Thursday, January 31, 2013

Things That Are Almost As Painful As Giving Birth

Yesterday, J (4) tried to climb under my shirt.

Me: What are you doing?

J: I'm trying to get back in your belly.

Me: Oh no, sweetie. There's no going back in there! That's a one way ticket.

Giving birth.

What kind of words come to mind?

Exciting. Scary. Nervous. Concerning. Pain. Terrifying. Exhausting. Exhilarating. Pain. Joyous. Help. Epidural. Delivery. C-section. Contractions. Pain. Adventure. New Chapter. Medication. Pain. Doctor. Midwife. Baby. Love. Pain.

Look. I'm not gonna lie. Giving birth is painful. It may be more painful for some than others but it is painful.

It is worth it? TOTALLY. I love my boys. I am so blessed and thankful that I get to be their mommy. Sometimes I am so overcome by the love I feel for them, I feel like my heart will burst.

I wish there was some other way to get that little baby out, but unfortunately, that is how it works. You have to give birth to get that little sucker out of there.

But, lucky me (or rather unlucky me) I have experienced a few things that are just as painful.

So, if you are a guy or a mom-to-be, here are some comparisons so you have an idea of what childbirth feels like. Because I am helpful like that.

5. A Car Running Over Your Foot. Yep, when I was 17 my dad ran over my foot with his car. He felt horrible about it and he didn't want me to tell the doctor how I hurt it. But since I was wearing white Keds and you could see tire tracks, it was pretty obvious. You can read more about it here.
4. Getting Bashed In The Head With A Sippy Cup. I am sure it may be hard to believe, seeing as I live such a gangsta life, but I have never been pistol whipped. Although I have been sippy cup whipped. I imagine the excruciating level of pain is about the same. It looks so innocent in their little hands, but do not be fooled. Beware the sippy cup!
3. Your Hip Rolling Out Of Place. When I was a young professional, I fell at work but caught myself which made my right hip roll out of joint. It was so so so painful. I remember sobbing while my boss wheeled me in a rolly chair down in the elevator to the curb so Hubby could help me into the car to take me to the doctor. The Workers Comp doctor was worthless but the Physical Therapist saved my life by putting my hip back in place. Whew! This took several days to get over.

2. Having My Nipple Used As a Ladder Rung. Once while I was sitting in our comfy armchair, Baby L (about one at the time) decided he would like to climb into Mommy's lap. He proceeded to scale me like a building, using my clothes like a ladder. At one point, I remember he reached up and grabbed my nipple between his tiny fingers to pull himself up. Holy Mother of All That Is Holy! To say it was painful is putting it mildly. To be honest, I don't remember all that much because I think I blacked out from the pain and woke up with him sitting on my lap, smiling his toothy baby grin.

1. Mastitis. For those of you who are not familiar with mastitis, let me enlighten you. It is an inflammation of the breast tissue cause by a blocked milk duct. This can occasionally occur when you are breast feeding your baby. This is might just be as bad a giving birth. This is the most awful, the most painful, my boob is on fire, it hurts to barely touch it, don't even look at it, I wish I could feed my hungry crying baby, am I a horrible mother, oh my gosh the pregnancy hormones are driving me crazy, sob, sob, sob. *Ahem.* Or something like that.

So, there's the list of things that are almost as painful as giving birth.

Um, okay, I just realized that three of the five happened after having kids. This is not going to make soon to be moms or soon to be dads excited about having kids.

Alright! Alright! Let's think happy thoughts!

Think about how sweet those babies are. They are so tiny and cuddly. They have that sweet baby smell. Look at those perfect tiny little fingers and toes. Look at how perfectly they sleep curled up on your chest. The first time they smile their little gummy baby smile. They are so sweet those babies!!

See, isn't that better? 

Happy thoughts, people! Happy thoughts!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

How Making Friends Is Like Dating

Remember how easy it was a kid to make friends?  It was as simple as introducing yourself and asking them to play. All that was required was that you met someone who would play with you. And the risk of rejection was super low, like zero.

Let me give you an example.

My friend, Sarah, and I have been friends since we were age 4.  We met when she moved in across the street.

It went something like this:

Me: Hi. I'm Michelle. What's your name?

Sarah: I'm Sarah.

Me: Want to ride bikes?

Sarah: Okay.

*Jump on bikes. Ride off into the sunset. Instant best friends.*

As an adult, it is a bit more difficult. 

We are all too aware of our likes, dislikes, insecurities, and annoyances.  So, it requires a bit more than having someone who will play with you. (Even though, I still consider that a requirement. If by play, you mean go out for dinner and drinks, then see a chick flick.)

I have a set of a few core girlfriends. (You know who you are!) But, you can never have too many friends, am I right?!

I bring this up because we have new neighbors down the street from us. They are our age with two young kids almost the same ages as ours. The mom is a SAHM like me and they seem like nice people. We met them over the summer while we were out for a walk, and have seen them a couple of times since.

Our neighborhood is relatively new so we have very few neighbors. We have one other couple close to our age with older kids who we adore, but no one close to our age with kids the same age.


I think she and I could be friends!  We could borrow cups of sugar! We could have play dates! Hang out and drink coffee while our kids play! Meet at the clubhouse pool!

But, how does one go about this?  I can't just approach it like I did when I was four.

I don't have her phone number so I can't call. Should I just show up at her house? Is that stalkerish? What if I bring food as a "welcome to the neighborhood"? Less stalkerish? What if I'm interrupting her kids' nap?

Also, what should I wear? Do I wear my usual staple of jeans and long sleeve t-shirt? Should I step it up a notch and do my hair and make-up? Will she know I am trying too hard?


This is like dating! Making friends as an adult is like dating. And folks, I have been out of that game for well over a decade.


Okay, maybe I am over thinking it.

I decided to make them a batch of cookies. (I made myself a batch too, because cookies.) After taking J to preschool on Thursday, I dropped them off at their house.

Here is how it went down:

*Knocking on door. Door opens.*

ME: Hi there!

Her: Hello!

Me: I made you some cookies. *Hands cookies over.* I know it's late but here is your official "Welcome To The Neighborhood".

Her: *Chuckles.* Thank you. That is so sweet.

Me: Oh it's no problem!

Her: Would you like to come in?

Me: Oh, thanks but Baby L is in the car. I just wanted to drop off the cookies and invite you and the kids over for a play date tomorrow if you don't have any plans.

Her: Oh no! I have "Mom's Day Out" tomorrow! I'm sorry.

Me: No problem.

Her: How about another day next week?

Me: Would Monday work?

Her: That sounds great!

*We exchange numbers.*

Me: Great! Come on over! The kids can play and we can drink coffee. You can stay as little or as long as you like. If you need to go early because your kid needs to nap or because you think we're weirdos, no problem! It's cool!

Her: *Laughing.* We don't think you are weirdos.

Me: Well, you say that now!

All in all, I think we are off to a great start.

I'll just remember to keep it cool. I won't give her our "BFF" bracelets until at least our second play date.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

You Set A Reminder?

I am a big fan of my iPhone.

I use it for ALL sorts of things. Checking the weather, Twitter (it's addictive), Facebook, looking for movie times, searching for recipes, reading blogs, e-books and the calendar.

I'm trying to remember my life before my iPhone but it's difficult. Kind of like after you have kids.

I love the calendar and appointment reminder features. I put all sorts of reminders on my phone to remind me of stuff, like birthdays, doctor appointments, when preschool payment is due, and when to take out the trash.

The other day, I had my phone laying on the kitchen counter top charging. My phone dinged to remind me of something. Hubby was nearby grabbing a spoon from the drawer and he happened to glance at my phone.

Hubby: Think of Hubby. Respect his opinion. You set a reminder?

Me: *Chuckling.* Yes.

Hubby: Most people do that automatically.

Me: I think we can both agree I'm not most people.

Yes, I have a daily reminder set on my phone to "Think of Hubby and respect his opinion."

Life with two little boys is crazy. I mean like "I am not sure which end is up-when is the last time I brushed my teeth-did you kids eat today" crazy.

With two little boys, ages 2 and 4, they demand a lot of my time, and rightfully so. They are little people trying to learn about the world and their place in it. They need help from Mommy and Daddy to do so.

I set this reminder so I will purposefully have a sign in my face that tells me to not forget my Hubby.

Let's face it, if you have kids around, you don't get to have much quiet time with your spouse. (You parents know what I'm talking about!)

But this simple reminder on my phone gives me the nudge to take some time each day to set aside for my Hubby.  Take some time to sit (or stand) with him and talk about his day, share a quick inside joke or just talk about the latest news topic.

Because before we had our two sweet boys, it was just us - Jeff and Michelle. And we made a great team. 

I remember thinking you were so handsome and one of the funniest guys I'd ever met. I remember when we had our first date which was a study session. I remember meeting you, alone in the sanctuary, before our wedding ceremony. I remember us living in a one bedroom apartment with our little beagle. I remember us both starting graduate school. I remember the look on your face when I told you I was first pregnant.

This little reminder on my phone helps me remember how important my Hubby is and to make an active effort to spend some time focused on him each day.

I believe it is important that you have a strong foundation for your family and that foundation is your marriage. If you have a strong marriage, you and your spouse have a safe haven, a place where you can rest, regroup and get ready to face the world. You work as a team to raise your kids.  You show your kids what a healthy relationship looks like.

I'm not saying it's easy and I'm not saying there are days when you fail. I am saying that nobody is perfect and you have to make a conscious effort to make time for your spouse.

So yes, I set a reminder.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

How I Know I'm Not A Fairy Princess

O Disney, my Disney!

O Dreamworks, my Dreamworks!

You have deftly weaved some beautiful stories.  Tales of magical places where animals and cups come to life.  Stories of large, sweeping castles with a handsome prince and a helpful fairy godmother. Sagas about brave women and men who are trying to do the right thing in the face of many obstacles.

(Granted some of the time your tales are messed up because you start the story by offing a parent which is really sick and twisted. But let's not focus on that part now, shall we?!)

Every now and then, I will let my mind wonder and imagine I am in one of those entertaining, fun loving fairy tales.  And for a few minutes, it is lovely.

Then, I am snapped out of my reverie as Baby L clings to my leg screaming "Mommy" and J keeps asking to pay with the iPad. *Sigh.*

But aside from these two beautiful, crazy kids, there are several reasons how I know I'm not a fairy princess.

  • My friends are not talkative woodland creatures or a witty ogre. My little friends are the homemade kind, as in ones that Hubby and I made ourselves. Although to be fair, when I first wake-up in the morning, I do resemble an ogre.
  • I don't have a fairy godmother. If I had a fairy godmother, my house would be spotless with every nook and cranny gleaming and everything put away in its rightful place. And well, let's just say my house does not look like this. If I do have a fairy godmother, that lazy wench deserves to be fired.
  • My dishes and silverware do not talk. If those suckers were alive, you bet your sweet cheeks they would be in the cabinets or dishwasher immediately after being used or washed.
  • I don't wear frilly dresses and a tiara everyday. Can you imagine the beauty regime and the time that would go into getting dressed everyday? It makes me want to take a nap just thinking about it. I rarely wear dresses these days but I do have this one sparkly Target top that makes me feel like royalty when I wear it.
  • There is no evil stepmother or wild beast that needs to be defeated. I don't have a stepmother and the only evil beast around here is my crazy hair. I have a stepdad but he is not evil. Granted sometimes he is crabby when his knees are bothering him, but he is way far away from being evil.
  • My mode of transportation is not a horse and carriage. My trusty steed is my Toyota which has about 73 toys in the backseat, along with enough petrified chicken nuggets and Goldfish to last at least two weeks.

So, these are a few of the reasons how I know I'm not a fairy princess.

But, you know what?  I'm okay with that.  

Because I like my tiny castle with two little guys and my hilarious, handsome Hubby. THEY make me feel like royalty.

I don't need a tiara or a fairy godmother for that.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I Know, Right?!

My favorite time of the day is when I put my kids to bed.

"Thanks for that, Captain Obvious!", you say. "Once you put those kids to bed, you will have some time to yourself."

Now, I'm not gonna lie. I like having time to myself.

But that is not why this is my favorite time.

This is my favorite time because it's just me and the boys. There is no TV or iPod or Hot Wheels or Legos.

It's just me spending time with each of my boys. It is me focusing on my little guys, enjoying the miracles that are them. All of the worries, noise and static fade away. It is me holding my precious boys, snuggling and content just to BE. Reminding me of what is important.

We read a story, say our prayers, talk about our day and what we will do tomorrow. I always end the night by telling them how much I love them and how proud I am of them.

The other night, after putting Baby L (2) to bed, it's now J's (4) turn.

We read "Llama Llama Holiday Drama" (our current favorite bedtime story) and we say our prayers. Afterwards, I ask, "J, what is Christmas?"

J answers, "It's Baby Jesus' birthday!"

We talk about what Christmas means and I proceed to tell him the story of Baby Jesus. I even sing 'Away In A Manager' to which he sits up and sways to the music. He asks me to sing it again so of course I end up singing it about 8 times.

J then says, "I want to give Jesus a hug."

Oh dear. I think I am going to die of cuteness. My sweet, sensitive boy. He wants to hug Jesus?!?! That is too cute for words!!

I say, "Oh J! That is so sweet."

Looking at me in earnest, J replies, "Can you pretend to be Jesus?"

I answer, "Sure, sweetie." And J gives me the sweetest hug in the history of hugs.

And then I died of cute. 

I died, went to Heaven and saw Jesus.

To which He says, "I know, right?!"

Monday, January 7, 2013

Oh No He Didn't!

Growing up, my brother and I often butted heads.  I am four years older than him and around five foot five.  My brother is a BIG guy who is around 6'1 and 250.

But none of this would matter when we would scrap.

I might be smaller, but man, I'm scrappy. And he will even tell you to this day that I can take him.

I was always the goody two shoes, teachers pet, and walked the straight and narrow.  My brother, well....he wasn't.

Now, I love my brother. Sometimes I want to wring his neck, but I love him. (I'm sure he can say the same for me. That's how siblings roll, right?)

One time in particular still haunts me.

Growing up, mom would make certain meals and desserts that were common staples. One of these desserts was chocolate pie.

Oh man! Do I love my mom's chocolate pie?!

One night, mom made chocolate pie and everyone had a slice.  There was about half the pie left over.  I remember thinking that I would have a piece of pie when I got home from school the next day.

At lunch, after attempting to eat some of the school food, I was wistfully dreaming about digging into that chocolate pie once I got home.

After school, I ran inside, threw my backpack on the couch and headed for the kitchen. I slung open the fridge and found an empty pie container.

My brother had eaten the rest of the pie!  A HALF OF A PIE. AND to add insult to injury, he left the empty pie container in the fridge to taunt me.

Oh. No. He. Didn't.

Messing with my food is like messing with my emotions.

Man, oh man! I went looking for my brother and we definitely went a round or two that day.

To be fair, he wasn't doing it to spite me. He just skipped school (as usual) and went looking for something to eat. 

*Thinking about it.* 

Okay, maybe he did taunt me since he left the pie plate in the fridge. 

Point to my brother.

Fast forward to present day.

Hubby and I love to get this particular type of smoked salmon at Sam's. It is yummo. I mean make-you-smack-your-mama good. (Just kidding! I'd never smack my mama...unless she tried to take my salmon. Kidding! Well, mostly..)

Anyway, we came home from Sam's and fixed ourselves a bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon. So. So. Yummy.

After lunch, we put the salmon away and went about our business.

The next day, I woke up thinking about that yummy salmon and decided I would have some for lunch. (What?! You don't dream about your food?)

When lunchtime came, I opened the fridge to search for the salmon and IT WAS ALL GONE.

I am not afraid to say I was a little worked up.

Me: Where's the salmon?

Hubby: I ate it last night.

Me: *Murderous look in my eyes.* You ate all of it?

Hubby: Yeah.

Me: I dreamed of a bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon! I was thinking about it all morning!

Hubby: *Knowing the history of the chocolate pie can see this is going downhill fast.* It's no big deal. Let's just go to Sam's and get some more.

Me: Like right now?!

Hubby: Sure. Let's go.

Hubby could see where this was going and it was going to lead to a dark, dark place. He knew how to talk me down from the ledge. He knew how to calm the savage beast that is my food craving.

Very wise of you, dear Hubby.  Very, very wise.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I'm Packing A Bag

This past year has been quite an adventure. 

There was more laughter than tears. More smiles than frowns. More dancing than stomping feet. More happiness than sadness. More chocolate chips cookies than spinach. More playing than sitting around.

Each year is not only an adventure, but also a journey.

On New Year's Eve, you stop at the end of the road and look back towards the beginning. You see how far you've come.  You take a moment to reflect on the experiences, emotions and escapades of the past year.

And for every journey, you have to take some things with you. You have to pack a bag.

When you pack your bag, you have to think of things you will need and things you don't.  You don't want to take anything unnecessary. You want to take only the items to help you on your way. You also have to think about how heavy the bag will be because you want to make sure you can carry it.

You also need to choose your traveling companions wisely. For me, my traveling circus, er, traveling companions will be Hubby and our two boys.

For me, here are things I don't need for my journey. These items, I will not be putting in my bag:
  • Grudges
  • Regret
  • Self-doubt
  • Fear
  • Insecurity
  • Negativity
  • Guilt
  • Hatefulness 
  • Selfishness
I don't need these things on my journey. They are going to be way to heavy for me to carry and they will only slow me down.

These things I need to take with me. Here are the items I will be putting in my bag:
  • Self-confidence
  • Positive attitude
  • Sense of humor
  • Openmindness
  • Gratitude
  • My faith
  • My iPhone (Let's be honest. I'm not gonna leave that at home.)
  • Laughter
  • Love
  • Chocolate chips cookies (Again. I'm all about the honesty here people.)
  • Patience
  • Kindness
I realize this journey will be long and filled with many potholes as well as amusement parks. I am sure it will be hard going at times. I am sure I will occasionally sit down along side of the road, wiping my brow, wondering where this road is leading me and why it has to be so difficult.

When stopping to rest, I imagine I will pull some items out of my bag and rearrange things. I'm sure I will be tempted to grab some of those unnecessary items, like self-doubt or fear, and shove it in my bag.

But I am going to remind myself what is important and what things I really need to help me on my way. I'm sure this may be something I even have to do daily. With support and encouragement from my traveling companions, I know I can remain strong.

So, we are gearing up, ready to take to the road for our journey that is the new year.

And I'm ready. I'm packing a bag.