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February 2012

Letter to my daughter on her 18th birthday (about 10 years from now)


Dear sweet almond-eyed beauty,

I'm writing this to you now, while you're still 8 years old because I love you.  Of course, that will not have changed by the time you turn 18, but I'm currently experiencing a wave of pure joy and wanted to let you know about it.  I can picture you at 18... possibly in your college dorm or maybe still up in your room... either way laying propped up on your elbows on your bed - feet swinging up in the air while you read this.  You're probably biting your cuticles, too, just like you do now.  Old habits are hard to break.  I know, because I'm 37 and still bite my cuticles, too.

As I write this, you're 8.  You are beautiful and in full charge of yourself.  You know what you like and don't like.  You listen to Daddy & me.  You have insight.  You have humor.  You have a smile that melts me every time I see it.  You are a perfect mix of both extroverted and reserved.  You have wonderful friends who complement you to a tee and vice versa.  

I hope when you are reading this, that you can remember what it was like to be 8... play practice, going to church on Sunday & CCD on Monday to prepare for communion, soccer practice, your little brother annoying you and at the same time looking up to you with his huge blue eyes, reading Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary, eating spaghetti tacos, roller skating in the driveway...

I hope you look back happily at it all.  Because I have to admit something to you -  I don't know what I'm doing half the time.  You're my first shot at being a mom.  I hope I don't mess it up.  One of my biggest fears is that you end up hating me because I didn't do something right. I know you'll end up having bouts of disliking me from time to time because of you might not like my decisions.  What kid doesn't hate their mom sometimes?  I have agreed with myself to accept those times as long as you know that I tried my best.  I promise you I always will.

I can't see the future, of course, but I can tell you this:  if you stick to the life you're leading now, you're going far, my dear.  You are kind and smart and love to learn.  Don't ever change those aspects of yourself.  You can ALWAYS learn something new.  You can ALWAYS be kind, even when others aren't.  Being smart is a gift - don't ever pretend you're not.

I want what every parent wants for you.  I want you to be happy and successful.  But I REALLY want to stress that 'happy' part.  It's so important.  I hope you're reading this with a smile on your face.  I'm writing it to you when you're 8.  You're reading it when you're 18.  Either way, you're young and beautiful with your whole life ahead of you.  I'm SO proud of you.

I love you love you love you... you are the moon and the stars.  You are my girl.  Always.



Who I want to be

052 (2)I've been sucked into Pinterest by its siren song.  Everything on there looks exactly like what I want in my life.  Beautiful eclectic flower arangements in recycled upside-down light bulbs hanging from a vintage tin ceiling that I could make myself.  I'd love to whip up those gluten-free brownies for my kids and send them to school in brightly colored striped organic lunchboxes with little calligraphied witty pink notes that have pictures of 1950's moms on them.  I have been fantasizing about all the beautiful tattoos I see on other people's arms and backs... peacock feathers...paisley prints...every color of the rainbow.  Everything is so beautiful.

If I could, I'd tattoo my entire body with pictures of everything beautiful I could think of.  I'd have full sleeves of all the things I love on each arm.  I'd have vines running up and down my legs with beautiful flowers every once in a while.  I'd streak my hair with bright red and cut it short - REALLY short.  I'd pierce my eyebrow.  I'd wear hats. 

I might even put on lipstick.

Outside of the computer world, I look pretty basic.  My blonde hair is constantly in a frazzled ponytail.  I wear my mom uniform of jeans, Converse sneaks and a hoodie.  I might sometimes go a little crazy and paint my nails blue, but for the most part I don't look anything like I feel. 

Sometimes my daughter lets me live vicariously through her.  She let me buy her a jacket that looked straight out of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club last year and she wore the heck out of it. 

But here's the thing: I might not look exactly how I want to look, but I still feel the way I want.  I am my kids' mom and my husband's wife.  They know me inside and out.  They know what I like and what I don't.  They know that under my hoodie and jeans, I'll always be a little bit different.  I'm NOT the same as everyone else.  I'm who I want to be.

Mirror mirror...



This morning, my son said to me, "When you spin around, the world stops spinning!" as he whirled around the kitchen. 

I can understand that logic.  If you move at the same speed as everything around you, it doesn't seem like you're moving at all.  It might SEEM like it's stopping the world, but it's not.  It's just tiring you out.  When you look down at your feet you'll see them trying their hardest to keep up. 

I feel like I've been spinning lately.

At church this weekend, the subject of the sermon was basically about following in God's footsteps.  Doing things that He would do and not sinning.  And if you sin, talk to God about it and say you're sorry.  It sounds simple enough.  But it's not.

I've been struggling with the priest's words all week.  I know right from wrong in most cases, but I have been getting caught up in that vague middle ground.  I'm in that place where those two mini versions of me sit on my shoulders whispering in both ears.  The one on the left tells me what I'm doing is fine with her slithery snake tongue, while the one on the right doesn't say much except she loves me. 

I've been reading a lot of news and making it more than it needs to be.  I've posted comments on articles I don't really care about.  I've given my opinion when no one asked for it.  I've instigated arguments. I've wasted valuable time. 

Those things don't matter to me.  Yes, Whitney Houston died.  Yes, we're still at war and probably will be for a long, long time.  Yes, someone had a heart attack while eating at a restaurant called the Heart Attack Grill.  Those things still happen whether I state my opinion on them or not.

I feel like the mini-me on my right shoulder is right.  I see her sitting up there when I look in the mirror.  The look she gives me isn't accusatory; it's forgiving.  She knows I don't feel good. She knows I don't like the way I've been acting.  I am much happier when I connect with positivity, not controversy.  She knows, so now I know.

Flash back to my son spinning around the kitchen - in his little red jammies with his hair all messed up.  He knows to stop when it gets to be too much.  Lesson learned, son.  I think I'll stop, too. 

Up too early

102_6640I love sleep.  Who doesn't?  Well, putting aside all children between the ages 1 - 10, who doesn't love sleep?  Babies are indifferent, I guess, because they don't really know what's happening.  All they know is one minute someone's WAY too close to their face smiling really big, and the next minute they're waking up in a crib. 

Today I had to wrestle with my brain to try for more sleep.  I lost.  I should know better once my brain gets involved.  As soon as I have any type of rational thought, I am up for the day.  Usually, if I have a brief moment of awakeness, I can will myself to think dreamily about swimming pools or cupcakes or something fluffy and fall back into hibernation.  This morning, my first thought was 'What color card stock would look good as tags on the kid's Valentine's Day mail pouches and what scissors should I use to cut them?'  As soon as I thought that, I kissed my dreams goodbye, squinted at the clock that glared 4:50 and came downstairs for tea.

These types of mornings are so bittersweet.  Being up early does mean a bit of peace and quiet before starting the day with the kids.  I can sit with an extra cup of tea and play on the computer with no guilt or interruption.  That part rocks.  As a matter of fact, on normal days I purposefully set my alarm a little bit early so I can enjoy a moment to myself -  but it's definitely not set for 4:50. The part I don't care for is later today...about 4:30 PM.  That's when all this extra morning time will catch up to me and there will be nothing I can do about it.

So right now I'm not going to think.  I'm going to party like it's 1999 -  mommy style.  A cup of tea, my jammies, a quiet house and the latest Google trends. 

Have a great day everyone!

Some stupid stuff I've done AKA: Go ahead and laugh at me

102_6631I'm in a happy Saturday morning mood today.  Thinking of a lot of silly, stupid things I've done over the years.  Thank goodness for that looking-back-and-laughing gene, cuz this is some pretty funny stuff.  Hope it can make you chuckle, too: 

1.  When I was a kid, I fell out of a tree while playing a forbidden hide and seek game with the neighborhood kids.  My parents weren't home from work yet and my sis & I were supposed to be inside doing homework.  That in istelf was stupid.  A worse part was that I didn't really fall as much as I slid - all the way down the tree on my left side - effectively removing the first and second layers of skin from my forearm to my calf.  The absolute WORST part of that ordeal was that  my sister told me our neighbor's mom was a nurse and I believed her.  I let the woman (who was actually a hair dresser) pour rubbing alcohol on my wounds.    Yes, my parents found out about the game.  Probably because they heard me scream from their places of business.  And yes, after my wounds healed, I was grounded.

2.  A certain brand of canned beans has a lid that reads "Pure White Lining".  Their cans have a white lining inside that they feel better protects the beans from, geez, I don't know.  Anyway, I thought the can lid read "Pure White Living".  I couldn't figure out why this bean company was so racist!  How could anyone even ALLOW that to be put into circulation.  I mean, really... why didn't they just change their name to Aryan Beans Inc. ?! After a personal bean boycott that lasted about a year, I happened to glance down my nose at the racist bean can while grocery shopping.  Of course I noticed the correct term and - here's the most stupid part- I felt very happy because I thought they had changed it due to my protests. 

3. I wore this hairstyle AND these pants.


4.  When I was in my breast-feeding days, I was kinda happy with the way my full breasts looked.  I had never had such a thing before!  Cleavage was a word I read in books.  Anyway, when you suddenly have huge bazoongas, you have to wear a bra - ALL the time.  Being that I never had them before, I was more of a I'll-wear-a-bra-when-it's-cold-out type of girl.  So wearing this bra thing was so annoying! One night I decided enough is enough and I ripped the bra off before bed.  Well, what I didn't realize was that when you don't contain those milk-makers, they take on a life of their own.  By the time I woke up, I had two bowling balls strapped to my chest and was leaking like a sieve.  I tried to eleviate the pressure by feeding my baby, but it basically looked like I was spraying a fire hose in his face.  STUPID, I tell ya!

 5.  I wrote this post.  Now all my good self-deprecating comic material is used up!  Oh wait, no it's not.  I've done PLENTY other stupid things.   Now that I'm a parent, the stupidity just keeps coming.  I blame the lack of sleep and increase in sugary cereal intake.

Happy Saturday!

Your Epidermis is Showing! by Cindy « loserpie

It’s always been a nice thing to be able to hand stuff down from generation to generation. To keep traditions going…to be able to say stuff like, “This was my grandma’s. She had this when she was a kid!”  Little trinkets…maybe clothing…maybe a doll or diary. But then there are the other things that get handed down that just flat out suck.  In our family, it’s bad skin.  I don’t mean like teenage acne either…I mean BAD skin.  The worst.  The kind you want to rip off and leave in a heap somewhere for some other family.  Yes, that leaves a nasty visual, and I’m sorry, but it’s really THAT bad.

via loserpie.wordpress.com

In light of our trip to the dermatologist today, I figured I repost this oldie from loserpie...

Lunch time tears and lessons learned

Yesterday my son and I were enjoying a lovely lunch of ramen noodles and string cheese at the kitchen table.  I left on the Curious George movie we were watching in the living room for some background noise.  I like noise during the day.  It feels more lively.  I got up to make a pitcher of iced tea when I realized my son was paying more attention to the movie than I thought.

We hadn't watched it too many times before.  He's more of a Curious George TV show guy.  It's always a quick little story with a good lesson and then it's over.  The movie, on the other hand has a BIG story with feelings and bigger lessons -  One of which my son learned yesterday while eating his lunch.

I looked over at the table to see my son slumped over his noodle bowl with tears in his eyes.  Through his folded arms, he looked up at me and said, "I get sad at this part."  He then put his head back down, only allowing the smallest bit of his eye to peek out at the TV.  I could see by the way his shoulders trembled that he had really let loose and was sobbing.

I glanced at the TV to see George being put into a cage and taken away from Yellow Pants (my son's name for the Man with the Yellow Hat).  My son was devastated which in turn made my heart basically fall out into the iced tea pitcher I had been filling.  It was all I could do to run to him and scoop him up.

He stayed scrunched up on my lap like a little monkey himself until George was safely back in Yellow Pants's arms.  Even then, he still held on tightly and didn't quite let go of it all. 

As much as the whole ordeal broke my heart, it also made me proud of him.  That bit of sadness proved he can feel for others.  He loves his friend George and was bothered by the sight of something bad happening to him.  He has empathy. 

My little boy is growing up.

Getting swabbed to help a local teen find a bone marrow match | NJ.com

Lauren Matta is a 17 year old high school senior battling Acute Myeloid Leukemia. After spending the past 6 months receiving chemotherapy treatments, she relapsed. Her best chance of survival is to have a bone marrow transplant but finding a bone marrow donor isn't an easy task. Lauren's family and friends have all been swabbed to see if they could donate. They have set up websites and Facebook pages asking for everyone's help. They also set up an event on February 11th at the American Legion in Little Egg Harbor where anyone can go get swabbed to see if they are a match.

via www.nj.com

My latest on NJ.com... thought I'd share it here, too. Please help Lauren if you can.

Friday, I'm in love

4550491922_32836d783b_mFriday afternoons have always been my favorite time of the week.  When I was working in an office before having kids,  Friday was the sweetest thing that could happen to the work week.  Casual clothes, happy hours, staying up late with the prospect of sleeping in the next morning...  good times.  Of course, having kids changed all that, but not in a bad way at all.  In fact, Fridays are even better now.

Friday afternoon means having Daddy home for 2 1/2 whole days all to ourselves.  It means we can hang out together doing family stuff.  Staying up late might mean 11 o'clock.  Just one more hour of TV.  Maybe a comedy show that keeps us laughing before falling asleep. Pure magic.

I think of tomorrow morning when the kids will sneak into our bed for a snuggly warm hug - pulling our huge arms around them and then not letting their tiny hands let go.  Half asleep smiles as we slowly wake up giggling.  What to have for breakfast?  Coffee, tea and blueberry muffins...the smell wafting throughout the morning house like spring. Saturday morning cartoons.  Possibilites for the day: endless. Knowing there's even another day afterwards to do it all again.

Friday, I love you.