Monday, November 30, 2009

A Poem-If Tomorrow Starts Without Me

A friend sent me this poem in an e-mail and I do not know the author. But since September 11th when I lie down at night and say my prayers I always say "thank you for today and for the hope of tomorrow." I enjoyed reading this and felt like it was important to share it with others.

To my husband and MC please know you are my world. I love you both more than the moon, the stars and everything in between. And if tomorrow starts without me....


A few weeks ago a woman was killed in an auto
Accident She was very well liked, so the office shut
Down for her funeral and it was on the news and so on.
On the day the workers came back to work, they found
This poem in their e-mail that the deceased woman had
Sent on Friday before she left for home.

If tomorrow starts without me,
And I'm not there to see,
If the sun should rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me;

I wish so much you wouldn't cry
The way you did today,
While thinking of the many things,
We didn't get to say.

I know how much you love me,
As much as I love you,
And each time that you think of me,
I know you'll miss me too;

But when tomorrow starts without me,
Please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name,
And took me by the hand,

And said my place was ready,
In heaven far above,
And that I'd have to leave behind
All those I dearly love.

But as I turned to walk away,
A tear fell from my eye,
For all my life, I'd always thought,
I didn't want to die.

I had so much to live for,
So much left yet to do,
It seemed almost impossible,
That I was leaving you.
I thought of all the yesterdays,
The good ones and the bad,
I thought of all that we shared,
And all the fun we had.

If I could relive yesterday,
Just even for a while,
I'd say good-bye and kiss you
And maybe see you smile.

But then I fully realized,
That this could never be,
For emptiness and memories,
Would take the place of me.

And when I thought of worldly things,
I might miss some tomorrow,
I thought of you, and when I did,
My heart was filled with sorrow.

But when I walked through heaven's gates,
I felt so much at home.
When God looked down and smiled at me,
From His great golden throne,

He said, "This is eternity,
And all I've promised you."
Today your life on earth is past,
But here life starts anew.

I promise no tomorrow,
But today will always last,
And since each day is the same way,
There's no longing for the past.

So when tomorrow starts without me,
Don't think we're far apart,
For every time you think of me,
I'm right here, in your heart "

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Rivalry Weekend

I live for college football. Football, its not just a game its a way of life. Alright so no I don't really live for college football that would be silly, right? But I am passionate about college football. I found it funny and ironic that while I was in labor we were watching Texas vs. Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout. Wait, I was really watching the game I was in labor and between the extreme pain and epidural I was out of it. But the doctor that delivered MC well he was watching the game.

When he walked in to deliver the baby, his exact words were "alright let's get this done so we can watch the game" and he wasn't joking. I can't fault him too much because I can relate to wanting to watch college football expecially the big rivalry games. But it did make me a little nervous that he was turned towards the tv, watching the game as he was waiting to "catch" MC. I guess if I'd not been so out of it I probably would have complained or turned the tv off but I also needed a distraction and I felt drunk. So even when I had a coherent thought other than "I'm dying" it was gone as fast it had come.

Rivalry weekend for me is some of the best football of the season. I look forward to rivalry weekend and make sure my schedule is clear. When I was employed in the real world I would not work on rivalry weekend and that was non-negotiable for me. As someone that attended Auburn for almost a year and graduated from the University of South Carolina I can tell you without a doubt that the "Iron Bowl: Auburn vs. Alabama" is the biggest college rivalry of all. Both ESPN and Sports Illustrated have referred to this rivalry as one of the most intense.

I had a chance to experience the Auburn/Alabama rivalry firsthand in 1993 as a student on the Plains. Auburn was undefeated entering the game against Alabama. Now if you are not familiar with football in the south, especially Alabama then it may be hard to understand the passion of these fans. There was so much excitement surrounding this game that the fans began arriving in their RVs on Monday. Everywhere you looked there was an RV parked on any grassy spot, sidewalk and anywhere else the RV would fit. By Wednesday the town and campus were so crowded with fans that my classes were cancelled. And let me say even if you aren't a football fan when classes are cancelled because of an upcoming game you begin to wonder what all the hype is about.

So as an 18 year old that thought she had the world by the tail or at least the southeast, I took advantage and began enjoying all of the festivities. At the time I was living on campus and our co-ed dorms has lots of "green space" so we had RVs all over the place. I decided that if these people were parked in "my yard" then they should cook for us. My friends and I approached people sitting outside in their lawn chairs with their grills and coolers and asked if we could join them for a beer and some food and you know what, they all said yes. For three days, Wednesday afternoon, Thursday and Friday anyone that we aapproached invited us to join them and provided us with food and refreshments, we even got a few to give us underage kids a beer.

What started as a cheap form of entertainment for me, became an experience that I will always remember and cherish. I met so many people that were die hard fans. Some of them had driven for more than 12 hours to see this game in person, some hadn't missed a game in 20 years and some had come just to tailgate and celebrate with other fans because they were unable to score tickets to the game. On Thursday morning I called my Dad and told him he and my brother needed to come down and check out the insanity. I was one of the lucky ones with a student ticket which meant guaranteed entry to the game but for those looking for tickets the prices started at $500 for one regardless of the seat's location. I was offered $250 for my student ticket and considered selling it but didn't and feel I amde the best decision. Without a doubt watching the 1993 Iron Bowl from inside the stadium in the student section was a one of a kind experience that can't be duplicated.

My friends and I spent Friday evening circling the campus in the back of strangers trucks. Yes, I realzie that sounds strange, crazy and just plain stupid but you had to be there to know this was part of a tradition and everyone was particiapting. We'd jump into one truck as it slowed, make a few laps while tossing rolls of toilet paper, singing the fight song at the top of our lungs and chanting "I say it's great to be an Auburn Tiger." And the Alabama fans would yell "Roll Tide" and shout right back at us. For me this was a blast and an experience I won't forget.

On Saturday morning Dad and Brian pulled into town. Neither of them could believe the number of RVs, cars, amount of traffic and people everywhere. Dad became determined to buy two tickets to get inside the stadium to watch the game. Unfortunately, they never found tickets for less than $500 each and ended up missing the game completely. Dad was so frustrated that when the game started he decided to drive on back home and missed the entire game.

I watched the game with friends and strangers from the student section. If you were wearing orange and blue and cheering everyone there was a new friend. We stood the entire game, shouted at the top of our lungs, sang the fight song over and over for four quarters. I don't even remeber sitting down at halftime. And when the clock was out and we'd won the game to finish the season undefeated at 11-0, I headed to Toomer's Corner with thousands of others.

Now if I were reading this and unfamilar with Auburn I would assume Toomer's Corner must be a bar or restaurant where people would hang out after a home game. But Toomer's Corner is literally a corner located across from Toomer's Drugs. Its a tradition to gather at Toomer's Corner after every home victory to celebrate with the band and the throng of Auburn fans while rolling the trees. Before I was a student at Auburn I had witnessed this one weekend while visiting the campus and well I fell in love with the tradition. It was one of many traditions Auburn has that made me fall in love with the Village on the Plains and want to be an Auburn student. If you haven't been to Toomer's Corner after an Alabama victory you can't understand the intentsity. I hope one day I will have the chance to take MC to an Iron Bowl and share in these traditions with her.

This weekend was a good rivalry weekend. Auburn lost but they played an excellent game against the #2 team in the country. The chicken curse was overcome and the Gamecocks defeated Clemson. Oh and don't let me forget the Texas win over A7M on Thanksgiving evening. MC watched a little football with me but I am lookign forward to the day when I can teach her about the game and hopefully this will be a pastime we can both share and enjoy.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Special Moment

MC and I curled up on the couch last night and watched a little football. She was sitting across my lap and I was holding a plastic container of sliced strawberries. I was holding her and feeding her strawberries which she found amusing in some way because she kept giggling.

At one point she turns toward me and gives me a kiss, and then another and another. It just melts my heart when she gives me affection without any encouragement. After my three kisses, she turned back around, grabbed a strawberry and fed it to me. So I'm thinking it makes her happy when I feed her and she's trying to take care of me the same way. What a sweetheart.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanks Mom!

I miss my Mom everyday. Mom passed away three years ago and I wouldn't say its any easier for me. The holidays are always difficult. My mom always made the holidays special for us. Yes there was always drama but there was also always great food that mom put both her time and love into making.

Tonight as I'm cooking mom's recipes for dressing and sweet potato casserole I want to pick up the phone and give her a call. I can't remember the exact amount of butter for the dressing or the order of mixing the ingredients.

Mom was a great cook. And mom always cooked enough to feed a small army. Now we never ate on time and I do mean never but the food was so good and there was so much that the frustration always faded while you were eating.

I'm not sure I told mom often enough how much I appreciated her cooking. I'm quite certain I didn't spend enough time in the kitchen trying to learn from her. If I could go back in time I'd watch how she prepared the food, I would have written down all of her recipes, and I would have learned to be a better cook.

When mom became ill the last time we all realized there were so many foods mom cooked that we all loved but none of us had the recipes. My dad began coming over and asking mom to share the recipes. As she would list the ingredients he's write them down, type them up later and save them on the computer. What we didn't know at the time was that mom's memory of the recipes wasn't always complete. We also didn't realize that the recipes she had written down or recipes that were in her cookbook were also incomplete.

You know how you'll be in the kitchen cooking something and decide to change it up, you add an ingredient you don't normally use or leave something in the recipe out well if you like the changes write it down, make a note. Apparently my mom frequently made changes to recipes but never wrote the changes down. She knew the changes, she'd remeber the changes when making the dish but now she's gone and we're clueless.

Somehow cooking Thanksgiving dinner makes me feel closer to mom. Thanks mom for teaching me that food can bring a family together. Thanks mom for leaving us some of the best recipes for dressing and sweet potato casserole. And thanks for teaching me yet another lesson, keep our favorite recipes and note all changes, teach your kids how to cook their favorites because you won't always be there and everything made with love always tastes better.

Thanksgiving Shuffle

Well we spent yesterday and part of tonight doing the Thanksgiving shuffle, i.e. going to multiple grocery stores in order to get everything on our list. And then going back to the grocery store to get the items we realize we forgot put on the list. I used to always have the shopping done the Sunday before Thanksgiving...but a baby changes everything.

Okay, okay so yes she's 13 months old now and maybe that's a bad excuse but I seem to be doing more and more things at the last minute than ever before. Typically, I'm proactive in almost area of my life except house cleaning. But this year I've been running around at the last minute buying birthday cards, groceries and everythign else.

And I hate to wait until the last minute because I can always feel my stress level increasing the closer an event gets when I'm not prepared. So I definitely hate to go shopping for Thanksgiving dinner at the last minute. We didn't get to Costco last night until 8PM and they close at, you guessed it 8:30. We're racing down the aisles, throwing items into the cart and made it in and out in record time. It was a relatively easy trip.

But then we had to go to H-E-B for the rest of the groceries. Saturdays and Sundays at H-E-B are crazy, the aisles are jammed, shelves are running low and people are everywhere and last night was like a Saturday and Sunday combined. They were out of rolls, out of sage sausage, out of sweet tea, etc. We waited in lines to go down aisles, lines to get close to the shelves and a long line to check-out. I spent the entire time kicking myself for not shopping earlier in the week.

Then we get home unload all of the groceries and debate which one of us is going back out into the night to another store for the last items...ughhhh. Tonight we were out again because we still needed sage sausage, cranberry sauce and frozen rolls. And at some point I remembered we also need a meat thermometer. I used my new phone to navigate to the nearest Sur La Table. Of course they had already closed and thus still no meat thermometer. Fortunately, the neighbors aren't cooking a turkey tomorrow so I was able to borrow theirs.

Now we're chopping celery and onions, browning the sage sausage and baking sweet potatoes and I'm already exhausted again. I had the brilliant idea that we'd cook a trukey, dressing, sweet potato casserole and pie for us to eat and another batch of dressing and sweet potato casserole for dinner at my brother-in-law's. Yes crazy idea!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Weekend in Review

I survived the weekend. So normally I'd probably be saying I survived the week but not this time it was the weekend that was a challenge.

My husband's 50th birthday was Sunday. No that's not a typo, he's 50. And with the economy being stuck in the dump and our bank account resembling the black hole I had to figure out how we'd celebrate his milestone.

My birthday was back in June. And we'd already decided that we would do something simple and affordable without any gifts. No problem. So as his birthday approached I had a similar discussion and we agreed no gift would be expected or even accepted as it would mean leaving a bill or several unpaid.

But you only turn 50 once. Three years ago when we were still dating and I moved in with him I had grand plans for this occasion. One afternoon over lunch with his best friend I told him how I was going to book a long weekend in Las Vegas for my husband and present the tickets and trip as a surprise. I love surprises. I love giving them as much as I love receiving them. My mom was always giving us "no reason" gifts, usually something small like a book she knew we wanted or a CD by a favorite artist. And those little surprises of unexpected gifts always made me feel so special.

My husband loves to play poker. He's not a big gambler and that's not why we're in debt. But when on vacation if there's a casino where he can enjoy a game or two then you can bet he'll be there, drinking coffee and hoping he'll win a big hand. And I know deep down he dreams of playing on the World Poker Tour as a professional. So how cool would it be to give him a trip to Vegas? And even cooler if I came along to shop and chill by the pool while he made money. Plus, I was going to invite a few of his friends along so he'd have buddies to help him celebrate. Wow how things change so quickly, just imagine three years later.

Now we're married and have a 1 year old little Vegas even if we had the money is probably off the table for the near future. Of course I could have done other fun things for him, there are so many possibilities when there's money to pay for them. But since that wasn't the case I decided I'd have to give him a surprise party.

If you know me you know I'm not Martha Stewart, not even a distant cousin and the only reason someone would even say my name and Martha's would be to give an example of how opposite we are on every level. You can't even say I can keep up with Rachel Ray. So, most of you may be laughing at the idea of me throwing a surprise party and I understand. But, I wasn't. No, I was stressing out about it. With more resources I could have made it a party to talk about, i.e. money to hire an event planner and have it catered.

But it was just me and a few friends that offered to provide a location and assistance with food. I had to decide if it would be somber, or fun, or full of all the over the hill gags. It was my job to create a menu, choose the right decorations, invite people without leaving anyone out and if that weren't enough to make my head spin, it also had to be kept quiet so it would be a surprise.

I have no idea how many lies I told last week. And when I lie I become anxious, and when I'm anxious I get stressed out and when that happens my body decides to go on strike. My stomach gets tied in knots, my head begins to pound violently and my mind won't shut down so I can rest. Doesn't that sound like fun?

First, I was sneaking over to a friend's house so I could get on the Internet to choose and order decorations. Then, I was stealing his phone to "backup his numbers", but I was really getting numbers of friends so I could invite them to the event. And on Friday night, the evening before his family reunion, I had to tell him I wouldn't be going because I was exhausted and too anxious to attend. Of course this was not what he wanted to hear and led to conflict which left me more stressed out. At one point I even considered just telling him about the party but instead just listened to him complain about my lack of support.

I spent all day Saturday running around town, buying food, last minute decorations, preparing food, etc. And while I'd planned on being home when he returned I was still busy making dip and reminding everyone about the time and location. It was exhausting. But I felt guilty about the lying, missing the reunion and not getting home to spend time with him, so I stayed up watching movies until 3AM.

Sunday morning I had to sneak out again to deliver the cake, check on the decorations and drop a few more items. Then I had to create a fictional story about having lobster with our friends at their house after we watched football with them. And of course any other time he would have just said sure, whatever, but this time it had to be difficult. Why do we have to go in the middle of the game? Can't they come over to our house?

But after it was all said and done the party was a success and a surprise. The food was awesome, not because I made it (LOL), turnout was good and JB had fun. So I guess the stress this week, and fatigue I'm feeling today was worth all of the trouble. And maybe, just maybe I'm one step closer to becoming a better cook, hostess and wife.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Black Friday is not for Amateurs

It seems that for the last 4 weeks all I hear about is Black Friday. My inbox is full of Black Friday links for the latest information on the hottest deals. When I'm on FB I'm continuously seeing pages for Black Friday events and ads. And the Auburn v. Alabama game is on Black Friday this year so they're sending me e-mails with t-shirts made especially for Black Friday.

Does anyone else think that Black Friday sounds incredibly depressing? It sounds like an ad for a funeral of a famous person or like the National Depression day. Don't get offended I have PPD and continue to exerience symptoms and recevie treatment for it so I'm not saying depression is soemthing to be taken lightly. I'm just saying if there was a national awareness day for depression then Black Friday might be a suitable title.

On every Black Friday evening or the following Saturday morning the news is reporting injuries/tragedies that occurred while shoppers rush, trample, shove, etc. on their way into a store. And since that's the case the name Black Friday sounds even more ominous. The game shirts that Tiger Rags is selling to celebrate the "Black Friday match-up" says "BURY BAMA" on the back in all caps.

True, I'm a die-hard Auburn fan and would like to see Auburn crush the Tide on Friday. I know, I know the shirt isn't mean to be "literal" but the game is being played on "Black Friday." Ironic?

Let me point out that I've never joined the Black Friday madness. I both admire and laugh at those that venture out in the dark, cold hours before dawn armed with sales ads, lists and even some with maps of the store to stand in long lines awaiting entry, long lines to check-out and deal with parking that's is just another obstacle in the long list of challenges you'll face while getting the "best deals."

Personally, I can't see putting myself through the stress and frustration as well as the dangers out there. I'd rather be snug in bed sleeping through the turkey induced coma. No, I won't be able to brag about the incredible deal on a Blu-ray player or tell stories about rude shoppers or clueless sales clerks but I don't care.

You see the closest I've ever come to the Black Friday madness was trying to take advantage of a killer sale Kohl's had advertised on an ordinary weekend. I'd seen a flannel sheet set at Kohl's that I really wanted but it wasn't in my budget. So when I saw that Kohl's was having a killer early bird sale and I could but the set for $15 I figured no problem. I mean how many other people or going to get up to shop at 6AM when its not the holidays....I discovered firsthand that while the number of people wasn't outstanding the mindset and fervor of the shoppers was not to be taken lightly.

On the way into the parking lot I was almost hit twice by drivers not observing traffic laws, traffic lights or any courtesy at all. I was forced to park towards the abck of the lot because for whatever reason Kohl's had roped off and closed a good portion of their lot. So there I am, barely awake because as you know I am NOT a morning person, standing at the front doors with probably 40-50 other people. Everything appeared to be alright, noone was really talking but just standing and trying to keep warm. And there wasn't anyone standing right at the door, but everyone was about 3 feet away from the door.

But when the doors opened, those seemingly calm, friendly people became rabid shoppers pushing and shoving other people so they could get one of the 75 coupons being passed out and then they ran off to their items destination. It was like watching vultures fight for roadkill. I just stood still until I could move over to the side, out of the way until the madness was over. When I entered the store I was handed the same coupon the animals had just raced for and walked over picked up my sheet set and checked out. There wasn't even a line at the registers yet. When I made it back to the house I realized that was exhausting and really not worth it.

I saw one of Target's Black Friday ads today and thought it was spot on although a little sad. Its the one where the lady is hauling two carts full of packages behind her and she says "I'm doing calisthenics to get ready for Target's Black Friday sale."

Yes, Black Friday is not for amateurs. Its for those hard core deal seekers willing to put up with early hours, traffic snarls, parking nightmares etc. all for the deals. And there's nothing wrong with that I admire you to some extent. But why we try and make it a little more civil and while we're at it give it a better, happier Dealicious Friday, something more upbeat. And for those of you heading out Friday morning please be careful, there's no deal out there worth getting injured or causing injury to someone.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

You Do The Math

Last night my husband and I watched Star Trek on DVD. When it started in theatres he really wanted to go see it but we either couldn't get a sitter, couldn't afford to see the movie, couldn't afford a sitter and/or just got busy with other things. So yesterday MC and I went up to Blockbuster and rented it so we could surprise him.

When he got home and realized we had the movie he wanted to watch it right away. Now, I have no interest in Star Trek and never have. I don't watch it on TV, have never seen any of the Star Trek movies from start to finish and wasn't too excited about seeing the DVD. But I know that he watches movies I want to see so I was ready to make the sacrifice.

I have to say that I actually enjoyed watching it. Its quite possible that my enjoyment was fueled by the good looks of Chris Pine as James T. Kirk but I wouldn't say I'm that superficial. Overall the plot kept my attention, the special effects were well done and I liked the action.

But this is not a movie review, but rather more of a relationship review. While we're watching the movie I tell my hubby that I don't really understand the fascination with Star Trek. It seems like Trekkies are just nerds with a fixation on a fictional world. Live long and prosper?, get real!

Of course as I'm saying this I also know that I was, am and probably always will be a Star Wars fan. As a child I had all the action figures, the vehicles and accessories my parents would buy. And as of today I still have my Darth Vader carrying case with a few beat up action figures inside.

Anyway, in our conversation, JB says well we like a lot of different things. Pause: this couldn't be more true which would lead an outsider possibly you as you're reading this to wonder, "how do you guys work?" So it made me think about the math of our relationship. If we were to take an Excel spreadsheet and list my interests on one tab, his interests on another and assign the differences or similarities a point value and then calculated them, how big of a difference is there?

I know many people will say, well opposites attract and that's true to some degree in some relationships. But to clear the air let me first say that when my husband and I first started dating I wasn't looking for opposites or differences but rather for someone that had common interests, a similar personality but with interests of his own and the ability to complement my personality.

I'm not writing this to say I'm unhappy because I'm not. True I have days when i wonder how we ended up together but then so do many couples. And I think we both shake our heads on a regular basis and wonder how do we work?

We're both night owls and prefer to staying up late to getting up early. But I'm not a morning person in any shape or form, I'm downright scary and mean in the mornings, my husband can pop out of bed and start singing while he gets dressed...a habit I find quite annoying. Not to mention the fact that once I'm awake and have a conversation with someone I can't fall back asleep, my brain is in gear and won't snooze. My husband, can answer the phone from a dead sleep, be completely coherent, have a brief or long conversation and be sound asleep again in less than five minutes from the time he ends the call. I WISH I could do that.

If we rent a movie and 10 minutes or 30 minutes into it I realize its not going to get any better and I have other things to do then I will stop watching it. But my husband will watch the entire movie with the rationale that someone took the time and spent the money to make it, the least he can do is finish watching it. I really don't understand this concept, rather I figure life is short and why waste it watching garbage?

Then there's the subject of politics, the complicated, lengthy, detailed subject of politics. I don't think there's much we can agree on in the area of politics. I've always studied the candidates and voted for the person I consider to be the most qualified as well as one that expresses views similar to my own, which means on election day my vote may be split between the Republican, Democrat and Independent candidates. I won't say which party my husband favors out of respect for his privacy, but I will say that he tends to favor a party rather than consider the individuals involved. And yes I find this frustrating!

Now when looking at food, music, activities we cross the same page but aren't always on the same page. I like drinking beer and have a wide variety of tastes. But typically if we're in a social setting I'll have a beer or a Makers and coke, he'll have a raspberry Smirnoff Ice or a margarita.

When it comes to music I like country, pop, rock and beach music mostly...he likes everything from Tony Bennett to George Strait. He can listen to the same 300 songs over and over, I need more variety.

As far as food goes we mostly agree, we both love Mexican, Chinese, Italian and seafood. BUT when eating out I like to try new things and he always orders the same thing depending on the restaurant. And he thinks french fries and onion rings are the only vegetable choices.

I could continue to analyze our differences but I'd run out of time and you'd run out of interest. As I said when we met and started dating it was more about our similarities than our differences. We both love to dance, enjoy music, like movies even chick flicks, could eat pizza three times a week every week, love to travel, like to snow ski, etc.

There are days when our differences create problems but we work through them. And while I sometimes wish we were more alike I think I'd find that boring.

So if you did the math on a spreadsheet, if we took a compatibility quiz or joined E-Harmony I don't think we'd be a match. But it doesn't matter. I don't need anyone or any system to show me our differences. I already know most if not all of them. And last night won't be the last time we shake our heads and say, "and we're together how?"

We work somehow, not without fights, disagreements, complications and I can't explain how, but we work. I don't want a cookie cutter marriage and we don't have one. And yes if I was able to make some changes, "customize my husband" I would make some tweaks here and there, as I know he would say the same about me but I wouldn't trade him in or exchange him for a different model.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Brrr Reason to Celebrate!

Today when I ventured outside to check the mail I was greeted by a wonderful surprise, not my favorite magazine or a package of goodies but cooler weather. It wasn't hot or warm but just right.

Is it sad that I was so excited about this or sadder that its November and the cooler temperatures will be gone in a day or two and we'll have 70+ temperatures again. It really is hard to get in the mood to cook a turkey and all the fixins when its warm and even hot outside.

Today and even tonight I looked for reasons to go outside. I made an unnecessary trip to Target tonight just to breathe in the cooler air, the smell of fireplaces being used and so I could break out my North Face jacket. When I moved to WI I had to buy some cold weather gear, scarves, gloves and heavier jackets. So I bought two North face jackets because I LOVE them. And now I live in TX and almost never have a reason or occasion to wear them more than 3-4 times a year.

Now, I don't miss the WI winters and I'm not planning a move back to the Midwest, northwest or northeast anytime soon. But I do wish we had four seasons.

While I won't spend my wishes on a White Christmas, in Texas that would be a total waste of a wiash. I will wish for more cooler days, some freezing nights that justify having a fire and lots of sunshine.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Am I Becoming My Mother?

From the time a female becomes a teenager there's a recurring thought that at some point all women have, "Am I becoming my mother?" Now this thought may come as an "Oh no, I'm turning into my mother", or it may be more positive like "I can cook as good as mom or better."

But for me its been both. Don't get me wrong, my mom was a terrific person and mother. She was a phenomenal cook, a survivor of breast and ovarian cancer, a best friend, shoulder to cry on etc. And then there was the other side, you know the one where your mom calls you on a daily/weekly basis to tell you she saw a cold front on its way while watching the weather channel so you better wrap up or take a jacket to work with you. And the crazy moments she has where she's yelling and screaming and its so loud that you have no idea what she's so mad about.

I'm realizing as I go through MC's pictures in an effort to create some kind of organization as well as a first year photo book that just as my mom did year after year I'm avoiding the camera. And I'm using the same reasons mom used, "my hair isn't done," "just wait until I lose a few pounds", "I'm not wearing any make-up", etc.

And at MC's birthday party after we'd unwrapped all of her presents, I started folding small squares of all of the paper used to put away in a scrapbook for her. If I follow mom's footsteps one day, years later MC will be using some gift wrap and discover these squares of paper that were never labeled or organized.

I didn't even know my mom had saved as much paper as she had until several months after her death. I had given her gift wrap organizer along with rolls of paper for every occasion and bows to a friend of mine that helped me pack up the house. When Christmas rolled around, I got a call telling me that when she opened the organizer to start storing her Christmas paper, etc. she found all kinds of paper that had been folded and tucked away. My eyes got watery when she said there must be paper from the last 20 years that mom had saved and then I began to laugh.

I laughed because it was typical for mom to save things with good intentions. She had in all aspects become a professional pack rat. When we emptied the filing cabinets mom had, we found files on bills, repair work, insurance and family documents, etc. but the bulk of the files were recipes, clippings from magazines with pictures of beautiful furniture or fabulous kitchens, ideas on how to re-furnish an old chair, etc. So I guess it makes sense today when I find myself saving an article I read that seems like a good reference, clipping recipes and cute pictures of party ideas for children, etc.

I know there were years where I thought I had a terrible mom, now I find that sad. I wish I could take back some of the things that were said and the four months when I refused to speak to her.

Nonetheless, even with my mom's best traits and she had more than I can name, I still don't want to become my mother. No, I want to be a different mother. Not necessarily better because that would be difficult to judge and probably impossible to accomplish, but different. Maybe I can be a little more hip, more involved with my children's interests, more adventurous and more spontaneous.

There will always be traits and habits we inherit from our parents. Some will be good and others will be bad. Am I becoming my mother? Yes, in some senses I am. I'm a mom now and so I've become more sentimental, consumed with laundry and household chores and with a burning desire to improve myself so I can be the best for my daughter and my husband.

I stay awake worrying about things I can't control and thinking about the future. I take way too many pictures and can't decide which ones are my favorites. I've subscribed to almost every parenting magazine on the market and several cooking magazines. I prowl the grocery aisles looking for healthy foods, organic yogurt, all natural snacks and anything with DHA. When I toy shop I do research, extensive research, to learn which toys are the best, which are educational, are they free of toxins, etc.

In some ways I'm my mother and in others I'm the total opposite. But I'm no longer afraid of becoming my mother, instead I'm more focused on becoming the updated version of a phenomenal woman that loved with everything she had. And maybe if I do a decent job, one day my daughter will be somewhere and instead of wondering "am I becoming my mother?", she'll think I hope I'm like my Mom.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fisher- Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium Review

I have the best kid in the world. I know every parent thinks their child or children are the best. And I don't meant to come across as arrogant by saying my daughter is the best. But how many babies do you know start sleeping all the way through the night by the second week?

My little girl is 13 months old and sleeps 10-12 hours a night. So you started reading this thinking you were reading a review now a brag-fest right?

Well, one of the reasons that MC sleeps so well and for so long is due to the Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium. There's been many a morning when we've checked on her and she's laying there staring at the aquarium. Some mornings we'll even catch her turning it off or on with her feet. It helps her fall asleep at night and keeps her occupied in the mornings. So in my book, this is a must have for all moms, new moms or those that have done this before, you need this toy. Its definitely one of the best investments we've made thus far.

The Ocean Wonder Aquarium is a crib attaching infant soother that captivates baby with the mesmerizing effects of water. Lovely classical music plays one of 5 songs (or one of 3 sound effects) all the while bubbles rise upwards to the "surface".

Mama Fish has a realistic motion as she appears to be swimming through the water, followed closely behind by her baby. Their little crab friend plays peek-a-boo behind the coral as the seaweed sways gently in the waves.

Up to 18 minutes of continuous musical play. 4 classical styled songs, 2 sound effects. 3 modes of use:1 = Sounds, Lights and Water/Swimming Motion. 2 = Sounds & Lights. 3 = Sounds only

It requires three C batteries. And I don't have any real complaints about the battery life. We haven't had to change ours that frequently even though its used every night, every morning and at least one more time when MC takes her nap. But even if it did eat batteries, can you really put a price on uninterrupted sleep?

It also has a remote control so you can turn it on or off without entering the room and distracting your baby.

MC is 13 months old now and she still LOVES this aquarium. My husband laughs because there have been times at night when we're reading her a story and she'll walk over and turn on her aquarium while we're still reading. I guess she's trying to tell us the aquarium is more entertaining than the book.

Remote Control
Multiple options for volume, types of music, etc.
Stays on for 18 minutes unless you turn it off sooner with the remote
The night light provides just the right amount of light
Easily attaches to crib

Cons: As of yet I don't have anything negative to say about this product. It was well worth the $45 we paid and I wouldn't want to go a night without it. However, if they made one with an AC adapter I'd be very interested in purchasing it.

Here's the link to the aquarium on Amazon:

I was not paid or solicited to write this review. All opinions expressed her are my own from firsthand experience.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Favorite Time of the Year

Fall is my favorite time of the year. I can say that without hesitation as its always been my favorite time of the year. I love the cooler weather and the fresh feeling that's in the air, well at least until my allergies kick in. I love to see the leaves change and begin to fall. I love the holidays and the hustle and bustle that comes with them. And I love football season.

And maybe football season is the reason I've always loved fall. Because as a child the holidays were dreaded, we knew that Thanksgiving, Christmas and the days leading up to them would be full of conflict, it never failed. Sometimes I wonder if we'd changed the calendar, locked my parents away and they didn't know it was Thanksgiving or Christmas, would the drama bubble up to the surface anyway?

Now I'm an adult, not just an adult by a wife and mother. Wow, even when I write those words and see them in print its hard to grasp at times. Me, a mom?

But as an adult and a parent I still love fall. Unfortunately, living in Texas I miss out on the cooler air, sure 78 degrees is cooler for Texas, but I wouldn't say it qualifies as fall weather. Along with the cooler air I miss the beautiful, colorful leaves. And the mountains, I miss the view, the foliage, the creeks and the tradition. Every year, for as long as I can remember, we drove to Gatlingburg, TN in mid-October for a four day weekend.

It was a great trip! We'd get to enjoy the beauty of fall as we drove to the mountains, through the mountains and into the Blue Ridge Parkway. We always stayed at the same place and in the same condo. And as shocking as even I find it, these trips were 98% drama/conflict free. Typically, the biggest conflict we'd have is when to start a fire, who would hike outside to get the wood and what we'd eat for dinner.

My aunts and uncles from both FL and TN would always meet us and come out for a visit to our condo. And after we'd all visit for an hour and catch up, my mom and aunts would go to town and shop for the day, while my Uncles and I claimed our spaces on the couch and camped in front of the television to watch....that's right, college football. What else?

While the games were on I'd cook a large batch of chili, and in the evening when everyone was home we'd eat dinner in front of the fireplace. I loved this tradition. For me October was never about Halloween, we hardly ever celebrated Halloween. Nope, October was about cooler weather, our annual trip to the mountains,the state fair, football and the peak of the fall foliage.

And I guess its good that October was always a great month because then we had to face the holidays and the conflict. Now last year, it was the first year we had MC and so our first year as a family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. And my single, most important goal had nothing to do with food, presentation or gifts. It was to celebrate with family and without drama, conflict, fighting, arguing etc.

My dad flew in to visit the week of Thanksgiving. I'd called him and explained the troubles I was having with post-partum anxiety and depression and begged him to come spend some time with me. What was I thinking? Well, to clarify this was roughly a month after I'd delivered our first child, a month after we lost my father-in-law and best friend, and I was in full blown PPD I wasn't thinking, not on any level.

The short story, is dad flew in on Tuesday and promised to stay through Sunday. This way he would be able to join us for Thanksgiving and his birthday. But by Wednesday morning he was already talking about going home early and by Thursday he was on a plane back home. So this put even more stress on my husband and me as we'd made plans around dad's visit and his early departure was not on the best of terms.

Now we moved on and put this behind us. My brother was planning on flying in and spending Christmas and a few days after visiting us. So of course when he called and asked, should we invite dad, because if we don't he'll be alone...I agreed we needed to include dad.

Again the short version, Dad threw a fit on Christmas afternoon on the drive over to my sister-in-laws house and demanded to be taken to the airport immediately. There was arguing, yelling, pleading etc. all happening in the vehicle where MC was riding. The drama only ended when we arrived at my sister-in-law's house and learned my husband's grandmother was very ill and probably needed to go to the emergency room. Yes, more drama, however this wasn't really any one's fault.

So another year and another holiday season with way too much family conflict. This year, its that time again. Its November and we're making plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas. My brother hopes to fly out to spend Christmas with us again this year. And he's already asked, should we include dad? And my response, without hesitation, was an emphatic NO! I know some people will find this cold and heartless, most people won't understand and can't relate because they've always had uneventful holidays. But my father and I haven't spoken since April. We had a falling out when we were in SC for a visit combined with vacation. I don't see this changing in the near future if ever and that's not something I'm proud of, its more of a fact.

This year is going to be different. I want to share my love of fall and the holidays with MC and my husband. I want to make new family traditions that the three of us can look forward to every year. I want to celebrate a Thanksgiving where no one seated at the table says they're thankful the arguing has ended. I want MC to experience the season and know the reasons we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I would rather explain to my daughter the reason we don't talk with or see her grandfather than to have her experience the holidays with the anxiety and dread that my brother and I felt each and every year. Yes, this is my favorite time of the year and hopefully, MC and I will be able to share our love of fall together!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

We've Got Bugs

Last night while sitting on the couch watching a little TV I saw something on my shirt, looked closer and it was a flea! YUCK! But I just figured it was a random flea that had made it in when the dogs were in the house earlier. We don't have bugs! I don't like bugs! I can't handle bugs.

But you know how once you see a bug you, get bugs on your brain. Anytime you feel even the slightest breeze on your arm, you think its a bug. Then you feel like something's crawling on your leg, your neck, your back and you wonder, is that a bug?

So after finding, catching and flushing the flea I headed straight to the shower. I stood under the hot water and used half a bottle of body wash, a handful of shampoo and stayed until the water turned cold. Then I took my clothes and all of the laundry to the washing machine.

And when I was confident I didn't have any bugs on me, and all the clothes were
washed in hot water,and the sheets on the bed were fresh,I relaxed.

But this morning while I'm trying to cram those last few minutes of sleep in before MC wakes me up demanding breakfast...I felt something on my arm. I tried to convince myself that I was just being paranoid and should keep my eyes closed, it didn't work.

I hate mornings, I also hate bugs. Yes, I should be PC here and say I strongly dislike these things but I really hate both bugs and mornings. I'm not afraid of bugs I just don't like them. So when I opened my eyes and found a flea crawling up my arm, well I was unhappy, grumpy and mad. That's right mad. The house was exterminated just last week, and even though we didn't have fleas in the house we had them treat the hosue for fleas just to be on the safe side so why am I finding fleas and WHY are they on me?

The dogs haven't even been inside for more than a minute. So how do we have fleas that appear one week after the exterminator? I was fuming!

After telling my husband about the fleas he makes the call to Terminix. And they can't get us on the schedule until Thursday at the earliest. Are you serious? So we have to wait two more days. I went out and bought flea shampoo and medicine for the dogs so we can torture them with a flea bath. I vacummned the house, over and over and over again.

It pains me to admit we have bugs but we do, at least until Thursday. Now some would say well fleas are better than roaches but not me, remember I hate bugs!

So on Thursday when MC and I have to leave the house and interrupt our day for roughly four hours while the house is fumigated, I won't complain about the inconvenience. MC and I will visit friends, or take a trip to the mall or hang with teh neighbors and whether its four hours or twelve as long as the bugs are gone when we return it doesn't matter.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I know there have to be times when people overhear a conversation between JB and MC or myself and MC and they probably start shaking their heads with confusion. I say this because if I wasn't a party to the conversation I'd probably react the same way.

You see before we had a child, we had three dogs. And we tried to use the same words with every dog for the same command. So when we want them to quit barking or cal down, we say "settle." At night when its time for bed we say "Go night, night, sleepy, sleep." When it starts raining and thundering and the dogs are scared we say "Its just a stormy storm." And as I'm sharing this with you, I'm also laughing at how ridiculous it sounds. I know there have even been times when we're home and one of us asks the other where's MC and the response was "she's in her crate" now of course we meant her crib but nonetheless I can just imagine the horror on someones face that didn't know we'd just used the wrong word.

So when we're out at a restaurant or in a store and McKenzie is getting restless and one of us says, "McKenzie settle," I'm sure people think we've lost our minds or that we're harsh with her. But when we tell her to settle its said in a very calm, matter-of-fact voice.

There have been times when my husband decides that MC's behavior requires she have a time out, and he'll put her in her play yard. Now he'll say she's in her play pen but I don't like to use that term. It just sounds too confining, whereas a play yard sounds like fun.

Speaking of MC, its time to run, its "chow time", LOL.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

McKenzie's First Party a Success

Last night when we crawled and I mean crawled into bed, my husband says, "We survived our little girl's first birthday party and it was a success." And I think that was my last thought before I crashed hard.

I'm not the best hostess, Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray would be stunned at my total lack of entertaining/presentation skills. I'd like to be better at it, but where would I find the time?

Yesterday, and this happens every time we invite guests over, I was running around from the time I got out of bed until I crawled into bed last night, like a chicken with its head cut off. I ran to Costco and picked up the burgers, dogs and soda. Then I popped over to Kroger for chips, ice and produce.

When I arrive back at the house, my husband, is in the garage trying to turn a chaotic space into an outside dining area. We had mail covering the kitchen table, toys scattered all over the place and grocery bags with food in multiple locations.

I knew my neighbor, Kayla, was going to come to my rescue and decorate the house but how was she going to decorate when you couldn't get to any of the areas? We went into overdrive, things were stuffed, yes stuffed into the laundry room out of sight. Our guest bedroom became a dumping ground for anything that needed to get out of the way. And when we'd finished our dumping, I locked the door, afraid that if someoen were to open the door, the contents would spill out everywhere.

And by 3PM and hour before the party was scheduled to start, we'd made great progress. Kayla was hanging yellow and blue streamers, tacking the banner to the wall, putting together the cone party hats, etc. I had the chili simmering, the hot dogs boiling and was chopping the vegetables that would top the burgers. Bethany, our neighbor and Kayla's sister arrived with the cake...wait her fantastic creation that was the cake. And it was pretty awesome for a little girl's first birthday cake. Our other neighbors arrived, began wrapping a few presents we hadn't wrapped yet, and helped finish setting the table.

I took a deep breath, checked the clock, 3:45 and realized we were so far ahead of schedule compared to our usual party preparation timelines and I relaxed. The guests arrived and MC enjoyed moving from one to another being held, and fed, and plain being spoiled. She came over and played with Colton, the 2 year old from down the street, and they played next to each other for a while.

Everything went relatively smoothly. Now MC didn't smash the cake as we were waiting and encouraging her to do but that's not such a bad thing. And we weren't able to keep her attention while unwrapping all of the gifts, no surprise there. JB and I found it amusing how MC was so fascinated with all of the balloons.

So her first birthday party is in the books as they say and we can relax until next year.

Now, how do we handle having a live Christmas tree and wrapped presents with a toddler?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Booty Goo-Product Review

Booty what? I was a little embarrassed after our pediatrician recommended "Booty Goo" to clear up and prevent McKenzie's diaper rash. But we'd tried almost all of the other rash cremes/ointments that were available, including a prescription treatment that was $50 for a small tube with insurance and $200 without insurance. And that small tube of expensive medicine didn't improve the rash, it made it worse.

After writing the prescription our doctor recommended we permanently switch to "Booty Goo" an ointment that she personally uses on her daughter. But as she said while this stuff works wonders its very difficult to find.

My first purchase of "Booty Goo" was through I was able to buy four 2.5 ounce tubes for around $23. I first attempted to locate it locally, but the response at almost every pharmacy was "Booty what? Is this a joke, I've never heard of it." So as I ordered the four tubes I was thinking this stuff better work and it better be amazing and it was, it is. We LOVE it! I swear by it, you don't need any of the other stuff on the market. While a lot of the other ointments and creams have the same ingredients this stuff is different and very effective. The awful, red, irritated rash McKenzie had was resolved within 24 hours after applying Booty Goo.

At every diaper change, McKenzie gets some Booty Goo. You don't have use very much so the four tubes I ordered last for a long time. We haven't had any issues with diaper rash since we started using Booty Goo and there's no strong, funky or bad odors in the product. There's nothing worse than a toddler walking around smelling like menthol ointment.YUCK!

Booty Goo is non-staining, non-greasy with Anti-bacterial and Anti-fungal properties.

My only complaint about Booty Goo is that it needs to be more available. When we were on vacation this April we drove through Arkansas on our way home. And since Booty Goo was developed by an Arkansas pharmacist I thought we'd be able to find some at a Walgreen's, CVS or Wal-Mart and could stock up. But we stopped at all three of these chains and none of them carried Booty Goo. So I returned home and purchased more through Amazon.

To learn more about this product or to order from the manufacturer please visit their site:

All opinions expressed above are my own. I was not asked or compensated to review this product by anyone.

Its Friday, Should I care?

So its Friday and I have to say for the last six years Fridays and weekends have not been something to look forward to as most people do. I know some people that begin obsessing and anticipating Friday's arrival on every Monday. Not me.

For one I used to work in the Event Marketing industry and so our work is done all week and all weekend. At times it was like I never had a day off, I had free time but not really an entire day without checking e-mail, receiving a work related call or text, or actually managing or auditing an event. Now let me clear something up, this is not a complaint, a rant etc., I LOVED event marketing. I was able to work for some of the largest companies out there, Philip Morris and Miller Brewing with a few months of contract work for American Express.

And if you have to have a job in corporate America, why not work for the biggest and best, right? Can you really call driving from bar to bar on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and passing out samples and free beers work? Sure you can, but I didn't see it that way.

Now, back to today, Friday, November 6, 2009.

Being a stay-at home mom, Fridays aren't all that exciting. They mean a little extra time with my husband on Saturday and Sunday, running errands with the family and maybe renting a movie. See what I mean...not that exciting. But on the Saturdays when my husband isn't out writing quotes I get to sleep in!

And as time goes by and MC gets older the weekends will get busier. We'll go to the park, or visit some friends, maybe attend a concert or sporting event.

But for now Fridays are just another day. Being a mom whether you stay at home or work a full-time job outside of the home, you don't have a day off. Now you might get some "alone time" or get the occasional break but you're always a mom. There are days when I feel like I'm not just MC's mom but my husband's also (talk about frustrating). If I had the patience I would open and run an "obedience school" for husbands. Not that your hubby needs to be more submissive or obey but to guide them, train them in ways to productively contribute to the house and to fatherhood. Note: I realize not all men need this but there are so many that would benefit from some coaching (and even my hubby would admit this)

This Friday is the day before MC's make-up birthday party. Since she was in the hospital on her actual birthday the party was re-scheduled almost a month later. Its her first birthday party so that means....more expectations, more stress and so much to get done. Where do I start?

Someone asked me so what are you doing for MC's birthday? When I responded we've invited over some friends, we'll have hot dogs and cake, well it was almost as if I said we're going to pretend like she didn't have a birthday because she's 1 and she'll never know.

Am I missing something? Are there certain rules as to how to properly throw/celebrate a 1 year old's birthday? I didn't receive any memo, email, post, etc. giving me guidance or requirements. As a matter of fact I kind of subscribe to the theory that if we keep things simple for this year and the future it keeps the expectations low. I really would rather spend money on a family vacation than on an elaborate party that happens one day a year. Isn't a week or two on vacation, traveling more enjoyable than having clowns, and bouncy houses, magicians, balloon artists, face painting and petting zoos?

And fun doesn't have to have a big price tag. It doesn't, trust me. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's party. We have monkey themed decorations, my neighbor is making a monkey cake, and we'll have fresh food off of the grill. And I'll enjoy it more than some elaborate affair because we'll actually have time to focus on MC and visiting with our friends instead of worrying about some strange goat biting a child or scaring children with clowns.

For six years Friday hasn't been something to be excited about but now that I have a child everyday is a day to look forward to because sometime today and the next day and the day after I will smile because of MC and that makes everyday a day to care about.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tell Me What You Think

Alright, so I'm working on improving my blog and changing things up. Now that I've started writing again my head races at night, ideas run through my head and I'm excited.

So I'm working on having my blog re-designed but first I need to re-name the blog. And I thought you, as a reader, could help me with this task.

Here are some of the names I've been tossing about:

Mom's Amateur Hour
Not In This House
Monkeying Around Motherhood
Patience Under Fire
Mommy Misfires
Mommy Mischief
Mommy's Jungle
Not Your Mother's Mom
Practicing Motherhood

Please take a minute to tell me which name you like best. In the future I'll also be sharing some of my research/knowledge on household and baby products. I've had numerous people ask me where I bought something, why I bought it or has it worked for us so I'll try and begin to share my opinions with you.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Where is it Written?

Where is it written that because I'm a female that I'm supposed to be an expert in style, fashion, beauty and the kitchen? And where is it written that because I'm a female I'm supposed to have a gut instinct more accurate than Doppler radar?

Can someone tell me which book or give me the web address? I'd like to challenge the inidvidual that has given the world and especially us females the impression that all women are born with the innate knowledge and or desire to always look beautiful, to be able to go into any closet and throw together the perfect outfit and to be able to cook gourmet dishes that guests rave about and weren't cooked in the microwave. Because my friends, I didn't come with these genes.

I'm comfortable leaving the house in clean clothes that match, sporting the easiest hairstyle to maintain, wearing make-up only on special occasions and being able to cook and entire dinner in the microwave? But that doesn't mean I don't want to look fabulous, because I do just without a lot of effort and in a way that's practical.

All day I'm here chasing around my toddler, trying to pick up behind her, my husband and two large dogs and determine and prepare a healthy meal that also tastes good for my family. Now does that leave 1-2 hours for make-up application, an hour for my workout, time to buff and polish my nails (if I even have any left) or time to give the house a Martha Stewart make-over with a dinner that looks like it could be on the cover of Family Circle?

PLEASE! Now don't get me wrong, I love to shop, could spend an entire weekend at a spa getting made over and desperately need to take some cooking classes and would enjoy all of these things. Maybe what I need is the cast of "Let's Makeover Your Life" to come on over and give me some assistance. Oh wait, that's not a real show but would probably be what the producers would call it if they came to my house, flipped through my closet, pantry and cosmetic bag.

Now MC's one and she needs a haircut....our first style challenge that I will tackle. In reality she's needed a haircut for over a month but I've been obsessing about where to take her, when to take her and how to have it done. I don't want my comfort zone in casualville to necessarily be hers. But I don't want to raise a high maintenance diva either.

I'm surfing the web this week checking out new products, looking for Christmas ideas and just killing time when I came across a website that sells nail polish for young children. Its advertised as all natural, non-toxic polish that's as natural as mud. Now the children pictured on the website look as young as five years old. There are some of you reading this that say what's wrong with that...well I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, I'm merely posing the question that if I start doing my little girl's nails at such a young age am I putting pressure on her to be a diva, a beauty queen, a fashionista, etc.

Now I know things have changed a lot since I was a child. You can drive down to the Galleria Mall here in Houston and see four year olds with their own cell phones, some of them PDAs or smartphones. No, I'm not kidding. My parents would ahve laughed me out of the house if I'd asked for a cell phone before I was 15. But things are different. Now children have cell phones, children not teenagers but children go to the salon to be buffed, polished, styled and made up. And since as I've said I'm not the most stylish person I'm wondering am I the one behind the times? Will I set my daughter up to be an outsider if she isn't getting her nails done like the other little girls?

I don't know and while I do care I think I'm just going to have to wing it. I buy cute clothes for MC from places like Gymboree, Children's Place and Carter's. She has cute little shoes from Stride-Rite. And I try to make sure her clothes always match, are free from stains and are age appropriate. I buy her dresses for pictures and on some occasions she wears them out. I don't think my parents ever put me in a dress until I was like 10, maybe older. And currently, I don't own a dress other than my wedding dress.

Its possible that if I walked into a thereapist's office today in my jeans, cowboy boots and t-shirt they would place the blame on my uneven nails, casual and plain appearance on my parents. They might say that if they made style, fashion and beauty a priority that I would also make it a priority today for myself and my daughter. But I don't believe it. I don't think that the reason my closet only has one dress in it has anything to do with my parents.

The reason I don't own dresses is I don't have anywhere to wear them. The reason my nails aren't buffed and polished is because keeping a house up and chasing a one year old would ruin them not long after having them done. I don't spend two hours everyday applying war paint because who would appreciate the time and effort to create my look, definitely not my one year old.

And hopefully as MC gets older and bigger and starts to communicate what she wants she'll understand that I'm a down to earth practical person. She's not going to have a cell phone when she's four or go to a salon for a mani/pedi before she's ten. Her closet won't be full of dresses, heels and outifts that can only be worn once. And she doesn't have to have all of the trimmings (make-up, nail polish, the latest haircut, designer dresses) to be a beautiful person. Her beauty wil be on the inside and all of the trimmings that she'll want and have in time are just a bonus not a necessity.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Am I there yet?

I guess its been about six years since I thought I'd begun my career path and found the bottom rung on the corporate ladder. I was hired to be a Market Manager for GMR Marketing and I was so excited to be working for a company as large and well known as GMR.

So I was hired and three days later I was on an airplane flying into Milwaukee, WI for a week of training. When I arrived at the Hilton and picked up my room key, I headed upstairs to find my own room. That's right a room with a king sized bed, decent view and large television and I didn't have to share it with anyone. Then I opened the backpack that was given to me when I checked in by the GMR group. Inside was a Swiss Army watch, a Swiss Army travel alarm clock, Vuarnet sunglasses, a mini Maglite, a CD player and some candy bars. And the first thought in my head was I've arrived.

After working as a Market Manager for a year, my market was closed. So my boss recommended I apply for his RM position since he was leaving at the end of the year. I did and several steps later I was driving my Honda to WI loaded down with as much of my stuff that would fit inside. Now I had roughly seven markets I was responsible for and I was traveling a LOT, on average probably about fifteen days a month.

While in Dallas on business I was staying at the Westin right next to the Galleria. I was headed out for a bite to eat and stopped to get a recommendation from the concierge on a good steak house. And off I went to eat one of the best steaks I've ever had in a restaurant where every car in the parking lot was either an Italian sports car or a German automobile. I ate at the bar and was surrounded by some of the wealthiest and well known individuals in Dallas, apparently this was the place to be on a Friday evening. While enjoying a salad, a filet and then some dessert I thought once again, "I've arrived."

In my second year as a Regional Manager, I was traveling so much that the fancy restaurants, nice hotel rooms with the free upgrades and flying first class was so routine that it was getting harder to impress me. But after spending a week in Seattle where I had a lot of spare time for sightseeing and eating some of the freshest seafood I've ever had it was back to the airport to return to Milwaukee. I boarded the plane, took my window seat in first class and pulled out my book.

After we were in the air, the television in front of me flipped on and I had a choice of five movies to watch, all of them complimentary. So I chose a movie and sat back and relaxed while enjoying a cocktail. And as we left Seattle I looked out the window and enjoyed a breathtaking view of the sunset over the mountains. It was truly beautiful and I thought, "I've arrived."

When my little girl was born in October of last year I thought I'd feel emotions so incredible that no words could express them. But after going through labor and being weak, tired and in pain I just felt relieved. I was relieved that McKenzie was finally here, no more waddling around the house, no more maternity clothes and no more heartburn. Where was my joy, where was the feeling "I've arrived?"

A few weeks after McKenzie's birth I was diagnosed with Post partum depression. And for the next three months life was a blur. I functioned on auto-pilot and accomplished the minimum on a daily basis. I was afraid to sleep, afraid to change her diapers, afraid to leave the house with the baby and sometimes I was afraid to live. And I was angry, wasn't I supposed to be happy? I know now that the emotions I experienced are totally normal and a part of PPD. But I still feel guilty that I missed most of my daughter's first three months of life.

Now here we are and while I'm still battling PPD, we're in a routine. MC and I are here during the day and I change her diapers, know when she's tired and when she's hungry. She began trying to walk around 9 months and now she walks, runs and toddles all over the place. When she walks over to me and wants to be held my heart swells, when she gives me an unsolicited kiss I get chills and when she falls asleep in my arms I'll sit still as long as possible ignoring the numbness, a full bladder or the phone that's out of reach.

This weekend we were headed out to run some errands and after gettign MC ready I put her down on the floor. I picked up her diaper bag, grabbed the keys and offered my hand which she took in hers and my heart melted and I thought...."I've arrived."