Archive for the Me talking about me Category
33
Is motherhood really the hardest job on the planet?

Christian’s all crazy about this new comedy station on the radio, and heard the following clip on his way home from work. Give it a watch; it’s pretty funny.

So at dinner he asked, “Do you think that being a mom is the hardest job in the world?”

I scrunched up my face. “Mmmmm…not really,” I said. “It’s pretty difficult a lot of times, but I definitely think there are harder jobs out there. It’s all relative.”

“Like what?” Obviously he’s humoring me, because even he admittedly doesn’t completely get the struggles of being a stay at home parent. “Any job you can do in your pajamas can’t be that hard,” he quotes the comedian. Ah, my husband. Always the jokester.

But is motherhood really he hardest job on the planet? Or is that just something we say to make ourselves feel like martyrs for not earning an income, sporting yoga pants day after day, or not having showered since…uh….yeah.

The truth is, there are harder jobs. Brain surgery comes to mind. A social worker who has to witness the injustices that some children are forced to endure. Right hand man to the President. Or how about being the President? I wouldn’t want any of those jobs {but I will take Derrick Shephard’s income, thankyouverymuch.}

Those people are trained in those fields. There’s no training for motherhood. We have to wing it most of the time. How about Dr. So and So coming in, toting, “Hey, I’m gonna take care of that aneurysm for you today! My training? Well, about 9 months ago I decided I wanted to be a brain surgeon, and, well, here I am!” Not so much.

Some jobs are physically grueling. Others are emotionally draining. Motherhood happens to be a lot of both, depending on the day, the mom, and a multitude of surrounding factors. Each mother’s experience is different from the mother sitting next to her at the bouncy house.

My days with three children that are so young can be quite difficult. But that’s difficult TO ME. I have days when the constant whining, crying, fighting, and neediness make me want to scratch my eyeballs out with my jagged fingernails. But I don’t have children with special healthcare needs or disabilities. I haven’t felt the crushing weight of PPD or PPA like so many others. I’m not a single parent. It seems selfish of me to complain that my days are so difficult when there are others who have more hardships than I do.

What one person struggles with, another seems to do with ease. Some working moms don’t see how stay at home moms do it, being around their children all day every day, barely getting five minutes to themselves to eat lunch or even shower. Others envy the fantasy of staying in their pajamas all day, playing tea party or hide and seek, or heading out for fun errands that the workday doesn’t allow.

For the most part, though, they’re both wrong. And they’re both right. Some days are easier than others. Some are pure hell. It changes almost daily,

When Zoe was a baby and Rachel and Claire had barely turned two, I thought I was going to die. I was so tired from multiple night nursing sessions, alternating naps, and just not having enough hands to accommodate everyone. It never failed that right when I sat the big girls down for lunch, the baby would wake and need to be fed right then. I distinctly remember simultaneously nursing Zoe and cutting up orange slices for her sisters. Day after day my back ached from carrying around a crying infant while two toddlers yanked at my pajama pants, begging for my attention that was so hard to split three ways. It was unequivocally the hardest year of my life.

But it got easier. We found our groove. I now have three girls who still need me a lot, but are pretty self sufficient for their ages. They may throw ridiculous hissy fits over the color of their spoon, but they can tell me how they’re feeling or what they’re wanting for the most part.

I get to play dinosaurs, princesses, play doh, and hide and seek. We spend time outside playing catch or swinging. And yes, sometimes I do stay in my pajamas all day. Don’t tell my husband though, because sometimes I change 30 minutes before he comes home so he doesn’t think I’ve just been in my pajamas all day.

But sometimes I don’t want to play dolls or build with blocks or do crafts. Some days I don’t want to be responsible for teaching them. Sometimes I want to shut them out and do something for me. Sometimes being able to go to a job just to get out of the house looks mighty enticing. Although at my last job I couldn’t send my employees to time out when they screwed up or acted like idiots.

There really is no concrete manual to being a parent. There’s a higher, more complicated level that most jobs don’t have. The hard part isn’t the lack of free time or the scraping dried applesauce off the windows. It’s not the employees who are always knocking on your door begging for more juice. No, the hard part is worrying about their safety and well being, figuring out what’s best for their individual needs, and deciphering whether or not you’re scarring them for life by letting them watch Cars every day.

I admittedly suck at a lot of aspects of parenting. I don’t know how to handle a lot of disciplinary situations with my three very different kids. I stumble through what probably are very important teaching moments. I don’t always know what to say. I turn on the TV when I need a break, mental or physical.

I’ve ended days in a crumpled heap or wrapped in my husband’s arms, sure I failed my children because they defied me to the point of insanity, I was too distracted by my to do list, or I just didn’t feel like parenting that day. The good thing is that I get a second chance to do it all again right the next day. The bad thing is that I have to do it all again the next day.

Is parenting a difficult job? Absolutely. It’s physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting at times. Some more than others. But is motherhood really the hardest job in the world? Probably not. Is it the most important job? Definitely. Do mothers {and fathers!} deserve tons of credit for raising tiny humans into what we hope become kind and responsible adults? Of course. Do we sometimes not get that respect, especially from said tiny humans who scream at us and throw yogurt on our newly mopped floors? You bet.

But at the end of the day, even though I was never the girl who cherished her dolls and said, “I just want to be a MOMMY!” I still love being here with them.

Well, I like it.

Ok, let’s just leave it at “I’m gonna do it again tomorrow.”

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16
Hanging a little happiness

You would hate shopping with me.

Last month I was a lucky recipient of some passes to the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar here in Austin, thanks to the lovely ladies at LiveMom. I’d been before, but it had been years. The Armadillo Bazaar is right up my alley with its live music and aisle upon aisle of artist and artisan booths ranging from high end art and photography to more affordable things for cheapies like me. Not crafts, but actual honest to goodness art.

Along with the passes I also won a gift certificate to spend on anything in the bazaar. The reason you would hate shopping with me? I’m not an impulse shopper. I wanted to keep my out of pocket cost as low as possible, meaning I was determined to scour every booth and stand in that bazaar, take mental notes of things I liked within my price range, and when I was done, I would make my decision.

See? Admit it. You’re cringing.

But one booth stopped me short. I don’t know if it was the honky tonk music on the nearby stage, the glass of wine in my hand, or the fact that I had straightened my hair and was feeling brazen, but when I came across this artist’s work, I immediately knew this was where I would be spending my money. No second thoughts or mental weighing of options needed.

Studio DiStefano bird print

I can tell you from experience that artists hate it when people call their work "cute," but....isn't it cute???

I bought myself this little piece of happiness and I love it more every day. It’s a small piece: a print of one of her larger and more expensive paintings mounted on a wooden plaque. It fits perfectly on a little strip of wall that’s in an awkward hallway or sorts between my kitchen, bedroom, and living room. It greets me when I stumble sleepy eyed out of my bedroom. It catches my eye as I tear from the kitchen to the living room to play referee. I stop and examine it for a few seconds each time I get something out of our oddly placed pantry.

Basically I see it a lot.

And every single time it fills me with happiness. The exuberant colors. The texture. The tiny crown sitting on the fat little bird’s head.

I love it.

Here’s to adding more visual happiness in 2012!

 

Is there something in your home, car, or wallet that makes you happy? Don’t say your kids. That’s just predictable.  

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26
Four requirements?
lost girl with map

There’s nothing like a new year coming up to give us all the feeling of renewal. A fresh start. Another chance to do things right. I admit, I’m a resolution person. I don’t see the harm in setting a few goals for yourself, and what better time to hit the start button on your new aspirations than a brand new year? I mean, we even get an extra day in this one.

In 2011 I resolved to reclaim a bit of my life after 2010 gave me the end of a really rough pregnancy and then the juggling act that was two 2 year olds and a newborn. I survived! Whether or not I’m better for it may be a matter of opinion. I haven’t abandoned the experiment per se, but I’ve just had other things on the brain.

Last week I read a thought provoking post about the 4 minimum requirements for vibrant living. Basic needs.

Reading these four things, I started a mental checklist in my head. And I realized I wasn’t checking anything off.  I feel like I did get a little of myself back in 2011, thanks to blogging and taking strides to do more for me, but I feel like I’m losing it again. In recent weeks my big girls have stopped napping, robbing me of 2-3 hours of time that was important not only for production, but also for just plain sanity. The past few months have me fumbling through my days, seeing a big picture goal, but missing the little steps that will get me there. I start one thing, get distracted by something else, drop that for something else…everything must be done right then because otherwise I’ll forget. I have no sense of order, no set to do list, and no feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day, save the fact that my kids are in bed and I didn’t have to run down the street screaming at any point during the day.

 

The four basic things, according to the author, are simple really:

  • Food
  • Rest
  • Calm
  • Activity
Yet they can seem so elusive. If we don’t take charge of these four things, the rest of our lives will disintegrate into a haphazard mess of fatigue, disorder, and stress. Otherwise known as my current state of living. And I can feel that something’s off.

Food
. I eat like crap. Not fast food, not a lot of junk food, but I’m not feeding my body in the manner it was meant to be fed. I usually eat a good breakfast, but it’s downhill during the day. Since the big girls stopped napping a several weeks ago, I barely break for a decent lunch, usually just scavenging their leftover grilled cheese sandwiches, grapes, and pretzels like a stray dog, neglecting to make myself anything of substance. I grab a handful of goldfish here and there, maybe throwing in an orange for good measure. It’s not uncommon for me to realize that it’s 4pm and I haven’t had a drop of anything but coffee to drink. The worst part is that my body feels the way it’s being fed — like crap.

Rest
. When the big girls stopped napping, I lost 2-3 hours of my day. I used that time to do chores, take care of miscellaneous to-do’s, write, or just relax. No more. Even if I set them up with a movie, I’m still tending to their every snacky and drinky need or rushing around trying to make the most of the 90 minutes or so. I can’t focus. So much of what I did during that time now has to be done either after they go to bed or not at all. I rarely hit the hay before midnight, and if I do, I stay up until that hour to read in bed or catch up on a few blogs. It’s like I can’t shut my brain off before that time. I’m lucky in that I don’t have early risers, but the late nights are surely taking a toll on me and my undereye circles. Not to mention that being around your kids for so many straight hours with no break is freaking exhausting.

Calm
. I don’t know this word. Can you use it in a sentence?Laundry piles up, the kitchen’s a mess, the kids’ toys are haphazardly put away, I have a newsletter to prepare and no post for the next day. I get overwhelmed by it all. Since I do get so distracted by every little thing, I end up doing a lot, but not getting a lot done.

Not only is it exhausting being around kids all day, it’s just down right maddening with no sanity break. We all need a little time once in a while to recuperate and get back in our A game. Without this, I lose my patience faster, and I find myself resorting to yelling to get their attention instead of speaking to them rationally, and that’s not fair to any of us. I know it won’t always be this hard, but I don’t want my lack of calm to become the norm. I want my kids to enjoy being around me, not grow afraid to ask me things.


Activity
. You’d never know it now, but I was a bit of an athlete at one point. Not super fit or exercise crazy, but I did make the effort to regularly keep my body moving and stay somewhat in shape with running, resistance training, and softball. Even after the twins were born I could be seen pushing my double jogger all around the neighborhood just about every single day, sometimes twice a day, thanks to Austin’s usually mild winters. But then came #3, less time, more fatigue, less motivation, more general apathy.A good friend of mine has really gotten into running in the past few months. Previously she was like me, doing it when she could or felt like it. Then she really took off with it and made it a lifestyle. Hardly anything keeps her from it. I have to say, she looks fantastic. Her skin glows, her hair is radiant. And I’m jealous. Not just of her even more rockin bod, but of the fact that she has this thing. This thing that is all hers, that not only keeps her healthy, but also keeps her sane. I hate that I’m having a hard time finding the drive. But I want that.

Food, rest, calm, activity. Four things. Four little things that seem so simple, but I realize I am fulfilling noneof them. Which I’m sure accounts for my general feelings of fatigue, unhealthiness, and just plain blah. I’m doing my body and my mind a disservice. I need to restore some order. Maybe I need to develop some better time management and organizational skills. I need to take charge.But oh how I do hate being in charge, even if it is of my own being.How do you feel about these four basic requirements as stated by the author of the original post? Do you meet them?

Image credit

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15
2011… in mediocre pictures

2011 wasn’t as brutal as 2010. And I learned to take better photos this year, so instead of a year in really bad photos, you get a year in mediocre photos. Maybe 2012 will be the year of the slightly above average photo? Shoot for the stars, friends. Here we go!

In January, someone started standing all on her own. Look at that little peanut, so proud of herself. I can’t believe that’s the same little kid who now says, “Wash dis, Mama!” when she’s about to dive head first off the couch or who screams at the top of her lungs to display her disapproval of my computer usage.

Fave post of the month: Fewer clowns, but just as much crazy, where I basically make you feel better about your life.

February brought the great Snowpocalypse of 2011. I’m telling you, we get a quarter of an inch of snow in this place and the whole city shuts down. Remember Y2k? That’s how people prepare for a little frozen precipitation around here. But we lived!

Snow in Austin, Texas

AND….Zoe turned one! What a ham, that girl.

Fave post of the month: I have a BS in motherhood {which was also syndicated on BlogHer!} Please excuse the shoddy formatting. It was originally posted on my blogger blog, and when I moved to WP things got a little wonky.

March is one of the best months in Austin. It was all about the big girls turning three and getting to spend more and more time outside before the real Texas heat kicked in.

Fave post of the month: Crazy, but true, where I laugh at people who say they want twins, but then reflect in the beauty in m girls’ growing relationship.

sisters

In April we got smacked with a heat wave the likes of which I have never seen in my 14 years living here. We actually busted out the water toys and spent many a day outside. We also had our very first experience with the flu, and I’m grateful that we made it that long. But we all got it, Rachel and Zoe twice. Me? Half a day. What a crock.

Fave post of the month: Don’t mix the play doh, a little guest post for Mom Went Crazy that talks about what brings out the neurotic in me.

April

May cooled off a little. We participated in our 3rd March if Dimes March for Babies, for which we raised a whopping $515! And completely unrelated, I migrated from Blogger to WordPress! And now you have this fancy site that you see before your very eyes.

Fave post of the month: I get to pick two…Why I March, which I repost every year before the March for Babies walk, and You’re a jerk, but I love you, which continues to get hits from Google searches. Who knew that so many people Google “I’m in love with a jerk,” or “My brother in law is a jerk?” Seriously.

Play Me I'm Yours

June meant summer, and the heat, was in full swing. We traveled to Dallas for my niece’s birthday party and spent a lot of time in the water. This photo pretty much sums up what we did just about every day. I love the tender moment they’re sharing. I have no idea where their sister is.

Fave post of the month: I make excuses NOT to potty train.

June

In July we finished up a visit from Grandma and Aunt Jessie. We hit the zoo, the splash park, and the San Antonio Riverwalk. It was a blast, and we were so sad to see them go home. Mainly because that meant I had to start potty training.

Fave post of the month: I had a lot of really fun posts in July, but my favorite has to be Naptime, Interrupted. Kind of. A tale of sexy embarrassment. Kind of.

August. By this time we pretty much think we’re going to die from the heat. The water we didn’t use to quench our lawn we used in the kiddie pool or the sprinkler.

Fave post of the month: Progress reports. In my head. Imaginary feedback from our upcoming preschool days.

In September Rachel and Claire started Mother’s Day Out! I think I was kind of sad for a minute before I rejoiced in my newfound freedom, then remembered I still had a kid with me. Bygones. I also traveled away from the family for the first time ever, to go visit Christian’s aunts and cousins in Iowa. It was a blast, and the photo below was my view as I sat with my morning coffee.

Fave post of the month: Fighting the ridiculous fights, where I again make you feel better about your life.

Iowa in September

October. This time it was Christian’s turn to leave me with the kids while he traveled to North Carolina, then to Virginia to take part in the Tough Mudder. Such a badass. Oh, and it was Halloween.

Fave post of the month: I documented an entire week in my life, which was extremely eye opening and challenging. But my favorite has to be Stay here, where I tell my kids to stop growing up, dammit!

tough mudder

November meant Thanksgiving! Nomnomnom. I love this photo of my girls and their cousin because it’s so candid. Shit literally went down right after I snapped it, and I regret not having the good sense to just keep on with the clicking to capture the drama.

Fave post of the month: Lamenting the loss of the nap. I still miss him.

December has been cold and rainy, ending with some brilliant sunny days that have us playing outside a LOT. It’s glorious. The big girls were way into Christmas and Santa this year, and we had an wonderful Christmas and a lovely visit from Nana, Grandpa, Aunt Lori, and our cousin Cheyenne.

Fave post of the month: This is why I should just not talk to people. It’s true.

Have a very safe and happy New Year, everyone! See you in 2012!

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18
Unwrapping Christmas

If you’re reading this, then you and I must have survived Christmas. Cheers!

Christmas this year was pretty magical. Rachel and Claire wholly believed in the tale of Santa, and they were so very excited about what Christmas day would bring. For about a week Rachel asked me every single day if it was Christmas and of we could open presents. Ideally I don’t want my kids to think that Christmas is all about “What did I get???” But to be honest with you, we haven’t broached the topic of the religious side of the holiday very much. At this point and time, we’re not church go-ers, mainly because we haven’t taken the steps to agree on a potential church (more complicated than I care to go into here and now). Or maybe we’re just lazy.

Until then, what we are trying to instill in them is the notion that Christmas is about family, caring, and giving, with receiving being a part of the giving. For a few years Christian and I didn’t exchange gifts because we wanted to save our money for the kids, but I believe that our kids need to see us exchange gifts, even if it’s something so simple as touch screen friendly gloves or a pair of slippers. It means “I’m thinking of you.”

Every Christmas we’re bombarded with toys that we want to get the girls. Of course we can’t get them everything, but this year I felt we got them enough. We didn’t regret getting them too much crap for the sake of getting them something, only to have it be lost or overlooked later, and I really can’t think of anything that we were dying to get them that we couldn’t. Except a racetrack for all of their cars, but that’s the benefit of having a birthday in a few more months, right?

So without further ado, here are the winners of this year’s Christmas “it’s not all about the swag” swag.

Cars, cars, and more cars. If you read anything I put on Facebook or on this blog, you’ll know that my little girls are crazy about Lightening McQueen. The eat, sleep, and breathe Radiator Springs and the World Grand Prix. When it was all said and done and they had opened presents from us, Grandma, Nana & Grandpa, and Aunt Doreene, we had a total of seven McQueens. Also popular was Mater, Finn McMissile, Holly, and Francesco, who just might be Claire’s new crush.

Cars2 Cars Christmas

Princesses in the house! It’s almost impossible NOT to buy little girls princess paraphernalia. Dress up princess costumes, little dolls that can change their outfits, and more have my girls re-entering the pretend world of “your majesty” and “I’m a princess!”

princesses Christmas

Fishing poles, dinosaurs, Uno Moo, tools, Leapfrog Fridge Farm, and OH YEAH BIKES. The ONE thing I wanted to make sure we got this year was bikes. Time to get these girls peddling. Only we were dumb about it. I was afraid that if we put them in front of the tree, they would be so excited about them and beg us to ride them {in the freezing drizzle} that it would become a battle. Little did my novice Christmas mind know that 1) the other presents would have been calling to them, begging to be unwrapped; and 2) they really weren’t going to care that much about the bikes anyway. THANKS SANTA!

bikes and more

Actually, they were excited and eager to get on them and start riding. Until they realized that there was pedaling and steering and OH MY GOD WHY CAN’T YOU JUST PUSH US LIKE YOU DO BABY ZOE? We weren’t halfway to the house next door before they ditched them for good old fashioned walking. But we will persevere. {By the way did you know that trying to teach 2 kids how to pedal and steer while also tending to the 22 month old who is shrieking because someone stopped pushing her tricycle is kinda hard?}

The bathtub fishing poles are the best $4 {er…$12} I ever spent, they all love the fridge farm, and Uno Moo is a super fun game as long as I only have to play it with one kid at a time {see the above note about the bikes…same applies with games. Family game nights are sure to be a blast around here.}. My awesome sister in law Michelle also made them each a wicked cool monster bag that I for some reason don’t have a photo of? More to come.

The sleeper hit of the day? The pair of moccasin like slippers that I gave Christian. I was afraid he would think it was such a “dad gift,” but he’s barely taken them off since. And I got a lovely new flat iron to replace the old crusty one I had been previously damaging my hair with. So now you will get less of this:

phil-spector-crazy-hair

And more of this:

straight hair

I know. I look nothing like my about me photo. Good lighting does a lot for a girl.

How was your Christmas? Hanukkah? Kwanzaa? Festivus for the rest of us? Did you have any favorite gifts? DO YOU LIKE MY HAIR????

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8
On the night before Christmas…

Christmas Eve is magical. Especially with young children.

We Skyped with Grandma and the rest of Christian’s family in North Carolina. The girls opened their lovely presents, thanked everyone gratefully, and went along their merry way playing with their new goodies.

{Um, actually the kids all went berzerk, crying about opening presents while Dad tried to get his mom’s Skype to work and Mom fratically threw goldfish crackers their way to suppress their whining. They tore through the presents, asked for more, then ran off to sling around their newest toys, narrowly missing each other’s heads in the process while Mom rubs her eyes in distress and fatigue.}

We had an idyllic family dinner of freshly steamed tamales, spicy Spanish rice, and black beans, in which everyone ate sufficiently and Christmas carols played softly in the background.

{Actually, Mom made turkey sandwiches and grapes. She had no idea how much they actually ate, because she checked out to lay on the couch and read Mockingjay, leaving their poor, defenseless father to tend to them. Plus she had filled up on kettle corn that afternoon.}

We took baths, got cozied up in our warmest jammies, and ran excitedly to the kitchen to put out cookies and milk for Santa.

{Yeah. It was damn near impossible to keep six little hands out of the cookies and milk, even though the big girls DID get the idea. Poor Zoe. She didn’t understand why she couldn’t have a cookie.}

Time for Christmas stories! We snuggled up around Mom and Dad, reading The Night Before Christmas and You Are My Miracle. Everyone gave copious hugs, kisses, snuggles, and “Merry Christmases” before settling down in bed, visions of sugar plus dancing in their heads. Mom and Dad

{More like Mom gave threats of going straight to bed if they didn’t sit down for the damn story, while Dad removed a hysterical and cookie crazed Zoe from the room. Halfway through The Night Before Christmas, Claire made to leave the room to “go do something.” She feigned looking for her McQueen car, but Mom knew she had cookies on the brain. More threats ensued. Mom hurriedly finished up the book, ignoring one “Whass he doing?” after another, and plopped them in bed with a “Santa won’t come unless you’re asleep” warning. It worked.}

Mom and Dad ate a little leftover ham for dinner, drank some hot cocoa and apple cider, built some bikes, folded some laundry, wrapped some presents, stuffed some stockings, and settled down to watch Elf and bask in the remaining few hours of pre Christmas cheer.

{Okay, so all that did actually happen. Throw in a rather intense discussion about how Santa actually makes his mark on a household and some last minute panicking that the stockings were a little lean. Then Mom got elated because a package containing stickers and candy has arrived from a certain wonderful friend, and she quickly decided this friend is now Santa.}

Mom and Dad giggle while eating Santa’s cookies, careful to leave some crumbs behind, and craft a letter from the big guy to his three biggest fans.

{We totally got to eat cookies.}

Santa cookies Christmas

 

Thank you all for your love, support, comments, shares, and friendship. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

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25
Dear Santa

Santa Claus Merry Christmas

It’s been a while since I’ve written, I know. I mean, I’m a grown up now, and grown ups don’t really go around toting that they believe in a jolly old fat — ahem, robust – man who flies in a sleigh delivering toys to the world’s most well behaved children. And let’s face it, the adults who find random, unexplained gifts in their stockings or under their trees are few and far between, so you can see how the magic gets a little lost, can’t you?

This year, the feeling of Christmas is getting to me. Maybe it’s the twinkling lights on the tree. Maybe it’s the hustle and bustle of the shopping centers. Maybe it’s the small children in my house who finally “get” Santa and don’t cry when they sit on your lap. But I’m soaking up that magical effervescence and sitting down to write you my first letter in years.

Some might scoff at my list of wishes and say, “Yeah right…the big man’ll never deliver!” But then I remember the year, age 11? 12? when I dismissively jotted down three little letters on my list, sure the item would never arrive. But there on Christmas morning was my very own VCR. I had arrived. So yeah, I still believe a little.

And I have some stuff I kind of need. In no particular order.

Hardwood floors: Now I realize that these may be a little cumbersome to get down the old chimney {note to self: open the flue!}, and the weight of those beautiful mahogany planks may weigh down the sleigh a bit. I’ll also accept delivery in the form of your other ride, the Lowe’s delivery truck. You have my address, right?

A clean house: Having those new floors installed in anything other than a spic and span abode just will not do, as it will detract from the beauty of the woodgrain. But how amazing would they look in a bright, shiny, dust and clutter free atmosphere! Special note: I don’t want a cleaning service. I kind of have issues with people coming into my house. Just a clean house will do, thank you.

Knee high boots: Come on. You know I would look foxy.

New car: Not really 100% necessary now, but hey, this is a wish list right? Don’t know how much longer the old ’98 Tacoma’s going to hold out and wouldn’t it be nice to have a second vehicle option that can carry kids? Okay, fine, I still don’t like to drive a stick. There I said it.

Preschool tuition for two…make that three: I need this.

Mac Air/iPad 2/iPhone 4: I know, I know, that’s a lot to ask for. But Pearl — that’s my laptop, in case you were wondering — isn’t going to last forever. In fact she’s just plain ancient in computer years {shhhhh! don’t tell her I said that. She’s sensitive.} And do you know how infuriating it is to see so many people instagramming and facetiming and taking cool screenshots of their iPhone when I’m stuck with my dumb Android? It’s just plain embarrassing. Oh, and please include the appropriate protective cases for each, or else your pal the Easter Bunny’s gonna be getting another letter verrrrrry similar to this one.

A full night’s sleep: Dude, I’m telling you, it’s been forever. What do we have to do to get this kid to stop waking up just for blanket adjustments? Put her on the naughty list? I’m totally game for that.

Lotto numbers: I don’t want like a bajillion dollars or anything. I’ve seen those train wrecks on The Lottery Changed My Life. Just think of this as a back up plan if you can’t secure the hardwood floors, knee high boots, new car, or above referenced Apple products and we’ll call it even. It might even help assuage the sleepless nights.

 

Oh, Santa. We’ve known each other a long time, and you’ve always come through for me. Except for that time I asked for Pulp Fiction and in a move of obvious self promotion left me a copy of The Santa Clause. Not cool, Santa. Not cool. Now is the time to redeem yourself. Here are some cookies.

 

Merrily yours,

Leigh Ann

P.S. Does Mrs. Claus like cats? If so, we have two presents for her. The one who barfs all the time is Buffy and the one who brings home mangled elves answers to Tiger.

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31
This is why I should just not talk to people

I grew up what I describe as painfully shy. Which I later learned came across to a lot of other people as just plain old stuck up. Isn’t it nice when lack of confidence gets mistaken for snobbery? High school’s fun.

Anyway, I grew out of it mostly, or at least I can kind of fake it. I put on that face, turn on my extrovert dial up to eleven, and face whatever I have to face. I truly believe in the motto “fake it ’til you make it.” I faked it so much that I actually did end up shedding a lot of my inhibitions throughout the years.

I’m still talking about my shyness, people. Get your heads out of the gutter.

But I’ve been out of the work force for three and a half years, and damn if I didn’t lose those skills quickly. It’s like I’ve forgotten to how talk to people who don’t whine for my attention, beg me for fishies, or announce to the whole neighborhood that they “had a BIG poo poo.” And did you know it was brown?

No, these days I find myself taking many a false start, eager to get in there, put on my best face, only to find that I’m out of my league, out of my comfort zone, or no one here wants to talk about my kids’ potty etiquette. I mean seriously, who doesn’t want to know that Claire thinks that pee pee and poo poo are “so cute.” But no matter how adorable the bodily fluids are, there’s always that flash of fear that crosses someone’s face when you come up to them at a blogging event and ask calmly, “YOU’RE WENDI AARONS, RIGHT?????” I swear that woman had a knife by her side for the rest of the day, under the clever guise that it was a cooking event. Genius.

Wednesday I claimed my latest victim, the adorable and lovely Casey Jones from TLC’s Quints by Surprise. There I was, roaming the Costco {she shops at my Costco, y’all!}, and there she was, alone–no cameras, no hubby, and no kids. I couldn’t very well let her enjoy that could I? No. I had to approach. I mean, after all, I’ve emailed back and forth with her husband several times to gather info for some articles I’ve written about the family {and seriously, Ethan is one of the nicest people on the planet}. We’re old pals, right? RIGHT?

So here’s me: Is that?….No….maybe…looks like her… {shoves cereal bar into Zoe’s mouth to muffle the impatient whining as I stalk my latest victim}

Here’s Casey: Hmmmm…..should I get the Quaker Oats, or the Nature’s Valley…that box of 72 granola bars is sure to last us a whole 3 days, right? Maybe 4….

And here’s me: Yeah, that totally has to be her.“Zoe, I’m going in!”  Look at me, I’m just another mom in need of bulk items, casually passing by…not stalking…

And here’s Casey: Wow, lady, thanks for walking RIGHT in front of my granola bar selection. Oh, now you’re stopping? Why are you stopping? Keep moving, Toots, I gots kids to feed!

And here’s me again: {feigning surprise, ignorance, or maybe ignorant surprise} “Oh! Are you Casey?”

And Casey: “Yes!” Crap! Anonymity be damned! I just want to buy granola bars!

Me: “Oh!” Didn’t I already say that? “Hi! I’m Leigh Ann!”

And then Casey: “Hi…….” Do I KNOW you? And why are you sweating?

Me: “Blah blah blah…words words words…..LOVE YOUR SHOW! Words words words…blah blah blah,” {maybe some stuttering and throw in an eye twitch for maximum creepiness.}

Casey: “Oh, well thank you!” Maybe if I look REALLY hard at this box, she’ll get the hint and leave, taking that well behaved and amazingly beautiful baby with her! 

And I just don’t stop: “Well, it was nice to meet you! Enjoy your free time! Hahaha, isn’t it funny how shopping at Costco is free time? Hahahahaha!!!” Could I BE any more of an asshole?

See? This is why I shouldn’t be let out of the house without a muzzle, people. I make a total ass out of myself whenever given the slightest chance. That poor woman just wanted to buy some damn groceries without a camera present or someone under three feet tall tugging at her pants leg.

She was sweet as could be, and if she called security on me, it was probably only in my head, but for some reason my membership card doesn’t work anymore?

We {and by “we” I mean “I”} sometimes forget that we feel like we know certain people because we watch them on TV, or even read their blogs. The quints made the Jones’ like local celebrities. But then when we’re met with that deer in the headlights look, we realize: this is a person. A person who is living their life, just like you and me.

Well, maybe with a few more kids.

 

Have you ever run into someone famous, local or not? Do you think the Jones family has put out a restraining order on me yet?

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15
What I wish I’d known about having twins

Several weeks ago I was asked to give my input for an article from iVillage Canada on what I wish I’d known about having twins. Out of the three questions I answered, one of my quotes was chosen to include in the article. I’m so a published reporter now, right?

My friend Nicole, who writes for Live Mom, sent me the query from her source, and although I only had a matter of minutes to send in my answers for the tight deadline, it was interesting looking back throughout the past 3 and a half years and wracking my brain, trying to figure out what, if anything, I wish I had known before having twins. I encourage you to read the entire article, but here I’m showing you all of my answers, including the one that was published.

What I wish I’d known about having twins

I can’t say that there’s anything I wish I’d known. I think every expectant twin mom needs to be prepared for the debilitating lack of sleep and the crying, oh the crying! But with our twins being our first children, we really don’t know any different. We don’t know what parenting one child is like, so for us, ignorance is bliss in a way. As someone told me once, “You’ve never had just one baby, so you don’t realize how hard you’re working with two.”

 

What no one told me about having twins

No one told me that I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Is it hard? Of course. Did we wonder why we were given this challenge? You bet. But once these 2 people enter your life, you can’t imagine life with just one of them. We ask ourselves, “If we had only had one, which one would it be?” I love everything about them both so much that I don’t really want to know.

{This was a loaded question, but really, SO MANY people tell you how hard having twins is going to be, how hard breast feeding is, how good your chances are of ending up in the NICU…I honestly think more expectant twin moms need to know what a complete joy twins are. When they’re not going through the Thundering Threes and driving each other, and you, completely mad.}

 

The most difficult part of having twins

One of the most difficult things about having twins is guilt. You can figure out logistics like feeding them at the same time, or putting one in the swing while you rock the other. But twin moms almost always feel guilty. Guilt for not getting to spend as much one on one time with them. Guilt for having to let one cry while you deal with the other one. Guilt for sometimes wishing there was just one of them. {This was the chosen answer!}

The most difficult part of having identical twins is making sure that they are recognized as individuals and not lumped into a unit. We are constantly asked who is who, even by family. I try my best not to refer to them as “the twins,” because they are more than just a set. They are two very unique individuals, and people need to recognize that, even though they look exactly alike.

{I answered these questions is such a hurry, that I seem to blow off the logistical struggles here, but don’t get me wrong, they did and still do exist. I become a sweaty mess just trying to get three kids, two backpacks, one lunch bag, and that day’s still wet craft projects — two of each — out of the school and into the car with out losing someone or getting run over. But the guilt of having to pick which crying baby to hold and sooth can be crushing.}

 

How can we ever really say what we wish we had known before something as life changing as having multiples, or even having kids in general? Would we want to know the whole truth about the sleepless nights of infancy? The frustrations of feeding struggles? The heartbreak of watching one of your children fight a stomach bug? So many of us fumble through this job called parenthood, learning what we can along the way, passing on tips we’ve picked up to others. But there’s no manual, no real guide to raising all of these children who are all so uniquely different. We prepare in whatever manner we can, we read whatever books are in tune with our personalities, but mostly we wing it.

And right when you feel like you’ve got it down, it changes.

 

What do you wish you’d known before having kids?

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9
An Attitude of Gratitude #21

They're going "in the car." The balls are wheels. Because, well, duh.

Welcome to my Sunday Attitude of Gratitude! Read here to find out why I started this weekly gratitude post.

I know. I’ve been a little absent with AoG. Life has been getting in the way and I haven’t really been feeling it. But like Christian said, I need to push on through and remember the little things that I’m grateful for. November is the month of thanks, after all.

 

So this week I’m loving:

 

  • My health, and that of my family.
  • Days in which we play outside all. freaking. day. In our pajamas, no less.
  • My awesome, hard working, loving, and bad ass husband.
  • Butterflies.
  • Mother’ Day Out, and getting to spend two mornings a week with just Zoe and me.
  • The fact that Rachel and Claire have more than gotten accustomed to their MDO class and absolutely love their teacher and classmates.
  • Loving and helpful MDO teachers who help me get my circus together when it’s time to go home.
  • Claire’s newfound love for Lightening McQueen.
  • November: October is my favorite month, but November brings Thanksgiving and the anticipation of spending time with our loved ones. And eating. Lots and lots of eating.
  • Kipper: the girls’ latest on screen obsession. We’d never heard of it until we cancelled our cable and started streaming Netflix, but they think it’s the best show evah! I have to admit, it is kinda cute.

 

 What made you smile this week? 

 

 

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