Monday, August 31, 2009

BUSY - It's all caps for a reason

I want to write.

I have not had time.

It's the end of the month. Work is the hardest and busiest at the end of the month. Every month. And I took a week off in the middle of the month for vacation. I'm behind.

Hubs is pushing a newly designed freaking fantastic product to production. He's been working about 80-90 hour weeks for two weeks. He's awesome. The product is awesome. Did I mention he's brilliant too? He's tired. He has every right to be tired.

I'm sick.

Bug is sick. Bear is sort of sick. Sick sucks.

Pre-school starts tomorrow. Something that once gave me anxiety (other people caring for my children) is now making me jump with glee. We've been off a normal schedule for the summer. I am craving a normal schedule again. Please. Normalcy.

Gator football starts on Saturday. Oh please projects, work, sick, be over by Saturday. Game Day starts at 9am. I'm drooling. I. Love. Football. Season.

I solved a work problem this week that made my brain dance away in a giddy jig. I feel smart again. It was hard. The solution was COOL.

I am regaining my sense of self.

But I want to write. I have lists of posts to write. The last post I wrote was for last Thursday's Girl Talk Thursday. Girl Talk Thursday is another glimmer of fun brightness in the back of my head, in a happy place in my heart; it's me time. We are all starting something new this week. I'm excited. It's something else, something new I can contribute to, to belong in.

I lost that. It broke me. But I no longer feel bad about it. I take away my bruises, my pride, my knowledge, my belief of a better society, my hope. I like feeling this way again. Hopeful. The fighter still remains.

I struggled. And I moved on. I no longer feel defined by it.

I'm tired. I'm sick. I'm overwhelmed at how BUSY I am, we are.

And I'm happy.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

All I have to do is dream...

Dreaming. Recurring dreams. Do you have them? Do you remember them?

When you dream,
what do you dream about?
When you dream,
what do you dream about?
Are they colour or black and white,
Yiddish or English
or languages not yet conceived?
Are they silent or boisterous?
Do you hear noises just
loud enough to be perceived?
Do you hear Del Shannon's "Runaway" playing
on transistor radio waves?
With so little experience,
your mind not yet cognizant
Are you wise beyond your few days?
When you dream,
what do you dream about?
When you dream,
what do you dream about?

When You Dream, Bare Naked Ladies

I mentioned that song a few weeks ago for the Fav Songs Girl Talk Thursday entry.

I do have some pretty vivid dreams... ones that have gotten brighter and far more horrifying since I became a mother. I dream about bad things happening to my family, my children and usually the dreams are worse after watching a scary movie or a freaky scene in my hubs "Left for Dead" zombie game (dude, that game makes me jumpy). Most of the bad dreams involve car accidents or building collapses (I think as a result of watching the towers fall on TV on 9/11).

The two recurring crazy dreams I have about myself involve all my teeth falling out (WTH?) and of me falling, falling, falling, floating and falling in the air and the ground rapidly coming in to focus, getting bigger and bigger and bigger. That one usually makes me wake up in panic and usually when hubs says I've been jerking/twitching around in my sleep. (SORRY!)

I also love the montage dreams when people I know who don't know eachother are all jumbled up in the same place talking to me. Like when old, old friends from the high school I went to in New York before moving to Florida my sophomore year found me on Facebook and we started reconnecting. Suddenly I dreamed my NY friends were hanging with my FL friends and we were all having a blast. I usually dream something like this whenever I make a new social media connection and I think that person would like someone else I know.

Sometimes I dream about people who have died. I see my grandparents, and they are doing well. And I see my friend Noel a lot, usually he's laughing, which I like, but I end up waking up and saying out loud that he didn't get his way, that we all didn't forget him like he thought we would. He killed himself almost seven years ago.

I hate when I don't remember my dreams but I know I had one that was bizarre. I love bizarre dreams, ones that go something like "well first I was here eating lunch and suddenly I was jumping rope and my mom was sitting on a farm talking to flowers while my nephew recites multiplication tables" or something like that. Seriously what is your mind doing?! (no that was not an actual dream)

When you dream, what do you dream about?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Road Trip Day 2

Day #2 of our trip started out really well considering both boys slept great in the hotel. Bear woke up at 6am, per usual, but I pulled him in to bed with me and we didn't get up until 7:20.

Two miles up the road from our hotel we knew there was a Chik-fil-a for breakfast and a drive thru Starbucks for me so we immediately got back off the highway, and that's when our GPS started flipping out. The road with the food joints was really close to the highway and at first I think the thing was confused. It just kept saying "recalculating, recalculating, recalculating" so I humored her and said "it's ok, I just want to get some food and coffee." She was not pleased and I finally yelled at her "I HAZ PRIORITIES! I NEED COFFEE!" and then we muted her. Hubs laughed at me.

Seriously I love the GPS but there's got to be a way to tell it to stop freaking out, I just want coffee and then we'll drive the highlighted route. It's cool. I'm not lost at the moment.

The car ride was long today. We had been in a car for two days and what was supposed to be only 4.5 hours of driving turned in to 8 with bathroom breaks and food for lunch, plus traffic. Dear God the traffic. We hit Baltimore at rush hour. On Friday. GOOD GOD it sucked. But here's the best part of the day...

Right as we hit the outskirts of the city Bug declares "I have to poop!" and hubs and I just died because he couldn't have picked a worse possible time or place. We were literally in the industrial area of the city. But the kid's got to poop, yo so we have to find a place. You know, we have a GPS. So the first exit is about 200 ft after the toll booth. We pay the toll, then get off the highway and arrive in the train yard. Bug is thrilled to see the trains but still wiggling in his seat. Hubs looks around and declares "Crap, we can't get back on the highway from here." We realize that we have to backtrack to pick up the highway again and yes, pay another toll. That was the best $2.00 the city ever made from us the first time. 200 ft and then off the road. (fuming here)

So I tell the GPS to find us a gas station. And we drive about 7 miles through the train yard and gravel piles until we get to a Citgo gas station. It looks... well... awful. But I bravely get Bug out and we go inside. I don't see a bathroom anywhere. So I ask the guy "Do you have a bathroom for my son to use?" "NO." And he waves his hand at me, not making eye contact. Furious I take the advice of another patron and walk Bug to the car shop on the same property. I ask 3 "English is not my first language" men if they have a bathroom my son can use and they say "try the Citgo. He has one." I think I might cry, load Bug back in the car, and resist the urge to give them all the finger because we are not in the best area of town and I'm really not feeling all that safe and secure.

Hubs says he found a McDonalds on the GPS. We head down the road but the GPS doesn't tell us which direction to go at the next light. We go left. Mistake. "Recalculating... turn right." Hubs turns right and my stomach sinks as hubs immediately says "hell no" and begins to do a U-turn in the street. The roads are littered with clothing and trash as far as we can see and there are so many people loitering. It was sad and scary. I hate to say we were in a really nice, new van with out of state plates, and I was holding a GPS. Seriously - all signs pointed to LOST MUTHA-FUCKERS TAKE ADVANTAGE IF YOU MUST.

We turned around and drove up the road and found a Seven-11. I take Bug inside and find a sign on the bathroom that said "For Employees ONLY." I just looked at the employee and was like "Please let my son use your bathroom." Thankfully she did, just in time. No accidents! We left, wove back through the train yard, paid our $2.00 toll AGAIN and then sat in traffic forever.

Oh and neither child napped in the car even though Bear really wanted to. So when we arrived at 4:55pm, the kids were overtired, overstimulated and hungry. Triple fail. It was a long day. Luckily we were with our family and friends and that made the trek worth it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Road Trip Day 1

Thursday was the first day of our road trip vacation to Maryland. We left our house at 8:00am, half an hour later than I set out to start but... that wasn't bad considering we never leave the house on time.

The kids were great in the morning and for the most part through lunch. We had to stop twice before lunch. Once for Bug to pee and then 30 minutes later after he frantically said "I have to poop now!" (Good God there was an exit less than one mile from where he said that!) I have to say I was a bit dismayed that when we stopped the first time I found out Bug had had a tiny little quarter sized accident. Not really a big deal but I gave him new Bumblebee Transformer Robot underwear and we had this discussion about how we wouldn't leak any pee on his favorite robot. Fail. I tried.

At lunch we stopped at our favorite road trip restaurant... say it with me, Cracker Barrel. The server was horrible. And by horrible I mean ABSENT. The hostess happened by our table 15 minutes after we were seated and, after seeing we didn't have drinks, said "your server has been by, right?" NO. Meanwhile my kids both were breaking the golf tees in that triangular wooden puzzle thing. The hostess ended up taking care of us the entire meal and the manager comped my meal for the lack of service. (I did not ask him to do that.) At the end of the meal I made sure to hand a cash tip to the hostess and left a big fat ZERO on the credit card slip so that the server assigned to the bar code on the ticket, who was SUPPOSED to be covering our table, got NOTHING. (and yes, I checked, she would have gotten the tip if I hadn't done it like that.)

The afternoon was a little more tenuous. Bear didn't want to nap because he couldn't roll over and sleep on his stomach. He kept pulling at the straps on his car seat and crying out "I stuck! I stuck!" It was pathetic. Eventually he nodded off and slept for an hour. When he woke up he wanted to snuggle me and kept yelling "MIMI!" (He calls me Mimi, not Mommy.) "Mimi! I STUUUUCK!" It was again, pathetic and I swear if I had still been breastfeeding I would have sprayed milk all over the steering wheel from the physiological stress that put on my body. I felt bad for him but I also laughed a lot. Poor dude.

It rained on and off the entire drive. Mostly on. Always annoying.

You can imagine that once we arrived at the hotel (to which Bug asked ALL DAY "Are we near the hotel yet?") the kids were cooped-up-crazy and ran laps around our hotel room until they were sweaty in less than 5 minutes. Now they are relatively settled. Bug actually told us he wanted to go to bed at 9pm and Bear has proved a little more stressed out and has wanted us to lay next to his pack-n-play by the bed. I tagged out with the hubs a little while ago and can now hear all three of my men snoring away. It's too cute.

The last time we stayed in a hotel back in January Bear ended up with a raging ear infection and wouldn't sleep anywhere but on me.

The last time we went to Maryland last August Bear ended up in the ER with a fever of 103.2 and of unknown origin.

The minivan I rented came with a built in DVD system. I am in love with this minivan. We are seriously considering a minivan now. Never thought I'd say that one.

And finally: All you wild-driving-fool-ass-people going through Virginia, DC and Maryland tomorrow, stay home. I don't need you to kiss the bumper on the back of my car when I'm going 80mph in the rain. I don't need you swerving in and out of traffic. Go away. Hey you 18-wheeler-beating-the-clock-distance-requirement drivers, you do not drive corvettes and your trailers do not look like fun rides when they fishy-tail after you've dodged and darted and bullied your way in to spaces originally not big enough for you. So, like, take a chill. Please.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Shower Power

Ok so my shower routine for this week's Girl Talk Thursday...

First - if I don't shower in the morning I do not feel fully awake until... well, I don't know if I ever feel fully awake. I just feel gross.

I prefer to get my shower first even if it means I have to get up earlier than everyone else to do it. Case in point: on my sister's wedding day she planned to wake up at 6:00 (think, could been 5:30) and shower. It was her right to shower when she chose and decide the schedule. So I got up 45 minutes earlier and showered before her, leaving enough time for her to have the hot water tank filled back up again for her.

My shower must be completed in the correct order or I may fail to wash a body part. (See Quirkiness) Shampoo & conditioner, shave (unless I have goosebumps, I will not shave my legs if I have goosebumps), wash body, wash face, rinse conditioner, stand there wondering if I forgot anything, soak up the hot water, pray my chattering 3yo on the other side of the shower curtain will give me privacy and quiet for just a few more minutes (yes, he always gets up and comes in to the bathroom while I am showering every week day)...

After the shower it's dry off and get dressed. Usually it's back in to my pajamas but with clean underwear. Yes everyone. I aim low here. But I got in to this routine of not putting on clothes for the day when I was breastfeeding my first son. Inevitably he'd need to nurse and would spit up on my clothes and I'd just have to change again. It's hard enough to find something nice for work that fits me and is clean so why should I be setting myself up for failure here? Plus if I was going to have to sit or lay down on the sofa to feed him, well I might as well be comfy. But yo, all hail for the clean undies, please. It makes me feel like I'm not a slug and am all sorts of dignified. Dignified wearing my pajamas at the beginning of the day, after showering..

Then it's on to the rest. Put contacts in, brush my teeth, examine my face, inwardly cry, moisturize and later some natural mineral powder, chapstick, deodorant and body spray. Body spray, despite not always leaving my home, is just as essential as clean undies. It's all about feeling fresh.

I sound like a commercial for Summer's Eve.

I will shower twice a day if when I workout later. The second shower is done without the shaving or the brain fog part. It's much faster. If I shower at the gym I will take an extra 5 minutes of standing under the hot water just because it's not my hot water bill.

Most days this all takes me 20 minutes. 10-15 minutes to shower (if I had more time, I'd take it) and then 5-10 for the rest of it.

Rinse. Repeat.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Very different

I sometimes wonder what life would be like if we had had our second child first. Our first, Bug, was a breeze. It did take him about 8 months to sleep through the night (my terms of sleep through the night, 8pm-7am) but he was such a happy baby otherwise. He hated to be in trouble and would actually listen if we told him "no" to something. He had the most amazing pout from day one when he cried. He could melt your anger away with one blink of the puppy dog big hazel brown eyes. We often said "My God, if all our kids are this good we'll never stop having them."

Then along came Bear 22 months later.

And I feel like all I do is yell. At both of them now because Bug is going through the Whiny WHY phase and is pushing every one of my buttons. Of course, my husband will tell you I don't have buttons, but rather am one big button. Either way my limits have been reached and surpassed lately. I'm tired.

Bear will listen to me say no. He'll stare me down dead in the eye and then proceed to do exactly what he wanted. If I ask nicely he laughs. If I am more firm, he glares. The only way to get him to acknowledge me is to raise my voice. I hate it. It makes me cry. But, like, when he's going for electrical sockets and putting matchbox cars on the freaking stove when I'm in the kitchen, HELLO?

I often wonder if he'll hate me later. I feel like I'm cheating him somehow. He rarely gets the undivided attention that Bug got when he was little. It makes me sad. And I realize that in less than 2 months Bear will be the same age that Bug was when Bear was born. I look back at that and think how much older and mature Bug was back then. I can not, CAN NOT, imagine having another baby right now with Bear this age. He's not ready for another sibling.

Bear also becomes a wild banshee in the last hour before bed. Bug has never been like that. Thankfully now Bear will sleep pretty well and goes to bed fairly easily. If he didn't I swear I'd have a nervous breakdown right now.

I love that my boys are so different. I just wish Bear wasn't so difficult and willful at the exact same time that Bug is almost 4 and WHY?! is every other word out of his mouth, when Bug's meltdowns over not getting his way threaten to squash my very existence.

This mothering thing - Dear God. It is the best of times. It is the worst of times.

Today has not been a good day. Can you tell?

I just want the whining to stop. I want the listening to start. I want to stop yelling. I want to stop feeling like a failure at the end of the day.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Songs I love

Ok so this week's Girl Talk Thursday has perplexed me all week. It's what songs I love and why.

Wow. I don't even know where to start. I'm partially nervous because I put out a tweet last night in response to the Mamavation Mom Maria's video of her kids singing to ABBA. The video was adorable but I was like "who's ABBA?" Ok, well, I got thrashed. Seriously I never know band names!! Unless it's the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Billy Joel, and now the Imagination Movers or Laurie Berkner, I have no idea. My husband says all the time, "Do you like this song?" And I say I don't know and once I hear it I do know it. So yes, I now *remember* that ABBA sings Dancing Queen, a song I danced to at my very own wedding... but let's just say that I didn't know the name of the band back then either, even though I loved that song.

So here are a a few of my favs but this isn't a complete list. I know that for the next week or so I'll come up with about a hundred *favorite* songs.

The Boxer, Simon & Garfunkel: In the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade and he carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down or cut him 'til he cried out in his anger and his shame "I am leaving, I am leaving but the fighter still remains." I feel like these words sum up me. Beat me down, hurt me, shame me, I will persevere. I may cry a little while but I get back up and I go on. I have an easy, wonderful life, but I carry my heart on my sleeve and people just think it's ok to smack me around because it's fun to get a reaction. Kiss off. That's all I have to say about that.

At Last, Etta James: This was my wedding song. I loved it then. I love it now. At last, my love has come along. My lonely days are over. And life is like a song. I love you babe!

Sunshine On My Shoulders, John Denver: My father used to sing this song to me when I was a little girl. It is something I have always remembered him doing and when it came time to pick a song for him and I to dance to at my wedding, this is the song I chose.

The Leader of the Band, Dan Fogelberg: My mother's sister Priscilla (My Godmother) sang this song (and played the guitar) after my Grandfather died. It always, always, always makes me think of my mom's family and is probably one of my favorite songs to sing.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Your Are My Sunshine: I sang the first to Bug when he was a baby and the second to my Bear.

When You Dream, Barenaked Ladies: My husband sang this song to our children when they were small and it will still bring tears to my eyes thinking about him rocking our boys, walking, pacing, swaying as he cradled their little bodies and tried to calm the fussiness. If you've never heard it, it's a wonderful song. Any parent should add this to the list of lullabies to sing.

Let it Be, The Beatles: When I find myself in times of trouble Mother Mary's comforts me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be... This song gives me chills. I love it. That is all.

Don't Stop Me Know, Queen: One of my favorite running songs on my MP3 player. I have this track mixed in later in the run to give me a boost of energy.

Angel, Sarah MacLachlan: This song was sort of ruined for me for reasons not mentioned here, but when I go back to it, I love it. I sing it to my boys a lot. It's a beautiful song. Other favs by Sarah include: Push, Answer, Perfect Girl, Hold On, Ice Cream... I love Sarah. She announced a new Lillith Fair tour for next summer. I can not wait to see her live in concert.

Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Cats, Andrew Lloyd Webber: Um, yes I really can sing every song from these three musicals, most without help from the soundrack. I have actually worn out 2 Les Mis CDs from playing them too much.

I fear the backlash from this list. So far I haven't listed a modern song at all.

So here are a few songs I can totally sing & jam to. Some of them have great rhythm, others great stories, others awesome, awesome musicality. I'll change my sort to do it by artist now and not song title.

Ben Folds: Effington, You Don't Know Me (sung with Regina Spektor), Still Fighting It, Frown Song, Brick

Jukebox The Ghost: Hold it In, Under My Skin

Smashing Pumpkins: Today

Regina Spektor: Hotel Song

Anna Nalick: Wreck of the Day, Driving away from the wreck of the day and it's finally quiet in my head. I'm driving alone, finally on my way home to the comfort of my bed. Hello who hasn't felt like this at some point?

Billy Joel: And So It Goes, This Is The Time... ok there really aren't many songs by him that I don't like.

Leona Lewis: Bleeding Love - ever since I saw it on So You Think You Can Dance I've loved it. This is also a favorite in my running list.

Norah Jones: Nightingale, Lonestar, Sunrise, Shoot The Moon, Creepin' In

Rock Band: Can I just say that there are a SLEW of songs on this game that I love, love, love to play and sing but I can not remember the song names, nor can I remember who sings them. (see above first paragraph immediately after the Girl Talk Thursday bling please)

Music is amazing. Some country singer (yep, not remembering WHO again) sang a lyric I will always remember and it sums up my love for music.

Ain't it funny how a melody can bring back a memory, take you to another place and time, completely change your state of mind.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Raising Boys

I have two boys. Two sweet, amazing, smart and wonderfully different little boys. And like most parents out there, I wonder how I'm doing raising them.

I wonder if they'll hate me when they're older. I wonder if they'll love me later and call home just to talk and see how I'm doing. I wonder how they will do in school. Will they do well in classes? Will they enjoy learning or will it be a chore? Will they have friends; true friends that have their backs? Will they be well liked? well-respected? Will they respect others? Will they be easy targets for bullies and ridicule?

I know that I won't know all these things for years and years. But I worry. I want them to be well-liked and respected. I want them to be kind, compassionate, smart and funny. I want them to feel loved and appreciated by their friends and classmates and also by their teachers and elders. I want them to have fun, and have no stress, no worries. I want them to develop good coping skills so that they can handle the maelstrom of emotions that is middle and high school. I want them to enjoy extra-curricular activities. I want them to have passion for something healthy for them.

I know everyone wants this for their children. Really who wants their kids to grow up being hated, rude, dumb and crass? But I feel so much stress about this raising boys. How do I raise a kind, sensitive boy who won't be mocked relentlessly later? How do I raise a tough boy who is not a bully? How do I raise a boy to have self-confidence but not arrogance? How do I raise a boy to have feelings but not be a sissy? How do I raise a boy to show be respectful, yet think freely, be an individual and also embrace differences of opinion? How do I teach them to trust but be skeptical? How will then know when it's ok to challenge and when it's appropriate to walk away? How do I know?

I know people raising girls have the same questions. But I feel so many things can be "explained away" by saying "oh she's just a girl." Like emotions, affection, manners. And I feel like it's ok to raise a girl to be tougher and not have her be labeled a bully later. I am not pulling the gender card lightly here either. There are still gender stereo-types. Yeah, say they don't exist, whatever. Hello, I'm a GIRL writing this. Yo.

I don't know. And not knowing sometimes freaks me out. The only thing I can do is love them and try to be a good example for them. God the pressure! I can give them bumper lanes to guide them and catch them. When do I take the bumpers off? I don't want to hinder them. I want them to grow and thrive. Thrive in love, life and happiness.

These boys of mine. I love them so.

Love will fly if held too lightly.
Love will die if held too tightly.
Lightly, tightly, how will I know
Whether I'm holding or letting love go.