Monday, December 31, 2012

Pretty Good Year

As I've said, I am a professional marketer, a professional mama, and a professional good time girl. (Note: this does not mean "prostitute".)  Gentle Reader, that is THREE full time jobs. How in the world was there ever time for everything in 2012?
  1. Successfully made it to my son's first birthday
  2. Planned a wedding IN MY BACKYARD while working & baby-wrangling full-time
  3. Overhauled our entire home including paint, carpet, and various other home improvement projects
  4. Coped with the baby blues and cried quite a bit
  5. Learned that taking 30 minutes to eat lunch silent and alone is essential to my well-being
  6. Lost the baby weight 
  7. Gained some of it back
  8. Finally married the love of my life after a 7-year courtship
  9. Reconnected with several of my closest friends from the past 
  10. Learned the importance of making time for friends, both near & far
  11. Looked out at a sea of faces of all of the people I love most in my life and felt like the luckiest girl in the world
  12. Ran (mostly) my first 5K
  13. Had a fight with my Mom that has likely forever changed the nature of our relationship
  14. Finally embraced my love of being a mother
  15. Came to the sad conclusion that wheat & dairy do not make me feel good
  16. Colored a lot of gray hair and obsessed over many new lines on my face
  17. Said goodbye to my Grandma 
  18. Spent all day at a cabana in Vegas with 8 of my very best girls
  19. Unexpectedly, felt endless gratitude & respect for my in-laws
  20. Drank my weight in beer in Bend on our very short but sweet honeymoon
  21. Cried and cried and cried and hurt and hurt and hurt for those lost and the families affected by so many tragedies of this past year
  22. Discovered that my husband is not only a great partner, he's a terrific father
  23. Celebrated births and grieved the death of relationships with my dear Seattle girlfriends
  24. Took a giant leap of faith and left my secure job to pursue a new career 
  25. Continued my love affair with wine
  26. Watched too much reality TV
  27. Made peace with myself for some of the larger mistakes I've made
  28. Swelled with joy & pride as I watched my son roll over, crawl, take his first steps, say his first words, give his first kisses, snuggle his first stuffed toy, eat his first foods, and call out "Mommy!" for the first time
  29. Felt both joy & sorrow more deeply than ever before 
  30. Thought to myself time and time and time again, "I must be one of the luckiest women on Earth."
Yeah, it was a pretty good year.  

Friday, December 21, 2012

Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.

A very important decision has been made.

The year 2013 is the year of the mantra, "I regret nothing".

I am a person who likes to obsess.  I obsess and rehash and fixate and ruminate and stew.  I go over various events in my head and replay them with different endings, wittier comebacks, and better hair.  I think about something I said in passing to a complete stranger and wish I had phrased it differently.  I analyze every conversation, every unanswered email, every syllable spoken during a meeting and wonder if it was something I said.  I weigh every decision in three different ways before making a pro/con list and then flipping a coin.  And after the decision is made, I continue to wonder if I did the right thing.

But not anymore.

Because in 2013, I regret nothing.   

I will attempt to absolutely make decisions with confidence and faith.  Full stop.  I will speak thoughtfully and with purpose, and when I make an ass out of myself, I will laugh about it and move on.  And, ideally, this new mindset will ultimately contribute to better choices, less waffling, and firm commitment because (let's all say it together now) I regret nothing.

Who's with me?  Should we all embrace this laissez-faire attitude and live the life of no regrets?

Whether you're with me or not, and whether I'm your life coach, your friend, your distant cousin, your workmate, or just someone you once had a couple of drinks with, here's a little advice for you, free of charge:
Live big and love big this holiday season.  Enjoy your life and your family and your friends.  Do what makes you happy.  Regret nothing.  But, if you do, remember this....

There's nothing you can do today that a little resolution tomorrow can't fix.

A Seasonal Haiku

Roast beef, stews, and pies
Potatoes, bourbon, cider
Winter makes me fat.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Another Long December

The holidays make me melancholy.

After yesterday's day of delay and winter weather and general blue-ness, I just wanted to come home, kiss my Boos, have a large cocktail and pull the covers over my head.  And that's exactly what I did.

December always make me a little blue, and this year is particularly bad.  Anyone else wish they had a river?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Love Is All Around

I've been trying to get my thoughts together.  I've been trying to figure out the how, the what, and, most importantly, the why.  I have nothing.  I have realized that I am just not equipped as a writer, as a mother, as an activist, or as a human being to write about the tragedy of last week.  And so, I'm not even going to try.

Instead, I am going to write about love.

On the days that our hearts are particularly heavy, it is love that gets us through.  We snuggle our Boos a little tighter and a little closer.  When we can't stop the tears from coming, we allow them to be kissed away.  We say our "I love yous" a little more frequently, a little more easily, a little more openly.  Our smiles are a little wider when we see the loves of our lives.  We call up those that we have grown apart from and bring them back into our fold.  Baby laughs and girlfriend giggles become musical.  We pull out the old photo albums, smile at the faces of those we have loved and remember happy times.  The chores and to-do lists suddenly don't seem as important as playing with our children, holding hands with our partners, talking to our parents.  Hugs become a little longer, kisses become a little deeper.  Love becomes us.

I do believe, even in these hardest of hard times, even on the darkest of days, that love actually is all around.  

Wishing you and yours love and peace today and every day.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bringing Sexy Back

I'm not ready to talk about it yet.  Not yet.  I will, but not yet.


Instead, because many of you are new readers, I am bringing back a post from December of 2009.  After revisiting the Land of Sweets again last night, it seems appropriate.


Whatever you are, be a good one.

Last night I went to see Land of the Sweets, a burlesque version of the Nutcracker, at the Triple Door. So much fun! First, for those of you that haven't been to the Triple Door - it was my first time - this place is fantastic. Super cool vibe, great food from Wild Ginger, posh decor. The tables are tiered, so it didn't really feel like there could be a bad seat. If you have 4 people in your group, you can reserve your own cozy little booth. It was just myself and Maura this time, but it's definitely in the plan to bring along a few more ladies or the boys the next time around.

But we weren't there for the venue. No, we were there for the ladies! And, a couple men as well. (Side note: when men perform in burlesque shows, it's called boylesque. I did not know this.)

The women in the show were incredible - they're undeniably talented. But what's most interesting to me is their absolute comfort in their own bodies. These ladies are hot, definitely, but you know, they're not perfect. A little jiggle to the thighs here, a little tummy bump there. They are real women, unairbrushed and unapologetic. They own it. I find this unbelievably empowering. I have been struggling with my own body image lately. I've been working out, taking care of myself, eating right, but I'm still not where I would like to be. I seem to be overexaming my own body, focusing on what's wrong instead of what's right. I am strong now, stronger than I've ever been. I am not afraid of a challenge anymore. I have a newfound confidence in what I can do physically. There is no more fear. And yet. And yet. And yet, I still step on the scale every day and curse it. I still beat myself up over a bit of overindulgement. I still obsess over my (much smaller than before) belly.

Not anymore.

I am not perfect, but I am going to own what I am. I am strong. I am tough. I can hike and climb and run and lift heavy things. I am sexy. And I can eat a big fat cinnamon roll. And I can skip a workout. And I am still strong and sexy. Just because I am.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bad Mommy

I'm going to tell you something.  Some of you may not like it.  Some of you may not understand it.  But my hope is that some of you will perhaps relate, and you will tell me so.

Okay, so here it is.

I didn't really enjoy those first few months of motherhood at all.  In fact, at one point, I actually regretted the decision to have a baby.  I did not want to hold my baby constantly.  I never said, "I just want to eat your face!"  I did not stare at him for hours on end.  I didn't immediately feel like a mother.  I took every opportunity to leave the house, run an errand, get some time alone.  In fact, for a lot of the time, I wished I was at work.  Or anywhere else.

Those first 2-3 months of Will's life were some of the hardest, most stressful, and yes, saddest days I've ever had.

Some of it was due to the fact that breast-feeding was very challenging for us, and I really beat myself up about that.  Some of it was that my Mom left 4 days after we came home from the hospital, and Tim was back at work immediately.  Will and I were alone together all day.  And as he was up every two hours eating, we were alone together all night too.  I was lonely.  I was in physical pain.  I missed my freedom, my independence, my old life.  I was overwhelmed with the experience & responsibility of caring for 100% of another person's needs.

"Aren't you just so happy?"  "Don't you just love being a mother?"  "Isn't he just the best thing that ever happened to you?"

And now, the answer is yes.  But back then....are you fucking kidding me?

And that was another reason I felt so lonely.  Yeah, of course some women will mention "baby blues" or even go as far as "postpartum", but you really only hear about the *extreme* cases.  We don't ever really talk about the minor cases, the small things.  We truly believe we are alone.

And even now, as I talk to other mothers, both new & experienced, I've got to tell you, I still feel alone.  Maybe I just need to find my rose-colored glasses and look back on those first few months differently.  With all of my heart, I wish that I had been able to enjoy that time.  I wish that I just loved every single second of it.  I wish that I didn't want to hand my baby off every chance I got.  I really wish that were the case.  But it's not.  And while I am truly so very happy for every other mother that *has* been able to love every moment of new motherhood, I just don't understand it.

And so now, after letting you in on my secret shame, I ask you, am I truly alone here?  Am I really the only new mommy that wished, just a little bit, or maybe even a lot, that she wasn't?  Tell me.  I'm begging you. Tell me your dirty little early motherhood secrets.

If you don't judge me, I won't judge you.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The New Reality - A Continuation

We are nearly 16 months into this crazy adventure, and I continue to be amazed at this New Reality.  I remember when my BFF, Katie, was pregnant with her first, she said to me, "You know, I don't really think our lives are going to change *that* much.  We'll still do all of the same things only there will be a baby with us."


This is a false statement.  Katie, you so funny.

Welcome to the New Reality, friends.

  • Getting up at 8am is really sleeping in.
  • You will use the word "poop" more than you could ever imagine.
  • You will not think twice about eating something that has already been been in the mouth of another person.
  • "Going down" means something very, very, very different.
  • The idea of going out at 9pm seems like absolute madness.
  • At 3am, you are willing to barter *anything* in order to not have to take that feeding.  
  • Your vocabulary is expanded not via literature but through  Bumbo.  Boppy.  Moby.  
  • You will always have Cheerios - both in the house and on the floor of every room.  
  • You will know that the Yo Gabba Gabba characters are not sex toys.  
  • You will not only know the face your child makes while he's pooping, you will know the face he makes before it happens.  
  • You will dress your child up in the cutest clothes from Baby Gap while you yourself wear yoga pants and sweatshirts.  
  • You will smell your child's butt in public.  You will be unconcerned about this action.
And finally, the most important piece of the New Reality:
  • You will have more love in your heart for one person that you ever imagined possible....and even more so each night after he's gone down.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

No Whiskers On Kittens Here

I realize that I am no Oprah.  Most of my favorite things cost less than $10 (with a few notable exceptions).  And you will not receive any of them after reading this blog post.  Still, screaming in excitement is encouraged.  Some day I may have Oprah's reach, and, when I do, your commitment to this blog will go far.  You can count on that.

My Favorite Things 2012

1. Birchbox subscription
I love getting mail, and I love beauty samples.  Put the two together, and you've got a Birch Box subscription!  Buy one for yourself.  Give one to your girlfriend.  Swap the perfume samples with each other.  Thank me later.

2. Mt Townsend Creamery
Glorious handmade cheeses from the Pacific Northwest.  Friendly, knowledgeable cheesemakers.  Holiday Gift Boxes available online.  You can't go wrong with any of their cheese choices, but I'm a fan of Seastack, the old stand-by.

3.  Kale
Yes, I know it's ever-so-popular right now.  But for good reason:  it's not only a nutritional powerhouse, it's totally adaptable to pretty much any dish.  I toss it in everything - salads, soups, sauces, smoothies, pizza, hash, stir-fries.  Consider it your new staple.

4.  The Voice
Yeah, it's a guilty pleasure. Just try and resist Cee Lo's dirty old man leering or Blake Shelton's drunken barbs.  It's sheer escapism.  And I wouldn't want it any other way.

5.  Sprout organic fruit & veggie pouches
They're organic which is important to me.  They are yummy which is important to my kid.  Boo started holding them himself when he was 10 months or so, and a whole new world was born.  Although a bunch of other companies make these as well, the Sprout brand just seem to be Boo's favorite.  Don't leave home without one.

6.  Mary's Gone Crackers - Black Pepper
Gluten-free, dairy-free crackers that are nutty and crunchy with just a little bit of a pepper kick and stand up to strong cheeses, creamy dips, and thick spreads.  Ridiculous good.

7.  Kitchen Aid Mixer
Yeah, I know I'm a little late to the party on this one, but I seriously don't know how I lived before this thing.  It has tons of uses, tons of fun attachments you can add on (hello, ice cream maker!), and it just looks darn cute sitting on your counter.

8.  Domino Beauty Boutique
My newest discovery (thanks to Asia of Sparrow Soirees) in Greenwood.  Love my haircut, love my various waxed areas (ahem), love their atmosphere.  Go see the ladies of Domino - they'll make you even prettier that you already are.

9.  Fromager d'Affinois
If you know me at all, you know that this cheese is my thing.  Oh man, is it my thing - especially as a topping for the aforementioned Mary's Gone Crackers.  It's kind of like a brie, but it's just so buttery, so creamy, so ooey-gooey, it's irresistible.

10.  Ellen Barrett workout DVDs
When you enjoy Fromager d'Affinois as much as I do, you must have some balance.  This is where Ellen Barrett comes in.  Almost all of her workouts are done in bare feet (!), and they are pilates/yoga/dance fusions. Even if you hate working out at home - or at all - Ellen's your girl.

11.  Vegenaise
God knows that I am not a vegan.  But I have the biggest crush on Veganaise right now.  I even use it to make egg salad which is weird, but somehow makes sense.  Try it before you throw carnivorous stones.

12.  Doug & Melissa Toys
My kid loves these retro-ish wooden toys from Doug & Melissa.  They're super sturdy, well-made, and they will occupy your child for a least 4 minutes at a time.  That's 45 in grown-up minutes.

13.  A - Z Pinot Noir
I like to save the best for last, and as you all know, for me, that means wine.  This Oregon Pinot has been one of my frontrunners for the past year.  Juicy & fruity with a fabulous finish, this is my winter go-to.  Try it today.  Preferably accompanied by some Fromager d'Affinois.

P.S.  Santa, if you're reading this, please consider any and all of the above as appropriate stocking stuffers.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I was thinking about my friend, Reno, this morning.  You know Reno, right?  Everybody knows Reno.

Reno is a tried & true Seattle-ite, and he is moving to New York in a few days.  I've been watching his Facebook posts about his upcoming move and all of the subsequent comments and posts from all of his friends.  Reno is so loved.  And deservedly so.

It's funny; I consider him to be a good friend of mine although we do not really hang out often.  I can't say that we are close, but I think he is just the kind of person that folks automatically feel a connection with.  He just has a welcoming way about him - he's just the kind of guy you want to be friends with.  He is special.

Case in point:  I hadn't seen Reno in quite a while.  Okay, a really long time.  But, because he is who he is, of course I wanted him to attend my baby shower.  Now, clearly, baby showers are not the hottest ticket in town.  Well, mine was obvi, but usually these diaper-sniffing, oohing & awwing affairs are best left to the aunties & the grandmas of the group.  But still, Reno was there.  And not only that, he brought not one but TWO handmade quilts - yes folks, quilts that he freakin' made - for my boy.  This is the kind of person that Reno is.

I think I speak for a lot of folks when I say this -
Reno, thank you.  Thank you for being you.  Thank you for being the kind of person and friend that you are and that I would like to be.  Thank you for being crazy and caring and compassionate.  Thank you for making the world a better place.  You will be always be part of Seattle.  And you will be missed.

P.S. This vodka-soaked photo from an International Women's Day party long ago somehow seemed the most appropriate.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Love Is Love.

My Boo said, "Love you", to me for the first time a few days ago.  Yes, I know he was merely repeating what I had said to him.  I know he didn't really understand the meaning behind his words.  I know this.  But it still completely crushed me.  It was pretty much the best thing ever.  (Especially when I had a deep, dark fear that the first time he said it, it would be to his beloved nanny.)

Boo's mimicking of my declaration of love made me think about the other people he loves now - whether he knows it or not - and the people he will love in the future.  And then I started crying - but not for Will - for all of the people through the years that have not been able to love openly or honestly because of society's views or their parents' opinions or the government's restrictions.

It seems ridiculous, doesn't it?  Why would anyone, ever, want to stop someone from loving?  More love in this crazy world can only be a good thing.  Right?  How did - and how do - these folks justify the idea that not everyone deserves to find & celebrate their love of another person?

My son will grow up in a family, in a household, where he can love anyone he chooses.  And I am proud to say that he will now grow up in a state where the majority officially believe that as well.  Love is love.

And someday, many years in the future, my Boo will say, "Love you", to another in front of those he loves & who love him.  It will not be repetition.  It will not be his sweet love for his mother.  It will not be the puppy love of a preteen.  It will be the real & true, heart-pounding, tummy butterfly-causing, crazy love that fills us up and inspires us and makes us better people.  And we will celebrate.  

Ain't love grand?  

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This Is 36.

This is 36.

We love our families, and we need our downtime.
We nurse our babies but still occasionally nurse hangovers.
We can have a dance party at 3am on a Friday, and we can run a 5k at 9am on a Sunday.
We work hard to bring home the nitrate-free bacon.
We cook it too.
We love deeply and passionately and fiercely.
We are selfish & judgemental & bossy. But we're working on it.
Our faces are beginning to show the many belly laughs we've shared. Our hair is changing color on its own.
We still sometimes call our mother's house "home".
Sometimes we still get carded. And we like it.
We're confident in our short skirts and long jackets.  We do not teeter in 4' heels.  
We cannot be defined by one word, "wife", "mother", "professional"; we are all of these things.
We understand the importance of our girlfriends. But we still take them for granted.
We will travel across the country for the weddings, babies, housewarmings, and birthdays of those we love most.
We give - and get - tough love.
We do what we have to do in order to do what we want to do.
Self-doubt and inner fear have been tempered by time and success.  Mistakes too.
We claim that a cup of tea works wonders for relaxation.  But we know that a glass of Pinot is better.
We dream big.  We hurt big.  We love big. 

This is 36.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Rules

When I was a little girl, 3 years old, maybe 4, I wanted to run away from home.  I told my Mom, "I am running away from home."  She said, "Okay, but remember, you are not allowed to cross the street."  And so, I packed up my little backpack with all of my worldly possessions and headed off away from home.  "Bye, Emily," my Mom called after me.  "Remember not to cross the street!"

After what felt like hours to me, but in reality was probably more like 3-5 minutes later, my Mom came looking for me.  I was sitting on the corner of our street, pouting, having run as far away from home as I could go without disobeying my mother.


The other day I looked up, and Will was playing with something that he shouldn't have been.  "Will," I said.  "Are you supposed to be playing with that?"  He looked at me, shook his head no, and handed it over to me.  He then proceeded to lay on the floor and lose his mind until he was distracted by some cheesy popcorn.

I told Tim this story later and remarked on Will's personality.  He is totally a rule-follower.  He doesn't like it, but he'll do it.  Oh, but you'll know that he doesn't like it all right.  He's very vocal about his displeasure.

"That's totally how I used to be," I laughed to Tim, thinking about the running away story.

"Used to be?!" scoffs Tim.  "That's exactly how you are now!"

That's my boy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A New Balance

The other day I had a reiki session from my friend, Tony.  For those of you who are reading this and saying, "What the hell is reiki, lady?", I will attempt to describe it.  And for those of you who are reading and saying, "Ah, yes, reiki, that will be good for you, lady", please forgive me if I butcher the description.

Reiki is a spiritual kind of practice that involves moving and transferring energy.   Basically, the person who is performing the session stands over the subject and lightly touches or places their hands on the person receiving the treatment.  The reiki master then kind of moves the energy about, helping the subject to regain a sense of balance.  (I think their aura is being cleansed too, but that's not really part of the description.)  Yes, I know this is somewhat vague.  Ask Tony or Wendy if you'd like to know the full explanation.  They're the masters.

Anyway, so I had the session with Tony last week.  Although I am not sure I really understand and/or believe the ideas behind reiki,  I am all about anything that will allow me to lie on a bed for an hour without really moving or needing to do anything.  No doubt.  Anyway, things were going well.  I was feeling relaxed and peaceful. And then all of sudden, while I was lying on my stomach, something happened.

I felt like I was being suffocated. I felt like Tony was pressing his hands in my upper back as hard as he could.  (He wasn't.)  I started seeing some kind of crazy, and scary, I might add, visions.  It was not fun or pleasant or relaxing.  I was actually scared.

And then, it was over.

Now, Gentle Reader, as I said, I am not one that normally buys into the supernatural, or "woo-woo" stuff as Wendy call it.  However, strange things were *definitely* afoot that night.

But what's even weirder is that in the days to follow, I have felt different.  Good, different.  I have had more energy.  I've been relaxed and not so crazy-stressed as I've been.  More centered & grounded too.

Anyone else have an experience with reiki to share?  I'd love hear what others have (or haven't) gotten out of it.

As for me, I am a (still-slightly-skeptical) believer.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Perfection Perception

I received a mix tape (no, not really a tape, hello!) from my friend, Lisa, before Boo was born.  It's filled with  lovely Boo-type music like "Beautiful Boy", "Blackbird", and "Baby Mine".  It's pretty awesome and definitely tear-jerking for a Mama-To-Be.

One song was a bit more rock if you will:  "F*ckin' Perfect" by Pink.  Usually, I try not to refer to my child and the f-bomb in the same sentence.  Usually.  Sometimes I slip and drop a "Wow!  That was f*ckin' awesome, dude!" I know.  I'm trying to curb it.

Anyway, before Boo was born and actually, for quite awhile after that, I always listened to this song as a little tribute to the awesomeness of my kid.  You know, don't worry, Boo, no matter what, you'll always be perfect to me.  Sometimes it could even trigger a tear or two thinking about the time that's bound to come when he's not feeling good about himself.

And then while driving to work one day while beating myself particularly hard about being a working mother, it hit me. This song isn't dedicated to the babies out there.  Nope, this one is for the Moms.  Working Moms,  Stay-At-Home Moms, Moms-To-Be, all of us who are busting our asses, doing our best, trying to make all of the pieces fit together without losing it on a daily basis.  We can and should look at each other and remind ourselves we are f*ckin' perfect - even when we really don't feel that way at all.

So hey there Mommies - way to go!  You're doing an amazing job!  You're fantastic & wonderful & honest-to-goodness incredible.  How in the world do you do what you do every single day?

You do it because you are fucking perfect.  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

It's Five O'Clock Somewhere

I go to parties, sometimes until 830 4, it's hard to leave when you can't find the door.

Parents/Partiers - it's a struggle, isn't it?  A struggle to maintain some kind of realistic balance between our parental duties and our partying ways.  And when you add in cleaning and laundry and working outside of the home, well, it's damn near impossible. 

But I am here to tell you - we CAN do this.  (Picture me saying this in my best Bill-Clinton-on-the- campaign trail voice.  It's more impactful this way.)

We CAN find a way to both bring up our children AND bring the funk.  A few things to consider -

1. Our days of partying until 2a or 3a or 4a?  They're over.  Get used to it. 
2. Happy hour is your friend!  Many happy hours begin at 3p or 4p, making it totally acceptable to have a few cocktails and snacks in the middle of the afternoon.
3.  As you need to be in bed by roughly 9p in order to be functional the next day, flip cup tournaments events that begin as early as noon on the weekends are not only suggested, they are recommended. 
4.  A designated parent must be identified before any imbibing begins.  Yes, clearly, it's important that this person drives everyone home safely, but, more than that, this person ensures that Mommy Baby is fed, watered, and put to bed safely.
5.  Babysitters!  If you have a baby-raising partner, then you deserve to enjoy a night out alone together.  If not, you deserve a night out with grown-ups.  Seriously, it's not only okay to get a babysitter once in awhile, it's important.  If paying someone to watch your kid for a few hours isn't an option, guilt trip a friend or a family member, or make a deal to trade off les petits monstres with another family. 
6.  But you still can't party until 2a or 3a or 4a.  Well, you can, but you'll be sad. 

Special thanks to Mera for teaching me that sometimes the 3pm martini is a necessity to everyone's well-being.  Additional special thanks to Abra for her superpowers and superunderstanding of the above struggle. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Like Father, Like Son

It's been about 5 months since I last posted.  Yeah, she says, calculating the math of being a full-time parent, a full-time professional, and a full-time party girl in her head, that's about right.

Man, it's been a crappy week in so many ways.  Without going into the sordid & boring details, let me just assure you that the sads are happening big time here in Greenwood.  Blech & boo all over the place.

Day 3 of this crappy week is coming to a close, and I have to pick Boo up from daycare.  When I arrive, our nanny informs me that he is cranky & crab-tastic.  Awesome.  Just the joyous news I was hoping to hear.  I scoop him up and run for the door, hoping we can make it home before the true Boo-Beast emerges from his evening cave. 

He seems okay though.  He's bopping around and rockin' & rollin'.  He enjoys a delicious and nutritious dinner.  He plays some games.  He's laughing.  Then I get a text and my crabbiness returns.  I have to take a little while to sort out some stuff via text and then over the phone.  I feel stressed and anxious and generally, as I said, crabby. 

And Boo is wonderful.

He sits at my feet smiling up at me and laughing.  When I stand up while talking on the phone, he hugs my legs.  He is constantly touching me and beaming at me.  I swear to God, he knew I was stressed out and trying to make me feel better. 

This little being came from my body, he is my heart - could it be that he instictively knows that his Mama is blue and needs him to be calm & comforting?  Could he sense that I needed his mellow joy during my time of overwrought chaos?  Could he really *get* me like that already?

Yeah, that kid is his father's son all right.  Damn.  How did I get so lucky? 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Choose You

They say that our friends are the family we choose for ourselves.  This idea has never been as true or as clear to me as it is right now. 

Like many Seattle folks, the families we grew up with are back at "home home".  Or, in other words, our original hometowns or somewhere near there. We see our relatives a few times a year.  We go back there, or they come here.  We visit, and then we come home.  Our real home.  Here, in Seattle.

This is hard.  It's sad.  I miss my family terribly, and some days are harder than others - holidays, special days, celebrations, the low days, the I-need-someone-to-come-and-hold-my-baby-for-two-minutes-before-I-go-insane days. 

But we've adapted.  We create new traditions, our own traditions.  We lean on our adopted families, the ones we've chosen for ourselves.  And they lean back. 

We celebrate Tim's birthday with barbeques and beer and sunshine.  We gather around the Thanksgiving table, and we give thanks for lowkey holidays involving good friends and sake.  Someone hosts Christmas every year, and everyone is invited.  We plan Wine Club...ahem, Book Club when we just know that one of us needs a little love.  We do brunches and walks and pep talks.  We do arguments and bitchiness and forgiveness.  We do love and support and gift-giving.  We do wine and weddings and camping and babies.  We do tears and laughter and honesty.  We do what needs to be done.  We give and we get and then give some more. 

Because we are family. 

P.S.  Thank you, ladies,  You know who you are.  Plus I'll probably tag you on Facebook anyway. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Do Something

I have an emotional hangover from today's YouthCare annual luncheon.  If you are not familiar with the work of this amazing nonprofit, it's time you remedied that. 
I took a 2-hour break from my good job and my comfortable life to hear the stories of three kids that would move me to tears.  Abuse, neglect, life on the street, suicide, depression, rape, human trafficking - the things these kids have endured in their short lives pains me.  I was physically in pain listening to them speak, and when I left the event, I felt vaguely sick.  I couldn't, and can't, do my usual compartmentalizing.  I cannot let this go. 

Although I have always considered myself to be an empathatic, compassionate person, I don't think this piece of myself had fully evolved until I had Will.  As a mother, I seem to *feel* in a different way than before.  Today, I heard a mother tell the story of her teenage daughter being prostituted and, basically, enslaved right here in Seattle.  Their family could be my family, your family.  I cried - and not just a few tears - I CRIED as I listened to her words.  What would I do if.... I literally cannot even write it. 

As difficult as it is to hear these stories, we MUST hear them.  We must listen and learn.  We cannot insulate ourselves and our children from the realities of the world.  We must teach our children empathy and compassion, and we must show them that we CAN effect change.   

And change doesn't come from dreaming. 

It comes from doing.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Time For Kindness

Let's talk human decency for a minute, mmm'kay? 

Today I was shopping at a Giant Fabric Store Chain, and I watched a frazzled Mommy as she moved around the store.  She was disheveled, wearing sweats & a pony, and she had a crazed look in her eye.  She was having One Of Those Days.  Her young son, maybe 5 years old, rode in the cart eating a yogurt, oblivious to the fact that his mother was teetering on the edge. 

And then it happened.

Her son dropped the yogurt.  It spilled upside down in the cart.  It dripped all over the bolt of fabric she had stowed underneath.  And Mommy lost it. 

First, she began to cry.  Then she snapped at her kid - nothing major, just a bit of a, "Oh, Johnny, come ON already."  And then she looked around the store maniacally. 

I could read her thought process as she took inventory of the situation.

"What do I do now?  Do I try and clean this up?  Did anyone see that happen?  Do I just abandon my cart and leave the store?  Do I offer to pay?  Do I apologize profusely and hope this problem goes away?  Can I keep my tears under control?  Can I keep my head explosion under control?"

She opted to find some paper towels and started cleaning up the fabric as well as the yogurt-covered floor.  I watched as 3 salesclerks watch her do this.  I offered to help her, but she declined as she continued to cry.  She was CRYING, folks.  She was barely holding it together. 

I've been this woman.  You've been this woman.  I don't care if you have kids or not, you've been this woman.

And the clerks just watch this unfold.  They did not offer to help. They did not let her know that, really, this is no big deal.  They just watched her as her nightmare unfolded.

After she had cleaned everything up, she asked how much she should pay to cover the damage that her son had caused.  The clerk said, "I think that 3 yards will cover it"

Are you effing kidding me?

You are going to charge this woman for 3 yards?  Where is your compassion?  Where is your sense of what's right?  And frankly, where is your customer service? 

The total she was charged was around $15.00.  In the grand scope of this business' finances, $15.00 is nothing.  Hell, in the scope of this business' DAY, $15.00 is nothing. 

But think about how much a little kindness would have meant to this woman.  Think about how a little compassion and understanding may have calmed her down, been a balm to her embarrassment, and brought a little perspective to the whole situation.

Shame on you, Giant Fabric Store Chain. 

P.S.  I think I got them back by raising a bit stink when I insisted I was overcharged for my purchase (nope) and demanded to see a manager to walk me through my receipt item by item.  Or I just looked like a complete idiot.  One or the other. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

530am on a Friday

"It's not fair."

Nope, not from the mouths of babes, but instead uttered repeatedly by a 35-year old woman at 530am on Friday morning.

I'm not proud.

Friday was my morning to "sleep in" until 730am. Sleeping in until 730am is part of the new reality. At any rate, I was *really* looking forward to Friday's lie-in. 

Will had other plans for us.

At 500am, he starting moving around. At 515am, he started chatting and rolling his paci along the bars of his crib. At 520am, the whining began. And at 530am, I knew there was no more sleep to be had. The screaming started. And it wasn't coming from Will.

"It's not fair. It's not fair. It's not fair. It's not FAIR!" I slammed around the room like a petulant child.  If I didn't get to sleep in, I was going to make damn sure no one else was sleeping either.  Like I said, I'm not proud.

After Will and I were well into our morning routine, I had managed to calm down a bit.  I held my perfect & healthy 7-month old son knowing that he will always have everything he needs.  We snuggled in our cozy & warm home full of love and food and family.  I have a partner & a son, and Will has two parents in the same home. 

No, it really *isn't* fair how lucky we are.  

Sometimes the new reality just needs a little perspective.  It just takes a little longer to find it at 530 in the morning. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Why Don't You Bring Your Baby To The Bar Anymore?

My last post was on Halloween.  I don't think it will surprise anyone that I went back to work 6 days later.  When you are a working parent, the time one has to take babies to bars and then blog about it is greatly diminished. 

Let me catch you up.  Will is now 7 months old.  Here is the new reality.

It's the one day a week that all three of us have together.  We decide that, for research's sake, of course, we should take our baby to a bar.  Obviously, we can't go at night because Will has to be in bed by 630pm.  We can't go from 11a-1p because that's when he takes his long nap.  We can't go after 4pm because that's when he gets crabby.  That leaves after 1pm and before he needs to take his short late afternoon nap.  But on this particular day, Will naps longer than usual.  When he gets up, we need to give him his cereal & fruit.  Apparently, he no longer likes apricots, and he spits them out all over himself, me, the floor, and the cat.  Now we all need to change clothes and clean up apricot slop from the kitchen.  Of course, since he didn't eat his fruit, now he needs a bottle.  Okay, Will's has his bottle, we're all in clean clothes, let's head out the door!


It's time to tag team.  Tim gets Will's coat and hat and carseat and blankie and paci.  Will does not want wear his coat or his hat so he is screaming as Tim attempts to wrangle him.  Meanwhile, I am putting together a diaper bag for this 1 hour journey to the local pub.  He'll need 3 diapers and wipes, an extra outfit in case of a blowout, 2 pacis in case the other one gets lost, 3 types of toys for amusement's sake, a full bottle, a burp cloth, another hat, and his stuffed bear. 

Will is in his carseat and he appears to be calm.  We have our coats on.  Keys are in hand, and the diaper bag's on my shoulder.  Let's get that beer.

And then a ghastly, horrible sound emanates from my child. 

Ah, shit.

After extracting Will from his carseat, from his coat, and from his clothes, and cleaning the blowout and the child, it is now 4pm.  He is crabby, needs his late nap, and refuses to wear socks.  Sigh.

Maybe we'll make it to the bar next week.  As for tonight, boxed wine & PBR?  Why not?