Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Wrong Way to Get Rid of Clutter

This is the light that I should have turned on.

These are the toys that I told my kids to throw down the basement stairs (really). Well, except for R2 D2, he's heavy.

This is the basket I carried down the stairs, without the light and full of toys.

This is the toy that I stepped on and crushed.

These are the stairs that I fell down last night.

No broken bones but definitely feeling it today. Lesson learned.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Blondes Build Better Mouse Traps

A few weeks ago, a friend saw me for the first time in months. She exclaimed "Your's so....blooooonde." Yep. Yes, it is.

I sure had a blonde moment this morning. Ryan celebrated his sixth birthday yesterday. One of his gifts was Mouse Trap. He loves it and cannot wait to play it. Neither could his little brother. While his big brother was at kindergarten, Kyle begged for me to open the game. He pleaded. He begged some more. I said no. I could see from the box that there were a lot of parts. I just didn't have time. I wasn't in the mood to pull out the directions. I told him my usual "Wait until Daddy gets home. He's good at that sort of thing."

I started to clean up for a visit from the in-laws. Guilt started oozing while I washed my floors. Just follow the diagrams. Take it line by line. You can do it. I quickly washed the floors and played with Kyle.

I pulled out the directions for the game. I pulled out the instructions for putting all of the pieces together. Insert blonde moment here. I have never played the game and didn't know that the GOAL OF THE GAME IS TO BUILD THE MOUSE TRAP. I put the whole game together. I was so proud of myself. Well, until I pulled out the directions to the game and realized that the kiddos are supposed to put the mousetrap together piece by piece as they play. Damn.

Oh man. I giggled at myself for the rest of the morning. So yes friend, my hair is blonde. It sure is.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Little Earthquakes

Tori Amos had an album out years ago called "Little Earthquakes." I was too young to really grasp the meaning of the title but I loved the album. My husband and I are again wrestling with the topic of the third child, I told him that we have to table the discussion. We are not even at a place where we can talk about. There are too many little earthquakes in our lives right now. Too many transitions and unanswered questions to add another to our lives.

One of our little earthquakes was that my oldest went to kindergarten last Thursday. He was ready and so was I. In preparation of the many sheets of paper that will soon make its way into my house, I went through all of the artwork from preschool. What a change! I had to make two piles. One to save and one to throw away. I definitely felt a little earthquake as I packed some of the sheets into the garbage bag. I know I can't keep every piece of paper. Knowing this did not make the task any easier. I feel the shift of my little boy into a little student. I hid the secret stash of papers until the boys went downstairs and tip-toed down to the garage with my bag. I know that I will be happy that I did this so that next fall, I will have less papers to deal with. But, it was such an emotionally charged task. Where did my little boy go?

Lots of little earthquakes but no major quakes. Changes that we all deal with. Transitions for us and our children. We'll get back to our major discussion of whether to add another child to our family but for now, we are going to take each little earthquake as they come.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Used To Be a Fan of Old Fashioned Birthday Parties

I have read many posts where people are against the big birthday parties for kids. I wrote one myself. But, I have to be honest, I have taken a walk on the dark side and guess what? I like it. I like it a lot.

I am having my oldest's birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese's on Saturday. I am so stress free that I am almost forgetting that I am having the party.

Normally, I am fretting about the state of my house. I am cleaning. I am shopping for food for adults that won't eat. I am worrying how I will entertain the kids. I spend so much time and energy before party worrying. I know. I know. There is no need. I get that. But, I do. Nothing will change that. It is just who I am.

I called my sister who is also taking a walk on the dark side this weekend for her twins and she is also carefree. We are like giddy school girls. We both can't believe how easy this is. This is the reason why there are so many people having parties at bouncy places, pizza places and party centers.

Parents are busy and this is so easy. Yes, there is a place for the old-fashioned birthday party. I have had those and I am sure we will have them again. Ryan asked for this party and I thought I was giving in. He has no idea how happy this party has made me this week. We'll see if I am so carefree after two hours in Chuck E. Cheese's with 12 boys and 2 brave girls. Good thing I bought a bottle wine for my hubby and I for Saturday night. We are going to need it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

OK, Why Lie?

OK. I am feeling guilty. Guilty for causing any mothers out there some grief. The other day, I wrote about how Jennifer Lopez has said that she has not had a nanny. She said she and her husband Marc Anthony have been doing it all without help. I was really impressed. Lately after reading the book, You'll Never Nanny in this Town Again, I have been pretty annoyed at celebrities who claim that they can do it all and be great mothers (without help). It just isn't possible. I don't work and there are days that I am not a very good mother. If I was at the gym hours a day, going to the salon, having photos shoots, interviews and filming, I doubt that I could squeeze in quality time with my kiddos. I would need help. Someone has to help with the kids. Just doing regular things with children like bathing them, feeding them and caring for them takes up most of the day.

So back to J. Lo. One of my readers, Jessica, emailed me a piece that blasted J. Lo. It said that there is no way that she doesn't have help. She must. She is just not calling her help a "nanny."
Think about it. I personally have seen J. Lo and Marc's pictures in People. They are out to dinner. Do you think Jenny's mom came in to babysit? All relatives? No. Probably a paid babysitter or nanny.

I don't even work and I have help. Not paid but I am in a babysitting co-op. We trade hours with each other instead of money. I have help. I have around 25 women that I can call at any time to help me with my kids. My life is pretty ordinary compared to J. Lo and I have help. How can two superstars be without help for the past six moths like she is claiming? Just not true.

So I apologize. J. Lo has lied and I don't want to cheer her on like I did in my last post. Being a mom is hard enough without the media claiming that motherhood is easy. You can't do everything. You can't be perfect. It is OK to take care of your children and not run triathlons. It is OK to not lose the 50 lbs. from your pregnancy in six months. It is OK to not get a shower. It is OK to put that hair back in a ponytail if you can't get a second to wash it. And you know what J. Lo, it is OK to admit that you need help and have a babysitter sometimes. It is OK.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Marathon of Motherhood

I just wrote a post that was really good. I was so into it. It came easy. It came quick. I was ready to press save. Trouble is, it wasn't true. Ugh!

This morning, I had caught a clip of Chris Cuomo on Good Morning America talking about Jennifer Lopez running a triathlon in September. All morning I fumed about the brief commercial. I didn't see her interview until after I wrote my post. Thank goodness I watched it. In my original post, I blasted her for having nannies do all of the work while she trains for a triathlon. I blasted Chris Cuomo for cheering her on. What hope do normal moms have if we think we can train for a triathlon after having a baby? Twins?

Trouble is, she said she and her husband Marc Anthony didn't have a nanny for the first six months of their babies' lives. She has a nanny now but she only started last week. Man. Really? There goes my story. The triathlon is less than a month away. She said she trains at home. Her hubby created a bike with a computer so she can train near the babies. She works out about an hour a day. Darn.

I am impressed. I have always liked Jenny from the block. I love her spirit and her honesty. I guess I now like her athleticism. I just knew she could dance. She said she is doing this to raise money for a hospital and to lose the baby weight. Is there anything this woman cannot do? When my baby was six months old, I could barely get a shower. You Go, J. Lo!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Finally Got My White Tent Wedding

For years, I have wanted a wedding reception with a big white tent. I have always been drawn to them. I would watch Father of the Bride and wish that my wedding reception would be just like Annie's. I remember asking my dad if I could have my reception in a tent. He barely thought about it. We live in Ohio. The weather is pretty unpredictable. There would be rain. It would be hot. We'd have to bring in everything. Tables. Chairs. Dance floor. How would food be prepared? How much would this cost? Bathrooms? Back to the weather. It would rain. Then what would we do? OK dad. You know better. I'm only 25. What do I know? I know that I have no money to help pay for this event. Sure Dad. Whatever you say. No tent. No biggie. Maybe I'll have a girl someday.

Finally, 10 years almost to the day. I went to my first wedding with a beautiful white tent. It was gorgeous. We were on the lake. There was a beautiful sunset. We sat by a fire and watched the sun set while a band played in the background in my tent. The bride even had fireworks. Can you believe that? Real. Loooooong. Fireworks. Who does that in real life? A girl with a big white tent or a daddy who will pay for both.

Guess what I learned during the fireworks? I swear I had a moment. It all doesn't matter. The tent doesn't matter. The fireworks do not matter. None of it does. It is all fluff. The money is spent and when it is all over, we have nice memories. But that's it. It has nothing at all to do with the marriage and the love. My dad was right. Let's keep it simple and classy. Let's not get too crazy, Indy. No white tent. You were right Dad. Let's have everyone there we love. Let's have it down the street from our country church. Let's make it fun. It was. Ten years later, I realize that it is more fun to attend a reception in a white tent that to plan one. Thank you, Dad.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Should Have Taken OHmommy With Me

We charged the camera. We brought the charger with us. We even remembered the memory card that was in the printer. We brought the camera. We took no photos. Not a one. Well, I take that back. I took three photos for strangers. You know how you see the person alone in a gorgeous location and their partner is taking the photo and you feel bad for them? I offered and made three couples very happy. If you don't offer, they will have photos and photos of each person alone. At least they will go home with one nice shot of the couple. They at least have one more photo than we have.

We weren't much better on our original honeymoon. We only have about 20 or so that we took ourselves. Sad. I love photos. We just don't think to take the camera with us. It was only on our way home from MGM on our last night that my hubby looked at me and said "We forgot the camera again." I honestly thought of running up to our room and bringing it down to snap 20 photos so I had a way to document our fantastic trip. But if you've been to Vegas, you know how much walking you do. My feet were so sore that I just couldn't make my way up to the 26th floor and down the long corridor. We walked miles and miles on our last day. Miles.

We had a fantastic trip. We ate at Tao which was amazing. We saw Love, a Cirque du Soleil celebration of the Beatles. Fantastic. I also got to see Prison Break being filmed at Planet Hollywood. Very cool. We ended up making a little money gambling and took a bump on the way home. We scored two $250 vouchers. Sweet. All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend time with my husband and reconnect. Thanks honey. But next time, we need a photographer. OHmommy, will can you come and take some photos for us?

Friday, August 8, 2008

No Potty Breaks in Vegas, Baby!

I hate to brag. I almost didn't write today. But, so often, I write only about problems in my life. I just have to share, I am going to Vegas! Today! My husband surprised me with a trip this weekend for our ten year anniversary. Originally we were pregnant so we decided against a big trip. Then, we miscarried and I didn't think we'd go anywhere at all. He just told me this week. I am so excited!

I have been going to the pool a few times a week with the boys all summer. I hope to be at the Paris Pool a few times this weekend.

Top 5 things I hopefully will not hear from my hubby that I usually hear from my boys at the pool:

1. Can I go to the snack machines?
2. I have to pee!
3. Where are my goggles?
4. Let's practice swimming.
5. I have to pee! Again!

I can't wait to sit with a cold drink, a trashy magazine and do absolutely nothing. I love Vegas, baby!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

No Running Allowed!

I am a rules kind of girl. I always have been. In school, I was such a good girl that I was the one the teacher chose to write down names when she was gone. I actually liked the responsibility. I listen to what teachers, parents and my elders say. Like most women, as I've grown older, I am less about rules and more about just living my life.

Today, I drank a cup of tea and watched my boys play at the mall. My boys loved it. They were stuck going bathing suit shopping without a stroller so it was a terribly long afternoon for them (believe it or not, it went well. I couldn't believe it. It's all about expectations). So, after shopping, they deserved fifteen minutes to run around and have fun. As I am sipping my tea, I hear a grandma tell her grandchildren not to run in the play area. Not to run? The kids were having a ball. They were chasing each other and diving in and out of the equipment. We were the only people there. The grandma kept looking at me for some back-up. I wasn't saying a word.

Last week, we were at an outdoor playground. I swear I heard a mom tell her child to not yell. Where else is it more appropriate for yelling than a playground? The child was just having fun. It wasn't an emergency sort of yell. It was just a child screaming for his friends.

Like I said, I am sort of a rules kind of girl. My kids hear "Go down the slide, not up" a million times a month. We wear seat belts and use car seats. We floss. We walk, not run, at the pool. We drive near the speed limit. We wait our turn in line. We say please and thank you. We are a rules kind of family. But at playgrounds, I am sorry. I will not hover. I won't ask my kiddos to be quiet. My kids will run and play. They might even yell. And I will just sit and drink my tea.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Before & After

So what do you think?



I have to be honest. When I walked out of the salon, I wasn't happy. In fact, I cried the whole way to White House/Black Market. But, after sleeping on it and fixing my hair myself this morning, I am happy with the result. The more I look at it and get used to it, the more I like it. And when I compare it to my "before," I think it looks a lot better. At least it was a change and I don't feel frumpy anymore.

I have to thank Nikki at Ladies & Gentlemen Salon and Spa. My tears of unhappiness came from the back of the hair. Because it is so light right now and the back is cut shorter at the top, you could see all of my dark hair underneath. Nikki reassured me that we could fix it and I came in this morning for more foil. Here's the best part-no charge to fix it! She worked on my hair for one and 1/2 hours today for no charge. I am one happy customer!

If you are in the Cleveland area, you have to try Ladies & Gentlemen Salon and Spa at Legacy Village. I love going there. With each haircut, you receive a free arm, face and hand massage. They also touch up your make-up when you are done. And the best part, besides the Aveda products, no tipping. That's right. You aren't allowed to tip there. I love this place and have always shared with my friends what a great place it is.

Change is good. It makes you feel better and at least makes the day or week interesting. I am glad I made the change this week. Thank you for helping me to pick it out. So, what color of hair should I try next? Red? Black? Don't worry hubby, I am not that brave. Blonde it is.

I apologize for the quality of the photos. My five year old tried to take them and these were the best that I had. You should see some of the discarded photos. I had more double chins than I thought possible.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Hardest Call

Damn. Where is her number? I can't find her new number. OK. Here it is. It's in an old email. I dial the number and shake. I can't barely breathe. Ring. Ring. "Hi, this is Brittany. Leave a message."

Phew. I am trying to call Julie not a Brittany. Wrong number. I am so relieved.

The search continues for Julie's number. I can't find it anywhere on the Internet. I email some people that might know. Damn. They have it.

I take three big breaths and say a prayer. "Dear God, I need some help here. Please help me find the words and I pray that I don't talk too much. I need to just listen. God, help me to be there for her. Help me to just listen and be there." Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

I was worried about the phone call for nothing. My friend Julie is still the same Julie I have always known and loved. She is telling me about the PET scan she has to have done right after our call. She hopes the cancer started in her breasts. If her cancer started in her pancreas, that would be worse. I never thought I'd hear someone hope they had breast cancer. I hope too.

She tells me that she is strong woman and they she is open to all types of healing. She will have chemo, join a clinical trial and she will try Eastern medicine. I hear her family in the background and I am grateful that she has them close to her to offer support. She also has an amazing strong husband who is is her rock.

For days, I went back and forth about calling Julie. I wanted her to know we all cared about her but I didn't want to bother her. I didn't know how she was handling the situation and if she needed to be alone. My mom who has been sick with an autoimmune disease for years said that I had to call. She said no one does. Everyone is afraid. So, I listened to my mom. I am so glad that I did. Julie said to call and call often. She needs our calls to provide support through this long process. She asked me to pray. I will Julie. I will.

No comments are needed. Just prayers. Take the time that you would normally leave a comment for me and just pray for Julie*.

*Julie is not the real name of my friend and she is not local.

I'm Not Talking About It, I'm Just Saying...