Archives for 2017

Thursday Ten: Oh, NBD Only Ages Since My Last Post edition

  1. Yeah, so it’s September. The kids are back in school – they’ve been back for about three weeks already and summer went by and like… what?
  2. We went to California. The girls and I were there for a week – and traveled from the Bay Area down to Los Angeles. We put our feet in the ocean. We painted a mural in Santa Monica. We missed home a lot. We toured Hearst Castle. I only mildly panicked on the airplane (the panic was mild because I had the foresight to order a cocktail before the turbulence started – so lesson learned: always order a drink because you never know if the weather over Colorado could get bumpy).
      
  3. I’m about six or seven weeks out from my second half marathon. I’ve got four races this season – two of them are fairly short distances, then I’ve got a ten miler and then the half. I’m sort of ready to be done with training. I’ve got nearly 24 miles in September already…and it’s only the 7th. For some, that’s chump mileage, but for me that’s quite a lot. I think my muscles are going to need a rest after this… until the next thing comes along.
  4. There’s so much sucky stuff going on in the world right now. I cannot believe where we are politically – how is this even real life?
  5. Spent countless hours last weekend shopping for a homecoming dress for The Princess and hating the fashion industry immensely. When your daughter is a 5’8″ athlete in a sea of dresses designed for 5’2″ waifs, it becomes a very discouraging experience. We did end up finding a beautiful dress – one that fits her beautifully and isn’t too short (OH EM GEE, why do teens need dresses so short? EVERYTHING is so short). It was a brutal two days of shopping – lesson learned for next time.
  6. I spent Labor Day ripping some of the weeds out of a small plot in my front yard and planting forty tulip bulbs. I’m kind of excited for spring already (yeah, I’ve got a long winter ahead of me) to see if I did this right… because if I did? It’s gonna be amazing.
  7. Just binged “The Good Place” on Netflix. Not sure how I missed this, or what channel it was on before – but what a delightful and quick binge. (I’m afraid to google it because WHAT IF THEY NEVER MADE A SECOND SEASON OF IT?)
  8. I don’t really watch television much. THAT is how I missed it.
  9. Just kicked off year ten of my 365 project. Cannot believe that I’ve never missed a day yet – in just over nine years. In all the ways my life has changed over the years – that is one thing that has remained constant.
  10. The weather is becoming fall. My favorite time of year. I wish it lasted longer than a few weeks. I’m not ready for winter. At all. Ever. Nope. Do not want. But fall. Give me fall. All the fall.

To My Daughter On Her 12th Birthday

Dear Pumpkin,

Twelve years ago this morning, I woke up in the early morning hours feeling less than great. Not long after that, a speedy car ride to the hospital ensued and then less than four hours after waking up, and less than two hours in the hospital even – you were in my arms. Oh how quickly it went, how soon you were there. HOW EARLY IN THE MORNING IT WAS.

Twelve years later, you’re finally sleeping in. That’s some progress, right? Partly, I think that’s the tween years setting in – and partly because we stay up too late. Often times during the school year, I’m waking you up at the crack of dawn and you’re wanting to sleep a little bit more – and whoa, after all of these years with you being such an early bird, I never thought that would happen.

You are an artist. You love to draw, paint, sketch. You have a good eye, but no patience. You can get frustrated when executing your vision is a challenge. You’ll sketch and erase and sketch again to get it right. I admire that and am amazed by your skill, even if you don’t appreciate just how good you are.

You are so smart. You think analytically and critically in ways that most people don’t – and I know that it means most people just aren’t on your level, which is probably not the way you want to feel when  you’re in middle school – but some day, have mercy, you are going to create some magic in this world with that brain.

You love animals. You love the planet. Your dad cut down a tree a few weeks ago and you were so angry at him. You put on your Mother Earth shirt and for awhile, according to your sister, you were very upset.

Your first year of middle school ended with straight As which was pretty awesome for a first year! You loved some of your classes. Others, not so much. But you adapted well to the idea of changing classes, multiple teachers, and figuring out how lockers work.

You love theater and musicals. You just wrapped up a week at musical theater camp and you love it. Not only do you love theater, but theater kids are YOUR PEOPLE. I wish we had a better bunch of theater kids around here, because that’s what you need. That’s your tribe. You tried out for the musical this winter and you didn’t get a part, and I thought that was so rotten, and I was so irritated. (I still am, when I think about it) You were crushed at the news, and I was crushed for you – it’s something you love so much and wanted so eagerly to be a part of. [The director sucks. I’m not supposed to say that, but I’m saying that because this is my letter to you and it’s probably not HER birthday. Also: I really think she sucks.]

You’re a brilliant writer. You make me laugh and I love the way your brain works. You just started a blog and I’m curious where you go with it. Maybe someday you’ll be writing letters for ME on MY birthday.

I am fascinated and amazed by you and still worry about your tender heart and how you wear it on your sleeve and I imagine that will always be a worry of mine for all of my days because you are so open with your feelings and I fear the pain that can come from being so tender. I wouldn’t change a thing about you for the world, but oh how I wish the world was kinder to the free spirits and dreamers and creatives, like you.

I am so excited to celebrate you. To celebrate the day I first held you in my arms. To celebrate another year of you. I hope twelve treats you well. This is the last year before you’re a (GASP) teenager. I cannot believe how fast the time flies. I’m so privileged to be your momma. If life is a merry-go-round, I’m so glad to be on it with you and your sister.

I love you with my whole heart and I am so lucky to be your momma.

Love you lots and lots of tater tots,

Momma

Thursday Ten: Somehow it’s july edition

  1. I mean, really. July. How did that freaking happen. We already had the fourth of July and the week long annoyance of fireworks every night. It’s very nearly MID-JULY. Where is time going?
  2. I’m in the midst of week two of my half marathon training. Already I am seeing a massive difference in the two programs, and mostly in terms of the amount of miles I’m running. The downside is that though I’m racking up miles, they’re slow. This humidity doesn’t help my pace at all.
  3. I hit a record for the most miles run in a month in June. I’m on track to beat it in July. (Who am I?)
  4. Why does Netflix tell me three times to watch “Glow” and never thought to tell me there was another season of Grey’s to catch up on? (Anyway, totally been bingeing on Greys)
  5. Today I go to get my first mammogram. It’s just a routine exam because I’m (gasp) 40 years old now, and though the doctor ordered the test back in March I’m just now getting around to it. Apparently I can’t wear deodorant so I’m super stoked for the people in my office today. That should be fun given how hot it’s been outside…(I’m bringing body wipes. The thought of walking around all day with stinky arm pits makes me cringe.)
  6. I’m averaging less than six hours of sleep a night this week and I am FEELING it.
  7. My kids are with their dad this week so I literally ate peanut butter toast and cookies for dinner and I don’t really know how to force myself to cook for just myself. Seems a huge waste of time.
  8. One hundred days ago, I started a special photo project and it ended yesterday and after one hundred days of color I’ve gotta say… it was cool but I’m glad to only have one project going on right now. TWO is too many.
  9. There’s a stack of laundry to fold that just keeps growing every day. I don’t want to fold laundry. Ever.
  10. I just wish I could write more. I keep saying I want to but the fact is, I feel like a bit of a mess lately. There’s just too much going on. And this truly seems to be as much time as I can find to write. I remember when I used to write more, when it used to be such a big part of my life. I’m sad that it’s not anymore because I want it to be.

A Letter to My Daughter on Her 15th Birthday

Dear Princess,

Happy birthday, missy. Fifteen. Wow. As I type this, there’s a letter for you on the counter from the local Driver’s Training place, so we’ve got that coming up. Soon, you’ll be taking lessons and then soon, I’ll get to hang out in the passenger seat while you drive me around places and get all the hours you need to get before you get your license, and I gotta say, I’m kind of looking forward to being chauffeured around. Well, I’m looking forward to it when I’m not feeling terrified… or old.

Your freshman year of high school is nearly over and… I think it’s been a good year. As the year comes to an end, I know you’re bummed that you’re getting a B in biology but I never worry about your grades because you’re a smart cookie and you work hard. You have adjusted to high school pretty well, and I’m ready to see what the next year has in store for you. You auditioned for (and made it!) to Honors Choir, so I look forward to more singing in the year ahead. You did a solo at your choir concert last weekend… your voice was so beautiful, and when you sang tears came to my eyes.

You have three weeks left of your rest from gymnastics – it’s been a tough road, I know, trying to recover from your injured clavicle-slash-shoulder-slash-‘part where the ribs meet the sternum.’ I know it’s been discouraging to not get to do anything when you go to practice, and that you’ve been afraid of losing your skills… and even that it’s been difficult to be in pain. But I have faith that you’ll be back at it in a few weeks, that you’ll recover and get back to where you were. You had an amazing season this year – so many medals, so many PR’s. I know it feels like you won’t get that back… but… I have faith.

You are organized and meticulous. You are bullet journals and to-do lists. Your room is clean and you like order. You’re a good helper, and I appreciate that. Sometimes I get very overwhelmed and you help me get out of my noggin and figure out what to do next. You’re super funny and I like when you send me texts.

I love that at night, you and your sister tuck a stuffed animal into my bed along with my book.

While I’m bummed that you’re not starting your birthday with me today, I’m looking forward to when you and your sister come home and we can celebrate with presents and brownie pie. It warmed my heart when you texted me last night, upset that your sister was spending the night at her friend’s, sad that she wouldn’t be at your dad’s with you when you wake up today. I loved that you wanted her there with you, but also that you recognized that it was a fun thing for her to get to hang out with a friend, and you let her be excited about her fun evening. And even though the two of you fight a lot, I know that you both have each other’s backs. As a mom, that makes me tremendously happy too.

You are my persister. Nevertheless. You challenge people to think outside of what they know, what is accepted. You don’t keep quiet. You don’t accept status quo. I love that you are the one other kids are afraid to argue politics with. I love that you make noise, that you think. You believe that the world could be and should be better, and I am so excited to see what you make of your life, and who you will become. Who you are already is pretty great.

You said you wanted to try a Couch to 5k. I know you may well hate running, but I look forward to running with you this summer. It makes me happy that you want to try. Maybe we’ll do a race and get matching medals.

Sigh.

Fifteen. Wow. Fifteen years ago, I held you in my arms and I became a mom, and now you are taller than me and just a few years away from college and what happened. When did I blink? How did the time pass so quickly? I’ve always been so excited at each new phase of your life, because watching you, your sister, blossom into these amazing people has been so rewarding, so great… but oh, now it’s going too fast. It could slow down a little, please.

This year will be full of phenomenal things for you, of that I am sure. I hope more musicals, more singing, more stacks of books to read, more things crossed off the list of to-dos.

Hurry up and come home. I’m excited to celebrate your birthday with you. I love you so very very much and I am looking forward to seeing what this year brings for you.

Happy birthday, Princess. I love you lots and lots of tater tots and I’m so lucky to be your momma.

<3

 

Thursday Ten: There’s A Million Things I Haven’t Done edition

  1. I used to be a better blogger. I wrote more often, and sometimes I was even amusing. These days, I can’t seem to get myself together to string a few words into a post and that makes me crazy because so much as happened since I last posted, things that all warrant a post of their own and here I am writing a Thursday Ten and let’s face it, a bullet point for these things is just not even enough.
  2. Working backwards, most recently been dealing with the stress of my brother being quite ill, in the hospital and intubated, unable to breathe on his own. I can start with this because yesterday they were able to take the tube out and he was able to breathe on his own, though he is raspy, coughs a lot, and is quite pissed at the world. (He also really would like to eat something but… yeah, that’s going to be awhile.) Not sure how he got so ill, and I’m not sure how it got so bad… but it was bad and now he’s on the mend, and there are probably some things that will have to change for the sake of his health. Scary things aren’t good – but I’m glad that at the very least, it might bring about some much needed change.
  3. I found out my brother was so ill on our way back from Chicago where we had just seen mother-freakin’ HAMILTON. It was absolutely everything EVERYTHING I dared hoped it would be. I am so glad to have gotten to share that with the girls and Chris. It was magic.
  4. It was SO magic that by the time they got to “Yorktown,” I was just in such awe that I started crying – it is one of my favorite songs in the musical, and everything was perfect: the music, the staging, the choreography. ALL OF IT. And I was thinking to myself, “Oh my god. I’m really here.” I’d go again in a minute. Worth every penny of the ticket prices…
  5. You know what else, y’all? I ran a half marathon! It was difficult and kind of scary, but I did it. I cried when I crossed the finish line. (I’m doing a lot of crying lately) I just was so damn proud of myself. I can do these things. I can set these goals.
  6. So… I signed up for another half. I’ve got five more months to train for it, but even though I thought I was “one and done,” I’m totally doing another half marathon and that just kind of blows my mind a bit.
  7. And then I signed up for a ten miler, too, because the timing was perfect so why the heck not? NOTHING CAN STOP ME NOW.
  8. Before THAT? I went for my yearly appointment with the amazing team in Iowa and…it was good. Better than I could have hoped.
  9. See, you guys. There’s been so much stuff. And now the school year is almost over, my kid turns 15 in just over a week, and I’m a freaking half-marathoner, and you’ve missed it all because I’m not a good blogger.
  10. But. I miss writing. I have to do this more often. I do.

Thursday Ten: Probably Not Really Okay edition

  1. I am tired. Oh my god, am I tired. I am stressed out, exhausted, and easily made anxious by stuff that really shouldn’t be that big deal. I feel like a bit of a mess. I hate it.
  2. I would think that I should expect that dealing with the diagnosis of progressively failing vision might cause some amount of being massively bummed, but I wasn’t expecting it. And here it is. I am so bummed, so often. It is a phase I am going to have to pass in and out of, but in the meantime, as I wallow in it, I hate it and I am angry with myself and the universe.
  3. That’s probably a bit too much truthiness considering I haven’t posted in ages.
  4. The half marathon training is going pretty much okay except for the massive hip and knee pain. So I’ve also started physical therapy which has been an interesting adventure and ends up with experiences such as cringing as the therapist leans into my hip with her elbow in order to break up a massive knotted muscle. (THAT’S GONNA HURT.)
  5. But I ran nearly 20 miles last week, and…I’m doing it.
  6. I am on a mission to learn how to bake chocolate babka.
  7. I bought another pair of running shoes. I’m not sure I even need running shoes.
  8. The thing about having a busy brain is that I’m not getting enough sleep.
  9. Gymnastics season is now over for The Princess – so that’s a relief.
  10. Tell me something happy.

Thursday Ten: It’s Been A Little While

  1. I am not even gonna lie – 2017 was supposed to be better than 2016 and so far it really just isn’t. Life is busy, work is busy, weather is cold, president is terrifying. I’m exhausted all the time. I had a meltdown on Tuesday that had me in tears for an hour. I just don’t even know, man. So far, 40 can suck it.
  2. On a brighter side though, after saving for years, I finally had the 15 year old carpet from this house ripped out and replaced it with some super durable flooring that will be able to withstand dog barf and spilled milk. I haven’t wanted to do this for YEARS and was so excited to finally be able to pull the trigger on this project. It’s beautiful. And now the next thing is to ditch this beat up sofa… and figure out what of my existing furniture goes and stays. There’s my dog modeling the new floor in the picture below.
    Lucky on the new floor
  3. One thing at a time, Sarah.
  4. The thing about feeling so worn down is that I’m starting to feel as if I look worn down too. So this week I decided to subscribe to Beachbody on Demand – a streaming video service that lets you work out from home, streaming video to any of your screened devices, and offers up a variety of video options to choose from. Did my first workout yesterday – Cize. Wowza. Fun and intense and I was dripping with sweat by the time I was done. Can’t wait to try the next one.
  5. We’re expecting temps in the 50s this weekend. While this has felt a fairly mild winter compared to recent years, I’m still super stoked to get a sneak peek of spring.
  6. The warmer weather will help force me out the door for my runs – I’m training for a half marathon! For the first time, I’m using a program that incorporates speed intervals and tempo runs. The overall mileage is lower but i’m hoping they know what the heck they’re doing – that the speed runs will help me over all, so I can slog through 13.1.
  7. This Saturday is National Drink Wine Day.
  8. Next week is National Margarita Day. FYI, Margarita Day in February seems stupid timing.
  9. Why does the brain get louder at night time? I can be fine all day, but come 9:30, 10 p.m., my brain starts swirling and not in a good way.
  10. Reading the news, reading Twitter… it ain’t good. Every day it’s something new and it’s all awful. Tell me why people voted for that guy again?

When everyone is that Facebook friend you want to ignore

Saturday morning I opened my eyes and the first thing I thought to myself was, “Huh. Well. I didn’t think that would happen.”

It’s not that I thought the world would entirely blow up in the middle of the night but I went to bed Friday evening with such a heavy sense of dread. What would come next? I had no idea.

I spent Friday in a fog, alternately working and scrolling Facebook, in a state of utter disbelief and refusal to fully entertain the thought that America done messed up. Big time.

And I don’t know what to do about that besides keep showing up. Keep making phone calls. Keep working to make my world better.

It’s hard because everywhere I go, there is so much negativity to consume. I’m tired. I’m frustrated. People say, “Just wait and see” without fully understanding that for many of us, waiting doesn’t feel like something we have the luxury of doing.

I am scared. Sad. Confused. Angry.

I am worn out.

I am so worn out.

Every day it’s something new, something awful, something “IS THIS FOR REAL?” Every day I have to force myself to rise above it, scroll beyond it, not absorb too much of the negativity and instead push push push to do what I can to make change where I can, and leave the rest of it behind.

I just want to be a better person. I want to raise good children. I want to see a bunch of stuff while my eyes still work. I don’t want to feel afraid all of the time. I don’t want to feel angry this often. I want to be kind.

Everything is just so hard right now. And I’m so tired.

What we’re probably not telling our kids about social media

Psst. Hey parents. Yeah, you over there. C’mon over a second. Can we talk?

This parent gig is hard. It’s hard and it’s probably tougher than it was for our parents back in the day because times are different now and there are a lot of different elements we’ve gotta look out for that didn’t even exist when we were kids. We’ve gotta find that balance between how much we care and not being helicopter parents. Raising good people but not raising special snowflakes who feel entitled to everything without putting in the work.

It’s exhausting. Totally rewarding, but… it’s tough work.

And it just seems like it’s forever getting tougher. Take a look at your kid’s social media accounts.

No really. Go take a look. I’ll wait.

I spend a lot of time on my kid’s channels – I look at what she posts, what she comments, what people comment on her posts. I click over on the profiles of the people who comment and like her posts. I randomly take her phone and scroll around.

It’s one of the conditions for getting to be online because I know that it’s kind of a weird space, online. I’ve been active in social media for very nearly ten years (my Twitter profile says I joined in 2007) so I’ve watched it evolve over nearly a decade now. Back when I first joined Twitter, my oldest kid wasn’t even in kindergarten yet and I had no idea how the very existence of social media would impact my parenting or their childhood experiences. I’m not sure if, at that point, any of us were.

I started blogging over 11 years ago… Generally, I’ve been ALL UP IN THE INTERNET for over a decade of my life and so while it’s a passion of sorts for me – this whole web and social thing – my presence in this environment for so long means that I tend to be wary about things because, you know, that’s what happens over time.

I’ve watched Twitter grow up. I’ve watched Facebook change faces. Instagram bloomed.

And then our kids got old enough to sign up.

My daughter got series of unkind messages from a girl whose requests for a follow she declined. The details of this are not entirely important to the scenario. The decline of the follow request was not with malice or with the intention to hurt, but more of a, “My social space is private. I am choosing to let in the people I interact with on a day to day basis.”

[In retrospect, perhaps my kid could have verbalized this. However she did not.]

But, anyway, the girl got upset and in this string of messages referred to my kid as “being a bitch.”

Well. That’s not how you win friends and influence people. And I’m not sure what her motivation is – annoyance at not being granted entrance into a “private” online space (private being what it is on the internet, I’m no idiot) or truly hurt feelings.

Here’s where it gets tricky, moms and dads and parent-type people:

It’s a FINE LINE. How do we teach our kids to be kind and inclusive and yet that they are allowed to set and establish and preserve healthy boundaries for themselves and their environments (online or in the real world). If we consider ourselves a house with a fence around it… it is up to each of us to decide to whom we open the gate. Admittedly, that’s a lesson I learned far too late in life.

I was always trying to be nice, to not rock the boat, and to not upset people. I let people have access to me when I’d have preferred to keep to myself. I didn’t realize for a long time that I could shut that gate at any time. That no one needed to be in my figurative (or literal, for that matter) yard if I didn’t want them to be there.

So here we are: no one is entitled a follow. No one is entitled access to your child’s space. If your child wouldn’t invite them to your dinner table, why would he or she be obligated to grant them entrée into his or her social media world – where they share pictures and videos and sing songs and show off the family pet chinchilla or whatever? Having boundaries is healthy. It’s not mean.

That’s where, I admit, it gets murky to me. Because I’m still inclined to go along to get along – accept the follow, it hurts nothing… because I want to raise good and loving people who are kind and inclusive. I never want anyone to feel hurt feelings, and it’s tricky that creating boundaries for oneself brings with it animosity from those who don’t want to respect those same boundaries.

So, parents, what do we do?

I think we need to have those conversations with our kids about those boundaries. We need to establish how you can be protective of your space firmly and kindly without being a jerk but you can’t stop other people from being bent out of shape about it. We can talk about how your number of followers doesn’t define you. We can talk about what the social media experience actually means to you, the story you want to tell, the person you want people to know you as, and how again, it’s just one small facet of you as a whole person.

My gosh, I’ve wished so many times today that I was raising kids in the 80s where the biggest issue was jelly bracelets and trying to catch your favorite song on the radio so you could record it with your cassette player with minimal amount of DJ blathering before and after (don’t even ask how long it took me to record Debbie Gibson’s “Lost In Your Eyes” because man, I loved that song, but the DJ always talked through the whole piano beginning of that song and it drove me bonkers).

It’s a different world and we have to understand it so we can teach our kids how to navigate it. We have to be present. And we have to be willing to admit that we have a lot to learn and that we don’t know everything… and be willing to learn, evolve and adapt to help our people be good people.

It’s tough stuff, people. Are you ready?