Monday, July 30, 2012

Raining in My Heart

This weekend was a much-anticipated family camping trip. It was AK's first camping trip and only LP's second. The last time LP went camping, she couldn't walk.

We went with both of the Hoos' brothers, one of whom has also never been camping. Fortunately, my other brother- and sister-in law are experienced campers and pack enough food, camping supplies and various, but needed, miscellany for all of us.

The three hour ride to Emerald Lake State Park was full of energy, excitement and talk of smores.  To say the girls were excited would be an understatement. While the Hoos and I were both happy to have the day off of work, we were a bit concerned about the doom and gloom talk of thunderstorms and rain clouds. After weeks on end with little if any rain, this weekend was supposed to make up for it.

We need not have worried about Friday night's weather. Or the sleeping. The girls were in heaven. They loved sleeping in the tent, snuggled all together. They both slept until almost 8 on Saturday morning - getting more shuteye than the rest of us combined! And the girls LOVED being able to run in between camp sites, burrowing into their sleeping bags and playing house with their cousins.

Alas, Saturday afternoon, the clouds rolled in.

Let me just say, packing up in a downpour is not fun. Unless you are under the age of seven and you are dry in the car playing on your parents' iPhones.

What is nice is everyone sleeping until 9, in their own bed the day after returning from an abbreviated camping trip.

Also, it is clear is that we need to plan another camping trip soon.Unplugging, snuggling, and eating smores needs to be done more often.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Everyone is Somebody's Baby

I often find myself  in absolute awe of LP and AK. Sometimes for good things - like LP speed-reading a book or AK swimming the length of the pool; and sometimes for bad things - like LP throwing a mind-blowing tantrum or AK spinning like a top while talking incessantly. 

A lot of times I am just plain amazed that the Hoos and I created these wonderful little people. To me, and probably to most parents, it is like I won the lottery. Totally lucking out with two kids that I think are the bee's knees.

Sometimes it will strike me that my parents looked at me the same way once. And then it totally dumbfounds me to think that maybe, just maybe, they still look at me that way?! Whoa, crazy, right? But since I can't imagine that the feeling of accomplishment I get when I look at LP and AK will ever fade, I guess this must be the case.

For the first time in a long time, I spent some time alone with my mom this past weekend. We went out to dinner. Beyond it being really nice to have a meal without a child in my lap or in my ear or even at the table, and beyond the fact that we ate lots and lots of really good sushi at Kotobuki in Hauppauge, it was nice to be able to share some time alone with my mom. We talk several times a week, but being able to make eye contact takes it to a whole new level. And reminds me that my mom loves me for being me, not for being the mother of (some of) her grandchildren. And I love her for being her too.

And, so that my dad doesn't feel left out, next week I am meeting him at Yankee Stadium to watch some baseball.  Again, without my children, or the Hoos. Just me, dad, the Yankees, and a big order of garlic fries from Gordon Biersch.


Monday, July 23, 2012

The Fear of Random

If I take my family to the beach, we put on sunscreen to avoid sunburn, we make sure a lifeguard is on duty, the Hoos and I suit up and go in the water with the girls to make sure that we are never more than a few steps away. Basically, we do everything we can to control the situation and make it safe.

We teach them to be diligent, to avoid strangers, to buckle up, to walk away from uncomfortable situations, to listen to their teachers and policemen and firemen in case of an emergency. But there are some things we can't and don't teach them. There is a difference between being vigilant and living in fear. While they aren't quite ready to go to the movies or the mall by themselves, that time will come. (Too soon, I am sure.) And while I can prepare them for the experience, I can't control it.

Unfortunately, what the movie theater shooting in Colorado reminds us is that not every situation can be controlled. No matter how hard I try, there are some things that you can't predict; there are some (actually many, many) times when I can not guarantee the girls' safety. Because I can't be there all the time. And even if I am there all the time, I can't always keep them safe.

Is this scary? Absolutely.

Is this reality? Absolutely.

Is there anything I can do about it? Not really.

What I can do is tell them that I love them every day before I leave the house. And I do.

What if anything are you changing about your behavior or your parenting in response to tragedies like the Aurora shooting? 

Friday, July 20, 2012

I See Your Three Things and Once and Raise You One.

There has been a lot of really interesting discussion lately about the life of a working mom. Well, I am a working mom, and it totally pisses me off that somehow being a mom casts a negative shadow on my ability to accomplish my goals at my job.

It sucks that Marissa had to announce to Yahoo shareholders (and the world) that she was pregnant on the day she achieved what must be the pinnacle of her career. In my angry heart I shout, "IT SHOULDN'T MATTER!" and in my pragmatic head I squeak, "But it does." Not to me, but to all of those people out there that think that new moms are too tired, too distracted, too unfocused to do two things at once.

BULLSHIT is what I say to that.

I have actively participate in conference calls, while nursing AND making dinner.

I can carry on a conversation with my husband, driving to a vacation that I planned, while placating my children with bags of snacks, games, and projects that I packed, and responding to a work related email.

I am not alone in my ability to multi-task. My working mom friends and I can have a fabulous game of one-up-manship to see who has done the most things at once.

It seems that being a working mom has made me hyper-efficient.

It may take me longer to accomplish a single task, but only because I stop to finish four other tasks on my way. (e.g., if i am going upstairs to move the wash to the dryer, I stop and pick up the errant stuffed animal that belongs in AK's bedroom; when I get to AK's bedroom, I stop and pick up some dirty laundry that she left on the floor; when I open the dryer to put the wash in it, I notice the dryer is full; I empty the dryer;FINALLY I put the laundry in the dryer.)

The problem, it seems, is that many (note, I do not say all) men DO NOT have the ability to multi-task. They can only handle one challenge at a time. Okay, maybe they can read and eat breakfast. But most likely only because their wife is feeding the kids, packing their lunches and eating a yogurt in the other room.


Being able to juggle multiple tasks is an invaluable skill. A skill requested in just about every job posting I have ever seen. Why is juggling a full home life and a full time job as effectively as possible (admittedly, nobody's perfect)  not acknowledged as the precious asset that it is?

Monday, July 16, 2012

I Need a Vacation from My Vacation

After a month-long hiatus from this blog, here I am! I am freshly returned to CT from our 2012 family vacation to the Cape and ready to rock. Or take a nap. Or get a pedicure. Or get my hair colored. Or just sit on the couch and read a book without one of my children (most likely AK) laying on top of me.

Family vacations are awesome for a lot of reasons; my top 3 are:
  1. All that time alone with your family.
  2. You aren't working.
  3. You may not have to cook at all (like me).
Family vacations are tiring for a lot of reasons; my top 3 are:
  1. All that time alone with your family (I love them, I really do, but 24x7 is a lot of time for a family of four to be together in one room or one car).
  2. You are constantly working at trying to figure out what to do next. Fortunately, pools, beaches and meal planning fill a lot of gaps.
  3. You eat lots of crap and fried stuff.
We had a great time and did a bunch of things we enjoyed from previous trips - like visiting the Heritage Museums and Gardens and kissing the whale at the Optimist Cafe, and walking on the boardwalk at Gray's Beach. We did a bunch of new stuff too - like collecting moon snails and crabs in the tidal flats of Chapin Memorial Beach and mini-golfing.

Now I am back and working on getting motivated. At work, at home, in general...and I decided to procrastinate start with this blog.

Why haven't I been blogging lately? Blame Facebook. It makes it so easy to upload pictures, share a silly story...This blog takes WORK, man. I need a topic, I need time, I need spell check! I have also recently taken up with Twitter. I mostly use it for work, but since I am a working mom, work and life sometimes overlap. And my kids sometimes say funny - or smart - things that actually relate to my work.

So I ask you blog-o-sphere, or regular or random readers - are blogs passe? Should I even bother? Or have you already seen all of my photos on Facebook?