Dec 312012
 

Hello strangers! I know it’s been a while since we’ve chatted. Some of you have even reached out to see where I’ve been. And while this does make me feel a bit guilty about my lack of blogging action as of late, it also makes me feel good to know that I am missed. At least I know that if I disappeared, I wouldn’t be left alone in my house to rot and have my face eaten by stray cats, until the horrific smell alerted a neighbor. So, for those of you who care, thank you! And for the rest of you, please just make sure to feed your cats and immediately report any strange smells.

The reason I haven’t been posting is not because things have been bad, but instead because they have been really good! I have spent the last two weeks in Colorado, enjoying the snow and making memories with my friends and family. I really wasn’t planning to take a vacation from blogging too, in fact, I had all kinds of things that I wanted to write about. However, I have been enjoying my time here so much that I decided to stop writing about my life for a bit and really focus on living it.

But fear not, oh loyal readers, I have not forsaken thee! 2013 will bring a fresh, reinvigorated blog to help guide you through life with humor and wisdom. (What would you do without me, right?) A good friend has selflessly volunteered to to help me create a brand-new shiny blog for all of you to enjoy, so stay tuned. Have a happy and safe New Years Eve, and I will see you in 2013,

Dec 122012
 
Whoever made up the phrase "sleep like a baby" obviously never had one!

Whoever made up the phrase “sleep like a baby” obviously never had one!

Sometimes I get insomnia. I have always had trouble sleeping, even as a kid, although back then my insomnia dressed itself up as an imaginary friend who would keep me up at nights, pacing around my room and asking tough questions like, “What do you think happens when you die?” and, “Why does Santa hide all the Christmas presents in your parents’ closet?” I guess I had more of an imaginary Barbara Walters. Anyway, the point is that I have always had trouble sleeping, but it has only gotten worse as time goes on. I guess because as I got older, I discovered more things to worry about. (Though I am still up most nights trying to figure out why Santa hid all the Christmas presents in my parents closet!)

Then once I had a child, a solid night of sleep became a distant memory. Now there are numerous lists to make, hundreds of things to prepare for, and gazillions of irrational fears to worry about. It is a wonder that I am not a total zombie. However if you are reading this and there is something that I forgot to do for you or there is something that I did to otherwise piss you off… it’s because I am a zombie.

The past week or so, I have had another bout of insomnia. I either go to bed early, hoping to catch up a bit on sleep, or I stay up late, afraid to even try to fall asleep. Either way, the result is the same:  toss and turn for a few hours, move to the couch, toss and turn, move to the guest bedroom, toss and turn, until finally I drift off into a fitful sleep a few hours before it is time to wake up.  Last night I tried the stay-up late technique. Instead I watched The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Bad idea. You should never watch anything so frightening before trying to sleep. Finally I crawled into bed, exhausted, only to spend another couple of hours tossing and turning, before finally managing to fall asleep around 2:15 am.

Then my daughter woke up crying at 2:30 am.

My daughter is a pretty good sleeper. If she wakes up in the middle of the night, normally all it takes is a little pat on the back and kiss on the forehead, and she is back to dreamland and I am back to sleep and/or tossing/turning/worrying. Last night, however, I gave her a pat and a kiss and then stumbled back to bed, but she did not fall blissfully back to sleep. Instead she cried until I went back into her room. After trying this a few more times with the same result, I decided that perhaps she had insomnia too. I hope that she never has insomnia the way that I do, but sometimes it amazes me how in sync the two of us can be. So, I covered myself up with her little quilt and laid down next to her crib.

She would close her eyes for a few minutes, then peek her head up to make sure that I was still there, smiling at me before putting her head down again. After a while I saw a sweet, chubby, little hand poke through the bars of her crib. So I took it. We held hands like that until she finally drifted off to sleep. And then, amazingly, I did too. I slept for an hour there. The most solid hour of sleep that I have had all week, right there on the cold, hard floor, with my daughter’s soft, warm hand in mine. I finally woke up and went back to my bed. Of course I had a hard time falling asleep again, but this time because I was happy, not worried or stressed.  And I woke up this morning tired, but with a new clarity.

I think that this is exactly what parenting is all about:  Holding your little one’s hands, and then only later realizing that maybe it is they who were really holding your hand.
photo credit: thejbird via photopin cc

Dec 072012
 
See, even Santa knows how to enjoy the holidays... maybe a little too much.

See, even Santa knows how to enjoy the holidays… maybe a little too much.

Ah the holidays. A time of peace, joy and magic. Of sparkling lights, cheesy music, fattening food and beautifully wrapped gifts. And don’t forget the stress that comes from making, buying and planning all of the above. There are houses to be cleaned and decorated, cards to be bought and sent, cookies to be baked and delivered, events to be planned and attended, traditions to be created and upheld, and gifts to be purchased, wrapped and shipped… all in the name of peace, joy and magic. It’s enough to make a girl long for New Years. Or at least to keep her up all night, ticking off endless lists in her head, while she stresses about stupid things like does she have enough scotch tape.

Yes, there is much to be done during the holidays. But the thing we all forget to do is the most critical thing of all… to stop and enjoy it. What good is a perfectly trimmed tree if you don’t have time to sit in front of it with a glass of wine? What good are those homemade latkes or Christmas cookies if you don’t taste them? What fun is a holiday party if you spend it stressing about making it to the next one?  What does it matter if you find the perfect toys for your children if you don’t take the time to play with them?

This year my holiday wish for you all is for you not to have a happy holiday, but instead to ENJOY a happy holiday. I wish for you to enjoy many nights drinking hot chocolate (and by hot chocolate I mean wine) with your loved ones in front of the fireplace… or if you live in LA, in front of your flat screen TV and simulated fire DVD. I wish for you to share a wonderful meal with your best friends and to laugh until the wee hours. To delight in the pure glee on your little-ones’ faces when every gift is unwrapped. To spend hours walking around and enjoying the beauty of the season. To savor each bite of food, every moment with your family and all of the wonderful gifts you are given. To ENJOY a holiday season full of peace, joy and magic rather than stress, greed and guilt.

So this year if my holiday cards don’t arrive until January, or my cookies come from the grocery store, or I don’t attend every holiday party, or my jeans don’t zip up, or my presents arrive in ugly gift bags instead of beautifully wrapped packages or perhaps don’t even arrive at all… don’t blame me.  Blame the peace, joy and magic.

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

Nov 282012
 

Dancing: Guaranteed to Make Your Day Kick Ass

I spend most of my days teaching my daughter stuff. Important stuff like words, numbers, colors, how to read, how to poopoo in the potty, and how to say “Cheerio mate!” with a British accent. But as much as I teach her, I swear that she teaches me more.  Yesterday’s lesson:  How to Make Your Day Kick Ass!

You know those nights when you come home after a long, tiring day and just want to flop down on the couch, shovel carbs into your face hole and stare blankly at the TV?  Or perhaps you have been home with your kids for an equally long, tiring day and you just want to flop down on the couch, shovel carbs into your face hole and stare blankly at the TV.  But instead of some well-deserved couch time you get to do the Evening Scramble because there is dinner to be made, baths to be given, and finicky husbands – I mean children – to feed. You know those nights? Well, that was where I was last night.

It was a Monday, and a Monday after a vacation, at that. My husband had just gotten home from work, tired and hungry. I was scrambling to clean up the aftermath of the natural disaster that is my daughter’s dinner (can I get some FEMA up in here?) while simultaneously making a fabulous dinner – ok a dinner – for my husband and I. My daughter was running around, begging for attention. So, to distract her for the 2.4 minutes I needed to finish cleaning up, I turned on some music.  It was Foster The People Pandora if you must know (I’ve had it up to HERE with Elmo singing! Maybe the next Elmo could  have a less annoying voice, huh?  And perhaps not be a pedophile. ALLEGEDLY**)  Anyway, I cranked up the tunes and got back to the Evening Scramble.

A few minutes later I turned around to check on my daughter, and saw that she was dancing. Beautifully, maniacally, joyfully, hand-clappingly, booty-shakingly dancing with all her might.  If you have never seen a one-year-old dance, there is truly nothing better in the world. Usually I don’t make a habit of posting many photos or videos of my daughter, because I feel like she deserves some semblance of privacy. Although, for some reason it doesn’t bother me to share her every word, action and fart with the world, but hey, it’s my blog and I will share if I want to. Anyway, I don’t usually share videos, but this video of her dancing is pure happiness, so I feel like it is my duty to share it with the world.  Check it out on my Facebook page (and like my page while you are there!)  If you can watch this video and not smile, then you are dead inside.  Pack your shit and go try out for The Real Housewives.

So last night my daughter was dancing in her amazing way, and as my husband and I stood watching her, she ran over and grabbed our hands and pulled us to the dance floor (aka living room).  Yes, the kitchen was still a mess and the dinner was beginning to burn, but when a kid commands you to shake your ass, your ass gets shaken. So we danced. And then we danced some more. At first, I was trying to teach my daughter some dance moves, but she looked at me like I was crazy and kept doing her thing. So instead I let her teach me.  I copied HER moves, and man was it fun!  And now, in yet another act of kindness, I will teach you.

Step One:  Put on some booty-shaking music. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as gets your booty bouncing.

Step Two:  Turn it up!

Step Three:  Turn it up more!

Step Four:  Turn it down already! Do you want to make your child deaf?! What kind of parent are you anyway?

Step Five:  Close your eyes. Start to move your body. No one is watching you. No one cares if you are on-beat, in-time, or cool at all. Freeing right?

Step Six:  Now that no one is watching you, just relax and let your body take you where it wants to go. Clap your hands, jump up and down, kick your legs, twirl around until you fall down, laugh until you cry.

Step Six:  Repeat until your heart is beating out of your chest or the fire alarm goes off… whichever comes first.

We all danced like that for another 20 minutes or so, until it was time to get back to the business of life. You always have to get back to business eventually, that is the way that life works. But when I got back to making my (slightly charred) dinner, I was doing it with a smile on my face and my ass still twitching to the beat.  I felt more energized and much happier than if I had flopped down on the couch as I had wanted to.  It was a great way to end the day, and I am going to try it as often as possible. And then, when I am done dancing and my heart is doing the samba and my stomach aches from laughter, only then I will flop down on the couch, shovel carbs into my face hole and stare blankly at the TV.

**Don’t sue me Elmo!!

photo credit: Will Montague via photopin cc

Nov 212012
 

I am thankful for those who drink as much as I.

I love me some Thanksgiving. What’s not to love?  Family and friends all gathered together. Delicious food and the ability to eat as much of it as you want without feeling guilty because everyone knows that calories don’t count on holidays. Same thing goes for drinking. Everyone knows that alcoholism doesn’t count on holidays. Plus, how the hell can you cook without wine? Or survive an entire day with aforementioned family without wine (Except for mine, of course. Happy Turkey Day Mom!  Thanks for giving me life!)

Unlike some other holidays lurking around this time of year, Thanksgiving is pretty stress-free (unless, of course, you are dumb generous enough to host.) There’s no gifts to be painstakingly purchased. No gifts to be returned, only to panic when the giver of said gift comes to visit and wonders where are those lovely ceramic figurines with the creepy, giant eyes that follow you everywhere, even your nightmares. There is no planning of a night out awesome enough to close out a great year and make all your Facebook friends jealous. Nope, none of those annoying holiday stresses. Thanksgiving is all about eating and drinking with friends and family and giving thanks for it all. Oh yeah, and I think it is also about Pilgrims, Native Americans and a giant Pumpkin who terrorizes children.  But don’t quote me on that.

However, as much as I love Thanksgiving and think it is important to give thanks, there is one thing about Thanksgiving that I dread:  the moment when all the food sits before you on the table, and instead of allowing you to dig in, the well-intentioned hostess asks everyone to go around the table and say what they are thankful for. Seriously?!  That is the right moment for that?  How about starting the giving of Thanks during the five hours when everyone is eating dip and dry carrots and waiting for the damn turkey to be done?  And why is it so hard to come up with something that I am thankful for at that moment? Perhaps it is because I am dizzy with hunger due to the fact that I starved myself all day to make up for the sick amount of calories I plan to consume. Or perhaps it is because I am drunk as I started drinking at 6 am without eating anything besides the cold, wet stuffing I snuck and ate with my fingers out of sheer desperation. Or perhaps it is simply the pressure of putting a whole year of thankfulness into a few words.  Whatever the reason, when called upon, I usually break out in a cold sweat and blurt out something like: “Iamgratefulformyfamilyandfriendsbecauseilovethemsomuchohyeahandmyhealthandmyfamilyandmyfriendsdidialreadysaythat.”

So, this year I am going to do things differently.  Firstly, I am going to make more of an effort to give thanks all year round.  Secondly, in order to bypass the paralyzing moment of Thanksgiving pressure, I am going to take the time to lay out some things that I am thankful for right here and now.

THIS YEAR I AM THANKFUL FOR:

Everyone who has read this far in the post.  For those of you who stopped reading after the first paragraph or who totally ignored this post: I hope you choke on a turkey bone or gain ten pounds, whichever is worse.  Just kidding.  But to those who read my blog:  THANK YOU!!

My amazing, smart, hilarious, charming daughter.  Sometimes I can’t believe how lucky I am.

My awesome family. I know you think your family is awesome, but my family kicks your family’s ass in my book.  Sorry.

My wonderful friends who support me, challenge me and love me no matter what.

A husband who makes me feel smart and funny, and who still likes to grab my ass.

Having an ass that someone still thinks is worth grabbing.

Girls trips.

Nap times.

Date nights.

Family days.

Push-up bras and Spanx:  Some people call it cheating. I call it branding.

Good red wine.

Cupcakes:  The perfect cake to frosting ratio.

My daughter’s amazing, obnoxious, loud, boisterous laugh.

Mixologists.

Wedge heels: Almost comfortable.

Movie theaters that let you pour your own butter on your popcorn.  Yes!

Skinny lattes.

Stretchy jeans:  I refuse to call them jeggings.

Vacations.

The health of me, my family and my friends.

Baby Tylenol:  Helped my daughter through a lot of crazy fevers this year.

Girls days with just my daughter and I, when I have no work, no chores and nothing to do but be with her.

Pumpkin spice…anything.

And the one thing that I am most thankful for…

Laughter:  Curer of everything that I am NOT thankful for.

So there you have it, My 2012 List of Thankfulness!  Hostesses take note:  this hereby exempts me from the torture of participating in this tradition this year, and possibly for all subsequent years.  So back off and let me eat overcooked turkey, already!  But just because I will not be participating myself, doesn’t mean that I won’t be watching this unfold. As much as I hate doing it myself, I love watching other people sweat at that inevitable moment when the person who goes before them takes the exact thing that they were going to say.  I love that moment!  In fact, you might even say that I am thankful for it.

Nov 142012
 

Babies are the new black.  Seriously, babies are so hot right now.  Everywhere you look (as long as, like me, the only place you get your information is from trashy magazines) celebrities are showing off their cute little baby bumps, parading their children around in tiny clothes that cost ten times what my adult-sized clothes cost, and flaunting their ridiculous baby names (I’m looking at you Uma Thurman!)  But the most annoying thing that celebrity mommies are flaunting these days:  their skinny, toned, stretch-mark free post-baby bodies…just weeks after delivering.  What’s even more annoying is that when questioned about this crime against nature, most of them say that the “weight just came off” or all they did was “breastfeed.”  Seriously?!  If breastfeeding got me abs like Miranda Kerr or an ass like Gisele, I would breastfeed my daughter through college.

Did breastfeeding do this? I think not.

Alas, for us mere mortals, this is not the reality.  No, my baby weight didn’t exactly fall off as easily as a celebutante’s undies.  And while breastfeeding allegedly burns 500 extra calories per day, when I was breastfeeding I was ravenously hungry and still eating for two:  One for me, and one for an entire football team.  I must admit that looking at celebrities like Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson, Heidi Klum and Kristen Cavallari (I use the word celebrity loosely) who looked beyond amazing right after having their babies made me feel bad about myself.  I would huff and puff my way through 45 torturous minutes on the elliptical, followed by round after round of lunges and sit-ups, and then look at myself in the mirror hoping to see some instant, radical change.  Hoping that I would like what I saw again.  Then I would dejectedly look down at my saddle bags and pinch my still flabby tummy and wonder what I was doing wrong.  Why was it taking it me so long to get my body back?  Why don’t I look like those celebrities?

Then one day it came to me:  What I was doing wrong was simply not being a celebrity. I wasn’t devoting my life to my figure. I wasn’t working out 4 hours a day, 7 days a week with a $500/hr celebrity trainer. I didn’t have a personal chef or nutritionist or even a meal delivery service. I never looked like a supermodel in the first place.  And all of this is ok because looking good isn’t my job. I don’t have a movie to get in shape for or a modeling gig to slim down for.  I don’t have paparazzi chasing me and magazines pointing out my every flaw. The world isn’t watching my every move, hoping that I will fail. Hoping that I, too, will have cellulite and stretch marks. And thank god for that.  If they were, than I would sure as hell be shelling out for the personal trainer and delivery meals.

I was looking at it all the wrong way. Instead of feeling jealous of how quickly these celebrities were able to whip their bodies back in shape, I should be feeling sorry for them for having to whip their bodies back into shape so quickly.  Now, I know that it is hard to pity a rich, beautiful, famous movie star, but don’t forget that they are moms too. Imagine how stressful it would be if you had 6 weeks to lose the baby weight before your next movie.  Imagine if, on top of having a new baby, you also had to spend hours and hours working out each day because that is your job. Imagine if paparazzi stalked your every move, trying to get an unflattering photo.  Imagine if, a few months after having a baby, people called you the real F word. The worst thing a celebrity, or most women for that matter, can be called: Fat. And not just behind your back, or even to your face, but proclaimed on TV shows and splashed across magazine covers.  I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy… or even that bitchy, high-and-mighty mom at the baby music class. Well, maybe her.

Us non-celebrities have the luxury of taking the weight off slowly, or maybe not at all.  We have the luxury of exercising when we can, and resting when we can’t.  Of wearing yoga pants and baggy T-shirts day in and day out.  Of eating an entire box of cereal when you can’t sleep after waking up to feed your baby at 3 am (hypothetically.)  We have these luxuries because we live in the real world.  And in the real world, no one would dream of telling you that 6 months is too long to take off the baby weight.  In the real world, no one calls a new mom the F word. And if they do, then F them.

So ladies, give yourself a break if you don’t lose the baby weight, immediately or ever. In the real world these things take time. Stop comparing yourself to models and movie stars or anyone else for that matter.  Every woman has different goals, needs and obstacles. Aim to live healthfully and to feel good about yourself. And please stop using the F word! Don’t use the word “fat” when talking about someone else, and most definitely don’t use it when talking about yourself.  But feel free to use the word Fuck all you want. It’s fucking fun.

Annoying or inspiring?

Here’s an idea: When you see a movie star’s kick-ass post-baby body, let it inspire you instead of shame you. Think of it this way – apparently it really is possible to look completely amazing after having a baby! If I had a trainer/nutritionist/dietician/stopped eating/sold my soul to the devil perhaps I could look that amazing too. But in the meantime, stop letting their amazing bodies make you feel bad about your own. Have I gotten there yet?  Not totally. But I am working hard to stop comparing myself to anyone else, especially movie stars and supermodels.  However, I refuse to stop making fun of their odd baby name choices.  Hey, I’m no saint, and Alicia Silverstone is asking for it by naming an innocent child Bear Blu.

And for the record, I worked my ass off (literally) and I did lose the baby weight. I don’t look like Gisele or Jessica Alba, or even Jessica Simpson for that matter, but I do look like a pretty damn good version of myself. Now, most days I feel happy with the way I look, and on the days that I don’t, there’s always Spanx. Just ask any celebrity.

Nov 062012
 

The other day my daughter, Lyla, and I were at Starbucks fueling my caffeine and sugar addictions, when suddenly Lyla starts pointing out the window and saying, “Mama! Mama!” She was so excited, but for the life of me I could not figure out what she was pointing at. She’s only 18 months old, so often our communication is akin to platform flip-flops: confusing at best.

First I tried the “What do you see out there?” tactic. Airplane? – No.  Doggie? – No. Homeless person pushing a shopping cart that you think has a baby inside? – No, No, No!  So I switched tactics.  Perhaps she is wondering where her dad is.  Sometimes she gets our names confused. And in her defense, I had just finished working out and was sweaty and more than a little manly looking. So I said, “No honey, Mama is right here.  Papi is at work, but we will see him later tonight.”  She looked at me like I was an idiot (is it possible to be embarrassed in front of your one-year-old?) and began pointing even more emphatically out the window. “Mama! Mama!”

Lyla was starting to get frustrated, and I was starting to get desperate.  So I picked her up and walked to the window saying, “Show me what you are talking about, honey.” But when we got to the window, instead of pointing outside, she began pointing to the Starbucks logo on the window.  “Mama!” she said with a smile.  For a moment I looked between the logo and my daughter in pure puzzlement.  Yes, I do drink enough coffee for her to equate me with the beverage, however, usually it is not from Starbucks.  “Mama!”  she said again, pointing at the logo then stroking my hair.  I had never really looked at the logo before, so I studied it for a minute.  Suddenly it hit me, she thinks the logo is a picture of me.  So I said, “Oh!  This looks like me?  This looks like mama?”  And she smiled like the sun and said, “Yeah!” so happy that I had finally stopped being a total idiot and understood what she was trying to tell me.

It’s actually not a bad compliment.  The Starbucks logo is based on a 16th century Norse woodcut of a mermaid or Siren to go with Seattle’s nautical roots.  (I looked this up, I don’t actually know this much useless Starbucks information.  Just other kinds of useless information.)  Starbucks chick is kind of a babe. This is solid proof that to your children, you are the most beautiful woman in the world.  So I was happy. However, I think my daughter will be sorely disappointed that I am not actually Mrs. Starbucks when she is filling out those loan applications for college.  Maybe I will just tell her that I drank away our fortune.

 

Have you ever noticed what a babe the Starbucks chick is?

Does Starbucks owe me image royalties? Or at least free coffee?