Monday, December 31, 2012

Loving The New Year

I love New Years Eve. I love the excuse to stay up until midnight on a Monday night and have one glass too many of champagne.  I have only gone to bed one time before the clock stroke the midnight hour on New Years Eve in my adult life and my excuse was a good one; I was very pregnant and couldn’t cheers in the New Year with a glass of champagne so I gave in to sleep. My husband does not share my enthusiasm of the joy of the end of the year but tries his best to appease me by staying up watching marathons of Sons of Anarchy or Breaking Bad, but his heart is just not in like mine is.
The reason behind this infatuation with ringing in the New Year is my optimistic belief that the New Year can only bring good changes.  The opening of a new calendar with three hundred and sixty-five fresh days to make better choices, love my loved ones even more, and be a better mom, wife, and friend feels invigorating.  I want to take on the challenges that have weighed me down in the last year and knock them down one by one in the New Year. The truth is that the New Year reminds me of what I already know, I have the power and positivity to change my future for the better.
I am sure for those of you in my husband’s camp, those who would rather sleep through the hullabaloo of the New Year, think that my positive attitude is annoying and to those people I say: hit the bricks! I like, wait correction, love New Years Eve and you better believe that December 31st at midnight I will be standing with a champagne glass in my hand, counting down from ten, and tearing up at all the thoughts of great things I will do in 2013.  I cannot be the only one who feels this optimistic on the eve of the New Year….can I?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Stupidest Thing He Has Ever Heard

            When my son woke up this Saturday morning I went to his room to help him out of bed, walked with him to the bathroom, and then helped him get comfortable in mine and my husband's bed. I turned on cartoons for him and got up to get him chocolate milk when he got thirsty.  All of this happened while my husband did not make a peep, he did not open his eyes, and did not attempt to move to accommodate my son’s arrival in our queen size bed.  Within the hour my son began asking when and what would be for breakfast, to which I replied by getting up and starting breakfast for him.  When my husband finally grumbled something incoherent at us I said that I thought he was still pretending to be asleep, this of course was not something he was pleased to hear.  My husband let me know, not in the sweetest of tones, my saying he was pretending to sleep was the “stupidest” thing he had ever heard. This charming comment, coming from the man who for at least the last hour had not moved or spoken to neither my son nor I, was not the way I would have chose to start the weekend.
            My son had a very itchy Friday night, he called for help at 3:30 a.m. and let me know that he “couldn’t stand the itching anymore”, so I got him up and took him to the bathroom to get the itchy area slathered with Cortisone 10.  Having solved the itch emergency I got my son all tucked back into bed with a kiss, and of course the stern reminder that it was still the middle of the night and that going back to sleep was not an option it was a must.  I, of course, returned to bed and was not able to return to the beautiful land of slumber, instead I tossed and turned until I decided to pick up Dexter is Delicious to read a bloody murder mystery in the wee hours of the morning.  Reading was not working it’s siesta magic either, leaving me with my last solution of trying to close my eyes and count down from one billion until I finally dosed off to sleep.  And now we are back to where my little tale began, my son awake at 7:20 a.m. and the stupidest thing my husband ever heard.
            Obviously, the comment was not the stupidest thing he ever heard, I have watched Harold and Kumar Go To While Castle with him before, and we have a four year old with a serious case of potty mouth.  For the sake of not ruining the weekend for all three of us I will vent my annoyance with this rude awakening, after an rough night of no sleep while taking care of OUR son, with you wonderfully understanding people.  Good morning to the rest of you exhausted and stupidest comment making mothers out there, I hope your weekend begins with less flaws than mine.  I guess the good news is my weekend can only get better from here….right?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Mother Does Not Mean Maid

Saturday morning, as I was gathering up left over and forgotten items in the bathroom, a sock stuffed in the corner next to the trash can and a dripping toothbrush from the counter to place it back into the toothbrush holder a mere inch away, I started to wonder if the definition of the word mother includes a reference to domestic servitude.  I grabbed my laptop and typed m-o-t-h-e-r into the New Oxford Dictionary in my computers mission control and was shocked to read the following definition: a woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth.  There was no prose alluding to a maid or even a whisper of the word “mother” meaning housekeeper, then why, I questioned, is it that I am the only one picking up the slack and the socks?
Days turn into months before I witness my husband in the act of cleaning anything, of course with exception of himself and I sometimes think that if he didn’t have to go to work he would skip the cleaning of himself as well, and I think what a glorious life that must be.  I have had daydreams of coming home to a vacuumed rug and laundry not spilling over out of the hampers onto the floor. I have wistful thoughts about what it must feel like to get into a freshly scrubbed shower not being exhausted from being on my knees doing the scrubbing, and what if (this is a big one) I opened the refrigerator and there was my favorite items from the market tidy and organized on the shelves, what if?  Obviously all of that would be unbelievably amazing and a side perk would be that I wouldn’t have to pretend to be sick as an excuse to shirk off my household chores in order to spend an afternoon reading a novel.
I choose to live within the reality of the parameters of my home life, I am the sole caregiver in my family, I cannot spend the precious seconds of “me time” that I get in the day in a silent reverie about someone else providing my family with a clean home.  I know my husband will not miraculously transform into a domesticated animal that I can train to pick up his work shirts from the floor of the bathroom and my son is not going to stop eating Pop Tarts on the couch leaving a fine dust of pastry for someone else to sit on.  I live with these truths about my home life, but it would be nice, even if only for one day, to have someone else help out with the mundane tasks of toilet scrubbing and dish washing...a girl can dream can't she?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Gift Recap: The Good, The Bad, and The What?

I cannot be the only one…who is thirty-plus years old and still shivers from the nightmare Christmas gifts of the past. One year, as an impressionable pre-teenage girl, I foolishly asked my parents for a stereo system for my bedroom. While visiting my friends houses I admired their compact disc systems with brightly lit radio tuners and the brand emblazoned on the front, “Sony”. Christmas morning I could barely contain myself in my bedroom waiting for my parent’s sleepy butts to get out of bed, when they finally set us loose like caged animals I ran to the fireplace hearth and found a nondescript black cube with what looked like speakers set off to either side. I looked from mom to dad wondering if this was the shiny stereo I had been dreaming of and my mom looked down at me and said, “Isn’t that just what you’ve been wanting?” As the good child I was, I nodded and replied with my thanks, but my dream of getting just what I really wanted for Christmas was ruined. (As a side note the closing of our local JC Penny Outlet most likely saved many children from disappointing “no-brand” gifts, thank you tanking economy.)

Now I have a husband who comes to the rescue of my broken Christmas wishes, providing me this year with something every mom needs, new UGG boots.  I have had many many many pairs of buttery suede furry lined UGG boots and the pair I received from my hubby this year do not disappoint.

The gift of a good meat thermometer means so much to me as I bbq quite often, and after all the word “mom” is in the name, which I guess is a subliminal message saying "get to cooking".  I hope this Taylor Digital Cooking Thermometer with Probe I was given Christmas morning will eliminate the many frantic moments in the dark cold night I have spent hoping my tri-tip is on the good side of rare rather than the “moo” side of under cooked.

Lastly, my son received piles after piles of festive wrapped gifts, thoughtfully sent from out of state grandparents and cousins who live close by, and after everything was unwrapped I have to say that the gift of Doggie Doo was the winner that brought the family back to the dinning room table laughing and partaking in my son’s love of potty talk.

I have to say that this year did not disappoint any of us, with top shelf booze for the adults and plenty of Lego Star Wars for the kids everyone is full of consumerism contentment.  Merry Christmas gift givers and receivers, I hope all of your unwrapping moments was as fulfilling for your family as they were for my little family.

Monday, December 24, 2012

It's Christmas Time Pretty Baby

It’s Christmas Eve and all through the house I can hear my mother’s neurosis loud and clear through the “click, click, clicking” of her heels back and forth from room to room in preparation of tonight’s big fiesta. Christmas for my little family, while living at my parent’s house, means having to relinquish our own traditions for this year while my mom puts on her normal production. My husband and I are trying our hardest to give our son the little touches from our home that are important to us on Christmas but the truth is our Christmas customs will be dwarfed by my mother’s decorations, cookies, and stockings by the fireplace.

Christmas for me is usually all about hanging out with the family, but this year we are on family time overload, and I can feel the strain on us all.  So, as I type this I am carving out a quiet moment for myself by hiding out in the room my soon is using as a bedroom while we live here, attempting to enjoy my Christmas tradition of a quiet day before the full house evening at my mom’s.  But there goes that “click, click, clicking” of her heels again, a single verse of a Christmas song sung too loudly, and the directing of my father to put something somewhere other than where he placed it.  So much for quiet time, I might as well go and offer a hand, and get into the spirit.

Merry Christmas everyone…keep in mind during all the hustle and bustle of this evening’s dinners, gift exchanges, and toast to family that these hectic holidays have a shelf life of two days, and then it will go right back to normal (whatever that is).

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

5 Things This Mom Wants for Christmas

5.  Fresh sheets on the bed that I didn’t wash and replace.  I love laundry day, obviously I am not crazy, it is not the loading, washing, and folding I enjoy, but rather that fresh washed smell of my pillow when lay my head down after a long day of life.

4.  No potty talk for a whole day, well I would settle for a couple of hours because I understand the parameters in which I am living in.  I enjoy a good dirty joke, I can use seriously bad language, and I choose rated R over PG any day, but my son’s potty talk can be exhausting and a small reprieve would be a nice change of pace.

3.  An uninterrupted shower.  Yes, this is something many of us would enjoy, I hear you fellow moms.  The water temperature will be still heating up and not even half of my hair will be wet when the frantic knocking on the door starts.  I sigh the heavy sigh of a mom that has been in this position many times before, soapy and dissatisfied with the ability to simply get clean.

2. An evening with my husband, but there is a stipulation though; I want him to make all the plans.  My husband loves to complain about the time we don’t spend together but overlooks the aspect of making the plans to spend that time he is missing with me.  I think that this may be too tall an order for the second place spot on this list but…fingers crossed he will read this and get the not so nonchalant hint. 

1.  Time with my little family that we have built and work so hard to keep safe, happy, and healthy.  So much of my time is spent split between the daily grind, my new job, and the mundane tasks necessary to keep our small ship afloat that the quality time we spend together is not always superior in quality.  I will enjoy the look in my son’s eyes when he sees the stocking full of treats from Santa, my husbands relaxed face after he over indulges in Christmas dinner, and the opportunity to spend time with all my family under one roof.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Decision Maker: For Better or For Worse

I cannot be the only one....that is the prime decision maker in their family, from small choices such as the weekly meal menu to big ones like where we are going to purchase our next home. Whether I like it or not this mighty heavy burden falls solely upon my shoulders.  I am decisive by nature, as I mentioned in a previous post about Christmas gifting, and I do not like to linger on small details but prefer looking at the big picture.  The reason for this stern determination is a little bit of personality mixed with a whole lot of my husbands indecisiveness.

Voltaire said, "With great power comes great responsibility", and don't I know it.  I made the decision to purchase our previous home and for the handful of years that we lived there not a day passed by without a complaint about some aspect of our home.  Our two car garage did not have enough room for our two cars, the neighbors smoked on the patio and the smoke gently wafted into our living room, and the street was just too busy.  Although, I did agree with these sentiments I couldn't help feeling that they were all my fault, so for years I felt bad that I chose an unsuitable home for our family.  This morning I mentioned a home I would like us to look at and my husband responded by deciding we should forgo the viewing and simply offer thirty thousand more than the asking price.  That is just a small taste of the kind of decisions my husband brings to the table, sigh.

For now I will have to keep on keeping on as the level headed commander of our family, maybe one day a bit of this load will be lifted off my back, until then I will have to keep doing the best I can to not destroy our little world with bad choices.  I cannot be the only one who suffers from the responsibility of all the family decisions...can I?

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Local Nativity's Demise

An extravagant, life size, nativity scene has been put on display in a beautiful park on the bluffs in Santa Monica overlooking the Pacific Ocean for many, many years.  This year a judge has ruled that the groups behind the nativity display will not be allowed to continue with the tradition because of straining religious differences within the community.  The Santa Monica nativity is one of my earliest memories from when my family moved to Southern California and is a truly Californian experience for those who have taken the time to walk along the bluffs to view the dioramas.  When I read the news that the nativity will no longer take place I started to wonder what other places and traditions from my childhood would soon disappear and was inspired to write a short article about it.  Please click on the link and read about my feelings in regards to the demise of the Santa Monica Nativity scenes featured on the Moms LA website:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

He’s Not a Hobbit- He’s a Gnome

My husband has had a special affinity for garden gnomes for awhile, long before gnomes began to show up on everything from salt and pepper shakers to Halloween costumes, one could say he is a trendsetter, yup I guess one could say that. My garden has been haunted, oops I mean enchanted, by these little darlings of plaster with their mischievous glances through my various ferns and sweep peas for at least the past five years.  So, when Christmas showed up on the bottom of my calendar page I knew it was time to start looking for a new member to join the ranks of my husband’s gnome army.  Off to Amazon I clicked to start my perusing and I was not disappointed.

As I was browsing the many, many pages of garden gnomes Amazon had available I came to the decision that this year the gnome is going airborne, and chose this interesting take on a garden gnome:

The birds in our garden will never be the same after snacking and sitting a spell on this red hat wearing gnome's post.  I hope every time my husband looks out the window in the new year he cracks a smile when he sees the Cherry Valley Feeder Gnome Bird Seed Feeder.  Maybe you know someone who could use a little charm in their garden that only a gnome can bring, well I highly suggest the this handsome little devil.

Monday, December 10, 2012

That’s Why It’s Called a Gift

I cannot be the only one…who remembers that gifts are just that, gifts.  I have no qualms with purchasing a Christmas present for a friend or family member that I think is something they would like or an item they didn’t know they needed until they received it.  In a recent gonzo shopping mission I walked the aisles of Target with family members in mind, and when I saw something I thought they would like into the cart it went.  To my mother’s amazement, who was with me this particular trip, I did not hither and dither over whether the person had mentioned the item in the past or had it on their list, I made decisions, and was committed to those decisions.

Now, I am by no means suggesting that you buy mittens and a scarf for your cousin who is a masseuse at the Four Seasons in the Cayman Islands just because they are cute like her, but if you know she host a girls movie night why not an air popped popcorn maker to enhance her hostess skills.  Taking a moment to think about the person you are gifting for and buying something for them that you think they will love because you know them so well means more than checking items off their wish list.

After this past shopping trip, as I was loading up the back of my Prius with my gems of Christmas gifts, I gave myself an emotional pat on the back for knocking four family members names off my gift list. While my mom, who only managed two gifts, was already planning her next trip out, let’s hope she takes my advice to heart and follows her instincts when selecting the next perfect gift.  I cannot be the only one who Christmas shops like this....right?

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Puzzler of a Christmas Gift

Fighting with my son to sit down and make a Christmas list for his Grandparents is like trying to get him to sit still in a playground, the calm last approximately four minutes, then he is reminded by the toys in the catalog or on the internet of a toy that he already has, and has an immediate need to play with that toy.  As much as I would like to say to him, “Well, if you like the toys you have already so much than maybe we should just put socks and underwear on your Christmas list”, but we all know that is not going to happen.

I grab my son as he is running by and sit him on my lap, we begin to move the mouse across the screen clicking on action figures, legos, then finally games and puzzles.  That’s when we found the Perplexus Rookie puzzle, a clear sphere filled with brightly colored steps, slides, and zig-zags that are in place as a maze to work a steel ball through.  I looked over the description of the Perplexus Rookie and was happy to read that it enhances hand-eye coordination and dexterity, all things that his preschool teachers are always reminding me to practice with him at home.

The Perplexus Rookie is at great price for a puzzling game that will keep my son’s hands busy, at least for a minute or two, because after the two minute mark it will remind him of ball he has in his toy box from a gum ball machine that he HAS to play with now.

Check it out, the Perplexus Rookie, it has been added to my son’s wish list, and I am sure once he sits it down one of the adults in the room will be giving it shot as well.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

When His Needs Overtook Mine

I cannot be the only who… remembers that before their child was born I always needed something, a new cell phone or the latest pair of designer jeans, but it dawned on me the other morning that I no longer feel those “needs”.  I started to wonder how all the things I used to want, or disguise as needs, were no longer important, and how come I no longer daydreamed about my next trip to Nordstroms. I don’t own everything I could ever want or need but somehow I rarely feel that desire to upgrade, replace, or expand on what I already have. After some thought the only real conclusion I came to, after I gave up on the notion that I have matured into one of those people who don’t “ooh and ah” over shiny things, was that my needs are now those of my son’s.  He truly needs something on a daily basis, his pants have become too short overnight or he spilled ketchup on his last white t-shirt, there seems to be no end to his needs.

I enjoy a nice gift as much as the next girl, but now when my husband buys me something expensive in my head I am calculating how many pairs of PJ’s or new tennis shoes for our son the money spent on the gift could have purchased.  I am not sure if this new frame of mind is a form of selflessness or if I am just overwhelmed with the responsibility of fulfilling all the needs of our son that I don’t have time to think about my own, either way I cannot be the only one who has noticed this change in themselves…can I?