Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Lighter 2010

It's here. 2010. A new year. I don't know what it is about New Year's Eve that always makes me feel especially introspective. I feel like I should be doing something. Thinking! Pondering! Reflecting! Resolving!

It never fails: as the famous Times Square ball starts to drop, I get anxious. Antsy. Hyper. "It's almost here! It's almost here! Hey, everybody! A new year! Everyone, quick: Make a plan!"

I get a little crazy on New Year's Eve.

I'm not really sure why, exactly. It's not like I'm into the whole resolutions thing. Personally, I like to take more of a holistic approach to change for the new year.

Every year, I try to look back upon the past year and figure out how I can be better...what was missing...what I enjoyed...what I needed more of... And then I try and focus on that for the new year. Yeah, I guess you could call it a resolution. But new year's resolutions tend to be pretty concrete, as in: "My resolution is to lose 10 pounds." I don't know how resolution-y it sounds to announce: "My resolution is to live lighter."

Yes. Live lighter. That is what I want to focus on for 2010. What, exactly, does that mean? No, I don't mean lighter on the scale (although those couple of pounds gained from waaaaay too much red velvet probably forthcoming...would be good to get rid of). I mean lighter in the way I approach life.

I am happy to say that a call from my doctor with good news about my test results has already lightened the load on my shoulders. I thought I was going to have to wait until at least Monday for my results, but the gift of relief came early enough to warrant an extra flute of champagne this evening. I want to carry this good news into 2010.

Lighter. In spirit.

I want the load of my anxieties, my stresses, my pessimism, my perfectionism, my temper, my essence to be lighter.

In 2010, I want to smile more. Giggle more. Laugh. Really laugh...throw my head back and snort (yes, I snort) in gleeful laughter when my husband makes one of his ridiculous jokes or my kids do something silly.

I was told recently I don't laugh so often anymore. Apparently, I am too tired or too busy or too stressed about work or dishes or laundry or ear infections or bills or all of it. Who the hell wants to live with someone like that? Who wants to be someone like that?

Light. I want a lighter 2010. More sunshine, more smiles.
That is my non-resolution resolution.
Happy New Year's, everyone.

Monday, December 28, 2009

I'd buy more flowers


If you knew you were dying, what would you do differently?

I know. Heavy. Sorry, didn't mean to scare you.

Hopefully, I am not dying. Not just yet, anyways. But I had to have a test done of those scary ones with the words "cancer" and "marker" in there.

I don't mean to be dramatic. Really.

Short version: pelvic pain leads to ultrasound; ultrasound leads to blood test to rule out cancer.

The doctor is not especially concerned. After going in with my looooong list of questions, she answered every one relatively positively: You have no history. The majority of these cysts resolve on their own. This is just a precaution.
But even if there is a 1% chance, no one wants to hear the c-word. Ever.

I have a reputation for being somewhat anxious. And pessimistic. And dramatic. Altogether, not a great combination for just about anything, much less for waiting for medical results.

After a mini-breakdown, I composed myself. Everything "looks good." And I just absolutely refuse to lose a day (or seven, since that's how long the results can take) of my life worrying. There is time for the worry, if necessary.

I "put it somewhere." Away. Although the thoughts linger, in the back of my brain, I will fill the next few days with happy busy stuff. And every time I look at my boys, I am determined not to think the worst. Because that is yet another thing you learn after you become a mother: every test takes on a whole new meaning.

A few years ago, I read the book Tuesdays With Morrie. Morrie advised that the best way to be prepared for death is to do as the Buddhists: "Everyday, have a little bird on your shoulder that asks, 'Is today the day? Am I ready? Am I doing all I need to do? Am I being the person I want to be?'" That stayed with me. I tried, really tried to live my life everyday as if that bird were there, asking me if I am ready. Is there anything I would regret, right now, at this moment, if my time came?

I started keeping a Life List then. Things I wanted to do "before I die." The items ranged from be a mother (check!) to learn to make sushi (scratched that one off a few years ago...why the heck would I go through all that trouble when I could go to the corner and pay some nice guy to make it for me?). Of course, the catch with a Life List is that for it to be really effective, you have to try and do stuff as soon as you can. You can't just write stuff down like "Go to Paris" and then not do anything to make that dream closer. Because you never know. You never know when the "before I die" part is coming.

Scares like mine right now throw things right in your face. They give you time to think, ponder, reflect. But in reality, our time can stop abruptly with no warning. We know that, rationally. But we forget. It's hard to practice.

Today I was at the grocery store, and I was struck by the prettiness of some and orange and red Gerber daisies. They made me smile.

I hesitated only for a moment.

I bought them. For myself.

This is something I never do, buy flowers for myself. Don't get me wrong: I buy myself plenty. Shoes and bags and lovely clothes. But flowers? They always seem so...wasteful, temporary, frivolous. But I realized, as I looked at those flowers, that I wanted them. If my days are numbered, I thought, I want those in my house. And that's when it hit me: my days are numbered. All of ours are.

I had forgotten the bird.

I looked over my shoulder. He was still there. He told me to buy the flowers.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas in South Florida

I had to chuckle as I looked out onto my patio on Christmas Eve:

Certainly not the traditional white Christmas type of scene on most holiday cards. But I love it. This is how we do it around here, and it feels perfectly natural: the lights entwined around the beach signs, the garland bordering the pool. Christmas in Miami...warmest of wishes!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Savannah Memories

Well, we made it there...
We weren't sure we would considering all the fevers and close calls, but we did.
And it was perfect. 3 days of stress-free, no-rush quality time.
I had never been to Savannah (I'm more of a New York City kinda girl), but I fell in love with the place. I now understand all the talk of Southern Hospitality...these were the nicest people I've ever met! Our hotel was right on the river and was just the right mix of Savannah Old and Eclectic Chic. Check out the lobby!

We enjoyed plenty of upscale martinis (Real men drink Sour Apple Martinis!)...


And the homes in the Historic District were absolutely lovely...

(The Mercer House from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil)

The trees were my most favorite part. They were hauntingly romantic.

We came home to more drama (I'd share but I'm tired of hearing myself complain and I will probably reflect on it all in a future post), but amidst all the craziness we've had around here, we had 3 perfect blissful days together.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Birthday to me...

I used to have a Birthday Month.

It's true. A full month.

We'd start celebrating on December 1st. It was an on-going thing with all of my closest friends and family members. I'd have a romantic birthday outing with Hubby (ahem, I mean Chris). I'd have a girls-only birthday celebration. A dinner with my parents and in-laws and sister was usually required, too. And often, I'd have another major bash out with everyone. I'm a pomp and circumstance kinda girl.

Today is my birthday. And when I woke up, I didn't even remember.

Yep. The girl who used to have a BirthMonth forgot it was her birthday.

Oh, yeah, and the Hubby who has, in the past, planned everything from full blown scavenger hunts to trips to shopping sprees to surprise parties, forgot too.

Okay, we only forgot for like 15 minutes. By the time the coffee had brewed and the baby had wailed his first "Maaaaammmmaaaaa!" we had both remembered. But still. From 31 days of birthday partying to "Oh yeah, today's the day."

This, I believe, is a good example of how life changes when you have children...snotty-nosed sick children especially.

Yep, the plague has continued. 3 pediatrician visits this week alone. 103. 5 fever at 3:00 a.m. last night. But oh, I am not complaining. Nope. Not me. See my big wide smile? No bitterness (I swear) around here.

We leave today...for a trip that has been planned for a few months. Just two little nights. Two nights in Savannah, a few hours away, holed up in a lovely hotel, quietly (or loudly) celebrating my birthday. Just Hubby and me. Just us. Ben is staying with his favorite pseudo-aunt and her granddaughter. He is probably more excited about this weekend than we are. He's got big adventures in store: Reindeer feedings, night zoo hikes, hay rides through Christmas lights. Baby Aidan will be with the grandparents at home. The pediatrician assured us everyone was okay to go..."They'll be fine. Just pack the Motrin and the thermometer. And oh yeah, here's yet another antibiotic prescription...just in case."

So we will go. And I will relax (dammit) and try not to think about the boys except when I make all those phone calls to check on them. And I will hopefully forget for a couple of days about the stress and chaos we've had around here for the last 3 monoths. Everyone will be fine. This, I have been assured by everyone from my husband to my parents to my pediatrician. Yes, everyone will be fine, but it is hard to kick up your heels and be fancy-free when you've had fevers and doctor visits every time you turn around.

But hey, it's my birthday, dammit. And I'm a pomp and circumstance kinda girl. So I will be fine too.

And if I'm not...I'm pretty sure a few cocktails will help me forget my troubles (and remember it's my birthday).

Monday, December 14, 2009

I WILL enjoy the holidays, DAMMIT!

I am exhausted.

Exhausted and sick and discouraged and stressed.

And feeling guilty about it.

It is The Holidays. I love this time of year. It's my favorite. Christmas has always been a big to-do around my house, ever since I was a teeny little kid. Add my birthday to the mix...exactly one week before Christmas...and well, December has always been good to me.

And I'm big on the gimmicks, too. On my mental To Do List every year is: watch holiday movies, drink hot chocolate, take pictures with Santa, wrap presents together, count down the days on the advent calendar, participate in every Secret Santa available, buy extra special gifts for everyone on the list, send out cool Christmas cards, take kids to a snow day event (we're in Miami, people), listen to Christmas music, decorate the house, go to a holiday park....the list is endless. This year? Um, we've managed the tree, some lights outside, and maybe a Rudolph movie or two (but not really to enjoy as a family...more to get the kids to sit still and be quiet for 28 minutes).

When I complain about all of this to Hubby (oh, wait, sorry, I mean Chris), he laughs: "What do you mean, 'We haven't done anything this Christmas'? Sure we have...we've done pink eye, multiple ear infections, throat infections, bronchitis, stomach viruses, fevers, colds....We've done plenty this season!"


I realize I shouldn't take it so seriously. I understand that what we've been dealing with is nothing...simple, inconsequential, annoying stuff. I know that we are incredibly lucky. Just this morning I found out about an acquaintance of ours, 42 years old, an athlete, a competitor, a health nut...died last night from stage 4 colon cancer. 42 years old. I realize his wife and family would give anything to be dealing with colds and ear infections and eye gunk. I should not whine. I have no right. And that's when the guilt kicks in. And then I'm more stressed because I think I'm so damned ungrateful and whiney.

I am exhausted.

I think the lack of sleep is finally starting to affect me. It's been a couple of weeks now, and my head is in a perpetual fog. Even now, as I write, I have all these points I intended to make...these themes I planned on writing about...but now, I feel like I'm still participating in the Half Drunk Challenge, because although I'm sober, I'm pretty damn sure I'm not making any sense.

Even this blog (and all those I love to follow and comment on)... it has become yet another thing to be stressed about. I have no time, no energy, no...zest.

Yes, that's it. Zest.

My zest has been all zapped out of me. And I'm usually a zesty kinda girl, you know? I like things big. I like things loud. I like things fun. I'm all for the whimsy, the silly, the metaphorical tinsel. But I feel like we're running on empty around here. It's been 10 weeks now. 10 weeks of colds and infections and fevers and complaining (mostly, mine). I'm sick of hearing myself talk about it, write about it, think about it. I just want to enjoy these next couple of upcoming birthday trip, Christmas Eve, Christmas morning, my family, the kids, us. All of it.

So perhaps I have to force myself to let go of all of those things I think I am supposed to be doing in order to enjoy the holidays, and just...enjoy them. Maybe the less pressure I place on myself, the more I will actually get out of all of this? It always comes back to the same stuff...whatever our issues are...they keep coming back at us in different scenarios. My issue has always been letting go, surrendering, just existing. And it creeps into everything I do: work, losing weight, relationships, blogging, traveling, even Christmas. It's no wonder I'm exhausted. It's not the kids making me so tired; it's myself.

I guess this is evidence of how important writing is for me. It really is cathartic. Just by writing this all out, by going almost stream-of-consciousness, by complaining and venting and explaining it, I almost snap myself out of it. I remind myself of everything I need to learn: surrender, stop stressing, stop demanding perfection, be grateful. Breathe.
Let go.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A hungover follow up to last night's post

Disclaimer: Yet again, for those of you who are not so interested in my sex have been forewarned.

So...this morning? Let's just say my lips were still stained purple.


Lots of wine + no dinner = Lots of pain this morning

But wait...wanna hear the ironic part?

After all of that ranting and raving last night about the life-sucking and flame-dousing...After that drunken heart-felt co-authored post...After all that complaining and whining about hard it is to keep it all going? You wanna know what happened when my newly-named Chris and I logged off and went to get off and roll around in the shared ecstasy of the wine and the words?

Teething happened.

That's right...the one-year-old sleeps through the night 95% of the time, but last night? Nope. Shrieks. Screams. Tears. Cries of "Mama! Dada!" ringing throughout the house. At first, we almost laughed...Oh, how funny is this, huh? Well, let's just stop in the middle of our flame-fanning and just check in on him. Surely, he will settle down as he always does. No big deal. We'll be back to our play in no time.

One hour, one diaper change, 4 baby-room visits, and 1 teaspoon of Tylenol later, I hit that moment when you realize: "Oh. Crap. I don't feel too good." Next thing I know, it's 4:30 in the morning and I'm on the wrong side of the bed. I don't remember much, but I do know there was absolutely no grand ending to our drunken evening.

As much as I can appreciate Aidan reinforcing our whole point on life and marriage and sex....well, I think I would've preferred he just stay quiet and had allowed us to simply blog and bang.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Many of us in the blogging world have spent this week drinking and writing. Sarah and Jen at Momalom have a party going on: The 1/2 Drunk Challenge. It all started when someone decided to write about her, ahem, clitoris (yes, clitoris and no, it wasn't me) after a few cocktails. From there, the idea of drunken ramblings seemed to just take off. Leave it to the Momaloms to turn it into An Event. The point is to get a little (or a lot) tipsy, have fun, and write something daring. An excuse to get buzzed on a weeknight? An excuse to share my uncensored, drunken thoughts? Suuuuurrre. Blame it on the Grey Goose. But to my co-workers, relatives, and easily-offended readers: please don't blame it on me. Parental advisory warning. It's not so coherent...

I am drunk. Red wine drunk. We're talking the kind when your lips are all stained purple. Red wine. It's my favorite. I have to save it for special occasions...occasions when I don't need to hold back, or be careful, or censor myself...because red wine is my drink of choice. It is also the drink that makes me feel the "free-est." (What do you mean "free-est" is not a word?!?)


I want to be free.

Free from judgment.

Free from worrying about other people's opinions.

Free from a mortgage I can barely afford, and 2 children I can barely contain, and a job that requires me to "behave." Free from all that life has somehow sucked me into.

How did this happen? How did I become "just like everyone else"?

I am not.

Like everyone else.

I'm really, really not.

This half-drunk challenge has been good for all of this...thinking about this kind of stuff. It's made me think... a lot...about what I am willing to put "out there"...what I'm willing to share...what I want people to know.

I'm trying desperately not to care whether I write something that's "good" or whether I offend.

So...I'm sitting here with Hubby. He's drunk too. (He has just stated that he does not like the name "Hubby'...who knew?!? This blog has been around for almost a year. NOW he tells me?!? My response: When you come up with something better than "Hubby", I shall use it.)

Blah, Blah, Blah...let's talk about something really worthwhile (so we can win some liquor)...SEX! Items in bold will be written by Chris F.K.A. Hubby) By the way, my name is not really Chris, but Liz says I look like one!

Okay, so you all see now I have a partner writer. I'm not so sure about this. (Sarah, you started this with all your Carrie Underwood stuff.)


Drinking makes me feel free. (No, I am not an alcoholic, but I think I'd be more fun if I were one.) I've said that I feel "most like me" when I'm either: drinking or running.

I have sex on the mind. (Really, don't we always?) Tiger Woods with all his sexcapades....Wolfie with her half-drunk post on "What makes you a hottie?" Sarah with her music and swooning.

So I've been sitting here for what feels like ever, trying to decide what to write about, but now Hubby (apparently, aka Chris) has decided to take over, so I give in and go drink more while he writes...

OK, I' m not proud to admit this (and as a man I really shouldn't be reading all of these Mommy posts) but as this Half drunk challenge has moved along, Liz has gotten really stoked about it. So, to be involved in her life I have done some reading. "Why are you a hottie? has been quite amusing and quite thought provoking. So here is my go at it. I think I'm a hottie because of the way I actually love my wife and put her before anyone and anything(including the kids)! Many people talk shit about their relationships and that it's the most important thing, but the reality is that they never do anything to nurture it or improve a difficult situation. People work hard at their careers, parenting, or hobbies, but don't put any effort into their spouses. Then, once the kids are grown, they wonder what the fuck happened. Well guess what, you got out of your marriage what you put into it! The way I love Liz and say it out loud from the mountain tops (and don't give a fuck who cares or what they think) is what makes me a hottie. (BTW, Did this make me sound like a Pu**y? :) )

Okay, so apparently I'm supposed to write now. Hubby (now known as Chris) says I should just
"let her rip."

I think marriage/children/mortgage sucks the sex right out of you. I think Life makes you forget who you were, who you want to be, who you Are. I think you have to fight, every damn day nearly, to keep it going. To keep that flame alive. To keep remembering why you got into this to begin remember why you thought this person was: hot/amazing/interesting/worthy/whatever.

After a few years with kids and all that Life brings (financial strife, job responsibilities. illnesses, etc.), I have realized just how hard it is to keep It keep the flame burning.

I'm sick of reading: "Schedule sex."

It's not that easy.

You think it is. But it's not.

It isn't until you have the 2.4 kids, the mortgage on the house you always dreamed of, the Everything, that you fully understand how hard it is to Keep It Going. To keep the passion alive. To continue to do all the things you have to make that love Inspiring.

I'm lucky.

I have someone who is sitting here, with me...who "gets" all of this. Who wants to make that fire burn brighter, but it's Hard.

I want to be Free. I want to be Fun.

But it's hard.

I'm a Mom. And life gets in the way.

Maybe my expectations are too high...maybe I want too much.

But wait...he wants it too. That guy who used to go by the name of Hubby and now wants to be known as Chris...he wants all the same stuff too.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Child #2: The Plague Continues...

This kid never stops.
Aidan Kai is a mover and a shaker. Always has been.
He cried for the first 4 1/2 months of his life...not a typical newborn's disgruntled mew. No, this kid wailed. Shrieked. Screamed. Indignantly.
Around the time the crying stopped, the exploring began. He just couldn't sit still. He couldn't even lie still. He'd wriggle around the crib so much that he'd bump his head several times a night. Now? He gets into stuff. He pulls things off counters. He climbs into drawers. He whops his big brother on the head. And he does (almost) all of it with a big toothy, dimply smile.
Tonight? Not so much.
Tonight? He just wanted to be held. He wanted to be still.
We had an H1 scare over the weekend. After Ben hit 104.3 for a second time, we took him in to see the after-hours pediatrician, who diagnosed him with H1...just off the top of her head, really. Then, after insisting there was nothing to be alarmed about, she insisted that if the baby got even 101, we had to bring him in "immediately."
The baby hit 101 yesterday. And yes, I was alarmed.
Turns out, according to our family pediatrician, who knows all of my kids' quirks by heart, there is no H1 in the household (Hurry! Knock on wood!!!). This is a product of all these damned colds and viruses that have been swimming around here for 8 weeks. So now we deal with more antibiotics, more ear infections (currently, 3 out of 4 children's ears in this house are officially infected), more green slime coming out of noses, more coughing and sneezing.
Ben is finally getting better (will it last longer than a week this time?), but Aidan Kai is in the worst of it (we hope). This will be our 5th night in a row during which our alarm will ring every 2 hours so we can check a child's fever, apply a cold washcloth, administer medicine or hugs.
I'm not real big on blogging about my kids' day-to-day stuff. I prefer to limit my posts to when I really feel like I have something to say...or share...or complain about. I try to make this blog more about my struggles and victories with being Me while being Mama. But these last few days, this is all my life has been, and so it is during these times that that side of Me that I often write about...the one I work so hard to hold onto and help grow...the non-Mommy me...the Just Me...that one is pushed (shoved) completely out of the way for a bit, so the Mommy Me can be out in full force. When my kids are sick, I can't be anything other than Mama. Nor do I really want to be.