Minutes and Minutes of Fun

Occupying 3 year olds during days and days of rain is a challenge to say the least. I admit that we are spoiled out here in SoCal and its really just a handful of days through the course of a year where going outside is not an option. Thank goodness the sun is out again, but seriously those days inside were TOUGH .WHAT CAN WE DO IN HERE ALL DAY?!

The truth is my daughter is not going to sit still for 15 minutes of a stationary activity, let alone a half hour. She’s a mover and a shaker and literally bounces off the furniture if not able to run free outside. I owe my rainy winter sanity to indoor playgrounds and my supermom sister for always giving me the best ideas ! Thanks to her I now know  this easy idea to melt crayons in little heart molds for school Valentines! Thanks Babe!  This actually kept Issy’s  attention   for….MINUTES!  I gave my daughter the best job – peeling all the labels off of the crayons – something she does normally and with great pleasure!  We went through all the broken crayons in her pencil case, peeled off the paper and broke the bigger ones into small pieces so they could fit in the molds.

By the time we had put the crayons in the molds about 15 minutes had passed. Sure it wasn’t an entire afternoon’s worth of activities where she was stimulated, with all of her synapses firing rapidly while  using fine motor skills for hours on end- BUT it was enough for me to feel a little less guilty when I caved to the requests to watch Peppa Pig in the late afternoon!

This is how easy it is to make these little crayons:

Place the broken crayons in the mold on top of a cookie sheet and bake at 230 degrees for about 10-20 minutes depending on your oven , (I did mine in the toaster oven and it took 13 minutes.) Make sure you let them cool completely before you pop them out.   Now hows that for a nut free, sugar free, allergy free, food free treat to bring into school!

 

Aren’t these so cute!

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Let’s just play pretend …

I have been void of silly mom stories lately. There’s a great deal of noise in the world and even when I try to tune it out with a trip to the park or a stroll through the farmers market, I have this constant feeling of fear in my gut. I just imagine the Statue of Liberty crumbling a little but everyday in the New York harbor …shes coming undone …we’re coming undone…. I think. How long until she is just a pile of rubble that once was…

Social media used to overdose us on kids and selfies and food porn and now it’s all very serious. I’m very serious about it all too. I am doing what I can to stand on what I believe to be the right side of history. But I’m worried for the future – the immediate future really… I’m worried about health care, public schools, the safety of the Muslim community, the  the LGBTQ community, the African American community, any non white male community really… I worry about  my rights as a woman… I worry about it all just being deleted from existence . It is just so much. I am trying to breathe…to meditate. Yoga is helping. I am trying to exhale all that isn’t serving me ...but..it’s hard.

I am playing more make believe with my little Issy. I am looking to my 3 year old to take me away from it all. I want to play pretend more than ever these days. Her favorite game is Mommy and Baby. I get to be the baby and she loves to be the mommy. She makes me nap  and hands me a plate of food from her little kitchen and whispers, pretend you don’t like vegetables Baby.  She says things like, you can’t have cookies ! that’s a treat, and candy makes your teeth fall out!   (so she IS listening to me). Yesterday at the park, she didn’t want to play with her friends; she wanted to play with me and I really wanted to play with her too. We played soccer and  I chased her around the trees. We played hide and seek and got on the swings together. I lost myself in her giggles..her innocence…I love her so much.. I love her SO MUCH, I could weep. Why am I so upset about the world? Because of her . Because of your son and your daughter and your niece and nephew and because of your grandchildren…. Because their kindness and love and purity  is deserving of a beautiful planet full of like minded humans and when we hug them close and say, its ok…its all going to be ok, I really want to be able to believe that.

 

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A Picture Perfect Night

“Life is not a Norman Rockwell painting ….”  was a phrase  I heard my father say many times to my mother growing up before (and sometimes after) a get together.Like most women, she would go into party mode where she’d plan and plan because every detail had to be absolutely fucking perfect . And let me tell you, every single get together was pretty damn perfect. From the brass horn napkin rings for the Christmas table to the place card holders  made of jellybean filled jars at Easter, my mother considered every detail when entertaining. I remember saying to her,   “Why do you care so much…just relax…” But I understand now. There is a pressure that exists.  Whether we as women put it on ourselves, or whether we live in a society that continually holds us to a much higher and more unattainable standard than men, there is no question that we all feel it. I am formally calling out that pressure and telling it to FUCK OFF.

I have never hosted a formal sit down holiday dinner and I don’t know if I ever will. What I love about my husband is that he enjoys a casual holiday. Why entertain if you can’t have a good time too? What’s the point?  This Christmas, where we celebrated quietly at home with friends, he was the one  who did the cooking. I cleaned, baked cookies, put together a cheese plate,  and essentially sat like a guest. Though I am a pretty good cook, he is an excellent cook- not to mention much faster and more efficient. When I cook a meal, the kitchen looks like our 3 year old conducted a science experiment. This Christmas Eve however, I learned that whether you have a perfectly set table or a perfectly cooked feast, all that really matters is that the time you spend with people is memorable and heartfelt.

We had a lovely Christmas Eve dinner with family. At the moment, our daughter is the only child, so she was overwhelmed with gifts and attention. It was probably one of the best Christmas Eve’s I’ve experienced in a long time and I am so grateful to have been able to be together with everyone. Just as we were all getting ready to leave, my mother in law told us she was going to spend the night at our place.

OH. SHIT.

(Prior to coming to this beautiful dinner, for the second time in our life, my husband looked around and said, ” My God this place is A MESS.” And it was…I mean it really was. I had spent the day baking 5 more batches of cookies and a loaf of bread to bring with us. I braved the Christmas Eve crowd at Trader Joe’s with a less than agreeable kid . I let her do whatever she wanted so long as it kept her out of the kitchen. At one point, she took herself for a nap (OMG THIS IS AMAZING I THOUGHT), only to wake an hour later complaining she didn’t feel well.(The Christmas Curse!!!)  She wanted me to sit with her on the couch for over an hour with a cold compress on her head. Meanwhile, wrapping paper covered the living room floor; our bed was covered in bags of bows and gift tags and the entire contents of my daughters toy chest  lay on her bedroom floor.)

I went right over to my mother in law  as we were leaving dinner and said ,”I’m so embarrassed but the place is a mess…!”  She of course said she didn’t care and apologized for telling us at the last second.

We got home. I apologized again for the mess.  I tried to pick up as much as I could, set up the guest bed and get our little one off to bed. The adults?  We were up until 4-I usually can’t stay awake past 10. This was- to say the least- an epic night. My mother in law is  strong, beautiful, independent, and sexier than anyone I have ever met. She is raw and honest and tells it like it is. I usually find her intimidating because of all this, but late that night, I learned the most I ever had about her and her family and their extraordinary life that existed  worlds away and decades before I ever met them. I gained such insight about this woman and her son who grew up and is now my husband whom I love so very much. I learned this in the wee hours of December 24 when my kitchen was covered in a light dusting of powdered sugar and my sink was full of mixing bowls with now caked on cookie dough.

Take off your stockings and your Spanx- leave the dishes until tomorrow. Put on your yoga pants and grab a glass of wine. Life is so short. At the end of your journey, you’re not going to wish you had cleaned up your kitchen after every meal- you are going to wish you had breathed in every cell of those you love and dared to open your heart and filled it to its utmost capacity. The best moments happen when you get down from the perfectly set table and put on  your comfy clothes …that’s when you connect …that’s when we can all stop trying so hard to be perfect and just be ourselves.

 

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We are Better Than This

I haven’t written in quite some time. I retreated to a loud, dark, self deprecating place in my own mind and remained there feeling pretty depressed…  Was it my birth control pill, the birthday blues, have my hormones changed since I turned 41..why cant I snap out of it.?  I re-read all of my posts and they seem to have a similar thread of  worthlessness and confusion about who I am and what my purpose is. I was beginning to feel that this is a society where men are allowed to EXIST in whatever capacity they want, but women-as women we need to EXCEL  in all aspects of our lives. We have to find a way to have it all, but when we do, we will still be judged. Then, on Tuesday a man that said ,“Grab them by the pussy” was elected President. It’s been a few  days and  I can’t shake this sick feeling in my gut.

On November 8, Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States. My depression has  quickly turned to despair and is now switching to anger with an overall feeling that results in nausea.

I will admit I had romanticized the day a little…. I was emotional seeing so many women dressing in their pantsuits and all white ensembles as they hit the polls, many of them with their daughters.  Days leading up to the election , I was telling my daughter that history would be made; we are going to elect the First Woman President and I was so energized to think she would grow up in a country where that was a reality. I got lost in the excitement. I imagined the moment on election night when I would kiss her goodnight and walk out of her room with tears of joy. It didn’t quite go that way. My husband was shocked too, but tried to assuage my fears that the country wouldn’t suddenly change entirely. All of the progress that was made in the last 8 years would not  be overturned his first day on the job  and maybe, who knows, mayyyyybe he won’t be as awful as we fear he will be.

It didn’t help. My migraine had already started and I didn’t want to hear it. When I woke Wednesday, I was puking from the migraine…the shock , the disappointment, the fear. I realized the last time I felt this way in my gut was 9/11. I spent most of the day with my eyes closed and an ice pack on my neck while I let my daughter watch the Ipad. (What else could I do? ) I didn’t watch TV or look at the news on line . I did a quick scroll through social media and that made me physically ill again. I had to get it together for her ballet class at 3:30.I still had to Mom up. I can’t mope around the rest of my life. But this  hurts …I am in pain to my very core.

I am not upset because my candidate lost. This wasn’t about politics . This wasn’t about a difference of ideologies. I could move past something like that without feeling as if life as we know it will never be the same. This was and still is about hate, misogyny, racism, ignorance, and fear.  Over the last few days I have read of racially charged incidents all over the country….swastikas in a Maryland Middle School,(http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/bethesda/swastikas-drawn-on-walls-at-md-middle-school/351091865 ), students blocking minority classmates from getting to their lockers in DeWitt Michigan, (http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/11/students_at_dewitt_school_form.html) and at Council Rock High School outside Philadelphia, more vandalism was reported including swastikas and derogatory comments toward Gay Students…  (http://6abc.com/education/official-post-election-vandalism-harassment-at-council-rock-north/1600740/) ….I could go on and on sighting different attacks across the country.

The writing was on the wall. We knew that this would happen, didn’t we?  And that is what is so sickening. People chose him . He demonstrates behavior that is the exact opposite of what we teach our children! For people who exercised their right and voted for him or against her in any capacity, take an opportunity to prove you are not complicit in what’s happening all over the country. Speak out about it. Tell your fellow Americans who are feeling disenfranchised right that they still have a place at your table. If you see someone being harassed, stand by them. Show us that you didn’t vote for THAT.  Help us to not be afraid. And to President Elect Trump, please be so much better than we think you are. Take a stand on what is happening around this great country. Tell us you don’t support it or encourage it. Let us know that this country is still for all of us.

Talk about my unexpected life…

 

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Dear Daughter…

Yesterday I failed you. Yesterday, I failed to be patient. I showed you the best way to handle any adversity is to yell and grit your teeth. I showed you that one moment it’s ok to be sweet and the next moment it’s normal to be a raving lunatic. Yesterday, I taught you to yell and slam doors.

I failed you dear child and I am so so sorry. I have become a “do as I say not as I do” type lately. Please forgive me for not being my best self. Please believe me when I say that everyday I wake wanting to be the absolute best version of myself not only for you and Daddy but for me. I want to value myself as your Mommy and as a wife and as a woman. Since you have been born, I have had an undeniable desire to be better than I have ever been before, somebody who you could look up to and be so proud to call Mom. But lately, my frustration within myself for not achieving whatever goals exist in my mind that somehow prove myself worthy are getting the best of me. Trust me that I wake in the morning vowing to be positive and calm and within one minute of your very first whine out of your mouth, I am burning with frustration. I am frustrated by the constant sight of crumbs and clutter and I am frustrated when I realize that my one job the last 3 years has been YOU, so you should be absolutely perfect. The truth is YOU ARE. You are bright and funny and difficult as hell because your brain is working at a rapid pace taking all of this big world in! But I have been an adult for so long that I forget what it is to play, to wonder, to question, to challenge….I have forgotten the sheer joy that comes from the simplest things…balloons, bubbles, hide and seek, the big girl swing at the park and how it makes your tummy tickle… I have gone through my life with a shadow of myself following me holding a clipboard, tracking my every move; accomplishments or missed opportunities… Somewhere along the line, I decided that if I stayed home with you and nurtured you, you wouldn’t go through these challenging 2 and 3-year-old phases. I thought, if I am doing my job correctly then you will listen to everything I say, you will never need to be reminded to say please or thank you. You will transition from diapers to potty seamlessly. I will not have to bargain or bribe or threaten. If I am doing a good job being your Mommy, you will be a mini adult. (HAHAHA YEA RIGHT!)  You will put your napkin on your lap. You will use a fork. You will not shove food into your mouth. You will clean up after yourself. You will be calm. You will not yell or grit your teeth or slam doors because I …..Wait– just do as I say not as I do, ok?

Maybe take it easy on me every once in a while? You don’t have to object to every. single. thing. It’s ok to listen too. Aren’t you bored with the Crazy Mommy show? Aren’t you curious to see who I can be if we spend less time fighting and more time doing?

But- here’s the thing, I am discovering that I was chosen to be your mother because I desperately need to learn from you.(I am stubborn as we all are – yea family trait!) I can’t just suddenly change the way I  am , I need to see life through your eyes;  But I could never just read a book and understand something, I must live it. So I accept your challenges little one… You are my greatest teacher of joy and letting go. You will never let me watch my life from the sidelines. Thank you for encouraging me to get in the game and play even if it seems like I’m losing because truly the very opportunity to play it with you and Daddy is the winning. You already seem to know that and I am just now figuring it out. So thank you my dear daughter because today, you taught me.

 

 

 

3 year olds….I love you kid but you’re makin me crazy!

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