Wednesday, November 30, 2011

'Tis the season to get bloated (Sing that - it makes for a much better blog title.)

So, it's that time of year where everyone from Heloise to Dr. Oz wants to give you their take on "how not to get fat from now till my birthday" (January 20th and I like beer, chocolate, and large purses).  Just once, I would like to see an honest article on Holiday Weight Gain.  Last year I wrote a tongue in cheek post on Holiday Weight Gain.  This year I am just going to simply state why STAYING SKINNY NOW DOESN'T WORK.  I am not a doctor, a weight management professional, or a nutritionist, but I love to eat and my brain works (as far as I know - most of the time) so I think I am qualified to write this.

1.  Many nutrition gurus suggest continuing your normal exercise routine or if possible increasing it this time of year.  This doesn't work and there are a few reasons why.  Who has time to exercise on a normal basis?  Not many people.  In fact, in the article I read one of the tips was to do tummy tucks while you are standing in line (presumably waiting in the buffet line).  For real?  What I understand when I read that is:  YOU DON'T HAVE TIME TO EXERCISE.  NOT BEFORE AND NOT NOW.  AND - while you are waiting in the buffet line you should be enjoying a delicious Christmas cocktail and talkin' to your man.  I will just say one more thing:  if you have time to exercise now, you better check your "to do" list.  If "Buy A Day In The Life a Christmas present" is not on your to-do list - add it.  Stat.  And then get busy shopping for me instead of trying to find time to exercise.

2.  Another suggestion I've seen is to "limit yourself."  Now, I am just not sure I understand this one.  The article referenced above suggests filling one plate (at the buffet) and then not going near the food table again.  That just sounds like cruel and unusual punishment to me.  I like to make many trips to the buffet, sample everything, and do a noteworthy plate balancing act in the process.

3.  "Curbing your appetite" also seems to be a popular notion.  It is suggested that you eat a "handful of nuts" and possibly drink a glass of water before heading out to a holiday party.  I love the idea of eating a handful of nuts.  But, what I want with a handful of nuts (and might I suggest spicy hot peanuts) is a cold beer.  Then, I might want some nachos and another beer.  THEN, I would be ready to go the party!

4.  "Accepting mistakes" is popular.  In other words, if you fall off the wagon - don't waste time feeling guilty, just hop back on!  As a general principle, I really don't have an objection to this one.  But, consider this - if you keep falling off the wagon, it may be time to walk.

5.  Now the article I referenced above specifically suggested "Calming down."  This one is just nuts.  The holidays do not allow for "calming down."  My to-do list is a mile long and I am still blogging.  Calm down?  How about a donut and another cup of coffee?  Now, that's more like it!

6.  The article I read also suggested carrying snacks with you for when you are out-and-about where healthy snacks might not be offered.  I am all for carrying snacks with you.  Some that I suggest for the holidays are:  Christmas cookies (you never want those to go bad and have to throw them away), hot spicy peanuts referenced above (Although drinking alcohol in public is not sanctioned by me or this blog.  Are Christmas parties public?), dark chocolate chips, and chili-lime Cheetos (my nine year old son just introduced me to those).

7.  Professionals also like to warn against falling into the "trap" of thinking that weight gain now is okay since in January you can always go on a diet.  Frankly, I fell into that trap a long time ago..............and I like it here!  It makes resolutions soooooooo much easier!

8.  Several articles I read suggested keeping a log of what you are eating.  Again, this is questionable on so many levels.  Sub-list:

a.  Do you have time for a log?  If so, leave me a comment and I will send you some of my to-do list items.
b.  Do you really want to know what you are eating???  It could lead to more than a weight issue.  Trust me.
c.  If you simply must keep a log, maybe you should keep it on a concrete tablet (like Moses) so that you can kill two birds with one stone (figuratively and possibly literally as well) - curbing your appetite AND exercise.  And, YES, that is SARCASM.

9.  Many professionals suggest that you be mindful of snacking during holiday cooking.  I really take objection to this one.  What's one of the best parts of holiday cooking?  SNACKING while you do it!  Who doesn't want to snack on cheesy popcorn and have a nice glass of wine while making Christmas cookies???  Thinking about it just makes me want to belt out a line of "White Christmas."

10.  Another popular suggestion seems to be sending holiday party leftovers home with family and friends.  Remember this works two ways.  I am the family and friends with whom you need to send leftovers home.

That's my explanation of why staying trim during the holidays is worthless.  Don't think about it!  You will be happy while others will be miserable.  Enjoy, friends!  Know that I will be with you January 1 when we have a lot to resolve!

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's all downhill from here, baby.

So, it's that really awkward time between Thanksgiving and December 1.  That in-between time is like a rebound man.  You don't really want to make a commitment to anything, and yet you want to try something new, fun, and exciting.  And, it's Cyber Monday so in a way I am compelled to be "on" the computer 24/7 to see what deals I might be missing and I am kinda wanting to try something new and exciting out on you (don't worry - I'll be gentle).  Since these are strange days (we have exactly two more to get through until December 1 when we can officially begin waiting for Santa or Jesus - or both), I thought I would give you a totally random list of possibly Novemberish/Decemberish items - because that's how I roll.

Totally Random List of Crap You Don't Care About Fascinating Things You Didn't Know You Cared About

1.  I gained about 200 pounds over the Thanksgiving holiday (and that is just an estimate - it could be more).  Jillian is now going to own me.  As in, "I will be her bee-atch."  Worry about me.  THIS did NOT keep me from buying the industrial size ("makes SIX batches") Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix at Costco today.  I quickly justified it by saying it was less than $2.00/batch.  WHAT A STEAL!!!  Call me crazy.  I am ensuring resolutions come January 1.
2.  I keep waiting for the three year old to turn into a sweet, loving child.  Apparently this is not going to happen.  Over the holiday this fact *may have* hit me front and center.  I'm looking into a refund.
3.  I believe Black Friday is a conspiracy wherein retailers incrementally raise prices all year long so that no one really notices only to lower them BACK down to where they originally were on Black Friday and THEN they sell that to you as an "awesome deal."  It should be called Screw the Consumer.  I *may* tell myself this in order to make myself feel better when reading status updates about how many deals people are finding while I am sitting at home drinking hot coffee in my pajamas nursing a hangover.
4.  We set up the tree, decorated the yard (if you can call three reindeer with lights laying beside them "decorating the yard"), decorated the house, and basically rang in Christmas with little to no family dysfunction.  I am still waiting for the "other shoe to drop."  On my head.
5.  I do not understand the fascination with Twilight.  Although I did discover s'more martinis on someones Twilight status update and that discovery might have redeemed all the disgustingly gratuitous Twilight status updates.
6.  I am once again tempted to tell my kids that I Am Santa. 
7.  You can't find Jesus at the mall and take pictures with him.  This is actually one that Girl 2 said to me the other day.  To which I replied, "You are right.  I don't think you can."  I've been thinking about it ever since.  Possibly because I am now picturing a person dressed as Jesus sitting at the mall and a long line of kids waiting to have their pictures taken with him.  With Him.  Him?  See?  It'll make you think now, too.
8.  I still send Christmas cards (if you don't get one remember that my blog is mostly true).  Last year I received from others the least amount of cards on record (I even had to count the one from my dentist - who still sends a card).  Either I am getting less and less popular or people are not sending cards as much anymore.  I'm really hoping it's the second one.
9.  I will be wearing a 70's dress I purchased at Goodwill to hubby's Christmas party this year.  It's okay.  Don't worry.  Remember I said I was thankful for peeps that have good taste because I don't?  Well, one of those peeps approved it.  When I was shopping at Goodwill I was under the assumption the party theme was "70's."  Why else would I be at Goodwill buying a 70's dress???  (Wait.  On second thought - don't answer that.)  After I purchased the dress, hubby told me they decided to not go with a theme.  At first I said, "Damn."  Now, I am pee pants excited to be wearing a Goodwill dress to a posh hotel.  Weird.  I know.
10.  It may be time to finish my kids' stockings.  I am not crafty.  In fact, I like to call myself the anti-Craft.  Kind of like the anti-Christ, but less scary.  I not only am not good at crafts, I hate them.  When I fancied myself crafty (about 20 years ago) I started some Christmas stockings for "some kids."  Weird again.  I know.  I don't know if I was thinking of someday having kids or I was just thinking of orphans.  At any rate, these are the stockings my kids have now and they are in various stages of "done."  Every year the kids say, "When are you going to finish these, mom?"  Every year I say, "Beats the hell out of me.  Probably never."  This may be the year.  Then again, it may not.

That's my list, sweet readers.  Try to survive this murky time and I hope to see you on the Other Side on December 1.  Peace (and good tidings, if you must).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm thankful for the bras at Nordstroms. Or, let me be honest.

I will risk being painfully honest with you today.  I love the trivial and hate the sentimental.  I have such mixed feelings on the I Am Thankful posts that you can find on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and sometimes people's underwear (Just kidding.  I think.) this time of year.  Part of me says, "I try to be thankful each and everyday so why the need to do it in November?"  The other part of me says, "Soooooooooo ridiculously sappy..........and yet - I don't want everyone to know think I am a total cynic."  And the other part of me says, "Good Grief!  What am I thankful for???"  And the other part of me says, "You are Sybil."

So, the day before Thanksgiving I usually find myself frantically trying to think of 10 things I am thankful for for the sake of not wanting to be a cynic and yet not wanting to sound disgustingly sentimental.  Seems you are stuck with This and please know that This took me longer to think of than most blog posts - so, HAPPY THANKSGIVING:

1.  I am thankful for hair dye.  My mom passed down the Early Gray Hair gene to me and I have been gray since...........I have been gray a long time.  Thank you, mom.  I hate it.  I hate gray hair.  Last night I had my hair did, as I always do, and poof! it's gone.  So yippee!  I am thankful.
2.  I am thankful for beer.  It is the great equalizer, it deadens my senses sometimes when I need it (don't call the Depression Hotline - I am just being honest), it makes me laugh harder and more frequently, and it goes great with my favorite foods.  And I am thankful.
3.  I am thankful for friends with good taste because I have none.  You know who you are and I am thankful for you.  Otherwise I would live in a totally mismatched home (as I did for several years), and I would look like Cyndi Lauper (only without the fame to keep it all together).
4.  I am thankful for sarcasm and humor.  They complete me, and have gotten me out of a lot of Tight Spots.  (In case you never noticed.)
5.  I am thankful God gave me a son who at nine reads the paper daily.  That is just a sight that makes my heart smile no matter how pissy I am feeling when I find black smudge marks everywhere.
6.  I am thankful I am not in therapy.  I may need therapy, but I choose to self-analyze and for that, I am thankful.
7.  I am thankful Girl 1 is a wordsmith and loves to write.  That makes my heart smile, too.
8.  I am thankful for the dentist who said to me, "Well, baby *might* not need braces."  Right after telling me the other three definitely would.
9.  I am thankful for Girl 2 who has an uncanny and quite funny ability to impersonate the friends and neighbors (sorry, friends and neighbors).  It gives me hope that there might just be a famous comedian in the family thereby making having the four kids totally worthwhile.  KIDDING!  Kind of.
10.  I am thankful that you know me well enough to know that I am inherently thankful for all the sentimental crap everything else.

Please and thank you.  That is all.  Amen.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Why is there a machete in the crapper?

So, it's no secret.  Some of my best friends are one nut short of a pecan pie (in a totally life-enhancing way).  One of them just started a blog.  You can find her over at Seriously?  This news makes me delighted and a little sad.  Delighted because she is a riot and unbelievably funny things happen to her on a daily basis.  Sad because I have been fostering a dream that I will pretend all of her outrageous daily happenings are mine, write an amazingly funny best selling book, and become an overnight sensation.  (You can now picture me saying Goodbye to my dreams.  Thank you, K.F.)

Now, I am confident that she will blog in detail about one of her latest happenings soon, but I thought I would just let you know how her Unfortunate Incident has affected me.  What happened is an incredibly long story, but in a nutshell (so to speak - this Incident is chalk full of puns) - - a squirrel came out of her toilet.  I put that in large letters because it's not every day that wildlife comes out of a friends' toilet. 

Before I continue there are a few things you need to know about me (because, in the end, it's all about me). 

1.  I hate squirrels.  Most people think they are cute little furry things with bushy tails.  I think they are disease carrying evil rats sent straight from Satan to terrorize me.
2.  I have several irrational (until proven otherwise) fears.  One of them is that when I am Doing My Business something is going to swim up the toilet pipe and bite me on the a$$.
3.  I hate squirrels.  Wait...did I say that already?

So, thanks to Seriously about three weeks ago two of my fears came together in a truly incredible (and if it wasn't so horrifying it might be said to be beautiful) way (I would not have even believed it if I hadn't seen the photos.  Yes, I tried to get her to pin them on Pinterest.  Unfortunately, she doesn't have a Pinterest account, and besides I think she said, "Hell to the no.")

A squirrel came up her toilet.  No one's arse was hurt in the incident (and no squirrels were hurt - oh, except the dead one) but it was enough to FREAK ME OUT.

I am now terrified of using the toilet.  I tried to ignore it at first by thinking of other things, strengthening up my thighs muscles (girls, I think you know what I mean by that), keeping the door wide open (should I need to make a quick exit with my pants down), and taking a weapon with me each time I have to pee or poop (hence the title of the post - an actual question from an inquiring household member - name missing to protect the innocent).  It's getting exhausting and honestly - it's not working. 

Until I can recover from this latest trauma (which didn't even happen to me) you'll have to forgive me for being a little clogged up and out of sorts in my postings.  Meanwhile, head over to Seriously and give her a read.  Some of your greatest fears might be realized, but trust me you will have a good belly laugh to go with that.

Friday, November 18, 2011

For the crime obsessed...

Forgive the change of pace of this post.  I've been in a bit of a seasonal funk lately.  I promise to come out soon.  Meanwhile, I am going to share some awesome crime TV with you.  Yes, you read right - TV.

So, I have always been obsessed with murder, crime, police work, trials, and basically anything to do with criminal justice (or injustice as the case may be).  Naturally it would have made sense for me to go into this line of work.  Since, I am apparently not natural -  I didn't.  And now I live my life vicariously through television characters whose exciting lives are imbued with the criminal element.

If you are a "regular" you know that hubby and I live somewhere in the 80's technology-wise.  So, we have what's called Basic Cable.  This means basically (hence the name) that when the show is actually broadcast - you watch it.  Very simple.  There is no room-to-room TV, there is no DVR, there are no 5,000 channels.  There is just, simply, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, FOX, and a few nude women on the Spanish channels.  If you happen to turn the TV on and there is a show you want to watch on there - you sit on the couch and watch it.  I know that now-a-days shows can be watched on the laptop, but that is problematic.  If I couldn't watch it when it was on, how the hell am I supposed to be able to watch it later??? 

Thankfully, being the crime fanatic that I am this old-school TV has always worked out quite well for me.  I am happy to report that some of the best crime shows have been on the major channels.  Through the years I have been able to be a HUGE fan of: NYPD Blue, Cold Case, Criminal Minds, and, of course, ANYTHING Law & Order.  In more recent years I have also become fairly addicted to PBS Masterpiece Mystery (I will risk sounding very old and corny). 

So, that's what I love about TV.  Here's what I don't love about TV:  sit coms - in 29ish years I have found maybe two sit coms that I could watch, dramas - pretty much hate 'em, hospital shows - I have an irrational (although, sometimes quite rational) fear of hospitals so I never want to watch hospital dramas, reality TV (but, I have been known to watch Millionaire Matchmaker because I *might* love her no-nonsense potty mouth), and ALL CITY CSI's - HATE them all.

Now, what's the point?  The point is:  This season has SUCKED.  Elliott Stabler went away, Law & Order suddenly went CSI in their technology for solving crimes (more about that later), all the shows got rearranged, and there are a bunch of new shows that aren't worth a DAMN.  I have been forced to:  sit through an entire episode of Whitney (blech) without even a snicker, tolerate a finger identification that took less than five seconds on Law & Order, go to bed at 8:00, and read about 5 novels since the new season started.  I was just beginning to think there was no redemption when I stumbled upon Maria Bello in Prime Suspect

If you have not watched This Show and you are a crime fanatic - get busy and watch it.  It is fabulous.  It is based on the UK version (of course) starring Helen Mirren.  First of all, I am in love with Maria Bello.  She looks great while fighting crime, she has a potty mouth, she's sarcastic, she hates to cry, she thinks she sucks at love, and all her male co-workers are secretly (or not) hot for her.  What's not to love? 

Secondly, crimes are not solved in the high-tech world.  They are solved the old fashioned way (which I suspect is still The Way in Real Life) called Great Detective Work.  On last night's episode, it took three days to get results back on a fingerprint and that was about the time the killer had already made his secret not-so-secret by attempting to shoot everyone up.  The reason I hate CSI is because while it pretends to be true crime, it is mostly high-tech crime solving that I am not sure ever happens in the real world.  Seriously.  Did you know on the British crime shows the cops aren't even armed?  Love.  It. 

Thirdly, the rest of the acting is great and the story line is clean.  It's not a lot of senseless chatter and other story lines.  It's basically one crime and one crime solved - with brains.  And, a little hard drinking thrown in for good measure.  Remember alcoholic Andy from NYPD and how hard it was for him to go sober?  Who that loves true crime did not love that?  THAT was a real cop character.  And, that is what Prime Suspect reminds me of.

So, why the bitching about this season's line up?  Well, we are not in the UK apparently, and I cannot fall in love with American remakes of UK shows.  Because - the show will be cancelled.  Looks like it will be a winter of even more good books for me.  Crime lovers - catch it while you can.  Happy Watching!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Birthday Bash Planning Begins

We are Mean Parents that don't do birthday parties for our kids after their kindergarten birthday party.  As I have said many times, we live within a TIGHT budget and all-and-out parties for four kids every year along with Christmas, summer vacations, and just-because presents can get REALLY pricey QUICKLY.  So, we made a deal (hubby and I) years ago when our son was turning five that the sixth birthday would be the last big party for our kiddos.  Then we would have another big party for 10 and another big party for graduation (assuming they do graduate.....kidding.....kind of).  I am telling you all of this because my son has not had a party in four years and I get to plan one NOW!  He will turn 10 on December 17, and I am beyond excited and he is pretty excited as well. 

He loves all things technological and he loves gaming.  As much as I discourage this (yes, I am more for actual play in the real world), I realize we have a teeny tiny house and I admit I've not the foggiest idea on where to start on entertaining 10 to 15 nine year old boys.  So, I have succumbed and he is getting Games2U for his party.  After securing the game truck, I decided I better start the actual planning:  the invitations, the decorations, the menu, the favors, the cupcakes/cake, etc.

I have found yet another wonderful use for Pinterest and I have pinned some pretty cool stuff.  If you have a burning desire - check out my video game birthday party board.  My son was in love with the invitations I pinned.  But, they were not cheap.  Our budget for the party is not huge and the gaming truck has taken a large chunk of it, so I decided to get on Microsoft Publisher and just do our own.  I used the basic idea from the invitation I pinned, but inserted pictures he picked.  Since I am considerably technology impaired and it only took me about an hour, I am pretty damn proud of it.  As soon as I send it to the printers I will post a picture here. 

My next step will be making some of these awesome Angry Birds decorations.  This site was so great, helpful, and just cute.   

I realize this post is a little All About Me/Us/Me, but I just can't help it.  It kinda feels like I am turning 10 again and since I don't really remember the first time - I can't help being just a little excited.  :o)         

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I hate it when that happens.

So, today was already gearing up to be a doozy.  And then the law showed up. 

First things first.  When I got up, I logged onto Facebook just like I normally do, but unlike normal I found that my husband had posted a video to Facebook.  To the normal folk this may seem innocuous.  To "normal folk" I say, "My husband is not normal."  He only joined Facebook a few weeks ago and since then this is a sample of our conversations regarding Facebook (Note:  They all end the same way and they all take place when I am busy doing very important work):

Him:  So, how do I "friend" people (insert any action you can do on Facebook)?
Me:  You just search for them, and when their name comes up in the search box click on them.  When you click on them it will say "Friend."  Click on that and they will get a friend request from you.
Long pause.
Him:  So, where's the search box?
Me:  It should be in the upper part of all pages of Facebook.  Your wall or home.
Another long pause.
Him:  Home?  Wall?  I thought they were the same thing.  Oh, okay.  I see.  So, I just friended someone, and I am not sure who they are.  How do I "cancel" that?

So, imagine my shock and surprise when I logged in and saw that he had posted a video.  And it was totally appropriate and cool.  With a comment!  On his own.  Totally.  I was so happy.  And a little scared (which keep reading and you will find that was totally justified).  I vowed that if it rained today I would stay inside...just to be safe.  Little did I know getting struck by lightening would have been a picnic.

That was the first kinda weird thing that happened.  Then, as I was just kind of fooling around at my desk, talking to a good friend on the phone, and planning out my day I saw something outside the window out of the corner of my eye.  At first I thought it was a dog.  Then upon a full-on head jerk and muttering that sounded something like, "WHAT THE %$&#?",  I realized it was a coyote.  I quickly said to my good friend, "I have to go.  Sasquatch might be in my backyard.  No one is going to believe this.  I need to go take a picture.  Call you later."  Thankfully I was dressed, although not entirely appropriately (I'll just leave that part up to your imagination), so I grabbed the camera and raced outside to photograph him/her.  I did this because in our house no one believes anything any other family member says unless said family member has verifiable proof (like a photo).

I sprinted into the area behind our house.  This guy was moving fast, so I had to go clear into the neighbor's yard.  It was just as I had gotten behind our neighbor's house (as in right behind their patio door) when this GINORMOUS owl/hawk/swan/flamingo looking bird SWOOPED out of the lower part of a nearby tree and flew right toward the coyote/wolf/dog/chupacabra.  IT SCARED THE LIVING CRAP OUT OF ME.  I did a thing that could only be described as Crazy Wail and Swat Like Mad and took off running back to my house.....with no photograph. 

I immediately called my friend back to tell her what had happened, when I'll be damned if that sucker came sauntering BACK BY MY BACK DOOR like he was either 1.  Taunting me, or 2.  Giving me another opportunity to prove myself with a photo.  So, I said, "CRAP!  He's BACK."  She said, "GO PHOTOGRAPH HIM."  I said, "I'm kinda scared."  She said, "Leave baby in the house because he might be hungry and grab a broom."  As I write this now I realize that sounds pretty Crazy Town, but right then it sounded perfectly plausible.  So, I grabbed a broom, the camera, and sprinted out again. 

What my other neighbor would have seen behind his back fence had he been home (I am still praying he wasn't) was this:  Me, wearing less than appropriate clothing, flailing a broom in one hand, sprinting across the wild land behind his back fence, chasing what I think was a coyote am sure was a coyote, while looking through the lens of a camera, trying not to trip, and glancing up above to make sure I was not eaten by an owl/hawk/big-ass bird.

This all prompted me to update my status on Facebook immediately after it was over:

just saw a coyote closer to our house than i've ever seen, so i go out to take a picture of him. as i am chasing him (camera in hand) this GIANT owl/hawk looking thing swoops down on him. let's just say i hope my neighbors are at work because i screamed, and started swatting at the air above my head while running for my life. i am not even kidding. i am now officially creeped out.

Now, had my excitement for the day ended there I would have been completely satisfied....but, it only got stranger.  I went upstairs to take a shower and told baby to play quietly.  Next thing I know, someone is BANGING on the door as I am standing in front of the mirror stark naked hair dripping wet (do not picture that it will only make you want to poke your eyes out with sharp sticks - I know that from personal experience).  I figure it's my house cleaner and don't do anything.  The banging continues and then becomes coupled with constant ringing.  So, I thought what you are probably thinking now:  Holy CRAP!  Someone got eaten by the coyote and people now know (since I posted it on Facebook) that I know something about it!!!!!!!!  SOMEONE IS IN IMMINENT DANGER!

That's why I put on some clothes (the inappropriate ones from earlier) and screamed for my baby.  She came sauntering in.  Frantically I said, "WHO IS IT?  IS IT MS.--------(house cleaner)?  WHO IS IT BABY????"  And baby very calmly said,  "No, mama.  It's not Ms. ________, or Ms. (random friend), or Ms. (another friend)."  I frantically said, "WELL WHO IS IT THEN???"  

"It's a police officer.  But, don't worry.  He's not here to arrest you."

By that time I was down the stairs, it was too late to change my clothes.

Post script:  Turns out baby was right.  It was indeed a constable.  He was not here to arrest me.  He very calmly said he had papers to serve on hubby.  Before you worry about hubby, no I did not serve divorce papers on him, it was not totally unexpected, and we are hoping it is something we can deal with.  But, please imagine Officer M.'s surprise when I opened the door, dressed in my not entirely appropriate clothes, hair wet, and with my sweet baby saying, "See momma.  It is a police officer, but I don't think he will arrest you."  I hate it when that happens.

Monday, November 7, 2011

10 Signs That You Are Ready for Motherhood (from an actual mother)

So, this weekend I filled out an adoption letter of recommendation for a good friend of mine.  Now, if you know me well, you know that I have a long, unbelievable, and painful history with adoption.  Filling out the form was bittersweet.  Sweet because I cannot truly think of someone who is more filled with love to give to a child.  Bitter because it brought up memories that although buried deep (and often forgotten) when brought to the surface are incredibly and surprisingly hurtful.

Coincidentally I also attended a baby shower yesterday.  Since I am Old I have few opportunities to attend showers anymore.  Most of my friends are "done," so I often think the next shower I attend I will be throwing...for my girls.  This baby shower was grand.  It was for someone who has become a friend of our family.  She and her husband are some of the most generous, kind, and loving people you will meet.  She has a way with kids (especially mine) that I rarely witness.  She is a teacher of the highest quality.  All of that aside, I love baby showers.  There is typically great food that you can eat without utensils, a chance to win prizes doing things I tend to be really good at (because I have a whole slew of kids of my own), yummy cake, and a little goodie bag for adults.  What's not to like?  Baby showers represent everything grand about parenthood - precisely because the kids are usually not there yet.  Kidding!  Kind of.

We also had some unexpected news this weekend.  We found out someone we know is expecting possibly before it would be considered "appropriate."  Again, this news was met in a bittersweet way.  Sweet because I can think of few times that I would not welcome a pregnancy.  Bitter because I know the news of the pregnancy and subsequent parenthood could be an uphill battle.

In a nutshell I was all wrapped up in babies and parenthood this weekend.  These questions I either heard verbalized, or just had wandering around in my head.  At the shower:  Were the parents "ready" to be parents?  Was the baby's room ready?  Had they thought of everything?  What else would need to be purchased?  During the completion of the adoption paperwork:  Did I know of any reasons why these people should not become parents?  Were there any disturbing signs, for example, alcohol or narcotic use?  Was this a "solid" marriage to the best of my knowledge?  How do you know if someone is ready to be a parent?

Jeesh!  This all got me thinking, and frankly, kinda panicked:  With four kids, was I ready to be a parent?  Was I ready to be a mom?  After all, what were the signs you are ready?  I don't remember seeing them.  I could think of a fairly good list, but I thought I better do some research to find out what the experts were saying.  Thank God, that if you have the Internet,  it's not hard to find out if you are ready to be a parent.  It's also great to read how to be a "bad parent".  And perhaps we could have just avoided this Ready for Motherhood question by knowing if we are ready to have sex in the first place.  Sounds reasonable.  The experts seem to have a lot to tell me.  Although I thoroughly enjoyed reading these articles and many others, I am not sure these lists are comprehensive enough, and I am not sure that some of these people are actual parents or mothers.

That is the history behind the list that follows.  If you are thinking of becoming a parent - this is just a starting place.  Because I am a woman, I decided to modify my list to prospective moms (mostly).  I highly recommend reading ALL the lists you can get your hands on.  After all, they are the experts (I only play one on my blog).  The more information you can get, the better.  At its best, information will help provide a small insight into parenting/motherhood, at its worst it will actually make you think you are ready.

Are You Ready for Motherhood/Parenthood?  10 Signs to Help You Know

1.  You are not concerned with your boobs.  During pregnancy your boobs will inflate to the size of life rafts.  After pregnancy they will become milk jugs to perform the natural act of breast-feeding.  After you are done with breast-feeding they will look like deflated tires and have stretch marks on them at which time you will say, "Honey, I think we're ready to have another baby!"  Adoptive moms may avoid this pitfall (no pun intended), but there is the newer trend to breastfeed your adoptive child (a trend I do not fully understand).  Husbands/Partners will need to know that for a good two years breasts will just be another body part that performs a function (much like a.........hand).

2.  You are happy with the clothes you have right now in your closet.  Know that these are the clothes and clothing trends that will take you well into the next century.  Okay, not that far.  But, you will be wearing these clothes for a good two years.  Longer if you manage to get pregnant or adopt another child soon.  As the first article states quite truthfully, "Parenting is all consuming."  Read:  You will not have a lot of time for fashion trends and shopping for them.  You might want to make sure your partner is happy with seeing you look like this (don't worry too much, though, because lack of sleep makes you forget a lot of stuff that may seem important now).

3.  You are comfortable with all bodily functions.  And if you are not, you can fake it appropriately.  As a pregnant mom or as the husband of a pregnant woman you will come face to face (and often literally) with some body parts and functions you never knew were a part of life.  Or, if you knew they were a part of life, you tried to ignore it.  Now, if you are adopting, don't think you are off the hook.  Know that babies can do some pretty funky things......that are not in the Parenting Books.  GET TO KNOW IT.  These "things" go under the names of:  Projectile vomiting, reflux, meconium (if you are not familiar with that - you may want to look it up...STAT!), diarrhea, etc., etc.

4.  You function adequately on zero to two hours of sleep.  Some babies don't sleep.  They are not sick, they are not colicky, they are not crazy.  They just don't sleep.  It will be your job to take care of that baby should they be yours.  Make sure you are up to it.

5.  You have a partner you trust through and through and who will tell you if you are going insane.  Babies are a lot of work.  This can really not be emphasized enough.  The amount of work does not decrease as the baby grows.  It just changes and morphs into another kind of work.  I recommend you have a partner/a husband/a soul mate.  I also recommend you truly know this person because you may go several weeks without actually speaking to your partner (depending on what The Baby is doing) except in passing or on the phone.  If this should happen to you, it's helpful to know and trust your partner so that you are not surprised or offended (for example) when the person who was Pre-children immensely concerned with personal hygiene has forgotten to brush his/her teeth for two days.  It is also incredibly helpful to have someone who will gently (or forcefully - depending on the circumstances) tell you (or vice versa):  YOU ARE CRAZY TOWN.
6.  You can imagine baby's pee, poop, vomit, spit-up, or any other secretion that might come out of baby on your favorite _____________________________ (fill in the blank, for example:  leather couch, seat of your clean car, favorite silk blouse, white carpet, draperies that cost $1000/panel, etc.). And after imagining this you will not want to cry and lose all control.  If you think I am kidding - - I am not.

7.   You can go a while without a pedicure, a manicure, teeth whitening, botox injections, a decent hair-cut, or eyebrow waxing.  Now, with most my list I am talking to The Masses - not Angelina Jolie.  So, if you are Angelina Jolie - don't read my list.  If you aren't - read on!  It's not that you won't get these personal hygiene things, it just might not be on the timeline you had before baby.  So, for example, you may be more concerned with BRUSHING your hair than actually having a great hair style (that's just an example - I can think of many, many more).

8.  You can dumb down your vocabulary and your topic of conversation at any time for any reason.  Quite honestly a lot of your early parenting will focus on pee and poop.  If you are unable to sustain a conversation about theses topics for about 30 minutes than you may want to consider that.  You will also find yourself muttering things that are just.........insane to people who do not have children.  Sample conversation of actual parents (with actual college degrees):
Husband:  Did she just say da?  I think she just said da?  Honey, did you hear that?
Wife:  She sure did.  Did you just say "da"???  Oh yes you did.  You are the smartest baby.
Husband:  There!  She said it again!  I'm sure now.  Call my dad.  SHE JUST SAID DA!!!
Wife:  Do you think she said "DA?"  Or was it "DOG?"  OH MY GOSH!!!  She's only TWO WEEKS.  DID SHE JUST SAY DOG???
Husband:  My God!  Forget my dad - call the paper!

9.  You are able to delay your own personal needs temporarily (or sometimes permanently - depending on how many kids you have) for the needs of your children.  Example:  You are going to need a lot of caffeine in the first weeks of parenthood (see #4).  Sometimes it's impossible to get the caffeine down in a timely or urgent enough manner.  You need to be okay with that.  Imagine you are headed downstairs to get your coffee and baby (upon hearing you trying to have a peacful cup of coffee) wakes up an hour early and starts crying wanting to be fed.  You go back upstairs and cheerfully (that's important) get baby and go to either breast feed her or bottle feed her.  This requires use of your hands (as does changing her poopy diaper) which you realize (after trying!) you cannot do while holding your cup of steaming hot coffee.  I hope I have illustrated that appropriately (this is just ONE of a million examples).

10.  Last, but not least.  You are willing to love another being so much that it will hurt your heart, widen your smile, and make you want to be a much, much better person each and every second of each and every day that you are blessed with being together. 

That's my list.  I wish the very best of luck and many, many blessings to all prospective parents out there!  Parenthood continues to be the best ride of my life.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween. Not necessarily for the kids.

This is what I love about Halloween:
The real thing.

Resemblance shocking.

Oh my.  Hope yours was ghastly.