Please stop saying "I Can't"

Friday, December 27, 2013

I am not a closet pole dancer.  I am very open about it.  When I tell some one new what I do, quite often he or she will say, "I can't (or couldn't) do that" to be followed up with one of the following: I am not sexy, I am not coordinated, I am not strong enough, I am not flexible, I am not that kind of person, I am not etc....

Here's the deal: ANYONE can pole dance.  It doesn't have to be sexy.  You don't have to be strong (that is why you pole dance- to get stronger).  You don't have to be flexible (if you choose to work on it- this will change). You don't have to have incredible confidence, pole dancing can help with that (I swear).

Pole dancing can be whatever you want it to be sexy or athletic, full of tricks or not.  Its about YOU. No one else.  When I have done a routine with my classes- even though we are doing the same tricks in the same order to the same music each woman looks totally unique. That is awesome. No one else can dance like you- because no one else is you.

Stop saying "I can't".  You can.  If you don't want to or tried it and didn't like it-- that's fine.  But you can pole dance- everyone can.

I'll never be thin

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Since I was in preschool I have thought I was fat.  I looked in the mirror at my ballet class and saw my stomach not be the right shape.  I cried and felt awful when my ballet teacher said I wasn't built for it (I resolved to change my body and work hard-- I was 8).

As time went on I became more displeased with my body.  I was angry with it, embarrassed by it, and disgusted by it.  So quite naturally I developed an eating disorder.

Now that I am in my 30s I still long to be thin-  but now I realize that I will not have a slender body.  I have a muscular body.  I build muscle quickly, and I am finally learning to appreciate this.  As a pole dancer, my strength and ability to build muscle come in extremely handy here.

Sometimes I find it hard to appreciate my body for what it is able to do-- but I need to keep reminding myself of what I can do, not what I can't.

Learn from your mistakes.

Friday, December 20, 2013

When I was a kid and I would mess up I would get yelled at for it, and feel so awful.  I was ashamed, embarrassed, sad--- all sorts of things.  To the point that when I made a mistake I would hide it so no one would be mad at me. 

I was responsible for something, and while it was my responsibility, I lost it. I was terrified of 'fessing up to what I did.  What if the other person was livid? What do I do?

After texting a friend and losing my shit, I called and explained what happened.  The individual- was kind and understanding. I was shocked. I was so used to the blow up, shame, begging for forgiveness.

I would rather have my kids learn this way than feeling afraid to tell me something.  If I was not afraid to tell people things, I could save myself a lot of trouble. 

Horse Crazy

Monday, December 16, 2013

I was a horse crazy kid.  Horse crazy is an understatement.  I was horse obsessed.  I eat, slept, and breathed horses.  I was always told that I would outgrow my love my for horses.  It has not abated a little bit yet.

My parents probably hated horses because I loved them so much.

Princess, my oldest daughter, is my child down to the horse crazy streak.  Since my horse crazy streak has not abated- it is something that she and I can share. So we are thankful to be able to care for one.

All of the kids love to go see the horses.  LittleDude loves the horses especially.  Of his little 18 month old vocabulary- 'horsey' is one of his favorite words.  He loves to feed them treats and hug them.  He has learned how to click his tongue to call them.

Its not just horses he loves. He loves dogs and cats, and everything he has ever met.  He runs up and greats them all with a giant hug. 


Friday, December 13, 2013

Everywhere I look I see my grandmother.  I see her in the hand sewn things we have around our home.  I see her in her beautiful penmanship in the letters she wrote to me in UT. I see her in my children when I make her fudge.  I see her in my cooking without measuring.

It stinks and is wonderful all the time.  I can tell stories about her.  I can remember her.  But I can't go talk to her. 

Not a day goes by that I do not think about my grandmother. 

Kids are people too!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Princess is growing up.  The other day a friend posted on Facebook a picture of her when she was a flower girl in a wedding-- she was 3. The picture seemed like a different lifetime ago. 

Now she is interested in grownup things.  She discusses social injustice, books, news, history etc with me.  It is a new experience to have a kid that I am relating to on an 'adult' level.  I have always given my kids the space to be who they are and make their own choices, giving her this respect has allowed my kids to grow into a their own people.

Princess is now a person I would happily hang out with and be friends with aside from a mother/daughter relationship. 

She knows that she does not need to seek my approval- that her approval is good enough.

Go back to the pole- back to the basics

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I had a really bad experience at pole a while ago- it drastically turned me off.  It was not an injury or anything, I just was taken by surprise and my feelings really hurt.  It hurt me so deeply for a while I stopped going to pole for a few weeks.  I felt like the joy had been ripped away from me.

This is not nearly as flat as I want it to be-- but I need to get back into shape.

Thankfully- a great gym offered me a job teaching classes there and allowed me to come and practice there.

I got back on the pole and at first was really grumpy.  I had been away for a bit, had a major surgery, and then a minor surgery.   I hadn't fully come back from the first surgery and with all the time away I was not as strong as usual and certain tricks (some of my favorites) were not working for me.  That is maddening. Absolutely maddening.

But a great person, a great woman, a great poler- talked to me and in the end I had a great time again.  My tricks aren't back yet but soon.  

Giveaway time!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I am giving away a $50 Amazon gift card.  Sponsored by me.  I love having my readers email me and then become friends so I want to give something back.

Entering is easy:


a) comment on this post.
b) follow my blog

a) follow me on Twitter @almostsinglemom
b) like my blog on Facebook linky
c) share this post with your friends on Facebook
d) share this post on Twitter

At 11:59 pm (central time) on December 14th, I will pick a random comment number.

Please leave me your email address either attached to your profile or in the comment- otherwise I can't get you your prize!

The winner will have 3 business days to get back to me and claim your prize or I will donate the gift certificate to charity.

Quiet around here lately

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I haven't been blogging a lot lately, I apologize. I have taken on a lot of freelance projects and some longer term work so I have not had a lot to say here.

You can tell what stage of life I am in because we got a new dishwasher and I am thrilled.  I am giddy about a dishwasher.  What has my life come to?  Excitement over an appliance?

Our old dishwasher was on its last legs of its last toes for a while.  It needed to be hip checked to get the door to close.  It was really a rinsing machine not a dishwasher.  It was pathetic.  I think Pixie could wash the dishes better- in fact she has done a better job that the old dishwasher. 

Hooray for appliances making life easier!

The Kids Speech

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Each of my kids has had his or her own word to mean breastfeeding. Princess called it "Ba Ba", Stinky called it "Nummies", Peas called it "Nursies", Pixie called it "Milky", now LittleDude (Scooter) calls it "Na Na".

Each of the kids came up with these names on their own.  How adorable can you get?  When a little kid comes up and looks up at you with big eyes and asks for milk.  Which is asking for closeness and snuggles, how can I say no?

Did you tell my 18 month old baby to shut up?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Sitting in the car for several hours is not on the top 10 list of fun activities for a lot of kids. Sometimes it is just a necessity.

We were driving home and stopped at a Culver's in an attempt to delay a mutiny.

Little Dude was tired. His routine was messed up. He was out of sorts. He is 18 months old.

He threw a tantrum.  LittleDude (or Scooter) is pretty skilled at tantrums.  He has learned from the best.

I tried to calm him down while B got food. I sang, I danced, I jumped, I tried a game on the phone, I tried nursing, I tried a big boy chair, I tried sitting on my lap, a high chair, and the other kids tried peek a boo etc., and I had NO SUCCESS. He cried. He wailed.

There were three people sitting at a table near us and they were not thrilled with the tantrum (neither was I- thus trying to comfort him)

The lady told my 18 month old baby to shut up.  Not to be quiet. Not to calm down. But to shut up.  I picked my jaw up off of the floor and tried to calm down. If I said something to her--- I would have ended up in jail.

So I told B what had happened and he looked at me aghast.  "Are you serious??" he asked.  Yes, I said. He walked around the corner and got ready to approach her- again making sure he heard me correctly..."Really??" Yes really.

He confronted her,  her rudeness knows no bounds: she was rude to Brian too.  Thankfully, B is a lot more level headed than I am. He was stunned.  I thought about how I could be the most offensive possible to her--- whipping out superboob and convincing Pixie to have an amuse bouche with LittleDude? Tell all of  the kids to lose it and tantrum? I decided to take the high road.

She did tell B that she was a teacher and she did not want to have to listen to crying children when she was not at work. OMG- then don't go to a restaurant that caters to families at 5:30 pm.  If we had our kids at a nice restaurant and there was a behavior issue that's another thing.  If I was not at least attempting to comfort him- again that is another situation.  I feel really badly for kids she teaches. 

The tantrum wasn't even that long. Maybe 10 minutes at most.  The big kids were being very polite and sitting nicely.

While we were eating (the tantrum had ended) they got up and moved to a different section; leaving a huge mess in their wake- really it was disgusting.

We finished eating and cleaned up after ourselves- like normal people- and left.

What do you do when someone says something out of line? Was she out of line? Was I out of line? Was B out of line?

Besides even when having a tantrum LittleDude  (or Scooter) is really cute.

A health-care realization

Monday, November 25, 2013

I bitch about my kidney and the pain I deal with daily. 

But today, I realized that because of my status as a white, middle class, married, mom, who is insured, literate, intelligent, and educated.  If any of these variables I may have to fight for medical care.

I get great access to care- I can call my doctor and be seen today.  I can go to my local emergency room and be treated respectfully, listened to, and cared about.  My referrals to specialties are quick and efficient. Even my referrals to academic medical centers are quick. 

My doctors and health care professionals listen to me and take me seriously. 

I bring my husband with me when I can to help explain things from his perspective.  I all of my medical care at the same place.  I also do a lot of research to make sure I am understanding things properly.   

It is so depressing to realize that without my 'status' I would not have access to the medical care that I do.  Would not have access to my medications, I would not have access to surgeries and specialists. 

How come health care is not a human right? 

Full Heart, Full Life

Saturday, November 23, 2013

For a long time I complained about feeling empty.  For the longest time I had felt like I was missing something. Missing some fulfillment. I would read articles and listen to friends talk about their meaningful lives and feel something was missing from mine. 

A few weeks or so ago, something clicked.  My life is rich and full and amazing. My kids make me nuts at times but I love them.  They give me so much- they keep me on my toes, they give me joy, and the make me see the most interesting points of view.

My life may not change the world-  but it may- I am helping to raise kind, thoughtful, global citizens who care about the environment- which may just change the world, one person at a time. 

My life is fulfilling.  I have a heart that is full, from the love and joy that my family brings me. I have even started loving serving, serving my children and family and helping keeping them healthy and cared for.

Who I am I!???!! Jean Valjean! 24601! and other methods of self discovery

Friday, November 15, 2013

The reference is from Les Miserables when Valjean spent years running away from himself, from who he was, and later learned to make peace with himself and accept himself.

Not really;  But I had the opportunity yesterday to do some serious soul searching and I was able to
realize a lot about who I am and what I want.

I am a naturally excitable person.  When out of control (thanks medication!) this tends to mania and severe anxiety and panic. Normally, I just get excited about silly things.  Happy dance over snow?? That's me.  Happy dance over a thunderstorm? Yep, I do that too.  Happy dance over a heatwave? Got it covered.  Same with the first flowers, beautiful leaves swirling and other natural phenomena. You should see me when things get really exciting... like when my kids learned to walk and talk. I did cartwheels. Really. Seriously. In the front yard.

This excitability that comes to me naturally is not a bad thing.  I am a very passionate person.  I feel others pain, I feel the injustice others deal with deeply and hurt for them
.  This is not a bad thing.  I will be loyal and cheer on my friends and acquaintances with enthusiasm.

I don't want to change that. I don't want to pretend to be someone else.  I did that for years- it sucks.  I managed to totally lose who I was and have to go through a lot to get back to me.

I am who I am.  Passionate, excitable, enthusiastic and loving.  I am not changing. I don't want to. Even if I wanted to- I couldn't.

Attitude is a big deal

Friday, November 8, 2013

Today, in a parking lot I ran into a woman I know who vaguely knows of some of the health challenges I have had these past few years.

She asked very concerned, how I was doing.  Usually, I'm fine. Sometimes I'm not though.

Statistically kidney issues are one of the better organ systems to have a problem with- there are more options available, life is sometimes pretty painful and obnoxious- but even still there are a lot worse problems to have.

The biggest problem I have is that I can't commit to things and plan things regularly- I never know if my kidney will be having a bad day, if I will have another infection etc.  It can be depressing and isolating.  It stinks a lot for the kids because this directly impacts them.
By the same token, rushing around trying to find child care is really hard in the case that I have to go to the hospital- but we manage.

But--- here is that big ole but-- it could be a lot worse.  So I'll take it and make the best of it.

Pixie turns 4

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Can you believe it? Pixie is 4 now. Where did the years go? Seriously. Where did they go?

We had family birthday party the other day for her just the kids and Brian and I .  She requested a yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  Right before I frosted it, I got a request for pink frosting.  Thankfully, it was an easy fix.

So we had pink frosting on her yellow cake.

She loved having her siblings singing to her and blowing out her candles.  4 years old. 

She is so sweet and caring.  She will take no crap from anyone and insists on her fair share.  


Monday, November 4, 2013

Why do fires happen when the firefighter is not here?? First the dryer now the microwave.

I put some butter in the microwave to melt for popcorn.  Out of the corner of my eye the microwave looked really bright.  I turned around and saw flames. Shit. Shit. Shit.

Pushed the cancel button waited to the flames died down and took out the butter- at least it was melted.

I had to take all of the stuff off of the microwave and then carry the darn thing outside so no one would forget and use it darn thing is heavy!

So having a firefighter in the family is really not that useful.

Mani Pedi time!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Princess and I do not get a lot of time one on one.  Well, I don't get a lot of time one on one with anyone.. except Scooter (aka little dude). So I make an effort to get out with them one on one.  Last night was Princess's turn.

We went to get our nails done- I got a pedicure, a no chip manicure, and a brow wax.  Princess had a manicure and a pedicure.  It is amazing what cleaned up eyebrows do for you.

Our time was really relaxing we had a chance to chat and just be together.  She picked cute colors for her nails and enjoyed getting pampered.  They ladies were kind and so patient with her, she got cute designs put on her nails. 

Typically, I get maybe 3 pedicures a year, and no manicures--they wear off to fast with my life, but after talking to a bunch of friends I decided to give the no chip one a go. It was a long process! But, I am happy with it.  With normal manicures, already, less than 24 hours after getting it, it is already falling apart- this one looks good.

My kidney was really painful during this but it was so very worth it.  I need to get a chance to hang out with my kids.  I am their mother but I am also their friend.  By spending one on one time with them, I can keep our relationship close and intact so they know they can come to me with anything.  I will not stand in judgement- I will support them.

We had a good time, and next week its Stinky's turn,  his choice: Chuck E Cheese.

Meghan's Birth Revisited

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pixie was born nearly 4 years ago.  How is she 4 (almost)? She was just this little bitty thing with dark beautiful hair. Now she is bounding, leaping, dancing, twirling nearly 4 year old.

I was looking at some labor and birth photography yesterday on Facebook, and I was reminding of my labor and delivery photos of Pixie's birth.  So much has changed in nearly 4 years but wow, wow. These are still some of the most meaningful images ever.

Again a huge thanks to Lion's Roar Media

Grocery Shopping with a group

Friday, October 25, 2013

Grocery shopping is kind of a necessity.  Before I get told to try Peapod, I did once and was totally disappointed- so I will not go that route again.

In an effort to save money I shop at Aldi.  You have to deposit a quarter in the cart to get it to release, which limits the cart selection.  If both carts first in line are squeaky and obnoxious, so be it, you just get to deal.  The big problem was when one of the carts had a broken seat belt for the seat.  It was one of the few times I went shopping and did not have a sling (shame on me). 

Henry, being 18 months old is a stinker.  Standing up and climbing in his seat is a way of life.  Therefore,  I had to carry him through the store, while wrangling other kids which scatter in every possible direction putting heaven knows what in the cart. 

After finishing the store, then getting everything on the belt to pay, paying, then putting everything into bags with helpers I was exhausted.

Here are a few things I have learned-

-  Kids don't get the concept of neatly bagging until the age of like 9. So bring a lot of bags, this way they can help and you don't have to stress about not having enough room

- Deal.  It is an hour or so, you can do this.  No one can hear what you are thinking to yourself.

- One of the good things about Chicago winters is you can leave the stuff in your car until your are ready to bring it in and it will not spoil.  Cold weather may have draw backs but there are positives too.

Religious Education and tears

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I am not really a crier.  I, today, had to hold back tears and fight to keep from crying in front of a room full of 10 year old kids.

We were discussing hunger as a world issue and what the truly, desperately, hungry people of the world go through- and it made my stomach hurt, my chest hurt.  I cannot fathom being a mother of kids and hearing my children cry and not be able to feed them.

Feeding my children is something I, as a mother, am biologically, drawn to.  I make milk for my babies and feed them from my body, the same way I grew them in my body.  Not being able to feed one's children and watching them suffer must be absolute agony for a mother.

On a humorous note, while we were watching a video on the hungry babies and children, I let down milk.  Lots of milk, and leaked.  It is as if my body's instinctual response to hungry babies and children is to produce milk-- milk makes everything better.

We are extremely blessed.  The times my kids are hungry is when my kids have decided they did not want to eat what I had.  It is not from a lack of food.  It is not from a lack of shelter, heat, and sanitary conditions.  Its because my children have never truly known hunger.  To be honest, neither have I.  I have starved myself as a function of an eating disorder- never from lack of actual food.

So what can we do as a group or as individuals?  We can't realistically ship boxes of candy overseas to impoverished people.  There are a few reasons for this one being that when a body is starving- reintroducing complex foods and fat to a person is not a good idea- their bodies cannot process it.  As a body starves it starts consuming itself for survival.  In critically malnourished people- careful nutrition in easy to digest forms is critical.  Additionally, how many people who live in abject poverty have a refrigerator, pans, cutlery, a can opener, a stove? Food needs to be easy to prepare and store.
Also, throughout the world there are people who do not eat certain foods for religious reasons.

One organization that I have been impressed with is Feed My Starving Children, they pack nutritionally dense, easy to prepare, ship, and store food worldwide.  One thing I am not clear on is that, as a Christian organization, does it serve people who are not Christian? Do they require bible study or anything as a condition for receiving food or service?  I have asked this question of them and am awaiting a response.  My personal belief is that the food should be available for everyone, no questions no demands- everyone is deserving of food- not just Christians. So before I commit to supporting this organization, I need to figure that out.

Do you know of any other organizations that are helpful and are open to supporting ALL people?

I do not like being scared--- part II

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I have been in exactly 2 haunted houses in my life.  One was when I was pretty little maybe 8 or so with my parents.  I clung to my dad for my dear life. I was horrified. I remember screaming so much my throat hurt. The moon that night was of course full, and orange-y it was like someone planned it.  My dad- liked to tease and scare me- but I was panicked. I slept outside their door that night.

Then in high school I went to a bigger professional haunted house and I really do not remember much of it- other than literally kicking some actor away from me, because I was terrified.

What is the fun of being scared out of your wits?

I do not like scary movies, or mysteries. I turn every noise into some scary person or animal.

The scary is totally wasted on me. 

What is so great about being scared

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It is Autumn and with it comes haunted houses, horror movies, and generally things that are creepy scary or etc. I don't get it.  I do not like to be scared. It is not fun to be terrified. Heart-pounding horror is not fun.

Clearly, I am missing something based on the popularity of the genre. 

I don't like scary movies, blood and gore, general violence. The whole things is lost on me.

Scary things are--- scary!! Not fun. Funny things are fun.

Picture update

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A day with out antianxiety meds

Friday, October 11, 2013

When I was a teenager there was clearly something wrong with me.  I would get furious, not angry- furious- for no good reason.  I couldn't sleep well.  My thoughts were racing. I had an eating disorder. In short I was nuts.

My parents tried to get me help, and like any teen I fought them tooth and nail.  The doctors tried to tell my parents that I was bipolar. I am not.  I don't lay around in bed unable to move-- just the opposite. My head and thoughts move so fast I can't move.  It is like being pulled in a thousand and three directions at the same time and you can't even begin to figure out what your thinking because your brain has already moved on to 10 new things.

While your at it totally innocuous thoughts become worst case scenarios in seconds. If I were a super hero I would be Worst Case Scenario Girl: able to jump from nothing to catastrophe in seconds.

Finally, as an adult- I found a doctor and explained my thought process. He looked at me and said I had severe anxiety.  He prescribed meds for that.  The first time I took them, I was wary, but then they too effect and it was amazing.  I wondered, "is this how normal people feel all the time?" My brain and thoughts stopped racing.  I stopped having to work my self up to being able to handle the stress of grocery shopping.  Picking a brand of OJ was no longer a 10 minute debate.  I didn't snap at my husband.  I didn't get so frustrated with everything.  Life was so much more enjoyable.

The day before yesterday, I ran out of meds.  I was only out for a day.  But in that day- my behavior change was obvious.  It was not good.  Thankfully, I got my meds right away and by the next day I had managed to regulate a bit more. 

I am not ashamed of my anxiety and panic disorder.  I am not ashamed of my asthma or kidney issues or my blood issue. They are medical issues that can be treated and when treated I am fine.

This being mental health awareness week I feel the need to speak about how anxiety does not always look like a panic attack.. it can... but it can look a lot of other ways to.

I am not reliant exclusively on meds either.  I exercise a lot- but for times like this, when I need to rest and recover- they are a freaking gift from science (and G-d)

Pen Envy

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I posted a while back about how excited I was to try InkJoy pens.  Pens that were supposed to be amazing-- how often do you see commercials for pens on tv? So I was so excited to get my hands on them.  They were underwhelming.

There was a gritty feeling (I have no idea what to call it- it just feels odd writing) The ink didn't become gooey or anything, it just didn't feel smooth.

I prefer pens that are very glidy my current favorite is a Papermate profile- they are so smooth when writing. They also have a cushy grip thing- all about comfort right?  I have tried and tried to love gel ink pens but as of yet I have not found one that I love.  

Obviously, this is not a real problem but I have some strange fascination with office supplies- specifically pens.   I am always on the hunt for the perfect pen.

I think I found one.  I was in the ER getting ready to be admitted (shocking!) and the admitting person had a fabulous pen!! She said it was a gel pen (cue angels singing), and it was so smooth!!! Here is my issue- all it said on it was PaperMate-- nothing else-- and I can't find them anywhere.  I am going to go nuts looking for the Holy Grail of pens!

Do you have a pen or office supply you love?? Tell me about it.

pretty dresses

My mom is going to her 50th high school reunion in a week.  She and her sister sat in my dinning room and my mom went over what she was planning on wearing. 

Somehow the conversation shifted to my cousins going to homecoming, and what they wore and how the girls were asked.  Apparently asking girls to homecoming has become an event on par with a proposal.  I guess their dresses were beautiful and they looked fantastic- I mean they could look fabulous in potato sacks.

I started thinking how much I missed getting to go shopping with girlfriends to find the perfect dress and shoes. Going from store to store- trying on tons of dresses until we found 'it': the perfect dress.  The last dress I got to do that for was my wedding dress, and I don't see any other formal occasions in my future.

In my internet browsing, I came upon a fun website that has gorgeous dresses.  While I can't take 30 of them into a dressing room and try them all on, I can browse through them from the comfort of my sofa and my cozy yoga pants (which have never actually been to yoga). They have some cocktail dresses that I may end up planning a special evening just so I can justify purchasing one (I really like this one).

Maybe sometime soon I can think up an excuse for a super date night.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Of all of the things my kids could have inherited from me they had to inherit the klutz. 

My dear children- I am so sorry for passing this unfortunate characteristic on to you. 

A few pointers:

Look where you are going. It is much easier to navigate if you are looking where you are going. This does mean looking ahead of you and even down once and a while to make sure you are not going to slip on something or step into a giant hole.

Hold on to railings. They are there for a reason.

It is okay to make more than one trip. There is nothing wrong with making two trips.  If you carry a huge amount it is an accident waiting to happen.

Wear closed toe shoes. Otherwise you are just asking for it.

If you break a toe, don't wiggle it to see if it still hurts.  It does still hurt it will for a while. 

Carry band-aids.

 My dear children, I love you all.  Please take my advice-- coming from someone who managed to fracture a tailbone falling out of a chair... take my advice.

Since when is self esteem a bad thing?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

You know what is bizarre?  When I  start to feel good about myself, I end up feeling guilty for feeling good about myself?  What kind of crazy is that? 

Many many years ago, I was in Junior Girl Scouts and there was a self esteem badge.  I remember doing part of it and feeling terrible that I was working on liking myself.  I tried to talk about it with some adults and I was told that working on self esteem was a pretty self centered thing to do.  Then I was told that I already had a too high of an opinion of myself.

A few years later I developed an eating disorder- shocker (not really surprising in the least).

Seriously, I have lived my life feeling guilty when complemented, unable to have positive self talk, and being afraid to try new things because I may not get them quickly enough.

I grew up thinking I was a major screw up and incapable of doing anything right; that I would never be as good as my siblings, my friends, my neighbors.  My self image was a stinking pile of crap.

This is still something I have a hard time with. More pressing- I see my oldest starting o have the same patterns and I do not ever want her or any of my kids to feel like that. Ever.

So I am trying to change this. I have a long way to go.

Share the love

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I have recently had to opportunity through some truly amazing women to share my love of pole with others and hopefully help them to love it as much as I do.

Pole has helped me through some of the worst times in my life and I am honored to share it with others.  I truly do not know if I would have made it through intact with out my pole family.

I seriously want to jump up and down with giddiness and joy. 

What do I want pole students to get out of it?

Everyone is different, and that is awesome.  Each of us moves our bodies differently and it is amazing, this is where the artistry of dance comes in.  We could all be given four tricks to do and the same music to do them too and yet all look totally different.

Pole is a sport- but it is also an art. If you aren't into the acrobatic tricks-- that's fine there are endless things you can do.  Walking can be amazing to watch- its all about artistry. 

You may not get every trick.  This is fine!! A lot of us have tricks we don't do for a lot of reasons. It doesn't make you less than anyone- it makes you--- you.

Love yourself and your body. Your body is part of you--- it is not *you*.  Your body doesn't define you.  I never got this until I was really involved with this physical sport-- ironic huh?

Be kind. Not everyone responds to tough love. I don't. I will get defensive and put up walls to keep people out. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

Sepember 11, again

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

This day always kind of sneaks up on me- then all of a sudden that day stares back at me from the calender. My breath always catches in my throat. That day. That day changed so much. So very very much.

It was such a beautiful day. It was a gorgeous day in New York and in Chicago.  It was so amazing clear.

As the wife of a firefighter, and the mother of 5 kids, it is closer to home- even though I was not directly impacted.

It was such a beautiful day and it was such a sad tragic day.

Pole dancing competitions

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Pole dancing is no longer a "Gentleman's" Club attraction.  It is now a fitness activity.  One that I adore.

As pole dancing has grown more popular, competitions have become more common.  Women I started poling with are entering (and winning!) competitions.  Women I dance with and train with are champions. That is super awesome.

I do not compete.  I will not compete. Let me say, I do not hold it against anyone if they choose to compete or perform or whatever. Let me tell you why I choose not to compete.

Personally, I can't let myself compete or I will end up doing it all wrong.  I will end up getting really upset if I don't win and it will suck the fun right out of it.  Pole is about fun- to lose that would be so sad.

I do not want to do that to myself.  I will also measure myself against other dancers; from skills to appearance.  I will critique my feet, my thighs, my belly, everything.  I don't want to do that, so I don't put myself in a position when that is likely to happen.

Another reason I don't compete or perform is; I don't want people looking at me like that.  Pole has a really sexual side to it. That is fine.  I just don't want myself to get caught up in it.  I don't want to be looked at like that.  If other people are cool with it-- go for it. Its just not for me.

Pole is for me. Its my time. I have no desire to let someone else or a competition get into my head and take that time from me.  It is the time when I can focus on being me, not a wife, mother, etc.  It is time for me to get out of my head and turn my brain off.

Sometimes the truth is hard to face

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I used to pride myself on not being racist.  Then one day I had to face a really uncomfortable truth.  I am racist.  I am not color blind. My experiences as a white girl from the Chicago suburbs have impacted my worldview- I certainly do not believe that black (African American people are (insert negative adjective here).  I think we are all people- but I have to admit- even though it pains me to do so- that I have certain privileges that others do not.

One day, someone I don’t know questioned if one of the women I look up to most in the world for her intelligence, her pride, her willingness to discuss any topic honestly was called racist. 

Admittedly, I know absolute crap about the day to day experiences of black Americans- and I was (and am) concerned that I would stick my foot in my mouth again, or that my words as a white woman would not carry weight. Still I said something.

I said (typed) that my friend is not racist.  She is proud of her heritage (as she should be) angry that white do-gooders so often co-opt her very real day to day experiences in a self-serving manner, “Look at all of the good we are doing for these poor black folks” and it is crap. Complete and total bullshit. 

Honestly, I know exceptionally little about African cultures or day to day experiences of an average black person.  What I do know is that they are justified in their anger.  I know they do not need my help- they are quite capable.

What little I do know about African culture is amazing and beautiful.  Their cultures (the very few that I have learned about) have innate power, beauty, and incredible authenticity.   The last thing they need is my help.  White people have scripted Africa as a whole and people of color as marginalized people who require the saving of white people.  That is NOT true.  They do not need saving- they need to stop having this stupid script played over and over!

What I can do is to work in my community to help heal the wounds that we caused and continue to cause.  I can share within my community my respect for the black experiences, and help my community to realize that we really messed up- then hopefully work to earn the black community’s trust back.

I can never ‘get’ it though, saying otherwise is the worst kind of dishonest.

Let me be clear I do not hate black people (African American), Hispanic people, or anyone.

Pole positivity

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

One of the things that attracted me most to pole was Kristin's dedication to positivity. She has a studio policy that students and instructors are not to be negative. 

I have never experienced a woman being negative towards another woman.  In class we are always cheering each other on and encouraging each other.  Clearly, I cannot speak to other women's experiences, but I tend to be negative towards myself.  I will say "I can't".  I will be self deprecating.  I will neglect my strengths and compare myself to others.  Often, I don't even realize it is happening. 

Well, now I noticed it.  And I will stop it. Pole is so much more fun, as is life in general when we focus on our strengths and abilities rather than what we are still working on. 

It is so easy to fall back into the habit of negativity towards myself.  I hardly even notice it is happening, until I see my attitude being sour and grumpy.

I am putting this out there as a reminder to me and to anyone else who reads this- you are amazing as you are.  You are strong. You are beautiful. You are smart.

There are somethings that you really should pay people to do.

Friday, August 30, 2013

One of those things is a Brazilian wax.  They get pricey fast. So I decided to give it a DIY try.  Bad idea. Very bad idea.

There was a moment when I had a clump of wax attached to hair and I thought I would have to live with this wax attached to me or go to a wax salon with a 'wax emergency'.  Thankfully, I was able to suck it up and rip out the hair and roots and some skin (who needs skin?).

Once you start--- you are kind of committed- it would be hard to proclaim a new style trend.

I was torn--- do I finish up? Or make a lady part fashion statement?

This is not a good DIY project.  It is definitely worth paying someone to do this job. I already booked my appointment for next time.

I think I figured it out....

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The entire DCFS thing really has thrown me off balance as a mom and person.  I am angry.  Betrayed. Sad.

My sister and my friends were offended and offended for me. I found this comforting.  Like I wasn't nuts for feeling so upset. It was validating.  Typically, I have a really hard time judging my reactions to make sure they are appropriate, if I am more hurt than is reasonable etc.  This validation was very useful to me.

I had to figure out why I am still upset over this- why I still have to resist the urge to yell at my neighbor and question what on earth she was thinking, how could she even think that of me and my family.  I am not perfect. I am a flawed person and flawed mother.  I am human.  But, I think I am a good mother.  I love my children more than I can explain.  I am proud of the way I have chosen to parent them.  I am proud of the way they are growing. I am proud of us. The DCFS thing was cutting because it was essentially saying I am not a good parent.  It has not been easy for us for the past few years.  I have had health struggles, we have a lot of kids.  But I'll be damned if my children are not at the forefront of my mind with every choice I make. 

Marion Amber pole practice

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

This last session in pole was hard!! I was not there very often but still managed to learn a few great new tricks!

We also got a new instructor.  I adore my old instructor, M. I count her as one of my dear friends, and she is crazy awesome.  Our new instructor has a different way of explaining things, and while I still feel painfully awkward around her, I think this can be a great journey.  K is amazing and I can't wait to learn from her.

I have a solid cartwheel, a solid twisted grip lift, and last night I got my first ever aerial shoulder mount and my first ever Marion Amber.

Its odd, I had never really tried the Marion Amber before at the studio. I just decided to go for it, it looked challenging and fun so I figured I'd give it a go.  I did and I got it. This 'getting' it has not happened for a while.  I have had to work on and troubleshoot trick after trick for a while, which is a great lesson in perseverance.

That said, I will not be throwing a Marion Amber or an aerial shoulder mount into my freestyle anytime soon, I still need to work them and get super comfortable with them.  But I can do them and that feels awesome.

Pole Patience

Friday, August 16, 2013

Pole is a challenging activity at times.  It is intensely frustrating at times, but so so rewarding.

I have been frustrated when I am having a rough day when I can't stick to the pole.

The other day was one of those days.  Of course it had to be with others in the room, I couldn't just deal with my frustration privately.

Instead I had to deal with it in front of others- it was embarrassing.  I hate to admit it but it was.  I used it as a lesson.

In the end I was to slippy because of my mistake- I had a pedicure before I went poling and the lotion on my legs made sticking impossible.  This is a rookie mistake, one I had never made before.  I'm sure that nearly everyone makes this mistake at least once, it was just my turn.

Oh well, there is always another day. 

DCFS: Unfounded

Saturday, August 10, 2013

We received our letter today from DCFS. It states that the allegation of child neglect is unfounded.

I have been vocal about this on Facebook because of the absurdity of it all.  The individual who called it in admitted it-- we knew who it was, it was just the admission that was like an extra sucker punch.

What she said to me via text was such remarkable crap that I couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry or scream.

Apparently, earlier in the year, when she called 911 when I got sick- my house was a mess.  I'll admit it.  Have you ever tried recovering from surgery and complications and 5 kids- add on 2 dogs and keeping the house? Yes my house was a mess. It was not dangerous though. There were no (and are no bugs) there were no rodents (and are no rodents). There is clutter.

She said that another neighbor was concerned over the care our kids had been receiving.  There was an instance 2 years ago when Pixie got out of the house when I was going to the bathroom- we changed the door latch so she couldn't open it- that same summer 2 years ago husband was in the garage getting something and Pixie toddled off into the road, he caught hell for it and felt awful.

Ok. Fine. So then talk to us. Offer to help. Express concern. If I know a friend or a neighbor is having a hard time I offer to help.  Not judge not gossip. Bad things come of that.  If all of this gossip is happening discuss it with the people being gossiped about- really assuming makes an ass out of everyone.  In fact she had done just the opposite.  She was very stern with my husband about not wanting to help us with childcare anymore- how does that express concern for the children's welfare?

She said it was a shame that I was angry and not willing to talk with her about this- a shame for the kids. Yep. It is a shame. A real shame that she, and adult, would take the words of a 5 year old with apraxia of speech, interpreted to her via a 6 year old child, spoken through a window with out double checking the facts. She showed incredibly poor judgement.

No, I will not forgive her yet. Someday but right now? I am not ready to.  What she did to my children, what she put them through, what she put me through- at the moment makes me so angry I want to scream. My oldest, Princess, was up most of the night worrying over this and is finally now able to sleep again.  

Hi, there, excuse me--- did you call DCFS on us? and other conversation starters

Friday, August 9, 2013

It has been well documented that my kidney and I do not get on well- like at all. 

This past weekend I was back in the hospital because it was blocked up and infected.  Husband was of course working, where else would he be? (Seriously it seems like every time I have a crisis he is at work and just can't get away--- of course it doesn't help that he works an average of 100 hours a week)

I asked around and my sister was able to drive out from Chicago with her kids to watch mine- you know what would have happened if I couldn't find someone to watch them? I would have stayed home or brought them with me because leaving 5 kids home alone is a shitty idea.

When my sister and her kids got here- I had made dinner and written out some basics for her to deal with the kids.

The next day when husband got home she left.  Brian was at home with the kids doing support calls (working) in the basement. He had told the kids that they may not go out and play and they could not open the door etc because he was working.

A neighbor kid came over and talked to one of my kids through the window- my child said they could open the door or answer go out because mommy was in the hospital and daddy was working. 

Shortly after this a police officer showed up at the door and asked to see my husband- who was working downstairs.  He came up and said that they had received a call from DCFS reporting a tip that our children were home alone (WTF)!!! My husband called me fuming.

When I was discharged from the hospital I received a call on my cell from a DCFS case worker to arrange a visit.

The DCFS lady came the next day and talked with my kids and cleared everything up.  I am so unbelievably mad.  I know who did this.  But I am struggling on confronting her- how do I start that conversation?

I understand why she was concerned but to not to verify what actually happened or was happening?? That is a shitty thing to do. 

The entire thing makes me so terribly mad. My kids were horrified and scared- Peas cried nearly all night blaming herself. My anxiety went from bad to unbearable.

I have signed out of the hospital against medical advice to be home when we did not have a sitter, my husband had used ALL of his sick time to care for the kids when I was sick.

Instead of being kind and helpful she was mean and spiteful, if she was that concerned about the safety of the kids why did she not verify it? Why did she not offer to help? What she did helps no one, and makes things much more stressful.

5 things that the survivors regret

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

You know that article about the 5 things that dying people regret?  The survivors  in relationships have regrets too, or at least I do.  I do not have the experience nor education to speak for all people who have lost someone, but I can give my experience.

1- People die, its a part of life, right?  Yes, but it doesn't mean it doesn't hurt, that there won't be an empty feeling.  Sometimes the empty feeling is so encompassing, its contradictory to itself, others its more of a shadow, quietly following.

2- I regret not making time.  I was not as good of a granddaughter as  my grandmother deserved.  I did not make enough time for her, I begged off because I had needy kids.  Time is short.  Time is precious.  Before she moved, I'd call her sometimes and after she sorted out who I was, we'd have a great chat.  We'd talk about all sorts of things, from feed sack dresses to what the kids were up too.  She loved my kids so very much, she was crazy about them all.

3- I regret not making more memories.  Going through her belongings, felt wrong.  But she had so many memories.  Photos from so many people back before she was born, stories of their lives, a rich history that cannot be lost- but I am terrified will be.  I am sad that I did not sit down and pick her brain and record every last word out of her mouth. 

4- I regret not being more careful with the memories I do have of her.  I am clumsy. Forgetful. More than a little scatterbrained.  The photos and memories I have of her I feel like should be put somewhere safe- to be treasured- to be come back upon when I need her- instead, an old note that she wrote got shoved on a bookcase and maybe just maybe was colored on.

5- I regret not going earlier to get her chocolate.  Chocolate was her favorite dessert and I took my time about getting it.  I figured there would be a week or more to hold her hand, to see her, to talk to her. How could even in her condition could provide comfort to me and to others just by being there I will never know.  But she did.

I have a ton of regrets. That is for sure.  But maybe I am not alone.  

Anxiety in my head

Do you have anxiety?  I do.

Living with anxiety is like living in a pressure cooker.  My thoughts race so fast that I can't put words to them or slow them down long enough to even breath.  My heart races, breathing quickens, and muscles tense- and that is an average day- being engulfed in a sense of terror for no reason feeling like I could lose my mind and jump out of my skin. 

When I found my current doctor, I was suffering from this pretty acutely.  Thankfully, this was an easy one for him to pin down and immediately started me on meds to help calm my mind.  I do not advocate going on medications for every little thing, but there are times when they are necessary.  Sometimes it is a short term thing sometimes it is a long term one, which ever it is- its ok.

People should not feel stigmatized because they are sick.  Whether the sick is a brain thing or a kidney thing or whatever.  It is no ones fault.  Sick is just sick- and sick people need care- not judgement. So I will be very open about my experiences- maybe so others will not feel stigmatized or alone.

When I started the meds and they started working, it was like my head was quieter.  My brain and thoughts slowed to what must be a normal speed. It was amazing to feel that.  Is this what normal people feel like all the time?  I could sit still, I didn't twitch.  I could sleep.  It was like someone stopped pressing fast forward in my head.

Now, especially during stressful times I have break through anxiety and I need to tweak my meds and work on meditation a bit more but now more than ever I don't feel a fight or flight response when the doorbell rings.

Pole is my home

Monday, August 5, 2013

No mater what things are happening that are stressing me out- I can walk into the studio and feel a weight lift from my shoulders.

My grandma died and I was stressed.  In a crappy mood, I considered not going to class because I was in such and awful mood.  That would have been the worst decision ever.  I got there and was able to forget for a bit. My anxiety calmed. My eye stopped twitching. 

It was amazing to feel the freedom and channel my nervous energy into something.  Endorphins are a real thing people!

I used to get the same sense of freedom from horseback riding and running but lately I have been able to channel my feelings into dance and tricks more than ever.

After class, I walked out the studio door, sore, bruised (good bruised), and smiling. 


Saturday, August 3, 2013

I have no idea what got me thinking about this but the other day I found myself driving to Target thinking of the importance of forgiveness. 

So whatever brought the thinking on is immaterial.

I have been blessed enough to have been forgiven for a multitude of things.  Some of them I am too embarrassed and ashamed to even think about for more than a minute.  Suffice it to say- I have been fortunate, blessed, lucky whatever.

Because I have been shown such kind forgiveness, I have been able to learn to forgive others for their mistakes, some of these have been major things, some minor.  To be honest, there are somethings that I am struggling forgiving individuals for.

Either way, forgiveness isn't something we are entitled too, it isn't something we deserve, it is a gift of mercy.

What exactly is the point?  We never know what is going on in someones heart, head, or life, maybe they are fighting some invisible battle that we may never know, or struggling with something.  Either way, choosing to forgive others may help them to forgive someone else. 

Confessions from a pole class

Thursday, August 1, 2013

I had another class with and awesome instructor.

We worked on these tricks

and I got them.  First time. Which means I was able to do the dove on the pole and felt super secure.  So AWESOME.

Pole dancing is the unique time that I can go to the studio in a crabby bitchy mood and be able to walk in and feel the weight of the world and all of the things that I am juggling mysteriously disappear.

I also was able to get the superman fall.

The frustrating thing.  Is my wrist was really bugging me on my cartwheels.  Well you can't have everything.  Pole dancing is really a challenging sport.  Give it a try!

A time to mourn

Saturday, July 27, 2013

I still can't really believe my grandmother is dead.  Even the word has an empty, hollow, metallic, tone to it. 

In the last few years of her life I was able to spend a good amount of time with her and I am forever grateful.  She was never too busy for a chat or too busy for a visit.

Now, the kids will do something, and I think, "Oh Grandma will really get a kick out of that" but its me who gets a kick- she's dead.

The big thing that I wish I could tell her more about was Stinky going fishing.  Her husband, my grandfather- one of the people Stinky is named for loved to fish.  I wish I could sit with her and tell her more about it.  She would have loved it.  My brief- "He went fishing and actually caught fish!!!" does not do it justice.  Grandma would have laughed at how excited he was and laughed when I told her how awful I was at baiting the hook for him. 

One thing that stays with me is, the last time she was in the hospital and I was with her she was begging me to 'unfasten' her restraints.  First, who uses unfasten-- why not just say take them off?  Down to the word choice it was perfectly her.  Second, the angel of a nurse let me take off her restraints as long as I was with her- of course- then I would stay for the next few hours, because tying her back to the bed was the last thing that she wanted (or I wanted). 

She also asked for a handkerchief. Not a tissue. A handkerchief.  Small choices in the word choice made her-- her. 

After she had her handkerchief and was relaxed I read to her from Tom Sawyer- I didn't know any authors she liked but figured Tom Sawyer was a safe bet.

My grandmother was a wonderful woman.  An amazing person. 

Possesion is 9 tenths of the law

Friday, July 26, 2013

But perspective is 9 tenths of life.

Princess went through a phase drawing little smiley faces on the walls.  They were tiny and you never really knew when you'd come across one. Kind of like easter eggs in TV shows

When I was little my parents would have murdered (maybe only a slight exaggeration) if I drew on the walls. ESPECIALLY if I was over the age of 2. 

I'm not mad about it.  Here's why:

a) they are smiley faces- there are worse things
b) its a fun surprise when I find them. 
c) Is it really that big of a deal???

No- I don't clean them up whenever I find one.  Its actually fun- especially if I am in a grumpy mood.  Finding one helps remind me of my perspective and perception. So I leave them. Maybe they'll cheer someone else up. 

Pole Dancing

Did you think I would stay away? NEVER.

My wrist still hurts a bit, and I have had to learn to not put too much stress on it, I also have had to adjust the tricks I can do to respect my wrists limitations- it is frustrating because I am used to being able to will my body to do what I want it to do.  I could always work hard enough and push hard enough I would be able to get my body, or brain, or whatever to bend to my will.

(me stubborn?? NEVER)

But now I have learned and am continuing to learn I need to respect my wrist's boundaries.  Its a process.  I have to regain my strength and flexibility.

I have gotten my Ayesha, pencil, brass monkey, pole sit back.  I and working on my cartwheel balance- I just need time to work on it- stopping when upside down is a challenge and supporting your body on your arms- away from your body.

Last night after a lot of practice I got my Dove back.  Next up- Superman fall.  

I have had a lot of questions about why I keep coming back-- or how.

Here's the thing.  Pole dancing is mine. My time. My thing. I love it.  I am proud of my body.  Even if I never lose another pound or always have some jiggle. My body is pretty amazing.  It has come through hell. Sickness. Injury. Childbirth. And yet. Is pretty great.  That feeling.  That feeling of accomplishment is why I come back.

Feeling connected to myself.  Feeling proud of myself.  Feeling happy. That is why I come back.
I would love to be able to share my absolute passion with other women.  This is one reason I am so proud to be an Ambassador for Tease. 

Me?? on a diving board??

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Heck, I am pretty reasonably in shape.  I pole dance. I do yoga. I have 5 kids- I have to chase them.

We went to a pool last week.  Princess's friend wanted to go off the diving board.  I made a deal with her, if she did, I would.

I walked to the end of the board- and thought what the hell am I doing here?  I am 31 years old. I have no need to be on a diving board.  Worst, I took my glasses off and I am really blind without my glasses so my biggest concern was swimming to the side of the pool to climb out.

But like any stupid move I have made, I jumped. It should be noted, I am a good swimmer. I just have to wear my goggles--you know the blind thing.

However I was in the water, it was sink or swim, and tread water (thanks for that 15 minutes treading test- legs only) wipe water out of my eyes and swam to the side. Easily. It felt good. My kids laughed.  It was great to see them laugh. 

We swam for a bit more, then headed home, I have no idea what the hell made me do that- but I did. It was fun- but I am not doing it again.

Having fun with my kids is the best part of parenting, seeing their faces light up seeing them laugh- it was a great way to release some stress. 

Everyone Grieves Differently

Saturday, July 20, 2013

We are all individuals so it shouldn't be so surprising should it?

Each of us grieve differently. Sometimes this does not go over so well when one's way of grieving drastically are opposed to another person- especially in close family.

Some people like to be around others and share memories, talk about the person who passed.  Others turn to prayer, others take charge and get things done.

Each of these types clearly has its practical application.

I am  the type of person who gets anxious. I can't sleep.  I get a nervous stomach. I want to hide.  My grief is private.

So it is hard.  Hard to balance the needs of my kids, the needs of my other family.

You see, my grandmother and I were not always particularly close.  I mean, I loved her- of course- but I felt it was a distant love- she was so amazing and so wonderful- I felt I could never measure up.

In the past several years, I became close to her. It was hard to visit her, bringing all of the kids to see her- being quiet is not there strong suit- she loved seeing them.  I loved seeing her with them.  They played with the same coasters that I played with as a kid.

My grief is more wavy. Sometimes I need to be away from everyone. Alone.  I can remember her. I can remember her laugh, her smile, her amazing fudge.

Its a basic reaction kids do something funny- I think how she'll smile or laugh when she hears about it.  Then its back.  I don't need to tell her. I can't tell her. Her soul is next to Gd.

My kids are still little not all of them will have a clear memory of her.  Her memory will be honored though.  My kids will learn what she taught me, aside from making fudge, she taught me strength, compassion, and love.

Kids tell it like it is

Friday, July 19, 2013

My wonderful grandmother died. 

She was sick and unwell for a while before she passed and in hospice care for a short time.  So it was not unexpected.

However, for a while before she passed we had not been grocery shopping. 

I looked in the fridge and realized our option for dinner included spoiled leftovers or dijon mustard.
We had to go to the store.  There was no way around it. 

I took Princess- she is getting old enough now that she actually can be helpful- and she loves helping.  More importantly- she was closer to my grandmother than the other kids and was having a hard time with the loss.  I thought it would be important to have some time with her to talk about our grandmother's death.

While we went shopping she chattered on- like nine year old girls do.  When we got to check out the cashier was making small talk. Here is what ensued.

Cashier: Hows your day going?
Princess: Its awful.
Me: (getting nervous)-- Yep, it sure is hot out.
Cashier: It certainly is.
Princess: Yeah- that and my grandmother is dead.

*cue awkward silence*

I don't think she ever checked anyone out faster after that. 

Maybe we need to find a new grocery store.

But looking back it is hysterical.  I mean- she just laid it out there, no sugar coating. 

Happy Birthday Stinky!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Soon enough he will actually be stinky--- he is growing up so fast!

Today he is 7.  Just like the day he was born there was a lightening storm. 

He is a sweet and sensitive boy.  He is kind and generous. I cannot thank G-d enough for allowing me to be his mother and watch him grow.

He loves to learn by exploring and experiencing his world. Watching his face light as he learns something.  Stinky can take ideas and think beyond the information given and come up with his own ideas.  

How the last seven years have gone by is beyond me. 

Peace. Love. Rest. Death.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

* What I talk about here maybe hard for some people to read, please be aware*

My grandma died this morning.  She was dying for a while.  Dying is not a passive act. Nor is it immediate. It is a series.  Anyway. 

She had been in hospice care for nearly a week. 

She was agitated and upset but when she saw Henry she smiled at him.  She was crazy about the kids and they were crazy about her.

The last time I saw her smile was at Henry.  The smile lit up her whole face.  She reached for him. He let her hold him and he babbled, she laughed. 

It was so special to hear her laugh and see her smile. 

The kids made art work for her all the time and had enough of it to fill a museum. 

Anyway.  When death happens its a shocking thing.  Its obvious what made her--her--- her soul left.  Her soul, is with G-d. With G-d that she loved and taught us to love. 

My grandma- may she rest in peace- will be missed by many.  But she will never ever be forgotten.

Screaming Goat and trapped sneezes

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Most of you have have seen the Taylor Swift screaming goat videos right?

Yesterday, I was driving home from University of Chicago and I heard Selena Gomez's new song (that is an insult to songs everywhere): "Come and Get It".  The beginning sounds oddly like someone trying not to sneeze,  "Ah, Ah, Ah..." it was very odd. 

Oh Captain, My Captain

Saturday, July 6, 2013

With all of all the fuss over the BlackHawks winning the Stanley Cup in Chicago, people have been calling Jonathon Toews "Oh Captain, My Captain" ok fine.  He is the team captain. I get it.  But the Walt Whitman poem being quoted is a funeral poem written after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  As far as I'm aware no one has assassinated Toews- though I am sure some Bruins fans have at least considered it.

However, COME ON.  It is a classic poem that we all should have at least read at sometime during our school careers.  There are several well written analysis of the poem that explain that Abrahan Lincoln was a man whom Whitman greatly admired.  Toews while a great team captain has not lead a country through a war.

There has to be a better nickname for him.

Yes, I realize this is one of my crazy literary issues but give me this one.

Coumadin Conundrom

Since my TIA I have been on Coumadin. It is a blood thinner- and a fabulous way to see just how klutzy I am.  Really no on needs to know how many times I run into things.  It is just sad.  Bruises are not sexy.

Anyway Coumadin is a PITA.  Every week I have to get my blood tested to check my INR.  One week I am too high the next week to low.  Apparently every medicine in the world impacts Coumadin levels.  So if I have to go on prednisone for example- for asthma- my INR (clotting factor) drops too low which means that I need to increase my Coumadin dose.  Trouble is- Prednisone is dosed on a taper so as my Prednisone dose goes down I have to balance it with the Coumadin.  This is not even with dealing with diet issues! Obnoxious. This is for life- I will be on Coumadin (or other blood thinner forever).

So my dose changes every week. Sometimes more than once a week.  Then there are different doses every day, which is a pain to remember.

Coumadin is definitely preferable to another clot, but it is still pretty annoying

My kids play with knives and other parenting confessions

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Last night my 5 year old, 3 year old, and 9 year old used actual sharp knives to help me cut up a potato.  Before you can child protective services, I was right there helping, guiding, teaching them how to slide their fingers back out of the way.

No one died.  No one even bled. No tears.

Kids are smarter than we give them credit for. Let them learn.  Let them explore.  Believe in them.

Getting away from good job

Sunday, June 23, 2013

"Good job" this praise pops into my head a thousand times a day is a phrase I am trying to stop using.

It sounds like something you'd say to praise a dog not a child- does it then hold that if I do not say 'good job' it is a 'bad job'? That kind of all or nothing approach is sad.  The inherent judgement in the statement is sad.  I want my kids to know that my love and support for them and of them is not dependent on them doing 'a good job'. 

I want my children to be intrinsically motivated not waiting for my praise or my approval.  I want them to get the satisfaction of doing something for themselves.  I want them to be motivated to do something for themselves not for me.  I do not want them to be reward or praise seeking.  I also do not want to manipulate them into doing something.

There has been some discussion as to why parents should reduce saying this phrase- and in large part I agree with them- so I am trying to not say it that much- but what I am I to say when my kids are looking to me for approval?

I have worked on saying 'wow, you worked hard!" or "you should be really proud of yourself!" or asking questions about what they did.  I also make comments about what they did such as "I really like the way you used the triangles here." or something that just declares you noticed what they did.

Clearly, saying 'Good job' is not the worst thing to happen and it will not be catastrophic for them. I will continue to try and work on my internal script. 

Love, Marriage and name changes

Monday, June 17, 2013

My sister kept her maiden name when she married her husband.

I took my husbands name.

This is not what I had expected.  I had been very loud about planning to keep my name- as getting married did not change who I was- I was just married.

My husband wanted me to change my name- it was very important to him- when pressed he just said, "It was the way it was supposed to be."

I hesitated though.  I was embarrassed.  I didn't want to hurt my dad's feelings by dropping his name. Seriously- that was my biggest concern- I didn't want to hurt my dad's feelings.

Anyway-  I took his name.  Its my name now. Our name.

Slightly off topic but I was discussing this with another woman a few years ago and she thought you were required to change your name after marriage.  I was stunned, do you know anyone who thinks that?

Renaming littleDude

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It has been brought to my attention that LittleDude would be better described with the nickname "scooter" in reference to how he crawled scooting his bum a long.

Now of course he can can walk but from now on--- he will be Scooter

LittleDude is braver than me...

Sunday, June 9, 2013

There has to be a first injury right?

LittleDude sure got his.

My mom was visiting and we were outside, LittleDude was driving his toy car having a great time.  Until he wasn't, he climbed over short landscaping wall, I picked him up and pulled him out and set him down.  He turned around and toddled back towards the wall he tripped and fell, hitting his head on the stone landscaping wall right above his eye.

The awful hollow sound that his head made as it hit the stone sends a shiver down my spine whenever I think of it.

Immediately I picked him up- and saw the cut and my mind blanked I could not remember what I was supposed to do... Airway-- breathing--circulation right??

It was bleeding. a lot. I handed him to my mom to get ice and a towel.  There were no towels in the drawer. Of course. Found a towel. ice. pressure.

The cut was deep- edges were pulling apart.

We got in the car to go to the hospital and of course hit the

He vomited and got very drowsy so we detoured to the fire house where someone could actually probably think clearly.

The paramedics helped and took him to the hospital.   When we arrived at the hospital he was stitched and glued back together.

A popsicle was  the reward for being so brave for LittleDude.  I needed a glass of wine for holding it together.

He seems to not mind it in the least, but it looks awful!!! I hope it does not hurt him too much. 

Virtually Connected

Sunday, June 2, 2013

When I was little--- you know a hundred years or so ago (my son asked me if we had electricity when I was born), computers did not connect to the internet- there wasn't an internet to connect to, your mail came to your house, you had a phone in the house that everyone shared, no cell phones, not texting, none of it. 
If I went somewhere, I'd leave a note on the counter, so would my parents, I also had an emergency quarter to call home with if I needed too- for a payphone. 

The phone most often used was in the kitchen and it had a long cord so you could walk all around the kitchen and still talk- but the phone itself was mounted on the wall. If someone called while the phone was in use- they got a busy signal (remember those?? I don't think my kids have ever heard one).

My mom would spend a lot of time talking to her friends on the phone chatting.  I don't.

The point of this is to discuss whether with all of out social media connections- we are more or less connected to others than before- because personally- I feel lonely- despite 600 facebook friends, 1000 twitter followers, and a house full of kids.

So with all of this connectedness how are we less close to others than we were 20 years ago?

Here are my thoughts:

My mom would chat for a while with just a few people- not 500.  But with those few people she was very open and had great support.

So while I chat on Facebook with a huge crowd- I am not open.  I am not giving of my deepest my real self- I lost touch with that long a go.

When talking on the phone or visiting in person, you can tell a lot about what a person is not saying by tone, inflection, or word choice.  How many huge fights have been started on the internet because of a comment that was said as a joke but the reader took it seriously (why we need a sarcasm font).

My mom actually saw the people she visited with.  They would sit and have tea together while the other kids and I played.

I am not saying that all tech is bad- I love video chatting with my kids when I can't be there- but it is just not the same as actually being there- iPads are great- but they kind of suck at hugs (said with sarcasm).

So, in some ways new technology brings us together- but in others it drives us apart- we can become isolated in our homes not venturing out to actually see people or have any real interactions..

All of the Facebook and text "I love you" messages in the world will not hold a candle to a great big hug from my husband and a kiss to tell me I am loved.

I am going to really make an effort to have real interactions with people in the coming months- not just virtual ones.

Hold me to it please.

Do you feel less connected or lonely despite the incredible technology out there??

time to turn it around

Friday, May 31, 2013

When I fell pregnant with my first, I was unmarried I waited until I was 6 months along- I had managed to hide the pregnancy through the holidays and gatherings.  First I told my sister- she said she would not advise me to get an abortion but she would always love me, I cried.  I went to her office to call my mother, I was too scared to do it alone.  She stood with me as I called my mom and broke the news. 

My parents were less than thrilled.  But they loved me.  They supported me.  Now 9 years later- having my first was the best thing that ever happened to me- she taught me how to love unconditionally.  She taught me forgiveness. She saved me.

her first picture......
And now...

Netflix Dropped Dora and Diego--- OMG

Thursday, May 30, 2013

"My life is over!!" 

Pixie's favorite shows are Dora the Explorer and Go! Diego, Go!  She would watch them on the iPad via Netflix every day.  She learned so much about different animals and she loved seeing the live ones at the zoo and telling me about what she learned. 

One day- we were settling in for the night and she started looking for Dora or Diego on Netflix to watch an episode- they were gone.  With growing anxiety and fear I searched Netflix for the shows. They disappeared into thin air.

I don't think Map can help us with this problem.  After some investigating I found out that Netflix did not renew their contract with Dora and Diego's company.


It was like her best friend left, and to a certain extent that is exactly what happened- Dora and Diego were her friends. 

The meltdown that followed could rival any tragedy.  There were tears, enough tears to fill an ocean... from both of us. There was sadness and mourning.

There was yelling:  "HOW DARE THEY TAKE MY SHOW AWAY!!!!"

Really-- were they not thinking about kids and how they love Dora and Diego? Were they not thinking of the parents?  What, exactly were they thinking about?

Pixie's heartbreak was palpable and real.

Thank goodness for Amazon Prime-- they still offer Diego and Dora for instant streaming.  And I will be buying a ton of Dora and Diego DVDs at resales so even if Amazon drops them we will still be prepared- just like Dora's Backpack and Diego's Rescue Pack.

Dishwasher Obsession

Monday, May 27, 2013

With my husband- we have always had a dishwasher and for some reason the kids have all been fascinated by it. 

Princess- who hated the vacuum loved the dishwasher. She could hear the door being opened from across the apartment she would get her little bum over there as fast as she could.

Stinky had the same fascination he would try and crawl into the dishwasher when the drawer was open. 
We plucked him off of the door more times than I can count.

Peas was the same way, add absurd determination and lightening fast crawling. I would usually pop her on my back and then do the dishes so she couldn't climb in, she would just pull my hair out by the roots. 

Pixie was the same way- and she loved to chase the vacuum.

Now it is LittleDudes turn.  The big kids help a lot, but he is so fast and he can pull hair like no one's business, when it is dishes time he usually goes in his bouncer-- baby jail- until the loading or unloading is done.  After we close the door he leans against the door and hugs it.  He loves the vibration and the warmth.

What is the huge draw to the dishwasher.  We may never know- a great mystery of baby kind. 

Happy Birthday

Friday, May 24, 2013

Today Princess is 9.  9.  Can you believe it?? How'd that happen??

She is super.  She is compassionate, kind, confident, smart and pretty awesome.

I cannot believe that G-d let me have the privilege of being her mother, it is greater gift than I could ever imagine. 

Princess, you are so special, you are loved and cherished by so many.

A blessing in sadness and hope

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I am sure like all of social media you have seen the story of Zach Sobiech.  A teen who when down fighting- 'and didn't really lose'. 

His story made me ugly cry at my computer

But it was wow. It was so uplifting, it blessed me in a way I did not know I did not know I needed to be blessed.

"You don't need to find out you're dying to start living"

Watching the video resonated with me in a deep soul crushing way, heart breaking, but most of all spirit lifting.

I wanted to share how amazing this kid was (and is- in heaven). 

.But I thought about what I could do to help.  You  know when you need. to do something, a craving to do something to help in some small way.  This, for now, may be all I can do, but for now here we are.

Maybe this song and video will bless you in a way that you don't know you need

Some celebrities lent their star power as a tribute to this remarkable young man.