Sunday, August 30, 2009

(Another) New Version of Me

I am restless.

I get like this, every so often. It's like I'm on the cusp of something...another phase of my life, of Me. Something within me starts to twitch, fidget, searching for Change. The thing is, I can't really explain what it is...the thing I want to change. I'm just in this odd place where I'm searching, looking, listening, paying attention a lot. To the Universe. To my choices. The people I've chosen to spend my time with. The way I live my life everyday. The person I am.

It's hard to talk about, really, not because it's so dramatic, but because it's all very abstract. It's not like A Thing, as in: "What is the one thing you want to change right now?" Overall, in fact, I'm incredibly content with my life and where it is: I've got the house I wanted, the man I'm still obsessed with, the kids I'd prayed for (who are both out of the infant stage), the job I enjoy, and even the number I've yearned to see on the scale (almost, anyways). Everything is good. I should be still. Quiet. Move right along. But there is something there...

I feel like I'm entering a new phase of Me. For so many years I had been either: thinking about having children, trying to get pregnant, pregnant, recovering from a pregnancy, or tending to a baby. They can be all-consuming, those stages. Now, those years are behind me. And although I will always be Mama, it almost feels like it's a little different now: like I can settle into my Self again...decide who I want to be. Again.

It's funny; I hate change. I hate when Life throws stuff at me and I am expected to go with the flow, adapt, change. It makes me cringe. But when the change is internal, when I can control it, when I can force myself out of my comfort zone and morph into a better version of myself, then I'm good. I swim in it...the discomfort and restlessness of change. It does not even have to be big change; most of the times I've gone through stages like this, no one has noticed except those closest to me...we're talking Hubby and maybe a friend or two. But the changes within have been major, for me. They have always stretched me, made me look within, figure something out, find something new.

So I've been thinking a lot. Daydreaming. Analyzing.


Ugh, such a pretentious word. It makes it all sound so dramatic...when I think maybe all I'm looking for is a little more noise, a little more flair, and a little more Life. A little more Me.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I expected chafing...

I ran today. No wait. There's more.

I ran in shorts.


Like, real running shorts (well, these were hot pink and significantly cuter and slightly less revealing and flapping-in-the-wind-like than those traditional running shorts, but they were actual work-out shorts). You don't understand...for me, this is a really big deal. I own shorts. I wear shorts. But it's one thing to wear a pair of cute, baggy cargo shorts and some sandals while on vacation; it is quite another to go, literally, running around in shorts...thighs and knees and flesh all being pushed and pulled and jiggled and wiggled with the gravitational force of your effort. Even while running on the beach in the middle of the day in 98 degree weather and a gazillion percent humidity, I would wear my uniform of black capri workout pants. I have a drawer full. But the other day while I was looking for sales on still more black capri workout pants, I ran into a sale on shorts. Cute shorts. Black and pink with athletic trim shorts. And I thought: "What the hell? I'll just try 'em on."

Well, I tried them. And when I was surprised by the image I confronted in the 3-way dressing room mirror, I thought I'd buy them (but not before I did a little dress rehearsal jog to check myself out in said 3-way mirror). They sat in my drawer for almost a week before I dared to put them on for a run.

I almost held my breath as I started. I was sure I would feel absolutely naked running around in my neighborhood like that. I was sure that I'd have to yank down the fabric that would keep bunching up between my thighs so many times that I'd have to turn back after a block to change back into my old faithful and safe and hot capris. I was so sure I'd be so preoccupied by the way my thighs looked that I would not even be able to enjoy my run.

But guess what?
I did not feel naked. I felt free.
And every time I tried to yank the bunched up fabric down, there was no bunching to yank.
And I was preoccupied by the sight of my thighs, but mostly because...holy crap!...there was actually a teeny bit of muscle peeking out of them!

I'd love to say that I have finally reached Thigh Nirvana and they are absolutely perfectly flawless. But the truth is they're not. And at 36 with 2 kids (and a Latin background), no matter how hard I work, they never will be. But I felt good about myself on that run. I felt good about having worked as hard as I have for the past year to get myself back into shape after Aidan Kai. I felt good about the fact that I even dared to try, buy, and wear the shorts.

Most of the time, I feel pretty good about myself. I have never wanted to be a size 0. But like so many women, when I look in the mirror, I immediately scan for and focus on the parts of my body that I do not like. I am capable of obsessing over every minor flaw. I look for the bad first, and then get so discouraged that I don't even bother looking for the good. I have always been a glass half empty (or in this case, thighs too big) kind of girl. But I have been working on that, and for me, the shorts were a test: Have I finally gotten to the point where I can admit that I'm (almost) completely happy with my body again? I think my thighs passed.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Will everyone just please be quiet for a minute?!?

I want to sit on the beach. That's it. Just sit. And be quiet.

For the last 4 days, I've been surrounded by noise. Constant noise. Some of it good noise, some of it bad noise, but all noise.

There has been work noise: socializing after a summer off, meetings droning on and on, confusion and chaos over schedules and student lists, the screeching of desks being shoved and pushed into place for a fresh start.

There has been Mommy noise: "When is Dada coming home from his trip?" "How many days 'til school?" "Aidaaaaaan, let goooooo of myyyyyy toooooyyyyys!" "But I don't waaaaaannnnaaaaa share my popcorn with Grandpaaaaaa..." And from the other one: "Waaaaaaaaaaah!" (which translates into: "Hey Mama, I'm up. I don't care if it's not even 6 a.m. yet and a Saturday and you've been working all week and I woke you up twice last night because I couldn't find my blankie. I'm up now. So come feed me and then play with me with great enthusiasm.")

There has been socializing noise: The hours and hours of talking with friends who come over to keep me company or help with bedtime routines while Hubby is away (I know: I have good friends).

Tomorrow there will be more noise: the noise of the first day of school. For both "Me's": the teacher Me and the Mommy Me.

I just want to be silent. Literally and figuratively. I want to sit on a beach and breathe and not speak and not listen and not tend to and not make small talk and not discipline and not have any demands placed on me. I just want to Be.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog to bring you...Exhaustion

Have you ever been so tired, you can't sleep? You know, kinda like when you're hungry and hours go by and you can't eat and by the time you can, you're almost too sick to eat? (Or maybe that's just me.) But seriously, all I have wanted all day is for the day to end so I can get in bed, and now I'm sitting here writing because I'm too tired to sleep.

It's been a looooong week. I'm playing New Teacher and Single Mom all at the same time. And I'm tired. Really. Really. Tired.

School was back in for teachers this week, and after 3 years of being the librarian (don't even think about starting with the geek jokes), I am returning to the classroom. For those of you who are not teachers and have no idea what it takes to get a classroom ready for 50 (yes, 50) little eager minds, here's the short version: unpack a million dusty boxes; clean roach-infested cabinets; find a place for all your Teacher Pack Rat Resources and General Essential Junk; magically turn the room into a colorful, inviting, warm learning place; attend a million hours worth of (mostly pointless) meetings; plan lessons and activities; create procedures and rules for everything from fire drills to bathroom attendance to homework collection; and fend off parents who are peeking in your room and trying to get to you early.

I've been doing all this while Hubby has been gone for a race in Utah, which means that I've been mostly on Single Mom Duty. (Shout out to the Single Moms, by the way!) I have said many times before how lucky I am that Hubby is one of those Rare Finds: he does not "help" me; he parents. Equally. Sometimes even more so. So when he's gone, I feel it. Bad. Again, lucky me, I have an amazing support system, so my dearest friend and general guardian angel has come over every night to help with The Bedtime Routine. And my other Fab Friend came over to keep me company for a couple of hours. And my parents will be dropping by to cover Baby Duty while I take the Big Brother to his school's Open House. I've got help. Lots of it. And I'm still frickin' tired. Work-wise, this is by far the worst timing for Hubby's trip, but it was an amazing opportunity, and one that I really wanted him to have. I'm thrilled he is where he is, doing what he's doing with the people he's doing it with. But I will be thrilled when he's back and it's back to Team Parenting.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Farewell, Summer!

When summer first begins, it stretches ahead of many weeks of "free time" many infinite trips, weekend trips, Summer Projects to complete, luncheons to attend, closets to organize, pounds to lose, adventures to go on... It seems like it will go on forever and I am always amazed by the fact that I managed to choose a career that I actually love AND gives me 2 months off every year.

And then it arrives: The Last Day of Summer.
Here it is.

Tomorrow, Hubby and I go back to work. Next week, Ben returns to school and Aidan Kai returns to daily babysitting at the Grandparents'. And a lot of those plans I'd had on the first day of summer were fulfilled. There were many Family Day Trips, a few weekends away (with and without the kids), a few pounds worked off thanks to that extra time in the gym, and there were most definitely a few adventures shared (but not on this blog). One closet was half-way organized. A couple of Summer Projects were completed, while another few were either started and left unfinished or just plain forgotten. And the luncheons? Well, why is it that it seems I have even less time to socialize in summer than the rest of the year?

It is amazing how quickly you can get back into "Real Life Mode." Most summer nights, I'd be watching a movie or out for babysitting or packing for the next day at the beach. Tonight? I was, once again, the robot making the lunches and preparing the coffee, placing work bags by the door.

Summer went by quickly. It was wonderful. But unlike most summers, when I would be mourning the end of summer and freedom and carefree days, I am just about ready to go back. Keeping 2 small children happy and entertained for 2 months is not always easy. Or fun. Even Ben asked a few times: "Hey Mama, when is summer going to be over so I can go back to school?" It was a great run. Lots of family time. Lots of couple time. But I think we're all ready to go back to reality. I'm (almost) looking forward to it.

(Stay tuned: I can almost guarantee that soon enough there will be a post complaining about Real Life and counting down the days 'til next summer...)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tag, You're It!

I used to hate playing Tag when I was a kid. I was a little chubby. And clumsy. And uncoordinated. And it took me forever to tag someone else. Now? I'm still clumsy and uncoordinated, but a pretty good runner so I'm up for a good game of Tag. So, Gigi over at Gigi's Ramblings tagged me with a Tag of 8's (See? Who needs Facebook when I have the blogosphere for this kind of fun and irreverence?!?).

Here are the rules:
1. Mention the person who tagged you.
2. Complete the lists of 8. (Gee, how serendipitous that my last post just happened to be in list form, too!)
3. Tag 8 other people and let them know.

8 Things I am Looking Forward To:

  1. My upcoming weekend away with my crazy friends for the Dave Matthews Band Concert
  2. Back to school (Hey, summer's great, but this is a house filled with 2 teachers, one preschooler, and a crawling baby...we're starting to get on each other's nerves)
  3. Next summer
  4. Reaching my goal weight
  5. Someday owning the perfect pair of black stiletto Christian Louboutins
  6. Having professional pictures taken of the four of us by the chic-est, coolest girl I know
  7. Spending an entire summer in Hawaii when Aidan Kai gets a bit older (and easier)
  8. Being able to do 10 military-style push-ups

8 Things I Did Yesterday:

  1. 7 military style push-ups
  2. Gave myself a mani-pedi
  3. Slept in (I have The Best Husband)
  4. Pushed my littlest one on the swing at the playground
  5. Put my oldest one in time-out at the playground
  6. Started this post
  7. Got Ben to eat and like broccoli (melted cheese is a beautiful thing)
  8. Was captured by Captain Hook (Hubby) and was rescued by Batman (Ben)

8 Things I Wish I Could Do:

  1. Train for a marathon without doing more damage to my knee
  2. Go to Hawaii...often
  3. Live on the beach
  4. Finish decorating and furnishing my house
  5. Surf
  6. Sleep more
  7. Stop obsessing...about the laundry, the dishes, the toys, my weight, money, life, everything
  8. Surrender

8 Places I'd Like to Visit:

  1. The Hawaiian islands I have not yet visited
  2. Venice
  3. Cabo San Lucas
  4. San Francisco
  5. Tahiti
  6. Iowa (long story)
  7. Greece
  8. Amsterdam

Places I Have Visited:

  1. Oahu
  2. Maui
  3. Paris
  4. New York
  5. North Carolina
  6. Chicago
  7. Georgia
  8. The Caribbean

8 People to Tag:

  1. Jen & Sarah at Momalom (sort of one person)
  2. Becca at Drama for Mama
  3. Lucy Cooper at
  4. Tere at A Mom, A Blog, and the Life in Between
  5. D at 12 Pair
  6. The Amazing Trips
  7. Mouthy Mama
  8. Linda at All & Sundry

TAG! You guys are it...!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

When I'm a mom, I will NEVER...

I've said it before: there is always a lot of noise in my head. And that noise often takes the form of Lists. Grocery lists. Things To Do lists. Blog Ideas lists. Life lists. More Shoe Colors I Need To Add To My Collection lists.

So I was quite amused when I discovered Becca at who blogs in list form. A few weeks ago she had one list (The Kind of Mom I Will Never Be) that contributed greatly to the noise in my head, because I walked around for days coming up with my own version. So after permission (thanks, Becca) and a bit of tweaking to add my own spin, I hereby present you with:

The Kind of Mom I Thought I Was Never Going to Be (But AM!):

1. The kind of mom who encourages television viewing for the sake of my own sanity (and on occasion, the physical well-being of my youngest): "Hey Ben, don't you want to watch more TV?!?"

2. The kind of mom who actually allows her child to sit bare butt on public toilets when he goes "poo-poo."

3. The kind of mom who uses the term "poo-poo" on a regular basis. Even with adults.

4. The kind of mom who walks around naked in front of her children, even after the oldest started giggling and asking about "those things" (a.k.a. my boobs).

5. The kind of mom who cringes internally when her 4-year-old son wants to play with her make-up and wear her high heels and dangly earrings.

6. The kind of mom who leaves the house without taking a second look in the mirror, realizes hours later she's been seen in public looking "like that," and then decides she really, truly doesn't care all that much.

7. The kind of mom who makes people wait in line at registers a little longer because her child wants to press the debit buttons...slowly and accurately.

8. The kind of mom who cries at pre-k productions.

9. The kind of mom who thinks her kid was, by far, the best one in the pre-k production.

10. The kind of mom who sometimes chuckles and scoffs at her non-mom friends and says things like "Oh, just wait. You'll see..."

That's the thing about parenting: you think you've got it all figured out, until you actually have the kids...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Boy 2: Chapter 1 Closed

My baby is one. One year old. That's it. The end of another chapter. We will never again have another child under the age of one.

"But you hated having a child under one!" my friend responded, when I admitted I had been feeling a bit melancholic about the whole thing.

I know. It's true. I have never really enjoyed the baby-baby stage. I started digging parenthood when they started doing "stuff" know, tricks: waving bye-bye, giving kisses, saying Mama, walking. That whole getting-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-constant-feedings-just-laying-there-or-crying-stage never appealed to me, no matter how good that newborn smell is.

So the whole past year (especially the first half) I've been thinking about this day, looking forward to it, waiting for it. One year old. We've crossed the threshold from true baby into near toddlerhood. So here we are.

I don't know what it is. Maybe it's because we know for sure now that the "shop is closed." Maybe it's just experience and maturity...the knowledge you gain when you've already parented one and realized that in spite of how slowly the bad days seem to pass, in the blink of an eye he will be two and then three and then four. And you will look back on the pictures of this first birthday party and barely remember it...or remember every single detail...but still be amazed. Amazed by how "cute" he was or how "little" or how "funny" or how much he "loved that present" or how that little one-year-old in the pictures feels very, very, very far away and long ago from the child you have now.
When Hubby tried to convince me I should not be melancholic, how it did not make sense, how we love parenting so much more after the one-year-old mark, I compared it to your son growing up and getting married: you are happy (unless you really don't like the girl, but let's not even go there...I have already been warned that I will not get along with any of the girlfriends) because you want your son to be happy, to find love, to start a family. But still, at the wedding, you're gonna get teary, you're gonna be emotional, you're gonna be melancholic. Well, Aidan Kai turned one. I wanted him to turn one. I am excited he is one. I do not want to have any more children. This is a good day. But I am still a bit teary, emotional, and melancholic.
So Happy Birthday to my baby, my Aidan Kai, my ball of little boy who came into this world with so much drama and turned our little family a bit upside down with his colicky shrieks, his indignant wails, his deep belly chuckles...who knows just how to tilt his head and bat his eyelashes in order to completely melt me...who can recover from a nasty fall (or drop or shopping cart accident) in a flash...who can make you smile simply by wrinkling his nose and flashing his dimples...who will pull you up by your hair (literally) if you even attempt to doze on the floor while he is playing. Happy Birthday to the little boy who has completely stolen my heart and made me so glad that I caved and had "just one more."

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Who said parenting sucks?

I know. That was me. I said it. Not too long ago, actually. But there are days that are good. Yummy, even. Today was one of those. Not really sure why.

Maybe because Ben was incredibly polite. Maybe because I did not have to remind him to "be nice" even once. Maybe because he sat in the barber chair at the new hair salon today and did not move an inch except to smile at me over his wet, giant plastic sheet and make funny faces when I pointed to the can of lollipops sitting behind me.

Maybe because Aidan Kai is almost a year old. Maybe because he laughed so hard when I tickled him on the couch that I thought if I looked up "belly laugh" in the dictionary, his picture would be there. Maybe it was because of the picture I took of him on the beach...wearing the exact same Hawaiian shell necklace and swimming trunks his big brother did nearly 4 years ago for his first birthday photo. Maybe it was because, even though everyone said "Aidan will never stay still long enough for that picture!", he did...for that one and about a million more. And maybe it was because I knew he would.

Maybe it was because we bought our last can of formula EVER.

Maybe it was because everyone went to sleep easily and quietly and sweetly tonight...Aidan Kai all scrunched up with his little rag and butt in the air and Mickey Mouse socks, Ben with his cars and airplanes parked on the edge of the bed, his rag next to him on his pillow.

Today was no different than most days. Yes, we managed to get through all meals with no milk spills, but there were still Moments. Tough ones. Tiresome ones. The dishwasher is still sitting open, waiting to be unloaded and reloaded yet again. The clean clothes are still sitting, waiting and wrinkling in the dryer. But just like there are days when I feel like I simply can not do this for one more moment, there are days that I feel like my life has somehow, finally, fallen into a rhythmic and predictable pattern of chaos. And I love it.