Thursday, June 27, 2013

'Cause that's friends are s'posed to do....

So, here's the gig.  Most of you know that I'm turning 40 on Monday (and if you didn't know, well, you know now).  And if you've been within earshot, you know that it's been tough for me for some reasons that I can't articulate very well but they can best be summed up with the following points:

- I don't think I 'act' 40.

- I haven't done everything that I've wanted to do.

- My bucket list consists of things like "wake up on time without running to the bathroom at 5:30 without having a toddler hanging off one leg and another child emerging from the living room wondering if I could help her find the batteries because they rolled under the couch" and other things like 'actually shave your legs without missing a spot or finding said spot when you're walking into work by the hair blowing in the breeze'. 

- I'm not ready to get rid of my stupid ironic tee-shirts. 

- I don't wanna eat prunes.

- I wanna splash in puddles if I want to, damnit.

- I wanna be able to like One Direction and sing along because I know the lyrics, double dog damnit.

- Waving sparklers should count as daily allotted exercise, okay?

- Ice cream is acceptable for breakfast, right?

Okay, I guess my point is that I have a hard time conforming to 'society's' idea of what a 40 year old woman should look and act like. 

Thank god for my friends. 

They are my voice of reason. 

I've whined and bitched and pissed and moan about this birthday like no other and they've all come up with all of the reasons why I shouldn't hate it and maybe I should embrace all things that 40 is instead of what it isn't.  They reminded me that we achieve things like inner grace and we've learned how to make peace with all of the demons we had in our teens and twenties.  These beautiful voices of reason reminded me that I'm allowed to define who I am, what I do, how I react, and how I feel about everything in my world. 

These women, near and faraway, reminded me that it's okay to want/need/do all of the above and still not get carded for booze because I look 'mature'.  (Quit laughing, 'cause I know you are)

So for you, here's my *Hugs* and *kisses* courtesy of Mr. Bruno Mars:

I love you all, dearly.  And look forward to laughing, drinking wine, and singing with you on Saturday night.  Let's ring this thing in like it's 1999, bishes. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

This awful, beautiful life....

So while I was nibbling away on my ham sammie today at lunch, I stumbled across this article about parenting and blogging and how the trend lately is to relish your imperfections to the nth degree and that there is a level of pride at being really bad at being a parent.  The blogger who wrote about this trend also pointed out that while she's not perfect, she is however, trying to be the best mom she can be and more often than not, it's not terrible.  She also said about how she hopes that some day her children find her blog and that they cringe over the loving way that she talks about them.

Honestly, my first thought was 'WHOA, that shit goes on?  People WANT to be awful at parenting?'  and then I thought, 'I'm never ever perfect but I can't imagine my life without these people in it.'

All of it got me thinking, obviously, and more often than not it leads me over here to share things (and yes, I know I haven't been doing it overmuch lately but I'm trying to turn over another new leaf....hush, it might work this time).

And really my thoughts boil down to this:  I want my kids to know I love 'em. 

I write on my kid's facebook to drive him nuts (mostly because I can) partly and the other part is just my way of saying "HI, I'm thinking of you right now, gooberbutt".  

I, too, want them to read these words some day and think 'OMG MOM SHUDDUP' because they're so damned embarrassed by how proud I am of them. 

Don't get me wrong.  There are days when I literally cringe over the shit that comes out of my kids' mouths. 

Don't believe me?  Come sit by us on the bleachers during a baseball game and hand over a ring pop to either of my girls and they'll spill their guts, hanging me out to dry without a second thought. 

Like that they eat spaghetti-o's more than should be allowed or that sometimes they've literally got one pair of underwear left in the drawer before Mom hauls all of their dirty clothes to the laundry room.  Or how Mom cleaned out their big brother's room cussing a blue streak and that they heard some new words that day. 

Oy vey.

But sometime in the distant future I do hope they come across me talking how I got a little misty-eyed when the boy and I drove home from a ball game and sang Jack & Diane, laughing pretty hard when I jacked up the lyrics, and smile a little.

Or maybe they can remember the night when Sadie and I were lying in bed - head to toe - and I noticed a sore on her foot where she had had a splinter for awhile and didn't want to say anything, but we toughed it out, got it out, and hugged it out. 

Or maybe they can remember sitting up on Sunday nights after everyone was in bed and watching Hallmark movies and sobbing our eyes out. 

Or maybe they'll remember having a fever for a week straight and we went to the ER and Mom sat there all night and maybe she was scared to death but she didn't say a word except that it'd be okay. 

Yeah, because I want them to know that I'm not the best Mom in the world.  I'll never do some things right but I'd like to think I get it right some times and that maybe no one is going to love them quite like I do (or their Dad does). 

And I also want them to know that my life wouldn't be nearly as wonderful as it would be without them, hands down, bar none.  I wouldn't be as brave without them.  I wouldn't have found my voice without them.  I wouldn't be as loving without them.  I wouldn't be me at all without them. 

So, I hope this embarrasses them when they read it some day and they'll just shake their heads and say "Oh, Mom, you silly....goose."

I mean, honestly, by the time they get around to reading this, the hubs and I might be living in a cabin in the woods because the zombie apocalypse has occurred and we needed to get the hell outta dodge.  And maybe they'll be in the cabin next to us.  ;)

In closing, I leave you Darryl Worley's tribute to .... life: 

My fave lyrics out of it: 

I laid in bed that night and thought about the day
And how my life is like a roller coaster ride
The ups and downs and crazy turns along the way
It'll throw you off if you don't hold on tight
You can't really smile until you've shed some tears
I could die today or I might live on for years

I love this crazy, tragic,
Sometimes almost magic,
Awful, beautiful life

P.S.  I promise to get to the 40th birthday business....just not today. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

The life of a River Rat....

Somewhere on the Iowa River this weekend, the hubs & I decided to have our own homegrown shindig for my *gulp* fortieth birthday.  But, I'm going to forgo that subject just yet.  Don't worry, we'll come back to it. 

First though, I wanna include these photos from Saturday.  We don't often get to go out overmuch and the hubs gave me the option of lunch & a movie or a day on the river.  As much as I wanted to see the Star Trek movie, I wanted a day out on the river more. 

We had a drought in our region last year and didn't get out in the boat hardly at all and I really missed it.  I'm not the best fisherman but I can sit in my chair, drink a beer or three, and chat away like it's my job when the occasion calls for it. 

Here's the view that greeted us as we loaded up into the sand pits to take off into the river on Saturday morning:

When we moved here back in 2000, little did I know how very much I'd come to enjoy my days out on the water.  I grew up in a small river town but nothing like this.  Being on the river, in a boat, is such a social thing in addition to fishing, running bank poles, and so much more.  And as long as I've been married, we've had a boat and a motor.  It hasn't always been the brightest, fastest, or best but it's always been fun. 

I can still remember playing a game of horseshoes on a sandbar one sunny afternoon and we had gotten a babysitter and the hubs ran back into town to pick Arik up.  And when they rounded the last corner towards the sandbar, Arik was in the front seat (gorgeous little three-year-old) and completely sound asleep. 

There's something comforting about being on the water.  Or relaxing.  One or the other.  Either way, you can crank your radio or not, fish or not, or just roll along with the current and just watch the world. 

With all of the flooding this year, it's been a little dicey getting on the river and sometimes access hasn't been available or advised but it's been slowly dissipating and here we are in the back water off of the Iowa River.

We saw eagles, swallows nests, touched a couple bridges that you normally can't reach, and chit-chatted with some friends.

That's the other thing.  River folks are the best folks, seriously.  You need an extra life vest?  Sure, someone's got one lying around.  Your kid is hankering for some Sprite?  Yup, got an extra in the cooler over here.  Who forgot the sunscreen?  We've got some in our bag.  And god forbid you have motor troubles, but if you do, help is a phone call away.

I love the days when you turn the bend and see five or six boats anchored down on the sandbar somewhere and you pull in and bury the nose of the boat into the sand and kill the motor.

Time passes differently on the water.  It can be slower or faster depending on the level of joy you've got going on at any one given time.  It can be quiet and relaxing or it can be loud and crazy like any other get together around town.

But it's always going to be one of my fave places to go and get away.

(We'll revisit my 40th bday partay in the next blog post ;) )

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sometimes, it takes a village....

The hubs & I were talking this morning. 

We do that a lot. 

Talk, when we have the chance that is. 

When you've got three other people running roughshod over your life & your home, sometimes it's really difficult to get a word in edgewise.  But, either way, we were talking about the boy's baseball game last night which led into a talk about parents and then onto our youngest daughter's graduation and then onto the middle daughter. 

(as I write this my two girls are swatting at each other:  One with her graduation cap from pre-school graduation and the other with a dishtowel as she's taking an untimely break from drying the dishes and putting them away)

But all of this talk of parents, teachers, loved ones, etc got me thinking about how it truly does take a village to raise our kids.  And while we're not always so receptive to certain 'teachers' in their lives (Ie their peers, the media, social networks, disgruntled/pessimistic influences), there are lessons with every person they encounter.

This past week our youngest graduated from preschool and had a major dental procedure done.  She came through both with flying colors but not without a few bumps and bruises.  People asked, people were concerned.

Our middle child, who doesn't always have life's easiest row to hoe (she's the quintessential middle child, honestly, and boy do we have our days) and has had a tough week, but there are people who give her rides home from school and listen to her.  I can't say how awesome it is to have this woman listen to my daughter and be a great influence on her and that she cares to listen.  It's amazing.

The boy.   That kid.  He's getting bigger and older and his problems aren't something I can put bacitracin on along with a band aid and shoo him on his way anymore.  But, he has people around him who listen and enable him in the best ways.

I guess my point is, sometimes throughout life I've closed myself off to people because it was easier to insulate myself against experiences that I didn't want to be in.  There are negative and hurtful people that don't want anything but you to be unhappy too.

But in the past year, I've found a group of women who have done nothing but remind what it is like to be part of a 'village'. 

They engaged, they were present, they listen, they share, and they make my heart feel better about having a group of friends that I can go to with problems whether they be something as small as learning how to make cinnamon rolls or something as frustrating as parenting teenagers.  They make me laugh when I don't wanna laugh.  They make me smile.  They make me cry.  They share things; their secrets, their fears, their joys, their sorrows.

And they remind me that with all of the bad things out there, there is so much good to be had too.  We just have to have the courage to let all of it in.  The good and the bad.

I don't want my kids to miss out on some awesome people because they were too afraid to try, ya know?  This is their time and this is their 'village' and while it's not always the best one, it's still a good one. 

I'll leave you with something I heard not too long ago while I was lying on the couch watching a movie with my daughters and it brought a tear to my eye. 

From the movie Lilo & Stitch:  "This is my Family.  It's little and it's broken, but still good.  Yeah, good."

Just remember, it doesn't have to be perfect.  It just has to be good. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Month of Sundays....

Okay, thanks to my buddy, Nick on FB, and my real life gal pal, C, I'm back in the saddle again tonight.  I know it's been a month of Sundays since I've sat down and wrote anything to all of you and for that, I apologize.  I'd love to say that it's because of this and that or the other but mostly it's because I sit down and look at this little blank space and I'm not always sure what to say.

So *deep breath* I'll just say what's on my mind right now this second.

Sunday nights.

Growing up with my grandparents, Sunday nights were for staying in, popping popcorn, heating up frozen pizza, and watching TV.

Over the last 30 years, not much has changed in my life for Sunday nights.

They're still that night for regrouping and packing your lunch.

Taking a bath and shaving your legs.

It's for painting little girl's toenails.

It's for reminding the boy that he should pack up all his baseball stuff NOW and not three hours from now when I'm ready to go to bed and don't feel like washing this or that in the middle of the night thank you very much, sir.

It's for walking around in a pink chenille robe - even though it's hot outside - because your husband has the thermostat set to 'meat locker'.

It's for setting cream cheese out on the counter so you can make that 'really cool apple dip' for the kiddos to have for snacks during the week.

It's for making that mental grocery list in your head because you're gonna stop after work tomorrow night because gas just recently starting costing an arm, a leg, a thigh, and the rights to your first born.

It's for letting the dog out to go do his business and stopping to admire the mums you planted a week ago.  And to smile at the pumpkin vines because they finally quit looking like that pasty kid in the back of the class who sniffs glue and looks at his own boogers.

It's for looking under the couch because someone dropped the remote and the batteries rolled under the couch and you'd love to go to the kitchen drawer and get some more instead of hefting up the couch but someone left the empty battery container and didn't say a word to anyone about it and dear god, we have to watch powerpuff girls right this second (seriously?  Up yours, Buttercup)(sidenote:  Jude hates it when I call her Butterfart) before my head implodes, you heft up the couch and find nine-thousand-four-hundred and sixty-two hair ties and two fishsticks, nine pencils and two batteries. 

It's for thinking about a friend who had a horrid week and saying a quiet prayer of peace for her.

It's for thinking about how blessed I am.

It's for wondering if I have clean underwear for tomorrow and then remember that I'm the one in charge of the laundry and if I don't then I have no one to blame but me.  Or Kenny.  I'll blame Kenny.

It's for watching the National Weather Service Radar and wondering if I'm going to sleep before midnight.  Although, I'm sipping on a glass of iced tea anyway, so consulting the magic 8 ball here and thinking 'odds do not look good'.

 It's for snuggling down with a new book.

It's for those twenty 'just-one-more' hugs & kisses.

It's for the boy smacking the trim around the door and saying 'Night, Mom' before he takes the steps two-at-a-time.

It's for pizza, popcorn, and apples.

It's time for reflection.

And soon, it'll be time for bed. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Blogging, this isn't how you do it....

Ever have one of those days where you want to call & talk to a friend but you just have too much to say and instead you think you'll email only you're not quite sure where exactly to begin so you think you'll just text her a quick 'hi & love u' but you get sidetracked because the dog barfs on the living floor just about the same time that you smell the distinct odor of something burning in the oven?


Dang.  Only me then. 

What I'm trying so inelegantly to say is that sometimes I can be a horrifically fair-weather blogger.  If I've got too much going on (if only ever in my mind) then I tend to internalize until it's safe to peek out from  underneath my shell. 

So, what have I been doing with my time?

A little writing and a little reading. 

I've finished reading Nora Roberts new book, The Witness.  As always, it was super speedy and easy on my brain.  I love Nora.  She may not be the best writer in the world but her commercial success speaks for itself.  And 99% of the time, I love the characters that she creates.  So definitely two thumbs up on this book. 

The hubs and I watched Zero Dark Thirty last night.  And while it sits at 2-1/2 hours long, I don't remember it feeling like 280 minutes long.  It was fast-paced and intriguing, of course.  I know it was a dramatization of the events surrounding Osama Bin Laden's death.  But the culmination of it in the middle of the night, was just one small step in a huge journey.  And movie or no, it was interesting to see how they got from point A to point Z. 

We've been dealing with some very full creeks and rivers around here this week so it's very nice to see the sun shining and the temps warming up the windowsills and the concrete.  I've got little girls who wanna use up the sidewalk chalk and a boy who has a new basketball hoop. 

Also, I can't really say a lot about the Boston Marathon bombings other than that the families of the victims are in my heart and in my prayers and I pray for the bomber, too.  I can't help that part of me.  It's who I am. 

Alright.  I have some kitchen chairs to finish covering and a life to be living.  I will check in with you kool kats on the flipside.  Take it easy this week.  Be kind to each other.  No, strike that.  Be excellent to each other. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

You're my kryptonite....

....Oh my god.

Okay, first thing is first:  So sorry it's been so long since I've written anything down here. 

I'd like to say that it's because I've just busier than a one-armed coat hanger and partly, that's true.  But mostly, I just haven't been feeling it. 

Or maybe it's been because I've been feeling too much. 

And those feelings are fun things like being overwhelmed and drowning in my own thoughts.  And when that happens, dear friends, I duck and cover.

It's not a particular dignified coping mechanism, but it's mine. 

I think one of the most difficult things about blogging or writing is keeping momentum and to keep on trudging through even when you don't feel particularly awesome about anything.  Let me also say that I'm thankful for my daily blessings of my hubby and kiddos as I would be on the corner of no and where without them.  But, there are times as momma and a woman, where I'm just plain old fashioned burnt out. 

So in the interest of sanity, it's best to step away from the keyboard sometimes because not every thought I have in my head needs documented and there are times where you just gotta breathe without the crushing need to write it down.

I'd love to say that I've been painting our kitchen and bathroom and it's just because I'm working on a plan for our garden but that would be a big fat lie.  So, in the spirit of keeping it real, I will tell you that I've been reading oodles, snuggling with my short folks some, laughing with the teen, checking in with the step-d and just muddling through until Spring pokes its head up outta the ground manifesting as daffodils, tulips, and forsythia.

It's been a long winter, pals.

Time for some sunshine.  

For now, I'd like to:

- Go for a long walk by myself.

- Plan a garden with Sadie.

- Talk to Jude more about her views on the world (Seriously, anytime you need a reality break, talk to a five year old about the state of the union.  There is nothing in the world that will put your life into perspective than a kid).

- Play some MarioKart with the boy.  I've got an orange turtle shell with your name on it, dude.

- Go out for dinner with step-daughter and enjoy her laugh.  She and Sadie have the same laugh (ie. when they're truly happy, they laugh like a drunken sailor.  It's a thing of beauty, folks). 

- Get out in that flat bottom boat with that guy of mine with nothing but time and the admirable ambition of drowning some worms.

What's on your Springtime agenda?