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Happy Tofurkyday!

This holiday season has to be about something else besides food for me and because he can’t enjoy food without me… my husband, too. We are both feeling pretty blah about Thanksgiving this year.

Everyday is about family around here so the holidays add that extra special bonus of (lots of) good food… this year I’ll just have to settle for the season being about family! 😉 However, Hal said for Christmas, he is going to go all out and make some comfort foods I can eat (he loves cooking and especially for the holidays).

Speaking of food… I took a meal over to a friend, Michelle’s, house yesterday. She had her third baby on Halloween!

When she went to the hospital for a scheduled c-birth her doctor came into the room and was like, “uh, what are you doing here?” Michelle, being full of piss and vinegar to begin with and ready to have her baby was like, “um, I’m having a baby today. Remember? You scheduled it!”

The OB swore up and down that Michelle’s due date wasn’t for another three weeks so she couldn’t possibly have planned a c-birth on Halloween. Michelle was PISSED. Her OB doesn’t have any malpractice insurance so did not want to do the c-section three weeks before her due date.

Michelle and her hubby talked about it and she decided her baby was ready to be born. She was having really strong contractions all day and just really felt strongly that it was the right time.

Well, as the doctor was reaching in to pull the baby out, both the doctor and her nurse gasped in horror. THAT freaked Michelle and her hubby out big time. Hubby took a peak behind the curtain and even he gasped. The cord had been wrapped and tied tightly around the baby’s neck. Once side of the cord was red, the other side white. She wasn’t getting any thing from her cord! The doctor told my friend if the c-birth had not been done when it was, her baby would not have made it.

AMAZING. Mother’s intuition is powerful.

I will say (since I don’t really trust doctors) I’m skeptical as to whether or not it was as serious of a situation as the baby would have died. However, I trust Michelle and this is (part of) her birth story. It is a give-me-goosebumps kind of story.

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When I finally made it out of the house on Saturday, I was able center myself. Oftentimes, it is hair splitting work to get ready to leave the house. It is work that I start hours ahead of the time I need to be out the door. It is work that keeps me busy right up to the very minute I should be in the car.

Why does it take so damn long to “Get Ready” to leave the house???

It’s the clean-up after breakfast, all the pooping, taking a shower, brushing our teeth (Bella now has two on the bottom), getting us all dressed, feeding Bella, feeding Max a snack, feeding Max lunch, cleaning up after eating, talking on the phone, trying to snack while on the phone, packing Bella’s diaper bag (which I always say I’m going to do the night before, but never do), arguing with Max about brushing his hair, brushing Max’s hair, talking to Max about what we are going to do, talking to Max about his dinosaurs, stopping what I’m doing to address Bella’s need to be held… it’s all of this and more, but not always in this order.

…but once I’m in the car I can always exhale.

It is hectic times like this that I want to be centered in the moment. When I do manage to live in the moment I can handle extremely frustrating situations with a sense of calm and joy. However, this is not the way I live my life. It is so hard to take joy in the “doing” instead of rushing to just get it done. These days are flying by so quickly. My baby girl’s growth is a constant reminder of this quickness.

The presence of children in my life is teaching me to slow down and smell the roses, as they do so naturally.

Slowing down takes lots of practice.

Another piece on pondering friendships…

I went to a Mother Blessing for a friend on Saturday. Attending these ceremonies is an honor and reminds me of how beautiful and meaningful life is. I feel lucky to know women who deeply value other women. I feel lucky to have a group of mama-friends who are in many ways, like minded. Hell, at age 32, I feel lucky to have friends at all and still be making new ones every year.

As I’ve aged my palate for friendships has narrowed. My standards have risen. Yet, the list of requirements has gone down to the simple need for honesty in communication. I may not have the same perception, but if it is your story I can easily respect your path. If you are respecting yourself (aka: not being self destructive in a physical, emotional, or mental capacity) I can be by your side to listen with a compassionate ear. However, if you are being self destructive, my boundaries will gently go up as I acknowledge my lack of control in your behavior. I’ll point you in [what *I think* is] the right direction but relinquish the responsibility of making sure you head that way. This, my friend, is being honest and showing compassion toward myself.

I’ve always played The Nurturer in my friendships and now I realize that was an addiction. I was addicted to the high of being The One my friends could confide in and look to for advice. Maybe I started taking on this role because while growing up I felt so helpless in helping my mom cope with her problems. Maybe I started taking on this role because I felt guilty for not being able to help her – so I was repenting by trying to help others. I don’t really know for sure why, but somehow I became The Nurturer.

I’m not a therapist. I’m not trained to manage the big feelings of adults. It has taken me 32 years to realize this truth and speak it. I will never again take on the responsibility of another adult’s “issues.” I’ve lost friendships making that mistake in the past and I’m still working on sorting out the feelings associated with that loss.

Being honest and gentle with myself has been a hard trait to develop. I think for those of us who are on this path, we always find one another and hold on tight. That is how I view all of my friendships these days (in real life and on-line): as separate paths crossing in moments of time with the similar trait of having a need, a drive, to be gentle and honest with one’s self and others in the process. I’m still learning what honesty is and love that I know so many other’s who are learning, too.

I used to meld friendships into my life in such a way that their realities became mine and visa/versa. I felt insecure during those years and only in hindsight can I see how codependent I was in viewing another’s life in this way.

Even my marriage is about two different people on separate paths that cross in moments of time. Hal and I are connected in responsibilities, offspring, and lifestyle but our lives and experiences exist as separate realities. Remembering this on a daily basis helps me to value Hal and his story. And remembering that our lives are separate because we do not share a body/brain, helps me to never take him for granted.

Anyway, I’ve kind-of gone on a tangent.

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We had our second party since Bella’s birth on Sunday, and it went over quite well.

I know this is hard for Hal to believe but… sometimes, I feel really socially awkward.

Regarding groups of people, not individuals – I’m always comfortable with one on one interactions…

I am right at home with being around my women friends who have children. We talk non-stop about our parenting philosophies/politics or what amazing thing our kid(s) recently did. Being around many kids and having conversations inevitably cut short or interrupted, this is normal and right for me. Mom’s and children provide the landscape of my new comfort zone. Put me in that situation [even with strangers] and I am a social butterfly who always has a thought to contribute and feels equally at ease sitting in silence.

Put me in a room with people who don’t have children and I feel like a fish out of water, regardless of how long I’ve known them. I have forgotten how to talk about anything that isn’t personal and life related (aka: … anything that isn’t about mothering). And what is personal and life related might be interesting for folks without kids to hear but its also pretty foreign… which makes me feel slightly alienated. I can only talk about such things, as Max and Bella, for so long before the subject completely changes and I’m left flapping in the breeze.

It wasn’t until my son arrived a little after the party started that I started to feel the water filling my lungs in sweet comfort. I’m a little envious of Hal because he talks about everything under the sun except fatherhood… then again, no I’m not. So be it.

Good thing I never let social discomforts [that are all in my head] stop me from enjoying the company of people I really like. I tend to feel like the more I put myself in social situations outside of my comfort zone, uh, the more comfortable I will get with them.

Eventually, I will find myself working outside of the home again and will need to have already developed some communication skills for interacting with people about more various topics than mothering – even though I can relate just about any seemingly disconnected topic right back to my experiences with mothering.

My friend, Liz, came up with the idea to have a monthly potluck to help keep the bonds alive with people we both have known for years but rarely have the opportunity to see these days. Liz is in school and working full-time, and you know what my life is like, so I am completely on board with the idea.

I feel a sense of segregation between my parent and non-parent friends at the moment. It’s not intentional. It has more to do with the fact that I live way the fuck out in Bum-Fuck-Egypt. It is not easy to make the 30 plus minute trek out to my house. This is especially true when you have a toddler and for many of my momma-friends, a toddler and a baby in tow who need to be in bed by 8 pm. I think when the kids get older, or we move closer to our friends, my two social worlds will intersect. And that will be a whole new kind-of awesome crazy-fun party.

I know Hal and I will be seeking out child-care from my in-laws when the potlucks are at other folk’s home. Max is pretty flexible with his night time routine but I really hate taking him to places where I have to keep on his ass to not touch (break) anything. Doing damage control while I should be relaxing and enjoying the company of friends is not my idea of fun. Hal’s, either.

 

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I like the segregation of friends for now because it is nice to be the only couple with kids in the group. I love to see my kids getting attention from other adults. I think it is good for them and it is certainly good for Hal and I.

I feel very lucky to have as many different friends as I do. And I think my kids are lucky for the same reason.

PS: I almost forgot… the highlight of the evening was when Bossman intentionally backed up and bent over to fart on John. After laughing hysterically (all of us), I did my motherly duty and let Bossman know that he isn’t to do that to just anyone. Especially his teacher at school.

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busy bee.

I am ready for Max to be in school three days a week. What’s more important, I think he is ready. He’s doing really well at school and his teachers totally love him (they tell me this so I know it to be true). And I’ve been enjoying our weekly routine as our days seem to be busier. Having a schedule (rhythm) helps me to feel like I have something to do everyday… I did not realize this until, like, two minutes ago. I guess a little structure is good for me! Our days are flowing very nicely. And now that parenting two doesn’t seem quite as overwhelming, I’m ready to brave some more weekly outings with the kids. Tomorrow we are going to the Y, and on Friday, we’ll go to Hal’s library for the 40 Carrots toddler program.

Max has been enjoying playing dress-up with his sister’s new clothes. He is especially fond of the leopard print pants. Apparently, he only likes Krista and Cadence right now… he tells me… “I only want Krista and Cadence to come to my birthday party, I don’t like anyone else.” Mommy and daddy are not invited.

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He keeps asking me… read the dinosaur book that Krista gave me.

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This was Krista’s book when she was a little girl. It even has her name written on the first page in handwriting that looks like that of a little girl.

One might say that those two made a lasting impression on Max and I can certainly understand why.

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This morning we had some outdoor-time before the rainfall. Max gifted us all with pretty flowers he picked from the yard.

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When Max gave me this flower he said, “beautiful mama.”
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My friend Krista came over with her daughter, Cadence. Cadence is about 4 months younger and about four inches taller than Max. Those two kids played for, I kid you not, four hours straight without a meltdown or fight. Krista and I felt lucky to have all that time to talk… we were often in disbelief that things were running so smoothly! Toddlers are really hit and miss with visits with other kids. Maybe because our toddlers are approaching age three? Maybe because they were so compatible personality wise? Were the stars lined up just right? I dunno, but they got along really well and Krista and I got to talk for the first time – face to face instead of through the receiver of a phone – in a very long time.

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They brought over the BEST chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had… wheat-free and vegan. Thank you Cadence and Krista! And yes, that little girl is vegan AND super healthy. As if anyone would doubt those two realities could co-exist. Krista and her little family shatter the [misinformed] notion that vegans are malnourished folk.

As soon as they left, I dove into those cookies like nobody’s business – even though I had eaten about five while they were here. I barely managed to save a few for Hal. They also brought with them enough clothes to suit an army of little girls… I am so lucky to not have to buy [many] clothes for Bella for at least two more years!

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I love pregnancy.

I helped host a Mother Blessing today! It was for a dear longtime friend of mine who is having her third baby. When I told her about the ceremony and sent her some information she was all about it – especially since she too really despises the annoying and empty games at baby showers.

I was really nervous speaking in front of all her friends – none of whom I know – but once we got started and the skeptical looks changed into pleased faces, I felt much better.

I have three more friends who are due soon so will be looking forward to attending their Mother Blessings, too.

I love pregnancy.

When it is someone else who is pregnant!

No more baby belly envy for me… this body has the “NO Vacancy” sign up.

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Flip.

Life has been pretty chill around here, lately. We seem to have gotten over and through our early year rough patch and have moved on to greener pastures. The shift started with an old high school friend offering to give me a free massage. I remember thinking after I read her e-mail, this is it! This is the start of something new! I know it’s silly, but I tend to see everything like a river… sometimes it flows peacefully and sometimes its out of control. It all depends on the surrounding elements. I’m the river. Maybe one day I’ll run smoothly even when the weather’s not so good.

I’m still seeing a therapist every week. She has also been a calming element in my life.

** Hal’s grandmother decided to give her grandchildren a chunk of money before she passes away, when we all seem to need it the most. Apparently, there is still a lot left over to give after she passes. We are shocked and very grateful.

Our main bathroom is in dire need of work so we’ve decided to invest the money in our home. We’ll probably go about it in the least expensive way possible, however, I’ve been having a lot of fun looking (daydreaming) on-line for tile, vanities, and bathtubs! Realistically, we will be replacing the linoleum flooring with new tile – possibly the stuff sitting in our garage if there is enough, it is left over from when we tiled our front door area. We’ll also be buying a decent, yet inexpensive, vanity/sink. IF the floor isn’t too expensive because of the water damage done to the particle board under the linoleum, we’ll put in a new toilet. I am really hoping we won’t have to replace the bathtub and wall tiling in the tub. We also need to re-tile half of our roof, clean our carpets, and do some yard improvement stuff with this money. Oh, and we’d like to by a nice 32″ TV. I think our current TV is a 20″, which is nice, but we are movie people.

I took out 100 bucks of our pre-inheritance to buy some new clothes for myself. I’ve spent $55 of it already. I don’t have expensive taste – Target clothes are fine by me – but my body is in such a weird middle place right now. I’m afraid to buy any pants because within the last three months I have dropped four pant sizes, and it seems like I keep losing weight on a weekly basis. Not complaining, but unpredictable weight loss makes buying clothes less fun when you’re poor and need to be able to wear what you buy for at least a year. I’m also keeping my larger sizes because once I’m able to eat what-ever I want again, my weight may go up.

After giving birth to Bella, I was a size 20. I’m currently a size 16. Funny how I don’t feel any different. I never see myself as being “fat,” regardless of my size. I also have never felt unattractive because of my weight. The only reason I want to be a size 10/12, is so that I can thrift store shop and find cool stuff! The era of clothing I like was made pretty small. A size 10 back then is like a size 6 now-a-days. When I was 24 years old, I was a size 8. Only now do I realize just how small that is.

** Hal’s sister works at Margaritaville in Universal Studios. She gets free tickets every month to either use or give away. We have been to Universal several times with those freebies. This time, as a birthday gift to Hal (July), Max (November), and me (December) she is giving us tickets to Universal and paying for a hotel at Universal. Walking distance from the park! For two nights! Hal and I aren’t “theme park people,” but when its free… woohoo! yipee! I’m actually pretty darn excited about this.

** I’ve been taking it easy since burning out last week from all the outings with the kids, but tomorrow I’ll head out to Sarasota for “camp.” My nature mama friends have organized a summer camp for our kids. I am what is called a “floater.” Max, Bella, and I pop in when we can without any commitment. If you are part of the regular camp you can drop your kid off on one of those two days for the duration of camp-time. Regular camp runs two days a week from 9am – noon and is held at a different mama’s house each time. All my nature mama friends live two towns away (at least a 30 min drive) which makes it hard for me to commit. If they do it again next year (this is the 2nd year its been done) I think I’ll “sign up” (which is a verbal commitment) to go full-time.

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