Category Archives: My crazy life

Practically Perfect in Every Way

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A year ago at this time, we took the kids to see Peter Pan. It was the first professional play they had seen and it hit all the marks. It was mesmerizing and engaging, with sets that surpassed all expectations and acting that blew us all away! A few months later we took the kids to see the traveling broadway show of Annie annnnnndddd that didn’t wow my kids nearly as much which was a huge disappointment. I want my kids to love live theater. I want them to seek it out and make it a priority, so today we went back to the theater where we saw Peter Pan and saw Mary Poppins.

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I admit to knowing nothing about the play- I just knew we liked the movie very much so it was a no-brainer to get tickets. I did not know this was a full on musical (although, in hindsight, the tag line on the poster should have given that away), all sung in a British accent. About 5 minutes in, the Bean looks at me in disbelief- “Are they going to sing, everything?!”

Well, welcome to musical theater, my loves!

Thankfully the kids adjusted and very quickly got sucked into the show. Like Peter Pan, it helped that the story line was familiar, so the kiddos weren’t asking us what was going on every 2.3 minutes. This show was just as good at the one we saw last year and we all left completely in awe of the talent found around our community. And now, on to find our next show…

 

Oh, Christmas Tree

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Saturday was the day. We were going to get our tree, come hell or high water. I love Christmas Tree Day. While we don’t cut ours down (we know our limits), we go to a lovely tree lot, and carefully look around until we find the The One.  The One must be a concolor fir- not a very common type of tree- so it can be a pain, but it’s always worth it. We were going to get adorable selfies and a great tree and a great time will be had by all, damn it.

So, Saturday morning the kids and I set off to meet the Hubs at the tree lot. I had an inkling my plans for a perfect day were doomed when the Bean refused to wear her boots. When forced into doing so, she borrowed my phone while I was driving and texted the Hubs to come get her because she needed to be rescued from me. Nothing says family love like a stalemate over footwear and SOS text messages. When we got to the lot, the Bean refused to get out of the car because of said boots. Upon hearing that, Scorch then informed me that if she wasn’t getting out, he wasn’t getting out either- the adults could pick out the tree on their own.

Hell.No.

This is FAMILY FUN, DAMN IT and they would participate and like it even if it killed them! To prove that, I yelled/hissed at the Bean to get her shoes on and for both of them get out of the car before I counted to 10 or so help me God…

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The Hubs still wasn’t there yet, so when the children finally emerged from the car and started to run around like feral animals playing hide and seek between the trees, I found the man in charge and asked him to please point out all the concolor firs to me. And then….I saw it. All 9 feet of it in all its glory and I knew, I knew, it was our tree.  I mean, who cares that the diameter is so large that I couldn’t see around it and that it was 9 feet tall. We could work with that, right?

When the Hubs got there, he initially told me I was crazy but I knew his inner Clark Griswold was going to come out. I gave him a minute and sure enough, I saw him circle the tree a few times. I knew he was hooked. Only the Hubs asked the man in charge to take 1.5 feet off the base of the tree, so it wasn’t quite as majestic when we loaded it on the truck, but common sense does have to come into play at some point.

While the Hubs and the man in charge loaded the tree on the truck, I had the fun of running around yelling for my kids who didn’t want to get out of the car to stop hiding on me and to get back in the car. I’m pretty sure they would have paid us to take the tree had we let the kids run around much longer.

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Our tree goes in our living room. There are only so many ways to arrange our living room furniture, so for the past 14 years, our tree has stood in the same spot… it’s proper spot, right in front of our picture window. But that doesn’t mean the Hubs doesn’t have to spend a good hour trying all sorts of other configurations of our furniture before giving up and moving things to the same spot they go in every year. This year included the extra added bonus of muttering under his breath when he realized that our kids actually *gasp* stored things in the drawers of our coffee table. Doing so evidently made us into “pack rats”. Who knew?

But, the tree is up. It’s gorgeous. The kids are happy and we’re happy. Nothing about getting our tree or putting it up may be picture perfect- but neither are we.

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Thankfulness: This Crazy Life

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One of my favorite rituals is changing over our monthly white board calendar. I wipe last month’s craziness away, carefully pick the colored markers I want to use for the month’s name and days, the colors for each kid’s activities, the color we use for special events and I slowly fill it all in. I try to be neat and clean- I replace my markers often to keep the tips somewhat pointed.  But no matter what I do, it’s a batshit crazy mess when I’m done. And it only gets worse as the month goes on when all the dates that didn’t have anything on it get filled in with rescheduled practices, PTA meetings, sleepovers and birthdays.

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As I was thinking earlier today about all the things I was thankful for this month- all the things I hadn’t had the time to write about yet- I realized that THIS, this is what I’m thankful for. I’m thankful for that monthly calendar and all the batshit crazy things that fill it. The minutia of every day life in this family the Hubs and I created.

I’m thankful for the two healthy, happy, oh-so-active kids that keep us running to basketball, flag football, lacrosse and concerts. I’m thankful that I married a man who cares enough to be on the school board. I’m thankful for holiday parties at jobs that we both value and enjoy 90% of the time. I’m thankful for the family commitments near and far that keep us connected with those we love the most.

I’m thankful for this wickedly crazy awesome life- because it’s AMAZING.

 

Thankfulness: School Moms (and Dads)

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This weekend the Hubs and I watched Bad Moms- the comedy from the summer about mom’s who are tired of doing it all, juggling it all and being expected to be good at it all. I wanted to like this movie- hell, I wanted to LOVE this movie because I, like 99% of the moms I know, do do it all as best we can and sometimes we all need a break. But I wasn’t a fan.

The stereotypes were too broad, the women too shrill and the marriages depicted too damn depressing. There were some great laughs in the movie, but mainly I walked away from that movie disappointed and VERY thankful that I didn’t recognize any of horrible, judgey, rude, condescending Queen Bee moms shown in the movie.

Tonight I’m thankful for the school mom’s who don’t care that on snack day, my kid’s contribution is store bought. Always. Who don’t give me the side eye when my son’s Saint costume for All Saint’s Day is a borrowed ninja costume complete with a fake 6-pack of abs. I’m thankful for the mom’s that wonder out loud with me why our kids fight so much about changing their underwear daily and who nod knowingly when my kids and I are running as fast as we can into school on a rainy day because there isn’t a freaking umbrella to be found anywhere.* Here’s to school parent’s who are kind, compassionate, and just as willing to laugh at the absurdity of raising kids today as I am.

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*All of those things happened in the past week.

 

Thankfulness: Handy People

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The Hub’s Grandfather was an incredibly handy man. He could fix just about anything – if we had issue with anything around the house, he was our go-to man. Despite him diligently trying to teach the Hubs his skills, it never took. I have great memories of Grandpa driving up to our house to tune up our mower or install the molding in Scorch’s nursery.  My Father-in-Law is also a really handy man to have around- he’s installed flooring and doors in my house. He knew enough to try to teach the Hubs or myself- it just wasn’t going to take.

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So, neither of us are handy people. And that’s fine- we have other skill sets. But what we have been lucky enough to do is to create great relationships with people who know what the hell they are doing. And these are the people who I’m so very thankful for today.

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Yesterday while I was working from home, I kept hearing banging outside. It’s windy, so I assumed our garbage cans tipped over or one of the kid’s throwbacks was being tossed around. What I did not expect when I went outside to investigate was to see part of my roof flapping in the wind.

My. Roof. Flapping. (sometimes I loathe being an adult).

I called the first handy person I could think of – a licensed contractor who has saved our butts more times than I could think of. The best time was a few years back when we were leaving for Fl. We had to leave at a certain time to make our train in VA and as we were literally walking through our house one more time before leaving, the light fixture in our hallway caught on fire. We put it out super quick, took off the fixture, looked around and saw that nothing was smoldering. Then we called our contractor because I was convinced our house was going to burn down while we were gone. He came over immediately, shoo’d us out the door so we didn’t miss our train, and allowed us to enjoy vacation not fearing the worst.

Yesterday, this saint of a man and his coworker were at my house within the hour and determined it was a very quick, easy fix as it was just a rain vent (guard? something?) that was loose. Which was the BIGGEST relief of the day because I was trying to figure out how in the hell a new roof was going to fit in our budget.

So, Jon & Bob- this is dedicated to you. Thank you for always coming when I call since the Hubs and I have no idea what we’re doing 99.9% of the time.

 

15 Years & Counting

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I read a book recently where the main character, Emma, met her true love, Jesse, in high school. They fell in love, left their small town on the east coast and created a new life full of globe trotting travels for themselves in CA. On their first anniversary, Jesse dies in a helicopter crash. Over the next 4 years, Emma moves back to her small home town and slowly, painstakingly builds a new life for herself- one that gradually included a new true love, Sam. A few months before Sam and Emma’s wedding, Jesse was found alive (think Castaway). Now a 30-something with a career she loves and life she adores, Emma has to figure out who her true love is.

I know, it’s sounds melodramatic- and it was. But it also posed great questions about who Emma wanted to be. Can she be the same person she was in her 20’s when she was married to Jesse- did she even want to be that person anymore? Could she and Jesse learn to love each other as they are now- not who they were 4 years and a life time ago?

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The Hubs and I got married 15 years ago this month. We were just kids- I was a month past my 23rd birthday and he was 25.  We had moved down to Washington, DC when I was 21, a few weeks after I graduated college so he could start his career with the Secret Service and I could figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

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I think part of the reason that I found One True Loves such a compelling read is that I don’t have a set delineation between young Heather and grown up Heather when it comes to my love life. I was in it when I was young and I’m still all in today at 38. The Hubs and I didn’t get to figure out who we were as grown ups separately because we, in so many ways, grew up together.

There were growing pains- so many growing pains. I remember after one particularly argument, the Hubs yelling at me that I wasn’t the woman he married anymore. And he was 100% correct- I am not. Where I had once been career/studies driven, now my career is a vehicle that allows me to live the life that I want with my focus on my family. My energies are no longer on moving up the ladder, but on juggling 55+ hours work weeks, Little League and lacrosse schedules, tutors and dinner times. Family comes first and the rest is just noise.

But there is so much joy in growing into adults together. We both had fantastic parents- but there are still so much we had to figure out. How do you cook? Who cleans? How do you keep pets alive? Raise kids? Own a home? Find friends that you both like to hang out with? How to discipline kids? How to react to disappointment and loss? How to keep your sanity when things are nuts? How to stay connected with each other when life is so overwhelmingly busy? How to grow as a person while still being the person your spouse needs you to be?

We’re not pros and I have no idea what the future holds. We’re still learning and growing and finding our footing. Some days we are totally in sync and have all our priorities in line. Others it feels like there is an ocean between us.  There are days I look at the Hubs and I’m just struck dumb by the love I have for him, tenderness literally washing over me. Days I get butterflies and can’t wait to dress up for a date night just to see the expression on his face. But there are just as many days where I grit my teeth when I see him- days when just the tone of his voice is enough to set me off. Days when sweatpants and a clean t-shirt seem perfectly acceptable, romance be damned. But most days? Most days are fun.

And there in lies that joy. Life shouldn’t be a flat line where you can see everything that’s coming long before it gets to you. The joy is in the ups and downs- in the times when we fit perfectly together and in the times we claw our way back to each other when walking away sounds a hell of lot easier.
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So- to my husband. Thank you for growing beside me these past 15 years. Thank you for still being able to make me laugh with just a look. Thank you for challenging me and making me be a better person. Thank you for being an amazing father to our kids. Thank you for putting up with me when the going gets tough and letting me hold you hand when we both know you hate to be touched. Here’s to many, many more years of marriage. I love you.

Quiet

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A friend participates in a weekly Five Minute Friday writing exercise- where you’re given one word and you have five minutes to write about it. No editing, no second glances- just write. And this friend- her words are powerful and raw. She’s so much more poetic then I am and I love reading her thoughts.

So today I’m taking a page from her book and writing on the word “quiet.”

The quiet scares me, it always has. I rush to fill the void, to make the silence loud. When I was younger, quiet people made me nervous. Those people who can sit in a room with people they don’t know very well and not make small talk intimidate me. So I over compensate and talk about the most inane things just so there is something out there.

When the kids were itty bitty the silence made me nervous- were they breathing? In trouble? I’d rush in and put my hand under their nose to feel their sweet breath whoosh quietly in and out. And when they were toddlers? Well, silence meant trouble. Markers on the walls, kids climbing on the counters or eating something they shouldn’t have. Quiet made me start running faster than crashes and screams.

And now? Well, quiet is taking on a new feeling. Quiet means kids reading books for hours in their room. It means a peaceful daughter playing school in her room. It means exhaustion after a hard played game. It means enjoying different things- books, games, electronics- separately but together in a pile on the couch.

Before too awfully long quiet will mean the kids aren’t home any more- they are with friends or at college or on a trip. That quiet worries me too if I think too hard about it. So I don’t. Right now I just relish the quiet of 4 people content in their own space knowing that it won’t belong before someone is yelling, laughing or telling a story breaking that silence with the amazing noise that is family.

Making Room

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And just like that, it’s over…Christmas 2015, you were perfect. This year I was on my game- I shopped early with intention and it paid off. The kids were happy, the Hubs was happy and I was happy. We got to spend 4 days straight with family and friends – holding babies, eating so much good food and catching up.

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And now we have a week off at home and that’s just like a little slice of heaven. If, in heaven, you had to clean every room in your house every day to make room for all the new stuff you intentionally bought. This was the living room the day after Christmas:

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It basically makes me want to cry. Living in a smaller home has some great advantages, but finding room for stuff is not one of them. So Monday we completely tore Scorch’s room apart- two garbage bags later, there is now room for all his baseball cards. Because baseball cards and books made up a good 75% of that boy’s Christmas haul.

As for the Bean? Her room is up next. I may need some liquor before I tackle that one. Anyone remember a few years ago when we found a can of purple frosting her in room 4 months after it was used for her birthday cake? Mind you, it’s only been 4 months since we last hauled out her room but the possibilities are just endless when I think about what we could find in there. Say a pray we all come out alive.

Hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday!

 

 

 

Thankful Heart: Day 26 – 30

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It’s the end of the month – which means it’s the end of non-stop posts about what I’m thankful for.

When I started this, it felt odd. I wanted to highlight all the things I’m thankful for, but I didn’t want to brag. I don’t want to paint the picture that our lives are sunshine and roses all the time, because they aren’t. But they are pretty damn good and I do have a lot of things to be thankful for. And I am so very grateful for them. I try not to take them for granted and I try to make sure I’m worthy of them. And that, I think, is the key to a happy life.

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Even with a month full of posts on things I’m thankful for, I still didn’t hit them all. So, in no particular order, here are some other things I’m feeling warm and fuzzy about:

> The Hubs is sick with a nasty cold, but he still went outside and decorated our house for Christmas yesterday and it looks beautiful. Nothing makes me happier then coming home to find our house all lit up.

> We had a fantastic Thanksgiving a at my mother-in-law’s house. We ate a great meal and gathered with family that drove a long way to be with us. The food was delicious and plentiful and the company was top-notch.

> When we got back home we got to celebrate Lala’s 5th birthday and, later that night, my aunt’s 75th birthday. If that’s not an amazing day, I don’t know what is.

> My kids. Every minute of every day. Always, so thankful for those goons even when they make me want to curl up in a ball. Some times just looking at them takes my breath away.

> My marriage. We’re celebrating our 15th anniversary in 2016 and coming quickly on our 18th year together. We work hard at it – some days it’s amazing and other days I wonder if we’re going to make it another hour, but we dig in our heels and make it happen. I’m thankful for a partner that is willing to put in the work right next to me.

> Books, books and more books. I’ve read 110 books thus far this year and I’m not stopping. They make me happy, they transport me out of my head and they show me worlds I never dreamed of.

> My critters. The kitties are 14 years old, the dog is 13. They make me crazy (see: stepping in cat puke this morning) and they make my house a mess of fur but I can’t imagine any house of mine without a pet.

> This blog. This will be my 556th post. I started writing this in August of 2010 when the Bean was 2 and Scorch was 4. I love this place, the people I’ve meet and the stories that will be here for my kids to read when they are older.

September

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September continued its trend of not being very kind when I got sick last week. A cold quickly turned into a sinus infection that just as quickly turned into pink eye.  I woke up a week ago with tired eyes, which wasn’t surprising since I worked until 1:30 am the night before. When I went into the bathroom around noon and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror I was slightly horrified at how red and puffy my eye was looking. I prayed that a few allergy eye drops would fix things but by the time I picked the kids up from school at 3, the Bean told me that looking at my eye made her feel like she wanted to throw up.

The rest of the night went downhill from there.

A trip to the walk-in clinic got me the meds I needed later that night and 4 days later I was finally feeling human. Just in time too because my baby cousin got married last weekend and we had a LOT of celebrating to do (which we did spectacularly, I may add).  Seriously guys- the wedding was amazing and I couldn’t be happier for these crazy kids.

Photo by K&T’s wedding planner – gorgeous!

My cousin and her husband have been together for 15 years – since they were in 8th grade. That’s mind boggling to me, especially since the kid I dated in 8th grade is, I believe, in jail. The Hubs helped to arrest him years ago (you can’t make this up, I swear). Anyhow, K&T are just as in love now as they’ve ever been and it was wonderful to be in their company as they finally made what we’ve known for years official.

Here’s hoping this past weekend ushered in some good mojo and September starts being the amazing beast we know she can be.

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