Friday, November 30, 2012

Oh Crap! Realization of the Day … Pictures with Santa

When you take your kids to get their photo with Santa, make sure you are presentable because there is a strong likelihood you will end up in the picture, too. Last year's yoga pants, pony tail, and rubber headband were a lovely addition to the Santa portrait.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Oh Crap! Realization of the Day ... Faraway Family

My kids talked on the phone to their 10-year-old cousin halfway across the country the other night. They told their cousin about their adventure to the Christmas tree farm that day. She was going with her family the next day. When they got off the phone, my daughter asked, “But, they are not going to the same Christmas tree farm, right?” I said no, because they live very far away from us. Then, she said, “Why do builders build our cousins’ houses so far away from us?”

I didn’t have a good answer for that. How could I tell her we chose to live far away from our family? It makes me sad that my kids will grow up only seeing their cousins once a year, if that. It’s just the way of the world now. We adopt our friends’ families and refer to them as aunts, uncles, and cousins. I guess it’s our way of feeling close to family. I just get a little more sentimental about it this time of year. The good news is, we will see all of their cousins this Christmas, as 20 people try to cohabitate for a week at the house in which I was raised. And, all of us will pick up just like we saw each other yesterday. That’s what family does.
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Oh Crap! Realization of the Day ... the Affair

So … my husband is having an affair. I’ve known about it for about 6 months now, but this is the first time I am speaking openly about it. I know the mistress … well, I know of her. I call one of our friends in Alexandria her pimp. She is pretty appealing--I’ll give that to him. I’ve even considered joining them! Hey, I have to have a sense of humor about it, right?

She clearly gives him things I cannot. He has never looked better. He is happy. He’s 41, so I guess I’ll just chalk it up to a mid-life crisis. He has even introduced the kids to her. They seem to like her.

I guess I shouldn’t complain too much. He still carries his weight at home. He spends a lot of time watching videos of her that she posts on some obnoxious Facebook page she has. And, she is even storing some of her things in our garage. Uh, okay, I don’t even get to part my car in there! He mostly sees her really early in the morning, so it doesn’t interfere with our lives too much. Every once in a while he sees her after work, and has invited some guys from work to join them.

Wricka-Wricka … (That was my record scratch). Okay, it just got weird. I may as well reveal to you that his mistress is … CrossFit.

I apologize to friends and family. I hope I didn’t give anyone a heart attack.

Here is the definition my husband gave me: CrossFit describes its strength and conditioning program as “constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement," with the stated goal of improving fitness (and therefore general physical preparedness), which it defines as "work capacity across broad time and modal domains."

That all sounds reasonable and completely harmless. But, from what I am starting to understand—not just about my husband, but about the whole “CrossFit Community”—is that it is somewhat of an obsession. Some outsiders have referred to it as a cult. Yea, I could see it. I am advised to call it his “passion.” And, our friend in Alexandria, VA, is the CrossFit coach who opened his eyes to it, so if anyone from Northern Virginia is looking to do this or see less of their spouse, I’ll hook you up.

And, yes, my 4-year-old twins can be seen doing planks and lifting a PVC pipe. And, yes, I have a large wooden box covered in shoe prints in my garage, a pull-up bar permanently affixed to the wall, a couple of those ever-loving kettlebells, and several other items that “hardly take any space.” And, yes, sometimes unexpected guests show up in said garage to do something called the WOD (workout of the day), and to try and achieve a PR (personal record). Other times they will do their WOD at a “box,” the gym that houses these cults and their old-school exercises.

There is often talk among these CrossFitters of “Paleo,” as if he is some kind of cult leader.  Turns out, it’s a period of time, known as the Paleolithic era—during the time of the caveman. The Paleo Diet is based on what they call “clean eating.” It’s eating like the cavemen—mostly meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables. I’m not sure if they have to hunt and gather their own food and pull it back to their homes on a wagon with square wheels. Though, I’m sure if my husband had to hunt for his food, he would certainly lose a lot of weight. I’m not even sure if he knows where the grocery store is.

He talks endlessly about all of these things, as do other cult members. He uses all the buzzwords I’ve mentioned, and many more I’ve just stopped asking about. And, while this “passion” has slightly impacted our lives, this mid-life crisis could be much, much worse. And, yes, he looks amazing and he feels good about himself again … and, that is good for all of us. I hope the “CrossFit World” doesn’t take offense to any of this. I think what you are doing makes a lot of sense. Heck, if the boxes started offering child care, I might be right there with you.

So, this blog is for all you CrossFit widows out there. I feel your pain and I know you feel mine. And, all you CrossFitters out there, I hope you blow your WOD right out of the water today!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Oh Crap! Realization of the Day … Kids Get It

We were listening to holiday music in the car today, and “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” came on. I was singing along, sitting in the Starbuck’s drive-through, when I saw some confusion on their faces in the rear-view mirror. My 4-year-old daughter asked, “Why couldn’t Rudolph play the games?”

I didn’t realize they were even listening to the words. I figured they were thinking, “Geez, I wish Mom would stop singing. Doesn’t she know the other drivers are rolling up their windows so they won’t hear her?”

So, I turned around to them and explained that the other reindeer didn’t want to play with Rudolph because he was different. I was going to continue, thinking it would require more than that to make them understand the story, when my 4-year-old son interrupted me with the most matter-of-fact statement, “Well, everyone is different.”

I quickly turned to the front again as tears filled my eyes. It’s a moment like that when a mom feels like she is doing a good job—or, at least reproduced to better the future of our world. I realize now that pre-school kids are the most open-minded people on the planet. We could all learn something from them.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Oh Crap! Realization of the Day … Decorating the Tree

I love decorating the tree with my kids. They fight over who hangs which ornaments. They fight over the part of the tree they decorate. They get mad at me for not letting them hang the $20+ Christopher Radko glass ornaments. They get mad at me for not letting them climb the ladder to hang the ornaments at the top. They spill their hot cocoa. They roll their eyes when I try to take their picture next to the tree. They cry when their metal hook comes out of one of the ornaments. They cry when an ornament falls and rolls under the tree and out of their reach. They complain when I don’t let them hang every ball from the Costco-sized shatterproof ornament bucket. They yell over the lovely Christmas music my husband has in his iPod playlist. Shall I go on?

But when it’s all said and done, and I step back to look at the tree, I smile. And, I chuckle … when I see 18 shatterproof ornaments hanging in a one square foot section about 36” from the floor (eye level for my 4-year-olds). I may remove a few to relieve the sagging branch, but I leave most as a reminder of what it took us to get there. And, I will look forward to the same chain of events next year. Happy decorating!

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You know you are sleep deprived when ...

You know you are sleep deprived when … you put the dish soap in the sink, turn on the water to fill it, and come back a minute later to see you forgot to plug the drain.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Oh Crap! Realization of the Day ... Toddlers and Bathrooms

This one is fairly obvious, but I'm writing it as a reminder for me. Don't leave bathroom doors open when you have a toddle in the house. Dang, it's cute, though.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Oh Crap! Realization of the Day ... Growing Old

Daughter: Why can’t I have coffee?

Me: It will stunt your growth.

Daughter: Why can you drink coffee?

Me: Because I am done growing.

Daughter: No you’re not. You’re growing old.

Me: Touché.  

This conversation on the way home from preschool this morning made me think. I will be 52 on my twins’ graduation day from high school; and 55 on my baby’s graduation day. So many people are having children later in life these days, and it’s kind of a depressing thing now that I think about it. I thought we were doing it the right way. I was able to have a career for 12 years before having children. I was smarter, because I was older. I had more life experience. I would have the advantage over younger parents. Ugh. Turns out I’m just more tired, less patient, and more worried.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Oh Crap! Realization of the Day ... Target

I don’t often promote businesses in my blog, but with Christmas coming—and life—I really think this is useful advice.

I’ve always loved Target, but after I became a mom, I needed it! I’m not sure why it took me so long to get the Target debit card, but now I have it, and in just 8 months I have saved $93 with their 5% discount. The Target brand formula and diapers—which are significantly less than the name brands—are the reason I am there every couple of weeks. Their kids’ clothes are affordable—they probably won’t last more than one kid, but they do the job for one. They even have some super cute brands like Gwen Stefani’s Mini Harajuku line (which I only buy on sale). LOVE!

I’ve also noticed their toy prices are becoming more competitive. I often pull out my phone to compare prices to Internet pricing at Amazon and other competitive online retailers, and so often I will find the prices are the same. And, if you have the card, you get free shipping when you shop with them online.

If I can avoid their home section, which is where I get into real trouble, Target is a very good place for my family. I swear I do not work there, have family who works there, or own their stock. I just happened to look at my last receipt and saw how much I’ve saved this year, and wanted to share my realization that Target totally rocks! And … it’s NOT Wal-Mart!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Oh Crap! Realization of the Day … Bye-Bye Baby Fat

I was looking at my naked baby last night and suddenly realized his rolls are starting to disappear. (I’m speaking of my 11-month-old, not my husband; though he is cross-fit crazed right now and looking lean and mean.)

All three of my kids were “healthy” babies—lots of rolls and creases—and I can’t get enough of it. I love me a chunky baby. So, now that my third is in practically a full sprint now at 11-months-old, his rolls are vanishing. But … but … I haven’t squeezed and kissed them enough. I haven’t blown enough raspberries—and, you know the more fat, the better the raspberries. How am I going to hold on to this feeling and never forget how squeezable he is right now?

I guess the only way to come close is to take lots of pictures and video. I already feel like I’ve missed his chunkiest days. So the advice is to put your baby in his diaper—or get him naked—and snap away. Do this once/month until you feel you have captured the most rolls you will ever see. And, don’t forget to gobble him up before you put his clothes back on. As if you needed that reminder!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Oh Crap! Realization of the Day ... Sweet Moments

My realization today came from an old friend and co-worker, Cybil. I asked her if I could use her post today because it was one of those light-bulb moments for me, reminding me not to let time slip away without cherishing those sweet moments.

“Sam gave me a kiss on the cheek while dropping him off at school this morning. It was a wet one and I usua...

lly wipe those kind off, but I decided to let it dry to keep it with me all day instead. I love that boy…”

Every parent knows that wet mark left on our cheeks after a child’s kiss, and Cybil is right, the first thing we do is wipe it off. I just loved that she let it dry on her cheek and took that moment to even think about it. Brought a tear to my eye. Thank you, Cybil. This is a good reminder for all of us.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Oh Crap! Realization of the Day ... Best Advice for New Parents

As an expectant parent, you will be overwhelmed with advice—solicited and certainly unsolicited. The best advice I ever received for raising a baby in its first year came from another mother of multiples after my twins were born. She told me that whatever my struggle with my babies are, know that it will likely be over in two weeks.

Of course, then it will be something else, but thinking about surviving a challenging situation two weeks at a time makes it tolerable. It gives you a light at the end of the tunnel instead of being swallowed up by it. I lived by this advice during the first year with the twins and am doing so now with my third. Just like you will look forward to the next big milestone in your baby’s life, you will also look forward to some of the unpleasant behaviors coming to an end.

This advice got me through some tough moments that first year. I remained positive and hopeful on days when I could have been dragged into a dark place. I hope it will do the same for any new mom out there. If you know someone who is expecting or is a new mom, please share this with her.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Oh Crap! Realization of the Day ... Taking a Break

I went to DC for two nights without my family to spend time with some friends. I slept like a baby. Hold on, let me clarify. Not MY baby, who at 11 months is still waking me up EVERY night.

It would have been weird for my friend if she had been woken at 1 pm by me screaming and crying hysterically. I wonder if she would have known to come in and hug me and put my pacifier in. Or, maybe I would have needed some Tylenol or Baby Orajel for those darn top teeth trying to poke through. Then, at around 4:30, I would demand her back to give me a bottle and change my diaper. Let me take that back. I did NOT sleep like a baby.

I guess what I slept like was a person who hasn’t slept through the night in over a year and desperately needed to catch up. Today is my first full day back and I am feeling refreshed, my kids are sweeter and funnier, and the whining doesn’t get on my nerves as bad.

The realization is that taking a break for you is not just for you. This may be short-lived, but for now I feel like a happier and better mom.

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Crap No One Tells You ... About Soccer and Youth Sports

The kids just had their last soccer match of their first season. As a first-time “soccer mom,” the Crap No One Tells You is that youth soccer is NOT about soccer. Silly me!

After every game, my husband would ask the twins what their favorite part of the day was. My daughter’s answer was the same every week until the last week, “The snacks and the tunnel.” The league we joined encourages the parents to form a tunnel after the game for all the kids to run through. Also, parents take turns providing a snack and drink (following all the food restrictions for those with allergies, of course) after the 45 minute practice/match that sometimes ends at lunchtime. Awesome. (Do you think sarcasm can be sensed in writing?)

My son also likes the snacks and tunnel, but he usually adds that he liked scoring a goal. The league also puts all the players, who did not score a goal during the match, on the pitch at the end and stands them in front of the goal with the ball to let them score with no defender. Awesome. I actually didn’t mind it the first week. It seemed to get the kids excited about the sport and gave them some confidence. Though, I think we underestimate the intelligence of 4-year-olds. After that first week, my kids knew what was happening. If they didn’t score during the match, they would say, “We didn’t score any REAL goals.” The post-regulation-play goals were not fun anymore. My husband and I really tried to put emphasis on other parts of the game, like stopping the other team’s attempted goal, passing to a teammate who scored, or just flat out hustling and giving their best. Despite our efforts to make a huge deal out of these things, they just pale in comparison to the ever-loving goal.

The kids appeared to enjoy their 20-minute practice more than their 20-minute game that followed, which makes sense as they were doing something with a ball at all times. They ran drills and worked on basic fundamentals. It was great. The games were a bit of an anomaly, though. Every time a goal was scored, the three kids on the field for each team would huddle on opposite sides of midfield and talk “strategy.” That’s funny. The kids got nothing from those three minutes, except bored. No offense to the coaches, but they are 4. They were only interested in being silly with their friends during that time. Then, they actually recognized a half-time. Seriously? It’s a 20-minute game. Let the kids run. They are 4. They don’t get tired.

Now, the last week, when my husband asked what their favorite part of the day was, they added one more thing … the trophies. Awesome. I know this is a huge debate and I am clearly on the side that thinks trophies should be earned. The reward for the kids should be that they actually got to participate in the organized sport. It’s expensive! Maybe if we put our kids in matching t-shirts, instead of TWO fancy uniforms that were way nicer than what I had as a high-school varsity athlete, and skipped the trophies, we could all save a ton of money on these once/week, 8-week programs. Thank goodness for hand-me down cleats and the fact that these fancy uniforms will likely fit them for the next five years.

Maybe I am overacting … I mean, they are 4. We did sign them up for soccer, because we thought they would enjoy it, and they did. Why can’t I say, “mission accomplished,” and be done with it? My understanding from other mom sources is that most leagues discontinue the trophies and the snacks when the kids get a little older. Maybe I shouldn’t be so cynical and realize that these are the motivators for future athletic endeavors.

As usual, I am probably expecting too much from this age. I just find these extra-curricular activities so stressful. I question my decisions when it comes to enrolling them in these activities. I want to expose them to everything so they will have the chance to find their talents, but I also want to limit their activities so they can just be kids. But, the days of kids getting together for pick-up games are long-gone. Even mom sources with older kids tell me that just doesn’t happen anymore. Is it where we live? Is this just life in the ‘burbs? Am I just too “old-school?”

Speaking of old-school, my husband grew up in a condo community in New Jersey with tons of kids his age and a huge open field with dirt, a little grass, and probably a lot of stickers. It was home to many pick-up games of baseball, football, soccer, tag, you name it. I grew up on a farm in Nebraska with 4 brothers. When we weren’t doing chores or homework, we were setting up track and field events or playing baseball, badminton, or volleyball in our spacious yard—much of our cardio chasing down the dog that got ahold of our equipment. Or, in the colder months, playing hoops in the barn, stepping over tools and squeezing between load-bearing studs and vehicles for the 3-pointer and running into the doors after a layup. Sure, it had its problems, but it was free and it was what we wanted to do.

I suppose one of these years, our kids will set their own direction for the activities they want to do and I will stop stressing about it. Maybe soccer practice will be replaced with guitar lessons (with the guitar my son put on his Christmas list). Or, maybe our weekly activity will be going to the library for a couple of hours just to read. The bottom line is … I have no idea! Just like most challenges with parenting, there are at least two sides to every issue and only one child like yours, whom is known best by you. The fact is, all of this is self-regulating, and there is a fine line between exposure and overexposure. My husband and I will continue to follow our guts and hopefully provide the best opportunities for our crew to find health and happiness in their lives. That’s all we REALLY want, right (I mean, besides a professional baseball player or golfer … wink)?

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Oh Crap! Realization of the Day ... Sleep Deprivation

Some days you will be so sleep deprived that you will set the clock timer on your oven to 3 hours and 50 minutes instead of preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Just another day in the life of a mom who has two 4-year-olds with colds and bad dreams and a 10-month-old cutting teeth and going through a growth spurt. If that's the worst thing I do today, I'm still a successful mom.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Oh Crap! Realization of the Day … Birds and Bees

You may be having the birds and bees talk with your child long before you think you will.

This morning, my 4-year-old daughter was reminding me of when the baby used to drink milk from my “boobies,” and asked how milk came from there. I told her, in as few details, how it happens during pregnancy. Then, she started talking about when she would be
pregnant and asked, “Is it far away?”

Thinking she was asking if it would be a long time before she got pregnant, I said, “Yes, it will be a long, long time. You will be an adult.”

“No,” she said. “How far away is the place where you get pregnant?”

After laughing out loud and having her look at me like I was crazy, I paused … for a while. My husband and I always feel it is best to be honest with every answer we give them; however, the amount of information and the way it is delivered is where I usually struggle. This instance was no different. I was able to wiggle out of it with very minimal detail until she was onto the next topic.

I never thought when my children were 4, I would have trouble answering their plethora of questions. I thought the most I’d have to explain is what thunder is—and, it’s not the angels bowling, like my mom told me. Be ready for anything … that’s all I have to say.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Oh Crap! Realization of the Day ... Voting

Oh Crap! I shouldn't have told my kids for whom I was voting since they went to the polls with me--and, for the obvious fact that they are 4, and well, have no filter. Of course my son asked, "If (Candidate 1) wins, are we going to celebrate?"

After a few chuckles from the voters around us, my daughter saves the day by saying, "No, if (Candidate 2) wins, we are going to celebrate."

Phew! More chuckles ... followed by the conversation I SHOULD have had about our vote being private. Fortunately, we talked about both candidates and practiced saying their names over the last couple of days. They each formed an opinion about which one they liked after seeing them on television this morning.

I'd love to hear about your voting experience with your children!

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Oh Crap! Realization of the Day ... Fictional Families

A friend complimented my blog the other day and said she had a similar idea a couple years ago after reading a blog on what seemed like the perfect family. We both had a chuckle as we know that doesn’t exist. But, today’s realization is for those of you feeling less than adequate because you see someone else handling parenthood flawlessly. If someone constantly blogs or talks about how great their kids are, and never shares anything negative or embarrassing, it’s not because they are afraid to end up on STFU. They simply want the world to think they are the Cleavers. Don’t let a fictional family doubt your ability as a parent. And, anytime you do, just visit for daily anecdotes about the imperfections of parenting.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Oh Crap! Realization of the Day ... Dentist

Halloween is a great time to take the kids to the dentist, and not for the reason you are thinking. I told the twins if they did well at the dentist they could pick out 2 pieces of candy when they got home! Solid parenting, right? :-) I do have some good advice, too. If your kids are afraid of the tools at the dentist's office, start them on the spin brushes at home. Then, when they go to the dentist, they are not afraid of the vibrating noise. They know it's just like what they do at home. According to my dentist, the $7 spin brushes work just as well as the expensive ones.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Oh Crap! Realization of the Day … Birthday Gifts

We’ve been attending a bunch of kids’ birthday parties this fall, and I’ve learned one thing every parent should know when buying a gift for the birthday kid … ask the kid’s dad what the kid wants. I don’t beat around the bush with the parents, if I know them on at least a casual basis. I figure it’s better to find out what the kid wants instead of bringing something he already has.

I tried asking the mom a couple of times, but moms are too nice, “Whatever you get him will be wonderful, I’m sure.”

Or, this one I love, “He doesn’t need anything. Just bring yourselves to the party. That is gift enough.”

Well, obviously I am not going to do that. I mean, you are providing 2 hours of supervised play and tons of sugar for my kid. The least I can do is bring a simple gift. So, last time, I asked the dad what the kid would want. He gave me a straight answer. No nicey-nice. Just a great idea. Done!