Monday, December 6, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Finding Jesus

So for whatever reason, about 3 years ago, my girls really latched onto Baby Jesus. I say "for whatever reason" because we are not religious, don't have a lot of friends that go to church, and generally don't sit around discussing Jesus. What we do have, however, are beautifully illustrated Christmas story books about the Christmas story, the baby donkey, the bright star, and of course the baby in the manger.

So, about 3 years ago, one of our baby dolls was renamed "Baby Jesus." Yes, he is in a pink dress and likes to suck on a binky, but never mind that. I remember hearing the girls playing and thought, well, that's cute but I hope we don't offend anyone. But, as I said in the first paragraph, it is highly unlikely since we wouldn't necessarily be bumping into anyone to offend. And it is all so cute and innocent. They love the story - the poor mom and dad, the donkey, cute baby...what is not to love?

It has led to some funny moments for the adults: The girls fighting over Jesus (well, the entire world does, so why not my 3 girls?) Asking my dad to be Baby Jesus's father (well, I guess you are now God, Granddad!) Baby Jesus dressed up in a tutu with butterfly wings (hmmmm....)

Well, I guess I didn't know that Baby Jesus had gone missing. Apparently he had accompanied them to my parents' house a while back. (I generally don't let the girls bring him out of the house - the last thing I need is the girls fighting over Jesus in the middle of Target). Well, last week when they got back from my parents' house, guess what was the first thing I heard? You guessed it: "Mommy, we found Jesus!"

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"Mom, what's a poker face?"

The girls and I have so much fun dancing around the kitchen and family room. We are generally silly, dramatic and crazy, all at once. Of course, a lot of the best dance songs have, at best, questionable lyrics. So the question is, am I being a bad parent by exposing them to Lady Gaga?

Lady Gaga's songs are just fun to dance to and be dramatic with, but how do you explain a bad romance? And when your kindergartener walks around at home singing, "oh, oh, oh, poker face, poker face" you know she is singing that at school, too!

I've toned it down a bit by just playing the "Glee" versions (sorry Lady Gaga - didn't pay for your actual songs), but the words are still there....

I take comfort in the fact that most of my childhood, I had the wrong words to many songs and clearly didn't get a lot of them (songs from "Grease" anyone?) Anyway, what can I do, girls just want to have fun! (fun, fun, girls - now you are singing it too!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Where did Mommy Poot my tooth?

My oldest daughter, who I call Queen Bee, finally lost her top front tooth. It's been loose for weeks, enabling her to do all sorts of gross things with it. We've been calling her snaggle (short for snaggle tooth) for the way she could make it stick out between her lips with no other teeth showing. So this tooth has been the talk of the family for weeks.

Well it finally came out on Tuesday - so night of celebration and exciting tooth fairy planning? Uh, no. That is our night out and the sitter pretty much gets to our house when I get home. So we had about 10 minutes of high-fives, looking at the hole in her mouth, loo
king at the tooth, and then rush, rush rush. Go over dinner with the sitter, get changed, look at homework, feed the dogs and I'm out the door. Didn't think another minute about the tooth. I put it on the top counter, very obvious to anyone over 4 1/2 feet tall. Oops.

When I got home, after the kids were asleep, the babysitter informed me that QueenBee was very upset that she couldn't find her tooth to leave for the tooth fairy. She had looked everywhere and couldn't find it. So now the dilemma - do I put it under her pillow for her, or not? Would she want the dollar, or want the experience of putting it under herself? I chose to wait, figuring I could apologize in the morning and talk up how now Daddy could see it (he had been out of town until Wednesday night).

Well the morning was a disaster. On top of the fact that I have to get everyone up, ready and out the door by myself since my husband was out of town, I had clearly made the wrong choice when it came to the tooth. QueenBee was so upset she wouldn't speak to me (or do anything to get ready) for 30 minutes. Which of course led to frantic scrambling to get out the door, coupled with some yelling. Always good to yell at a kid who is already down, right?

Here is the topper - last night I found a note she had written to the tooth fairy. It had slid down the side of her bed. Here is what it said:

No mom of the year prize here, I tell you.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Planes, Shuttles, a 100-yard Dash, and Automobiles

Here are the reasons I wish there was some market to sell all the American Airlines miles I have:

1) They seem to have problems timing their crew's breaks. I know there are weather delays and all those "acts of god" they aren't liable for, but I keep hearing over and over about how American flights are delayed because the crew had to clock off. Now of course, I don't want to fly with a tired crew, but do you think they could have a contingency plan? The rest of us have to when they screw up!
So here is the story: We show up, Thursday before Labor day, at 6:00 a.m. to catch our flight to Dallas and then to Pensacola, FL. From there we will be going to beautiful Destin, FL for my sister-in-law's beach wedding. The way our flights are scheduled, we should arrive in Destin by dinner time. We get to the airport and discover that the 7:00 a.m. flight has been delayed for 3 1/2 hours due to crew unavailability. After waiting for an hour in line, the ticket agent asked where we are heading. He typed for a bit, and then said he could get us there by Saturday!!! So then began a 30 minute process of looking for 5 seats on a flight to somewhere near Destin. Mobile, Alabama? Biloxi, Mississippi? In the end, the only way to get there that day was to fly to LA and then to New Orleans and then drive 300 miles. Not much to do but accept that and hustle up to where our flight was boarding to LA . . .

2) No food at all on flights. When you have had to run across 3 terminals at break neck speeds with 3 kids in tow and have had no time to buy food, it would be nice to get a pretzel.

After negotiating and trading seats with fellow passengers, we are now all sitting relatively close to each other on this full flight to LA. We will have an hour and a half in LA to get seats, get some food and get on the plane. "This is your captain speaking . . ." Crap. Fog in LA. We sit on the tarmac for over an hour. Yes, you do the math - we now have less than 30 minutes to switch terminals in LAX. I spend the flight trying to hum myself into calm, "Que sera, sera, Whatever will be, will be..." Yeah...that worked. We land, grab the back packs, rush the girls, push past everyone and STOP. We are at American Eagle's commuter terminal which is all the way past terminal 8 (where our flight is leaving from incidentally) and now we have to wait 10 minutes for a shuttle. It was all I could do not to just make a dash for our plane. But being arrested in LA wouldn't do do much for my career, not to mention it might scar the children. When the shuttle comes we drive past our plane all the way to terminal 5. And then we ran. I am so proud of those girls. They ran like I have never seen them run. Even so, we would not have made it without those 2 "Excuse the Cart" drivers that gave us a ride when the terminals allowed it. I cannot believe we made that plane - they literally shut the doors right behind us. Of course, no time to fill the empty water bottles I had so cleverly packed. Or buy the lunch we were planning on buying on our layover. . .

3) No movie on flights. Again, when you have to run across the airport, it would be nice to get some entertainment to distract from the fact that you smell like you've had a workout and then sat in the sauna.

Did I mention the running?

4) No reimbursement for ground travel issues caused by American Airlines screw-ups: Like when you are rebooked to fly into a city 300 miles away from where you were supposed to land, do they offer to pay the one-way rental fee? No, they offer to rebook your return out of the city 300 miles from your destination. So on our last day of travel, we had to do the entire drive again. Across 4 states. With Labor Day traffic. To a flight they actually forgot to finalize our booking on so we had to wait for reissued tickets and then run through the airport. Again.

The poor kids. . . when we got on that flight in New Orleans, after running again and negotiating with fellow passengers again, LittleBug said, "Mama, for our next flight are we going to have to run?"

Despite all of that drama and the fact that I swear I will never fly American again (until they offer a good fare and I have suppressed all of the above memories), the wedding was beautiful, Destin was gorgeous, and the time with family was irreplaceable. Plus the girls have now been to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Power of Words

So, after writing some last night, I feel so much better! Not 100%, but definitely more able to deal with everything! Score one for the power of words!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Emotional Blockage

For over one year, this blog has been a place to share, process things, and tell funny, and some not so funny, stories. Generally such writing and sharing has been fun and cathartic. But now I am stuck. So rather than just be stuck and stare at old entries wondering where my words have gone, I thought I would write about being stuck.

Generally, when I write a blog entry, I've been thinking and processing in my mind and then sit down and write everything just in a couple of minutes. But when I know I should write, that it would help to write, it seems there are no words.

For the past few weeks, I have been having what I call sort-of-PTSD, for lack of a better term. Every time I think about July 26 last year, I feel like I can't breathe, my heart races, I get flushed and my hands feel numb. It goes away after a few seconds. But will it go away after July 26th?

Last year, on July 26th, I almost died. If you review old posts, that was when I had an ectopic pregnancy that ruptured, causing internal bleeding. I bled over 2 liters before emergency surgery. My doctor said another 20 minutes, I may not have made it. 20 minutes. It is unreal to even contemplate that.

So as the anniversary of this event approaches, I am feeling increasingly anxious and have an incredible lack of being able to cope. My facade is cracking. Not that my life isn't great right now, because it is. But my emotions about what happened last year are taking over. It makes me really angry to feel this messed up about something that happened a year ago. Something that I feel like I have been processing well. I feel betrayed by my emotions. I'm not sure how to process them so I am trying my best to keep busy and distracted until after the 26th - lots of movies, book reading and projects around the house. I guess the question is, what happens after the 26th?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Designer feet

So yesterday, LadyBug was complaining that her new shoes were rubbing on her foot. She had worn them 2 days in a row. I started explaining that if she waited a couple more days, and then wore them again, her feet would gradually get used to them or she would develop callouses where they rubbed and it wouldn't hurt. Then I stopped, horrified. Is this how the indoctrination begins - that we must wear uncomfortable shoes because they look so darn cute? That if you suffer through the pain, it will be worth it in the end? Better to look good than to feel good? Yikes!

Since going back to work, my feet have been suffering. I have gone from wearing Merrells, flip flops or boots every day to trying to stuff my feet into pumps, slings, peek-a-boo toes, and whatever else. One trick I've discovered is for some shoes, it is better to just buy a size bigger (no, I'm not ready to admit that my feet have grown). Another trick is to wear flip-flops to work and then change. Last resort is to pre-apply bandaids. I've tried not to broadcast all these things to the girls, but of course they notice that mommy is wearing "fancy shoes." And of course, they want to be just like me!
And so it begins....

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Selective Myopia

The vacuum cleaner stands at the end of the hall, remaining hopeful . . . plugged in, but not touched for days. The dust bunnies scatter as I walk by. I dig out a bill to pay and the pile of children's art, saved newspapers and various coupons slides off the counter.

One month as a working mom. One month of dust and clutter. At what point will I have the energy to deal with it all? I walk through the house with blinders on, trying to ignore the mess. If I can't see it, it doesn't exist . . . I just blur my eyes until they can rest on my computer and I can relax. Just want to sit on the couch and blog . . .

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Unwanted mail

Did you know that when you check in to a hospital for something baby/pregnancy related, they sell your name and address to the diaper companies? It's true. I remember this from when the girls were born - we got all sorts of coupons for diapers and formula. The thing is, the hospitals don't seem to screen their lists to make sure there was an actual baby.

About once a month since my miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy, I have received diaper coupons. They change - from newborn swaddlers, to infant diapers, and so on, as time goes by. This is a much unwanted reminder of a hard, sad time. A quick stop to get the mail turns into a turmoil of emotions - anger at the god damn hospital and wistfulness about what might have been. Not that I dwell on it, but it makes me mad. I should get to decide when I want to think about everything that happened . . . not a diaper company.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

How Long Will You Work?

The second night of my first week back to work, I was tucking LittleBug in. She put her little hand up to my face and said, "Mommy, it's not that I want you to stop working, but how long are you going to work?" So sweet and expressive. That is LittleBug -- always very careful to make sure she is communicating exactly what she wants to. I started to talk about how I was probably going to be working from now on, but then I stopped myself. I remembered the sage advice to only answer what the child is asking. So I explained that I was working on Monday through Friday, but on Saturday and Sunday I got to be with her! Then we talked about all the fun things we could do together. Skiing and eating lollipops ranked high.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Nostalgia on Steriods

Friday - my last week day as a stay at home mom. The past 4 weeks have been full of moments like this - last swimming lesson to watch, last time hanging with my friends during gymnastics class, last time watching ballet class until the recital. If they handed out awards for the ability to create nostalgic moments, I would get it. Heck, today was my last time shopping for groceries during week day hours. I can get sappy about most anything these days it seems.

The other thing I have been noted for the past week or so is the big "S" on my forehead, which stands for "sucker." Ask me to do anything and if it is possibly something I won't be able to do once work starts, chances are I'll say yes. Once I start leaving for work at 7:30 a.m., it will be early to bed for everyone the night before. This week? "One more story, please?" Ok, I say, snuggling in. When LadyBug gets out of bed at 8:30 (she goes to bed before 8:00) and reminds me I promised to braid her hair, do I say, too late now? No, of course not - I say, "Go get the brush and the hair bands, sweetie" as my dear husband rolls his eyes.

It has been a crazy 4 weeks. I've now seen every health professional I go to, to squeeze in that one last appointment before I have to either take time off to see the doctor, or join the ranks of folks at the dentist on Saturday. I've pieced together a child care plan until summer camps start. And, horrors, I've gone shopping for work clothes. Actually, that wasn't as bad as it could be (you know, the discovery that my body has changed after bearing 3 children). A dear friend who shopped with me actually made it fun!

And so, on Monday, I'll be heading off to work at 7:30 a.m., healthy, children's hair braided and looking sharp in my new clothes! Off I go. . . .

Friday, March 5, 2010


I've generally had good balance, although after the twins were born, I feel like my equilibrium is off. To carry this metaphor to it's intended place -- I am now going to embark on the balancing act of a lifetime: going back to work full time after being a stay at home mom. The ultimate high wire balancing act - the stakes are high, the potential for disaster looms, yet so does the chance to soar.

Until I chose to stay home full time after the twins were born, my self-worth was very much tied to my career. Who I was depended on what I did. Even for a time after staying at home, my self-worth was so tied. So much so that it was a very difficult time for me, self-esteem-wise, if I 'd had any time at all to really think about it. Being suddenly cut off from people I had spent 40+ hours a week with was very hard. I found it difficult to know how to make new connections or what to talk about when I did. Once we moved back home to Reno, this transition became much easier. And I was able to develop new things to excel in (one, I hope, being raising three independent minded girls!)

Now I am starting the climb up the long, long ladder to the wire in the sky - a fulfilling career outside the home. I'm still near the bottom, taking one step at a time. The prospects look exciting and scary. I am at once full of anticipation and self-doubt. When I get there, I hope to be able to look straight ahead, embracing change with strength, and not look down with regret and longing for past times.

A working mom: the ultimate high wire balancing act.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Homeowners beware....

There is a dirty little secret out there the banks and the government don't want you to know about. They want you to think how great there are being - teaming up to help homeowners in these hard times to lower mortgages. All in a little program called Making Homes Affordable.

Basically, if you call your mortgage company to ask for some help with your mortgage, before any other type of help will be considered, they steer you towards Making Homes Affordable. MHA is based on calculations that your mortgage + homeowner's insurance + property taxes be more than one-third of your new lower income. If this is the case, they will get about an hours worth of other data from you and 30 days later, send you some paperwork.

What they don't want you to know is that if you do take advantage of this program, your credit rating will be destroyed causing any other debt you have to come due, causing bankruptcy. Is this nasty little fact written anywhere? NO! It is not.

My husband and I dodged a bullet here. Thank god he knows how to research programs on the internet. Starting in December, I began my quest to ask Bank of America for assistance on our mortgage. Due to a restructuring of my husband's salary and other issues, we needed help. What we asked for was a few months forbearance - a break, basically. We just wanted them to tack the next 6 months of payments on to the end of the mortgage. After many transfers, disconnected lines and telling and retelling of our story, I was told that was not possible. First we had to see if our mortgage itself could be changed, through Making Homes Affordable. After a total of 7 hours on the phone over 4 phone calls, we had passed the preliminary hoops and were told to wait for papers in the mail.

The Making Homes Affordable papers came in mid January. We opened the package, read them and started to gather up the supporting documents. Later that night, my husband walked in, white as a sheet. He said, "I've got bad news - we can't do this program." He had been researching. He felt there must be a catch - and indeed there was. Bank of America would have subordinated our 2nd mortgage with Wells Fargo (require Wells Fargo to write-off the loan as bad debt which would appear on both of our credit ratings as ‘bad debt’). After that, our primary mortgage with Bank of America would be labeled as ‘in collections’. The net effect of “Making Homes Affordable” would be to lower our credit ratings down into the low 400s (we are both above 700 right now). A credit rating of 400 would cause all of our consumer credit to become due immediately.

On-line, he was reading story after story of families, not in too bad of shape but still needing help, absolutely decimated by this supposedly helpful government program. So, at the risk of sharing too much of our situation, I wanted to get the word out there....stay away from Making Homes Affordable.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fun on the Slopes!

I have been having so much fun skiing with the girls. They are a real delight - very excited, responsive and brave. At the risk of sounding totally hokey, it really brings joy to my heart. Skiing has it all - the quiet down time on the chair lift for stories and games of "I spy," to the unadulterated shouts of "woo hoo" as we ski through the trees, take turns playing follow the leader or, the girls most favorite thing, "to go straight down fast!" Even though we are generally on easier slopes with them, each day, I get more and more comfortable in my own skiing. Now I can almost catch them if the do go straight down the mountain! I just love watching them try new things - and succeed! Or, if they fall, just getting up and going again.
I so rarely play with the girls. I'll read to them, but usually they play on their own while I do other things. This winter has introduced me to just how wonderfully fun they can be! Now we need to find a summer activity....