Monday, September 15, 2014

People I Want To Punch In The Face: A Real "Genius"

It has been so long since I have vented in the form of People I Want To Punch In The Face.  It's time. Oh, yes it is time.

It came to me today as I sat in the Apple store with my busted IPhone. The screen shattered when I was on an emergency potty run with my three year old during my six year old's "soccer game." I put soccer game in quotations, because seriously, have you ever watched six year olds play soccer? It's a mix of excessive celebration combined with organized chaos and nose picking. Anyways, while coaxing my youngest child to go potty, my IPhone fell from my pocket and landed face down on the bathroom floor. The screen was shattered.  Long story short I made an appointment at the "Genius Bar." Really? Come on, as far as I can tell the employed "Geniuses" are bored pseudo techies punching a time clock. I don't remember the name of my "Genius" however he wore an official blue shirt, glasses and about a million electronic gadgets affixed to his belt. *HOT*. My Genius took one look at my phone shook his head and actually made a tutt, tutt, sound with his tongue, something I might expect of an 84 year old, but he couldn't have been over 25.

He placed my phone on the table and pressed here and there determining after 22 seconds that my phone was bent. He removed my case and noticed something "sticky" on the back of my phone, and snickered in disgust.  "What is that?" he questioned, eye brows raised and smirking. As my three year old sat beside me mindlessly pounding his chubby fingers on a sample Ipad, I looked him straight in the eye and said: "Have you ever seen inside a mommy's purse? How the hell do I know?"  He quickly announced that I would need a replacement. He picked up my phone and started fiddling around disabling icloud, and resetting passwords. He handed it back to me, informing me I needed to back my phone up and come back later to purchase the new phone. I sighed and texted my husband about the latest expense, and realized that most of my contacts had simply disappeared. Gone. Erased. I panicked. HOW AM I GOING TO REACH IAN'S DAD TO ARRANGE A PLAY DATE? HOW CAN I REACH THAT ONE BABYSITTER WE USED LAST YEAR? HOW WILL I REMEMBER WHO MY KID'S PEDIATRIC DENTIST IS??? Holy crisis.

I asked my Genius, what had just happened. He looked down at my phone in complete dismay, informing me he had no idea, and it was certainly nothing that he had done. Dude. One minute I held my trusty IPhone with all 170 contacts in place. The next after you put your genius hands all over it my contacts are gone.... you are telling me this is a coincidence?  "Miss, I don't know what you want me to do, they are gone." Um... hello.... aren't you called a Genius? This is Genius? Are you kidding me? No. No. Apparently he was not kidding me.  He handed me the work order and told me to return in a few days for a new phone and walked away. Leaving me....contactless.

I left the store, irate, my busted IPhone in my purse and my cranky three year old on my hip screaming for an Ipad and informing me that he had just had an "accident" which was now obvious to anyone within a two mile radius. As I walked my stinky child to the restroom I remembered to secure my phone now devoid of contacts in my purse, since this was in fact how I ended up at the "Genius Bar" in the first place.

So Public Service Announcement: Keep your phone tucked in a safe place when bent over your child in a public restroom, and never trust a genius with your contacts. You are welcome.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Crib

This house has had a crib in it for nine years. Nine years. Now, I realize that is nothing in comparison to the Duggars, but I don't care to compare myself to complete maniacs.

I remember all those years ago, I gratefully accepted a hand-me-down crib, the crib that was my sister's stepson's. It was old fashioned, but sweet. I remember, honestly as if it was yesterday, standing in Babies R Us with my mother picking out the bedding, the area rug, the lamp, everything coordinated with a jungle theme. (As a side note, why do we assume babies like jungle animals? I mean really, aren't tigers and lions a little scary?)

I was so proud of that nursery. It was ready weeks before my baby was to arrive. It was to be his home, his safe haven, the crib there to protect him, the baby animals to comfort him. My eldest climbed out of that crib just before his second birthday, so it was retired, but only briefly until our middle child, Evan would arrive in the spring of 2008.  That crib moved with us to Berkeley California when Evan was one.

Evan loved his crib. Loved it. Unlike his older brother he never made a move to escape. I thought he might stay in that crib until he was twelve, but frankly, it was falling apart, and when we found out we had another baby on the way we decided one crib per family was enough. Evan was promptly transitioned to his "toddler bed."

In 2011, my girlfriend Hannah gave me her beautiful never-used crib. It looked expensive. I'm sure it was. Her kids never cared for the crib, opting instead to bunk with mom and dad. So Julian was the lucky recipient of a brand new crib. That was three years ago.  That crib moved with us from Oakland back to Denver and up until two days ago my littlest child, my baby Julian, was as happy as can be in his "cribey." Like his brother Evan, he never made any effort to escape, in fact whenever he grew tired he would ask for it. When he was scared he would run for it. His crib was his safe place.

Two days ago the drop side of the crib became loose. Rather than fix it, we simply removed it, so that the crib is now open on one side, almost like a regular bed.  My baby loves it. He loves the freedom to come and go as he pleases. He no longer has to cry for me each morning to help him out of a crib. Three or four times a day he asks if he can go take a "nap" just so that he may have the experience of getting in and out of his bed by himself.  It doesn't take a genius to know what this represents. He is growing up.

So after nine years, this family will no longer have a crib. We never will again, not until my babies have babies of their very own. My children have outgrown the need to be contained, they have reached a level of independence, and the bittersweet truth is, it has only just begun.  Every day my nine year old, the baby who once gobbled up jars of pureed peas with gusto, surprises me with his maturity. He has transformed what was once his nursery into a boys room scattered with Harry Potter novels, baseball cards, and dirty socks. He rattles of multiplication tables and baseball statistics and want's to go on "real" roller coasters.  My younger boys are catching up everyday.

This house no longer has a crib. I can't protect my boys the way I once did, watching their every move, catching them when they fall, being there all the time. No. My children no longer have the protection of a four sided bed, those days are gone forever.  Instead we now must create a home, four walls within which they know they are safe and loved. Where we will hold them, support them and try to comfort them just as much as we did back in the days when a lullaby could sooth them to slumber.

This house no longer has a crib.  I won't lie. It hurts a bit. Letting go. Saying goodbye to those baby years. The years when nobody in the world compared to mommy or daddy. When their faces would light up at the very sight of us. I have always been infatuated with the passage of time, and nothing makes the passing of each year more noticeable than one's children growing up. Time is all we have, and we can't rewind, we can't go back. I will never have a baby in a crib again. We will be buying another big boy bed, dismantling the crib and hopefully handing it down to another young family. One  that is just beginning. I will blink back my tears as we see it go, and then I'll turn back to my big boys and move on...

Sunday, August 31, 2014

It's official, I'm a grownup & your shorts are too short

Inspired my recent tweet.....
All grown up

You know you are officially a grown-up/a parent when.....

Instead of happy hour you spend your Friday night cleaning your kid's rooms, and almost enjoy it.
Your server gives you a wink when he asks you for ID
You have no idea what is happening with the Kardashian's however at the gym you select the machine with the best view of CNN
You still like Facebook.
You just can't stop commenting on how short that chick's shorts are. Really? That short? Really? 
You have celebrated the New Year in a time zone other than the one you currently are in.... year after year.
You cannot believe how young those "kids" in college look. And how short their shorts are.
You think seriously about adopting Martha Stewart's idea of a  family "command center" with color coded folders, a white board and a communal calendar to get organized.
All of your celebrity crushes are now in their fifties, or sixties.
You wouldn't dream of leaving the house without a bra, in fact you wouldn't dream of leaving the house without a damn good bra.
You walk into H&M and can't find a single item of clothing you would ever consider wearing, and you are appalled by how teeny-tiny the shorts are. 

You would rather read the book than see the movie, but it doesn't matter you won't have time to do either.
Flying alone, no matter the destination is a vacation within itself.
Miss has systematically been replaced with Mam.  
At your annual physical your doctor now brings up words like "bone density" and "mammogram"
Your doctor is younger than you.
You get mad at the teenagers hanging out on children's playground equipment, blocking the slide and wearing really small shorts. Is that a butt cheek hanging out? Seriously? WHERE IS YOUR MOTHER!
The term "midnight snack" has been eliminated from your vocabulary and replaced with a last glass of wine at 8:30.
It's 7:30 on a Sunday morning and you already have two kids in time-out, a load of laundry done, breakfast served and put a way, and you are wondering what the hell you are going to do with these monsters for the rest of the day!

It's official I have arrived as a true mom and grownup, and there ain't no turning back! (This does not however mean I have forgone my obsession with all things Hello Kitty, or that I always behave like a "grownup")









Monday, August 18, 2014

Fortysomething

I remember that show. I was in my early teens when I watched, mesmerized by the lives of Michael & Hope, the super attractive couple with an adorable baby girl. Then there was Nancy and Elliot, separated and fighting while juggling their small children.  And finally Gary the sexy single professor chasing skirts. I viewed with a mix of anticipation (maybe someday I'll have a hot husband running his own advertising agency and an adorable baby girl!) and terror, (am I really going to be that old?)

It was a television show but I felt it was really the official guide to Adulthood, akin to "What To Expect When You're a Grownup." As it turns out, if I remember correctly, it wasn't that far off. 

My life has had a similar cast of characters.  Most of my friends have taken their wedding vows, experienced the joy of bringing a baby into the world and struggled with the balance of career and parenthood.  In our early thirties we held on to some of our more youthful habits (bar hopping, expensive vacations and lazy Sunday brunches.)  As 30 rolled into 37, our lives became filled with pediatric doctors visits, promotions and career angst. I still had a few single friends who would occasionally tear me away to join their world on a Saturday night, but now, at the end of this decade, I have fully grown into a certified grown-up. 

My thirties were good.  Over those ten years I gave birth to three beautiful boys.  I spent four years in California exploring San Francisco and Sonoma.  I made new friends, while other friendships faded away, left to Facebook memories and occasional text messages. My remaining grandparents passed away and I watched my parents retire and embrace their new roles as grandma and grandpa. I have seen more divorces than all the bridesmaid dresses I have worn combined.   I ran my first half marathon. I quit working. I started working. I quit working and started working... trying to achieve the perfect balance of motherhood and self.

And here I am a few days shy of my 40th birthday looking back, remembering how I had watched Hope, Michael, Nancy, Elliot and Gary so many years ago, thinking 30 was so far away, so... old. Part of me wishes there would have been a spin-off series, fortysomething, so I may have continued to watch the lives of my television role models.  What happened to Michael and Hope, did they attend parent-teacher conferences together? Stay married, Overcome depression? Did Ellen's cancer come back? How did these thirtysomethings turn fortysomethings approach aging? Where is my road map, my What-To-Expect-When-Approaching-Middle-Age?

Perhaps it is best to leave it all to the imagination and admit that I have no idea what the next ten years will bring. Yes there are some things I can anticipate.  Baseball games, growing pains, driver's education and high school graduations. Aging. Yes I will continue to age.  My skin will continue to wrinkle, gravity to assert it's will, and a certain beauty will fade.  I would be a liar if I said these things did not scare me, did not make me a little sad. Watching my babies turn into young men and eventually leave the nest we put so much energy in building, scares me. My own parents approaching their seventies, scares me.  Looking older scares me. 

And though there is fear and sadness as I leave behind the thirties, there is a certain joy in knowing I have in fact matured.  So many people say that as the get older they feel "comfortable in their own skin" or that they are confident in themselves and have given up the insecurities of their youth.  I can't go that far, though I wish I could. Rather I can say that at forty I am finally able to start confronting some demons. I am more open and willing to face and own my shortcomings and better able to identify my strengths.  Though still a far cry from "self-confident" each day I feel myself getting a bit stronger. 

I find myself wondering how I got so stuck in my twenties and thirties. I have been so stubborn in my pessimistic view of myself and the world.  Perhaps it is true that with age comes wisdom and I'm finally starting to wise-up. For the first time in my life I feel that I am really capable of change, and while I don't know what the future will bring I, know that I can make my own happiness. 

Yes I realize that this  would probably make for a very boring television series, free of youthful angst  drama.  But guess what? I'm totally okay with that.

Happy fortysomething to me.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Pass the "Kool-Aid-Summertime With Kiddos.

I seem to remember summer as a time of endless bliss. The moment that last school bell rang the weight of the world was suddenly lifted from my tiny shoulders. SWEET FREEDOM! I would lug home my backpack full of dirty gym clothes and scraps of paper salvaged from my locker, dump it in the front closet and not look at until late August.

Summer seemed to last forever. So many weeks without responsibility, to do whatever I wanted to (which consequently turned out to be watching copious amounts of daytime television and eating a fuck ton of Kool-Aid
mix without water (sugar high!) I still remember the daytime line up. 10:00 Price Is Right, 11:00 Young & The Restless, 12:00 Days of Our Lives, 1:00 Another World, 2:00 Santa Barbara, and at 3:00 to balance out the Soap Opera smut, it was Little House On The Prairie. Ahhh good times.

When we weren't vegging out in front of the tube, we would walk to the neighborhood grocery store and stock up on candy. Nerds were a personal favorite, clearly I had an affinity for sugar. And in the evenings the neighborhood kids would gather outside to play tag or kick-the-can until the mosquitoes became unbearable or our parents called us in.

What I don't remember was being bored.

Hiking. It looks like fun. right? 
Am I just blocking it out? Because this seems to an epidemic with today's young whipper-snappers. Doesn't matter what we do. After a weekend spent at a mountain cabin the first words uttered upon return were "what are we going to do now?" After a day spent at the pool we come home and hear "Mom, I'm BORED."  While hiking the Rockies, one child will inevitably whine, "This is boring, can we go home now?"

Seriously? Seriously? For the love of God, when I was a kid we weren't entertained every damn second of every summer day. We did our own thing. We used our imaginations (if that includes borrowing from the imaginations of soap opera writers.)

This summer has been a bit of a challenge. We ran into some childcare snafus and scrambled to find fun and entertaining camps for the older boys. This week the boys went to some crazy expensive sports camp across town, adding nearly two hours of driving to my day. While at camp the boys have played dodge ball, tag, home run derby, baseball, soccer, and even (to my utter shock) enjoyed a zumba class. And every day they have returned overtired and crabby, complaining about the quality of the food (and here I thought it was only my cooking they hated.)

Yay for the camp commute! 
And we are only two weeks in. Two weeks. We have like what eight more to go???

I'm starting to think about sleep-away camp next summer....for me.

Good luck to all the moms and dads out there trying to survive June, July & August. Stock up on sangria and cold beer, because Kool-Aid just does not do the trick anymore!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sleep Ritual. Unisom & Wine














So in my "free" time I read an article about the importance of having a night-time "ritual" to unwind from a busy day and prepare the mind for sleep. Now apparently checking work email, Facebook, Twitter or reality television does not count as an acceptable "ritual." The article suggested that down time is critical for a good night's sleep.

As a chick who regularly has a glass (or three) of wine, a couple of Unisom and a quick prayer to the sleep Gods as my bedtime routine I was intrigued.  

It takes no genius I suppose. Everyone has heard that a glass of warm milk and a bedtime story is the key to sleep success, but I never quite bought into it myself. 

My days are busy. Managing what is now a full time work schedule, three insane offspring, a household, physical therapy and my crazy life...isn't as easy as I make it look.  (She does it with such grace, said nobody ever.)

Evenings are something I just get through. Survive. Preparing a dinner which will be the subject of many dirty looks and harsh criticism, negotiating bath and bedtime which has crept up later and later as my children grow, and trying to maintain a sanitary home with three boys 8 and younger (why can't they pee in the toilet??).... leaves little room for any "me" time. Yet.... according to sleep experts, such time is the key to sleep success. Fuck.

The article suggested  that meditation, a hot bath (with candles!) or deep breathing exercises are fabulous predecessors to a sound sleep. I know you can't see me now, but.....*eye roll* screw that crap! I took a "mindfulness"  class my senior year in college (easy A), and man did I try. I sat in my crappy apartment being mindful of the bacteria infested carpet underneath me, noticing the stench of stale beer that clung to the peeling paint, being aware of the fact that my roommates were in the next room drunk off their asses and having way more fun than me.  Yeah. Being mindful ended up pissing me off.   As for a bubble bath. Meh. Maybe in a beautiful hotel, but in my bathroom.... not so much, it's too hard to resist grabbing a bottle of bleach and some rubber gloves.  

So I jest, but yes, I see the value in finding something that might work for me. Something so perhaps eventually I can wean myself from the Tylenol PM (not the wine! stay away from my wine!!) But what is it? I know! How about three child free hours a night? No? Um... a personal massage therapist who will visit me nightly? Not realistic? Oh I got it! A sanctuary in my home, clean, peaceful, absent of all Hotwheels, used and discarded pull-ups or half eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! (Yes. Pure fantasy.)

Okay, Okay. Clearly I do not have an open mind. Perhaps I just like my wine. Maybe I'm just anti-sleep, or afraid of my own mindfulness. Whatever. It's time for some Unisom.

Nighty-Night!

Monday, May 12, 2014

I'm Back!

Oh my poor sad neglected blog. Yes, yes I have forgotten you. Between nursing a broken ankle back to health, nursing a child with a concussion back to health, a broken laptop, a visit from one of my best Oakland girlfriends, and a ladies trip to Vegas.... I haven't had time for you. And I'm sorry. I had so many earth-shattering blog posts in mind, but instead you will get a brief, and hopefully mildly entertaining run down of recent events.

The Ankle:

One word-sucks. Well it's on the mend now, but the whole experience was entirely sucky. From the 3.5 weeks in a cast, developing tendinitis in my right wrist from using crutches, intense pain in my calf, and an acute case of claustrophobia, to the two weeks in a clunky boot, answering countless innocent questions about my injury, to the painfully boring hours of physical therapy... I am flipping done with this ankle business. So done with it. And I have come to the final decision that my running days are officially behind me. My bones are too weak to withstand the high impact exercise, and thus I am on a quest to discover my new fitness passion. Expect more on that in the months to come!

The Concussion: A little over a week ago my eldest son was in a sledding accident on a glacier in the mountains. I was not there, but received the call that no mother wants from my frantic husband informing me he was in an ambulance with our kiddo on his way to the hospital. It's a long story, and frankly not funny at all, so I'll keep it brief, Zack is fine. He had a concussion that left him with a terrible headache and unable to participate in many of the activities he desperately wanted to over the past week. All and all we are very lucky with the outcome, and I think my husband and I are more traumatized by the event than my tough eight year old.

My Oakland Gal-Pal (Hannah! That is you!!) was awesome enough to come to Denver for a girls weekend and it was fan-fipping-tastic. There was a massage, a makeover, dinners, a hotel stay and some major catching up. We splurged on a night at The Oxford, a classy, hotel in downtown Denver. After our spa treatments we got glammed up and went to a swanky restaurant. I had envisioned us hitting the bars after dinner and stumbling into our room, well...at the very least after midnight, however somewhere around dessert our eyes heavy, we realized there was one only one thing we wanted.... our own fluffy bed. There is something to be said for sleeping alone underneath crisp overstuffed bedding. Damn straight I'm old. And proud of it. We slept in, had lattes and then went to brunch. A-May-Zing.

Vegas: This past Mother's Day weekend I flew to one of my very favorite get-aways- Las Vegas in honor of a friend's fortieth birthdays. I met up with twelve other lovely ladies (most of whom I had never met before) at the Wynn hotel for a weekend of total gluttony. First there was the $38 sunscreen I purchased outside of the  pool (yes, that was a mistake), then there was the $21 Pina Colada I ordered immediately after (totally not a mistake it was worth it), and then there was a whole lot of laying around the pool, drinking and eating. Pretty much perfect. I do have to say, I didn't feel quiet the same in sin-city as I did ten years ago. I had no desire to hit the clubs and I felt a little out of place at the invite-only pool party we stumbled upon, which was filled with rowdy 20-somethings dancing more than half naked, cocktails in the air.  At first I felt a little guilty for not indulging more. Why wasn't I wasted, it's Vegas? How could I come back to my room at midnight, it's Vegas?  Why am I not flashing my naked breasts at the 21 plus only "European" style pool, it's Vegas? And then it hit me. Because I don't want to, that's why, and I am totally ok with that. Damn it. Guess that means I'm a grown up now.

So there you have it. My first blog post in a month. Hopefully more to come. Thank you for reading :). Until next time...