'Tis the Season

I have always loved Christmas. It has always been filled with happy memories for me and I have always been lucky enough to spend it with my family and friends.

When I was little our Christmas tree was always lit up with those big colorful bulbs (much different from the lights you see on Christmas trees these days.) It was always a glowing rainbow dripping in tinsel, a tradition my Mom insisted upon no matter how big the mess. I remember all of us girls grabbing handfuls of tinsel and tossing them haphazardly towards the tree.

I can remember being about about 3 years old and coming downstairs from my nap and as I turned the corner on the stairs I could see our big, glowing, silvery tree all lit up in our dimly lit living room. My Dad was sitting in his La-Z-Boy recliner watching TV and my Mom making dinner in the kitchen and I remember feeling like everything was perfect, everything was as it should be.

Every year my Mom would line all of us each year in front of the tree. It was tradition. I am not sure when she stopped taking pictures of us on Christmas morning. Probably when we all got old enough to find the tradition annoying and we complained enough to get her to stop. I wish she wouldn't have.



It was our family tradition and remembering all of us and and our tree makes my heart happy.

One of the traditions we have started with the boys is our elf, Karl. We have a Christmas elf named Karl (from the classic the Elf on the Shelf) who comes to our house every Christmas season. Karl the elf is in a new spot everyday and flies home to Santa at night to report if Jack & Joey have been good or bad. The boys named him Karl and last year was his first year at our house, thankfully he came back this year. He hides all over our house (always high above the boys reach) on places like curtain rods, light fixtures, and in the Christmas tree. Although this tradition is a little more work for Jay & I, (hiding Karl each night is not as easy as it sounds) I love it. I love watching the boys tear through the house every morning searching for where Karl (and yes, it is Karl with a K. Jack was very clear about this when naming him) is hiding.

I have tried to do pictures in front of the tree on Christmas morning as well, but I will say my kids are not very good at cooperating with picture taking. So our pictures haven't been as nice as the ones my Mom took each year of my sisters and I when I was little.






As you can see, some years went better than others. Last year I couldn't even get Joey to sit in front of the tree, let alone with his brother. So all I have is this picture of them sprawled on the living room floor with all their new toys.

These are the little things I love most about the holidays. Sure, it is freezing out and I am broke from shopping, but this time of year there is nothing my glowing Christmas tree, my family and my memories can't make disappear. 'Tis the Season....I wish you a happy one!

Silent


Sometimes it is just easier to say nothing. I am sure there are times when it is better to feel nothing as well.

Because to have to say something means you actually have to admit to what you are feeling. You have to put it, you, out there. That is hard and requires honesty and balls. Truth be told, I am fresh out of a set of balls these days. So unlike me.

The thing is once you say nothing, it gets easier and easier to say. You never have to talk about your bad day or why you can’t just get yourself together. Why you can’t just be happy. I sometimes think being happy and being thankful are confused. They are, in fact, very different.

I am thankful. So truly, very, deeply thankful for my life and all that I have. That is not the same as being happy in it. Yet I find myself feeling guilty and unappreciative if I say I am unhappy.  No one wants to hear the girl with the happy marriage, healthy kids, house in a nice neighborhood, decent job, a nanny taking care of her kids and doing her laundry complain. I get that. I would think I was ungrateful if I didn’t know me.

So I have started to say, well, nothing. Griping takes a lot of energy and leaves you feeling worse than when you started whining. Silence is so easy. No effort, no balls, no hurt feelings, no guilt. Simple.

There is a good reason why people spend shit-loads of money on therapists. Learning to talk, honestly and openly, is hard work. I should be able to say what I am feeling without having to feel guilty for feeling it, for saying it. Sometimes things need to be said that hurt people’s feelings, but are true nonetheless, and still need to be said. 

I started writing here as therapy for myself. So I could have a place to share things about myself and my life and the struggles and laughs I encounter along the way. A place I could look back at and see how I’ve grown and a place my kids could someday come to learn about me. I am not doing that honestly and openly lately. I am struggling to find the perfect balance of just enough said…

So I say nothing at all.

Yesterday


Yesterday was a day filled with suck. It was tragic, sad and gut wrenching.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the day my Dad’s best friend, Billy, died. He was more than my Dad’s best friend; he was part of our family. I have so many happy memories with him in them.

He died, suddenly of a heart attack, 8 years ago yesterday. He was 44 years old and left behind a wife and two teenage daughters. I am certain wherever he is, he is so proud of the women his daughters have grown up to be. I miss him so much and when I think of him I always smile. He meant so much to my family and I.

I don’t think my Dad will ever be the same as he was when Billy was here with him. I doubt a day goes by where he doesn’t miss him and wish he were still here with us. I don’t think broken-hearts ever mend after losing your closest friend. I think you just carry them around with you.

Billy was loving and loyal. He was as kind-hearted as anyone could be. He was here one minute, gone the next. In seconds all of our lives were changed.

Yesterday was also the day my sister Doni lost her dear friend, Michelle. She passed away yesterday morning from a brain aneurysm. She was 37 years old and left behind a loving husband and two young sons ages 6 and 3.

It happened so fast and in moments she was gone. She never even knew she was sick.  She fought so hard but despite the best medical technologies and her strong will she had to go.

Michelle was a great friend to my sister and although I did not know her well, the short time I had spent with her she was always smiling. She adored her boys and was an incredible mother. I pray they are able to remember just how special their mom was and how she fought so hard to stay with them. I also pray her husband, Joe, will find a way to heal and stay strong for their boys.

Losing a loved one is never easy. It always hurts. There is a lesson to learn here and that is there are no guarantees in life. It is a hard lesson to learn, to remember. It is so easy to take for granted all we have, all those we love, because we are fortunate enough to still have them. The key is realizing someone could be with you laughing one minute and gone forever the next. It is tragic, sad and completely unfair.

So yeah, yesterday wasn’t a good day. I missed Billy with same aching heart as if he died just a moment ago and I was heart-broken to hear about Michelle. The sadness I feel for Michelle’s family, her husband and kids, is indescribable. My heart hurts for my sister and my Dad who will forever have to live without their dear friends.

If there is one thing yesterday taught me, it is to be thankful. So I am, I am so thankful I have today.

My Childhood Anxiety is my Motherhood Reality


When I was little I hated the days when my Mom wasn’t home when I woke up for school. Sometimes she would have to leave for work early or occasionally she would be traveling and since my Dad always left the house super early we were left to get up on our own. (read: my older sister Amy was responsible for making sure we were up before she left for school.)

This caused me great anxiety. I hated waking up and not having her be home. There were so many things that could go wrong. I would worry she or my Dad would forget to leave our lunch money on the counter. Then I would have nothing to eat for lunch and I might starve to death in the 6th grade. What if I woke up sick and she wasn’t home to say whether or not I could stay home or not. So I would have to go and feel sick all day. What if I missed the bus? I would be stranded at home, all alone.

There were a million what ifs. I wouldn’t sleep well knowing she was leaving early and I would try to wake up before she left, even if it was only briefly, so I could remind her to leave my lunch money. Once I had the chance to talk to her and remind her about the lunch money I could fall back asleep feeling at peace.

I am weird, I know, but I really dreaded those days.

Now that I am the Mom and the one leaving in the morning, I still have the same anxiety. I hate leaving before the boys are awake. I like to talk to them, see how they are and go over what the plan for the day is before I leave.

But mostly, I love being able to kiss them goodbye and I like telling them I will see them later and to have a great day and to be good boys. I feel better about my day when I get to do that.

We all know that good days start with good mornings and their hugs, kisses and I love you's make my mornings.

Mother of the Year


This past weekend my sister, Doni, her husband, Chris, and my nephew, Cullen, came down to our house so Chris could help Jason finish tearing up our kitchen floor and then help him replace it with a shiny, nice, new one.

It was great, yet very chaotic, having them come spend the night especially with a few home improvement projects simultaneously occurring.

While Chris and Jay were busy destroying the kitchen, Doni and I painted the bricks around my fireplace white. They were an ugly dark brown and look so much brighter and cleaner now that they are a semi-gloss white.

Since my boys are completely bananas all most of the time on their own adding Cullen into the mix just added fuel to their fire. There were boys yelling and screaming, running up, down and everywhere they weren’t supposed to be running. There was a lot of peeing, sometimes in ones pants, but generally on my toilet seat and bathroom floor.

It was nuts. Sometimes a fun kind of nuts and sometimes a I am having a panic attack get them all out of here kind of nuts. Even though I was going bat-shit crazy, they were having a great time together. Playing like cousins should.

Now I know I have mentioned this before, but my son Joey is a special child. By special I mean devil-like complete with horns. He is NAUGHTY. He is also adorable and snuggly and a pain in my ass. This kid may be the one that sends me over the edge, let me tell you.

He has said his share of cuss words (yes, I know he is only two.) For those of you that know Jay & I, you probably aren’t shocked by this. We do try really hard to keep all profanity to a minimum when we are in front of the kids, but as you know, shit happens.

Joey has been using a few select swear words in proper context for a couple of months now. We have been diligently trying to nip this behavior in the bud before it turns into a habit because he is in preschool now and you know how judgey some of the teachers and other parents can be. It seems they frown upon swearing in preschool (they also frown upon choking of other children in case you were wondering.)

We would instantly (while hiding our giggles and smirks) discipline Joey whenever he said a bad word. This is hard because I dare you to try not to laugh when your kid yells, “Shit!” when his toy train runs off the track. It is funny. He is two and it sounds funny coming out of his little mouth. But still, we did it. We reprimanded him and have even put soap on his tongue. This has worked somewhat but every now and then he lets a swear word slip out – it is a work in progress.

So while Doni and I were painting the fireplace, Joey and Cullen were playing with a couple of toys on the floor behind me and it wasn’t long before Cullen snatched Joey’s toy away from him in true toddler fashion. This is what transpired:

Joey: “God Dammit Cullen that is mine!”

Cullen: “…”  *blank look on his face*

Joey: “What? Don’t you say God Dammit too?”

I had heard Joey say it and didn’t even get a chance to discipline him before he questioned Cullen about his confused look. Needless to say I was laughing hysterically which made following through with a punishment difficult.

I know, I know, I’m mother of the year. At least I am laughing!

Life Lessons


I recently had a conversation with a man that I have occasionally worked with for years and something he said struck me in such a way I can’t stop thinking about it.

Let me explain that this man is a great guy. He is way more traditional than I am in terms of his religious beliefs and family, but he and his wife are lovely people and they have a whole slew of polite, well behaved, children.

The conversation we were having had been about his daughters recent wedding. I was asking him all sorts of questions about her big day and all the excitement that comes along with weddings. I asked him if he liked her husband and his family. He went on and on about what a great man he was and how his family was supportive and loving, all the things you want in the family your daughter is marrying in to.

Then I asked how old she was (he has several children and I have a hard time remembering who’s who) and he said she was 22. I smiled and said, “Wow. So young…” I meant wow, so young like holy hell why is she getting married at 22 since I didn’t even know who I really was or what I wanted to be when I was 22. I also meant wow, so young like how exciting for her with her whole life and all this newness in front of her. The very thought made me smile.

His response is what struck me as strange. He said, “Yes, but we have been preparing her for this for the last 10 years. We have been teaching her how to keep a home and love her husband.”

I know my mouth just hung open and for what seemed like forever I was unable to speak. In my mind I kept thinking, surely you are crazy and he didn’t just say that about his daughter? But in reality yes, yes he did.

I simply smiled and said I was so happy for her and wished her the best, and I do.

It isn’t that I think teaching your child the skills necessary to “keep a home” or “love your husband” are ridiculous, these are important skills, no doubt. What struck me is that this is what they spent 10 years trying to teach her about this world and herself.

I started thinking about my parents and the things they taught me. I don’t ever recall them focusing on keeping a home or loving anyone, other than myself. The lessons were more along the lines of get an education, find a career you love so you can take care of yourself, while they wanted me to get married and have a family, I am sure, it was not a life-lesson that was taught to me. At no point was ‘find a husband and make him happy’ one of the things they focused on.

Instead they taught me, from as early as I can remember to stand up for myself, to voice my opinion and respect others and their opinions. To fight for what I believe to be right and true. To never, ever, let someone treat me poorly. I am not a doormat and no one has the right, no matter who they are, to treat me like one.

I used these skills to stand up for myself in high school to a teacher, my parents backing me and believing in me every step of the way. I used it later on after allowing boyfriends to treat me like I was less than I am and let relationships end, knowing I deserved better. They taught me that.

They taught me that people I thought were my friends might not always be and that I need to learn who my real friends are. I have although it was difficult and heart breaking at times.

They taught me to tell the truth because lying has big consequences that could destroy so much. They taught me about relationships not only with their words but also by example. No, these weren’t always easy lessons to learn but they were honest and real, just like life.

I learned how to take care of myself before having to care for anyone else. I am strong and capable and believe in myself. I know who I am and what values I hold.

Their lessons did indeed teach me how to keep a home and love my husband. They also taught me that some of that is learned as you go. No one could teach me how to make my marriage work and I am still learning that, working on it, everyday. There is no lesson to teach you how to be a parent or what will happen to your heart the minute you are handed your child. There are no lessons, no secret rules or guides.

I am thankful my parents spent all those years teaching me about myself. I focused on who I wanted to become instead of what I might become to someone else some day.  In the end, I am me before I am a wife, mother, sister or daughter. I was taught to always be true to myself and then being true to others would come easier.

I love them for teaching me all of this. I am so much more than how I keep my home or how I love my husband.

Forget It


I am not much of a forgetter. Meaning I remember most things – even things that should have long been forgotten. I have always been that way and even though I do feel like I lose a little of this ability with each passing year (and child), I think I am kind of on the ball when it comes to remembering.

Sure there is the nostalgic stuff like childhood memories, certain songs on the radio, a scent that catches my nose and brings me right back to where I was when I first smelled it, first kisses and so on. But there is the important stuff too. The things I need to remember like social security numbers, medical information, school stuff, appointments, etc. In my daily life there is a lot of remembering that needs to be done.

My husband, God love him, is not a rememberer. In fact, he succeeds at forgetting really, really well. It is his nature, partly and the other part is my fault. See why would he need to remember when he knows I will? Therefore he makes little effort to try and remember. In his mind I’ve got it covered.

Being the kind of person who feels recalling important things is well, um, important, his forgetfulness makes me crazy. When I ask him to do something that goes undone and his reply is, “Oh, sorry I forgot” I have to dig deep inside myself to stifle the part of me that wants to scream like a psychotic maniac at him, which truthfully I am not always able to do. Because, come on! He should be capable of remembering simple things, especially when I remind him MULTIPLE times. Still, he forgets. Not every time but often.

I know he is not doing it on purpose and he has, in his defense, always been this way. But what I don’t understand is how he remembers his stuff. He has plenty on his mind and manages a busy work schedule and projects and I don’t recall him ever forgetting to make sure his Fantasy Football team was ready for the week, but administering our kid’s medicine (that he takes EVERY night before bed) or carrying the basket of laundry upstairs at night completely slip his mind.

I don’t really get angry about it anymore. Sure it is frustrating at times and I do feel like a nag when I remind him a million times to do something because I can’t be sure he will remember, but the worst is when I have to ask him later and actually check to make sure that what I asked of him was done. It just makes me need to remember more stuff.

I worry that if something happens to me he would be hard pressed to know where the kids SS cards and birth certificates are kept, the pediatricians number and when their check-ups and immunizations are due or what vet we go to amongst a million other important life details. I will, however,  rest assured knowing that this week’s fantasy line-up is ready to go.

The Week I Couldn't Win

At some point in time I think you just learn that you can’t control everything. For me this become apparent after having Jack but really became something I couldn’t ignore after having Joey. I tried my best to keep on top of schedules and daily things and some days that worked great. Others, not so much.

Even my best planned days and weeks end up in the shitter every now and then. This past week was no exception.

Monday concluded with the boys and I at the doctor’s office getting a diagnosis of Pertussis. For those of you who have no idea what Pertussis is, it is Whooping Cough. Delightful.

Since my kids weren’t “whooping” just hacking and coughing I wasn’t too worried. I guess because they were vaccinated for Pertussis they had a milder case and no “whoop.” Yay for shots!

I thought the coughs they had been hanging on to had to do with their forever snotty, runny noses. Apparently not. After a couple of prescriptions for a round of antibiotics and a regime of breathing treatments we were on our way. That led us to a sleepless night and dozing to the lull of the nebulizer.

By Wednesday I felt like we had a better handle on things and decided to drag Joey along to Jack’s swim lesson and then to the play area at the Y so I could workout. No sooner is Jack in swim trunks waiting to get in the water and Joey projectile vomits all over the lobby / swim lesson viewing area of the YMCA. This happens to be right in the middle of the evening rush. Fabulous.

I felt horrible for poor Joey who didn’t really even seem to mind the fact that he was covered in puke. I, however, was embarrassed. I was the Mom with the kid who pukes in public. Fantastic.

I could tell I was not going to win this week.

Thankfully after only one additional round of vomit, Joey was recovered. He was still awake all night begging for chocolate milk. I am not sure how you explain to a two year old the fact that they just heaved all over at the YMCA equals no chance in hell of having any sort of dairy product, especially not chocolate milk. This debate went on all night long.

From Thursday on I have been living in fear of the flu. It is one of those things you are just certain will strike another one within the family at any moment. I have asked Jack if his tummy hurts approximately 3,489 times per day, since Wednesday.

Needless to say he thinks I am a complete whack job. He is totally right.

Things got a little better (minus the sleep since Joey thinks sleeping with us while KICKING US ALL NIGHT LONG is comfortable) and we did the Y Halloween Party (yes, I showed my face there again and even brought my puke-monster with me. Only one family recognized us and looked at us with horror written all over their faces before quickly scurrying the other way.)

We make it through the end of the week and yesterday morning I am just getting out of the shower and simultaneously shagging the boys in to the tub and the phone rings. It was my neighbor calling to tell me the banging at my door was the police. They are in my front yard and they have my dog, Zoe.

I am so confused since I never heard any banging while in the shower and Jason apparently never heard any banging with the music blaring upstairs while he was painting.

Now, for those of you that don’t know my dog is a Rottweiler. She is also as loved by my family as if she were a kid. She is the sweetest, most well behaved dog I have ever known. She is always good, not only to us, but to strangers and children and other animals. She wins the best dog ever award. Hands down.

So, back to the police. I throw open the front door and run out on the porch to be greeted by two cops and my dog in the front yard.

I am in my bathrobe with a towel on my head. Another quick reminder that I have no control of what occurs around me. My life owns me.

I realize I am only wearing my bathrobe after I am out on to the porch and the police officers are looking at me strangely and laughing at me. I know, the jokes on me.

They inform me that someone called them because my dog was out. I was so confused because although she was out, she has never left our yard. We have a fenced back yard but rarely have the gate closed because she doesn’t leave. Truthfully, she is 10 years old and has a bad leg so we are lucky she walks from the house to the backyard to pee.

Again, I am confused. I ask where they found her and they said she was lying in my driveway. I ask if she scared someone (she is big and can look scary, I get that) and they said she didn’t bark, growl or even get up. She was just out.

It is at this point in the conversation, that is occurring while I am STILL outside on my front porch in my bathrobe, a short bath robe mind you, with a towel on my head, that one of the cops sits down in the yard and begins loving on my dog who is so, so happy to get the attention.

One of the cops just lost his Rottie a year ago and the other tells me she has never met such a sweet dog…and on and on they go. Never mind the fact that I am in my bathrobe on a busy street! Let’s talk all day!

They were extremely friendly and needless to say left without any problems after meeting Zoe. They even apologized for dragging me out in my robe.

Hanging out half-naked on the porch with the police and my Rottweiler is always a nice way to start a Sunday morning.

I am still frustrated that someone called the police on me because my dog was sleeping in my driveway on my property. People judge us because of the breed of dog we have. They assume she is a baby-eating attack dog. I assume they are ignorant assholes. 

The final score for the week, in case you lost count was:
Week = Too many to count.  Me = Zero.

Trying for a win this week.

12 Years

He was one of those guys I was instantly drawn to. His size was something you couldn’t miss but his smile was even bigger and more noticeable. I knew who he was. I was aware that he lived in the same apartment building as I did and I knew the group of guys he hung out with. He was a football player and that posse of guys were infamous around campus.

Although we had seen each other plenty of times and even had breakfast together with our mutual group of friends, we hadn’t really talked.

Until that one night, with the most unforgettable conversation that quickly turned into the most memorable evening that completely changed my life.

He was like so many other guys I knew, the perfect friend. I have so many guy friends who I love to pieces. I thought he fit into this category of boys in my life just perfectly. He was sweet, funny and caring and so. much. fun. He was the best to hang out with. It didn’t matter if it was late nights out at the bars or just hanging out watching movies, sober or wasted, he was always fun.

From that one memorable (and drunken) night on, we were friends. Great friends. We spent most days and nights together. Doing nothing and everything. We laughed, teased and fought. If arguing was a sport we were the champions. No one could get me as angry as he could. We were either loving each other or hating each other. It was all or nothing with us.

I remember not long after he graduated he told me he would be moving home. The day I had dreaded came and I had to say goodbye to him. I was incredibly sad and kept asking myself why I cared so much that he was leaving. Yes, he was a great friend and yes, we had so much fun together but that didn’t seem to be enough of an answer for why my stomach was turning and my heart was pounding. I made the goodbye fast – a big hug and a “let’s talk soon” was all I could manage before running out the door in tears.

It wasn’t long before he called and then before I knew it he was back. He was going to be around for the summer while he played Arena Football. We vowed to have the best summer ever. We kept our promise.

That summer went so fast and once again it was time for him to head back home. I remember thinking I let him go once and was lucky enough to get him back. How could I let him go again? I came clean that I didn’t want to see him go. I just wanted him to stay, forever. He promised we would talk and that he would be back.

It took us a while to get to the point where we even discussed dating. Our friendship was great, the best, what if we dated and it didn’t work out. Then what? I was in no way prepared to lose my friend. I also knew in my heart that this boy who I called just a friend meant so much more to me but I was too scared to even consider us as a “we.”

I remember the phone conversation lasting so late into the evening and we went back and forth discussing whether or not we would work. There was a list of pro’s and con’s and at the end of the list I don’t think either one of us was convinced one way or another. I still remember him telling me we should just do it. Give it a try, hope for the best. I agreed.

I hung up the phone in the early morning hours feeling excited, nervous and like I might throw up. I would see him soon and we would see. I fell asleep that night praying we would work and that he wouldn’t be a bad kisser because everyone knows bad kissing ruins everything.

The following week, on Sweetest Day as I sat in the bar with friends, he walked in. He came over to me offering a hug and a pair of Dave Matthews Band tickets for us. I took him home with me that night and he has never left since.

We have been together twelve years this week and married for six of them. I thank God everyday that we were brave enough to give us a chance and that I was lucky enough to marry my friend.

Happy Sweetest Day, love.
xoxo




Little White Crosses

I believe in rights. I believe in the people who fight everyday for this countries rights, my rights.

I believe in equality for all people, of all races. I believe people have the right to love and marry whoever they choose. Gay or straight.

I believe in choice. I love that I get to choose to vote for who I believe are the best people to fight for my rights as an American.

I believe in God and Christianity, but also believe there are other Gods and religions that people believe in. I respect their choices.

I am pro-choice. I believe in a woman's right to choose what she does or doesn't do to her body.

I believe in God and a woman's right for abortion. I don't think these two things contradict one another.

I pass a church on my way to work everyday. This week there are a ton of little white crosses filling the front lawn with a sign saying "Choose Life". Every time I pass this church I get the urge to drive my car onto the lawn and mow every single one of those little crosses down.


Each day I think, How dare they? How dare they make people feel bad about decisions that are theirs to make. Choices that are often excruciating and heart-breaking to make. How dare they judge? They are a church. People of God. Aren't they supposed to accept people, love people, support people? Shame on them.


When I was in college I had the privilege to have dinner with Sarah Weddington. Sarah was one of the two attorneys that fought for "Jane Roe" in the Roe v. Wade case. She was at my university to speak and she was a lovely woman. We talked at great length about why she and Linda Coffee fought for women's rights and what it meant to her. How she was proud that she gave women the right to decide what was best for their bodies and for their lives. I was honored to get to talk with her and share a meal. I believe in what she fought for.


I have never had an abortion and I don't think anyone who has never been in a position where they needed to consider it can say, one way or another, what they would do until the situation presented itself. I have children that I adore. I had them with a man I love when I was ready to care for them and I could care for myself. This is not always the case. There are plenty of women, even young girls, who have to make this decision every day. I don't think anyone makes it without thinking twice. It is a life-changing decision in the same way having a baby is. Neither of which you should enter into lightly.

I believe that good people get abortions. Women just like me. I respect their choice, because it is theirs to make. I pray there is never a day when I as a woman don't get to make my own choices about my body.

I will continue to resist the urge to mow down the little white crosses, but I will always stay true to what I believe in. That church's display doesn't guilt trip me into believing anything different. Instead of making me want to join in on their congregation, I want the exact opposite. I want nothing to do with that church all because of the little white crosses. Shame on them.

Wishes

I know it isn’t always going to be easy. Or fair. I know there will be times, sometimes only a day and sometimes more, that I will feel like I can’t get it right. When I will feel like everything I am doing, every decision I make, is wrong.

It would be great if I didn’t feel so alone when these times hit. When they cover me like a blanket and I feel like suffocating is imminent.

If I didn’t feel like it was all my fault.  Like it was solely my responsibility to figure it all out and fix it all up.

I would love to feel like you always had my back and no problem big or small would be too much for us to solve. Because we could do anything as long as we were doing it together.

I wish I didn’t feel like I had no control. None over you or them or us, as we just slip and slide down the hill, praying when we land at the bottom we are still us. All together. Okay.

Sometimes I wish I could just talk it out and between you & I we would find the answers.  I hope that they would be good answers that actually would work in real life, our life.

I just wish it wasn’t so hard.

As much as I know all of that and wish it were sometimes different, I am certain of this; I would not want to go through these hard times with anyone but you and them. I would rather fight with you for them, for us, than for anything else in this world.

I would like to fight through these times with more patience, support and love. I want to trudge through them with less blame and hurt. I wish we didn’t keep score, but because we are human we do. We both want to win and in turn we both end up losing sometimes.

I will continue to work through the stormy times, when I am uncertain of what I am doing and if it is right or wrong, and hope one day it will be easier and I will feel like I got it right. That we got it right.

Mostly, though, I just wish it wasn’t so hard.

TGIF

I am in a funk this week. You know the kind where you wish you could stay in jammie pants in bed, hiding under the covers watching bad Lifetime movies and occasionally eating ice cream right out of the container.  Ice cream just tastes better that way and you can actually dig for the chunks you want to eat (example: chunks of Oreo cookie) and you can’t do that when you scoop it into a bowl. Plus, then you also have dirty dishes, which is a negative no matter how you look at it.

Anyway, back to my point, and yes I had one. It has been a yucky, long week.

We got home on Sunday night from my sister’s wedding and the boys were sick. Not sick like dying sick, just miserable, snot-faced, whiners sick. They were needy and wiping their snotty noses on every surface imaginable in the house. It was unpleasant.

We were all tired and they were sick so we got not nearly enough sleep. Have I mentioned how I feel about sleep? I could do it full-time, like a job only it would be better since there would be less work and more sleep. I really, really love it.

Then Jason left to go out of town for work on Monday and wasn’t coming home until Thursday. That left me with work, sick kids and little sleep. It just keeps getting better.

I got home from work on Monday and our super-nanny was looking not so happy. Turns out my kids were complete ass faces all day and she wanted to kill them. I offered her Vodka, apologized over and over (all the while praying to God and whoever else might listen that she didn’t quit) and told her I would handle them and to go home. Clearly by the look on her face it had been a long. bad. day.

After she left, I told the boys they were not allowed to watch cartoons all night due to their horrible behavior. They flipped out, of course. I might as well have banged my head into the wall at that very moment. Because, well, DUH. Them not watching cartoons is a punishment for them, yes, but also a huge punishment for me. I was not thinking about this and completely screwed myself. Next time their punishment will be to clean the bathtub. That would have been in my best interest.

They were in rare form all night and since there was no TV to distract them (or me) they kept running through my house screaming and tackling each other. Then one would get hurt and then there was crying, which led to more whining and snot. I came to the conclusion they were very tired, and still sick, so they were medicated and in bed by 7pm. I know this seems early but Monday Night Football was on and I was not missing the Bears game for whiny kids and their usual bedtime is between 7:30 – 8 so this wasn’t actually that early.

Tuesday proved to be slightly better during the day, and yes, the super-nanny did show up on Tuesday morning (thanks be to God for that answered prayer.) It was Tuesday night when I decided to take the boys grocery shopping after work, but before dinner, that might have been a not-so-smart idea. Who does that? What kind of a mom thinks taking their kids to the grocery store is ever a good idea? Let me state for the record, it is a BAD idea. Grocery stores kind of suck on their own and they do not get less sucky when you add a snotty 4yr old & 2yr old to the mix.

Overall, they were not that bad in the store. Unless of course you count Jack asking me to buy everything he saw. You know your kid is spoiled when they are begging you to buy a can of tomato paste because they really like the picture on the can and they really want to get sooomethinnngg. Lord help me the whining was world class.

We left the store with a cart full of groceries, arms full of silly bands and I was exhausted. Needless to say after all that, and due to my lack of culinary skills, I made Ramen Noodles and Crescent Rolls for dinner. Yes, I am a mom who feeds my kids Ramen Noodles. Go ahead, judge me if you want to.

Wednesday wasn’t too eventful and the kids were feeling a little better. Joey pretty much slept with me the entire week, with his snotty-nosed snoring in the background. He also enjoys sleeping right next to me and he occasionally rubs my cheek and strokes my hair. I don’t like being touched when I am sleeping. It feels like I have bugs crawling on my face and in my hair. This ruins my sleep and I think we have already covered how much I love sleep. The child has a perfectly comfortable bed. Why he must sleep in mine, I have no idea.

When Thursday arrived, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Jason was coming home! Then I walked downstairs in the morning and Joey proceeded to stand in front of me and pee his pajamas right there in the living room. Nothing like cleaning up a puddle of piss and urine soaked child before 7:30am. Have I mentioned how special my sweet Joey is? He flips me off when I’m not looking I know it.

Thankfully Jay made it home safely and the boys were thrilled to see him. I got home from work just in time to change and run Joey to swim lessons. There are few things Joey likes as much as he likes swimming right now. He loves the water, is jumping in on his own and is really starting to get the basic skills of actual swimming (kicking and “scooping”) down and it is only a 30 minute class so he can stay focused that long.

The bad thing about swimming is that I have to get in the pool with him. Once I am in, it is usually not that bad. It is the making sure my legs and lady parts are groomed properly and the whole shove my large ass into the swimsuit part that sucks. Well that and the cold water.

So last night we are swimming away having a grand ole time when I hear the instructor on the pool deck announce, “Everyone out of the pool.” I turn around to look at the clock since I was sure it hadn’t be 30 minutes yet since I could still feel my nipples (don’t ask I have cold nipple issues) and that is when I see one of the kids in the class being quickly hoisted out of the pool by her Dad.

“What’s the matter?” I ask. The instructor’s reply is, “She threw up and there are chunks in the pool.”

Lovely. Just how like to spend my Thursday night, swimming with puke chunks.

That was when we all scurried out of the water and the swimming teachers started what I could only assume was the checklist of HAZMAT procedures that must be followed when there is chunky puke in the pool. One grabbed the skimmer and began fishing the chunks out of the water. Yes, yes you did read that right; there was puke-skimming occurring. That is so wrong on so many levels. The other teacher grabbed the necessary chemicals and hoses needed to kill all the puke-germs and then pump the water through the filter.

Let me mention the thing I hate worse, way worse, than not enough sleep is puke. I do not do vomit. I am a totally wuss and will actually cry real tears if faced with a pukey situation. It causes me great anxiety and panic attacks. I know I have kids. I know I should be able to deal with this, but I cannot, do not, WILL NOT!

Also, being in the pool where the poor kid (and I felt horrible for this sweet little girl) vomited was not a good time for me. Thankfully Joey and I headed straight to the shower. He didn’t seem to mind the puke and proceeded to tell Jason all about how “chunks were puked in the pool.” SO. GROSS.

I am hoping for a better day today but since it started at 4:30am with boot camp, after which I weighed myself to learn I have actually gained ANOTHER pound, things aren’t looking good. I love busting my ass at the crack of dawn only to gain weight. Starving myself has got to be easier.


**FOOT NOTE: This week wasn’t all bad. The Bears did beat the Packers on Monday night. BEST. WIN. EVER. Go Bears!

Disappointed

You should have been there. It was important and special and you missed it. You shouldn’t have.

You should have been there to support them and to let them know you care as much about this day as they do. Just like they have for all of you.

You should have seen her. Her smile, her tears and her absolute joy. You will never know how beautiful she was.

I know sometimes you can only do what you can do. I get that. I also believe that if you wanted to be there, really felt it was important enough, you would have been. No excuses could have stopped you. It was that important, to her. It mattered, to her.

She has always been there for you. You should have done the same for her.

Wedding Day

Today my sister gets married. My baby sister. The one I shared a room with for the better part of my life, us talking into the night from our respective bunks.

She is my best friend and I wish for her all the happiness this world can offer. I have seen her be married before and then have to battle through a nasty, heart-breaking, yet completely necessary divorce. She was broken and said to me in those early days she would never get married again.

And here we are. She called me after meeting Chris, she called him the dirty carpenter, to tell me although he was great she wasn't sure what would come of it. After all, she was newly divorced with a two-year old son. She was the epitome of baggage.

He didn't seem to care. He never left her from that point on. Like all relationships, there was work to be done, problems to fix, broken hearts that needed mending. They put the time and energy into fighting through the bad to end up at a place of so much good.

I love her so much. I love him and welcome him into our lives, our family. I wish the two of them, and their boys, the kind of happily ever after that everyone deserves.

Happy Wedding Day, Doni & Chris!

I love you always. xoxo

P.S. Although my sister has picked the MOST remote place in the Midwest to get married, the color of the trees here are enough to take your breath away. So we will trudge through mud today to get to the lake front to hear them say I Do with colorful trees exploding around us. Say a prayer I don't bite it in the mud!

Sixty

Tomorrow is his birthday. He would have been sixty and we would have been celebrating in a true  Griswald manner.

I am sad I won't see him turn sixty.


I have talked about Cozzi here before. How we all loved him and how he left us too soon. That is no more apparent than at times like this. Times that should be happy. Times when we should be eating cake, watching Papa as he huffs and puffs to blow out all 60 candles with the help of his two best pals. There are so many missed times.

My heart aches when I think about all he doesn't know about us anymore. Our new house, new jobs, Jack in school, Joey growing bigger by the minute. The way the boys giggle and play, wrestle and tackle, chasing one another for the football. The way Jack can hit a baseball to our deck and how he is really starting to get the hang of catching with his glove. The way Joey will sit with Jason and watch the Bears play. The two of them cheering in tandem, filling the void that was left after he was gone.

The way I still sing the National Anthem, with a lump in my throat and a heavy heart, like he is right here with me. The way Jason misses talking to him about sports, fantasy football and spreads. The way we miss all the laughter. All the non-stop laughter.

He has been gone for the same amount of Jack's life as he was here. Still, my sweet boy will flip through photo album after photo album telling stories of his Papa and the fun that they had.

He is still so missed, so loved.

Happy Big 6-0, Coz, wherever you are. We will sing and eat cake and miss you so. xoxo

Let the Worrying Begin

I have never left my boys alone for the weekend with anyone other than my Mom. She is the one Jay & I got to when we need, okay, fine, when we want to get away for the weekend. She has been doing this with them since they were babies and she knows the quirks, and oh my do they have their quirks, and their bedtime routines. She knows what they like to eat and what their favorite cartoons are.

She knows all about asthma and notices the first signs of Joey wheezing. She never forgets the dreaded peanut and egg allergy. She is on the ball and has it covered.

I still get nervous and worry when I leave them with her. But it is not because I am worried about their care and more about me being worried they will be bad. Let’s be honest, they are often naughty and I worry they are going to run her ragged. More times than not, they do.

They are a lot of work. Once you add Joey’s asthma and allergies into the equation, they are a job.

Since my Mom will be at my sister's wedding with me this weekend she is unavailable. Instead we have Jason’s cousin Lauren, or Oorna as the boys lovingly call her, watching the boys this weekend. Overnight. For three nights. I am officially freaking out.

Let me just say that Lauren has been watching my kids since Jack was just a baby and Joey was not even a thought in my mind. She has been caring for Joey since he was just days old. She knows my kids and she loves them, almost as much as they love her. Jason & I could not trust her more.

BUT. I hate that there is a but, but there is. She has never watched them overnight, let alone for three nights and never when we were going to be far away. So I worry that she won’t hear Joey crying at 2:30am for his mama. That she wouldn’t think anything of him sounding a little out of breath. That they will give her trouble and try to buck the system, corrupt the schedule, and she will want to do nothing but sit on the couch and drink Vodka until she can’t hear or see them anymore. She might want to do this anyway, and I wouldn’t blame her. Unless she did of course, in which case she knows I would have to kill her.

I still worry. I worry about them and I am worried for her. This could quite possibly be the best form of birth control she will ever know. Staying with a 4 and 2 year old (one of which is potty training) could make her swear off having nookie for life. I don’t want to be the one that causes her to drink alone (I better bring all the booze with me) and swear off the fun that sex can be. Sex without babies, that is.

I know it will be fine, that she will take the best care of them and that they will have the greatest time with her. I will still worry, well, because that is what I do. I just hope if she has a party at the house while we are gone, she dresses the kids appropriately so they fit in. No one likes to be the uncool kid at the party.

Good luck, Oorna. xo

My Lists

These last few weeks have been exhausting with a capital E. I am struggling to keep my head above water. There is so much I (or we when I can con my husband into participating) need to do, but there just never seems like enough time.

I have been so unsuccessful lately at keeping up with the everyday things. Things like paying bills more than once a month or worse yet, at the very last minute and cleaning my house or putting away my laundry. Don’t get excited, the laundry is only clean because our super-nanny does it. She puts all of the boys laundry away, but Jay & I are on our own and rightly so. It would be a teensy bit inappropriate to ask her to start putting away our underwear. We are beyond lucky she is even washing them. Jason is a little old to be picking clothes up off the floor and sniffing them before throwing them on.

I feel like there are just lists of stuff to do piling up in my head with no light at the end of the tunnel. No chance they will ever get crossed off my mental list. No sense actually writing them down since it will only make me feel like a failure when they don’t get accomplished.

We have a busy couple of weeks ahead of us as well. Next weekend my sister gets married! It is all very exciting and nerve-racking. I am her Matron-of-Honor. This is a big responsibility and I was so honored she asked me, except now I am freaking out. You know what a matron of honor does, right? Well, no, besides get drunk and dance like rock stars. They give speeches. Which means speaking in front of a group of people. Which I am totally not keen on doing. If they are lucky they give heartfelt, witty, lovely speeches that people laugh and cry at. I am just not certain I have that kind of speech in me. I do not want to fail at my honorable duties, nor do I want to disappoint my sister. The pressure! Needless to say, this is what the next week will be consumed with for me…the dreaded speech.

I am also kinda flipping out because we are leaving for the weekend and the kids will stay home with a sitter. A perfectly responsible sitter, who the kids adore, but this still makes me nervous. When you have a kid with food allergies (the dreaded eggs and peanuts) paired with a doozey case of asthma, emergencies can occur. I will be pretty far away and this freaks me out. I know our Oorna (what the boys call our sitter) will have it all under control but I am a worrier.

Then not long after that I am off to Vegas with my girlfriends. A trip I am really looking forward to but need to do some shopping before I go. My wardrobe is not Vegas ready at the moment. So although that will be non-stop fun, I still have a lot of work to do to prepare.

The list goes on and on. I guess you have to start somewhere so I am going to start with sleep and head off to bed. Boot camp at 5am is on the list and since I am already exhausted I need to get a head start on some sleep. The rest of the list, along with the laundry, will have to wait.

An Apple A Day

As I pulled into the driveway last Friday after work my kids, along with the neighbor kids, and our nanny were out playing in the backyard. Right away Jack swarmed my car (Joey was way too busy playing with the other kids to be bothered by me) and was yanking my door open before I could even turn the car off. I love that they are so happy I’m home, so happy to see me. I don’t want to be the only one doing the missing all day.

“Mommy, mommy, you’re home!” The screams and cheers are heart-warming. So in following our normal routine I give hugs and kisses followed by even more hugs. Then I start the usual questions, “Were you good today? and What did you do?” On school days I ask Jack all about that, “How was school today? Were you a good listener? What did you learn about?” and on and on. I want to know every detail of the day that I missed. Some days the reports back from our nanny are harder to hear. Not good listening. Someone had a timeout. Joey was punished for biting. Joey peed on the floor, the slide at the park, and his brother. Some days are just harder than others.

But on Friday, Jack was bursting at the seams to get at me. He couldn’t wait to tell me how good he was at home; begging me to ask our nanny so she could agree that his behavior was indeed top-notch. He was also so excited to tell me about how great school was and how good he was there.

“Mom, I was sooo good at school I got a gravy apple!”

“A gravy apple?” Quickly looking at our nanny with a look like WTF is he talking about.

She just smiled.

“Yes, a gravy apple!! Mom, it was so good. And I played outside, and…”

“Wait, honey, you mean a caramel apple?”

“No. I mean a gravy apple. You know how they dip those apples in the brown gravy?”

“No, Jack, that is called a caramel apple. Did you eat it all and was it good? I love caramel apples. Did you save me a bite?”

“Mom, I told you it was a GRAVY apple. *sigh* I ate the brown gravy off the apple and then had one bite of the apple. The gravy was better than the apple so I threw it away.”

“Wow. You must have been pretty good to get a caramel apple, err - I mean gravy apple.”

Gravy apple? Seriously he is hysterically priceless. You can’t make this stuff up. He has since started referring to it as a caramel apple but is still not sure I know what I am talking about. I am pretty sure deep down he still believes it was indeed dipped in gravy.

The Simple Things

I don’t think it takes much to make me happy. I am sure my husband would disagree, but I swear I am not that difficult to please. I like the simple things. Just so we are clear, these simple things are not always cheaper things. Sometimes people (ahem, my husband) get these words mixed up in their minds. Which is probably why he sometimes refers to me as high-maintenance or as he likes to say, Jana-maintenance. Ha-ha, he’s a real knee slapper that one.

I think he has no idea how bad I could be. If only he could see that I am pretty easy-going, he would realize he is really, truly, lucky. I am a delight!

The way I see it, generally speaking, high-maintenance women don’t go camping for long-weekends with their two small boys. They don’t pee in the woods, ride ATV’s in the mud or take walks in the woods with the hopes of spotting some deer or a few turkeys.

They don’t help their 2-year-old pee all over said camping area (and by help, I really mean hold it and aim, if you know what I mean) all weekend long. Potty training while camping is so much fun. I think I had urine run down my hand and arm no less than seven times and had my shoes peed on at least three. If I were a boy, I would have the whole grab my boy-parts and pee thing down pat. I guess some learn faster than others.

A high-maintenance mom doesn’t return from a 4-wheeler ride to learn that her potty-training toddler took a shit on her Dad’s lawn tractor, proudly. Only to be told that the “log” must have rolled out his pant leg. If I were truly high-maintenance someone else would have cleaned the poop-smeared child.

But, I am not high-maintenance so I did all those things. I do a lot of un-fun not so fancy stuff everyday.

I am easy to please and prefer the simple things. Things like cold Mountain Dew in the fridge, clean sheets on the bed, and a clean-ish house make me happy. My kids’ happy and squeaky-clean reading books with me, joyous! A shopping trip to Target or an occasional trip to the Gap or Banana and I am content. Add in a nice, thick body butter, some chap stick and a good book and I am in heaven. My husband snuggled up on the couch with me watching TV and ice cream in the freezer, happy as a clam. All simple things.

So the next time my wonderful husband refers to me as Jana-maintenance I am going to hand him the toilet brush, the peed on sheets, the diaper rash cream for the toddler’s red, rashy ass and head over to Tiffany’s to do a little shopping before hitting the spa. You want to see high-maintenance? Baby here I come!

The Change In Me

I think it is impossible to raise kids and not experience some form of mom guilt. It could be you feel guilty for not spending enough time with your kids, for having to work, for not being able to provide them everything they dream of (let’s be honest, those dreams are expensive!) or how you are treating them, or better yet, how and what you are teaching them.

I have guilt over all of these things now and then. The one thing that causes me the most angst is how I am parenting them. How I talk to them and in turn what they are learning from me. From my behavior.

I am not perfect. I know I am not a perfect mother, as I know there is no such thing. I just want to go to sleep at night feeling like a good mother. In the last several months these moments of feeling proud of myself, of the mother I am, have been fleeting. They are now few and far between. Instead I lay in bed at night feeling ashamed and sorry. Regretful and guilty. What could I have done differently? Or better?

There are a million things I shouldn’t say, but of course once frustration sets in and patience runs out, I do. The minute something hurtful crosses my lips I am sorry. The minute I grab one of my boys, in anger, and forcefully put them in the time-out chair, I feel bad. Should being a mom feel this sad, sorry and mean?

I do not feel bad for disciplining them. It is my job to teach them right from wrong, good from bad. The problem is, I have not been a good teacher. Now I have no one to blame for my children’s behavior but myself. This is why I find the way I react to their behavior so shameful. If I was doing a better job parenting them, if I tried harder as a Mom, then they would not behave the way they do (90% of the time anyway) and there would be no reason for me to have to behave the way I do. It is cyclical. Like a never-ending game of Ring Around the Rosie we keep spinning and falling down. Over and over.

So I will stop. I will change my behavior, therefore changing theirs. I will do what I say and follow through. I may falter, but I will try my hardest, everyday. I will talk to them instead of yelling and screaming. I will not fly off the handle and treat them badly. I will listen to them and I will teach them to listen in return.

I will be prepared for them to fight me, to fight the new rules. They will not believe that I will stay strong and true to my word, but I will. Because I have to. They are mine, and it is my job to teach them to be the greatest of men, and I will.  I will not have my children look back one day and remember me as being a mean mom. A tough mom? Fine. Mean? No way. Hurtful? Never. I will love them more than I do anything else and from this they will learn to love.

I will start today. I will never stop.

Sunday Mornings

I read the obituaries. Coincidentally, I am also the same person who is slightly crazy and should not be reading the obituaries. I am a worrier, born and bred (thanks, Mom.) If there is anything that leaves room for over-analyzing and worrying about, I will find that thing and worry myself mad. It is a skill and let me tell you, I can worry with the best of them.

Although my worries range from big to small, there is one worry that takes the cake. The Big Kahuna of worrying for me is my fear of death. I know I am not unlike millions of people when it comes to this worry. I also know that I am in a smaller percentage of people that worry themselves sick over it. I am part of that crazy people group. You know the ones that start out by saying, "Hi, my name is Jana and I am a crazy worrier." I accept it.

This is why the obituaries are dangerous for me. I am searching for a few key things when reading them: age and cause of death. When I see an obituary for a baby or even a teenager I need to know why their life was cut short. Then I need to promptly figure out if what they died from could happen to one of my kids. I do the same thing with people my age or my husbands age and then also my parents age. Understanding why the people died somehow gets easier as the people get older. If only this was the case when older people I love died.

The obituaries are, in a sense, like a train wreck for me. You don’t want to watch but you couldn’t pull your eyes away if your life depended on it. I find myself turning to the obits on Sunday mornings knowing they will make me sad or kick my worrying up a notch. I know in my logical, smart, head that this is not how normal people behave, spending their Sunday mornings praying you only see obits for 98 year old grandpa’s that lived fabulous lives, but I do.

It is like I am a glutton for punishment, letting my mind wander to the dark places lurking inside. These places I now refer to as my “bad thoughts” so my husband knows what is happening with me. So when he asks, “What’s the matter with you?” I can just say, “I was having a bad thought" and leave it at that.  It only takes one story of a sick child or a husband losing his life to make me keep asking myself,  “What if that happened to me?” The what if’s are slowly killing me. Trapping me with worry and forcing me to want to smother my family with love, because that will surely keep them safe. Keep them alive.

I have seen friends go through losing a baby, having to bury their sweet baby girl. I have learned of a dear friend passing away, only a day after giving birth, leaving behind her newborn baby, her 2-year old son and a husband she adored. I have seen a man fight for his life with all that he had and lose a battle with cancer, leaving behind a little boy and a pregnant wife. I cannot imagine what these people have gone through and what they continue to go through to come out on the other side. The good side. So my bad thoughts drag me down to the places where I imagine what it would be like if someone told me Jason was not coming home or God forbid a part of me, one of my boys, did not make it. It would be my end. These terrifying, stomachache inducing thoughts are what, often times, consume me.

I am crazy, I know. But the worry is more than I can control. Because what if that was me without a husband, my soul mate, the one I dream of growing old with? What if it was my baby? What if, what if, what if. I am so scared that my constant bad thoughts will make my nightmare of what if’s a reality.

So, I do all I know how to do. I worry, but as I do, I pray. I pray hard and I love them with all I have. Then I read the obits on Sunday morning and start all over again.

I Can't Kill Them So I Might As Well Eat Ice Cream

A few nights ago, Jay & I went out for a walk with the boys. I have been on a bit of a mission to lose a few pounds since the bridesmaid dress I am supposed to be wearing to my sister’s wedding next month hardly zips. There will be Spanx involved and even then, when I am smooshed into the spandex casing like a sausage, I am not certain it will fit. I had started my mission to get back in to shape (like I was pre-full-time job) before I even had the dress. I signed up for this Boot Camp at my gym and have been busting my ass at the 5am class three days a week for five weeks now. It is hard, and early in the morning, and oh so hard. I thought this was just the thing I needed to jump-start my workouts and get me on track. I imagined my new toned body complete with rock hard abs.  It would be hard, sure, but well worth it.

Boy, was I wrong. In the five weeks since I started boot camp, aka HELL, I have gained (as in added) 2 pounds. TWO POUNDS. I can only swear when discussing this or I start to seriously consider blowing my fucking brains out.

The best part is, I was dumb enough to sign up for the next 8-week session. Clearly, I am BAT-SHIT CRAZY.

Anyway, I digress. Back to the walk….so in addition to boot camp I have been trying to add a few walks in at night after work as well. Like I mentioned, we are all out on our walk, Jay pushing the kids in the stroller, me yelling at him for not keeping up, etc. when Jason decides to turn off our neighborhood sidewalk and into an alley that runs behind the “downtown” businesses. This alley is like many alleys. It is dirty, lined with stinky dumpsters and employees who are hanging out the back doors smoking. I instantly start inquiring about why he took us this way and why do we need to cut through here and on and on. It is at this time he asks the kids “Who wants ice cream?” Ice cream? Are you fucking kidding me? Of course, the kids erupt with “I do’s” and I have lost the battle. Make that the war.

What you do not know and Jason knows all too well, is that I have a love, a deep, passionate love for ice cream. It is the one bad for me food item I wish I could eat everyday. I have zero self-control when it comes to ice cream, absolutely NO CONTROL.

Needless to say, I am irritated as all hell because my walk, for exercise, just turned into a walk for ice cream, which are two very different walks! So I start yammering on and on to Jay about how I am going to be fat forever and never fit into my dress and how he is a jerk for suggesting this. You get the idea. This is his response:

Jay: Hey Jack, do you know what people do with crabby Mommies in alleys?

Me: [giving Jason an evil eye and a look like you are fucking kidding me, right?]

Jack: No, there are crabby Mom’s back here? Are they locked in that fenced area?

Jason: No, you get a big digger and you dig a hole and then you….

Jack: You throw the crabby Mommies in the hole?

Jason: [Starts laughing under his breath, looking at me with a face that says “Isn’t our son so cute?”]

Me: This is just perfect. Way to go father of the year. This will be a great thing for him to tell his friends at school.

Jack: Do we just kick the crabby Mommies in the hole and cover them up? [giggling – waiting to see if his Dad laughs too]

Jason: [laughing but trying not to but he sucks at it and Jack hears his laughter]

Jack: We do! We just knock the mommies in the hole and bury them all up!

Me: [shooting razors out my eyes at my husband, the jackass.]

Jack: That is funny…a hole with crabby Mommies all buried up….(and on and on he goes)

Me: Really? You are not going to stop this?

Jason: [still laughing] I was just teasing Jack. We don’t bury crabby Mommies in holes. Mommies are special.

Me: That was convincing.

We turn into the Cold Stone Creamery and as we order the boys treats, I am going around and around in my head with myself on why I DO NOT need ice cream. Jason orders some healthy-ish fruit flavored ice-cream like Peach or Strawberry (who in the hell orders plain Strawberry ice-cream at a place like Cold Stone Creamery? Freaking weirdo.) When I shoot him a look that says I want to kill him for taking us here he simply tells me not to order any if I am so worried about it. Like that would ever happen – me go to an ice-cream shop and not eat the ice cream. That is just idiotic and I am not strong enough to walk out of this sweet, waffle-cone smelling establishment without some.

So I order Cake Batter (the sugar-free, light variety tasted horrible, I tried it) but then told the girl preparing it to go easy on the Heath bars and light on the caramel. I feel ridiculous saying it, but I do anyway. Jason looks my way after hearing my request and laughs. I shoot him a look like I want him to drop dead. Oh yeah, and I know just the spot to put diet-destroying Daddies.