Monday, April 30, 2012

Poor Sick Baby

This clip was filmed at Lulu's Auntie Annie's house today while Mama was out running an errand and maintaining her sanity.  Poor sick baby fell asleep within 10 minutes of arriving there!  I think her cute little snore makes her sound like one of the seven dwarfs from "Snow White".  Turn up your volume to hear. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Time to Take Out the Trash

 So I was watching "Nurse Jackie" this week, a personal favorite, and I heard the old saying, "You are only as sick as the secrets you keep."  Not quite sure where that one comes from, but I know it is referenced quite a bit by people recovering from addictions.  
Right then and there, I decided to add this nugget of wisdom to my collection of favorite quotes.  My life experience has taught me that it is an undeniable truth.  Let me throw out an example.  It is common knowledge among survivors of abuse, whether it be sexual or physical, that it is not the abuse which is most damaging to the victim, but the secrecy about the abuse.  People who grow up in an abusive household (not me, thankfully) become expert secret keepers.  They learn to perfect the image of a functional, loving family.  It's those of us who grow up in "normal" households (Ha!) that display our dirty laundry so artfully.  
People who know me well would tell you that I am an open book.  Obviously... after all, you are reading my freakin' online journal right now.  But we all have our secrets don't we?
My secret is not saucy, spicy, sexy, subversive, or controversial.  I'm not a woman with an addiction.  I've never committed a crime.  We pay our taxes.  We go to church and we don't beat our children (well...except at Walmart; that's socially acceptable, after all!) Oh, and my husband would reassure you that I don't have any kinky fetishes, to his dismay.  The most dangerous habit I have is driving while under the influence of a screaming three year old.  And that is dangerous. Sometimes in the boredom of my daily grind, I think I should take up a vice.  Smoking would be my vice of choice (I loved it, God help me) but I just don't have enough character to die gracefully from a long, wasting illness.
I digress.
My secret is one that I'm betting millions of mothers and wives share.  
I am not very kind to myself. In fact, I don't think I have a realistic opinion of myself at all, and that's nothing new.  Most likely, I popped out of the womb worrying about what the other babies in the nursery with pink blankets thought about me.  That's probably why I didn't cry but went right to sleep (didn't want to seem too needy!).  
Most of the mothers my age that I know would agree that we are much kinder to others than we are to ourselves.  For example, I would never call a friend a loser because she has dust bunnies under her couch.  Or think that she is nuts because she needs counseling to help her cope with life's challenges.  I would never assume that other people are annoyed by her or secretly think she's needy because she needs to vent occasionally.  I would probably think she is a great mother for listening to "Mommy, I need (fill in the blank)" five thousand times a day without lashing out or busting out the cocktail shaker midday.  And I would think she should be commended for saying, "Yes, sweetheart," when she's really thinking, "Leave me the hell alone!"
No, I would never call my friend names or judge her.  I would never talk about her behind her back.  That would be cruel.
I would tell her how special she is.  I would help her remember the things that other people love about her.  I would encourage her to have dreams  for herself without feeling selfish.  I would take her to lunch or to a movie when life got to be a bit much.  And I would tell her that her worth as a human being has nothing to do with how shiny her counter tops are or how quickly her laundry got put away.  
Ladies, why don't we do this for ourselves?
I will be the first to say that girl friends are important.  Most women are social creatures and we love nothing more than validation from like minded people (with vajayjays).  But at some point, you've got to figure out how to be your own friend, right?  Because if I don't like myself, nothing anybody will ever say or do will fill up the void that is inside me.  
So, here is my goal, a resolution, if you will:
I'm going to spend a little less time trying to meet the status quo and a little more time being kind to me.  I'm going to do a little less of what's expected of me and a little more of what makes my soul happy.  God willing, I'm going to figure out what brings me joy.  Because there is so much unavoidable shit that life throws at you, right?  There is so little time to enjoy oneself when you are a grown up responsible for little people, bills, jobs, etc.  Why not make the fleeting moments count? 
I'll let you know when I figure out just how to do that.  It's a work in progress.
This post was inspired in part by my friend, Niki.  She is wise beyond her years, and when I told her that I was struggling lately with negative thoughts, she said, "That's garbage! Whenever you start to judge yourself that way, just remember, those thoughts are all lies."
I've always said that people without addictions should have sponsors too.  They are like counselors, but free! Niki is officially named my sponsor. As she walked out my door the other day, she said, "Are you putting anything good in there (my head) to combat that negative stuff?"
I sheepishly said no.  
That night, I dusted off my Bible and started uploading some good stuff.  My prayer this week for all the mamas is that we clear out all the garbage and go looking for some good stuff.  
And I'm gonna start with me. 


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It's a Bad Day, Not a Bad Life.

Oh, the angst of being a mother! Have you ever noticed that just as soon as you say, "Well, I'm doing just fine!" and you actually mean it, it's like a little pointy tailed devil sits on your shoulder and says, "Oh yeah? How do you like me now?!" Bastard.  
Back in December, I reconciled myself to the fact that Lulu, our three year old, was having some major sensory issues.  I  took the necessary steps, filled out the proper paperwork, and was all set to have an occupational therapist do an evaluation. Then "Poof!", like magic, my prayers were answered and her symptoms disappeared.  We lived in a world filled with seat belts, jeans, socks, underwear, shoes, funny smells, and other pesky things with relative ease.  But, just as Hubby and I breathed a sigh of relief, Lulu's symptoms came back as swiftly as they had left. 
And I'm okay with it; really.  As a former teacher, I know all too well about the real struggles that children can have in this life.  In fact, like most parents, I lay awake at night, marveling at how God took the best parts of me and Hubby and made these perfect little people.  
Trust me, people.  With our genetic pool there are soooooo many ways that combination could have gone wrong. Once, while a doctor was reviewing my medical history, family history, etc., she actually said, "Wow! You might want to think about not having anymore kids.  Sounds like you guys got pretty lucky with the ones you have!" 
So my beautiful little girl has a sensory processing disorder.  That's something we can handle.  But when you throw in a migraine that just won't die no matter what you do to it, things get a little dicey.  Between Lulu's screeching and the migraine, a girl can get wiped out.  Today, I congratulated myself because I actually put laundry away and vacuumed (well at least the important parts).  And later today, just for fun, I may take a shower!  I don't know...we'll see. 
Here's how you know you need to get out more:
When the best part of your day is a trip to the Racetrack Gas Station.  I'm not kidding! My car was puttering along, begging for gas when I pulled into the station.  I almost squealed with delight because I made it to the cheapest gas station in town.  Lulu and I went inside and she picked out a fruit and cheese snack for lunch and I got a big ass soda.  The fun was just beginning.  It was a soda lover's delight, with crushed ice and seemingly endless selections of soda flavors, which I mixed and matched to my heart's content.  And the crispy creme doughnut selection...don't even get me started on that! 
What can I say? I'm a cheap date.  But you know what? I'm going to own the pathetic glee that I experienced today.  Because I think God wants us to delight in the details.  Now anyone who knows me can vouch for the fact that I do not suffer in silence (Please! You just have to read my posts.) But, I am great at one thing.  It should be a virtue if it's not.
I delight in the details.  I can make a memory out of a Cadbury Egg, okay?  Or a funny story.  I can love the hell out of a book or a movie.  I can think fondly about the expression on my kid's face for hours.  I can turn a sweet text from my husband into an epic romance.  And a kind word from a friend...I can do a lot with that.  Oh, and you should see what I can do with a kiss! I spent the better part of the last two years of high school, thinking about a kiss...that would be about the time that my grades began to plummet.  

Just the other day a ridiculous bumper sticker made my afternoon.  
"Jesus was breast fed."
Ha! I think that was pretty much the only option. 

My cousin, Annie, is great at this too.  That's probably why I enjoy her company so much.  On the rare occasion that the two of us get to go out to eat, it sounds something like that famous scene from "When Harry Met Sally." We just enjoy the food that much.  
When I am feeling overwhelmed by the day to day crap that bogs people down, she helps me remember all of the great things that I love about my life.  She says, "It's a bad day, not a bad life." 
So yes, my life for the last few weeks has been kind of pathetic.  Maybe this means that I get a little too excited at the gas station.  But, that's not my life.  That is just right now.  And if I am very, very lucky...and if he is reading this now...maybe, just maybe, there will be a kiss at the end of the day!



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fifty Shades of Fun or Mommy Porn?

There is a phenomenon that is sweeping the nation.  It is like Harry Potter for moms, single ladies, and pretty much anyone with a double X chromosome.  I predict that this obsession will be as big as the Twilight series, and bigger than The Hunger Games.  
It's name is Fifty Shades of Grey by author, E L James, and husbands, you better check her bedside table, and look under the bed because, like it or not, Christian Grey will probably being making an appearance in your bedroom soon.  

Men, here are the warning signs that Mr. Grey is near: 
1.)  A silver tie mysteriously appears in your closet.
2.) Your wife trades her granny panties and holey t-shirts for pretty underwear and actual pajamas that grandmothers do not wear.
3.) Your wife looks sleepy all the time because she stays up until 12 am (or later) reading on her ipad or Kindle.
4.) Your wife is suddenly willing to "experiment in the bedroom"... crazy stuff like more than one position!! 
5.)  She starts dropping expressions like, "Laters, baby!" or "We aim to please!" and starts calling you Mr. or Sir.

Do not panic!! Just roll with it.  And for the love of God, go get yourself a copy of the book.  Okay, so most men I know don't read for fun.  Get the audio version and listen on your way to work.  She will love you for it and you will be justly rewarded, I'm sure.
Like thousands of women across the country (okay, world) I am currently reading the Fifty Shades Trilogy... and loving it.  Let me just add this disclaimer: it is not for the conservative, lights out kind of lady.  It is completely inappropriate for your teenage daughter to be reading... God help us. Oh yeah, and the first two chapters are pretty horribly written.  There are a whole lot of "Jeez!", "Oh, my!", "Wow!", and other equally thrilling exclamations.  And the lip biting, gasping, hooded stares, and dramatic sighs go on and on...
But midway through book one, something happens.  No matter how old you are, and how long it's been since you fell in love, you remember.  You remember what it was like to wake up the morning after a date with your man and relive a kiss that was so powerful that just the thought of it makes your stomach drop.  Are you with me? 
You remember what it was like when you and your man used to text or call during the day about more than just bringing home diapers or a gallon of milk.  You remember the way you used to feel knowing that he was going home with you at the end of the night.  You remember how proud you felt to be on his arm, knowing that he was only looking at you in a crowded room.  Yes, you used to be eye candy!!
I know that this book is controversial.  In fact, I probably would not be proud to recommend this book to someone I go to church with.  But, let me hop on my high horse and take issue with one criticism for a sec.  
I really hate the "mommy porn" label this trilogy has gotten.  So I looked up Webster's definition of pornography.  

 Definition of PORNOGRAPHY
: the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement
: material (as books or a photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement 
Okay, so it fits the "depiction of erotic behavior" description.  I'll give you that.  But, come on! Pornography as it applies to today's society?  Really?! 
Whew.   Deep breaths.  Here is my definition of pornography:  a visual, graphic depiction of a sexual act (typically nothing any sane female would participate in) that may be painful, demoralizing, and degrades the human beings involved in such a way that is damaging to their bodies and sense of self worth.  The women who are involved in such pornography may be willing, but don't kid yourself into thinking they ended up in that life just for kicks.  No one says, "I want to be a porn star when I grow up." It is very hard to find accurate statistics on people in the adult film industry, but it is estimated that up to 80% of the women in this industry were sexually abused as children.  Basically, viewers are getting off on someone else's misery.  
Forgive the estrogen fueled rant, please. 
I think an adult, romantic novel like the Fifty Shades series can be a blast of fresh air for married people who love each other but have lost a little of their spark while wading through piles of dirty diapers and bills.  How exciting it is to see your spouse through the pair of rose colored glasses that you wore when you looked at each other ten years ago (before the little aliens arrived).   I can only speak for myself, but I'm almost finished with book two of the series, and I am digging on Hubby in a way that has me ready to dust off my pumps and dig out the lingerie I haven't worn 
Controversy is usually fueled by fear.  Maybe the fear is that house wives across America will hire a babysitter and run out looking for the nearest  twenty- something, Christian Grey (main character) look alike.  
"Sayonara, Hubby!!" 
But let me tell you that this is not the way most of us work.  You see, a lot of us females are still romantic creatures at heart.  We are looking for a happy ending at home, with our husbands.  None of us dreams of one day becoming a cougar.  Am I right ladies?
That is the beauty of a woman's heart.  If you make just the teensiest bit of effort to win her over, she will remember why she fell in love with you.  And she will be yours all over again. 
Just read the damn book! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Thanks a Lot, Lord.

Hello, Friends.  I'm back.  It feels as if it has been ages since I last blogged.  I do not have any illusions that there are people out there waiting with bated breathe for my next post.  My life is just not that interesting.  But I won't lie...I enjoy thinking about you and who you might be.  

Since we last met, I came down with the "Awful Kissing Disease" as my Dad likes to call it- the dreaded mono!  After I came home from the races (see last post) I started feeling kinda funny...almost nodding off behind the wheel, crying in the middle of the day because I just want a freakin' nap, losing all interest in my sexy husband, and rationalizing just one more night of hot dogs for dinner.  Around the time that I began to question my sanity (am I depressed?) I paid a visit to my doctor/friend, Missy.  She is my friend with benefits (like amoxicillin) - as if she weren't lovable enough.  

Around this time, I felt like one of those contagious people stumbling around in the movie "Outbreak".  I followed throngs of parents into the gym for my daughter's kindergarten barn dance, like a zombie with toxic mono germs.  My sweet cousin came to support Nana/ hold me up during the performance.  As I lifted the tiny camcorder to film my five year old's shining moment, a sheen of sweat began to form over my upper lip and my hand began to tremble.  I pasted a smile on my pasty face and joined in on the hoe down.  Yes, parent participation was required.  But I did not...I repeat, did not...wear a red gingham shirt, a denim skirt, and cowgirl boots (like some people).  I simply draw the line in the sands of perkiness there.

Sure enough, later that day, my buddy called to tell me my blood test for mono was positive.  How the hell does a respectable, thirty three year old woman get mono you ask?  

It wasn't having any fun, I assure you! 

The source of my mono is still a mystery (most likely sharing a glass with someone) but you can rest easy knowing that I have not been kissing any sketchy high school or college boys.  Like I said, my life is just not that interesting.  But boy! Our family's capacity for multiple diseases in a short period of that is something.  First it was the ooohy gooohy eye infections, the multiple ear infections, the flu, the colds, the stomach virus, strep throat, and last but not least, the big daddy of illnesses, mono.  We are probably being watched right now by the local authorities due to the vast quantities of cold medicine and pain reliever purchased by my family this season. 

With all of the passionate kissing that goes on daily at my house, I had no choice but to share mono with Hubby.  Before I infuriate him, I will tell you that this is a load of crap.  There was no passion in the exchange of germs.  I probably just coughed on the poor guy. It did the trick! Hubby came down with the worst case of mono our doctor's office has ever seen, bleeding ulcers and all (gross!).  And of course there are always other things to contend with like poorly constructed houses and car accidents. 

Considering the kind of month we've had, Hubby and I might be justified in muttering, "Thanks a lot, Lord," along with a few colorful obscenities.   Are you with me? 

But here's the thing.  I have been feeling pretty happy.  Pretty darn content.  And I asked myself why and let it marinate for a bit.  

This is what I came up with.  When life gets really hard, like a nightmare you don't think you will ever wake up from hard, and everything feels utterly out of control, these are the crappy days you wish for.  It's a perspective that I did not have for most of my life.  Once you have lived in an ocean of pain, (be it cancer, death, addiction, betrayal, abuse) you walk away from that season of life changed.  The every day crap that makes you toss up your hands and say, "Why, me?" becomes inconsequential and manageable.  And you have a deep and abiding appreciation for the beautiful people and things in your life.

Christ. Hubby. Nana. Lulu. Sister. Mom. Dad. Brother. Church Family. The list goes on...

So mono or no mono, money or no money, friends or no friends, for better or worse, I hope I can always say, "Oh, thank you, Lord."  Because He has been so good to me.  He is so good to us. 

This is not to say that I won't occasionally bitch! Let's not get crazy. But at the end of the day, I know that I am a blessed girl, and I will endeavor to be worthy of the awe inspiring gifts I have been given.  With the Easter Season just behind us, I find myself most thankful for the giver, Himself, and His endless patience with yours truly.