Sing it, Johnny!

Don’t you want to enjoy whatever Christmas means to you?

You guys. Don’t tell my husband but… I am listening to Christmas music. I know. I know. Its early. Thanksgiving is 2.5 weeks away. I am usually “allowed” to start breaking out my Frank Sinatra Christmas CD the evening that we are decorating the Christmas tree.  Now, I am a sucker for some traditions, so ole blue eyes will remain in the dusty CD storage until the Coleman Christmas tree enters. For now, I am using Pandora ( which still blows my mind that you can get free amazing music).

Before you know it, I will be losing my ever loving mind trying to clean and get ready for us to have Thanksgiving.  We took on this tradition a few years ago and I do love it! Husband is a bad ass cook and I love to bake ( and drink wine!).  Usually I head downtown to do the 5 mile Turkey Trot but this year I may just run with some of my favorite running buddies local.  This is also the time that GG ( my grandma but the kids call her GG for Great Grandma) comes up and then stays with us during the winter months! We also started a family tradition of playing Apples to Apples were one of my BFFs ( S) comes over after her family dinner to have just ” a little bit” of wine and some laughs! Its usually a long fun night ending in more wine by the fireplace.

What I don’t love is what happens the day after. Now, I am not referrering to Black Friday where people much braver and motived than me ( and maybe a tad crazier) go stand in line for hours upon hours to get a pair of pajama pants for $5.  What I am taking about is the text, phone calls and emails from the family asking what my darling little angels would like this year for Christmas. I am forced to copy and paste some bullshit that I find on toyrus. com just to make the texts and emails stop. As I am giving them these ideas, my mind is focused on the fact that this is just more stuff. More mind numbing toys that my kids will like for maybe 5 minutes and then they will be off doing what they love most- asking me for snacks and refining the definition of fight club for our home with  the “hockey stick” addition sprinked in with “hula hoops can also be used as a weapon”.

Here’s the thing… I LOVE the family ( welp. most of them.) and they are all so very generous when it comes to Christmas and the kids but we do not need more stuff. In fact, I am in a scurry just to try to declutter the house now before GG arrives and before the holidays. This includes all toys, clothes, books, etc.

What I want my kids to have our memories and experiences. Come and take Madeline out to a play and lunch. Grant is obsessed with trains. Take him somewhere we would never take him to have an adventure. Don’t want to spend 1-1 time… then gift cards to movies, the aquarium, Disney on Ice ( shoot me, now) , an Indians game next spring, or a day pass to go tobogganing. Money towards monthly gymnastics fees or swim lessons. Let’s think outside the box, here. Teach my children something I can’t.  Can you sew?  Great. Teach my daughter. Master Lego builder?  Awesome. I will drop Grant off for 2 hours with snacks.  In fact, I want to do the “4 things for Christmas” for the kids ( want, need, wear and read) along with a few fun stocking stuffers.

And while I am at- I am done this year. Done. Done with doing brunches and dinners and breakfasts just so we can cross it ( as well as so you can cross us) off the “Holiday To Do” lists. Everyone can feel how forced, awkward and awful it is. No one wants to be there. Everyone is counting down the minutes until its over. Why?  Why are we doing this year after year after year?  I want to spend this time with my darling friends. I want to have a Christmas Holiday pajama party with hot cocoa, yummy food and fun holiday movies with my kiddos and some friends. I want to use this time to reconnect with friends that I have lost touch with over marathon training and “momming”. I want to sit by the Christmas tree with husband drinking an amazing red while Frank belts out all of my favorite songs. I want to bake cookies with my MIL, SIL and daughter.

Its time to Coleman this Christmas.  I encourage you to do the same.  Hate mailing out Christmas cards? Stop. Got to travel all day long for Christmas just to be in the car more than someones house? Stop. Buying pointless gifts for someone just because that is how it is always been done? Stop.

What if this is your last Christmas?  Your last holiday season with those that you love. Don’t you want to enjoy whatever Christmas means to you?

21 days

How many parents are marking off the days until school starts? 21 days until M starts 1st grade. 21 days for me to have her home and not in school all day for the first time. The other day, M and G were fighting all.day. long.  The fights were over everything.  M counted how many pretzels I gave G and then counted how many I gave her.  I failed. I gave G two more pretzel twists.  In that moment, I thought ” I can not wait until you go back to school. One child will be so much easier for me to deal with”.

Now-I am going to be real. I have thought this before during other incidents and accidents ( and I am human and will think these thoughts again)  Wishing away the child who was causing me the extra stress. Just needing to have a break from the constant ” Momma. MoMMMMMMM”, the screaming and fighting.

During todays early morning run, I was very blessed to run with 5 other ladies ( all moms). Boston Nancy has a daughter who will be a sophomore at college. As we were talking about returning to school, Boston Nancy became sad just thinking about her daughter leaving. 2 of the other moms have junior high aged children and then the rest, grade school and toddlers.

This run almost did not happen for me. I got up at 3am and posted on the group page that I was out and would run 4 miles later.  Sleep seemed to be my focus. As I lay in bed tossing and turning, I prayed and asked God what to do. After 15 minutes, I got up and got ready for the run. Driving to the run, I was regretting my decision. A few more hours of sleep was my focus. Once we started the run and we were all talking about our children and being moms, I had a lightbulb moment.  I little insight, forgiveness and grace.

Its ok that I do not love every moment being a mom. Its ok that I go to the upstairs bathroom  or go to check the mail for the 4th time in a day just to give myself a mom pep talk and to get my GAMEFACE back on. Its ok that I use the back up sitter once a week for a few hours just to have some 1-1 time with M to do things that we can’t do with G (2). Its ok to text my friend when I feel like I can not take one more minute of anything. Its ok that I serve cereal for dinner and have ice cream dates for lunch. Its ok that I nap with G naps. Its ok that I have not bought my single item on the back to school list or filled out any school paperwork.  Its ok if I choose not to join the PTA and get side eyes from all the other “better” moms. It ok that sometimes bedtime is at 7pm or 10pm. Its ok if pjs are worn all day long or I ask them to get dressed as soon as they get up.

I know it will be all ok.  God choose me- ME- out of all the other millions of women to be M and Gs mom. He trusted ME to carry them for 9 months. He trusted me to guide and to love them through this world.  God did not expect me to do this all on my own. He gave me an amazing husband, family ( my mother in law is an angel on earth.), friends, running, yoga and mediation.  God also has given me faith, hope, patience, and love. God also has given me strong coffee, wine and date nights out with my husband. All of these things make me a better mom and human.

21 days ( or the rest of my life) left to start being me- the mom I am supposed to be. Not the mom that looks good in pictures, Pinterest and in Parent magazines.  Me. Not the summer checklist mom (you know the one- the one who does “things”  just so we can say we done things this summer). Me. The mom that God made because he knew what M and G needed.

As Boston Nancy and I finished the run, I realized that before I know it, I will soon be counting down the days until my gremlins come home from school. I will now just start counting down the seconds until the “not so glorious” moments are over.

Today, I encourage you all to give yourself love and grace. We are all in this together.

Finding the flowers amongst the weeds.

To say that the last two months the Universe has been testing me is an understatement. Now, I am aware that many other humans are suffering and going through shit storms that do not even compare to what I feel has been a trying time. Please note, that my perspective and disposition is typically Positive Polly although I do (sometimes) show my old  “waiting for the bottom to fall out” circa embryo to about 5 years ago.

I will not go through the entire list that keeps circulating in my head when I think back to the beginning of May to the present.  That will only make this time stay with me longer. Reliving and giving these events more energy is just like feeding a Gremlin after midnight.

Earlier this week, I met my yoga teacher/gal pal E for a short 3 mile run, dinner and drinks. E is my safe zone. I am my authentic self. Sometimes 100% crazy oversharing me. Sometimes the positive polly. Sometimes negative nancy. Sometimes quiet. One of the several traits that I admire about E is that she “gets on my level”. She listens with no judging when needed and sometimes judging when I ask her too. E and I were talking about how much we love “Hands Free Mama”. After we read this blog, while wiping the tears from our eyes and snot from our nose, this blogger gives us the motivation to become a little bit more. More patient. More loving. More real.  E sent me the link to one of her favorite “Hands Free Mama”posts.  It came at a perfect time. My new mantra after reading this is to find the flowers amongst the weeds.

 

Weed: My Uncle Gary took his final breath May 9th. He was 59 years old.

Flower: Besides no more suffering ( severe depression, CHF, COPD, diabetes), my cousin has returned to our hometown to live  in order to handle the path of destruction that my Uncle left behind. J, cousin that returned, was not doing so hot. Drinking to numbness became a daily (not nightly) occurrence.  J recognized this and took himself to AA. The strength to do this is admirable. I am not sure J would have came home without his passing. J would have stayed in his current situation and the spiral would have continued.

Weed: My Grandmother took her final breath June 4th. She was 89 years old.

Flower: Again, beside no more suffering ( Alzheimers, renal failure) and living in a nursing home that she despised, this side of my family has re-united after not much contact for the past 5-30 years ( depending on which family members/ different relationships). We all look older but the same personalities still shine through. Personalities and dispositions are timeless. Sharing what life has been like ( marriage, kids, divorce, marriage again, more kids, troubles with the law, getting clean from meth, retiring, moving, grandchildren) were just some of the lives that we have lived that none of us knew about. My hope is that this death has now brought life to our family again.

Weed: Earlier mornings. Later nights. Less “fun” ( I am being very picky with who I spend my time with and the events I attend).

Flower: I am training for my first marathon.( Eek. Gulp.OMG.) 4:30am is my alarm for tomorrow. Yes it is a Saturday and the Cavs are playing. I am finishing this post ( and my beer) and hitting the hay. Training for this marathon will keep me disciplined and I am only choose events that I truly want to go too. My BRFs are telling me that this training will be life altering. I can see this already. If it was not for running right now, I think I would be a hotter mess. Thank you to my body for holding me up when all I want to do is lay down.

Some more weeds have occurred in my flower bed but from now on, I am only admiring the growing, prospering and beautiful blooms.

 

 

The Sounds of Summer

{DISCLAIMER: To my dearest hubby and MIL (Grammy)… I love being a SAHM and I adore our little nuggets. The following post is just me using my not so funny/midwest Amy Schumer humor.}

“Moommmmmmmmmmmmm  Grant hit me. When is lunch. Why can’t we go to the pool? I wanna wear my Easter Dress. What can I do next? Can we have ice cream today? I don’t wanna read. Mommmmmmmmm Grant pulled my hair. Why do I have to go to the bathroom? Can I have screen time?  Can we leave the house? Why do I have to clean my room? Mommmmmmmmm Grant threw sand in my eyes…….

Mine. Fruit Snacks. No. Mine. Fruit snacks. No. Mine. Fruit snacks. No

This is my current sound of summer. M (6) is represented in the first paragraph and G (2 years old in 19 days) is the latter.

The day before M ended kindergarten I was on a summer high. I had images of glorious beach trips filled with the perfect amount of sun and breeze not dropped ice cream cones and a bird that attacked my head 3 times. Visions of bike rides with quiet content and nature filled smiles not fights over who gets to have the water bottle.  Dreams of blowing bubbles,  sidewalk chalk and picnics at the park. Instead, I am faced with my very own fight club, a never satisfying breakfast and without any official application or promotion that I am aware of, I am now a cruise director that must have activities planned for every waking second of every day (including back up ideas in case it rains).

I have reached out to my squad- other mommas, really at this point, the mail lady and I are BFFs ( just to talk to another person over the age of .. just anyone) to plan at least “one a day” playdates to get us out of the house. Just getting out to the house is a task that requires a to-do list. Water bottles. Sunblock. Snacks. Lunch. Snacks. Diapers. Wipes. Fruit Snacks. Coffee for me. Change of outfits. Legos. Coloring books. Crayons. Cell phone. Keys. Snacks. Beach toys. Ball. Beach towels. Money for daily ice cream trip because I am weak. More coffee. More water. More fruit snacks.

Today  I have 3- yep you read that correctly- 3 playdates planned. During one of them, G is going to the drop in sitters for 2 hrs. M is going to a friends house to play.

My to do list for these glorious 2 hours looks like this: grocery store, go get new running shoes, clean the entire house, read a book, go get nail out of the tire, fix an amazing lunch to enjoy outside with lemon water because you are fancy, watch 1 episode of Scandal, nap, take the dog for a walk, laundry, bake some banana bread, perhaps a bike ride….

I will probably be able to do two things from this list- get nail out of the tire and grocery store. Woooohooooo. But- I have already thought of how to make both of these tasks mo betta.

The place I go for all car stuff has this amazing waiting room with FREE  keurig coffee. I will take my book and make myself a cup or 3 while the nail gets removed. At Aldi, I will take my headphones and listen to a new podcast while sipping lemon water because I deserve it and I am fancy.

Oh gawd- I think they are awake. Time to take a 2 minute shower and brew another cup of heaven.  God speed to all the humans that are home with the kiddos for summer break. I am with you in spirit and sending you all the good juju.

 

What about the other 364 days?

Somewhere in between kids and developing security in myself, I no longer care.

Valentine’s day. For some, this day is used to define the level of love or worthiness of a relationship. Some refer to it as a Hallmark Holiday. A day that consumers spend money on cards, chocolate, jewelry, and flowers. Somewhere along the past 15 years, I lost that loving feeling for Vday.

Hubby and I do usually go out to dinner but it does not hold any more energy or significance than any other dinner date out. Now, time travel back to 6,8, 10 years ago and my idea of what should happen on Valentine’s was much different. No card. No flowers. No gift.  Does this mean you don’t love me?  You don’t care?

Somewhere in between kids and developing security in myself, I no longer care.

The standards I base my marriage on is more significant than a box of shitty chocolates. While I do feel hubby and I are just a kick-ass couple, trekking through life as a team, our marriage has been rocked.  The foundation has been tested.  The roof has leaked.  Windows have gotten broken.  BUT the house still remains.  The house is respected, loved and even fragile.  The house forgives.

What matters is how your husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend acts or treats you the other 364 days a year.  Really, it takes no effort to “put on airs”for one day or even one love packed sickening weekend.  How does your better half act when you are sick?  Do they support you?  Show up or show out? It is my believe that hubby and I  should treat each other with the same respect whether it is Flag Day or Valentines Day.

That being said…. if Mothers Day is not declared a National holiday in my house… hell have no fury like a woman scorned.

 

PS- if you are curious how we spent Sunday… We got to see love and happiness on M’s(6) face as her buddy D(6) came over, in the snow, with homemade frosted sugar cookies, card covered in crayon and a homemade bead necklace displaying Ms name for Valentine’s day. Hubby also took the kiddos to the grocery store so I could nap ( best. “gift”. ever).  We then checked out an amazing new Vegan restaurant that we both have been eyeing for a few months now.

 

Mean and Nice. What defines you as a parent?

Wear your hat proudly, either way.

Sleeping in for me is a sailed ship.  The last time I was able to sleep past 8am (and that is being very generous) was probably 6 years ago.  That was before I was pregnant with M.  I can recall Saturday mornings spent hungover on the couch in our one bedroom, almost lake view, apartment.  We would get up around 11am. Order food. Watch tv. Take a nap. Shower.  Then head out to the bar again for a few pints of Smithwicks at our favorite Irish Pub. We used to think we were so very busy. So important. So very adult.

This morning I was woken up by M, peeking in our room, to see if we were awake.            ” Squeakkkkkkkk ” the door went. Shit.  Now I am up. My first thought on Saturday morning is, do I need to get out to get a quick run in or can I do it later, perhaps even tomorrow. I decided to rest today. Something funky is going on with my left leg. Now husband is up too. M crawls in bed with us. I log into Facebook to wish my irun4 buddy, Jacob, good luck on his pinewood derby today. I see something a nurse friend of mine posted as she asked her daughters a series of questions.  I asked M if she wanted to partake as well. M answered the questions for me and then for husband.  While some of her answers were funny and heart warming, a few of them really got me thinking.

When you are parents, you are somehow divide.  One is the “mean” one that makes the kiddos eat fruit, veggies, do homework, go to the bathroom, take showers, pick up toys, write thank cards, say please, apologize, share, get shots, go to the dentist, and just tried to keep the train for derailing off the tracks.  The other parent is the “nice” one. Nice parent gets to have all of the fun while the mean one, is again, trying to make sure the train doesn’t go off the tracks. I know later in life, the mean parent will be proud of the hopeful responsible, polite, little human that now is a productive part of society.

The mean parent usually also gets to be the one to provide comfort such as a hug, kiss, and holding until the world feels more safe. G is in teething toddler hell. Which means, I too, am in teething toddler hell. One minute he is happily playing and the next , tears for no reason what-so-ever.  Its like he is a hormonal pregnant person. Of course, I love hugging and holding G.  Wiping his tears. trying to distract with a squirrel outside or the 14 yr old beagle.  However, it would be nice to be able to “flip a switch”. Being a nice parent seems more carefree, more less responsible, more fun.

The fear with the switch being flipped is that the mean, now nice parent, would return to the mean parent the next to more laundry. More dishes. More emails needing returned. More of everything.  Its hard to let your finger off the trigger. The fear of “what if” and “shoulding” yourself, stops you.

Wearing my hat proud and loud as the mean parent, I have come to terms ( well, trying too anyways), with my role and what that means. Being the mean parent is needed.  The balance between good cop/bad cop is not a bad thing.  Kids require different traits.  Although M’s answers to these ridiculous Facebook quiz made me feel “less than”, I am enough to be her mom. I am enough to hold G and give him comfort. I am enough to obsessively check on them multiple times a night. I am enough to remind them of what it takes to be a decent human being. I am enough to keep this train on the tracks.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I just remembered this morning asking M to pick up her room as it looked as if her closet threw up and G is crying for no reason.  Again.  < goes to put on conductor mom mean hat, proudly>

(this is G in a toddler teething crying fit)F8157D4D-1841-427A-87FF-720AE65707B153DB0627-25F0-412A-B4EC-2A1177D40913

Lets talk about Gin

How Gin made me realize the changes that are occurring.

I am hands down a vodka girl.  Love it many of ways but prefer vodka “chilled. up. little bit dirty with 3 blue cheese stuffed olives, please”.  Any of my friends that have been with me when I order this lovely “just a little but dirty” martini looks at me quizzical. I know what I like when it comes to drinks, chocolate, and friendships.  My standards are high and if the night is a good one, all the above happen together.

Last night, I was honored to host book club.  We read “Girl on the Train” and one of my best gal pals (K) recommended having Gin and Tonics as the main character drinks a shit ton of these on a train, out of a can ( god love the British). With this being my first time hosting book club, I wanted to make a good first impression.  I went to my local grocery store at 10am and hit up the liquor store.  Along with the gin and tonic, I also purchased 3 bottles of wine, milk and goldfish crackers. The mid-sixities check out lady was a little taken aback but I think the goldfish crackers made her feel a bit at ease.

This is the first time I have ever had gin.  I like it.  I like it a lot.  The lime+gin combo is pretty impressive.  In fact, I am sipping on one at this very moment.  Gin for me is another drink option but it also made me realize that other tastes in my life have changed as well.  This coming from the girl who never had salsa until college ( I know, right!?!!).  Sushi scared the crap out of me until I tried it in Mexico on our honeymoon ( Again. I know, right!  Sushi and Mexico?  Wat. )  Now I crave it.  My husband is obsessed with hot sauce, hot peppers and anything spicy. After being with him for almost 15 years, I now have developed a taste for the hot sauce.  Franks used to be too hot for me.  Sriracha now keeps appearing on more and more of my foods

Now that I am mid-thirties, my tastes have changed when it comes to what I need from my relationships as well as what I need from myself. I have been beyond blessed with a handful or less amazing friends. Before, I wanted numbers.  I wanted to feel popular and well liked. Pretty. And smart.  I needed a lot of people around me to fill in the holes of my insecurities.  A few of these gals (K and S) have been only in my life for the past 3-4 years but honestly, it feels like we have been friends beyond this lifetime.  These gals are my mommy friends. I met them through a random picked playgroup when M was 2.5.  Thank god for that playgroup.  They have seen me at the highest and the very lowest points of my life, to date.  My other BFF (C) was given to me in college.  We met through a mutual friend of ours, a total hussy, leaving us at the bar to go home with randoms.  C wasn’t going to leave me by myself.  We bonded over said hussies never ending crisis filled life. C lives on the East Side and I only get to see her every other month or so but we connect every. single. day.  In fact, C just got back from a family trip and I about lost my mind.  Not to have communication with her was tough.  C is rock solid.  And bluntly honest. I love both and need both of these qualities in my ROD (ride or die) chicks. C,K,and S can look at me or hear the tone of my voice (or text) and call bullshit if I am pulling ” I am fine” while the tears are pouring down my cheeks or the rage is exploding out of my ears.  They get ME.  Let me be ME.  They call me out of my hippy side but love it at the same time.  They know when I am uncomfortable at another mommy event and stick by my side.  They text me to remind me to get my run in, eat healthy or take sometime for myself.  They listened to me complain for 9 lonnnnggggg months straight as this last pregnancy was my nemesis.   We text/ email with good news, bad news, shitty news, happy news or even no news.  We send each other funny articles off of scary mommy or huff post.  They are sometimes the silver lining on what seems like the rain cloud that will not go the eff away.  Without them, I would be lost.  I would feel empty.  I would be incomplete.

What I now need from myself is ever changing but this is also new for me.  I used to be very uncomfortable to the limbo position. Being a Libra, my daily goal is to feel balanced.  I am a very black/white girl.  I am either 100% into being healthy ( running, yoga, vegan, water, mediate, sleep, read, sex) or- not. What I need from myself ( at this moment) is embracing the imbalance. Being in the moment with G as he wants me to play choo-choo instead of putting him off for one last flip of the laundry or loading the dishwasher.  Its reading that one more story to M at night.  What I need now from myself is playing scrabble with GG or listening to her favorite teenage story just one more time.  Its staying awake to see my husband after work just to check in with him and see in his eyes if he is really doing “Ok”. What I need is to say yes to the things that make me feel excited and no to the events that I am just ehh about.  What I need is to give myself grace.  patience.  kindness-if the day spirals out of control.   What I need is to love myself.  Fully.  Deeply and unquestionable.

And if this doesn’t pan out, I still have gin and C, K and S.