Truth be told…

I’m throwing out my “keeping the bottle half full” rule and replacing it with a tall glass of Pinot Honesty.

Truth be told…

Tonight is annoying.  Tonight I am cranky.  Tonight I am NOT a happy camper.  And tonight I have no legitimate reason why.  So I called in the big guns to deal with my medical semi-emergency.

Cue my girl, Doc McStuffins.

The Doc is In!!

Time for my check-up!  She’s gonna check my ears, check my eyes and find out how much I’ve grown.  Sure enough, Doc found some symptoms:  irritability, worried husband who thinks he did something wrong, fatigue, and general urge to run away by myself to Target even if for just 30 minutes.

Doc thought about it and then realized the diagnosis:  A General case of Sick-of-being-an-adult-itis.  Yikes!  This is one for the Big Book of Boo Boos.

According to Doc, Moms occasionally feel burned out after day in and day out of busy schedules, never-ending to do lists, a house that doesn’t clean itself and constant meal planning, baby bag packing, dishwasher emptying, and general need for making decisions.  

Luckily it’s very curable.  The treatment includes: sweat pants, a two-hour liquid diet of Riesling, an early bedtime and a round of take-out the next day to avoid a nasty flare up of ‘what the duck is for dinner tonight-itis’

So on that note, I’m checking out of life and pretending to be my 20-year-old self for just a few hours.  I’m gettin’ ca-razy and I’m going to bed without my shirt ironed, without my K-cup placed strategically next to my to-go cup, without my lunch packed and without a dinner plan for tomorrow.

Will I regret this night of irresponsibility tomorrow at 5:35 am?  You bet!

But by then my nasty 12-hour cranky-mom-atosis will be gone and I’ll return to my regular condition of Incredibly Thankful for all the awesome things we have going on in our world.

Once in awhile, feel free to let your bottle be half empty (especially if it’s your favorite bottle of wine).  It makes you a human.  And even Super Moms need to rest their capes once in a while.

 

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Cranky, Party of one… your early bedtime awaits!

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A snow day picnic with some sweet desserts

I owe Mother Nature an apology.  If it wasn’t for her blizzard (that I cursed at earlier this week) I wouldn’t be having a picnic right now.  

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Snow day picnic – party of one!

And for dessert at the picnic, it’s a little slice of heaven… a sleeping baby, a completely unexpected free afternoon, a hot coffee & some Girl Scout cookies.   True, we might never ever see summer, but I haven’t had a day like this in months and it feels AMAZING.  Thank you Mother Nature.

Today is a reminder that life is about the sweet stuff, so here are some other fun little happenings in our world right now:

  • New episodes of Parenthood
  • A favorite little St. Patty’s day nephew who turns ONE this weekend!  Happy Birthday Jack!!!
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It’s hard to believe Ryan became a big brother to Jack an entire year ago! I sure love these little guys.

  • Good friends that have had great news lately
  • Shamrock shakes!
  • Some really big wins at work
  • A daughter that recently fell in love with karaoke (or perhaps she just like drooling on the mic)
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“I will survive”

  • An upcoming visit from the Easter Bunny
  • A facelift for the blog by the summer (hopefully)
  • A June wine tour
  • A Q cousins weekend that is getting closer and closer
  • SUMMER!!  Even thought it feels like it will never ever get here

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    “Hurry up summer, I wanna wear these cool shades of mine!”

  • And the opportunity to finish this post so I can enjoy some snuggle time with my favorite little karaoke star

Whether your drink of choice is SImilac, juice or Pinot Grigio, I’m a big believer that we need to sometimes slow down and focus on keeping our bottles half full!  I’m not always good at it myself but today was a great reminder of it.  What sweet little things are happening in your worlds?

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One Tense Mama

My 2014 planner arrived this week, woo hoo!  There’s nothing I love more than having a fresh planner to mark birthdays, work events and vacation dates.  Totally lame but life’s all about the little things, right?

But before I could even flip to February I started thinking about my New Years resolutions.  I’m serious about this… 2014 WILL be the year I make and stick with my resolution.  I’ve known my resolution for a while so it’s time to get moving on it… and there’s not better way to hold myself accountable than to announce my resolution to all my millions thousands hundreds-ish readers on the blog (Hi Mom!). 

So without further adieu.

My 2014 resolution is…. (drumroll please)….

To be one tense Mom.

No, not tense as in uptight.  Tense as in present tense.

And here’s why…

Lately I’ve been thinking about how Moms are master multi-taskers.   Even when we’re with our babes we’re sometimes not with our babes.  Life pulls us in lots of directions and Moms, more than anyone, have a lot on their minds.   And I’ve come to the conclusion that even when you are with your kids, you may not be present with them, hence the Three Tenses of Mommy-ing.

Present Tense Mama – The present-tense Mom is with her kiddos and having fun. This is the Mom that’s fully engaged and paying 100% attention.  The present-tense Mom makes memories and lives in the moment.  She rocks!  This is my goal!!

Future Tense Mom – This is the Mom that’s spending time with her kiddos but rather than engaging she’s thinking about life 20 minutes from now, 4 hours from now and 3 days from now.  This mom’s packing sippy cups for the afternoon trip to the park…. while thawing meat for tonight’s dinner…. while making a shopping list for Sunday’s grocery (no doubt we’ve all done this).   She’s 10 steps ahead of the rest of the world.  Watch out world!

Past Tense Mom –  This Mom is spending times with her kids too, but rather than playing she’s caught up with the memories of the past.  This past tense mom is too busy to have fun because she’s taking pictures, making calendars and sending photo books to the grandmas.  Aside from carrying the baby, this mom carries passwords to all the accounts – Instagram, Shutterfly, and Snapfish.

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It’s not a bad thing to be a past tense or a future tense Mom.  In fact it unavoidable at times, but my NY resolution is to focus on being a present-tense Mama with Makenzie as much as possible, and here’s a few tricks I’ve learned to achieve this….

  • Night-time prep – the more I can do while she sleeps, the less I have to do while she’s awake.  Nighttime = full-on prep mode.  Set out clothes, K-cups, keys, bags, bottles, binkies… you name it!   Granted mornings still get crazy at times, but once in awhile all the prep will give me some free time before work and Kenzie and I get to play, play play.
  • Committing to activities – It’s true that the swim class and baby gym class benefit Kenzie but the other perk is that committing to a regular activity requires me to be a present-tense Mom as we splash, tumble and make memories.

And lastly, the key to being a present-tense Mama is…

  • Dance parties – We love these!!  We stop everything and turn on 80’s station on Pandora to dance and get silly.  There’s no time to stress about planning for the future or snapping photos, there’s only time to get crazy and dance your cute little 13-month old heart out.  Awesome!!!

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Now Bring it on 2014!

I’m challenging myself to be more tuned in as a Mom.

Will it work???  I hope!

I’ve got a goal.   I’ve got clear steps to achieve the goal.   So now let’s see if I can be less tense and more present tense.

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One-Minute (Blog) Bedtime Stories

Time and Energy – my two biggest enemies.

I can’t seem to find both together, and sometimes I can’t even find them individually.   I realize that complaining about being a Mom is like complaining about winning the lottery, but balancing it all can definitely be a challenge some days.   Between work, the house, family obligations, and all the demands of life I’m always questioning if I’m dedicating enough time and energy to being an awesome Mom.  I think I do okay, but some  ALL days I wish I had more.

Then I stumbled upon a little blast from the past in Makenzie’s bookshelf that gave me an idea of how to deal with this.  Hello One Minute Bedtime Stories by Sherry Lewis.  This book was mine as a kid, hence the copyright of 1982, and it had an insightful story that I thought was worth sharing.

Snuggle up with a blankie, and grab a bottle and a binky… it’s bedtime story time on the blog.

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The Big Family in the Little House

Once there was a poor man who had many troubles.  So he went to a wise man in the town and begged for help. “My wife, my father, my six children, and I all live crowded together in a tiny little house.  We trip and bump into each other all day, have little room to sleep, and no privacy.  What shall we do?”  The wise man considered a moment and then said, “How many animals do you have in your barn?”  “A cow, a goat, a pig and some chickens,” the man answered.  “Good.  Go home and take all of the animals into the house with you,” the wise man said.  The poor man was surprised, but he did as he was told.  And the following day he was back.

“What a terrible thing you had me do,” he said.  “The animals are into everything.  They have turned the house into a dirty barn.  They have eaten our food and we have had to sleep standing up.”

The wise man thought again and said, “Now go home and take the animals out of the house.”  The poor man hurried home and did so.  The next day he was back smiling.  “With the animals out of the house, it seems quiet and peaceful now,” he said.  “And with no animals around it is so clean.  And my wife and children, my father, and I have much more room in which to eat and sleep.  Thank You for helping us.  I’d give anything to be as clever as you are.”

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There you have it.  I’m not exactly the wisest man in this town, but when life seems busy, think about adding more instead of stressing over what’s already there.

Volunteer for a few more committees, work longer, commit to more obligations.  When your bank account seems scarce, add in a few more bills.  When your house seems dirty, bring in some barn animals (Mommy McBlog can not be held liable due to damage of floors brought about by cows, goats, pigs and chickens).   And when you feel like you can’t take any more, take more.   I promise you won’t break.   And just when you think you really truly will break, take a deep breath and go back to the life you once knew.

Your once crazy chaotic mess might suddenly seem a little calmer, a little more manageable and a lot more enjoyable.  And if you’re lucky, those around you will appreciate the calmer, more manageable, more enjoyable you!

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Dramatically different

In the 18.5 seconds that it took me to get ready for Makenzie’s bathtime tonight  –  lay out jammies, turn on humidifier, grab towel, sprint to bathroom, put down bathmat and run water – Makenzie managed to break into the bathroom cupboard, find my expensive lotion and drop it in the toilet.  “Uh ohhh?” was her response as she looked at me with that cute face and pointed to the expensive lotion-filled bottle floating in the flusher.

There was no way I could be mad.  In fact I was the opposite.  As I picked up my little girl and squeezed her, I became extremely nostalgic at how fast things change…

It was more than half of my lifetime ago that my Mom and I went to Kauffman’s in the Eastwood Mall for my first experience with make-up.  It was the 90’s and I was a geeky freshman.  I had bushy eyebrows, braces, a training bra and a crush on Jonathan Taylor Thomas.  It was as if I had fallen right off the nerdy & naive tree and hit every branch on the way down.  Little did I realize at the time but there was no amount of make-up to help me be less awkward.

But Mom took me to the Clinique counter anyway and we gave it a try.  I remember the kind lady at the counter telling me all about my skin type and my color palate and then she introduced me to a little container of light yellow skin cream.  Dramatically Different Moisturizer.  Hmm, I liked how that sounded.  Right away I was hooked.

Since that Friday night in the Eastwood Mall I’ve grown up quite a bit.  I’ve waxed my eyebrows (thank God!).  I’ve said good-bye to my metal mouth.  I’ve grown into a real bra, and I’ve developed a new crush on a cute boy named Denny McGee who occasionally does a home improvement.

The years have flown by and I’ve gained some life experiences as well as some wrinkles.  But the one thing that’s remained consistent is the pale yellow skin cream I use each day.  I’ve wholeheartedly believed that if I use it everyday I’ll stay young forever… but after tonight I started thinking.  I don’t want to age but I DO want to continue to experience this journey called life.  Maybe wrinkles aren’t so bad if they represent lessons learned and memories made.   Perhaps these wrinkles represent what is most beautiful to those around us.

Life happen and time ticks on, and before you know it your world is dramatically different than it was the last time you stopped to look in the mirror.  But maybe, that’s not something to be masked or stopped.  Perhaps we need to be glad it’s dramatically different and we need to appreciate all the moments along the way.

Now if only they could bottle up the emotions I felt tonight as I stopped and thought about how good life can be.   There’s no doubt that it would absolutely be a product I would take with me everywhere…

Apply liberally twice a day to face (and heart), or where needed. For best results use after Facial Soap (or after a rough day).  Softens, Smooths, and Improves the Soul.

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What products do you use to keep your soul feeling young?

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Dear Makenzie – Some thoughts about your ears

Hey Kenz girl,

It’s me, Mom.

You’re probably going to roll your eyes at this… but I want to remind you that you have absolutely precious, adorable, sweet, little, perfect baby girl ears.  They are so cute and they make me smile.   And the reason I remind you of this is because yesterday at the grocery store I saw a girl about 16 years older than you who decided she didn’t love or appreciate her ears in their current shape.  In fact she wanted to change the shape of her ears so much that she put giant plastic round spacers in them to create a huge permanent holes in both of her ears.

It’s possible that this girl thought that it’s cool to permanently put giant holes in her ears.  Or perhaps she put giant holes in her ears to impress people in her life.  But maybe, just maybe she decided to stretch out her ears because her mom forgot to remind her just how precious her ears were.

So if you ever think it’s super cool to stretch the crap out of those ears, just remember that your lame old conservative Mom thinks they are perfect as is.  Plus if you ever want to stretch out your skin, you’ll easily be able to do this when you have kids (which is of course not likely to happen for at least 29 1/2 years since you aren’t allowed to date until then).

If you have any questions about this, ask your dad.  He’ll be more than glad to clarify about this situation and what you are and are not allowed to do to your ears.

Much Love,

Mom

PS  While we are on the topic of things that we are not excited about in our house, don’t even think about dancing like Miley Cyrus did at the VMA’s unless you want to be grounded until you are 73.  That’s absolutely not what we refer to when we sing the Shake your sillies out song.

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How having a baby saved my golf game

It turns out that having a baby can save your golf game.  Yep, true story.  They don’t mention this tip in Golf Digest, and there’s not a product infomercial for this, but it can happen.

First let’s venture back to the pre-Makenzie days.  Denny and I used to golf pretty regularly.  We’d hit up the golf dome in the winter and head to the course at least a few times each month in the summer.  I had fun with Denny but my relationship with golf was questionable.  I would lose golf balls, I would lose my patience, and sometimes I would lose my interest in the game altogether.

Golf and I were frenemies in every sense of the word.  Think Kanye and Taylor Swift; think Paris and Nicole; think Erin and golf.

Then sweet Makenzie arrived.  Gone were the days of spontaneously jumping in the car and heading to the driving range.  Gone were the days of 18 holes on lazy Sunday mornings.  Gone were the days of focusing time and energy on our hobbies.  Obviously we’re crazy about our little munchkin but lately we’ve barely had energy to walk 52 yards to bed let alone to walk 5,200 yards on a golf course.

But last weekend Denny’s parents kindly volunteered to watch  Kenzie girl so that we could head out and golf and we took them up on the offer.    The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing and Denny and I had four wonderful hours together.  It was GLORIOUS!!  In fact it was so glorious that I didn’t care if I lost a ball, or lost the game.  I was just glad to have a little us time.  And it turns out that not caring is really a good way to play golf.  I played like a champ and almost made it to the double digits.  Score!!!

It’s been a really good year.  I’ve gained a daughter.  I’ve gained a new appreciation for four hours of undisturbed quiet time with my husband.  I’ve gained a few less strokes on my golf score card.  And I’ve gained a BFF in golf!

Who knows, maybe Paris and Nicole will make up again someday too.

A few extra quarters in the meter

Lately I’ve been battling a huge (sometimes) losing battle with time.  I feel like there’s not enough.  Perhaps I set my expectations of myself too high, perhaps I overbook myself, or perhaps it’s a combination of both.

I think I’m (mostly) doing okay at juggling it all, but I can’t seem to remember a day when I haven’t wished for just a few more minutes.  A few more minutes to devote to a work project to make it really good.  A few more minutes to sleep.  A few more minutes to play with my baby girl while she’s still a baby girl!   A few more minutes to hang out with my hubby so he knows just how much I appreciate him.  A few more minutes to chat with a good friend.  And especially lately I wish I had a few minutes to spend more time with family, especially those that are a few exits away on Route 90.

I know it’s silly to stress over because I can’t do much about the number of hours in a day.  No one can.  A few more minutes can’t be bought, can’t be sold, and can’t be preserved.  Or so I thought…

Then today I went out to grab lunch (since I didn’t have a few more minutes to make one), and as I searched my purse for quarters I thought about parking meters.  They sell time to people.  In fact, that’s their sole purpose.  Sell time to people and then stand by and tell the rest of the world that they are fully committed during the duration of the purchased time.  Such a simple concept… and it got me thinking that maybe we can learn from it.

We can’t exactly put parking meters on the people we love to lock in time with them.   If we could I’d dig through my purse and my bank account for days if it meant a few more meaningful minutes with those people I love and miss so much.   But perhaps I need to meter myself.  Maybe I need to really park myself into each thing that I do for a committed time period, and during that time focus on nothing else.  When the meter is done, I move on or risk being ticketed.  All too often I’m at too many places at once; often I’m just getting to work and already stressing about dinner, or I’m picking up Makenzie and stressing about stuff on my desk.  So maybe it’s time I focus on parking myself… in the moment, in the task, in my relationships.

It doesn’t mean I have to be rigid but I think it will help me feel better about how I’m spending my 24 hours each day.  And if I find myself parked somewhere really good — maybe all snuggled up with Kenz, or maybe on a hilarious phone call with a friend — then maybe I’ll drop a few extra quarters in the meter.

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RSVP’ing for 3 instead of 2

There is something to be said for annual events.  Whether it’s the family dinner on Turkey Day or the first day of school, these repeat occurrences force us to acknowledge change.

In this case, it’s our neighborhood’s annual Memorial Day bash.  Thank you to our very kind friends just across the street for rolling out the welcome mat each and every year regardless of weather, busy schedules and prior year’s alcohol-induced behavior.

Yesterday was another great get together.  But for some reason, this year really made me think.  It’s crazy how being in the same place at the same time every year can really clarify all the changes – both good and bad – that have occurred in the past 365 days in our neighborhood, in our families and in our world.

This year the biggest change for us is the head count from the McGee house.  For the first time, I RSVP’d for a family of 3 instead of 2.  When Denny and I started attending the annual Memorial Day party a few years ago we were the ones leading the charge for more and more rounds of flip cup.  We’d roll home way past midnight and then sleep a solid 12 hours all the while thanking the national holiday gods for the fact that we didn’t have to work until Tuesday.    This year, we rolled a baby stroller home to ensure our munchkin could get 12 hours of sleep all while thanking our lucky stars for the littlest guest at the party.

Talk about change…really good change.

But then there’s all the other change, some good and some not so good.  It’s crazy to think about the power of one year.  Over the course of phone calls, for sale signs, text messages, trips to the hospital, conversations shared over coffee and conversations shared in driveways, the twists and turns of life are carved out in our worlds.

For some of us, change consists of a 4 new walls, new neighbors, and a new home.

For some of us change consists of welcoming a new life, or saying good-bye to a life you knew.

For some of us, we choose to leave for what we think is a better place.

For others of us, we fight like hell in hopes that we get to stay in what we already know is a really good place.

This change that we face is not always fair, and it’s not always easy, but it’s always there.

No matter how many years pass I still find it impossible to ever expect or to ever be prepared for all the change, yet I’ve learned that the trick to navigating it all is to have a good little support system around you.  And if you’re really lucky that little support system will start right at your doorstep.

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