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Thursday, August 15, 2019

My ManCub Isn't a Cub Anymore.


My kiddo isn't a kid any more! Twenty years ago he came into the world and I became a mother. He has blessed our lives with his happy and calm spirit every day since then.


He is hilarious, handsome, kind, intelligent and weirdly wise for a young man of his age. 


Tanner is an old soul.  His spirit sees and understands things far beyond his earthly years.


He's a deep thinker, this one. And those thoughts can lead to some pretty profound conclusions sometimes.


His capacity to love and forgive make me try harder to be a better person every day. Most days I feel like parenting through the lens of trauma that I still work through has wrecked my boys.


But then my oldest - my Golden Bear - he shows up with his kind and gentle ways and I get to see that, despite my messy guidance, he's growing up to be a really amazing person. 


And I feel some redemption. Happy Birthday, Tanner! Thanks for 20 years of unconditional love and joy! ❤

Sunday, May 12, 2019

You Are a Mother to Someone!

It's Mother's Day. Lots of family dinners and pictures of our moms to celebrate the women who birthed or raised us. But as the saying goes, it takes a village.

Yes, we do the hard work of raising ourselves and our kids in our own homes. But there are other women in our lives who also nurture and support and help in whatever way they can. Whether they mother us, or help us mother our kids, they make a difference in our lives.  The don't always get the recognition they deserve for their nurturing and mothering instincts. I hope you will realize the influence you have on those around you. Those gestures of love and support that you instinctively offer that you don't even think about? They make you your own perfect version of a mother to the people you nurture every single day.

I'm talking to you, Cool Moms of our Kids Friends! The ones who include our kiddos in your family activities and love them as much as we do, who celebrate their successes and worry about their trials, who  listen and encourage and offer the same advice we would offer, but in a totally non-parental way, so our kids sometimes actually listen.

We're waving to you from our cars, Crosswalk Guard Mom, who knows the name of every kid whom she helps across the street. They know you'll know if their friend has already left school without them and that you'll make their brother wait for them if he's supposed to, even if he doesn't want to. They love when you notice new clothes or a new hairstyle. Our kids start and end their school day knowing they can count on you for a hug, a smile, and a kind word, regardless of how bad their day was.

I'm throwing some love to the Grocery Store/Church Pew Mamas. The ones who head off a toddler meltdown in the Grocery store with a hard candy or a game of peek-a-boo in the chapel from 3 rows back because an exhausted mother can't find her coping skills.

How about the "Mom" of our best friend's group? The one who thoughtfully remembers everyone's birthday and who knows everyone's favorite food, color, celebrity crush and shoe size. The one who instinctively knows when we need a break from life and comes to scoop us up for a girls night out. Or who simply checks in with a text or a PM to let us know she's thinking about us.

Shout out to all the Work Moms in our offices. The ones who adopt their work families and find ways to care for their coworkers each day. The ones who bring food. Who offer advice and counsel about personal and work-related issues. The ones who recognize when work is hard and we are tired, who stop by our cubicles with a treat, a funny meme, or a Post-It with a kind thought. The ones who think to check on us when we're not at work, to make sure we're okay.

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There are so many more examples of Momming that I am missing, but you get the picture.  As women, we all fill that role somehow, somewhere as we go about the daily grind of living. Whether you realize it or not, you fill a void for someone who needs a mothering influence in their life.

So to all the women in my life who provide support and care in so many different ways, Happy Mother's Day! I hope you all feel loved and appreciated for the unique and necessary support you each bring to the world on the daily.  You make a difference. ❤❤

Monday, March 5, 2018

Parent Transitioning Is Hard

Sitting in church and watching the families around me interact. So many little boys hugging their mothers, playing with Mom's hair, laying their heads in Mom's lap, stroking her cheek with grubby, chubby, toddler hands. 


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Looks of love and giggles shared between a mother and son, as all of them work to keep their little dudes busy, while also trying to gain some spiritual nourishment. That bond between mother and son is so strong!



And then, as I sit there feeling a twinge of sadness that I don't have those little moments with my little boys anymore, my 18 year old son puts his arm around my shoulder and my mama heart melts. The bond has grown even stronger. The moments of toddler adoration may be gone, but the love is still there and sometimes they remember to show it.  


Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing, tree and outdoor

 #boymoms #theysmellbetternow #hestillsplayswithmyhair #theirstronghugspopmybacksodoublebenefits



Wednesday, June 28, 2017

My Week of Sciatic Nerve Pain - In GIFs

I have been trying to cope with sciatic pain for about 8 days now. Have you had sciatic nerve pain?  It's like Satan has reached up from Hell with his fiery hot fingers and is gouging you over and over with his stupid ass long, melted iron-red poker nails all up and down your butt cheek and leg. And it makes me mean. Here's a representation of what I have looked like over the last 5-7 days (Its actually a tiny bit better today, so I'm not so nasty this afternoon.

The Bargaining Phase:

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The "It's Never Going Away" Phase:
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The "Thanks for the suggestions that don't work" Phase
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The "I hate everyone" Phase
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The"I guess this is my life now" Phase
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I'm typically not a yoga person, but there was a lot of good info about yoga poses to help alleviate sciatic nerve pain. Okay, I'm a big fat woman, but what the hell. I'll give it a shot. Which looked like this:
 
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And this:

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And this:

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And it felt a lot like this:

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So after a few days of mental and physcial torture, I got desperate and tried anything and everything I could think of to get the pain to go away. Nothing was off limits.

Son, come try this to help me fixed my pinch nerve.

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Oh, that looks like it might work.

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Nope, not helping. Maybe this one:

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Okay, I'm getting desperate now. Where's that crazy thing I saw on the internet?

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Still no relief.  I was resigning myself to the fact that this wasn't going to go away any time soon.
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And that I was going to have to spend money I don't have to get medical attention.

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Just at that moment, a friend shares an idea:

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Fine. I'll try one more thing. But only because you're my friend. And I'm desperate. And Unemployed. And Uninsured. So I try this "Miracle Cure" of which she speaks:

Seems a little wierd, but it was starting to work:

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And suddenly, for the first time in the longest freaking week that I can remember, I had relief!

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Oh my gosh, it WORKED!!!!!
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Who are you, really, Miracle Friend??
 
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Thursday, June 15, 2017

When One Door Closes...You Go Home and Cry and Then Watch Friends for 2 Days While You Reevaluate Your Life Choices

Do you remember that time when you thought your life was really starting to take a turn for the positive and then the world slammed that door shut right in your face? Yeah, me too.  Sigh.  Good times.  Gooood times.

Except you know what? I'm weirdly okay.  I mean, yeah, I did have a big cry session and got really depressed for few days. But overall, after the initial shock, I don't feel as horrible as I thought I would that I was laid off after 5 months. It's a start up company.  There are growing pains. Like budget cuts. And I was a casualty.  But I put everything I had into being successful there and I made really good friends. So, I really don't have anything to feel bad about with regard to my performance there, other than I should have stepped out of my comfort zone a little quicker to learn the job functions of other areas in the company so that I had more value. But honestly, as jobs go, I worked my butt off at this one. And it just didn't pay off this time.  What can you do?

But I wasn't prepared for the end, so I have found myself struggling to regroup in terms of next steps. Mostly because I'm not in the mood to go back to the traditional working mom role again. The one where I leave for 12 hours a day and give someone else everything I have to give so the company can make a lot of money and then come home exhausted, with nothing left to give to my family.  I don't like that kind of existence. I don't mind working.  I love using my time and talents to help a company grow! I'm just really ready to do something that's fulfilling with a company that really, truly recognizes that I can't leave every ounce of my being on the work table, because I have to have some left for my family. 

So, while I have spent the last month and a half looking for a job that's a really great fit, I am also trying really, really hard to enjoy the time I have to think about what will make me whole and happy.  I've also tried really hard to enjoy my boys and savor every unhurried moment I have with them, because they will be gone in a few short years and I won't get this time back. I'm trying to make sure we talk about exploring their options after high school and spend lots of time talking with them about dreams and ambitions.  That way when life gets hard for them after they leave home, I can recall with them our little day trips and conversations and remind them that they have a plan. I can bring back the memories we are making right now to encourage them to stay focused on goals, so they CAN create the kind of life they want. The kind of life that makes them feel whole and happy and fulfilled. The kind of life I have struggled to create for myself for the last 50 years.

And as I write this, it occurs to me that I think I have actually found a job that is the perfect fit for me right now. I get to be a tuned-in, focused mom again. Sometimes the door closes and things come to an end for a reason. Until this very second, I didn't grasp the fact that I'm where I need to be, doing exactly what I need to be doing at this moment.

Also, I have more time to binge watch FRIENDS. Because honestly...how can this not make you feel better?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Back to School: the High School Years. Reality Hits You Hard, Bro.

First day of school is in the books.  Some mild complaining about schedules and how everyone in the entire world who is worth knowing is in the same fun class with the best teacher in the entire universe, who is actually a stand up comedian that just teaches because he/she got tired of being famous - EXCEPT for my kids, who of course ended up in classes taught by Satan's 8th grade math teacher in rooms where each seat taken by one of their nemesēs from the last 5 years and they have to sit next to the talkiest, lamest, smelliest one that they hate the most, but have to endure because mom taught them to be nice, even to people who make their heads want to explode. Ah, the cruelty of high school.


Apparently it was all too much as everyone was in bed before 10 pm tonight.  Last time this happened?  About 3 months ago.  Feels good to be back on schedule again, dealing with real world problems...like schedule changes and 8000 parent signatures and smelly gym clothes.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

3 Secrets to Cooking the Tastiest Food You've Ever Eaten

June is a busy month, full of fun and memories!  It marks graduation, the start of summer, weddings, vacation season.  But did you know that June is also National Dairy Month?  While we fire up our grills in preparation for the summer cooking season, June is the perfect time to incorporate a food group that tastes great and is great for us:  dairy.

Many of us (my family included) eat butter and cheese as part of our weekly meal rotation.  But we often forget to consider that many butters contain additives (such as growth hormones, preservatives, and dyes) that can be harmful to our bodies.  What if I told you there was a way to sidestep those potentially dangerous chemicals, embrace all-natural great taste, and take your baking and cooking game to the next level in honor of National Dairy Month?

I recently discovered Finlandia Cheese [https://www.finlandiacheese.com/]—a brand that has been crafting some of the highest quality cheese and butter for over a century.  We had a great experience putting Finlandia ingredients to the test this week!  Here's how my samples arrived, all sealed up in a cool pack so they stayed nice and fresh!


We were going to make a yummy dessert, like pound cake or banana bread, but the end of a long week found us hungry for something more savory and substantial.  The boys voted for grilled ham, turkey and cheese sandwiches!  Finlandia Swiss Cheese (#finlandiacheese) slices are the perfect choice for this quick and easy snack/meal! 


Construction was pretty basic, we added just a little bit of horseradish and mustard spread to the bread to give the sandwiches a little kick.  Findlandia Salted Butter (#finlandiabutter) spread on the outside of the bread added a nice buttery taste and helped the bread toast up rather nicely! 



The end result?  I think you can tell my boys were super happy and full! 




The easy meal prep and gooey, stringy deliciousness of the grilled cheese sammies inspired me to try some new recipes (I'll post pics later) and share a few secrets to help you create some of the best-tasting food you and your family have ever eaten!
  
SECRET #1:  USE ONLY HIGH-QUALITY INGREDIENTS 
Great dishes are a sum of their parts.  I used to go for the cheapest brand of everything. I am learning that in order to create really great dishes, all parts should be delicious alone AND in your culinary creation.  When I tried Finlandia for the first time, I was really surprised!  Not only are their cheeses and butter all-natural and hormone-free, but they taste incredible.  Seriously.  You can taste the difference. Imported from Finland using milk produced by well-cared-for cows, Finlandia Butter is rich and creamy.  It tastes so much better than any butter I've ever tasted.  And you could eat Finlandia Cheese straight from the package—no crackers needed.

SECRET #2:  CARE ABOUT THE SOURCE OF YOUR FOOD
Life moves fast, and most of us don't have time to research every single product we consume.  Which is hard for me, because I like to research things.  Even when it's not necessary.  I have this thing about fact finding.  However, when it comes to products like cheese and butter, which we eat almost everyday, it's important to be aware of what we're putting into our bodies.  Finlandia Butter is made from pure, hormone-free milk, which comes from happy cows that live on family-owned farms in Finland—the greenest country on Earth.  No hidden chemicals, no factory farms—just pure, creamy goodness.  I love this!! It makes me want to meet the cows and farmers and thank them for caring about us!

SECRET #3:  GET THE WHOLE FAMILY INVOLVED
Getting your family involved in the kitchen can help create lasting memories and start an important conversation around nutrition and health.  We don't do that enough at my house. But now that my boys are getting older?  I realize they need more practice so they can eat something besides cereal when they go off to college.  Baking sheet cookies?  Get out the cookie cutters and let your kids create the shapes.  Cooking a grilled cheese?  Let your significant other butter the bread.  If you're in need of some culinary inspiration, check out the Finlandia Cheese Facebook page.  Good stuff there!  And if you need to know where to find Findlandia products, you can go here: https://www.finlandiacheese.com/product-locator/

Got any baking secrets of your own?  I'd love to hear about them!  Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below.

**Disclosure:  As always, this review is based on my own honest opinions.  I did not receive compensation for this post, but did receive Finlandia products to help facilitate the review.  Just keepin' it real, Y'all!***