Friday, October 14, 2011

Happiest vacation on Earth

I can’t decide what my favorite part of our vacation to Disneyland was. There were several memorable moments including waiting in line for over an hour to meet two princesses, count them one and two. Or one of my personal favorites: Roy walking into the princess not prince bathroom and watching him come out rather red faced.
I loved watching Elizabeth kiss Stitch and cling to Mickey like he was her best friend. She chased Pluto and hugged Jesse freely. She blew kisses to all of the characters and truly loved Daisy and Minnie.
I really enjoyed hearing the girls laugh and scream on the rides and spending time swimming in the pool.
My favorite night was our first here. We went swimming in the pool and then showered and went to dinner at the Rainforest Café. Because it was so busy we were set on the Terrace. The weather was perfect and a live band was playing in the courtyard below. We were relaxed and the service was fantastic.
On Wednesday night we watched the Parade. The loud music and giant floats were amazing. Emmalyne’s face literally glowed as the floats passed and she got more and more excited watching the different characters pass. When the princesses passed and saw her waving she received waves back. The look on her face when Rapunzel blew her a kiss almost made me cry. She grooved to the music. Literally dancing in the street to the passing music and laughing and waving with such openness I found myself surprised by my own child. I watched her explode with excitement when Tinkerbell came by. I could hear her yelling over the music, “Tinkerbell, Tinkerbell- Hello.”
She drew a picture for Jesse and hurried to make sure it was finished so she could give it to her too. Her eager face searching for approval when she handed it to her tore at my heart. I cannot believe how Disneyland literally brought out the magic in this family. This vacation is the best time we have had together. It’s been a blessing to meet such friendly people and have my children experience magic. I don’t know that I have ever seen my daughters with brighter smiles and it makes me never want to leave!
I am not in the least embarrassed to admit I am already planning our return trip. Even the ten hour drive was entertaining. The drive through Vegas was probably more entertaining for Roy who kept insisting that we should cancel our trip to Disneyland and stop at "Peaches" for the night. (Not a G rated club by the way, not even PG-13). Needless to say his arm may be a tad bruised from the slugs he got every time he mentioned it.
We stopped in a gas station at Ghost Town- will never happen again. Can you say CREEPY. Ick. Never again. We also got to pass through inspection at the border of California, which I found rather entertaining because they basically just made you drive slow and peeked in your car. You could totally hide an illegal watermelon under your seat and they'd never see it.
Every night at dinner Emmalyne wants to talk about all of the rides we got on and all the characters we met. Elizabeth even gets into the discussion yelling "Teacups. Teacups." When they get mentioned.
They still get excited looking at the pictures, a glimmer of that joy from the park seems to have permanently ingrained itself in this house. It's addicting and we are hoping to make this a yearly trek. Yay Disneyland.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Un-professional liars

Names have been changed to protect the unskilled liars

The burning question this week: When did children become such terrible liars? Just the other night Em was sitting in the living room with some paper. I simply asked what she was doing, out of plain curiosity. She quickly shoved her hands behind her back and yelled- "I'm just coloring. I'm not using scissors- I promise." Which of course, she was. Never mind that if she'd just asked I would have let her use them. If she had just said "coloring" I would have gone back to what I was doing, none-the-wiser.

Today a boy I am babysitting, we'll call him Thomas, and Em were playing in their room. They completely trashed it. The book drawers were empty, toys were strewn from wall to wall and the stuffed-animal net was empty (AGAIN!). So I asked them to clean it up. They were not allowed to watch a movie until it was finished.

An hour later Thomas comes to me and asks for something to drink. I told him they could have a snack, including a drink, when the room was clean. He said OK and disappeared into the abyss of toyland. A few minutes later he returns and tells me he has to go to the bathroom, sensing he was just avoiding helping I asked him to finish cleaning first. To which he begins dancing and whining dramatically while grabbing himself. "But I'll pee my underwear."

Well, obviously I wasn't about to have him pee all over the house, or himself, so I unlocked the door (we have a 2-year-old endlessly emptying the medicine cabinet so it stays locked). A minute or so later I hear the toilet flush and the sink come on. He leaves, shuts the door and goes back into the bedroom.

Our apartment is rather small, I can hear everything from practically anywhere. I hear him start laughing- and mind you he didn't wait until he was even all the way in the bedroom before he began gloating- "Hahaa. I fooled her Em. I didn't even go potty. I just got a drink."

Again, he yelled his lie so loud because.....??? I am really rather confused. I remember when I was younger thinking I was brilliant because I got away with so many things. Mom never knew I was lying. As I got older she mentioned that she could always tell we were lying. I secretly believed she was just saying that to feel better about not catching all of my lies.

I am starting to realize however that maybe I was never a very good liar. Maybe no kids are ever very good liars until the grow up a little. They really don't know how to lie! How would it be if we never taught them?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Life is a scream

I have discovered that I spend A LOT of time losing it. Really. It's ridiculous. Our apartment has a hallway that runs along the back with the living room and kitchen on either end and an entrance in the front connects the living room and kitchen. This makes a giant circle, or if you are my kids a conveniently located jogging track.
All day every day they are zooming around in circles like little hamsters, dodging the pile of toys, shoes and anything else that has managed to attach itself to the floor.
I know this is going to happen and yet I still blow a cork every time they run around the corner.

I know I should be grateful. In the winter I don't even have to take them outside. I just strap a backpack full of 10 pound weights to their backs and make them do laps. It's basically the equivalent of dragging a sled up a snowy hill and I don't have to tag along behind them. If that gets boring I can tell Elizabeth to climb in the laundry basket and watch Emmy drag her around in circles. It's just like sledding, without the bumps and bruises and without the cold. When they are all hot and sweaty and ready to collapse I graciously remove the backpacks, hand them a cup of hot chocolate and applaud my ingenuity.

For some reason in the summer I just can't justify loading backpacks full of weight. Our swamp cooler works well enough to take the temperature in our apartment from 115 degrees to a balmy 102,and I don't want to worry about heat stroke. Needless to say I find the running rather distracting and rather irritating.

However, I decided that I need to let the little things go and apparently this is a little thing, at least in the scheme of things. The trick is to stuff ear phones in and listen to the Glee soundtracks full volume. You can't even hear them screaming when they hit a corner!

Glee can make anything better. If you don't believe me, the next time you are in a boring meeting slip in your ear phones and zone out to the sultry beat of Don't Stop Believing. Way more entertaining than whatever your boss, husband or anyone else has to say. And you too can get over the little things because you don't have to listen to them!

Now, in case anyone takes me seriously, I really only use 5lb weights in the backpacks, so no worries my children are in safe hands.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's all about choices

While watching one of my favorite shows, White Collar, I heard a little nugget of inspiration:"Ultimately choices are sacrifices. We sacrifice what we want for what what we want more."
This hit me square in the forehead. I have been pondering my choices for the last little while and whether or not my choices reflect what things are truly are important to me. I hate to admit that until recently they did not.
There are three things I want out of life:
1. I want to be healthy.
2. I want to be financially stable
3. I want my family to be spiritually and emotionally fulfilled.

Over the last three weeks my husband and I have been going to the gym five times a week. The first two weeks were HARD. It hasn't gotten much easier. I have had some discouraging setbacks including severe pain to by shins and knees. This forced me to get more creative about my routine. Instead of running on the treadmill, which I was starting to enjoy, I am using the elliptical because it puts less pressure on my knees and shins. Hopefully when the pain goes away I can have another go at running.
I have found that working out with my husband has given us quality time together that I was expecting. We are usually at the gym for an hour and a half - the gym has free daycare- and it's nice to be able to talk and encourage each other to get better.

Financially we have been stuck in this cycle. We get in debt and when taxes come we pay it all off and sure enough by the next year we're back in debt again. A few months ago we went to talk to a financial adviser about getting a home. Our credit is excellent but our debt-income ratio was a little too high. This has given me the incentive I needed to get our finances under control. We want a house and we need to pay off our debt to do it. We have a solid plan and we found a job opportunity that allows us to work together part-time and help others get their finances in order. Our struggle has been an inspiration for me to help others.

I am excited about the changes we are making even though most days are a struggle. I still have to work to push past a lot of anxiety and stress that is extremely suffocating but every time I make even a little progress I find that the next day is just a little bit easier. I am totally committed to making my life better and I am looking forward to a new me!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Consider This

I'd like you to pretend for a moment that you are walking down the street and a stranger walks up to you and tells you that you are fat, ugly, stupid and a lousy mother. How would you react?
I think it's a safe assumption that you'd react in one of three ways: 1. You'd slap them up one side and down the other. 2. You'd verbally defend yourself or 3. You'd walk away. You'd remove yourself from the situation.
Now suppose this person wasn't a stranger it was a friend. Suppose you have a friend who tells you your skin is too blotchy, your hair too flat and your butt is so big Donkey Kong could fit into them. How long do you think that friendship would last? Again I'd wager it wouldn't be very long for most people.
If someone else insults you and belittles you and you refuse to accept it why would you accept it from yourself?
I realize I'm probably preaching to the choir here. But I had a light bulb-moment the other day. It happened after I spent a good while thinking of everything that's wrong with me. Nothing was off limits from my thighs to my messy house to the dinner that always seems to get on the table late and not nearly as healthy as I'd planned.
I'm tired. It gets really exhausting beating yourself up all the time. I just thought to myself why do I let myself treat me this way? There's no way I'd take it from someone else. I should be able to trust myself more than anyone else and I can't even manage to go a day without tearing myself down?! It's sort of sick in a way.
I am far from healed of my self-deprecating attitude but now when I start in on myself I quickly think: What would you do if this was someone else talking to you? And I tell myself to shut-up.
I have a lot to work on but constantly focusing on my flaws is not making self-improvement any easier. I think I'll probably struggle with this my whole life. I believe that my insight is probably not original but it was an answer to a prayer for me.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's desperation, dear Watson

When I was in college I learned a very important lesson. Men can smell desperation and when they smell desperation they run for the hills screaming. I discovered this secret after several dry spells in my dating life, usually preempted by a lousy break-up or a roommate's engagement and a insane desperation for a man.
Fortunately I learned my lesson and hid my desperation well enough to attract a wonderful husband.

I thought I had learned everything I needed to know about desperation, but alas I was so very wrong.
Did you know that children can smell desperation too? The problem with children is they don't run for the hills, which would usually be the desired result. No, they take to desperation like a shark to blood in the water. The start swimming slowly, torturing you before attacking.

I made this unfortunate discovery while standing in the middle of my living room floor staring at a mess only a mini-tornado on two legs could create, ignoring the yanking of my only free hand by an impatient two-year old and fruitlessly attempting to calm my raging four-year old into a simmer.

While my daughter was screaming that she would turn into a monkey if I didn't let her watch a movie and that by not allowing her to play on the playground "right now" I was preventing her from ever doing anything ever again, I reached a peak of sheer horror.

Mount. St. Mommy blew a gasket. I yanked my hand away from my very thirsty, impatient two-year-old and bellowed to my four-year-old emotional volcano that she needed to stop acting like a four-year-old. I know, my logic astounds, doesn't it.

Instead of resulting in silence as I had hoped my yanker started crying and pulling harder and my emotional wreck started sobbing that I had yelled at her and "aren't you my best friend anymore?"

My children are very good at leaving me to my own when I am doing nothing of importance, but as soon as I stand up and start cleaning or making phone calls or making dinner, apparently I am a valuable commodity. I find that I often have at least one child attached to my leg while I move about the house. When my sheer frustration starts to boil over I am dismayed to find two children attached to my legs. Apparently desperate mommy needs some more attention.

So I tend to seek solace in the bathroom. If I can sneak in there quickly and quietly enough I can usually lock the door before they notice I'm missing with my new magazine. I am pretty sure my children, and my husband, think I have a serious bladder problem because I am hidden away for ten minutes at a time, several times a day.

Sometimes I get a glimpse and pure sanity when I am half-asleep on the couch in the morning, because I have been up half the night trying to keep my girls asleep, and they crawl on the couch and cuddle up with me. My two-year old lays her head on my chest and my four-year-old climbs down at my legs and cuddles.
Perhaps they aren't attracted only to desperation.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Goin' Courtin'

I am officially on the prowl, for friends, and I feel completely out of my league. I am not an outgoing person by any stretch of the word. I do, however, enjoy the company of women. So imagine my delight when I flipped open the parenting magazine this month and received a dose of inspiration from an article about making friends.

I love my girls. I love my husband. I hate not having friends. I feel like my social life was cut off at the neck when I had children. While I enjoy and even crave play dates I also would enjoy a few hours away without the kids interrupting every five minutes.

So I am officially on the hunt for friends. If I had a more entrepreneurial spirit I would start a website devoted to finding your perfect mommy friend. Really. I could call it or Mommyfriends. Have mom's fill out profiles and search other mom's profiles to find the perfect match. They could set up dates on the internet and get together. If they didn't hit it off, that's alright, check another profile.

Alas I must resort to the old-fashioned beg and borrow method. Beg friends I already have to make time in their schedule for a frumpy housewife who is looking for a bit of selfish time. Borrow friends of friends. If they are friends with my friend it's quite possible we'll get on nicely.

My goal this week is to get a mommy date set up with a few ladies and have a good time making another connection!

Monday, February 28, 2011


Today I have been thinking a lot about my life; where I am and how I got here. I realized that I can look back and pinpoint specific decisions, some mine and some not, that lead me to exactly where I am.

I applied to three different colleges. I got into two. My mom called and reserved a dorm for me at Rick's college before I had even decided where to go because the dorms filled up quickly. That one thoughtful action alone completely shifted the course of my life. I could have ended up in Virginia and who knows where else from there.

So off to Rick's I went. My first day there Heather came over to my apartment and introduced herself. We became friends and then I became friends with Beth, her roommate. That next semester I was scheduled to stay in the same dorm but Heather and Beth were moving to another dorm. I applied so I could be roommates with them and got in.

Because I moved to that specific dorm I decided I liked it there and though I switched apartments I stayed in the same dorm complex and met some really amazing roommates. I also met "Herbert."

"Herbert" moved to Greenbrier, a complex that housed guys and girls. I moved there a semester later in hopes of wooing my friend. That didn't happen but I did eventually meet my husband who lived with an old roommate of "Herbert's" whom I had become friends with in the course of my fruitless pursuit.

When I look back on it, a million small choices could have completely changed the course of my life. What if Heather hadn't said hello? What if I hadn't gotten into the dorms that year? What if I hadn't tried to date "John?" I could have ended up in a million different places.

It makes me wonder if I have ever done something seemingly small that changed the course of someone's life, that set them on a new path. Hopefully it was a good path that I directed them to.

I really believe that people have a purpose in our lives. We may not always know what they are but if we look back sometimes we can find a small trail, almost invisible, that connects everyone in a funny little line through life.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The screwed up side of me

I figured something out today. I keep wondering why I don't lose weight, why I can't stick with the plans I make, why I keep failing before I even start. It's because I am afraid.
I am the type of person who thinks "when we are out of debt I'll be happy" or "when we move into a house I'll be more organized" or "when I'm skinny I'll feel good about myself." But what if I get skinny and I still don't like myself? What happens if I lose all of the weight and I still don't like me? What does that mean? While I am still fat I can always say, "When I get skinny...." If I get skinny and I'm wrong, what else am I going to have to fix?
I know this is completely messed up, but alas I never boasted to being perfect. I feel like if I can figure out this issue than maybe I'll be able to focus on losing weight.
It just seems like every time I think I am making progress I mess something up and then I get down on myself and just start eating or flopping around. So... if I can realize that I am a good person fat and all maybe my little mess-ups won't cause a spiral of defeat.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy Birthday to you too

Em turned four today. When I told her happy birthday, she looked at me and said, "Happy Birthday to you too mommy." At first I laughed thinking it was funny and then I thought “Thanks, happy birthday to me too.” She's my oldest and a mother was born the day she was. So it feels like my birthday too.
Being a mom has completely changed who I am. When I got married I thought that it was amazing how much you could love another person. When I had my daughter I realized I hadn’t had a clue about loving someone else.
When the nurse first laid her in my arms she looked up at me, right in my eyes. She knew her mom. In that moment I changed. I knew there was nothing in the world that would make me stop loving her. I knew what it meant to truly love someone because I knew I would do anything to protect her.
There is something amazing about watching her grow up and learn new things.
I am constantly amazed at how much she's learned, often humbled and sometimes embarrassed.
This year feels like it has been a big year of learning for her. She was potty trained early this year, has attended primary at church for a year and can now right her name (In crayon. On my wall.)
My favorite time of the day to spend with her is bed time. For a long time I would get annoyed because she has basically always refused to sleep without me nearby. A while back I decided to change my attitude and use the time to spend just focused on her. Now while I am waiting for her to fall asleep she tells me about her day and asks questions. She tells hilarious bed time stories and cuddles with me. This is truly one of the best parts of my day. While the house is dark and quiet I can concentrate on her.
She has surprised me with her pure love. I can get so frustrated with her and she still loves me. When I scold her for doing something she looks and me and says, "I'm sorry mommy." I love learning from her. I love watching her be a big sister.
She is growing into a sweet and intelligent girl, which is everything I could hope for.
While a little piece of my heart breaks when I see how fast time is going the rest of me is cheering her on. I know she can do great things. I have watched her personality develop into someone who is strong and caring and persistent. I couldn't ask for a better birthday gift.