Thursday, April 30, 2009

You Win Some, You Lose Some

So, I didn't get into the top 10 in the Mom Logic Mother of All Bloggers Contest (sniff, sniff). Thank you to anyone who nominated me even though it's likely that I begged, bribed, or harassed you to do it.

There were some pretty amazing posts out there from some mad wicked mom bloggers. I'm fairly new to the whole blogging world and entering this contest was an eye-opening experience. I had no idea there was this world of mothers out there just blogging their hearts out. I know, I know, how could I not know...For God's sake, they were on Oprah.

The point is, I was, and am, in really good company. How's that for being a gracious loser?

So, here I am...losing graciously. And, as I sit down to check my e-mail -- my face still frozen in an expression like I'd just smelled something really, really bad -- I noticed a comment on one of my posts from Furious Mom over at The Furious Five . She's given me an award. The Zombie Chicken Award. So in case you've been living under a rock and don't know what this award is all about, I'll tell you...

"The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all…"

I am tickled pink. Seriously. And, now that Furious Mom has bestowed this honor upon me, it is now up to me to turn around and award this honor to five other blogs. So...drum roll Zombie Chicken blogs are:

1. Whiskey in My Sippy Cup She has enough attention, but I love her so. I've actually laughed out loud at her posts. No, I don't mean "lol." I mean I laughed out LOUD. Hysterical.
2. Scary Mommy. She's also been bloggin' for a while, but again, I love her so. Hysterical. And, it doesn't hurt that her kids are adorable.
3. Hide the Cheese . Amazing recipes from a mom of three. Who thought you could make chips out of kale? And, they are yummy!
4. A Stepmom's Playground. Brand-spankin' new blog that debunks all those wicked stepmother stereotypes with clever, funny, honest stories about raising someone else's child. Can't wait to read more...
5. Motherhood Uncensored. Blogging since 2005, I feel like Kristen is my kindred spirit in the mommy blogosphere. She manages to be funny and vulnerable in all her posts. Love, love.

Hope you enjoy all my moms as much as I do.


Kicking and Screaming

No, it's not the kids this time. It's me. I haven't gone running in over a week. And, at this point, it's beginning to feel like it might take a mini army to strap on the sports bra, running shoes, and motivation to get out there again. What happened? Oh yeah, I forgot...I hate running. Make that, I hate exercising. Make that, I love being a sloth.

I was feeling better about it several weeks ago, but then something happened. A lot of "somethings" happened, actually. Here's the latest and greatest in my Oh-I-Just-Can't-Today Excuse List (arms crossed, lower lip protruding).

1. The toddler is teething.
2. I just ate.
3. I'm on a work deadline.
4. My stomach hurts.
5. It's too hot out.
6. It's too cold out.
7. Travis' achilles hurts.
8. I can't find my sports bra.
9. My sports bra is in the laundry.
10. My legs are too short.

Today is the day, though. I will file my stories by early afternoon, my sports bra is clean, pressed and waiting for me on my bed, it is neither too hot nor too cold, and miracle of miracles -- I'll go for a run on my own.

We'll see how short my legs are by 3 p.m.

In the meantime, check out Juice Box Jungle's latest on The Real Soccer Mom: Exercise or Shmexercise. Austria's comment about heading to the gym to check out people with worse bodies than her own is priceless.

More parenting videos on JuiceBoxJungle

Monday, April 27, 2009

I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke...

We bought Marley these little jelly ballerinas last week, which she promptly stuck on our patio door, arranged exactly like they were in the package. There was one blond, caucasian ballerina, an African-American ballerina, and one that I'm guessing was Asian because of the black hair and yellow tint of her skin.

On a side note, why do Asian cartoon characters, dolls, etc. have to look either horrifically jaundiced or like they should have rays of light beaming off their heads? I'd like to hereby declare that when I look in the mirror I don't see this staring back at me.

Black hair and almond-shaped eyes will suffice, thank you.

I digress...A few minutes later, Marley called me in to look at her new jelly creation.

Marley: Look, mommy!

There are the three ballerinas right there on the window, except now their different color arms, legs, hair, etc. have all been rearranged.

Mommy: Did you mix-and-match the different ballerinas?

Marley: Yes. This one is brown and white, this one is white and brown, and this one is just plain white. And, they're all best friends.

Mommy tearing up.

Mommy: Wow. They are all so beautiful!

Marley: They are the most beautifulest.

Sometimes, I think kids should run the world. Yes, it would be filled with crumbs, spilled drinks, and strewn toys...but, man, what a trade-off.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Mommy by Marley V.

Ok, I know this is borderline nauseatingly cutesy, but I'm going to post it anyhow. For any of you out there that have succumbed to the Facebook madness, there are a plethora of questionnaires/quizzes that you can take and then post on your profile page. It's a super-productive and really creative way to spend those precious few moments you may have to yourself during the day.

A little while back I did this one quiz that actually involved my older child. I would ask her a question about me and she would answer. Easy, peasy, Japanesey. I found the answers to and funny. Enjoy and feel free to subject your own preschooler to the questionnaire. I'd love to hear some other answers!

1. What is something mom always says to you?
It's not going to be scary.

2. What makes mom happy?
When I don't say that mean thing.

3. What makes mom sad?
When I say that mean thing

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
Being silly

5. What was your mom like as a child?

6. How old is your mom?
20 feet tall

7. How tall is your mom?
Long (while spreading her arms out to show just how long)

8. What is her favorite thing to do?

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
Play with Jack

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
A lot of work

11. What is your mom really good at?
Taking care of us

12. What is your mom not very good at?

13. What does your mom do for her job?
Work, business, take care of us

14. What is your mom's favorite food?
Thai food

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
When she does good things

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

17. What do you and your mom do together?
Make pizza

18. How are you and your mom the same?
We're both brown and Daddy and Jack are white.*

19. How are you and your mom different?
Little and big

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
She hugs me

21. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
The grocery store

*My personal favorite. I think I laughed out loud for that one.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My Mom Logic

About a year ago, I'd heard through the grapevine that my mother-in-law was impressed by the type of mother I'd become. She said something along the lines of, "Knowing Rosana before kids, she just wasn't very...mommy-like."

Despite my lack of natural, inborn mom logic, less than a year into my marriage,I was knocked up. My daughter -- Marley, aka, The Colic Baby -- was born at 36 weeks, promptly announcing her presence with authority: No one will sleep! Put me in the bouncy chair and bounce me dammit! Harder! Don't even think of putting me down either! Get up, lazy woman, get up!!! Breastfeeding painful? Well, get used to it because! I learned the true meaning of pain and suffering. But, still... no mom logic.

Went to ride the merry-go-round at the park for the first time with my then 2-year-old. Let her ride it three times in row before my nausea took over. Mother of all temper tantrums ensued. Carried squirming, screaming child to the car while simultaneously getting kicked in the gut. Mortifed? Yes. Shocked? Absolutely. Shaken to the core? Most definitely. For God's sakes, mom logic, where the hell are you?

Sitting in a cab in traffic. One-year-old son suddenly and inexplicably vomits everywhere. I start pulling out wipes, diapers, tissues, anything to mop up the mess. I contemplate taking off my shirt and using it to accelerate the cleanup. If I carry Jack, maybe people won't notice I'm not wearing a top? F' you mom logic, F' you!

Life with children is filled with various stresses and catastrophes that vary in size, duration and urgency. I'd strived to be able to logically handle and control each situation. I wanted to always be prepared for anything and everything. I wanted to be, like my mother-in-law said, "mommy-like."

It took me a while to come to my senses. I would never be June Cleaver 'cause, hello people, June Cleaver wasn't actually a real person.

My daughter and I regularly create couture gowns out of scarves and feather boas. She has very specific and particular ideas about color, length and detailing. She leads, I follow. She prances around in her princess regalia while her brother and I applaud. Hello, mom logic!

My son is learning to walk and whenever he gets up and takes several Frankenstein-like steps without falling, his sister and I cheer, clap and whistle. Group hug. He is our champion. Looky here, mom logic comin' around the corner.

I've been a guinea pig for my 4-year-old daughter, allowing her to slather lip gloss on my stomach and perform a mock-sonogram with a play phone (I'm not kidding). "Look up there," she says, pointing to some invisible fake monitor. "You can see your baby!" "Oh my goodness!" I say. "The baby is beautiful! Thank you, doctor!" Mom logic, you are f'ing hilarious.

I'll drop whatever I'm doing to read a book, play a game, or just talk. I want to cuddle on the couch, give a million kisses, and hold hands. I want to go down the slide with both kids on my lap. I want to play ring-around-the-rosey and eat jelly beans. I want to hear, in the middle of the night, "Mommy. I had a bad dream," and know I can fix it. I want to share ice cream and dissect all the different reasons why Bob the Builder is "the best."

It goes by way too fast and pretty soon we'll be dealing with broken hearts, SATs, and becoming men and women. I want to bathe in the simple joys of mothering young children -- they only need you for so long.

And, that, my friends is my mom logic.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Keep Hope Alive

Beautiful day. Perfect day to go on run with my trainer/husband and the kids. So, we saddled up and off we went.

(For those of you not familiar with my tenuous relationship with running, check out my last post about my attempts to ascend to Iron Girl status. )

The sun was shining, there was a light breeze, kids were fed and happy with their water bottles, I'd gotten a decent night's sleep...All signs pointed to a good run. Plus, not only did I survive the last couple of outings, but was able to keep up the pace and go further each time. I was lookin' good and feelin' fine. Little did I know that I would soon be betrayed.

As I started a light jog, I suddenly realized that even though I was into this run, my legs most definitely were not. I felt like I was lifting dead weight from my kneecaps down. When my foot would hit the pavement, it's as if my legs were mocking me: "Sucker bitch. You thought you could run? Ha! Guess again!"

The husband breezed past me with the kids as he always does. Buh-bye. Ol' Cinderblock Legs left to her own devices. As I ran down the parkway along the creek I tried to distract myself with thoughts of the babbling water ("F'ing water. I hate that stupid creek.); some music in my head ("F'ing forgot the i-pod. How could I forget the stinking i-pod?); and the beautiful weather (That stupid sun is just beating down on me. Idiot.). I also tried to shorten my scope and not think of the entire three miles, but just running to the stop sign up ahead (where is that friggin' stop sign???) then running to the park up a little farther (OMG. That park better be coming up soon. I'm going to die.) then running just a little more to the bridge (F' that bridge and the horse it rode in on).

Finally, I did what I haven't done in weeks. I stopped. I can't believe I stopped. I was on such a roll. Darn, darn, darn!

According to our kids' babysitter, there is a saying in Trinidad that when someone is in a noticeable funk or bad mood, he has a figurative poop in his pants. Well, it's pretty safe to say I had a HUGE poop in my pants. And, as I walked along, wallowing in my doody drawers, I saw a little blue jogging stroller in the distance. It was headed toward me. My blood pressure started to rise.

Wait just a gosh darn second here! They can't lap me at the Ship Park, that's too early! They usually don't lap me until way past the Forest Glen stop sign! All of the sudden, ego and pride took over and I..was..runnnin'! (Sorry for all the Forrest Gump references, but I just can't resist.)

I'm not sure exactly how I must have looked to a casual observer. But, I felt like limbs were flailing about maniacally. Not a controlled, cool-as-a-cucumber jog, but a panicked windmill sprint. I ran my ass off. I was feeling the heat and the sound of Jack's nonsensical toddler blathering was getting closer and closer...There's the stop sign! I'm almost there! If I can just make it a little bit past, this run won't be a complete failure! Come...on! Run, you wimp! Ruuuuun!

As I neared the stop sign, I could hear the wheels of the Doodlebug right on my heels. Then, next to me. Then, that voice. That mocking voice: "Hi honey. You look great! Keep movin'!" Ugh. Did he have to be so damn...encouraging??? Jerk.

And so, they passed me. They passed me before I could reach the stop sign. I slowed down. Defeated.

"That is life, my friend," a wise Mexican cab driver once said to me during a vacation in Alcapulco. Yes, that is life. Two steps forward, one step back?

I may have lost this battle, but the war is still undecided...Stay tuned...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Mommy Porn

So, I'm sitting here waiting for something like 10 of my sources for three different news articles to call back/reply to an e-mail. Might as well blog, right?

I love women writers. Love, love, love. Whenever I read one that is really good (able to put smart, original ideas on paper in a way that makes you feel, not just hear, what they're saying OR, even better, able to spit-shine a trite idea and make it shiny new again), I actually get goosebumps.

The key to being a good writer, any good writer will tell you, is honesty. Don't be embarrassed or ashamed of what people might think. Censoring yourself not only makes what you've produced contrived, but it also usually makes it...boring.

Which leads me to one of my favorite blogs -- of course written by a woman and a mom -- Penelope Trunk's the Brazen Careerist. Business Week has called her writing "poetic" and I have to agree.

Plus, she played volleyball professionally...hells yeah!

Her blog has 30,000 readers who consume her daily diet of career advice. But, it's so much more than that. She blogs honestly and, yes, poetically about the demise of her marriage, her work-a-holic nature, a past eating disorder, and so much more. Her blog titles include gems like
- Twentysomething: Why it's smart to quit a job after just two weeks of work,
- 5 things to do when you're unemployed. Hint: It's not job hunting,
- 4 weight-loss tips from my month in the mental ward, and
- My First Day of Marriage Counseling.

I laugh, I cry, I learn.

So, while I wait for these phone calls and e-mails, I wanted to share one of my personal favorites -- and of course it's mom-related: The Hardest Part of My Job is That Everyone Lies About Parenting. In this post, Penelope dissects the media's fascination and perpetration of "mommy porn." Not the paaw-chika-paaw-paaw kind of porn (gotcha with the Harlequin Romance picture). Think Jennifer Lopez's spread in People Magazine -- feeding twins wearing a couture gown AND designer heels. Or, Angelina Jolie and her 50 kids looking like THAT.

It's funny, honest, and real. All the things I look for in other writers and strive for in myself.

Enjoy. Oh, and since this is a blog...comment too!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Quote of the Day

Babysitter looking at family picture when there were only three of us. Marley is nearly one in the photo.

Wow, you look different.

Me: Yeah...two children will age you.

Babysitter noticeably uncomfortable and searching...

Babysitter: I mean, you don't look older. You just look different.

So, there you go. I'm not older-looking, I'm "different."

The area under my eyes that has gotten strangely darker since Kid #2? Different. The laugh lines that seem to be deepening with each passing year? Just a little odd. The dimpled pooch that used to be a flat stomach? A tad not the same. The rib cage that (I kid you not) is wider than it used to be pre-children thereby giving me the hot, sexy shape of a prepubescent boy? I'd say -- divergent.

That's fine. Only a few more years, and I can officially start living vicariously through my daughter.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever

The 26-pound baby took four steps today!

You don't understand...It seems like a lifetime that I've been waiting for Mr. I'm-15-Months-Old-But-I'll-Be-Damned-If-I'm-Going-To-Walk to start strutting his stuff. I was starting to have visions of visiting college campuses, basking in the glow of a young man's promising future, looking at my son as a man for the first time...all with him resting comfortably on my hip.

My daughter took a while to walk too so it really wasn't a big deal when he hit the one-year mark and showed no signs of wanting to join us in the upright world. Then one month, two months and three months went by. He just kept gaining weight and showed no signs of even wanting to stand. I started to worry.

Now, when I say, "I started to worry," it's not what you think. I knew the boy was and is fine. I started to worry about ME. How am I supposed to make it through all this (by this, I mean those early years of motherhood when it's about physical labor as much as mental and emotional know-how), if my back is in shambles from lugging around a toddler that refuses to toddle?

There were days I literally wheeled him from the house to the car because I couldn't take the exhaustion of carrying his long, heavy, squirmy body. It's about 15 paces from my front door to his car seat. Then, there were days I just let him crawl on...whatever...sidewalk, dirt, grass, wood chips on the playground (no splinters, thank God). It was like playing Pong on Atari. Crawl up. Block. Crawl down and across. Block. Crawl straight. Block. Crawl backwards. Block.

So, today, the gods have smiled down upon me and things are looking up. I think I'll even have Marley walk on my back before bed...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Run, Forrest, Run!

We survived. Everyone is healthy, at least for the time being, and I get to focus on stuff other than puke and poop.

So, months ago I received an e-mail from my neighbor who is the type of mom (of three kids, no less) that makes me scratch my head because she has the time, energy, and will to go running regularly. Not only does she go for morning runs, but (mind blown here) she also participates in marathons, triathalons, and such.

Anyhow, she sent out this e-mail blast to some friends, myself included, urging us to join her in this local mini-triathlon thingy. (The fact that I've just referred to it as a "triathalon thingy" should clue you in to my familiarity and comfort-level with such tests of physical strength.) Maybe I wanted to try something new? Maybe I was thinking I could prove to myself, "Hey, I'm a mom, but I still got it!" Maybe the sleep deprivation had moved beyond everyday forgetfulness and now was starting to impair my good sense and judgment? Or, maybe, just maybe, for a split second there...I thought it might be fun?

At any rate, the portion of the event that was worrying me the most was the running. A little background...I don't run. Not only do I not run, but I can't fathom why anyone would do such a thing on purpose. The one time I went running with my husband -- who does run regularly and finished the Marine Corps Marathon in three hours and 48 minutes...woot, woot! -- my stomach cramped up the first half-mile, I started hyperventilating (people wonder where my daughter gets her dramatics and I'll be the first to admit, I may be partially responsible), and I actually started crying out, "I'm dying! I'm dying!"

Fast-forward several months, and I'm starting to get a little worried about my half-baked attempts to train for the event. Swimming for me is not as big of a deal; years upon years of summer and winter swim team have made, for me, doing the freestyle sort of like riding a bike -- it all comes back pretty quickly.

So, I had been swimming, but really avoiding the running part. I'd gone maybe twice and, both times, I wasn't sure if I'd live to see Marley graduate preschool. I started to wallow. Why, why, why, oh why did I do this? I'll never make it. What was I thinking? I'll have to be helicoptered to the nearest emergency room from the sheer exhaustion of it all. Then I thought to myself, "Wait, Dub-T-F. I can do this. I am no limp biscuit. I am no delicate, shrinking violet. I birthed two babies. I am woman!" (Usually when I do something out of my comfort zone, the first phase is the whining and despair and then the second phase is the one-on-one with my ego.)

I immediately contacted my trainer (my husband) and told him we needed a game plan. We'll start slow, he said. "Let's all go on a short run tomorrow." And we did.

That first run was horrendous. It was every bit as horrible as I'd remembered. Nevermind the humiliation of my husband lapping me while pushing our two kids in the Doodlebug. As I lay on the grass outside my house, I thought to myself, "Never. Never again."

But, then something magical happened. I went running again. And, I got a little farther this time without whining, cramping, or experiencing the go-toward-the-light-near-death thing. And, then I went again and, it got a little better. Now, it's been three times and, dare I say it...I am actually enjoying myself.

My husband said to me after our last run, "You looked really good out there."
He might as well have said, "Honey, we're leaving tomorrow for a Paris shopping spree!" That's how good it felt.

I'm not saying that I'm going to become runner/triathalon girl. Or that running will ever truly be a regular part of my life. Or that I'm going to start investing in a decent sports bra. Or, that I'm going to start pushing my kids around in our jogger. Then again...stranger things have happened.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Shameless Self-Promotion

Got a cute plug from Parentise' Best of Mommy Bloggers Carnival.

Check it out!

We are battling a horrific stomach bug over here (it has actually elicited horror movie-worthy screams) so will be back with a post soon...


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A World Record

I think my children just set a world record for number of dumps taken in one day (yes, I am going there). That means I spent a good portion of yesterday as a human ping pong between one small ass and another even smaller ass.

They weren't Big D dumps, thank God. And, they weren't particularly hair-raising in smell or texture. It was the number and sheer volume that had me crying out on more than one occasion, "HOLY Shit!" (pun absolutely intended).

When oh when did my life go to poop...literally? Any parent knows that it all starts in infancy. You are told to keep track of your baby's, um, stool -- color, texture, consistency, quantity. Hospitals actually send you home with a chart like it's a homework assignment that will be graded. I never knew my triumphs and downfalls as a new mom would rely so heavily on how often my baby's ass exploded.

On a side note, I'd like to request these charts be reconfigured to become multiple-choice. Leaving answers open-ended just invites more poop paranoia and particularly for first-time mommies, this obsession with defecating can quickly spiral out of control. (Is that green or brown or greenish-brown or brownish-green or beige?)

Anyhow, back to yesterday...So, I'm on Dump #65 for the day. I'm changing Smaller Ass in the playroom. He hates to have his diaper changed, which now that he is bigger and stronger, has become not just a chore, but a physical feat akin to running a marathon. So, there I am wrestling, um, I mean, changing him. I've tried giving him all manner of objects to play with while I perform the task at hand. Ball -- thrown across the room; play phone -- tossed over head; miniature horse figure -- in mouth for a second and then tossed to the side. F' this. "Part of my job as your mother is to make sure you don't marinate in your own feces," I say to him as I pin him down.

He wrenches so violently away from my grip that his open diaper, which I have not even had a chance to completely remove from his bottom, goes airborne. When I say turds went a-flying, I mean, turds caught wind and actually FLEW across the room. My mouth open, I watch as Smaller Ass starts to crawl away. My mind races. I crawl after him with a wipey and roll my eyes as he squeals with glee. I grab one of Smaller Ass's legs and reach out to wipe. He's still on all fours for the wipe. Got it. Now the turds. There's only three of them and despite their surprise flight and landing, they have remained intact. I quickly scoop them up and roll them in the diaper. I go to get the rug cleaner to disinfect the poop landing strips -- not visible to the naked eye, but gross nonetheless.

As I'm wiping the carpet, a high-pitched, extremely loud sound comes from the hall bathroom. Oh no. It's Small Ass. "I need a double wipe!"

For those of you not familiar with the Vollmerhausen Double Wipe, it's an 'ism that we invented for our older child who can be trusted to get on the toilet, do her business, and even clean herself when it's #1. But, doing #2 is a little trickier. So we back up her efforts with the anti-skid Double Wipe, which can be performed by a parent, grandparent or babysitter. If Travis is home, he is THE double wiper, but alas, when I am home alone with the kids such responsibilities fall squarely on my shoulders.

"Coming!" I yell. I somehow, some way get a diaper on Smaller Ass and make sure he is ensconced in the play room. I go to attend to the other one. She is standing next to her creation in the toilet when I enter the bathroom. Pants around her ankles, she glances over at the toilet as if it say, "Go ahead, take a peek." So, of course, I do.


"Looks like a snake, doesn't it," she says matter-of-factly. And, it does.

After the shock and alarm of seeing what my daughter's bowels are capable of, I go to work.

We wash our hands and get ready for lunch. I open up the freezer to get the frozen edamame out and see another box next to them. "I want one of the chocolate bananas after lunch, Mommy!" Marley cries.

I start laughing hysterically and don't stop for a good 10 minutes.

This post is dedicated with love to R & KB, who are the only other women I know who get into poop humor as much as I do.