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RTLF- #13 Thank God I don’t homeschool*

Well, this is it. Our last official weekend of summer. I’m sad to see this summer go. It was truly the best one on the books. But hells to the no, if I home-schooled, I’d be bald right now. I would have pulled out every last strand of hair in utter panic and frustration. *(Is home school one word or two? This is why my kids education is not up to me) Lesson plans, keeping kids on task, focused uninterrupted learning? HA!

On Tuesday the kids start school. Ahh. Yes. I’m not looking forward to getting up at 6:30 to get the girl out of her bed to drag her to the bus stop. I’m not looking forward to making lunch every day. Not that it’s HARD, but those UNCRUSTABLES don’t get in those lunch boxes by themselves.

I AM looking forward to going into each child’s room and scrounging under their bed and giving away to GOODWILL any last thing they’ve been holding on to for eons, forgotten, covered in cat hair and dust bunnies. Zombie apocalypse here we come- we’ll be able to hide UNDER our beds from now on. Because that wasn’t possible originally.

I am looking forward to having chunks of peace and quiet and the house to myself to watch back to back episodes of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Have you seen Theresa’s hairline? That poor girl needs laser. And a brain transplant. She is off her rocker.

And if Downton Abbey Season 2 comes to Netflix streaming, watch out. Because this bitch is going all PBS on everyone. How I love stiff British people (that’s what she said) and their hierarchies of servant society.

Also with the school year comes soccer practice, Girl Scout meetings, Cub Scout events, PTA meetings, homework, Parent Teacher conferences… washing the PE uniform every weekend. Again- not that it’s HARD, but gosh darn, loading those clothes in the big machine gets tiresome.

Days will get shorter, bed times will be earlier.  Snooze buttons will be beat to hell.

But this is how it is – The Circle of Life. Cue Elton John please. Not the baby lion cub born, daddy lion dies- circle of life. I’m talking about the school Circle of Life. Autumn, back to school clothes (I might need a back to school handbag and boots), flannel sheets, Halloween, then the holidays…. and then we start again with Spring and our desire to crawl out of our holes again to summer and feel the sun on our faces.

I think I’m ready for it.

OH and I asked the Google, and Homeschool IS one word.

Dear Working Mothers- you are the shiz

Please know SAHM, I am not dissing you. I am a SAHM myself. I think we’ve got one of, THE HARDEST, thankless, jobs on the planet.

But last week kicked my arse. My lilly white, dimpled, jiggly, arse. I don’t know how women leave the house, looking decent, and then proceed to come home and take care of all the chillin’s and house work and such.

Ever since my lovely brood has come into this world, I have not worked outside the home. I am so, so, so grateful for being able to stay home. My husband has been blessed enough in a job to provide for us. We have worked it out financially so that I can stay home. Would he want another income? Heck yeah! But I think sometimes what I’ve given up in income has supported him in so many ways that he wouldn’t know where to begin to count. The fact that I’m always available to take the children, drop them off at activities, care for them when they are sick- let’s him do his work thing without many limitations.

In the early years when the children are young, when you have to wipe bottoms, wipe faces, sticky hands, change your clothes 3 times a day from puke and errant oatmeal, bathe, clothe, entertain them constantly- working outside the home sounds kind of like a relief! A break! You can get dressed in nicer clothes, wear a bra, put on make up, wear jewelry that little chubby hands won’t rip out of your ears. Wear a blouse that a wandering fist from a two year old boy won’t reach into and hold on for comfort.

Ahh- to shake off those little ankle biters for some adult conversation, stimuli and a paycheck! AND maybe a coffee break or lunch you can eat uninterrupted! (of course, I ate at my desk almost every flippin’ day for my boss to holler from his office for some mundane question like, how to send an email, which would have me up and down and eating between hollers.)

So now my children are older. I have long stretches of time when we are at home together, they are doing their thing, I’m doing my thing. Like right now- I hear Adventure Time on the Cartoon Network in the other room. I’m sitting here typing in a different room. So far, no one has said, “mo–ooommmmmmm! can you get me some juice” even the dog hasn’t bothered me. This is kind of weird actually…

In fact, I do get some moments of peace. And when they go to school, I have the freedom of the time from 8:30 until 3 to get my day going in the way I choose. Does this always happen? No. I seem to always have an appointment, errand, chore or duty that will inevitably distract me from staying on course and actually getting a project done, like cleaning out my closet. Allison over at  Motherhood WTF describes this to a T! She nails it when it comes to what we actually get done.

I’m a volunteer queen. I have done PTA since Emma was in Kindergarten. Before that, I was chairperson to her preschool board for several years. Once Owen came along and was old enough for preschool, I stepped down, and that’s when I went right into PTA.

I loved the idea of PTA. I have memories of when my mom would come to school to help with something. Just seeing her in the building made my heart swell with comfort. Knowing mom was near. I felt special. I figured I would do the same for my kids. Giving them that feeling that I was connected to their education, letting their teachers know I supported all they did. Staying abreast of the administration and what goes on inside the building. All good things.

So I started with small committees, help in the classroom, fundraisers. Then boom- I helped chair the Talent Show. Well, the rest is history. I chaired 5 talent shows, served as President for 2 years, continued to chair events, tutoring in the school, and now I’m back to being President at the middle school level AND Vice President at the district level, or council, is what we call it. Look at me, I’m such an over achiever.

I feel the need, get asked, and continue to fulfill. It’s my duty. I’m a sucker, I know. I’m always reluctant. I’m not volunteering to volunteer. I am asked and then feel kinda guilty. Or feel, well, yeah, heck- might as well. Hey- it keeps me out of the mall spending all my time playing at Sephora like a crack head.

The family seems to always grumble when they know something is coming up for me to do, whether it’s a big auction or back to school event. Owen hates when I leave for my weeknight meetings. But I think it’s because they are used to me being around 24/7 .  Going out for an evening meeting a few times a month is a good thing for them to realize that, mommy is a person who can do things out of the house. Is he at a friend’s house playing or on XBOX while I’m gone? Usually. So he’s just being a stinker.

Last week, I left the house in the morning three days in a row to be at the PTA table for the middle school’s registration days. Emma was in charge at home babysitting herself and Owen. They had play dates and friends to entertain them as well. Some of the time they were just home hanging out. I would come home for lunch or a mid day break. I went back to the school. I got home around 2:30. That’s pretty early in the day, right?

But I was SPENT! I had nothing left in me after talking, smiling, gesturing, thinking, being charming, articulate…. you get the idea. It worked muscles and neurons in me that get to snooze most of the day. Being ON is hard work! I recruited parents, answered questions, engaged with staff. My face hurt from smiling.

Then on Saturday, it was our region’s Fall training. A whole day of classes and once again, I was there to help check people in, answer questions, facilitate sessions. I needed to look like a smart, edumacated person. Not just a mom who lounges around in yoga pants, blogging all day with Real Housewives in the back ground.

I made a trip to the grocery store on the way home and was home just before 5:30. I had left that morning at 7:15. I didn’t have nearly  enough to eat or caffeine consumption I would’ve preferred throughout the day. So I came home sleepy and famished. It took forever to restart my buttons. I was exhausted, but restless. I wanted to walk the dog outside, but curl up on the couch.

I was left thinking, is this what it would be like if I worked all day? Would I be a complete pile of useless flesh and bones on the couch every night? Would we be forced to eat mac n cheese and take-out for the rest of our lives?

Nothing got done last week. No laundry, no cleaning, no straightening.

I suppose getting in a routine of this, I would figure out a way.

Hearing from some other blogger mom’s that worked out of the home helped me see the beauty in some of their achievements. Younger kids off to day care, sometimes getting home a little before the husband picks up the kids to get some straightening done, or errands. Nobody home during the day to mess up the house. Having cleaners come in to clean while you aren’t home and the kids are in day care, seems like heaven to me!

Then there’s the group working FROM home and being in charge of little kids.  Dear God,  now THAT seems like a challenge. Holy shit! How would you get ANYTHING done? That’s like brushing your teeth with a mouthful of Oreos. Unproductive.

OR the husband that works from home while you are trying to do all the household stuff and he’s just another mouth to feed and body to clean around. BLERG! Drives me crazy.

I have to say that whatever your schedule is, working out of the home mom, working from the home mom, stay at home mom, I hope that you have found balance. This isn’t a mommy wars piece. I am not arguing the merits of one versus the other. Or trying to ‘out do’ other moms. Like birth stories trying to one-up each other over who had it worse- ‘well, my perineum split in two and had to be stapled together during the birth of my son.’  ‘oh yeah, well, when my milk came in my daughter latched incorrectly and chewed off my nipple and then I got double mastitis’. Yeah- that’s not what I’m going for here.

A frickin MEN!

I love my SAHM existence and really don’t want anything to rock that boat. Those days that I’m off for volunteer duties will just require a lot of pre-planning and organizing.

And seriously, why HAVEN’T the kids bothered me by now? They are too old to shave the dog or play with Sharpies…. oh wait. YouTube. I gotta go- I think someone just googled inverted nipples instead of invertebrates.

The Girl with the Anus Tattoo (NSFW)

It’s not a tattoo OF an anus people. It’s a tattoo ON her anus. And no, it’s not a brown star. It’s a guy’s name. Or two guys’ names. I lost track.

I just learned that NSFW means, Not Suitable For Work. Of course, I’m a SAHM (Stay at Home Mom) so I should have a NSFK warning. Not Suitable for Kids- if you wondered.

Because the words ‘anal tattoo’ in the headline wasn’t clue enough that this is something you SHOULDN’T be reading with your boss ( or kids) hovering over your shoulder.

So the article, and video, yes, video people, shows this girl having a tattoo needled onto her anus, butt hole, poop maker, in PUBLIC. PUBLIC.  I don’t have any tattoos. I’m too chicken. And I can’t commit to what kind of bedroom furniture I want, let alone, permanent ink on my body. If at 18 I had gotten a tattoo, it would have been something stupid like, a lipstick tube or a clown. I don’t know. Just glad I didn’t make that mistake.

Reading the full article and watching the video horrifies and saddens me at the same time.

I know people do interesting things with their body parts. Nipple piercings, labia piercings. Tattoos on their privates. Sure. Whatever you fancy. The anus is/can be, an erogenous zone. I’m not really ‘going there’, but I get that there’s stuff people do.

Bending over and having someone tattoo my hemorrhoid zone- ISN’T ONE OF THEM!

This girl is fucked up. Plain and simple. She has been abused, jailed, messed with. I realize she comes from a place I will never know. But to all the leerers, jeerers and folks oogling at this woman with her nipples taped over and her ass up for view- shame on you. Is this your daughter? Your wife? I mean, free expression is one thing. But I feel that she’s getting more of the same negative attention in her life by doing this, that she has experienced in the past. She isn’t breaking the cycle. Maybe she’ll get some money, attention, a book deal? I think she’s a good person. I just think she is going down the wrong path.

Maybe if Garry Marshall wrote the screenplay of her life, some sweet Ryan Gosling type,  would have jumped up on stage with his overcoat and whisked her away to a therapist and a spa, and a laser tattoo removal specialist. Not that she needs a guy to rescue her, it’s that she needs a man to say, ‘hey- you don’t need to tattoo my name on your rectal sphincter area for me to like you’.  And they would live happily ever after, in the ‘burbs with a dog. And she would plant things at the community garden and give the proceeds to charity….

So there’s my two cents on butt hole tattoo girl. I feel sad for her. If she has children, that butt hole might not look as pretty in the future. Or she might want to tattoo some flowers around the skin tags and hemorrhoids and episiotomy scar.

I’ll keep mine to myself, in the dark, not bleached, not tattooed, and just clean. Thanks.

Here’s the video and article:

Anal Tattoo Girl

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RTLF #12

There are many things to be thankful for. Like, clean water, coffee and feminine hygiene products that I don’t have to take to the river to wash for the next month. I know, I know.

But today’s RTLF (Reason to Live Friday) list is going to be sense of humor and forgiveness. It goes like this folks.

Forgiveness in a family is key. Not like, oh, “I’m sorry to my mother in law for stealing her lefse recipe” (my mother in law doesn’t really make lefse.) Okay, OR- I’m sorry I forgot my nephew’s birthday and didn’t send a gift. Those types of things are all forgivable. Yes. Especially if EVENTUALLY you send your newphew a birthday gift. OR double up on his Christmas gift. Either one is good.

BUT- what I’m talking about is family’s forgiveness because their mom (that would be me) is losing her shit and you need to talk her off the ledge. Or, say, maybe the daughter doesn’t have clean underwear and the husband doesn’t have clean socks. When it’s YOUR job to you know, take care of the house keeping and shit, it’s kinda lame when you don’t actually get to the house keeping part.

This is because my super human skills as a volunteer have been activated. I am PTA on two boards. Yes, count them. Two. Boards.

My family thinks I’m crazy. I think I’m crazy. Don’t hate me with your PTA stereotypes. I’ve got this. I’m the cool chick who brings a flask to meetings and shows up in pajama pants. JUST KIDDING! First, I’m too much of a square to actually bring the flask I have. (It has a honey badger on it and it reads, “Honey Badger don’t give a shit”. Thanks Molly!) I would die if someone got the wrong idea and thought I was some lush of a mom and called CPS. Second, I don’t leave the house in pajama pants. Yoga pants. Of course. But I did go without make up these last three days to our registration/orientation. I figure that I will lower their expectations. If I show up all fancy dancy, sporting false eyelashes and contoured features, they aren’t going to know what hit them when I have a bad morning and show up all naked faced to drop off flyers some random day of the school year. You follow?

Next PTA event, I’ll just throw on some concealer and gloss. By the end of the year, I’ll be full faced in make up and it won’t be such a big deal.  I’ll look like a Before and After makeover photo from Ladies’ Home Journal. Whatever, I’m rambling.

The point is, I left the house early three mornings in a row this week. I came back mid afternoon and I was exhausted. My mind was numb from all the chatting, smiling and making-nice. I didn’t have anything left for the basic house stuff. How do you working mom’s do it? (future post <=== right there)

Okay- Sense of Humor- Remember two weeks ago when we were in the plush accommodations of the Grand Wailea resort in Maui? When we did all kinds of wonderful umbrella drinks, dinners, luaus…. ah yeah. This week, we are practically dirt poor. Not to make fun of poor people. Emma says, ‘mom- we are not poor. The man that wears that same coat all year and goes up and down the street talking to himself, he’s poor’. She has a point.

What I mean is, we pretty much spent any extra dollars on vacation, and then little ol’ me- the mastermind of this house (Remember, I’m the ‘house KEEPER’?) paid too many bills this pay period. Yeah. You heard me. Paid too much. Last year, about this time- I paid our mortgage twice in one month. How? Hmm, not sure. Was I drinking while on bill payer? Sure, maybe my 3rd cup of tea. But maybe it’s just the end of summer mush brain. Like the kids are needing flash cards and reading assignments to exercise their brain- maybe I need routine, like getting up early to make lunches, drive to the bus stop, wash soccer gear and PE uniforms to sharpen my mom brain. It seems late August brings out the ditz in me. Paying the mortgage TWICE is dumb people. It doesn’t leave a whole lot of extra money for the other bills. Kinda like what I did again this month.

So the reason my family needs a sense of humor, is because we kinda, sorta have no money for the next 8 days. No biggy. We’ll be fine. There’s bread and peanut butter in the pantry. The kids have their school supplies. I think we have enough toilet paper and pet food. See? Ha ha!! Isn’t that funny everyone? Hey family- don’t you just LOVE mama’s sense of humor? Too bad I’m not Snooki, and can’t just book a red carpet appearance for $50,000 when I’m short on cash.

Glass half full people. Glass half full.

Okay- well, I’m off to do laundry and collect cans on the side of the road if you need me.

I Did- 15 years ago today.

Holy bajeezus, today is my 15 year wedding anniversary!

I remember this vividly!

McSweetie and I have been married 15 years!! How did this happen? I mean, it FEELS like 15 years sometimes. But most of the time it feels shorter. Like just a few years. Although we are parents to a 12 and 9 year old so I guess I should expect this.

Like any marriage, there’s compromise and sacrifice. He compromises his Saturday nights to watch the Lifetime network with me and I sacrifice a clean bathroom so that he can shave his virile, hairy face.

I admit in the beginning of our relationship, I was a little bossy. I’m sure friends and family of his, were like, are you sure about this girl? She’s a little high strung! I get kinda snippy when I’m hungry, okay?? Lots of people do! And I get a little grumpy once a month. Yeah, sure it lasts, like, two weeks, but hey- I can’t help it!

But there are some things I’ve taught him. For instance- Olive Garden is not the end-all in Italian dining. This, he did not know to be true in 1995 when we first met. He hadn’t really been to fancy restaurants downtown, or ‘foodie’ places. I have definitely expanded his horizons when it comes to his dining palette. He thought dressing up for a date was wearing his favorite fishing sweatshirt. I know, I know. A guy with such good looks can’t be wasted on logo wear and outfits bought at Dick’s Sporting Goods. I’ve expanded his wardrobe now too. He looks like any red-carpet walking, downtown strutting guy, when he wants to.

And even though he can drive me to crazy town sometimes, I’m still bananas for him. He gives me a lot of freedom. A lot of expression. He humors my ‘whims’ often. Sometimes, though, he does stupid stuff like take me out on date night with the gas gauge on ‘empty’, he must know by now that it totally irks me. Funny story- when we were driving up to the florist for our wedding, we had bunches and bunches of flowers and ivy to bring her for the displays, he ran out of gas. On the freeway. On a Thursday night at 7 o’clock. Friends of ours lived in the city and we called them (yes, we had cell phones in 1997) and they came and brought us gas, THANK GOD! See? That jerk! He knows it still makes me bonkers driving on empty, but he does it anyway.

But here is what makes me love him and even fold his socks for him- He’s an AWESOME DAD. He works hard for his family. He is Owen’s den leader for Cub Scouts and helps coach soccer. He obsesses over events like Pinewood Derby races, Raingutter Regata boats and cake decorating contests. He’s very thorough, analytical and calculating. Yes- this can drive me nuts since he’s not a spontaneous, throw me on the counter make all sorts of sweet love to me, kind of guy. But that’s okay, the counters are pretty cluttered these days. He attends Emma’s performances and school events. Helps her with projects, teaches the kids strategy and games. Takes them to soccer and football games. Best Dad Ever!

He doesn’t mind when I go out with my girlfriends. He understands my volunteer efforts (doesn’t always like them, but understands and supports them.) He pretends my obsession with cosmetics, handbags, and cardigans isn’t unhealthy. I love the enabler in him!

Here’s what I do for him. I manage our daughter’s pre-teen mood swings. I figure all the stuff he does for Owen, just me being there for Emma when she goes into sobs for no good reason, means plenty to him that he doesn’t deal with that emotional powder keg!

Yes, I do a lot more for him. But honestly- while he was snoozing on the couch (after taking Owen to both Cub Scouts AND soccer practice tonight), I was soothing Emma in a crying fit of ‘I don’t know why I’m crying, but please stroke my hair mommy and don’t leave the room yet’. You know. The ‘I want you when I want you, unless I’m busy with my friends, then I’ll want you later’ whims of an adolescent girl! Yeah, that.

So in the end, I think what describes us best, is we are a TEAM. He and I. Me and Him. We go good together. He’s the peanut butter in my chocolate. The snap in my crackle, pop. The yin to my yang. We are pretty damn good for each other. I thank God for him every day. I pray we have 15 more years of wedded bliss. Then 15 more. Then 15 more…. You get the idea.

Love you babe!

We sealed that deal in a big Catholic ceremony in front of many friends and family. Our song was Etta James’, At Last. The best.

He told me on our honeymoon I was “Pot Pie Hot”. It’s stuck ever since.

I met the Bloggess and she drew a picture of her reaching into a cow’s vagina.

I know! Right?

First of all, if you don’t know who I’m talking about, why do you even bother reading MY blog? Just kidding.

The Bloggess aka Jenny Lawson, is one of my favorite bloggers. She used to be the ONLY blogger I knew of until I, myself,  started blogging. Now I know a whole bunch and there’s many that are my favorites. Last year I read, And That’s Why You Should Learn To Pick Your Battles, about the giant metal chicken she bought herself when her husband threatened her not to get new towels. It’s a hilarious post, almost satirical, on the mechanisms of marriage.

The Bloggess’ book, Let’s Pretend this Never Happened has been a NY Times best seller for over 15 weeks now. She’s been featured in magazines, will be on the new Katie Couric show soon, and has been featured on networks like ABC and CNN. So despite her obscurity, she has several thousand, if not a million, awkward fans who belong to her club. We feel like she is our new leader of the mentally health challenged, socially awkward, fan club. Quirky doesn’t begin to describe her.

She writes with wild abandon about her marriage, depression, anxiety, vagina, and childhood.

Speaking of vaginas– the chapter called, “If You Need an Arm Condom, It Might Be Time to Reevaluate Some of Your Life Choices, (Alternative Title: High School Is Life’s Way of Giving You a Record Low to Judge the Rest of Your Life By). A little wordy, I admit, but wait until you read it. Jenny grew up in rural Texas and her high school had an Ag barn (that’s Agriculture Barn for you non rurals out there.) She was offered a field trip along to an animal husbandry class with some classmates. Not having anything better to do, she obliged. Yes, this is where they artificially inseminate a cow.

Let’s just paraphrase and say, if you aren’t laughing by the time she’s discussing the arm condom, her hand in the cow’s vagina, and her leaving the turkey baster in that cow’s vagina, then I don’t know what is wrong with you.

Cutting to the chase:

Last night at the book signing, Jenny was incredibly patient and jovial with all her fans. Weird and socially awkward were welcome. We brought gifts- taxidermied things, metal chickens, squirrel toys. I didn’t bring her any of these things. No. I brought her Cat Butt gum. That’s what us tasteful folks bring. Yeah.

When it got to my turn, I asked if she would sign the cow page (there’s a cow graphic on the title page, nothing related to the animal husbandry chapter) and would she mind drawing a stick figure of herself reaching into the cow’s vagina?

She graciously replied, “Of course I will. I’m surprised no one else has asked me to do this.” And that my friends is how Jenny signed her book. And since Seattle was her last, last, last, stop on her tour- I felt like one of the cool kids who did something new and unique. Around The Bloggess, that is a huge compliment. Because she is one of a kind. And I think so many of us are grateful for the entertainment and hilarity she brings us.

Also, I like the chapter on when she OD’ed on Ex Lax and thought her cat was a burglar. What? You want more? You have to buy the book then.

You’re welcome.

I mean, is that the best, or what?

You can’t see that I’m shaking in this picture, I’m so excited.

RTLF #11 Affirmation

I remember an exercise I did at a church youth retreat in 9th grade. We broke up into groups and were assigned names of people from the other groups. We had to come up with a list of things we liked about that person, you know- thought were funny, kind, described them. Anything. And then share them with the big group all together for them to hear.

What I didn’t expect was how I would feel hearing the affirming things that the group said about ME. I was floored. People think THAT about me?? I mean, so often, we know our friends hang out with us, like us, or maybe we don’t know if someone likes us. Hearing things like, “she always makes us laugh”, “she makes these funny facial expressions that crack us up” (hmm, we know about this don’t we?) was a total game changer for me. I always felt awkward, unattractive, klutzy. Now, I realized, people liked those silly qualities!

I came away from that feeling so full. What a great exercise. We need affirmation all the time. Some people are shy of compliments. Some people are compliment whores (ahem, I don’t know what you are talking about!). But whether it is a spoken word, a written note, or an action, affirmation is what gives us that feeling of, “yep, I’m worth it”. Not in a L’Oreal kind of way folks.

When I started this blog, I was hungry for affirmation. I wanted to be told all the time- good job, ooh funny, you are so talented…. blah blah blah. And I did get this. From my mom. From a few friends. It was great.

Now folks are reading that I never imagined would read. I have been mentioned on the Huffington Post for gosh sakes! I’ve been given kudos from a blogger I so greatly admire, People I Want To Punch In The Throat, listed me as one of her top 10 funny bloggers on Babble.com. And even sometimes on Twitter, I’ll get a compliment from someone in the biz, or whatever, that makes me gush.

There’s several blogs and writers out there I admire. Kind of, look up to, like the cool kids on campus. When they share my work, I am overjoyed. Like when my son says something sweet to me. My heart takes wings and soars.

Affirmation feels good when I’m given a Blogger Award from another blogger out there. These aren’t like ones that come with plaques and statues at award ceremonies, non blogging folks, they are like chain letters of the Internets, but in a good way. My first award came from Heather at B(itch)log. I was stunned! She’s all snarky and bitchy, and is a WRITER, that likes little ol’ me. ME? It felt good, let me tell you.

And then when others came along, I couldn’t believe it.

It feels good to be told someone likes you. Likes what you do. Or what you write. That they were moved, or changed by it in some way.

I want my children to feel affirmation every day. I want to smile to them when I walk in the room. Or they come home from school, I want them to see me happy to see them. I want my husband to walk in the door after a long day at work, and know that I appreciate him.

I want bloggers to know how much I like their stuff. How much I revere their writing and their talents. How so many of them help shape me in my posts. It’s like they unlock a little treasure chest in my brain for what is possible. All those things floating around in there that were suppressed with yoga pant wearing Gymboree runs, or serious, studious college days. ( I was such a square.) Now I get goofy ideas, and I think, ‘hey that would make a great blog’. And usually you guys embrace the goofy with me and it makes me super happy.

So my point is, share affirmation whenever you get the chance. Tell your children, your spouse, your mom, what you appreciate them for.

Share writers that you love. Pieces of work that touch you. If you think they are ‘too popular’, ‘too big’ to care- not true. I look at pages with thousands more fans than me, and I know that they too, enjoy compliments.

What I love about blogging, and people who don’t blog seem to always ask me WHY I blog if I’m not getting paid, is that it opens up my world and relationships to people out there dealing with things I may never have been exposed to otherwise. Getting my news and updates from Yahoo or CNN or EOnline is fine. But reading what people have lived, struggled through, overcome; that is what sticks with me throughout the day and shapes me. Not only that, but reading about other people’s episiotomy horror stories or embarrassing things their kids say at Starbucks, can be incredibly entertaining!

So with that, I will mention some big blogs and little blogs that inspire me, entertain me, and make me want to keep writing.

I Want a Dumpster Baby

This girl gets the Miss Congeniality award. Everyone loves Katy! AMIRIGHT? She is pregnant with twins, but her road from addiction and depression, to her struggles with infertility, inspire me every day to be a better me. She chooses happiness and is the most furkin’ positive, hilarious creature. I’m amazed by her.

Craughing

The horrors this woman has come back from and kicked ass through, amaze me. Her perspective and truth about dealing with an abusive ex, will compel you to make a choice each day to be who YOU want to be, and never give up.

Mary Tyler Mom

MTM will grab your heart and change it forever. She has lost her daughter Donna, to pediatric brain cancer, and now, she is chronicling her story of trying to adopt a baby. Her writing weaves in and out of your psyche and doesn’t let go. You will wonder how she gets up in the morning with all she’s been through. But like so many out there, she faces the day with purpose and intellect and soul.

These are just a FEW, I mean, there are SO MANY others. People write of their failure, their fears, their triumphs. I am moved, humbled and enlightened every time I open up one of their posts to read. I hope you will be too. You’ll notice the trend in their writing is their gratitude. Not in a sappy, drippy, make you sick way, but in a ‘wow, if they can find it, so can I’ way.

Remember to smile, give a compliment, tell someone how great they are. It can make a HUGE difference. Just think of what our world would be like if more people felt their worth, their affirmation from those around them. It would be AMAZING.

Practice rather than preach. Make of your life an affirmation, defined by your ideals, not the negation of others. Dare to the level of your capability then go beyond to a higher level. ~Alexander Haig

The most unattractive pictures of me EVAH!

People say nice things when I post a pic of myself with the kids or McSweetie on Facebook. They say, oh so photogenic, or, how pretty!

Well, that’s very kind, and I love hearing that. BUT, what they don’t know is that we went through several attempts to get that photo.

I do weird, spazzy shit in photos. In social situations I’m always talking or eating. So pretty much my mouth is in some strange position. I look like I’m going to vomit, or I’m about to have diarrhea, or give birth to Satan’s baby.

So I thought I would go through our albums and give you a tutorial on the worst. It’s like ripping off a band-aid. It’s gonna hurt at first. But it might feel good to reveal the truth.

If I’m ever in a social situation with you, and you snap my picture, you can expect to do a lot of cropping and retaking. Also, when I think something is going to be funny, usually captured in a picture just looks deranged. For example:

And this one is the winner. It takes the cake for, “I thought it would be a good idea but in the end, I look ridiculous.”

You’re Welcome. There’s plenty where that came from.

Ohana means family

I learned that from Lilo and Stitch. Pretty much anything I knew about Hawaii before going, I learned from Disney. That, and Mele Kalikimaka means Merry Christmas.

I couldn’t wait to see fire dancers and flower leis. Oh and eat pineapple. Here’s what vacation taught me:

Humuhumunukunukuapua’a is the state fish. It’s not as hard to say if you break it down.

Humu humu nuku nuku apua’a. See? That wasn’t so hard, was it?

The Grande Wailea is a gorgeous resort. Every time I ordered a $15 pina colada, I kept thinking of how many meals that money could buy a child in a 3rd world country.

They have this commemorative cup you can buy of either a plastic pineapple or a tiki. It’s $22. Every time you want it refilled, it’s only the cost of the drink you want. Come again? That’s like on Portlandia, ‘It’s complimentary after you pay for it’.

I don’t drink that much, so I guess, I wouldn’t get my money’s worth. I’m guessing the ounces it holds is more than the dinky plastic cup they bring you from the pool bar. So if your gonna get sloshed on $15 pina coladas all day at the pool, you might as well drink it out of a pineapple and get twice as much. That’s what they say anyway.

People told us we would be so pampered at this place. That it’s luxurious and heavenly. Well, it is. But pampering comes with  a price. If you are just an average Joe (no affront to real people named Joe out there), but just plain ol’ folks who fly coach and bring their own nuts and dried fruit on a plane, you will get fine accommodations. The beds are comfy, the bathrooms are gorgeous in the rooms. All granite and huge. The pool and gardens are beautiful. The restaurants have beautiful food.

These garden paths smelled amazing from all the tropical flowers.

But if you want to be ‘pampered’, that costs money. Cabanas are $400 a day. You get chilled towels and Otter Pops brought to you. I, however, sat on my regular chaise that I positioned under the palm trees to get optimum shade and ate my almonds and bottled water I brought from my room. The ones I brought  from home, by the way. And dried apricots. We splurged and got pool side snacks and drinks at lunchtime. It’s okay, it only costs $70 for lunch. (sarcasm font there people.)

At least you get your money’s worth when it comes to the hot dogs:

Anyone hungry?

Luaus are so much fun. Even a vegetarian can enjoy themselves. You don’t have to eat the Kalua pig they pull out of the ground they’ve been roasting all day. Poor piggy. There’s seafood and veggies too. We had a lot of fun that night.

The pros are the pretty ladies in coconuts and the fellas in loin cloths. There was something for the eyes to feast on for both McSweetie and I.  Apparently, our preteen daughter thought so too.  After the men’s fire dance, the one dancer guy that looked like Jacob Black without a shirt, got a huge applause from our table. It wasn’t just me. There were whistles coming from Emma.

I wasted no time getting my picture with him afterwards. Hey, you gotta get near half naked sweaty bronze guys when you get the chance, okay? No judging!

Gee, could I smile any bigger?

We were happy to finally be home. Our pets were really happy to see us too. Sadly, Owen came back with an ear infection from the ocean water.

I’ve been awake since 2 am Maui time today. Am I seriously supposed to do laundry, and feed these people like any other day home? Gah.

I will be exfoliating and applying lotions and product to myself today. I’m still itchy and burned, and now peeling, in places.

There will be more normalcy and routine these next few days. Please, please God okay?

McSweetie bought me this Tshirt. (sarcasm font again people)

RTLF #10 If the Olympic announcers commentated on my daily life

After Huff Post named me as one of their top mom and dad blogs of the week, I’ve decide to repost this one. I’m good at recycling, I believe in Mother Earth, so I’m doing my part!

Huffington Post: Mom and Dad Blogs of the Week

For my Reasons To Live Friday, and I have many reasons, believe me, I’m going to have to say blogging is giving me more reasons. I love the folks I’ve met online, the community of bloggers, and even friends and neighbors who reach out to me because of it.

Thanks for reading and supporting me too!

 

 

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I have watched the Olympics all my life. I remember Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton, and even Kerri Strugg. Those are gymnasts by the way, in case you haven’t followed the Games like I have.

Now I’m watching with my kids. And every night before I go to bed. I LOVE the Olympics. But the gymnastics on until fucking midnight is not doing me any favors. I have Al Trautwig’s voice in my head throughout the day. Tim Daggett and Elfi Schlegel are like my inner voice. These gymnasts are doing fucking amazeballs skills on 4 inches of  beam, a floor, some high bars. I mean come on. They’re all like, ‘oh, did you see the bobble?’, ‘that little step to the side will cost her gold’.  Stuff like that.

Could you guys look a little more excited?

I can only imagine if they followed me around all day and gave color commentary on everything I do. It would go something like this:

Me getting out of bed, creaky on my feat and hobbling from soon- to-be 40 joints.

Elfi- “This is not one of her strong routines. She’s looking slower and tired each morning. The alarm has gone off and she’s a little slow out of the gate. This will be a two-tenths deduction.”

Al- “Do you think that the years are starting to take a toll on her? This isn’t some 28 year old first time mom anymore. She’s a veteran now in her age bracket.’

Me putting on the kettle to make my tea, getting out my thyroid meds, the cat food and letting out the dog to go pee.

Tim- “She used to not have to take so many medications. I think she knows she’s slowing down, but still hanging in there. If you think this is something new in this year’s routine, wait until you see all the vitamins, chia seeds, and crazy green stuff she drinks to keep her edge.”

Me spilling tea on my t-shirt.

Elfi- “Her skills walking and drinking are almost always clean. Ooh, a little bobble there. That’ll be a one-tenth deduction. If she wants to stay clean until her cup of coffee after 2nd breakfast, she’s going to have to tighten her game here.”

Me scooping the cat box.

Al- “This is the kind of thing she dreamed of as a kid. She always wanted pets. Remember, she was the one who didn’t want the dog. But realized scooping cat poop is no fun either. I see no no clumps have been left behind, this will score well with the judges. And here comes the cat…”

Me getting in my skinny jeans.

Tim- “She always has such heart with every performance. Don’t ignore the fact that these jeans are out of the dryer. The difficulty in this routine is so much higher than the other moms who just slap on a pair of yoga pants. She’s getting in them…look at her squeeze into them! But she nailed the landing, she’s going to win favor over the judges for sure!”

Have you been keeping track of my deductions? I think I’m somewhere around a score of 8.5 right? Not bad I guess.

Someone out there must think I’m a 10.

Excuse me, I just sneezed-

Tim- “She bobbled a little there, well, actually, she dribbled a little with that sneeze. That’s a two-tenths deduction for sure just wetting her pants like that. This is what separates the older competitors from the younger ones. She’ll be back in the gym with those kegels for sure after this.”