37

I’ve never made my age a secret…but I spent a lot of years avoiding the question. Especially when my kids were much younger. Divulging my age brought more questions and, well, judgment. It was just easier to let people do the math on their own. If they said anything, I was just glad to not know about it.

Thankfully, I’ve gotten better at not caring. And, hey…this past Saturday, I turned 37. (I just thought I should throw that out there.)

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To be honest, I’m pretty proud of 37. It’s been a while since my age has felt so…strange. And maybe it’s not that 37 sounds so strange, maybe it’s just that I feel like each year should make me feel more like a grown-up. Although…is there ever a point you feel like a grown-up? Isn’t sending a kid off to college grown up enough?

At any rate, I enjoyed the hell out of my birthday and I just don’t think that’s a bad thing.

IT WAS JUST SO NICE.

As I finished up getting ready Saturday morning, The Dude sent me a text message from downstairs with a picture similar to this one telling me I should come downstairs and start my birthday.

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And do I did.

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My brother happened to call just as I took that first sip of my Super Special Birthday Bloody Mary (I’m pretty sure that’s the official name) and I laughed when I realized how spicy, but delicious, it was. Explaining to my brother what had happened, and me mentioning the spicy, my husband says (loudly) that I must like my Bloody Marys like I like my Mexican husband.

(For the record, he’s not wrong.)

At that point, all you could hear was Ramona sputtering how gross and “Ew! Ew! EW!” it all was and I’m pretty sure we’ve scarred her for life. But I guess maybe that’s how you know that you’re doing old and grown-up-type-person right. You know, when you completely and thoroughly disgust your children with what can only now be described at spicy talk and that you find it completely hilarious and awesome. I think THAT is how you know that you’ve made it.

 

I’ve been writing this post for four days…and 17 years

I don’t think I was expecting to celebrate the morning of my 17th wedding anniversary finalizing (and scrutinizing) my kid’s Stanford early action application. We had gone over it several times. But somehow, the thought of hitting the ‘submit’ button made all of us want to triple and quadruple check everything. Every essay, every question. Was everything the way it needed to be?

You can drive yourself crazy wondering if you did everything right. I mean, the Stanford version of right.

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But then…it’s done. It’s sent. We are so freaking proud of that kid. And no matter what, we know that she will end up EXACTLY where she is meant to be. Stanford or not.
***

I find it completely strange and wonderful and extremely fitting that the very first college application was filed on our anniversary. It wasn’t burdensome. It felt completely normal…like, this is what we do! A few hours later, after the kids shuffled off to their various locations, The Dude and I sat down at the bar waiting for our table. As we watched the bartender make our drinks, and we were finally settling down from the day’s events we kinda looked at each other and I said,

“Our kid just applied to…Stanford. How the hell did THAT happen???!”

We both shook our heads and my husband ordered us both scallop shooters. Of course.

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***

Before college applications, before the sun was even up, I got up and got dressed in my running clothes. My husband was still sound asleep when I whispered that I was leaving. He grabbed my hand to pull me back for a hug, whispered “Happy Anniversary” and promptly fell back asleep. After all this time, me leaving when it’s still dark out, even on our anniversary, to go on a run with Sarah is completely normal.

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That’s one of my favorite things about us. Our life is insane and full of chaos…but some of the most “normal” things make everything else fit right in. Like there’s room for everyone and everything has a place. Even if that place is tucked into a cupboard or on the very tip-top of a shelf, we’ll find a place for it all. All the chaos. All the people we love. Even all the things we need to do. We’ll get to it. We always seem to.

Photo by the oldest child in Huntington Beach
Photo by the oldest child in Huntington Beach

Going with the flow without getting swept up in the current is a big part of who are and how we live. But (really) hard work and epic stubbornness is how we’ve been able to float along together for 17 years.

The Mama and the Girls Photo by Sarah Maren Photography
The Mama and the Girls
Photo by Sarah Maren Photography

We had to fight like hell to make it. Not very much has been easy – especially in the beginning. (Hell, the first 10-12 years.) But being able to roll with the punches, and giving a lot of ‘em right back, is how we’ve survived. We’ve never given up.

The Dad and the Girls Photo by Sarah Maren Photography
The Dad and the Girls
Photo by Sarah Maren Photography

Maybe it’s because we just celebrated our 17th anniversary, maybe it’s because we’ve reached this parenting milestone where one of our kids is applying to colleges, but when I get to focus on just how far we’ve all come…WHOA, you guys. I’m proud of it.

Us...photo by Sarah Maren Photography
Us…photo by Sarah Maren Photography

 

I’m just so damn proud of it all.

Photo by: Sarah Maren Photography
Photo by: Sarah Maren Photography

 

The Easter Dilemma

It just dawned on me that I’ve done NOTHING for Easter. No decorations up. No Easter baskets down from the storage shelf in the garage. Nothing that resembles the fact that Easter is in two days. I mean, I accidentally have a little bit of candy because we visited Andy’s Candy on Monday, but I really can’t list that under the “accomplishments” column because we’ve already started eating it.

Hell, the kids asked the other day if they were getting something for Easter.

All signs point to NO.

It’s too bad you don’t believe in the Easter Bunny! Basically that means that you get crap from your Mom & Dad because they’re JERKS!

I’m pretty sure we’ll come up with something. (Tomorrow. Maybe.) But I’m feeling conflicted on this new chapter of parenting we’ve reached. I’m equal parts nostalgic and relieved that ‘these types’ of holidays are no longer a very big deal in our house. Less stress, but I promised myself that it didn’t matter that if they believed or not, we’d still celebrate with gusto. But here we are and I’ve done NOTHING to prepare and I’ve kinda entertained the idea that I don’t have to.

I won’t actually DO nothing, but I’ve entertained the idea.

(Also, I’m really bummed that I forgot to decorate. I do love springtime/Easter decorations. They’re so cheerful.)

Parenting is so weird. I’m blown away by the fact that I’m done with the babies and toddler era. But OMG MY KIDS FEED AND DRESS THEMSELVES AND IT’S GLORIOUS. But then…the only time I’ll sniff a baby’s head is if it belongs to someone else. MY CHILDREN TALK AND CAN USE THEIR WORDS TO TELL ME IF THEY’RE NOT FEELING WELL OR HUNGRY. I DON’T HAVE TO WIPE ANYONE’S ASS. The cuddles, the footie pajamas the cuddles! I DON’T HAVE TO PAY FOR DIAPERS AND DID I MENTION I DON’T HAVE TO WIPE ANYONE’S ASS?

So yeah…we’re back to two days before Easter and totally not prepared. Or decorated. And completely grateful that we have plans with family on Sunday that will be fabulous fun and will give my kids a taste of Easter festivities. Which means, really, that I can give myself the weekend off and not worry about this anymore. Done!

I love Easter.

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Last year’s Easter deco. Obviously.

 

Ramona: Age 12

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Twelve just sounds really old.

I obviously know how old my kids are. I really do know how to do math. But for some reason, Ramona’s jump from 11 to 12 yesterday knocked the wind out of me. It’s not that her new and updated age took me by surprise. It’s just…no, I’m lying. It somehow totally took my by surprise. I’m constantly amazed by how fast time flies. At this point in my parenting career, I should really be used to it.

For various reasons, I worried about how much fun Ramona would have celebrating her birthday. With her big day falling right in the middle of her two weeks of spring break and then a family filled, Easter weekend, we didn’t have too many options and will be having her birthday “event” in May. At some point. On a weekend that is NOT Mother’s Day or the weekend I’m not out of town. (Sigh.)

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yes, she is pointing a sling-shot at me

Don’t get me wrong, I really do think she had a great time yesterday. I mean she practically had a breakfast of gummy bears and worms as we visited a fabulous new candy store downtown. (LOVE them.) We had a Starbucks date, her and I. A visit to one of her favorite people. Her best friend was able to get out of school early yesterday and hang out with us for the afternoon. They were pampered with pedicures, just the two of them. (Which I neglected to get a picture of. Mom FAIL.)

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there are only 10 candles…another MOM FAIL

We had celebrated April birthdays with my side of the family over the weekend while everyone was in town, but my inlaws were able to come over for a nice, little dinner. I was also so glad that some family that lives so close could come over for birthday cake. (That Beezus made. From scratch. It was amazing and DELICIOUS.)

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the beautiful, vanilla layered cake made with a LOT of hard work by the big sister

I can’t even begin to express my gratitude for the people in my life that love my kids so much. I am so blessed with family (and friends who are family) who make my kids feel so special. This kid is so loved. Plus, that look on her face? Makes me so damn happy. She is just the coolest chick ever.

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I love her

Life Without Pinterest is Like a Night…Without Pinterest. (Or Blogging.)

Last night, I admitted to Sarah that I hadn’t been on Pinterest in weeks. She was understandably shocked. Quite honestly, I didn’t know that my Pinterest Vacation had lasted so long. But when you’re spending every spare moment on a new adventure? Well, I guess time just flies. With, or without, Pinterest.

This, maybe, applies to this right here blog of mine.

And so here we are.

To catch up? I had a really amazing Thanksgiving, thankyouverymuch. We started the day with Run to Feed the Hungry. I don’t know why we had such a great run, but we had a freaking blast. Maybe it’s because we’re so cute.

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Thanksgiving dinner was spent with most of my siblings, my cute family and my inlaws. And you know what? It was pretty gosh darn fantastic. And wonderful. And I loved every minute of it. Even if I didn’t get a chance to shower after the race. (Good news is that I showered BEFORE. That was lucky. And a lot planned.)

The next day, we set out to find the biggest Christmas tree ever. Okay, not ever…but the only thing I asked for Christmas was a huge tree. So we made our way up to Apple Hill…along with a million other people…and braved the weather. And by “weather” I mean it was, like 9 million degrees. Which, if you think about it, is pretty odd weather for picking out a Christmas Tree. But we were on a mission and powered through! We would not be sidetracked! Even if we were wearing WAY too many clothes and probably suffered from heat stroke at one point or another. The hugest Christmas tree needed to be found!

However…the tree farm we settled on, didn’t have the huge trees we were thinking we would find. By that time, we had searched for quite some time. So I settled on what I thought was a nine foot tree. Maybe the family would just have to buy me an actual present, too, since the tree wasn’t GINORMOUS. But as it turns out? It was actually a little more than ten feet. And turned out to be the perfect size for our front room windows. The star perfectly looking out the top windows.

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Also, did you KNOW you had to stand on ladders to decorate ten feet trees? I may have had some nervousness tackling the top of the tree with lights. Okay, I may have had sweaty palms and shaky legs as I leaned from the ladder to those top boughs.

Ten feet is a wicked good start to my tall tree obsession.

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Also, remind me to tell you how weepy it can get when you start hanging all the “Baby’s 1st Ornaments” and realize just how long ago that was. Time, you’re an asshole.

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Speaking of time…it is now December 12th. I haven’t purchased one Christmas present and I’m pretty fine with that. Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I know it will get done. I know there will (eventually) be presents under our tree. And I’m even pretty sure that my cute family will like what will be wrapped and ready for them. You know, when I actually find time to go shopping.

It’ll happen. It will.

In the meantime, I’m really enjoying the NOT shopping. It’s good for my soul.

Also, this book has nothing to do with anything. Except it’s it DOES. Because who wouldn’t want to read THIS?

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Have a great (almost) weekend, everyone.

the path to OFF DUTY

The past few days have given me pause top post anything here until I get over my rage. Okay, I haven’t had constant rage for a week, but…well, a good part of it. Our life is insane with two parents sharing tasks. So you can imagine what the insanity looks like when there is only ONE parent. And by the mention of my rage, you can probably guess that the solo parent is ME.

But here’s the thing: I do not have rage because I am solo-parenting it right now.

I have (had) rage because it has also been one of those weeks were SO MANY THINGS have gone wrong. Things that would’ve complicated a regular week. And, yes, some of my frustrations came from breakdown in communication with everyone in my family. It’s good that I know when there are schedule changes for school, practice or lessons. You know, so I can get people where they need to be. I believe there was a child of mine that wasn’t super careful or watchful and the dog ate something she wasn’t supposed to. That’s ALWAYS pleasant. Then there is the getting ready for an out of town tournament. And coordinating all things under the sun so that everyone is where they need to be.

It has been trying. And, honestly, a lot of damn time in the car. In rush-hour traffic. And trying to figure out how we’re just going to make it all work. Especially getting everyone packed and ready to go.

I only hope that I didn’t forget to pack anything.

Spoiler Alert: I PROBABLY FORGOT ALL THE IMPORTANT THINGS.

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But? I’m super looking forward to a fun weekend. Hanging out with some of the funnest parents a softball team has ever seen. I get to see one of my very dearest, wonder-twin friends. And? I’m just telling you all now that I am OFF DUTY as soon as my husband gets back into town. Well, when he gets back into town and then after he drives the three hours to the tournament. BUT THEN.

What am I going to do? Well, watch softball, of course. But I’m not making ONE meal, driving anyone anywhere or cleaning up after ANYONE. Off-Duty is going to be awesome.

And oh so very needed.

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends.

 

 

 

photo credit

my truth about consequences

It’s hard to raise children in the Miley Cyrus “do what we want to” society. I could take the time to find the real name to that song, but I just don’t want to. I usually change the station whenever it comes on the radio. Mostly because I’d get a mental image of twerking and oversized stuffed animals and there’s not enough bleach for my brain. But also because I’m trying to teach my kids about consequences. Because that’s a real part of life. The kind of real life that not everyone likes to talk about.

My dad used to make a big deal about reminding us kids about consequences. And even if we rolled our eyes every time you brought it up, Dad…we listened. I didn’t have a conference call just now with all my siblings, I’m totally basing this on the lives that we all lead. We actually paid attention to what you said and all five of us are upstanding citizens raising kids that are looking like they will carry on the Upstanding Citizens title.

Because of consequences. And the knowledge that every choice and every decision has a consequence.

Oftentimes, when we hear the word “consequence” we immediately think of a bad result of something we did.

I drove to fast. Thanks for the ticket, Mr. Policeman!
I lied to my mom. Now I’m in trouble.
I ate that giant cupcake. Now my giant ass is gianter.

But all consequences aren’t bad. Making good choices and good decisions lead to, sometimes, the most amazing consequences.

I worked hard on that project. I feel accomplished and people respect my work.
I washed my windshield. Holy crap, I can actually see out this window.
I hugged my child instead of yelling. We both feel better and are actually talking out the problem.

Don’t get me wrong…none of us are perfect and we’re all going to make mistakes.

That’s not what this is about. It’s the mentality that so many people have that what they do doesn’t matter. That they can “do what they want to” and no one else is affected.

“It’s our life and we can do what we want to.”

That’s true. It is yours and you can. And you can sing with your tongue hanging out and twerk your way through life doing all the things you want.

But there are consequences. Even if it’s only complete and total shame when looking back 20 years from now. (But, then again, maybe no one will care.)

Telling your kids they can be anything they want is absolutely true. But I don’t believe that gives them a free pass to do whatever they want. And I have reached this level of frustration that I can’t even explain. I just feel it. I feel it every time I see something in the news where “doing what you want” lands a group of college kids in jail and lives ruined. Or when I hear about a middle school aged child bringing a weapon to school. When someone drives under the influence. When a celebrity (and countless others) die of a drug overdose. Or when someone doesn’t pay attention to where they start their campfire.

There are consequences. Sometimes terrible and tragic and sad ones.

I know there are extenuating circumstances that can’t all be addressed here. There are exceptions to my rant and I do try to find compassion for those that can’t understand. Or who haven’t been given the tools to understand.

My frustration comes from the blatant disregard for life’s consequences. Those that seek to hurt others. To break rules without caring. Or those that just don’t care in general. We are not invincible. And our actions affect other people.

In our family, we talk a lot about choices. Making good choices. How happiness is a choice. And how our choices and decisions have consequences.

With all the songs and TV shows and news reports that give examples otherwise, I hope it’s enough. I hope my conversations matter to my kids. Even if they just humor me right now (yeah, sorry about that Dad) I hope that it leaves an impression on them like it did me. I hope they can remember just how important consequences are.

I’m just hoping you’ll put up with me

I keep forgetting to tell you about all this free time I (apparently) should be getting. Or at least that’s the opinion of someone I know. So I wrote about it.

We all make choices in life. And, well…I guess I choose to be busy. I could say no more. I don’t have to spend quite so much time with my family. Sure, I might be able to cut down the amount of time I spend driving in the car if my kids didn’t play so many sports. I guess I don’t have to go to EVERY game.

But I choose to do all these things.

My “me time” is usually spent with the people that mean the most to me.

I also need to write an update on our Summer Challenge. And while we haven’t been perfect at it, we’ve also had some successes at just being better about eating at home. Sometimes it means thinking outside the box. And sometimes it’s all about NOT TAKING THE EASY WAY OUT. One of the best parts of the challenge is coming up with things to make that I wouldn’t have ever thought of before. And realizing that I’m a better cook than I give myself credit.

Ramona is getting better and better at sixth grade. And so are her parents. We went to Back to School Night yesterday and feel even better about all the awesome at her new school. She has amazing teachers, the school offers so much to her education…and it’s just feeling so much better than before. She even has someone to sit with at lunch sometimes. Which makes my mommy heart feel a little better.

Beezus starts her junior year tomorrow. I’ve taken to Facebook to apologize for being THAT mom. The mom that is a complete b00b about her kids growing up and OMG could I please knock that off? But, yeah…a junior in high school. Happening tomorrow. This is weird, you guys.

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And if starting her junior year wasn’t enough to ruin me, she also turns 16 this weekend. So, you know, I’ll be getting ready for the big event…and sobbing quietly in a corner.

But because I can’t leave you with the sound of me crying (thank goodness this blog doesn’t have sound) there has to be something fun. Back a million years ago…before blogs were really even a thing, Sarah used to post her current song on repeat. And this isn’t a hip, new song that everyone should know about…it’s the amazing George Harrison. And the song and I just got reacquainted. And it’s on repeat. My only explanation is that it makes me happy and I love singing along at the top of my voice. (Again, we’re grateful that there’s no sound here.)

Thanks for the happy, George.