl.

To me, the best thing my husband can do for me on Valentine's Day is to celebrate our love as a family. These three little boys we made are the best gift we could ever give each other. They are hands down the funniest, sweetest, most incredible things to ever walk into our lives. So I can't imagine getting a sitter and leaving the loves of our lives at home while we go out and have a dinner with each other where we would just end up talking about the kids anyway!

No, for us staying at home and doing a cute family oriented dinner and card exchange is gold! My husband is my soul mate and therefore I am looking forward to having the rest of my life to make goo goo eyes at him across the table at some dark and crowded restaurant. But there are just a handful of precious years where our boys will openly accept our invitation to be our Valentines.

And I am especially in love with this family after the year we had last year. These boys were the reason I stayed strong. They kept me company, loved me, cared for me, cooked for me, made me laugh, put up with me (let's be honest!), and gave me a reason to wake up each day. I appreciate them more than ever for it.

So these boys, these funny little boys and my amazing husband are all the Valentine I need. They are the loves of my life. They are my roses. My balloons. And they are the best gifts I could receive any day of the year!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dear Morning, I Hate You.

Dear morning, I hate you. I don't mean this in a funny ha ha way. I mean this in a very literal every sense of the word way.

When morning comes and it's time to wake up, I loathe it. I milk every last minute in bed. I hit snooze over and over doing the math in me head the whole time. You know the math. What time will it be if I snooze again? If I hit snooze again I can skip the shower and just wash my hair. If I hit it one more time I can skip breakfast and just make a cup of coffee. If I hit it once more, I won't get dressed and I'll just wear my pajamas to work- they look like clothes right? Don't laugh. This is literally what I do.

The sad part is that I don't even work right now. I sleep until 9:00am because the one thing my kids listen to me about is sleeping in! Yet I still can't seem to pop out of bed in a good mood. I draaaaaaaaaag myself to the kitchen to make the one cup of coffee a day I can have. It's agony. Thank the Lord Sweet Baby Jesus my husband has come to terms with who I am and he gets up early to take our oldest to school in the morning. The man is a saint. Or he values his life.

Here's the funny thing. I actually like the morning part of the day. The clean still air and the birds chirping. It's a very quiet and calm part of the day. I just hate the 5 minutes where you actually HAVE to drag it out of bed and make the day start.

When you mix this loathing of mornings with my penchant for bouts of insomnia it's just a battle I've come to terms with. I'm never going to like mornings. I'm never going to be a "morning person". And I'm never going to not need coffee to make me pleasant to the world. I've come to terms with it. My husband has come to terms with it. And by the grace of God my children have come to terms with it too. Just thought you should know.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pizza Cupcakes

A week or two ago my 4yr odl and I were playing restaurant where he was serving me up all kinds of yummy treats. Pickle burger, chocolate chip cookie milkshakes, and pizza cupcakes. When he served me the imaginary pizza cupcakes a lightbulb went on. And the next night that's exactly what we had for dinner! They were amazing so I'm sharing with you!


Jiffy Mix Pizza Dough (Great because it's about fifty cents!)
Mozzarella cheese
Pizza sauce
Toppings of your choice
Cooking spray

First you will need to make your dough. If using the Jiffy dough, you will add water, mix, cover & set aside to rise.

Next chop up any ingredients you choose. We made supreme with onions, olives, green pepper, mushroom, tomatoe, & pepperoni.

Prep your cupcake pan by spraying it with cooking spray. I use Pam Baking spray. I am not sure what would happen if you got all crazy & busted out some cupcake wrappers. But baking the pizza in the pan makes it quick & easy to eat.

Now make small dough balls and press & stretch them into the cupcake pan. The dough can get pretty sticky so you may need to spray your hands with the cooking spray between making each dough ball.

Once you have filled your cupcake pan, place in a pre-heated oven (at 425 degrees) for 3 minutes. Note that during this time the dough will become puffy. Once you remove it from the oven you will need to use a teaspoon to press the center in and create a pocket for the toppings.

Now comes the fun! This is a great chance for the kids to get in on the action and create their own personal pizza cupcakes!

First sprinkle just a touch of cheese in each of the cupcakes. Next come the toppings. Now cover the toppings with sauce (as it bakes it will sink and cover the toppings. Finally, add a mound of cheese as the icing! We even used mini pepperoni rounds to top our cup cakes like cherries!

Now your cupcakes are ready to go in the oven! They will cook for about 12-15 minutes as they are smaller than a regular pizza. Once they are finished just let them cool on top of the over a bit and then pop them out for a fun hand held dinner!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I. Am. Minivan.

I'm gangsta. I think that's something you should know about me. I roll out- and I roll hard. I drive an Escalade. But I live in the suburbs
ghetto so I need a high tech anti-theft system on my ride so I don't get jacked. That's why I have the MomVan2000 Escalade Protection System. It makes your dope ride look like a minivan. So far so good cuz homies don't trip off my shiznit.

Does anyone need that translated?

Here's the deal yo, I am a mom. I have 3 kids & 3 dogs. I've come to terms with what this means in my life. It means that the skirts are longer, the shirts aren't as low cut, the language is a bit more PG, AAAAAAAAAAAND that a minivan makes sense. Is it my dream car? Yeah, not so much. But it means that when I pull up to my kid's school it doesn't look like the clown car at a circus!

A long, long, time ago in a land not so far away my husband needed a used new car. We only had 1 child at the time so he had his eye on a 2 door Acura sports car.

Me: "Really honey? We do plan on making more baby people some day. You know how hard it's gonna be for your 6'2" self to load and unload baby seats from that thing?"
Him: "Me man! Me smart! Sports car good for family! Minivan baaaaaad! Makes balls shrivel up." (Disclaimer: I may or may not have exaggerated some or all of my husband’s quote)

Skip to present with 2 more babies in car seats.

Husband: "I think I need a bigger car honey. It's hard to get the kids in mine. Can I borrow the van?"
Me: "Excellent idea honey. I'm so lucky to have a smart husband! Swoon!"

It's not just men. I have several mom friends who don't "see themselves" in a minivan. Why? They are practical and useful. And another upside is that the kids will, no doubt, ruin it by dumping juice and crackers all over it, leaving crayons on the seat in the sun to melt all over the place, and somehow leaving shoe prints on the ceiling of it. So by the time they grow up and move out you can get that dream car you always wanted.

So surrender. Just let yourself feel the pull of the momvan. It's good. So good. And say it with me. "I. Am. Minivan."