New Chapter

It’s 8:22 a.m., and I have the next six and a halfish hours to myself. No one asking for a third cup of chocolate milk, no one throwing a tantrum because it’s nap time, no one asking me where something is, only to have me get up and find it exactly where I said it would be.

I’ve been home from Boston for almost two weeks, but this is the first day of the New Normal. The girls were out of school for the entire week of Thanksgiving, and even though they went back yesterday, we had a parent-teacher conference at 11:30, then Leif was home the rest of the day.

Side note: Thing 2 is doing extremely well in K-prep. Her cognitive skills rock. Also, her teacher says she shares well and doesn’t get her feelings hurt easily, to which Leif and I asked, “Who??” 

Anyway. This is my first day where I can just get crap done. And oh boy, do I have a laundry list. And laundry. That needs to get done too. And I need to finish Christmas decorating. Write some things. Call some people about a job. Maybe I’ll even have it together to have snacks ready for when we get home from school.

I’ve always heard that it’s life changing when your littlest starts fulltime school — and even though I’m only 20 minutes into it, it’s kinda awesome.

This morning when I went to buckle Thing 2 into her carseat (because they have to stay in them until they’re old enough to drive the car themselves in California — it least it seems like that), she told me that she could do it herself. I rolled my eyes and then watched in disbelief as she did it herself. For nine years, I’ve watched with naked envy those moms that could just tell their kids to get into the car without having to buckle them all up.

I’m officially in the Mom of School-Aged Children Who Can Buckle Themselves Into the Car Club.

Don’t even think about asking me when I’m going to have another baby.

Home From Boston

I’ve been home two days. It’s weird and dazy and strange and hard to believe that less than two week ago, my biggest worry was trying to figure out if I could make a bicoastal commute somehow work within the confines of my family.

Mitt was headed to the White House, yo. And I was going to be part of it.

There are a million reasons I could ponder on as to why we lost. Actually, there’s only one – we didn’t get enough votes. I know! By all accounts, it doesn’t make sense.

Now I could contemplate how we could be so wrong about our numbers and voter turnout, mention Obama’s superb ground game, or wonder why my generation seems more concerned with government-sponsored birth control than borrowing from our Children’s piggy banks, but that would be boring.

Instead I’ll just cliché it up: Nice guys finish last.

I don’t feel like the end of the world is here because Obama got reelected. I just feel like it’s going to be on hold for four more years. At best.

Oh, and I got a letter in the mail saying that my doctor no longer accepts my medical insurance. And my premiums went up about 30% last year. But Big Bird and binders!

Seriously guys, how did we lose this?

Double whammy for having worked for Romney: 1) He lost, and I’m out of a job, and 2) He lost, so companies aren’t hiring because they can’t afford to pay for everyone’s birth control and sex change operations.

I wasn’t there when my kids heard about Mommy’s Governor Romney’s loss, but I’m told that they said, “We may be poorer, but at least we have Jesus and our family.”

Love those goobers.

Meanwhile, I wrote about the 5 Stages of Election Loss Grief over at The Stir. I think I’m somewhere between incredulous and annoyed at the moment.

The Shoe’s On the Other Foot

The number one question I’ve gotten from people when they hear I’ve (temporarily) moved to Boston is, “Where is your family?”

“Home in Sand Diego,” I say, and the response is almost universally, “Oh wow.”

Oh wow is right.

My main hesitation in accepting this position was missing this small chunk of my kids’ lives. Of course I’ll miss Leif, but he and I have a lifetime together, and he’s not growing and changing everyday in the same way that children do. I am missing two months of my kids’ lives that I will never get back.

It’s a heavy thing to realize, and the guilt! I couldn’t wear mascara the day I left, because it would’ve been running down my face with the tears I cried when remembering their tight little hugs and sad little faces when we said goodbye.

Sniff sniff.

I’ve been here a few days now, and have been in touch via phone and little FaceTime. The girls seem ok – happy even. As it turns out, the world keeps on spinning, even when I’m not there. They’ve gotten to and from school, friends’ houses, and spent afternoons at Gramma’s. They’ve done their homework, brushed their teeth, played with Daddy, and got tucked in every night.

They’re ok. And I’m ok, because instead of looking at this as time I’ll never get back, I want to see it as time that Leif gets to be the primary caregiver. Their relationship with him is going to grow even stronger as they depend on him in the way they normally depend on me. The bonds that form between their hearts as they figure out how to survive without Mommy will remain intact for the rest of their lives, and no one will ever be able to take away the knowledge that their daddy stepped up to the plate to take care of them.

So yeah, I miss my family like crazy. But I am so grateful for Leif to know that center-of-your-kids’-universe feeling. It’s crazy hard, for sure, and I know they’ll have their good and bad days, but they will learn to trust and love each other in ways that they never would if I were there.

Maybe I’m spinning, maybe I’m in denial, but I’m going to go ahead and call this one perspective.

Now I’m going to say a prayer that they all survive.

Cruel Summer

I love these little handfuls

I know I’ve been sporadic at best in updating my blog this summer. Honestly, it’s been challenging enough just keeping up with my regular writing duties over at The Stir. Just talk to my editors … I feel like I’m always just a little behind schedule.

Sorry, ladies!

It’s fair to say that this summer has been a bit rough. Being home with the kids most of the time has taken its toll on my sanity. I told you I couldn’t hack it as a stay-at-home-mom. It’s nothing really in particular; just the day-to-day inconsistencies wrought from the lack of any real schedule. There were a few day camps, a couple work trips for me, and days here and there with the sitter, but for the most part, the kids and I were forced to cope with each other for the majority of the time.

I really hope it made all of us stronger, because it sure as heck almost killed us.

Let me remind you all that I friggin love my kids, and I’d walk across fire for them, or worse, stay home all summer with them. I kiss their booboos, love on them, comfort them, feed them, take them fun places and give them treats, and I discipline them when necessary. It is hard, and it is not my forte.

Everyone always says every kid is different, and before you have more than one, you kinda sorta know that’s true in the back of your mind, but there’s no way you can really fathom how incredibly different two people from the exact same gene pool can be.

The only thing my girls have in common is their blond hair, their daddy’s eyes, and their stubbornness. Which I’m pretty sure they also get from their father. Just saying.

When I was about eight months pregnant with Thing 1, I reached that weird state of pregnancy where my belly started to have angles, as baby’s rapidly growing knees and elbows practiced flexing. There was this one area under my ribs that she would stick her foot out, and you could see the bump on my belly. Since it was our first baby and we had invented pregnancy (because all first-time parents think this, of course), we’d watch the bump on my tummy as I pushed it in, then slowly it would go right back in the exact same spot.  Nothing would deter that girl from her way. “My foot goes here, thank you very much,” she told us in vitro.

Fast-forward a few years to about the same stage of my pregnancy with Thing 2. Oh hey! I remember that little foot! Let’s push it in and see what happens … oh that was interesting … there was no slow creep back out this time. Instead, it was a very sudden kick back out to a place near the original spot, but not quite. Thing 2 was saying, “My foot goes out, end of discussion, fine I will play by your rules, but you never said my foot couldn’t go there.”

My now fourth grader and pre-kindergartener have retained those same personalities to this day. Thing 1 is quietly stubborn – patient and relentless in pursuit of something she wants. Thing 2 has been nicknamed The Destroyer. Just because I never said you couldn’t jump off the barstools doesn’t mean that you should try it, sweetheart.

Between these two, the keeping up with my regular job, and other various matters I won’t bother to get into in order to protect the innocent, I’ve been spread a little thin.

But I’m pretty sure I’ve kept BevMo in business.

Cheers to the end of summer, and Happy School Year to moms everywhere.

Eavesdropping on Jenny & Ashley August 21, 2012

Ash and I chat about naps, blood, end-of-summer-mommy-syndrome, and parenting advice.

Listen to internet radio with Top 7 on Blog Talk Radio

Top 7 for the Week of August 17th

This week, Ashley and I talked about:

  1. The Atheist Group Threatening Action Over Singing Children
  2. Obama Thinks We’re All Stupid
  3. Mothering
  4. Joe vs. Hillary: The VP Debate
  5. Chad Johnson’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week
  6. Toure and the N-Word-ization
  7. The Best of Joe Biden
Plus we have a rant Shel Silverstein poem, a dirty joke, and of course our Dude of the Week.
Happy listening!

Listen to internet radio with Top 7 on Blog Talk Radio

Eavesdropping on Jenny & Ashley August 16, 2012

Sorry in advance for the bad audio … like Ashley said, “You know you’re best friends when you can have a conversation with really crappy audio and still understand each other.”

Also, my children almost starve to death from lack of apples.

Listen to internet radio with Top 7 on Blog Talk Radio

Eavesdropping on Jenny & Ashley August 15, 2012

Highlights:

“Any time my mom held up a wooden spoon, it meant we were making cookies.” -Ashley

“Doves are tastier.” -Ashley

“I feel so stupid…this must be what Joe Biden feels like all the time!” -Me

Plus Ashley applies for Chopped, my kids are hungry (again), and why Steel Magnolias isn’t about the plot at all.

 

Happy listening!

Listen to internet radio with Top 7 on Blog Talk Radio

Eavesdropping on Jenny & Ashley August 14, 2012

Last Friday, as Ashley and I were doing show prep for Top 7, we were cracking each other up (as usual). “You know,” I said, “We could probably just record our conversations and put them on the Internet and they’d entertain people.”

“We should do that!” Ashley exclaimed, and thus Eavesdropping on Jenny & Ashley was born.

Every Monday through Thursday, we’re going to record a 30-minute conversation, and play it at 8pm Pacific on the same channel on Blog Talk Radio as Top 7. Come be a fly on the wall for our sometimes insightful, usually inane, always hilarious conversations.

Happy listening!

Listen to internet radio with Top 7 on Blog Talk Radio

Kate Upton Is Not a Fatty, You Skinny Freaks

Until about 40 minutes ago, I had no clue who Kate Upton was. Her name sounded vaguely familiar … didn’t she marry a prince last year? That was Kate Middleton? So my pop culture references suck sometimes, ok? At least I know that the U.S. military doesn’t typically carry AK-47s, which is more than I can say for the president.

But I digress.

So this morning I woke up way too early after going to sleep way too late (in other words, it’s a day ending in Y), and grabbed my iPhone, because after 4-5 hours of sleep, I was in information withdrawal.

No texts, boring emails, time for Twitter! What’s up, world? People are still mad at Chick-Fil-A, which is both lame and stupid. I wrote my opinion on it here, by the way. What else? Obama made another blunder about the armed forces (see link above about AK-47s) … the Democratic-led Senate raised taxes on small businesses (no wonder the economy still sucks) …

Then Dina Fraioli tweeted:

Who is this Kate Upton fatty? *click* Chica is a Sports Illustrated swim suit model. And girl is gorgeous. Seriously. Beautiful. Not fat. Not even a little. Wait, did Dina say PRO-ANOREXIA website?

So I threw up in my mouth a little, which I’m sure the anorexics would sneer at because everyone knows that bulimics are just anorexic wannabes. Then I got up and ate breakfast, because I need to maintain my “thick” and “vulgar” frame, not to mention my “big fat floppy boobs.” Because man oh man, if those skinny freaks think Kate Upton is fat, I’d hate to hear what they think of me.

Now I’m off to tell my daughters they are gorgeous (inside and out!), because I don’t think that’s something any girl can ever get enough of.