Making Moments

You know those times when the yuck overtakes you, and anxiety swirls in your head until your chest is tight?

During a pandemic and with all the other chaos going on right now, that feeling can hit us more frequently and with more force. There’s so much we can’t control.

Quiet moments like taking a shower leave us alone with our thoughts. Too often these are racing, worried thoughts and what-ifs.

Last night while taking a shower in the little cabin in the woods we’re staying in for a few short days, I decided to instead soak in the moment. I felt the hot water and the cool breeze coming in through the window. I appreciated the musky cinnamon smell of the incense sticks on the counter. I heard the birds outside in the trees. I focused my eyes on the stream hitting and dripping down the shower curtain. I thought about my growing babies sleeping peacefully in the next room, and was grateful for all of it.

Life is made up of little moments, and I was determined to make this a good one. One unclouded with thoughts about potential future moments that might not ever exist, or memories that have grown blurry through the lens of time.

What if instead of distracting ourselves with diversions and worries, we try to lean into the moments? May your today be filled with special ones.

Getting It Together

OK, so can we please stop whining now?

Yes, doing distance learning during a pandemic sucks. Yes, sending kids to school is scary. Yes, the pandemic is not only a tragedy for the many who’ve lost their lives and loved ones, but a huge pain in the ass for all of us.

Did you lose your job during the pandemic and you’re struggling to feed your family? Are you working a minimum wage job, or are you a single parent and can’t afford to stay home with your kids or send them to daycare? Are you or a family member suffering from legitimate mental illness? I’m not talking to you. You have my sympathy and well-wishes, and I can’t even imagine what you’re going through.

I’m talking to those of us posting teary-eyed selfies and too tied up in our first-world angst to put one foot in front of the other. We need to get 👏 it 👏 together 👏, folks.

Throughout history, people have endured so much worse than we are now. Holocausts, wars, droughts, famine. Yes, pandemics.

Our children are looking to our example on how to respond to the situation we’re in. For those of us who can safely wear masks, let’s put on the mask and show our kids it’s no big deal. Let’s be open and honest with our kids about the pandemic and masks and distance learning, and why we’re doing everything we’re doing right now.

If we complain and lay in bed all day eating Cheetos and forgoing basic personal hygiene, we’re setting that example for our kids.

I don’t know about you, but when future generations of students (at last back in the classroom) look at history books, I want to be the badass mom in the photo taking a social distanced hike with the fam and a big smile on my face.

Finding the Gold

Isn’t it funny how the best times of our lives aren’t always the times we expect to be the best?

Weddings, trips to amusement parks, an expensive dinner.

Sometimes these things are really fun, and sometimes the amusement park is a backdrop for a kid’s epic temper tantrum. Sometimes the fancy dinner is full of bad conversation and leaves you with an empty wallet and heartburn.

Often, it’s the little moments that are the most memorable. We took a road trip last summer, and stopped for two days in this little historic California gold rush town called Columbia.

My husband, two kids and I rented this little old house, and we drank sarsaparilla (Google it. I had to just to spell it) in the town’s only saloon/restaurant. We ate the most delicious tacos, which were the only thing on the menu. My then 4-year-old daughter flexed her muscles for a picture while wearing her “strong” shirt, face flushed from happiness and the hot weather.

There was live banjo music and this dog running around the saloon, and OMG I’ll just never forget any of it.

The next day we toured the town, panned for gold, and were “held up” by bandits on a horse and buggy ride.

We bought a few small souvenirs before we left, including this key chain. It’s my son’s, but he hasn’t used it in the past year, so I borrowed it this week for my keychain. I plan to ask for forgiveness instead of permission on this one.

I like to have the keychain in my purse as I run around putting on and taking off my mask, to and from work and preschool drop-off with fingers crossed that we all stay well.

It’s a reminder that even on days during a pandemic and with so many difficult things going on, there is happiness if you look for it.

It’s a reminder of glowing, rosy cheeks and the taste of sarsaparilla, and of good times in the past and good times ahead, and good times even now. There’s gold dust in all of it, just waiting to be found.

Sexy Cargo Shorts

I heard my doorbell mobile app alert go off while I was at work, and spotted my husband taking a call on the porch.

I stopped what I was doing to stare at him like some kind of creeper. Not because I was worried he’s talking to a side piece, but because even in his dad sandals and baggy, outdated cargo shorts, he’s the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen.

We’re always hearing “marry your best friend” and “lust fades”.

True. You totally should marry your best friend, so long as you can’t keep your hands off them.

And the initial tingles might fade, but hopefully our attraction to our partner only grows stronger and deeper through the years, tethered to our memories of that first date.

I feel like it’s important to tell young people in relationships that attraction matters. If you don’t want to jump their bones early on, you’re not going to want to jump those aging bones later on.

So, choose someone who makes you laugh, respects and challenges you, really gets you, and also gives you that Splash Mountain free-fall feeling.

Because lasting relationships are a long ride, and it might as well be a fun one.

Girls and Stuff

I love my daughter more than I could have even thought possible.

But I don’t love her toys. She loves tiny creatures popping out of eggs, and keeping the egg pieces in little piles we all step on.

She loves dolls with 1,000 miniature accessories that end up in the bathtub or a corner of the living room.

My daughter loves slime with glitter and poop slime with glitter, and glitter glue.

Her favorite thing to do is to fill up her toy tea cups with soapy water and maybe some slime, and spoon feed her dolls. Let’s just say she spills the tea, and not the fun, gossip kind.

I try to organize her toys once in awhile, and I can’t muster the energy to separate them out beyond piles of small crap and piles of large crap. I’m not about to like, match egg creature with its appropriate egg shell or anything.

I’m sure there are organizing hacks on Pinterest and whatnot.

But if I can just avoid getting my foot impaled on a stray LEGO Friends piece, I’m calling that a win in this life with my girl.

Stuck Like Glue

I was gathering up my preschooler’s artwork haul for the day, plotting to stealthily dispose of it per usual, when these paper dolls caught my eye.

“It’s you and Daddy,” she explained when I asked her.

This one is a keeper. If only for how excited my husband looks to be stuck to me with glue forever.

Victory at the Core

I reached down next to my patio chair, and my hand met this petrified baby bird of an apple core.

I find apple and pear cores and plum pits all over my house and yard all day long. I beg my kids to pick them up and throw them out when they eat fruit. They never do.

I’ll probably roll over in my grave one day and encounter a peach pit with my skeleton hand that my hopefully grown-ass kids threw in the hole while enjoying a snack after my funeral service.

But shit, man. My kids are eating fruit. I’ll take what victories I can in these crazy times.

Duck Poop Days Of Parenting

This is not one of those inspirational posts.

On days I work from home with my kids, I struggle like no other. I’m looking forward to going back to the office full time next month, because it’s that brutal.

My kids fight almost constantly. They play and love, too, but right now I’m choosing to wallow in the negative.

I took a break from trying to get work done from home and brought both kids to the park.

They were loud. They were pains in the butt. They touched the dirty duck poop water. They stepped in it. They shoved. They whined.

I counted to three repeatedly. I threatened. I bribed. It’s what I always do, and I’m tired.

These other kids sat quietly holding their parents’ hands. I shit you not. They didn’t make a peep.

This picture of fake chimps I took at the park was the most fun I had this afternoon.

Please know that if your kids are also pains in the butt, and if nary a Pinterest craft gets done, you’re not alone.

Sometimes parenting is just a big ole pile of duck poop.

Take That, Tooth Fairy

Fell asleep on the couch last night before I could perform Tooth Fairy duties for my son.

Woke up to the sounds of him coming up empty in the money search department. He’d left two notes for the little intruder because he didn’t know where her entry point would be, and cracked the window to make her job easier.

Thinking as fast as I could in the early-morning sleep haze, I brought my wallet into the bathroom and grabbed two crisp dollar bills that blessedly happened to be there for once in my life.

“Did the Tooth Fairy come?” I naively yelled upstairs.

“No! I looked everywhere,” my son called from our bedroom, where he was telling my husband the sad tale.

I saw my opening.

I shoved the rolled up money inside the pillow case.

“Let’s see. It has to be here somewhere….” I said…”OH! Come look.”

My son breathed a sigh of relief. “Next time I need to look inside the pillow case.”

Another day of childhood magic preserved.

Yeah the mom crown fell off for a minute, but don’t we moms dust it back off and put it back on like no one’s business?

Take that, Tooth Fairy.

Give It Away Now

Amazon Prime is my crack, and I love to have my kids’ birthday presents mailed to my house along with that cat litter we need. And also probably something for me, but anyway. Gotta do my part to boost the economy and stay home, right?

Shopping hurts so good, but you know what I like just as much? Giving 👏 shit👏 away💃.

It started a few years back with bags of baby clothes the kids had outgrown. We used to have garage sales, but those are a lot of work for little cash. I don’t want to haggle over the price of that T.L.C. CD. A quarter or 50 cents.

So, I posted clothes and a nursing pillow to Craigslist for free. A foster mom gratefully took it all.

A few weeks back, I realized our yard was overrun with toddler toys the kids just jumped off of to pounce on each other. I gave away a Cozy Coupe car both my kids had used in a Facebook sales group. I was hooked. The next week I sold a playhouse and a climbing set together at a steep bargain.

In a world of people asking $30 for a filthy pair of no-name shoes, community members were clamoring for the items. Like 20 messages in 5 minutes.

It felt great to know these toys were going to good use by people who wanted them.

Then last night, we piled a bunch of beat-up patio furniture on the street to be picked up by the garbage collector. Nobody would want this old stuff, I thought.

But, on an impulse, I decided to snap a late-night photo of the heap and post to a local Facebook sales group just in case.

The messages came in faster than people to Ross when it reopened.

In the time it took my husband and me to watch a movie, three groups came and split everything.

The woman who grabbed the benches was an artist, and told me she’d send pictures of her finished projects.

It’s a good reminder that what is trash to us could truly be someone else’s treasure.

Plus, it just plain feels amazing to purge things we don’t use.

My advice to you is to not keep belongings just to have them, or because they were special to you once. Sure, keep your child’s first teddy bear. But give the rest away, and let them become another child’s favorite toy or a table where another family can enjoy a meal together in the yard.

I’ve never once been sorry I gave something away. Especially when it was something special.