Happy New Year!!!!!

Happy New Year!!!.............What?...............

It’s MARCH?!!?............... How the hell did that happen?

     As cliché as they are, I usually really do enjoy writing-out my New Year’s Resolutions (usually before the year is a fourth of the way over.) I actually have a ritual – even a designated notebook – where I write out my three personal and three professional goals for the year – and then I write three steps I’m going to take to make those goals a reality. (Some of my past goals have been running a marathon and pursuing work as a commercial model, so they usually have a fairly high success rate – much more optimistic than saying my New Year’s Resolution is to give-up bread or coffee…which would fail within the first week.)

     But this year, I was in a really weird place as the New Year rolled around – almost an emotional/spiritual purgatory. You see 2014 has begun with me experiencing some of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows…all at the same time.

Read More

Dead Last

You know those horribly annoying, boastful, make you want to get out of your car and rip the sticker right off their car bumper stickers that say, Proud Parent of a Fill In The Blank School_ Honor Student? (Unless it’s on your car. If it’s on your car, then gosh darn it I’m proud of your honor student too.) Well, I’m in the market for a bumper sticker that says Proud Parent of a Last Place Cross Country Runner. If anybody knows where I can find one of those, let me know.

            And I AM truly proud! My little Bianca – weighing-in at a whopping 35 pounds sopping wet, barely five-years-old – may have finished her first cross-country race in 58th place, but she finished! (My mom later told me that she was actually 58th out of 59 runners… but you get the point, she won’t be bringing home a trophy any time soon.)

            Bianca had just started kindergarten the week before, attending only one cross-country practice… So I set my expectations VERRRRRYYYY low for her first race. I mean, this is the kid who cried through her entire end-of-the-year preschool recital two years ago, stood behind the faux-tree backdrop during her dance recital in June, and burst into tears running off the mat after doing one move of her gymnastics routine during her competition just a few weeks ago.

            When we arrived at the meet, I knew things would go much smoother if I wasn’t around (Out of sight, Out of meltdown), so I left Bianca at the tent with her team and gave her specific instructions not to leave the TENT!!!! I thought I would go wait at the Finish Line where she wouldn’t see me.

            That plan worked perfectly until I realized I needed Bianca’s hand at the registration table to get her number. I began scanning for Bianca in the sea of ponytails as I approached the tent, but she was nowhere to be found! Trying not to panic I tried to remind myself what color shirt she was wearing…. Oh my God! I thought. That was the first piece of information that Dateline special I watched said parents needed to be vigilant about… Remember what your child is wearing in case they are abducted! What color was her shirt? What color was her shirt? (I have no idea why I couldn’t remember that she was wearing a hot pink tank top… Not five minutes prior to this mini-panic attack, Bianca and I had a ‘heated discussion’ about what shirt to wear while changing in the car. Bianca couldn’t understand why I would want her to wear a tank top in 87-degree heat?)

            I guess the fear read on my face, because one of the other parents told me that Bianca had gone looking for me. Perfect! That is exactly what I meant when I said do NOT leave the TENT!

            I found Bianca in the crowd, jerked her by the arm, knelt down where we were eye-to-eye and asked her, “What did I say when I left you with your team?!!!”

            “Not to leave the tent,” she whispered while looking down at the grass trying not to cry. (I mean, this is precisely the fun, calm, we’re only here to have a good time type of atmosphere I was trying to create for Bianca’s first race… Lovely!)

            We pulled ourselves together, got Bianca’s number written on her hand, and I once again left her with her team – this time to warm-up for their race. And once again, I walked closer to the Finish Line where she wouldn’t be distracted. I could still see the Start Line though, and I was so proud and excited watching my little girl warm-up her ankles, do walking lunges with her team, and wait at the Start Line.

            As the gun went off, I had such hopes for Bianca. And I’d be lying if I said I had no ulterior motive for introducing my daughter to this sport. No, as that gun went off I had a flash into the future of running marathons (or half marathons if my husband is reading this) together. I saw us going on training runs early Saturday mornings, heading out for breakfast after… I saw us cheering each other on at Mile 24 when we both wanted to quit… I saw myself getting to share my newfound love of running with my little girl…

            Then, as I saw the swarm of runners pass me I saw a poor little girl trip and fall to the ground… and just as I was about to feel really sorry for her, she popped up and kept trucking along like nothing happened… Good for you! I thought. And then… I saw what was left in the dust behind that swarm of runners, my little Bianca in a pile in the grass.

            OH NO!!!! I thought – trying to decide if I should drop my toddler and rush to her aide, or let her figure it out. Seconds seemed like minutes, but I could not have been more proud as I watched Bianca get up – while sobbing – and keep running. (Mind you, it wasn’t pretty. In fact, it looked very similar to the imfamous Phoebe run from that Friends episode where Rachel is embarrassed to be seen running through Central Park with Phoebe whose arms are flailing about like two noodles.)

            But she kept moving! She wasn’t happy. She was crying. And as she crossed the finish line she told me, “I HATE RUNNING!!!!” But she finished what she started. (Now, I have to make sure I don’t sound like one of those Toddlers & Tiaras parents – as Chuck loves to call it when he thinks I’m pushing Bianca to do something she doesn’t want to do. About five minutes after the race, when she’d forgotten about being upset about the fall, Bianca LOVED running once again.)

            Isn’t this a great metaphor for life? We will fall down. We won’t always finish first, or be the best, or win the award…But those wins and awards are not the things that define us. What defines us is how we react in those moments when life knocks us down. If we get up, dust ourselves off and Just Keep Swimming as Dory so prolifically encourages in Finding Nemo then we are ALWAYS a winner…even when we finish in last (or second-to-last) place.

#ProudToLove...My Niece

I normally don’t use this platform to spout my political beliefs. First, I think writing about almost burning my house down with a wok and water is far more entertaining…and Second, I really try to see both sides of every issue (that must be the Libra in me.) But a few weeks ago at church my pastor gave an inspiring message about how important it is that we take a stand on issues we’re passionate about. If we see something we don’t agree with, don’t like or don’t think is fair…it is our job to make our voices heard.

And with this week’s historic Supreme Court ruling – with a 5 to 4 vote – to strike down part of the Defense of Marriage Act (a 1996 federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, but will now allow same-sex couples to receive the same federal tax, health and retirement benefits), I have to say that I am extremely upset by some of the comments my Friends have been making on Facebook.

One Friend’s status read: ‘The Supreme Court doesn’t trump God’s Law.’ Under which other friends replied ‘Amen,’ ‘Preach It,’ and (the most disturbing in my opinion)…’Amen…America is in grave danger.’

Really? Our country is in grave danger because two people love each other? I don’t know about anyone else, but I can think of about a million other reasons our country is in danger…and none of them have anything to do with love.

Now, I don’t want to jump on my soap box – because quite frankly, I think it’s annoying; And I don’t want to criticize my above mentioned friends for their beliefs – because we are all entitled to them…But I do want to tell MY story in the hope of educating those people out there who, for whatever reason, still have such a big problem accepting the fact that this is 2013 and a large percentage of our population are living openly, homosexual lifestyles. I mean, Ellen DeGeneres has the highest rated daytime talk show. Jason Collins courageously became the first openly gay professional athlete. Millions of Americans trust Anderson Cooper to deliver their news on CNN…Yet there are still people in this country who think Ellen DeGeneres, Jason Collins and Anderson Cooper are a grave danger to our society?

And while there are more and more celebrities, politicians, athletes and public figures coming forward everyday…the millions and millions of Americans in the LGBT community are the true unsung heroes in this fight for equality. My niece, Lyndie, is one of them.

That’s right…I am the proud aunt of a lesbian! I don’t talk about it much, because – simply – it’s not how I define Lyndie or our relationship. She’s my niece. I love her like my own daughter – even though we’re closer in age to being sisters. Some of her lifestyle choices annoy me to no end…but none of them have to do with her sexuality! No, I get annoyed when she drops a college class, or quits a job, or doesn’t take her health as seriously as I think she should. (All those things mothers worry about.) And I do get annoyed with some of her relationship choices – but it’s always that I think she picks the wrong girl…not that she picks a girl.

You see, I am HAPPY, ESCTATIC, OVERJOYED that my niece is an openly gay woman…because I’ve watched her struggle her ENTIRE LIFE with her identity!!!! ANYONE – and I mean ANYONE who tries to say that homosexuality is a choice, has obviously never watched someone try so desperately to make it go away!!!! (I’m tearing-up just typing this, because I’m thinking back to some very emotional, scary, life and death situations we’ve had to watch my niece experience…. none of them being anyone’s business but hers. And I’m tearing-up for my sister and brother-in-law who have had to stand by and watch their little girl navigate this road. I have to give my sister and brother-in-law SO MUCH CREDIT for being the loving, supportive parents they have been through this!!! Believe me, my sister would love nothing more than for her daughter to meet a man, get married, have some grandchildren, and live a normal life. I have to believe that the Supreme Court’s decision brings my niece one step closer to being able to do that…just with a woman instead of a man.)

My niece, Lyndie Jane Boone (I’m so honored to share my middle name with her) is one of the gentlest, big-hearted people you will ever meet. She loves to sing at the top of her lungs, banter jokes with her dad, stay up all night playing games, and snuggle up with my girls to watch cartoons. She loves her family unconditionally and we LOVE HER TOO! And there is not one thing that we love about Lyndie that has anything to do with her sexual preference… except the fact that we are SO PROUD of her for being so BRAVE to live the life GOD chose for her! (I repeat, the life that GOD chose, not Lyndie!)

So…to all my Facebook Friends who are sharing their beliefs – especially in the name of God…the same God I worship, by the way – please take a moment to think about me the next time you’re about to make a comment. I love my niece. She is my blood and believe me, she did not choose this life…this life chose her. And it breaks my heart to hear her talk about struggling with her own faith because she hears comments like yours.

The God I worship and confide in and lean on is a God of LOVE and understanding. And when my niece takes her struggles to God, he is supposed to take her pain away. I think instead of persecuting a group of people in the name of God (which, by the way, is the same way people persecuted Women and African Americans), why not make them feel welcomed by God? And if you can’t learn to find common ground with someone based on more than a box they check during a medical exam, then why don’t you leave it up to God to judge…Because, after all, isn’t he the one with the final say?

On a Side Note: I have to say...as disheartened as I was by some of the Facebook comments I saw on this issue, I was way more inspiried by all of the positive posts I saw from friends congratulating the LGBT community on this step in the right direction towards equal rights!!! I received an e-mail from YouTube with the hashtag #ProudToLove - So I ask all of you, Who are you #ProudToLove? I'd love to hear in the comments below!

What a D#@% Day!

I’m gone one day at an amusement/water park without my kids (hey, making commercials is a tough job but somebody’s gotta do it), and I come home to complete Momageddon!

Our Thursday began normally enough – Me juggling two, unhappy toddlers in my lap while balancing a phone on my neck; trying to keep the bride on the other end of the phone from deciding she NEVER wants children…

The rest of the morning went pretty smooth; the babies even went down for their nap early…and without a fight. I even remember thinking to myself, after having an awesome phone call with one of my wedding venues, that today is a GOOD DAY!

Then…the babies woke up!

Bianca heard the babies first and sprung from her coloring station next to me at the kitchen table to go visit her sisters while cheerfully saying, “I hear babies, mommy!”

“I’ll be in there in a minute,” I said trying to finish typing an e-mail.

(Note to self: I can trace almost all horrific, child attacks that happen in my home back to me and my computer. It’s like my computer is Kevin Bacon and my kids’ bad behavior is every other actor in Hollywood…six-degrees of separation.)

“Mommy, one of the babies peed in their bed!” Bianca yelled from the girls’ room.

“Okay, okay…I’m coming,” I sighed stepping away from my work.

I walked in to find a giant wet spot on the girls’ sheet. I began patting the girls’ clothes to find the culprit, but everyone seemed pretty dry… I began to go through a mental checklist as I started changing diapers, ‘Did the girls bring a sippy-cup to bed?’ No. ‘Did Bianca bring a cup of water in when she came to see the babies?’ No…

“B-i-a-n-c-a?” I began, not wanting to believe what was crossing my mind… “Did you pee in your sisters’ bed?”

“Noooo,” she said ducking behind the changing table.

“Brylee?” I asked. “Did Bianca pee-pee in your bed?”

“Yes, Bad Sissy,” Brylee said.

“I just had to go real bad,” Bianca began. “I couldn’t make it to the potty!”

“So you took your panties off and squatted in your sister’s bed?” I asked. “Why would you do that?”

 

The day continued on a downward spiral that included such highlights as me spending forty-five minutes with a Magic Eraser crouched on Bianca’s time-out stool attempting to scrub pink Sharpie off our white cabinets; and me finding the twins eating a box of Red Hots that they wrangled out of the safety latch on the spice rack cabinet; and me getting SO frustrated with my computer that I began yelling expletives which led to the following conversation between me and my FOUR-YEAR-OLD.

 

Now I know I should NOT be cursing in front of my young, impressionable children. But in my defense, I spent – literally – two hours trying to send one e-mail…that I had to retype five time because every time I would hit Next it would erase my message! Who could keep from yelling, ‘#*@! You $*@#! of #@*%!”?

My daughter looked over at me from the couch where she was watching Curious George and asked, “What does that mean, mommy?”

“I’m sorry, sweetie,” I apologized. “It kind of means stupid.”

Without missing a beat Bianca said, “Mommy, stupid is a bad word. Why don’t you try yelling Damn It instead?”

 

AWESOME!!!!!

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go run ten miles or drink a bottle of wine…so I decided to curl up in bed. I’ll try it again tomorrow…

Pillow Fight

How many of you can honestly admit that you fight with your child?

Well, you should be ashamed of yourself!

Now, I can completely understand fighting with your kids about bedtimes & boyfriends, vegetables & video games; but what I’m about to admit is pretty embarrassing. You see I’ve stooped so low as to fight with my daughter over a pillow.

Yes, you read that correctly – a pillow. And not even a fancy pillow. No, it’s pink and small and filled with some sort of unidentified, granular object that could be anything from cornhusks (or kernels…. or seeds…whatever you call those un-popped, popcorn looking things that fill the bags people play corn hole with) to BB pellets. Actually, this pillow’s ‘filling’ is too light for either of those objects, so it’s probably filled with some sort of man-made, plastic product that I’ll soon learn leads to cancer – just like most everything else I enjoy in life like fried food and the sun.

Fast food…BB guns…Pillow! (Man, am I scatterbrained! I hope it’s not whatever’s in my pillow:)

So there’s this pink pillow that floats around our house. It usually lives in my room, where I intentionally hide it behind all my other pillows when I make the bed, but every-once-in-a-while it will escape my clutches and wind-up in Bianca’s room. Why? Probably because she’s under the impression that the pillow belongs to her. And why is she under this impression? Well, probably because my mom gave it to her. And when I say gave I mean let borrow.

Yes, I am fighting with my four-year-old over a pillow that doesn’t even belong to us.

Here’s what happened:

Bianca goes to daycare three days a week after preschool – where she has naptime after lunch. All the little boys and girls bring in their pillows, blankets and stuffed animals for this ritual. And becoming trendy at the ripe old age of three, Bianca just had to have a Pillow Pet when she moved up to the Three & Four-Year-Old room. You know that annoying commercial, It’s a Pillow…It’s a Pet…It’s a Pillow Pet?

Anyway, every Friday the pillows and blankets come home to be washed. And it never fails; every Monday I usually forget to take the darn things back to school.

On this particular Monday I was working at my mom’s house, which is closer to daycare, when I realized I’d left my child with no snuggling devices; so she suggested I just borrow a blanket and pillow from her house. ENTER THE PINK PILLOW!

About the same time, I was coming to grips with the fact that I was going to have to part ways with a loyal, dear friend of mine…the Blue Pillow. This pillow had been with me almost four years. He (I assume he was a He…. I mean, he was blue after all) was there for me every night, he went on every vacation with me… But after years of trips through the washing machine, he was beginning to get tired. I mended him several times, but I knew it was time to let him go when his stuffing – his were white, little, round things that looked almost like Vanilla Dippin’ Dots – began to fall out. So it was only fitting that a new pillow had come in to take his place. She (duh, she’s pink) was new and pretty and despite it taking a few evenings to get used to her, she was the perfect armrest for a peaceful night of sleep…. Until that child came along and STOLE her away from me! 

Ya’ll, obviously I have a slight flair for the dramatics…but I’m serious as a heart attack with what I’m about to say next.

Over the next few months, I got by with hiding the pillow at the base of my headboard. (Lord, at this point I think the darn thing needs a name….) And if Bianca ever did ask about her, I would usually get by with shrugging it off with comments like, ‘Gee, I don’t know’ or ‘Maybe you left it at school.’ Really? I’ve stooped so low as to lie to my child?

On the occasional night that she would watch TV in my bed and find the pillow, of course she would want to take it to bed with her. I’ll be damned if I wouldn’t wait until she was asleep, sneak into her room, and steal the pillow right from her own two hands! Awesome! Now I’m a liar and a thief!

And here is the real kicker of all of this…. I could go to any Wal-Mart, CVS… heck, even a truck stop and buy a pillow of my very own! I could even buy two & then return the one to my mother that doesn’t even belong to me. I could buy a whole rainbow of colors, one for every night of the week. After all, they cost about ten dollars.

But NO! I want MINE! Mine, Mine, Mine!!!! (Let’s face it – there’s a little toddler left in all of us.)

Last night I realized I need an intervention. Bianca came and climbed in bed with us around 5 a.m. I asked her to go try to potty so she wouldn’t have an accident in our bed (Isn’t potty training overnight SO much fun?) and while she was gone…I hid the pillow down under the covers so she wouldn’t see it when she got in bed. (Honest to God) Oh, it gets better!

She stumbles back into our room, half asleep, and climbs into bed to cuddle up next to me. In her soft little voice she asks, “Mommy, where’s my pillow?”

I LIED to my sleeping baby and said, “Oh, I don’t know.”

She rolled her little no-pillow head over on the bed to go back to sleep and the guilt washed over me!

“I found it!” I LIED again to cover-up my first lie and pulled the pillow out from under the covers.

“Thanks, Mommy! You’re the greatest, bestest mommy in the whole world.”

 

I’m taking the pillow back to my mom’s today.