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Showing posts from 2016

The Mom Grinch

The other day I was feeling especially grinchy. Standing in the kitchen unloading the dishwasher for the tenth time that day, it dawned on me Christmas is only for children...and men. A feeling of bitterness, exhaustion and pressure crept over me as I crammed another sippy cup into the cupboard. It's up to me - the mom - to pull off Christmas. And since my kids are 2 and 4 - well it had better be magical. I wasn't exactly feeling magical. You know, the whole family, just yesterday were in the throws of the stomach flu and I'm pretty sure our elf, Sandy, brought it from the north pole and infected us all with his obnoxious Christmas germs.

So here I am mad at Christmas, because I've discovered December is a month of the year where moms need to put it in overdrive. The normal day to day doesn't go away. Now, I've got to decorate, move that elf, shop, bake cookies, design, address and mail Christmas cards, see Santa... I began to feel even more rotten. Then I utte…

Why I'm not moving to Canada and I hope you don't either

Dear fellow Americans,

Yesterday I woke up singing "sister suffragette" with misty eyes.

 "Cast off the shackles of yesterday
 shoulder to shoulder -
into the fray!"

Not because I love Hillary Clinton. Because of the historical significance that she was even on the ballot. That the idea a woman could run for president won't be a fairy tale to my children. As I sat on the brown corduroy couch in my predictably blue state I watched state after state shock the news as it came up bright red.

Friends, history is alive right now. We are the American people and the generation experiencing this shift in paradigm today. How are we going to respond?

Susan B. Anthony's grave was covered with women's "I voted" stickers yesterday.
 I don't think Susan B. Anthony would leave the country if she was alive today.
Did she leave the country or threaten to when she was arrested for illegal voting?

Did Rosa Parks try to leave the country after she faced Jim Cr…

Diagnosis Disorders and Uniqueness

Last week I found out some really hard news about my daughter.

In my gut, I always knew certain parenting strategies wouldn't work for her like they did for my son. Everyone with more than one kid knows that. But more often than not, there are some pretty challenging as well as amazing quirks my daughter has which makes her incredibly unique.

It seemed pretty clear to me my daughter has a speech delay. Not uncommon. However, the speech therapist also diagnosed her with something called sensory processing disorder.

All of her behaviors I had thought which make her very adventurous, unique, stubborn, strong willed and creative are categorized under this disorder.  Something about the term "disorder" really bothered me which is why it was so hard to hear. Of course no parent wants their child to struggle, but I shirked away from so quickly putting a label on my 2 year old.

The positive side to knowing she possibly has SPD is I already have gained some really positive strate…

Shame in Motherhood

I started my role as a mother with very different lenses than I have now. A different perspective I guess you would say. I would say, for me, being a mom transformed forced me to change. I mean really change.

I remember looking at my red faced newborn little boy and being so overwhelmed with love and joy and knowing what our little life would be like. How perfect it would be. What a great mother I would be. I envisioned going to all his little sports games, volunteering in all of his classes, and before that strolling down the sidewalk with a cute stroller, baby, and fashionable diaper bag. Ready to meet my mob of mom friends and their sweet babies. 
As a self proclaimed extroverted perfectionist I felt ready to tackle this new role and life as a stay at home mom like never has been done before! 
But, seriously, there is a major problem with being a perfectionist and a mother at the same time. The two cannot co exist in any healthy sort of way. Or any sort of way that won't send …

Maybe being completely mental is a good thing

Ok you guys. I went to Disneyland with my kids (2 and 4) BY MYSELF. Yes I am completely insane. But to my shock it has been done -successfully.

On the morning of August 30th I awoke realizing we had nothing on the calendar. Of course I had loads to do but there was nothing official we had to go to. I realized today is the last day of summer where we could just lounge around the house all day in our pjs or.... go to Disneyland!

We are fortunate enough to live in southern California so we can just hop up the freeway and go to Disneyland no big deal.. right? Now I know many of you carefully plan your trips to Disney from what to pack, when the kids will nap, what attractions and rides you will go on etc. And I realize this has much to do with my personality being  crazy spontaneous. However I decided (at the last minute nature lent itself well to this) to be a Disney minimalist.

So here's how I did Disney with two kids under 5 without losing my mind, without another adult, and actual…

Stronger does not mean more Perfect

You know how there are those days where there seems to be a theme persisting? Like there's something that I keep getting banged on the head that I need to pay attention to for some particular reason.

Yesterday was one of those days.

It started with an ambitious early morning jog with the two year old in the single stroller which is always a treat compared to the 100+ lb load of both kids in the ball and chain  double stroller. I love to think on my runs and writing and running go hand and hand for me. I felt like I was in a slump and had no other material to say about life, but then suddenly this phrase popped into my mind

Stronger does not mean more perfect.

Strong does not equal perfect.

I am getting stronger - but I am not getting more perfect. In fact, last night's dishes are still in the sink. The kitchen and my house are far from perfect. But I am getting stronger. I am out running and breathing the fresh morning air.

This realization kept bugging me throughout the day a…

The Mommy Guide to Surviving a 4 year old

The cool thing about little kids is that each milestone, each new year they are doing something so new and so different! Things change so much and so fast. And with each blessed birthday comes new happy things - like writing letters and new challenges .... challenges which are of a whole new arena.

So in one week (to the day) experience of mothering a 4 year old I made some observations for surviving and even having successfully happy (mostly) days with my new teenager- I mean preschooler.

1. It is really a super big deal little sister got to pick her toothbrush color first out of the toothbrush two pack

Ok - I've always known choices are a big deal, especially related to siblings and especially related to who goes first etc. etc. But the level of emotional catharsis at age 4 is thus far unsurpassed. I never knew how offensive having to have the green toothbrush really is and how it can cause a 30 minute delay to a fun outing.....

2. Suddenly I live with a super sleuth

It's lik…

Cut the Mommy Guilt!

Mommy guilt - the feeling you get when you do something logical or even feel something other than happy, thankful or patient.

From the moment the first child is born, moms start feeling the mommy guilt. I know I did. A lot of it has to do with "shoulds" and comparing myself to other moms and babies. Or I should say my perceptions of other moms and babies.

Looking back to the first month of mommy-hood - I wondered, "Were other moms feeling so overwhelmed?" "Did other moms ever look at their baby and feel at a loss rather than constantly consumed with love?" "Are other moms not enjoying breast feeding too?" Well unless you have a community of honest mom friends (which is hard to have from the start) all there is to look at is social media, advertising, and women in public.

I realize not everyone reading this is a neurotic, text book first born perfectionist. These parts of myself translated into mega mommy guilt. I didn't think other moms ever…

I just gave myself a time out

You guys - do you ever have those mommy days where you just want to QUIT?

The kids are fighting and I have no idea who started it. Is the two year old is legitimately crying because her brother hit her with a light saber or because she wants said light saber and he won't give it to her?

Or when I step outside for a minute to water plants and come back in to find a pile of poop and puddle of pee all spread down the hallway from a certain two year old. And I just keep talking about how gross it is and then feeling worse about her having to listen to me complain.

I take a break from playing super heroes and bad guys in the fire station to attack an immense pile of laundry on my bed and the four year old flips out yelling I never play with him.

Time for a mommy time out.

As both children are grabbing at me and whining I leave my house and sit on my front lawn. I can hear them whining and wailing something or other from the front yard and I realize our little world is very audible from…

I woke up to a Lego gun in my face- how was your Saturday morning?

So we don't own any toy guns - we have two toy weapons by my estimation. A bow with soft tipped arrows and a miniature light saber which came with a Darth Vader build a bear. Both of those weapons are currently confiscated.

My kids only watch Disney movies and PBS. And much to my dismay Paw Patrol. 
So why is it that before dinner time I have been punched in the face (by accident), shot with "chemical fire", shot with a gun constructed by legos, and also obliterated by the "fastest ship ever with super mega guns that only breaks if someone on board has to go poop."

Oh and the time I'm innocently brewing coffee in the kitchen? Out pops a little boy with a toy axe waving above his head saying "HI MOMMY!" He might as well said "HERE'S JOHNNY!!"
Man it's a rough day. 
And I'm not even going to mention all of the harm which has befallen a little sister and her baby dolls who are constantly napping and getting bottle fed (and by co…

Dear New York Times, let's stop judging Melania Trump

I recently read a New York Times article: "Why men want to marry Melanias and raise Ivankas." The article went on to criticize Melania and Donald Trump for how their roles in their marriage are regarding their children. Melania changed all of the baby's diapers and would get up with the baby at night and Donald would have nothing to do with that. I suppose readers are to be shocked and disgusted with how the chore of raising a baby was so unequally divided in the Trump household. (However I highly doubt Melania didn't have hired help as well...but I digress.) However, Trump praises his daughter Ivanka for not only being a champion at motherhood but also a successful businesswoman. The article goes on to say in addition to changing diapers, Melania only had a skin care and jewelry line. Oh and also was a super model. 
So what's a mom like me to take away from this article? Well, I don't change diapers anymore, mostly pull ups whenever my 2 year old decides she…

I lie to my kids

I lied to my 2 year old daughter today.

Sometimes with kids it's easier to just lie - and it happens so quickly. Like for example, when they recently stayed at a hotel with me for the first time in their lives, I told them the TV does not work at hotels until you take a shower. 
It just kind of came out. And they believed it and then continued to explain to their father on the phone how amazing this hotel is and did he know the TV doesn't work unless you take a shower first?? 
Well this particular post really hits home for me and I can't seem to get over it. I'm not sure if I did the right thing and part of me wants to go back to the whole scenario and change my answer!
Well here's the story... I am at a Disney outlet store with both of my kids. A 3 and 2 year old. Instantly I am regretting my decision of even being in this half Star Wars half princess land but alas here we are as I am negotiating with both of them and looking at price tags. 
Then my daughter finds…

What Mother Teresa is teaching mama Dana

So you guys I started reading the book No Greater Love by Mother Teresa.

The beginning is all about prayer and how important it is. There is this great quote by Saint Augustine, "Fill yourself up first, then only will you be able to give to others."
Awesome. I love quotes like these. It's all like permission for me to go to the spa, go out with my friends, go for long runs (alone) and do anything that "fills me up." Jackpot. Next time husband asks why I need to go shopping I can site St. Augustine. 
But then I read more and what Mother Teresa wants me to do is to fill myself up in times of prayer. 
Ok - so guys I'm going to (as one of the high school students I used to work with said) "keep it 100." Which means keep it real. Which means telling you all how I pray.  Here are my deep and moving prayers to the Lord: 
"Lord help me with this child" usually said over said child who gets more angry after I say it.  "Are you kidding me ?!?…

That's it! You're going to bed RIGHT NOW.

Within the 30 minutes between my husband calling me and saying he's coming home from work to when he got home things went down.

What I mean is for some reason my almost 4 year old decided he wanted to test every fiber of my being.

You know the feeling when you are standing in the kitchen making dinner and everything just seems way too easy? In other words there are no toddlers or preschoolers yelling, crying, tattling, or shooting you in the back with a nerf bow and arrow. It is silent. Except the sound of my chopping onions. It's almost too good to be true. Well, not almost-  it is too good to be true.

I hold on to hope for a minute or two trying to convince myself they are quietly looking at books and playing nicely with legos somewhere over the rainbow, but I know in order to be a decent mother I must go investigate the eerie silence we know all too well.

There they are sitting next to each other in our bed and as they see me enter the room, the guilty 2 and almost 4 year o…

Acting in Love is a hard thing

So the funny thing is about all this hurting and worry and craziness going on in this country right now is the answer to all of it has been right in front of us all along.

It's something we all know and have heard our whole entire lives. Some may have heard it more than others. Some may have only heard versions of it.

The answer was written over 2,000 years ago. Over 2,000 years before the world in which we face tragic news stories all too often. A world which knew violence as well. Maybe this world was not too different from our own. The overarching similarity is our humanity. In every person is the ability to love.

The answer to all of this hurting, all of this hate, and all of this fear is in the two greatest commandments. "Love the Lord God with all your heart, mind and soul. And love your neighbor as yourself."

The first commandment eliminates fear, fills us with peace and arms us with the bravery it takes to truly love your neighbor as yourself.  I think we'd b…

"With Liberty and Justice for All" ??

"... one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." My almost four year old beams as he finishes reciting the pledge of allegiance he has set his determined mind on knowing. It seems so sweet and perfect right after the fourth of July celebrations.

However- we are not indivisible. There is not liberty or justice for all. When our founding fathers wrote all people in the United States of America (and all people for that matter) deserve "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" in the Declaration of Independence, they found those three inalienable rights undeniable to anyone and the job of the nation is to protect them. I would even go as far to say our determination to protect each individual's life, liberty and their own personal pursuit of happiness is what drove the first Americans to declare independence in 1776.

There was no liberty or justice for Alton Sterling. He was denied life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. There i…

Everest in high heeled boots

Something happened to me at a party (yes I know I was at an actual party) the other weekend I can't stop thinking about. As the night and the open bar wore on two separate women came up to me at separate times and confessed a couple of things about how they felt inferior as moms. We both were standing on the balcony, cocktails in hand, wearing ridiculously high heeled boots shifting from one foot to another. All I could think about as I began to chat with this woman is I cannot stand another single second in these shoes. My feet are literally breaking as she is talking to me. Then she snapped my mind only for a second out of my foot loathing to say, "I am admitting to you - because you seem like the type who won't judge me - I feed my 7 month old food from a jar and I supplement him with formula." She stopped and looked at me like she had just confessed she actually is involved in the mob or a fugitive heading to Mexico. I told her, "Can we please just sit down …

Don't you dare cross that masking tape!

One of those mornings- you know when everything seems against you and it's almost akin to finishing the 10th mile in a half marathon in the split time you want to get out the door to an event 10 minutes away by 10:30 am. The 2 year old up at 4:30 am. Me slothing around loathing myself in a robe until 9:59 am. Then deciding we'd better all hurry up and get dressed because the summer concert I'd hoped to attend glared at me from the newspaper cut out of upcoming summer library events. It is today and it starts at 10:30 and we are going. I am determined to have fun and be the mom who takes her kids to the free library concerts and watches them dance all while taking cute videos and pictures for social media and their dad to look adoringly at while at work.

Well apparently there are a lot of other moms with the same idea and we park far away - I am still determined marching my 2 and 3 year old toward the already playing music. I don't have a stroller, I rely on their good …

Downcast Eyes

Pushing that double stroller up the dusty path inhaling exhaust mixed with some restaurant salty BBQ aroma my eyes downcast on my worn down sneakers - each step a little closer to the top of the hill - wondering if this hill is always this hard or if I've skipped this run too many times lately and am burdened once again by the exhausting task of pushing the increasing weight my stroller holds. I am hypnotized by my feet and watching each heavy step and each small dust cloud created. Although the hill feels like ages long I am suddenly confronted by the top and quickly lift my eyes and face to the street corner. Only here I realize I am forced to look up from the safe rhythm of my shoes; one in front of the other making small impacts in well trodden earth. Then immediately after I lift my eyes, darkness starts to creep into my vision and I reach for the crosswalk poll and steady myself. I realize staring with downcast eyes while ascending the hill caused disorientation and almost …

In defense of Mom's night out

Here's the scene.. and you know we've all been there. So I'm out on a date- actually a double date. And the four of us are standing around holding our craft beers and trying to seem awake and ready to head out to the late starting concert and not thinking about what time we will have to wake up.

Then my friend and I start talking enthusiastically - about our kids. It's actually the subject we are laughing about and comparing war stories on. Then we stop and notice our husbands standing there beers in hand listening. My husband remarks, "See there they go again talking about the kids."

Well husband this post is an explanation about why moms when in order to finally go out on a date pay teens large amounts of cash to look at their Instagram while the babies sleep soundly or kiss their husbands good bye for a mom's night out end up talking about the kids all night long.

I decided I'm not going to fight it anymore and here's why. There's really no…

The day I thought my son was a sociopath

The dark times. The year of my fairly new mothering journey when I had a newborn baby girl and a not yet two year old boy. Although my mind desperately wants to forget those days blurred with chaos, two kids in diapers, and a year where my body was pushed mentally and physically past what I thought was my limit I need to remember and share with all of you who are either currently in this stage or can remember. Does it get easier? Honestly it does. This doesn't mean it gets easy per say. The biggest difference is sleep and more of it and to me is the biggest difference in the whole world.
So the event in question - which I completely forgot about (like I said the year is turning into a blur of darkness in my memory only documented by an exponential amount of cute baby photos which is incredibly dangerous and is nature's way of tricking me into wanting more babies)  until a dear friend of mine told me how her son peed on her pile of clean laundry and she did not know until she…

How this day changed

This morning was one for the books. I can tell you it reflected a chaotic and bleak day based on how it began. It consisted of a neglected coffee cup and two unique challenges from my preschooler and toddler. My job is to get my preschooler to school by 9am. My obstacles were clear. He didn't want to go and cried about how he doesn't want to see another kid in his class because he's afraid this kid will hit him and say mean things. Oh my gosh. Did I mention he's 3? My mind is swirling with how to help him be brave and courageous and at the same time I want desperately to keep him home and hug him and fill him with love instead of be brought down by someone else.  Of course in the midst of trying to navigate this difficult situation, my almost two year old daughter declared to the house and entire neighborhood she decided to come to preschool drop off in her brother's rain boots and nothing else. Besides the obvious point where she needs to wear clothes in public he…

It's 6:30 AM - and my three year old has lost all TV privileges

So it happened. I really said it. Today I banned TV and movies for an indefinite period of time at 6:30 AM.  Or maybe said forever. I should probably pick up my Love and Logic book again because I guarantee I talked way too much  and also did not have a delayed consequence.

This is what went down in our household this morning. 3 year old and 1 year old wake up at 5 am They get to watch cartoons while I grasp for consciousness and coffee.

6:30 am - TV is turned off. With plenty of warning.
I say to my lovely three year old son, "Are you hungry for breakfast?" and so begins one of the most heated and disrespectful exchanges my boy has ever graced me with. Heaven help me.

NO! He replies in the rudest tone you have ever heard. Remembering love and logic I say, "Oh no looks like a little bedroom time is needed." When he kicks me in the shin and says," I'd rather hit you!" All the love and logic is out the window. I carry his writhing little body to his roo…

How being a stay at home mom can feel claustrophobic and ways to combat it

There's no other time when the walls of our house feel as if they are closing in then waking up to another day where we have to cancel all plans because the kids are still sick. I never thought I'd feel so happy to see green snot turn clear akin to a bail bondsman saving me from jail after a crazy night. 
But it's when the kids are sick the days and nights blend together and I am folding my laundry realizing I'm only folding a week's worth of pajamas. With two kids 22 months apart and both not yet old enough to be in elementary school it's a challenge figure out how to navigate our days.  There's a reason I almost enrolled my son in soccer when he was 1 and then took my daughter to a gymnastics class at the same age. When I realized I was paying a high amount of money to do the exact same things in a gym that we can do at the playground for free I asked the coach (of a class of 20 toddlers) what he was trying to accomplish. He told me the class is meant to…

I'm probably too tired to be writing this blog post

Hey Guys -

This is an open letter to the outside world. How ya doing? We've been in strict rabbit hole quarantine over here since contagion 2016 hit Tuesday afternoon. Sorry for all the hundreds of kids and people we encountered during free museum day at balboa park Tuesday morning. Had no idea my toddler was about to be hit with some gnarly virus.

Anyone want a play by play of the past few days? If not just stop reading. Excuse my delirious state. I feel I must document what life has been like on the inside and maybe some other stay at home moms or moms who have to stay at home when their child is sick can relate.

Day 1.

High fever hits. Enter hot, but super cuddly and sweet toddler sleeping on my lap. This isn't so bad I think. As long as her fever is manageable. Enter psycho paranoid mom mode taking poor baby's temperature every ten minutes because I am just sure she is going to get a fever sending us to the emergency room. (That never happened). 

Night 1.