Friday, June 18, 2021

Simple Night with Friendly Reminders

Last night I dropped my kids at their grandmother's house for a sleepover. Summer has begun and with two busy work days, I wanted them to have some fun rather than being bored in our "currently under construction" home.

As I drove home, free and relieved my kids were going to have some fun, I was looking forward to catching up with an old friend and seeing a movie with her.

My husband and I met our friend at happy hour at our local pub. We ate and laughed and ate and drank and talked and talked.

Once we got home, we talked some more, a lot actually. Usually it's just me and my friend but tonight my husband had tagged along and I watched as the two of them chatted with ease in our kitchen. Both of them so incredibly different yet so very similar. There were moments of calm, moments of laughter, moments of tears, and moments of pure honesty and I just sat back and watched for the most part.

It was a solid 30 minutes of us standing in around the counter discussing life and how messy it can be. My husband is such a logical man and he sometimes lacks the ability to grasp things that aren't defined in a way he's used to. My friend the opposite, who is probably one of the happiest people I know in a true and genuine way, tried to enlighten him.

No one was angry and no one was unkind. We were just honest and open. As I sat there spectating this enlightening conversation, I couldn't help but learn so much about people especially about those close to me. I've been married to my husband for more than 16 years and we have the most less than perfect marriage imaginable. But for some reason, which we laugh about often, we are fiercely loyal to one another and always find a way to work things out. I sometimes feel my purpose in life is to be with this man through the thick and thin because he needs me and I need him.

Watching him talk with my friend last night made me learn and remember how much I do love him. He has such a kind heart and even though his exterior may seem rough to some, he truly cares about those in his circle. I knew this but to see it in this light with my dear friend was so heartwarming, I was reminded again why he is a good soul and I'm grateful to have him.

We watched our movie which my husband orchestrated for us in our new home with his new system making sure we had everything we needed and it was a beautiful experience. Then we said our goodbyes. 

I couldn't fall asleep right away as I was overstimulated by our night so as I scrolled through social media willing sleep, I came across this meme that really hit me. Don't laugh (haha!):

Me: I don't care what people think.

Also me: Moves slightly over when driving behind a slow car so the car behind me knows it's not me who is going slow.

I read that and laughed and laughed. Because at that exact moment, I knew I was not unique at all. I totally do that. No matter what odd or random things we do, there is someone else out there that does the same thing. Guess what? It's okay to not be unique. It's okay to just be who you are regardless of what others are.

I kept thinking about this as I tossed and turned - we are all so very different yet we are all so very much the same. My friend lives her life in a different way than me and she's content and settled. We live our life a completely different way and while I'm not always happy or settled, it's who I am for now. It's okay to be different and it's okay to be similar.

No matter how old you get, we are always learning and growing. I was so content after my evening and I woke up with a whole outlook - life isn't perfect at all. It's messy and complicated. It's fun and it's stressful. Above all it's a blessing and this friendly reminder to live life to it's fullest and have no regrets was what I needed.

My life is busy and sometimes I forget the true meaning. My new house is a disaster - who cares, patience. My kids, the loves my life, can drive me crazy - oh well, don't sweat the small stuff. My husband can be a real jerk - so what, he's there for us and he truly cares at the end of the day.

A simple night with lessons learned and friendly reminders. 

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Working Moms: We are Tired

I'm just tired.

Not only in the sense that I'm sleepy but just tired.

Laundry is all over the place. I can't keep up with it. No matter what.

Piles and piles of paperwork, kids artwork, and things to put somewhere, anywhere.

Dishes, dishwasher, make coffee.

Stop looking at social media, focus.

There is so much work to be done for my actual job. If I sit here for a few hours until midnight, I'll still be not done.

Get up at 5am but there still aren't enough hours in the day. Did I even sleep?

Drop off kids, pickup kids. Drive, drive, more driving. Sit in car, wait, wait, more waiting.

We don't have enough food in the house, we need more snacks. Buy snacks. We need more!

Argue with the husband, and again, and again. We're both tired, over-worked, need a break.

Making decisions every day. Some easy, some not so easy. The mental toll is exhausting. Mentally failing.

Must eat healthy. Must find a way to exercise more. Must lose weight.

Clothes baskets piled up. Need more baskets. 

Make appointments. Doctor. Dentist. Hair cuts. Don't be late. Rush, rush, rush.

Feed cats, clean up after cats, why do we have cats.

Three meals a day to feed the kids and now we need a meal after school. Four meals a day. Need more food.

Vacuum again. And again. Dust and again. Mop the floors, change the sheets, clean up the cat hair. For one minute it's clean and then start again. 

Conference calls all day. Don't eat. No time. Be camera ready. Put on smile. Be alive and well. Drink lots of water. Keep hydrated. 

Out of milk. Buy more milk. Kids need milk. 

Take my pills. Don't forget. Late for my mammogram. That is bad. No time. Gotta make time. See the doc. Get my bloodwork done. Forgot, make another appointment. Don't forget. Block the calendar.

So many emails. Can't keep up. Bad employee?

Was that a text message? A Slack note? An email? Where was it? I can't remember. What day is it?

Car needs gas. More driving, more waiting.

Hampers over flowing. Do laundry. Lots of it. 

Yard work needs to be done. The yard is a mess. Sweat, dirt, all over the house now. Clean again. Poison ivy. Why me?

Hear the news. Die a little inside. Life is so hard but you're on the high end of the spectrum. Be lucky. Feel guilty. You're going to be fine. You'll survive. Others, not so much. Be grateful. More guilt. It's just life. You chose it. 

Trash to collect. Trash to take out. Recycle. Trash. Clean the fridge. Clean.

Birthday is coming up. Can't do too little or too much. What to buy? What to do? Make sure my child feels loved on her birthday. Guilty. Worried. What if I'm a bad mom?

Nothing fits. I have to get kids new clothes. Sort through the old. Donate. Sell. Throw away socks with holes. So much to keep up with. 

Laptops charged for school? Sneakers for gym days. Library books. Sign the form. Bring your stuffie in today. It's rainbow day. Make sure they look amazing. Take a photo.

Make lunches. Healthy food only. No waste. Only use containers. No trash. Be green. Keep kids fit. Lunch notes. I have to print them and be perfect. Can't miss a day. They expect those notes. 

Bills to pay. How much did that cost? School photos, yearbooks, sports photos, activities costs, donations. Dish out more money. Raffles. Raise money. Gotta get a new playground at the school. Buy, buy, buy.

Someone had an accident? Cat puked? Clean up. Do the sheets. Sanitize.

Volunteer to do this. Volunteer to do that. Guilty I can't coach little league. Sad I can't be with both kids at activities at the same time. I'm a bad mom.

Mother's Day. Christmas. Birthdays. Father's Day. Gifts. More gifts. Buy, buy, buy. Argue over spending. Spend. Argue. Spend. Argue. Budget. Spend. Still argue.

She can't sleep. He needs another hug. She can't find her blankie. He needs water. She has to pee. Go to bed. I need to go to bed so you have to go to bed. Guilty, sad, bad mom.

Why is my tween moody? Why is my little one crying? I'm a bad mom. I'm yelling. I'm frustrated. I'm angry. I want a BREAK.

Contractor costs what? Need to paint. Need to fix the house. Live like a hurricane hit the house. Deal with it. Get over it. It's temporary. Where are my scissors? Why can't I find underwear?

Laundry. Do the laundry.


Sunday, May 17, 2020

A Quarantine Birthday Party


My daughter Lyla turned 10 during this COVID-19 quarantine but that was not stopping me from making it memorable and amazing for her. Here are my tips for making a birthday super fun during this time.

Step 1:
I made a video! We asked family, friends, teachers, coaches, and even pets to send Lyla a video wishing her a happy birthday. I got a huge response and strung together with iMovie (it's easy, I promise!). The morning of her birthday we streamed the movie on the big living room TV for her to watch the 17 minute video of wishes. She LOVED it and it helped her seeing everyone that cared about her.

I gave our folks 2 weeks so send in a video and they did not disappoint. It's a great way to show your birthday birthday boy or girl some love.


Step 2:
We planned a virtual party on Zoom with an opposite birthday parade.

Lyla picked a few friends and we made birthday party kits. The morning of her birthday, I decorated my car and we drove to all her friends houses, dropped off the kits, and then came back home for the party.

The party included:

  • Making a birthday hat. I got this kit and divvied it up between the girls
  • Game: 2 truths and a lie as an ice breaker to get the girls to know each other and comfortable
  • Trivia Game - I created questions, a leaderboard, and kept track of points. The girls had a blast!
  • Scavenger Hunt - I had a list of items they had to find in their house and bring to Zoom. Each item was worth points
  • Panda cupcakes for all! The party kit had a cupcake so we sang to Lyla all together and ate cupcakes
  • Final leaderboard and winner of the party games!
I made spreadsheets for the scoreboard, trivia game, and scavenger hunt, and a slide deck to show the leaderboard. Utilizing my work skills for a kids birthday party, thank you working mom status!

Lyla had found a really cute invite one Evite with a panda bear so that is the theme she went with.

Party bag included a little poem, a panda bear cupcake my daughter made (with plate and napkin), the hat craft, trivia score card, a bookmark and coloring craft for after the party, and a little goody bag.






We hand delivered the bags in our cool "birthday bus" to see her friends. Some of them had signs and even gifts and balloons for the birthday girl! My hands were clean making the bags and and before I delivered, sanitized after everyone. The note on the cupcake box included rules to clean hands before eating :). Sign for my car I got free from Oriental Trading as they sent us a gift card for $20 for being a past shopper. Love it!




I used my work Zoom account so our party could be a bit longer than free Zoom. I made a special virtual backdrop and even though it was a bust as it didn't work the best for all, it was a fun time to "see" everyone together.




It wasn't the way she expected to celebrate the big double digits birthday but it was special for sure. My daughter told me later that day that she was so appreciative of all I did to make her birthday special.

If you're throwing someone a quarantine or social distancing party, you can definitely do it in a way to make them special.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Day 30 of Covid-19 Quarantine

For Our Gymnasts During COVID-19
By: Jessie D’Amato Ford (mom of @gymnnastlyla)


Take a minute or even five
Mourn the losses you’ve had
The end of seasons, loss of states
Take the time and just be sad.


Cry for the team mates you miss
Think of your coaches at home
Spend some time being angry
Spend some time being alone.


Once you’ve grieved for the loss
Get right back up on your feet
There is no time to waste now
There soon will be more meets.


Take this free time for you
Make the most of it all
Work harder than you ever have
Keep getting back up if you fall.


Dedicate time to get stronger
Work towards big goals
Be the gymnast you always have been
It’s your time to fill your role.


You owe it to yourself 
To never give up on your dreams
Practice, train, condition
And repeat as you deem.


When this is over some day
Your hard work will shine through
A stronger, more empowered girl
Will make you see what is true.


You can nail that skill 
You can take the leap
You can rise above
You can go down deep.


Someday soon you will know
What your coaches already see
You have won the medal this time
You are finally free.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Day 29 of Covid-19 Quarantine

Today was another blur of a day. I worked, kids played and did some school. By the end of the night, I stayed on my own watching TV and not sleeping most of the day.

I'm finding it hard to focus and not get completely depressed. Good thing I can still get hugs from my kids.
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