Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I do Twitter. I tweet rarely, mostly I read other ingenious people's tweets. I especially like the funny ones, Conan O'Brien, Mindy Kaling, and some Canadian dude #sween who cracks me up with his 140 characters. I have noticed that when something goes really wrong in someone's life they end their tweet with #totalfail. If you click on that there is a long, long, long list of failures written in 140 characters or less.

I write all that to say that my parenting of late has felt like a #totalfail. Here are a few what would have been my recent #totalfail tweets, if I were the type to display my failure for the world to see:

#Took boys to play at friend's house. Little One was out of control. He destroyed a shovel, bucket and threw a freshly picked cucumber. I was horrified and embarrassed. My kid was THAT kid.

#Spent the afternoon yelling at my boys to BE QUIET.

#Served the kids ritz bits and oreos for lunch. All the other moms had fruits and veggies packed for their kids.

#How can one little 3 year old make me so angry I literally (and I mean literally) want to smack him?

#Not sure if I am helping the feminist movement by telling my boy that he is crying like a little girl. In truth he is crying like the drama queen that he is this week.

#Since my kids did not get to watch tv or play video games on school days, I can use all those saved up hours over the summer, right? 178 days - Fridays because I let them watch/play Fridays x 1.5 hours because they did watch one show before bed = me not having to get out of bed so early in the morning.

#Did I mention I have become one of those screeching moms who cannot control her kids?

#I am thinking that standing up might be a necessary part of good parenting. Now I have to decide which is more important, sitting or parenting? Really tough choice right now.

#Sunburn and skin cancer now or sunscreen caused tumors and cancer down the road? Do I really have to choose between these two bad options.

#I think I may have just given Middle Man permission to hit Little One back when I told him to never hit Little One first.

#If I use humor will it deflect from the very real fact that my kids are too loud, too rowdy, not listening to me at all and basically out of control at times.

#All those parenting tips and techniques may work for a time, but the truth is the kids will find a way around your defenses. Or maybe I just have not read the right book yet?

Monday, July 26, 2010

You Know You are Old...

So this last week I turned 37. I am okay with that age, though I really don't want to be 38 or 39. I would be happy just to skip to 40 because at least then I will be 40 and fabulous but 38 and 39 just sound old for some reason. Like I should feel bad about myself that I am almost 40 which is funny since we are being told how wonderful it is to be 40 as a woman. I am actually kind of looking forward to it. Anywhoo.... I am now 37 and finding that I am getting old.

Here's how you know you are old...

- Your knees start clicking out of place when you walk. This started happening within the last 6 months. I like to blame the running I started doing. I, hopefully, asked my friend who is a physical therapist if that meant I should stop running? Nope, turns out I am just old and need to strengthen my muscles around my knee since I have spent 37 years wearing down the cartilage. I am training to do a 5 K at Thanksgiving and have started a very slow, couch to 5 K program. The program is not actually slow, it can be done in 8 weeks. I am just doing it really slowly.

- I guess you also know you are old when you have to actually train to do a 5K. Seriously. I could barely run 3 minutes in a row when I started and am still terrified of doing the 20 minute run I am avoiding (I mean I was on vacation so I should probably go back and do some of the earlier trainings again to get ready right?) I have not gotten anywhere near running 2 miles and I think a 5K is like 3.5 miles or something. I have friends who run half and whole marathons. Not me. My bucket list will be complete after this 5K.

- Caffeine starts to bother your stomach. As does garlic. Oh and cinnamon. I am not happy about this development since I was using caffeine to get through my days, and pasta to make life worth living, and cinnamon rolls for when life wasn't.

- When you suddenly panic while being "close" with your husband at his folks house because what if he dies while you are both you know, not dressed and in bed together. How would I explain that to his mother? The thought had never, ever, never occurred to me until our last visit. In that moment of completely unwarranted panic, I realized that yes, indeed, we are old. Though, since I envisioned him dying and not me, I guess I think he is way older than me.

- You are waiting for your kids to get just a little bit older so they can figure out all the electronic equipment and fix the internet when it is not working for you. I have visions of my VCR blinking 12:00 though they may never even notice that since they don't ever use the VCR. It is all about Apple TV, OnDemand and the DVR for my boys.

- The best birthday present you receive is a day home alone in your own house. Diamonds might be nice but 12 hours in your own house without kids, husbands, chores, or interruptions, perfect! Yes, my husband is a saint. He planned a great birthday for me yesterday with the boys, but even better, today he took them all to a baseball game which was three hours away from our house. A whole day alone, in my house, with my tivo, book and computer.

The best way to know you are old.... You write blog posts contemplating all the things that make you feel old. When you are young you never blame things on age. You feel young so you must be young.

Now I feel old, but hopefully in a wise, peaceful way.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Last week I wrote a blog post that basically vented some of my pent up frustration after spending a little too much time with someone who I know I will never make happy. I tried to be funny, which ended up being sarcastic and at one point I wrote, "I am thinking there is more posts on this theme to come as my brain processes the disappointment that I am." So here it is.

I have to say that at times I am a disappointment. I am often not a good mother, yelling too much, letting them watch too much tv and ignoring the teaching moments because I just don't want to today. I am often a selfish wife keeping a score card of who does more and how much he "owes" me. I am often a lazy housekeeper who will walk past that pile of dirty socks on the stairs so I can go upstairs and lie in bed and read my book. And I really do enjoy sleep too much.

I am a slacker at times. Part of this is because I have decided what my priorities and values are and if the world's rushing, scheduled, over achieving plans don't fit my priorities than I am perfectly comfortable slacking off on those. I cannot do it all.

I am bound to disappoint though even when I am trying. I know this about myself. I know I am a disappointment. The world, my kids, the other moms, the Today Show all tell me I am doing it wrong. Which I guess is why it is so hard when I hear it in someone else's tone of voice or harsh words. Someone who should be my champion, someone who should be a mentor, a comforter, a cheerleader. Someone who should want me to succeed because my success creates amazing kids which is all both of us want.

I am sort of going through life a bit on my own, without any strong mother figures in my life. I don't have a mom I can call in the middle of the night when I am scared, or a mother in law that I can ask for help when I need it. I don't have any older family members I can trust to love me, care for me and guide me. I don't have a shoulder to cry on and share how horrible I am feeling about my parenting skills, someone to say, "I know. I have been there. It is hard. You're doing great. I love you." I don't have someone to ask advice from who will share, without judgement, what they have tried, what they learned, where they failed.

I know I am a disappointment. I know that I am not perfect. None of us are. We are all disappointments at time. I just really wish I had someone to come alongside me, pick me up and say it is going to be okay. I want a champion. I know that Jesus is my eternal champion, who has stood up for me and picked me up, but unfortunately He is sort of the strong, silent type. He meets my real needs, but sometimes I want my human, heart pained needs met with words of comfort from an actual person who will make me feel better about myself.

I guess what I am saying is I want a Mommy!

And that is my disappointment.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Rules for Prayer

I started reading another of the many books on prayer that have been collecting dust on my desk. It is "The Prayer of the Lord" by R.C. Sproul. Sproul is a favorite of the pastors at our church and I really like his writing style and more importantly what he has to write as well. I had to share the following quote with you because it is that good.
People come to me and ask: "What are the rules for prayer? How should we approach God in prayer? What's the right way to pray?" I tell those who ask these kinds of questions that there are really only two rules you have to keep in mind when you're in prayer, two things that should drive and govern and control your prayer life with the Almighty. You should remember who is being addressed and who is doing the speaking. That is, the first thing you are to remember in prayer is who it is you're talking to, because nothing will condition your prayer life more deeply than remembering that you're in conversation with God, the sovereign Creator and Ruler of the universe. Second, you are to remember who you are. You are not God. You are a a creature. So prayer is not a conversation between peers; it is not a fireside chat among equals. This is the creature speaking to the sovereign Creator."

This is by far the most important lesson I have been learning this last year as I have studied both prayer and been reading my way through the Bible, that God is God. I can try to deny it. I can try to diminish who He is by putting Him in my God box. I can try to control God with my eloquent prayers and "righteous" living. I, I, I.

God is God. That is all. Really.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Simple Pleasures

Last night I was reminded of all the simple pleasures in my life that make me happy amidst the noise and chaos of the day. Here are just a few:

- A single, grande, hazelnut, nonfat, no whip mocha from Starbucks (a real Starbucks not one of those in a grocery store or book store because they really don't taste the same no matter what people try to tell you). I started drinking a hazelnut mocha years and years ago because it reminded me of the hazelnut cocoa we drank every morning at the youth hostel we stayed at during my semester in Germany with my college. Actually anything that mixes hazelnut and chocolate makes me happy - nutella, tofifays, yummy mousse.

- Climbing into my bed at home. Years ago I followed Oprah's advice and bought nice sheets for my bed. We also got a really comfortable Tempurpedic mattress that is still one of my favorite purchases ever. So I have an incredibly comfy, cozy bed that makes me happy every time I climb between the sheets.

- A funny or encouraging text from a friend. Whether to plan for a play date or just to share a laugh about something we saw, I love being able to "talk" to my friends. It is the quickie of friendship that helps sustain me until I can sit down face to face with my girlfriends.

- Picking up a new book I have requested from the library, especially if I have time to start reading the book right away when I get home. I love the promise of a new book and really love getting a book for free from the library. Making a list of books to request also makes me happy because I have something to look forward to as I wait for my turn to read the book.

- Putting the last of the laundry away. I like the feeling of accomplishment I get from finishing the laundry. I know there will be more tomorrow, but for that moment, I am all caught up and have taken care of my family in a very tangible way.

- Hearing my kids laughter. As I am sitting here writing, my boys are all playing together and making each other laugh in a loud belly aching way. I am not sure what they are doing or if I will be happy with the mess they may be making, but I love to hear them laugh together.

- Seeing a comment on one of my blog posts always makes me smile. I know I write for myself, but I really do get a kick out of knowing that someone is reading this and also that what I wrote makes sense to someone else.

So what are the simple pleasures in your life?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Did You Know... (Summer Vacation Edition)

We spent this last week at my inlaws house on a lake in Michigan. It was nice and warm and we all had so much fun on the lake. I did learn a few interesting things this past week that I thought I should share.

* Did you know that you are not allowed to wear your purse, sunglasses, belt or shoes through the metal detector at airport security? I found this bit of information out after reading all the posted signs and also while watching all the people in front of me at Midway Airport trying to do just that. Oh and you cannot take water bottles or large bottles of lotion through security in case you missed that tidbit all over the news and posted signage.

* Did you know that you can actually get a sunburn while spending the entire day either indoors or completely under the dark shade of trees lining the lake? I am beginning to think there are some serious flaws in Stephenie Meyer's books because based on my experience of turning into a lobster without ever stepping into the sun, there is no way that Edward and the Cullen clan could not sparkle.

* Did you know that feeling sick on a boat may not mean you get seasick? The last few times I have been to the lake I have felt nauseous when I went on the different boats. I was also pregnant the last three times I was at the lake. This time I went on the speedboat and had an absolutely amazing time. It was so fun to feel the wind and watch the boys tubing behind the boat. This time I was not pregnant. So I guess the point is if you get sick on a pontoon boat, you might be pregnant.

* Did you know that no matter how hard you try, you really cannot please some people? Though it is better to try really hard because when you decide to just be yourself it might trigger some passive aggressive subtle hostility that makes you question whether you really are a bad wife, mother and person. I am thinking there is more posts on this theme to come as my brain processes the disappointment that I am.

* Did you also know that when you talk directly to people you can actually get the real story which may or may not include a sharing of secrets that you all have in common. I had a great time getting to know the rest of my inlaws better on this trip. My niece and nephew have grown up into delightful adults and are really fun to be around. I especially like my nephew's wife who gets me at family events.

* Did you know that there are these magic flying bugs that light up at night? The boys fell in love with the lightening bugs that flew along the lake and around the house. They got small jars from Grandma and caught fireflies after dark. It was so sweet to watch them in their pajamas chasing fireflies with their Daddy who did it as a kid. Thankfully they were on West Coast time most of our trip so they were able to stay up late and actually slept in until 7:30 or 8 most mornings. Unfortunately this morning they were on Eastern Time and were up at 5:30am.

* Did you know that three kids can actually do really well on a 4 hour airplane ride? There were a few kids on our return flight not doing so well, but my kids all did great with their books, coloring, and video games. They were also amazing at a family dinner we had the last night at a restaurant. I guess all that practice worked.

We really had a great time in Michigan. The boys played in the lake while I read my book on the shore. They went fishing with their grandfather in the fishing boat. We took a ride in an Amish horse drawn buggy and went miniature golfing in the most oppressive, muggy heat imaginable. It was exactly what I imagined a vacation at the lake to be.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer Fun

It has been so long since I have posted, I actually had to sign into blogger. I knew I would be less likely to post in the summer because I would be busy with the boys and the sun would cause my brain to take a vacation. I had no idea I would not be posting because we would be too busy having fun.

So far the boys and I have done all the traditional things of summer in the Pacific Northwest. We picked berries, enjoyed a neighborhood barbecue and legal fireworks on the 4th of July, played with water squirters and sprinklers, hung out with friends all afternoon until the dads came and forced us to go home, got goosebumps from the cold at the ocean on what was supposed to be a 90+ degree day at the coast, and have lazed about as one should in the heat of summer.

It has been a wonderful break so far, apart from the swim lessons which were wonderful except for the changing back into street clothes afterwards. That often resulted in raised voices and privileges being lost left and right for the last two weeks. If not for having to shower and change afterward I would love swim lessons and all things pool related but those 20 minutes afterward, standing outside the boys' shower stalls in the family locker cycling from bribery to full out yelling for the boys to hurry up are the bane of my summer. Thankfully we have finished our two weeks and the boys are all deemed safe enough which is great because tomorrow we head to the inlaws lake house for a week.

This will be our first big airplane adventure as a family in over 2 years and also Little One's first trip to MIchigan ever, which means we have not been there in 4 years. My husband is a seasoned business traveler so you can imagine all the fun we will be having tomorrow when he gets into travel mode and forgets that we are all with him. I am totally stealing his Bose headset and letting him sit next to Little One who loves to talk and ask lots of questions. I am also looking forward to lots of relatives loving on the boys and my sneaking off into the background to read books and maybe hit a coffee shop for the wifi when I start to get internet withdrawal.

So hopefully in a week I will have some new stories of summer fun or family drama.