Appreciating Good

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Sometimes I struggle because there is so much pressure for life to be extraordinary and amazing every day. We must see the magic in our children and appreciate them for all their specialness every second of every day. Our marriages must consist of flowers for no reason, mushy notes on Facebook and sweeping declarations of love every night. Our house must sparkle and our meals be home cooked (and organic and nutritious) 3x a day.

And that would be wonderful and lovely, but that’s not my reality.

Tonight, I’m feeling thankful for good because that is what my life is right now.  My marriage is strong and healthy – and the biggest declaration of love I’ve gotten today was when the Hubs emptied the dishwasher unprompted. The kids are awesome and healthy – and I only had to send 1 kid to timeout all day and only 1 kid ended up with a bruise from unapproved sibling wresting. Tonight meals was home cooked and amazing- but tomorrows will probably be leftovers and McDonald’s will most likely be dinner once this week. As for the house? Well, we have a fabulous cleaning person to make sure we don’t wallow in too big of mess every week.

So you know what? Good is awesome and good is amazing. I truly appreciate the moments of astounding grace and beauty and love in our lives, but I also appreciate the steady, quiet hum of good that makes up 95% of my life.

lifeisgood

 

Root Bear Baby

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The Bean was taking her bath tonight and when I went into check on her, I found this:

BeanerBath When I asked her what she was doing, she told me she was a teacher, teaching her class and her husband (that good looking fellow with the blonde hair and the khaki shirt next to the orange blob) math. Thanks to the crappy quality of the picture, you can’t tell that she has written 5+?=9 on the wall.

“What?!” I said. “You’re too young to get married!”

“I am not, I’m a root beer baby so I’m older then I look!”

This took me a second to puzzle what she was saying out.

“Do you mean you’re a Leap Year Baby?”

“Yup, that’s what I said!”

“No, that wasn’t what you said and even if you did get it right, being a Leap Year baby technically makes you younger, not older.”

“Oh, then let’s just not mention this again,” she replies.

*~*~*~*~

My kids make me crazy sometimes. They make me question my sanity and my intelligence and they have been known to push me thisclose to the edge. .But they are two of the funniest monster I know and I wouldn’t trade the privilege of watching them grow for all the money in the world.

A Month of Thankfulness

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Yes, as cheesy as it sounds I’m going to try to talk about all the things I’m thankful for in Nov. Prepare yourself now. In reading over my last month or so of posts, it’s been a lot of complaining and whining which isn’t at all who I want it to be. So it’s time to shake off this funk and concentrate on the good stuff. I’m keeping things simple today – here are 5 things I’m thankful for this very minute:

1) My warm house. It’s really starting to get cold and I’m so thankful for a warm house full of comfortable furniture, thick blankets and cats to snuggle up with.

2) A good book. I started reading a new series that I’m really digging and got another great recommendation yesterday. I pity anyone that doesn’t fall into reading like I do- what a boring life they must lead.

3) The kid’s school community. I had a PTA meeting tonight and while being a PTA officer can be really frustrating, it’s also a great chance to see every month how amazing and giving people can be with their time, energy and talents.

4) Friends that speak their truth. Whether it be a dear friend’s moving, heartbreak essay in Salon about the long term ramifications of his sexual abuse at the American Boychoir School or another friend’s mission to education all women on the lesser known facts about breast cancer during the month of October, I applaud all who speak their mind.

5) Skinny Cow’s Dreamy Dark Chocolate Clusters. These make any night better. God bless chocolate.

 

This Is Why I Love the Internet

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Earlier today, one of my friends on Facebook shared an article entitled The Default Parent. I made the mistake of reading it at work and I almost hurt myself trying to stifle my laughter because that? THAT is my life.  And honestly, I thought I was the only one.

I’ve always been the default parent. The Hubs is an amazing, wonderful father- but he didn’t have the boobs, so I was the go-to person when our newborns cried. Up until Scorch was 5 and the Bean was 3, the Hubs had a high-stress job with erratic hours and a ton of travel. On top of that, we owned a business 45 minutes away that took up a fat ton of the Hubs times so I was the one around the vast majority of the time. It wasn’t because the Hubs didn’t want to be there, that was just how life was.

My kids have literally walked right past the Hubs sitting in the kitchen and banged on the closed, locked bathroom door to ask me to get them a drink. Are you kidding me?!

As funny as the article is, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Is this nature? Is Mom always the default? Is it because I was around more when they were little? Is it because I have SUCKER written on my forehead?

Regardless, I don’t mind being the default parent 95% of the time. I like being my kids go-to person and I like knowing all the crazy silly details of their lives – it makes the control freak in me happy. As the kids get older, this default role seems to be evening out a bit – the kids know a lot of their own info and Hubs is around a ton more which is wonderful! It gives me hope that the next time I go away for a 5 day business trip, I won’t have to leave a 3 page detailed note about schedules, menu and carpooling.

Though She May Be But Little, She is Fierce

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I have been home almost a week now and the Bean is still Not Happy with me.  Or rather she is, 90% of the time. Then she turns on a dime and she’s all of a sudden spitting fire.

There’s no telling what’s going to sour her- the other night it was because I dried her off when she asked me to after a bath (evidently I wasn’t actually supposed to dry her off when she requested it).  Then it was because I wouldn’t contort my body just so to lay on her floor at bedtime (just sitting there like a normal person wasn’t good enough). Then it was feeding her the exact dinner she asked for (she didn’t mean it- she really wanted chicken which wasn’t even on the menu). Each transgression is met with yelling, stomping and dramatic proclamations that I don’t love her and never wanted her (which- what?!)

Frankly, she’s exhausting.

My brave. amazing, gorgeous girl.

My brave. amazing, gorgeous girl.

And I know this isn’t just about me being gone last week- girlfriend has had a lot of adjustments since starting school. 1st grade is hard, like really hard. She’s not exactly struggling, but she’s not breezing through either. Math isn’t just 3+4 any more, it’s 3+4=1+?. The rules are stricter, the expectations higher and play time is greatly reduced.  She loves school and she’s always happy to go, but there is a strain there even if she’s too young to identify it.

There’s been a couple nights this past week when I’ve laid down in bed next to the Bean after she’s fallen asleep to tell her all the things she was too mad to hear earlier. I tell her how loved she is, how wanted, how special, how smart and amazing she is. I hope those messages sink in as she sleeps and she rest well knowing how thoroughly she’s adored even when she is the biggest pain in the ass. I tell her these thing during the light of day too when she’s ready to hear them as it never hurts to hear it twice.

I never, ever want the Bean to loose her fire and her fierceness. I want her to always be strong and smart and opinionated and loud about her feelings. I want her to always feel heard and loved. But most of all right now, I want a nap and some peace and quiet.

 

There’s No Place Like Home

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Last weekend  I flew to San Francisco for 5 days to attend a conference. The day before I left, we were at a party with quite a few friends and the running joke was whether or not the house would be still be standing when I got home. The Hubs had never spent this much time parenting solo before. Ever.

Because of the flexible work-at-home nature of my job and the inflexible nature of his, a lot of the domestic stuff like shuttling kids back and forth, making dinner, grocery shopping and doing laundry falls to me. I’m the homework task master, the CEO of permission slips and lunch making and the czar of family logistics. It’s a system that works for us and keeps everyone happy. That’s not the say the Hubs doesn’t help out because he does quite a lot, but this is the first time he’d have to wear both hats at the same time for so long.

On our way home from that party, the Hubs remarked that those jokes weren’t funny, they were going to do just fine without me.  So with that ringing in my ears, I hopped on a plane and flew across the country to have a fabulous week in one of my favorite cities.

Sausalito

I learned a lot, saw some amazing speakers, got to hear Bruno Mars live and ate so much good food that it makes me sick to think about it.

SeaLions

And when I got home, the house was still standing, the kids and all the pets were still alive and the Hubs had it all under control. I missed them all like mad, but good lord it was so much easier going away now that the kids are older! Taking care of them isn’t a guessing game, we can catch up on the phone every night without someone crying and they can tell us exactly what they are thinking.

Coming home was awesome- and crazy- as we left the next day for a weekend away to see Disney on Ice Present Frozen (more on that later)! Scorch and the Hubs were thrilled to have me back, as was the Bean, although she’s made me pay for leaving at least once a day since I got back. At least my little spitfire is predictable in her unpredictableness.

 

A Change in Seasons

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Dear Scorch-

Today marks the end of the longest baseball season in the history of baseball seasons. You, sir, have been playing ball since April. You’ve played at least twice, usually closer to 4 times, a week since APRIL. In case you can’t do the math- that is 6 months of baseball.

And I honestly believe you loved every single minute of it.

This fall you played in an 11 and Under team. You, at age 8, were the second youngest and the smallest kid on the team. You knew one other kid on the team, yet you walked in on day 1 like you were every one’s best friend. You didn’t even come up to some of the guys shoulders, but you didn’t blink an eye when it came time to play with the big kid.

Because of your size compared to the other kids, Fall Ball wasn’t your best season. You didn’t get a single hit and you played outfield most of the time. Yet you didn’t complain and you didn’t whine and you didn’t once get down. You just kept getting right back up and and right back into the game. Because you’re so small and a lefty to boot, you got hit by at least one pitch a game as these new pitchers tried to figure out how to throw to you. You wore the resulting bruises like they were badges of honor.

I’m proud of you kid- so crazy proud of you. I admit, I don’t like watching baseball. But I love watching you play baseball. Your joy in contagious and your enthusiasm is impossible to beat. The only time I’ve seen you upset all season is tonight when you realized this was  your last game.

So here’s to a six-month break before the fun starts all over again!

Love,

Mom

 

Minecraft = Fighting Zombies*

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You ever have one of those nights where both your 8 year old and 6 year old are sobbing over the injustice in the world, you and your spouse are yelling just to be heard over the din and the dog won’t stop barking because she really, really wants that steak you’re trying to eat?

Yup, me neither.

~*~*~*~

The kids have both discovered Minecraft. Scorch has been into it for a while, but a few weeks back the Bean got bit by the bug. They are pretty limited in how they can play (we don’t let them play with others, etc) and for some reason they both insist on playing on the iPad even though we also have it on the computer. So every.freaking.day for the past two weeks has been a fight over who gets the iPad when and for how long.

The Bean has started to wake up earlier to play and the kids try to beat each other to calling dibs on the iPad before even we leave school to head home for the afternoon. It usually worked itself out and we’re so busy that the kids only got little bits of time to play here or there throughout the day. But with night coming earlier and the days getting chiller, the time spent playing was starting to grow.

The Hubs and I finally did what we should have done weeks ago and put strict limits in place. To say neither kid was happy with us would have been like saying the Pope is only a little religious. The iPad and computer are now off limits in the morning before school and they only have a set amount of time each day after school to play. Once that time is up, no matter how they use it, it’s up. No going back. If you don’t use all your time in the afternoons, you don’t get extra time the next day.

Evidently those rules = the world ending. Who knew?

The Bean was ticked because she used her 30 minutes up right after we got home from school and had to *gasp* fill her time playing or reading until bed. This lead to an epic fit that included her 1) telling me I was the worst mom ever, 2) I wasn’t her friend any more and 3) that she was running away.  Oddly enough she didn’t take me up on her offer to help her pack her bag and lunch for when she left.

keep-calm-and-blame-momScorch was a sobbing mess because he spent the entire time after school until bedtime playing baseball outside. So he thought when he finally came in and started eating dinner (at 7:30 mind you, which is when we normally start bedtime) that he’d get his 30 minutes. He was heartbroken when he found out that he didn’t get to play and then just plain furious when he realized that his 30 minutes from today doesn’t get tacked onto his time tomorrow.

So that is why at 7:40 tonight both my children were sitting at the kitchen table sobbing, the Hubs and I were yelling (at the kids, at each other and at the dog) and dog was barking for our steak that Scorch was finally eating. Good times in the Heat household tonight, good times.

*Fighting Zombies = my kids, not the game characters

A Year Later

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The kids and I listen to audiobooks in the car now because it’s the only way I can get them to stop squabbling. We recently started the Ramona series and began Ramona and Her Father today on the way home from school. Within a few minutes of the start of the book, Ramona’s father loses his job. The kids are worried, the mom is a stressed out mess and the dad? Well, he just doesn’t know what to do with himself.

It’s been almost a year to the day since I lost my job. I never saw it coming and it hit me like a blow to the gut. My VP IM’d me, asking me if I could talk and I happily agreed, thinking he wanted to discuss a project we were working on. Nope- he didn’t ease into it at all, the minute I said hello and asked how he was, he told me that there were layoffs happening around the company that day and unfortunately half my team, including myself, were being let go.  We’d be on the books for another month to wrap things up, there would be a severance package coming, goodbye and good luck.

And, that was that.

I remember calling the Hubs and sobbing and apologizing and wanting to throw up. I called my old boss, who went through something similar, and did more sobbing. Between the both of them they convinced me that everything would be OK. And while I knew that I would eventually land on my feet, the guilt was overwhelming. As I was listening to Ramona and Beezus, her sister, on the audiobook today brainstorm ways to make money for their parents I thanked my lucky stars that my kids were too young last year to get it. The cut backs we did were behind the scene and most didn’t touch them in any way they knew about.

It was hard and stressful and so damn scary trying to think about how we were going to make that severance package stretch as long as possible because we had no idea how long I’d be unemployed for. Date nights morphed into sitting at Tim Horton’s with a spreadsheet, pouring over bills and bank accounts, trying to figure what could be slashed. The Hubs got used to leftovers and the kids discovered that extras were no more.

But, a year later, we’re still standing. As crazy as it was, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I have a current job that I enjoy the hell out of with some coworkers I adore. I’ve discovered the joys of working in an office again and found a job that allows me to balance that need to be in the office with the needs of my family. We’re much more budget conscience and shop more frugally and with greater intent. But the greatest blessing has been the people I’ve met this year. People who gave me a chance and valued the talent and skills I brought to the table at a time when I didn’t have much confidence in myself. People who encouraged me and believed in me and who pushed me to a new path I never saw coming. Would I want to go through all that again? Nope. Am I glad I did? Absolutely.

To all those people, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Picture Pages

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Scorch was kind enough to bring home a cold last week. Then he was even kinder by sharing his cold.  I think I’m dying thanks to this damn cold. Because of that, you’re not getting words, you’re getting some of my favorite pictures from the past month or so straight from my camera.

Here’s the kiddos jumping waves when we were at the beach back in August. Good times (*sniff*I miss it*sniff*). Full disclosure, I may have suggested (strongly) that they hold hands for these pics.

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I have had the good fortune of finding shells with heart-shaped holes in them on our last day of beach vacation. Here’s the 2014 edition (2013 can be seen here):

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We took the kids fishing a few weeks ago. The light was spectacular:

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This weekend I realized it had been a good two weeks since I took out my camera, so while the kids played at their favorite playground, I played in the garden:

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Send soup. I’ll be back when I don’t need to have tissues stuffed up my nose. You’re welcome for that visual.