My Simply Complicated Life

Welcome to the blog of an ordinary mother who sometimes just might have something extraordinary to say

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Walk to Remember

Six years ago, on a warm Sunday morning in November, I walked down the aisle looking into the eyes of the man I had spent the past four years growing to love more and more with each day.  I was walking toward him, knowing that he was already my best friend as well as knowing all (or most) of his quirks, his strengths and weaknesses, his goals and dreams but still feeling anxiously unaware and excited about what stood in front of us after we said I do.

The day could not have been more beautiful – we were surrounded by God’s beautiful creation as our scenery, our closest family and friends and a reassuring sense of peace knowing we were solidifying our already deep love into something even greater and more meaningful. 

There certainly were blips in the day like when the DJ introduced me by my maiden name as we entered the reception hall or when the caterers broke the glass on the frame that we had our guests sign (as our guest book) but those were so insignificant when reflecting on the joy that was felt by all on that special day.

Fast forward six year later and I can still see the happy tears flowing down my face and that of my groom’s.  I can hear our song playing as we embrace each other as husband and wife, quietly whispering private jokes and giggling in sync.  Although I cannot recall every detail of my wedding day, my heart will never let me forget the happiness and excitement I felt about beginning our lives together as man and wife. 

Six years is by no means long in the span of time.  It still feels fresh and new sometimes even though I have a hard time reminiscing on life before Art.  We have been through a lot in these six short years but those challenges have only helped us to appreciate what we have more and cherish the partner we have gone through those trying times with. 

I married my best friend that sunny autumn day.  If I were walking towards him today, I would be staring at so much more – the person that knows more about me than anyone (and still loves me), the man who makes me feel more beautiful than I’ve ever felt, the husband who gave me the two greatest gifts a woman can hope for (sweet R and P), the father who has managed to land himself two daddy’s girls and a spiritual head for our family who motivates me to be a better wife, mother and person so that I can set a fine example for our daughters.  We may not have the greatest love story ever told but our story is full of greatness and love.  I could read it over and over again, except that our story isn’t complete – it’s only just begun…

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Plague of 2011

Although I do not celebrate holidays including Thanksgiving (as you probably know and if you don't, feel free to ask me about it), today I would like to extend a giant thank you to the public school system, parents who send their sick children to school, and also bacteria.  Of course I am being sarcastic because really, why on earth would I thank public schools or parents who are stupid enough, lazy enough, selfish enough or a balanced-blend-of-all-of-the-above enough to let their infected offspring attend school where (shockingly) they’ll be around other children with undeveloped immune systems.  Not that my kid is perfect and knows or follows the proper sick etiquette but these kids tend to wipe their nose on classroom items, cough in each other’s faces and then hold hands during circle time – one big happy germ-infested class.  And bacteria is just an accessory to the crime, it’s not his fault he’s being spread around haphazardly.
Because of the three culprits above, my family has been plagued with this superbug that refuses to die.  Like the villain in any horror movie, just as soon as you think the good guys have won, in an instant you are screaming at the hero/heroine to “TURN AROUND!!!” because the bad guy is baaaaack for one last hurrah (or in our case, more like the Rocky or Die Hard sequels – you lose count after the third or fourth one).  
What started as sniffles and coughs has developed into an all-around pandemonium of symptoms.  We’ve had two rounds of pink eye, a cough that manifests into dry-heaves and subsequently vomiting, diarrhea and diaper rash, bloody phlegm, fevers and chills, but most recently, the hives due to an allergic reaction to one of the antibiotics.  Last I checked, antibiotics were supposed to help, not make the situation worse!
The hardest part of this all was that this beast of a bug targeted my two innocent beauties, R and P.  It took a shot at the hubby and I which was also a tough blow since it’s impossible to take care of yourself when you have helpless munchkins who need you (and yes, I’m lumping the hubby into the munchkin category because we all know that men revert to infancy when they’re ill but I digress…).  There is not much worse than having a sick child, nonetheless two; and then to try to reassure them that they will get better, oy!  Kids have no concept of time so R likely feels like she has been sick for three years (although it’s only been three weeks but I can appreciate her misconception because it’s starting to feel like years for me too).  Each time R coughs, she nearly spews out anything in her stomach (which isn’t much since her already miniscule appetite is dwindling) and as she does, my heart aches for her.  Then there is P who has woken up twice over the past few weeks looking like she might go blind because her beautiful blues were crusted shut due to the colorful bug known as conjunctivitis.  She has remained pleasant despite the warm washcloth to wipe away the film of green yuck taping her eyes shut each morning and despite the three times a day I have to hold her down to put drops in her eyes.  Sadly, she’s at the point where she laughs about me practicing a half nelson on her to plant the drops in her peepers.
I feel like I haven’t seen my family or friends since jeggings were in style…oh wait, they’re still in style so scratch that.  Well, it still feels like it’s been since the 80’s.  I want desperately to be human again.  I’m starting to feel like our family belongs on one of those SyFy shows.  I miss breathing through my nose.  I miss my kids having normal poop.  I miss all the money I shelled out on doctor visit co-pays in just the last two weeks (almost enough to pay for medical school…in a foreign country albeit).  I would love to be taking the girls to the new Muppets movie today but alas, we’re stuck indoors watching the same old garbage that has been the background noise (that we can barely hear because we’ve all had or have ear infections) while we’ve all been basking in a cesspool of each other’s germs. 
This probably sounds like quite a negative rant and it mostly is; however, to turn it around, I know there are families going through much harder times with children who are sick everyday of their life with viruses or diseases much worse than what we’ve gone through even at our weakest.  Those parents and their brave children make my problems seem so insignificant (which they are retrospectively).  To keep the positivity going (because quite frankly, I need all the positivity I can get right now), I would really, truly (not sarcastically) like to thank the many family and friends who have offered to help us in whatever way we may have needed them.  Although we didn’t take you up on most of your generous proposals, just knowing you were willing to extend yourselves means the world to us.  And also, I am so appreciative of the ladies who work at my daughters’ pediatric office who were working today to see little sickos like mine who just couldn’t wait another day to be seen.  On that note, I will be going to lay down for a snuggle-infested nap with Little P in hopes of kicking our viruses’ butts to the point of no (and I mean, no) return!
(Below is a picture of my two dear darlings in all their gooey-glory)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Family Matters

As I'm watching a movie that involves a paternity mishap, my mind has started wandering onto the subject of family - specifically inherited traits. The child in the movie has distinct characteristics (moans when he eats, thinks he has every disease in the book - hey wait, that sounds familiar…) - all of which link him to his real father. And so it got me thinking about some of the faces I make subconsciously, the protruding bunion on my right foot, my incessant need to ruin surprises or even the foods I refuse to eat just based on the way they look - all pieces of the inheritance that my parents and the generations before them have left for me.

Inadvertently, my parents and grandparents have bestowed upon me some of their worst traits; albeit, they are also responsible for my best traits but it's typically harder to see the good in people and even more so, the good in ourselves. For better or for worse, the mesh of good and bad equals me. That doesn't, however, mean that I cannot change and steer towards another course. After all, we are all granted free will (at least once we turn 18 or leave our parents’ home) which means we have a choice. For example, a child who is raised by an alcoholic father might be more likely to inherit a problem with self-control or addiction but that isn't a one-way ticket to Margaritaville; instead, that child might silently vow never to be anything like his father and push harder than normal to assure that he/she doesn't get to that point. Similarly, I can make the call as to whether I will have an uncontrollable sweet tooth like my father and grandmother or a constant curiosity like my mother. But as evident by my muffin top, I have made a stand on one of the above although I desperately wish I could rid myself of that innate love of all things sugar. As for my nosiness, I'm happy to say that it is a work in progress.

The point is - no matter how hard we try, we can't escape who we are...or who our family is for that matter (even if DNA is the only thing we have in common). We may not even like our family but it's important to remember that God gave them to us - they not only shaped us into the person we have become but they are the bridge that links us to our future (as quoted by Alex Haley).

Although I am no longer Jessica B. (insert maiden name), I have still carried much of the "B" into my own family. My daughters very much resemble my husband but are programmed with so many similarities to me and my side of the family. It's not exactly what I had in mind as an inheritance for my children but in reality, it's a priceless gift. After all, my father's mother is no longer around but seeing some of her quirks in me is a sweet reminder of her that lives on and will continue to live on in my children and so on. It's actually quite a beautiful thing!

There are some people I know that find their family a nuisance or perhaps even worthless. They feel they could do better without them and would rather forget them altogether. No matter how hard we try to avoid them though, perhaps even going across the world - the truth is that they are always with us they are inside of us, deep within our bones.

To conclude, I think this quote sums it up nicely - "A man may travel the world over in search for what he needs and yet returns home to find it." Family is home - they are the only people in the world who know everything about you and still love you for who you are. Family matters - especially this one...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The customer is NOT always right...

....unless I'm the customer, naturally!  Well, I am back after far too long of an absence from blog-la land.  Oh how I have missed pouring out my heart on here.  Hopefully I will not allow as much time to pass the next time around.  I actually owe an entire blog to my beautiful daughter R who turned four last month.  We were away and therefore, she has been neglected in the blogisphere. 

So unto our topic at hand.  The age old saying that the customer is always right is a crock, to put it delicately.  Obviously, whomever coined it never had my client (for privacy and safety purposes, we'll call her Priscilla - safety purposes that I don't want to be reprimanded or terminated for using her real name in a negative connotation) as a customer.  And on a side note, I named her Priscilla because I went to school with a real "peach" (again, to put it nicely) with that moniker.  The originator of that phrase also could never have been a Dell employee which as you'll soon find out (and likely already assumed) is part of one of the examples I will be using to support my stance on the lousy "customer always right" mumbo jumbo.

I have had two (technically three) experiences recently and have been on both ends of the spectrum - client and service provider.  In all three instances, the inaccuracy of the statement has been reinforced. 

Humor me if you will...

Scenario 1: Jessica versus Priscilla - I play the role of the service provider while Priscilla is the never wrong client
My job is to provide Priscilla and her team with qualified applicants for her job openings which I have done.  However, Priscilla has unrealistic expectations and desires that not only go against company policy but also that flat out make no sense.  I would love to tell Priscilla to stick to her job and I'll stick to mine.  Afterall, when it comes to recruiting, I am the subject matter expert.  I would not presume to know how to do her job and even if I did, I certainly wouldn't have the chutzpah to tell her how I think she should do hers.  I would also be much obliged to fulfill her requests if she had the decency to handle herself in an endearing manner.  Heck, I would be happy to help her if she would use any form of manners.  Instead, she is stubborn, demanding and ungrateful.  I am usually the type to "kill with kindness" when someone doesn't warm up to me but in this case, I prefer to have as little interaction with her as possible and would rather invest my kindness elsewhere.

Scenario 2: Jessica versus Dell - I play the role of the client while Dell is the service provider
At the beginning of May, our family computer crashed and burned.  I subsequently was on the market for a new PC (or Mac, although very, very interested in one - I wasn't quite convinced that I was ready to make the switch to a whole new operating system or invest that much money (though in retrospect, the extra few hundred probably would have been a wiser investment but that's neither here nor there)).  After going back and forth for nearly three weeks on whether I was going to purchase or not (and also which brand to select), I settled on Dell because there was a sale which included a basic version of Microsoft Office, a two-year warranty and some other crucial features I insisted upon.  I also have a credit account with Dell which was handy since I had not been saving up for a new computer until our other malfunctioned.  Alas, when interested in purchasing the Dell, I was reached by every method of contact besides a knock at the door.  Fast forward to a week later, my brand new (house-payment equivalent) computer had arrived.  In less than 24 hours of possession, this expensive new member of the family was not charging while plugged in to the A/C adapter.  Lovely!  Naively, I figured I would easily chat with their support folks online and quickly have the issue resolved.  Not so fast, Jessica!  My computer was not recognized so I was instructed to call for support.  Low and behold, when calling, I was told that my computer's warranty had expired (mind you, they were using my phone number to pull up my account and completely neglecting the fact that I had previously purchased products from them that in fact were no longer under warranty).  After an hour and a half of being re-routed to customer service specialists who not only had no idea how to resolve my issue, let alone speak audible English, I finally spoke to someone who was able to "fix" the bug that was causing the charging issue.  Ah, happy Jessica!  The feeling of contentment and excitement lasted a mere twelve hours when later in the evening, the Microsoft Office programs were not opening.  After another merry-go-round with Dell's incompetent help desk, I was told that I would have to reset the computer to factory settings to reinstall the Microsoft Office program as there was no other way to download it or be provided with a hard copy of the software.  Awesome!  At this point, I had already loaded this oversized coaster with photos, music and other goodies.  There was no way I was going to wipe it clean and start from scratch.  I made sure to express my disdain to the poor soul on the other line advising that I was almost to the point of sending the hunk of junk back.  I found it rather funny that when they wanted my money, I couldn't hide from them but when they had my money, they were no where to be found!  I'm still pretty livid about the poor treatment I received and the unresolved Microsoft issue but thankfully a dear friend came through and helped me out in that regard.  (Shout out to V)

Scenario 3:  Jessica versus Anonymous Resume Client - I play the role of the service provider to Anonymous
As some of you know, I run a side business in which I create or revise resumes.  Earlier this year, I was asked to revise a resume for an acquaintance.  Because this was a close enough acquaintance, I offered to provide the service at a discounted rate.  I completed the revisions and sent the finished product off which in turn received stellar reviews.  Everything was great...or so I thought.  A week or so later, the client contacted me requesting that I review their resume which they made some "slight" changes to.  I agreed, however, I was stunned when upon opening the document I realized that "slight" changes translated to new font, new formatting, new verbiage, etc.  It was basically a completely new resume other than having the name and address formatting in common.  I was honestly more than "slightly" offended not only that the client was dissatisfied with my revisions but that they neglected to approach me to adjust to their liking and instead handled it on their own.  Even more so, I was annoyed that I had invested time and energy into developing a product that I knew was good, in fact, better than this new hot mess they had sent for my review.  My blunt opinion would have been that they should have stuck with the version I had provided especially since I look at resumes daily and (not to toot my own horn) know what is considered a strong resume.  This person completely disregarded my expertise as well as my hard work and expected me to critique (and possibly revise) this new and not-so-improved version.  I was flabbergasted.  To date, I still have not received payment but figure this client may not have the funds if they are using that resume to find employment. 

The lesson of the day is that if the saying were true, Priscilla would be Queen of the Universe, Dell would have sent me Microsoft Office 2010 on disc and a $100 credit for my patience and Anonymous could have free lifetime revisions to their resume.  Fortunately or unfortunately (for me), that's not "the way the cookie crumbles."  Life isn't a box of chocolates and the early bird doesn't always catch the worm (ok, ok, enough stupid cliches)...the point is, "you can't always get what you waaaaant...but if you try sometimes, you get what you neeeeeed!"

On a lighter note, I promise to sing a happier tune in my next blog which will be dedicated to R, one of my best and favorite lil customers!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Men are from Mars...

Let me preface this blog by saying that I truly do love my husband.  Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I can move forward with the true theme of this blog - the differences between men and women are out of this world. 

Case in point - we had both been sick recently.  Symptoms were almost identical yet the manner in which we handled our ailments varied greatly.  It's as if I had allergies and he had pneumonia.  The comparison both amused and frustrated me.  I'm certain I'm not alone here when I say that my husband suddenly manifests his inner infant when he's not feeling well.  It's rather sweet how dependent they are but when you're already caring for two real kiddos, it can be a little daunting to say the least.  On the contrast, I could have bodily fluids coming out from every which way (apologies for the visual) but still be expected to carry out my motherly duties.  That's right, believe it or not, life goes on when mom is sick because afterall, the little bugars can't wipe themselves (neither the literal or figurative ones).

Another way in which men and women are at opposite ends of the spectrum are in emotions - specifically concern and worry.  Sure, there are men out there who have anxiety.  My husband expresses nerves or anxiousness about many things - his health, speaking in public, etc.  Women, on the other hand, worry about e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g!  We are experts on the subject.  I, for one, analyze then analyze some more and top it off with some more analyzing until there is nothing left to analyze.  Whether it's over-analyzing something I said (or didn't say) to a friend or over-thinking a look someone gave me, my stomach is in knots for hours (if not more) wondering what if I had (or what if I hadn't), why (or why not).  When I voice my concern to my husband, he so breezily says "Who cares?  Why do you care what other people think so much?" or "It is what it is."  But what if "it" isn't?!  Call it my inner control freak but I want everyone to like me and everything to go smoothly and that's just not the way life works.  For men, that's perfectly fine.  Not so much for women!  As one of my friend's put it (today, in fact) - women especially moms - want to solve the world's problems starting with our own and those of our family's.  That constant need to make all well is exhausting and stressful but it "is what it is!"

I could probably drag this blog on endlessly on the countless ways in which we differ from our counterparts but that would be going overboard and I already do enough of that.  I will say, however, that as much as their intracacies might eat us up inside, those same manly traits are a lot of the reason why we're attracted to them in the first place.  The differences can be so refreshing!  I thoroughly love and value my husband's carefree nonchalance because he will either reassure me that nothing is wrong in the first place or that if something is wrong, that he will be there to support me through it.  And although I might roll my eyes (mostly in jealousy) and send angry text messages about him when he is under the weather and sleeps all day, I secretly want him to do whatever he needs to to feel better - because I too worry about his health. 

No matter which "planet" we came from, I am grateful that both genders decided to "land" on Earth because my world is a much happier place with my man by my side!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Where Would I Be Without My Little Sweet "P?"

It’s hard to believe that a year ago today, I woke up, spent some time with my then only child, R, before driving to the hospital to have a baby – a baby that I could never have imagined loving as much as I do.  R, my first born, was my everything!  I had a hard time feeling that immediate “over the moon” kind of love with R, most likely because I was a nervous first-time parent who was suffering from a wee bit of post partum depression; however, as soon as it hit me, I was love struck.  My world revolved around her and I couldn’t have been happier on “Planet R!” 
My husband and I knew we wanted another child in time.  We both grew up with two siblings so we knew how nice it was to have brothers or sisters to play with, look up to (or to be looked up at) and to become friends with as we transitioned to adults.  We weren’t sure exactly when to add that other child – we didn’t want to have two “babies” as we thought it would be too much of a struggle for us (huge kudos to my friends who have had children essentially back to back) and we also didn’t want our kids to be spaced too far apart as we wanted them to share common interests and keep each other company/entertained.  We were planning on waiting until R was about 2 ½ to start trying but a few weeks after her second birthday, I was struck with baby fever so we began trying in May (although baby fever did not coincide with my fertility schedule so really, June was the first month that counted). 
It was middle July and I can remember having a feeling but to my dismay, three pregnancy tests felt otherwise.  I was oddly disappointed even though we had only started the month before.  I just knew I was pregnant but Clear Blue had a different opinion.  I went to my primary care doctor’s office for a cold and mentioned that I had been “trying” so they took a urine sample and again – NOT PREGNANT!  There was blood in my urine, according to the nurse, who dismissed it as being the early signs of my period.  My cycle came and went, so after three days of nothing, I had one more pee stick left and thought – why not give it one more whirl!  My “ah ha!” moment came as my intuition was confirmed with two pink lines which equaled PREGNANT!  I was overjoyed and couldn’t wait to share the news with my husband.  I drove out to his office and gave him a “present” (which was the pregnancy test in a fancy pen giftbox).  We shared the news of a new baby Erickson with everyone else via a picture of R wearing a shirt that said “I’m Going to be a Big Sister!”  It was such a happy time!
Fast forward two or three weeks and I was starting to question what would have been wrong with leaving R as an only child.  Why?  This creature growing inside of me was sucking the life, appetite and gag reflex out of me!  Never have I felt so sick in my life (with no relief – tried ginger cookies/candy/ale, motion sickness bands, Preggo Pops, teas, peppermint, lemon, Zofran, you name it) and with what seemed like no light at the end of the tunnel.  Ok, there was light (obviously my baby was the light) but nine months seemed soooo far away!  Of course, I knew it would ALL be worthwhile but a small part of me had a little regret for “messing up a good thing” (our trio that had been working so well).  My concerns even played out into a poem that I wrote titled “Who’s Idea Was It?” in which I wondered out loud who’s bright idea it was to have a second child.  I thought it was selfish to not only take the attention away from R when her sister would arrive but also selfish because I was feeling so under the weather constantly which meant that I couldn’t be the best parent possible to R during those nine (looooong) months.  Shame on me for writing that nonsense poetry!  Now, in hindsight, I see that it would have been selfish of me not to provide R with a sister and her best friend for life, baby P! 
Thinking about having ANY regret now makes me angry with myself.  If I could go back, I would surely slap myself in the face for ever feeling anything short of elation even if I seemed like I had a 280-day stomach “bug.”  That “bug’ is now a one year old girl that melts my heart!  Because of how sick I felt day-in, day-out while pregnant with P, I was sure she was going to be a tough baby.  I was expecting a colicky, night owl but was pleasantly surprised with a snuggly, sleep-long-stretches-through-the-night, sweet baby girl.  Granted, she had me nervous a few nights while in the hospital when I let them take her to the nursery (yes, gasp, I let her out of my sight…with your second baby, you’re a little more liberal about these things…or at least I was) and they called me 20 minutes later to ask me to come get her, as she was keeping all of the other peaceful babies awake with her screams.  Thankfully, by the time we made it home, she decided to take it easy on her folks!  She actually slept for longer spurts then more so than she does now. 
So here we are – my infant is evolving into the toddler phase.  She still holds several traces of infancy that I intend to hold on to for as long as possible (fighting tooth and nail if I have to) – little cooing noises for example.  Just thinking about those sounds and her soft-as-satin skin takes my breath away and gives me goosebumps.  My heart hurts at the fact that she is already a year old when it feels like I have only started to enjoy her as a baby.  If her first year went this fast, it’s all downhill from here. 
Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to see what kind of person she will turn into.  I can definitely see indicators of who I think she will be.  She is playful and feisty, silly and smart, a beauty and a brute.  Sometimes (most times) she is a mommy’s girl, sometimes she is a daddy’s girl but she is always her big sister’s girl.  The way she lights up at the sight of R, lights me up like the evening sky.  I am intoxicated by my love for the two greatest children I could have ever been blessed with.  To take a line from wacky Charlie Sheen, I am on a drug and it’s called love for my wonderful family – hubby, R and P!
I guess I do have some regrets.  I regret thinking there wasn’t room in my heart to love another child.  There’s plenty of room in fact because your heart just doubles in size (and this time, it was instant love because I wasn’t a nervous wreck).  Although I think they are just the right age difference apart, I almost regret not giving R a sister sooner because P brings out the best in her.  They both certainly bring out the best in me and make me want to be a better person.  I can’t even remember what life was like before two – it just feels so natural and meant to be!  As she turns one today, I regret taking this precious time for granted and not soaking it in more.  It’s like waking up from the most wonderful dream and wishing you could go back to sleep so you can relive it again but sadly, you can hardly even remember it at all.
What started as a dynamic duo, turned into a terrific trio but pales in comparison to our fabulous foursome!  We are complete and completely overjoyed, overcome with love and perhaps even overly blessed (not that I’m complaining).  P, as one awesome friend put it, is truly the cherry on top of our sweet little family!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Baby Love

Today was a special day for two friends of mine, as they each welcomed their first baby into the world.  The excitement, relief and instant bond formed as your little one exits from within your womb into your arms is like no other combination of emotions.  It is truly indescribable! 

For nine months, you become acquainted with the life form taking residence inside of you but nothing compares to finally meeting your child. Hearing their goat-like cry for the first time (which by the way is the most beautiful sound EVER!), counting 10 fingers and 10 toes to confirm appendage perfection or looking into their eyes as they wonder where they are and why they have been plucked from their comfort zone - all moments of pure bliss!

Any and all of the pain endured during your pregnancy (and labor - which I wouldn't really know about with two Cesarean sections under my belt) instantly washes away like the tide and is replaced by immediate unconditional love.  It is a beautiful thing!

I have been 110% confident that our family circle is now complete.  As soon as I rule out one more, I am engorged by that rush of feelings that takes you over as you meet your flesh and blood for the first time.  I imagine that moment when your heart gets bigger to make room for all of the joy and love for your new child and I become uncertain. 110% sure slowly shrinks little by little.  I probably stand at 103% as of now so as long as I avoid "A Baby Story" on TLC, home birth and newborn photo sessions (cough, Jessica and Kristin, cough) and pretty much any pregnant women in a 50 mile radius.  Thankfully, each temper tantrum my girls throw or fever of 101 that they run brings that number right back up and spares me of any wild idea to procreate again!

Naturally, my husband wants to try for a boy.  I'm not exactly sure why since in our situation, he is the King of the Castle.  He will have three women to dote over him, care for him, feel safe because of him; although I'm sure he sees it as three shopaholics with mood swings and menstruation!  Don't get me wrong, I love little boys.  The thought of a baby boy looking up at me like there is no greater woman to have ever walked this earth is endearing and even tempting but I am blessed enough to already have two girls who look at me that way.  They will grow up to be my little sidekicks.  I have an amazing opportunity to be a role model to them.  Alright so maybe I see why my hubby would want a son - someone he could watch Sunday football with or play a round of catch with, all while shaping and molding him into a strong young man and good person.  I certainly see the appeal, however, I'm just not convinced we would even have a boy (or that we could handle being outnumbered with a third rugrat). 

I think the best option for me will be to practice patience for the next thirty years at which time I will become an elated grandmother.  It will be the perfect arrangement - I'll be consumed with love for another baby that I will smother with so many hugs and kisses then give that beautiful pride and joy of mine right back to his or her mommy and daddy before the sun goes down!  I'm sure those of you reading this are thinking I am crazy for even bringing up the grandparent factor when my girls are only three and 11 months but if I don't think ahead like this, that 110% (or 103%) certainty will continue to dwindle to the point of peeing on a stick.  So please, humor me!

In conclusion, I would like to sincerely congratulate Stephanie and Teri on the births of their firstborns this morning.  Ladies, welcome to motherhood!!  It is everything it's cracked up to be...and so much more!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Like Sands Thru the Hourglass...

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock.  The ticking of my life's clock is exceptionally loud today.  Not for any particular reason (don't worry, I'm not on my death bed or anything); simply because I am dwelling on it.  I may not remember much about my early youth but I do recall the rush to grow up.  Becoming an adult had such a sense of urgency when I was an adolescent.  For me, it meant freedom and everything I wished for in life becoming a reality.  Little did I know that you're never really free nor do you get everything you dream of. 

Ultimately, we have freedom in several aspects such as "freedom of speech" or "freedom of religion" (thankfully) as well as other choices we are each entitled to.  Sure, we have the choice as to whether to work (unlike school, where it is a requirement to attend either public, private or home school); however, as adults, if we were to choose not to work, we would subsequently be destitute (unless we had gullible parents who allowed us to mooch on them forever).  For most of us, we cannot afford the luxury of being unemployed (and if you're married, I am referring to both parties being unemployed as I know many families who are able to live comfortably  or at least survive off of one income).  Therefore, we technically do not have freedom to come and go as we please unless of course we sacrifice a stable home and many of our daily staple of necessities.  As a student, I felt trapped but in reality, your education at least culminates with graduation after 13 or so years; whereas, employment only ends with retirement which sadly can take 50 years to achieve. 

As for reaching all of your dreams, that too is something that can be accomplished either by setting realistic expectations or working so hard that once again you are making sacrifices.  I had two dreams that I was extremely passionate about: 1) becoming a mother and 2) living in Manhattan as a magazine editor.  Although there are likely many magazine editors that juggle their career with a family of their own, it was not ideal for me to mesh my two dreams together.  I sacrificed my dream job for the dream that held much higher value and weight which was to start a family.  I have absolutely NO regrets!  However, I am guilty of skimming through the pages of Cosmo and daydreaming about what my life could have been like had I pursued that pathway but then I look at two of the most beautiful faces I've ever seen (R and P) and in an instant, I know I am right where I should be! 

As I watch time slip through my fingers with my oldest daughter approaching four and my youngest on the verge of one, I cannot help but fall into a fog.  Where has the time gone?  I feel like I literally laid down for a nap after school one day, only to wake up as a wife and mother of two creeping towards thirty.  My friend Tanya telling me "you're only 12" when I desperately wished to be 18 still rings in my ears as if I'm a pre-teen with a push-up bra all over again.  I guess I got what I wanted - I blinked my way into adulthood.  Yay for me! 

Now, I can only hope and pray that my girls relish in the days of their youth.  They will never have that innocence or carefree spirit again.  In a few short years, they will be crying on my shoulder about feeling so limited or sheltered and wanting to explore the world.  If only my words and experience were enough to assure them that they will have plenty of time to be all grown up and instead to enjoy every passing moment of their precious younger years.  Before they know it, they too will be mommies cringing at the thought of how time flies.  I wish there were a bottle that could contain my favorite things about each of them.  I wish R would say "tookies" instead of "cookies" forever and make up her own words to all of her favorite songs instead of singing the actual lyrics.  I want P to always laugh like Beavis (or Butthead - I'm not quite sure which one it is) and to put the dishrag over her face for an impromptu game of "Where's the baby?" until she's 85.  Sadly, there is no way to hold onto those amazing quirks that I cherish so deeply.  In fact, in a few years, I may have to look back at this blog to be reminded of them.

Thankfully, barring any unforeseen occurence, my lifespan currently consists of more time.  Time I plan to use towards soaking up my beautiful family, as they are, each second of the day.  If my daughter wants me to carry her in my arms even though she is a bonafide "big girl," I will do so because before I know it - she will be a teenager pushing me away or locking me out of her room.  And if my 11 month old refuses to show interest in walking, I am not going to rush her because in the snap of a finger - she will be a blushing bride walking down the aisle. 

I am hanging on to one more dream - that my babies never take their childhood for granted.  There is no counter-clockwise in life...

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Glass is 3/8 Full...

As obvious as it is for us to realize that we have so much to be thankful for and optimistic about, it is also just as easy (if not easier) for us to focus on what we don’t have, what we don’t like and what could go wrong.   I, for one, have the philosophy that if you expect the worst, you can only be pleasantly surprised when things turn out better than anticipated. 
For example, many moons ago, my now husband and I were dating long-distance for a year.  One winter Friday evening, he called to say he was leaving work to head home.  His commute was approximately an hour so when a few hours went by without hearing from him, I naturally panicked.  I called him back to back for at least an hour or two until he finally called me to explain that he had gotten a flat and had been out in the snow trying to change the tire.  Being the Girlfriend of Gloom (and now Wife of Worry) that I am, I assumed he was dead in a ditch (or perhaps cheating on me which would have ultimately led to him being dead in a ditch anyways).   Hearing his voice after what seemed like an eternity was so reassuring.  Even more traumatic was the night of my husband’s heart attack three and a half years ago.  Long story short, after a botched catheterization, he was rushed into open heart surgery for fear of an aortic rupture.  As you can imagine, that was the longest four or five hours of my life.  Time felt literally frozen.  It was the middle of the night and I was exhausted but it was no time to sleep.  Those doctors had my husband’s life in their hands.  Being a “Negative Nelly,” each time a doctor walked past the waiting room, I expected them to slowly come in (like you see in the movies) with their head hanging low as they pull off their surgical mask or cap to deliver the bad news.  “There was nothing we could do” or “it was too late – we tried everything we could.”  Thankfully, the doctor entered the room to tell me how the surgery went (successfully, if you didn’t already know) and to let me know when I could go see my husband in the cardiac ICU.  I could have kissed the surgeon for washing away my worst fears in that instant.  In both cases, knowing my hubby was safe, in one piece, ALIVE was like being zapped with a defibrillator myself – my lifeless heart was beating once again!
 It’s not healthy to live that way – always presuming anything out of the ordinary is the result of something horrible or tragic happening.  I am guilty of this to the hundredth degree.  In fact, I might be somewhat of a hypochondriac.  The second I experience a weird cramp in my leg or a headache with a side of dizziness, I am on my phone’s “WebMD” app to run a symptom checker to see whether I have a migraine or an aneurysm.  This is an especially fun game I play with myself right before bed.  As you can imagine, I sleep real well after discovering that I potentially have a life-threatening illness (or the common cold – it’s a tossup really).  My twisted mind runs all night, partly because I am making a list of things I need to do before I croak and also so that I can cheat the system and avoid passing away in my sleep.  You can’t die in your sleep if you don’t sleep, right!?  Demented, I KNOW!   Yet, here I am, awake, alive and kickin’ which leads me to an article I recently read.
The piece was on changing our perspective from negative to positive.  Instead of moaning and groaning about the lousy night’s sleep we got, why not raise and praise that we are living to see another day!  There are books about the power of positive thinking and the more I think about it, the more positive I am that this is effective.  It feels so good to see things through eyes of graciousness and calmness versus the high blood pressure inducing approach of angst and anger. 
Yes, it is easy to be overcome with road rage when you are stuck driving behind the world’s slowest driver -who apparently has no where important to be and is out for a rush-hour cruise – however, it is just as easy to crank up the radio, sing like no one is watching and enjoy the extra few minutes you get to jam to your favorite song!  Besides, if you’re in that much of a hurry to get to where you are going, perhaps you should’ve left earlier.  (Note to self: practice what you preach, Jessica!)  There is no sense in getting worked up about things we have no control over.  I am learning this lesson more and more.
This is not to say that if one of my daughter’s were ailing that I would brush it off because of my newfound optimism.  I will continue to use any “mother’s intuition” I might have as needed; however, I will do my utmost to abandon my first instinct which is to fear or dread (until I have to).
I saw a movie last night where the husband and wife made it a habit of telling each other the things they loved most about their partner whenever they departed from one another.  I thought this was a quite beautiful thing.  I have always felt it was important to tell the ones you love how you feel about them because time and unforeseen occurrences can befall us all and it may have been the last thing we said to that person.  Now I see that I can take it to the next level – if I follow the idea from the movie – I can tell the person not only how I feel but why I feel that way!  I may be overly optimistic but I’d like to think that could really make someone’s day including your own.  Does it not feel just as good to give a compliment as it does to receive one?!   I try to make it a point to “show and tell” my love to my family and friends every day.  I love them and will tell them so all 365 days (or 366 on leap years) of the year without rhyme or reason.
Looking at everything from a more affirmative light is still a work in progress.  My hypothetical glass may not be quite half full just yet but it’s certainly not half empty...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Take a Picture, It Lasts Longer

If you know me, you know how much I love photos.  Actually, love is probably an understatement.  I am borderline fanatical (bah, borderline - good one, Jessica).  This obsession really spun out of control after my girls were born especially since the birth of my youngest, likely because she is the baby (the last and final creature to inhabit my uterus) and the full-circle completion of our family.  Capturing each stage and step on film (or memory card these days) means that I’ll forever hold onto those moments that otherwise slip through my fingers.  Call me crazy but if I could, I would cover every blank space of wall in my home with pictures of the ones I love.

Before discovering my dear photographer friend Jessica and prior to another great friend, Kristin, starting her own business, I spent close to a mortgage payment on packages and frames from Picture People.  You would have thought I was a company shareholder!  But no more!  Now I am heavily invested in the unbelievably ridiculous (ridiculous in a good way) talent of these ladies as well as another amazing superstar (Lori) who is unfortunately not local to Orlando.  I can’t leave out Ashley, Brie or Henna, other good friends who also take incredible pictures.  All of these women exude talent – it radiates through them.  Their natural creativity is inspiring!  It’s also a little dangerous for someone with an indulgence like mine (wink).  I am very proud of them and wish everyone could see how special they are and what they are capable of!

Why so “interested” (to put it lightly) in photography, you may ask? 

Pictures tell a story.  To the people that are in the photo or who were there when it was taken, they recreate the emotions and the situation that was taking place when the flash went off.  To someone viewing the picture in a frame on your wall or in an album, it puts their imagination to work trying to figure out what someone said to make you laugh or what the weather was like at the beach that day.  This tale-telling aspect of photography makes any expense involved priceless.  And it is an expense but one that I’ve created a “fund” for because it’s so important to me.

It deserves a spot in my budget because I will never have those moments back.  My girls will never be as young and innocent again nor will I remember them so small and pure.  As hard as I try to hold on to those memories, my imperfect brain will fail me.  A picture, as they say, will certainly outlast my fading recollection.  Some people are blessed with a photographic memory but sadly I can barely recall the day of the week majority of the time.  For those of you like me, a photo whether printed or stored on your hard drive, is a memory incarnate – a tangible instant. 

Often someone will reminisce of a time from our past.  They will narrate the story down to the song that was playing in the background yet I am completely at a loss because of my dulled memory bank.  It’s like hearing the account for the first time which is bizarre when I am an actual “character” in the story!  It’s those situations that really put into perspective the value of pictures, as they truly help me to jump back in and live the moment in a way that hearing the words cannot.

What is funny about pictures, especially ones of me, is that as unhappy as I may be at first with how I look (whether it's the dissatisfaction of my weight or a funny face I might have made) - I am eventually grateful for that photograph.  I am able to recognize the beauty of having been caught "as is" at that point of my life.

There you have it – a snapshot of one of my passions.  And if you’re wondering, I don’t always have photos taken professionally.  I do take some myself but of course, the caliber is incomparable to that of the ladies mentioned above.  It’s similar to the old saying “those who can’t, teach” - except for me it would be “those who can’t, pay others to!” 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

If It Ain’t Broke...

Change – it can be exciting…or scary.  For me, in most cases, it’s frightening.  I am a creature of comfort.  I like knowing what comes next, what to expect.  I am the girl who wants to know what happens at the end of a movie or what I’m getting for an anniversary gift. 
This blog is about a side of me I have not yet spoken to – my career.  My employer recently merged with another organization.  So far, the pros are outweighing the cons which has made for a very smooth transition.  There have not really been any noticeable changes so it’s been business as usual.  The tides seem to be turning however and changes are rolling in.  As someone who loves my job, my role and my manager, I cannot help but feel a little uneasy.  The impending changes may be as discreet as a new person signing the checks (so to speak) or they could mean restructuring or department shifts.  I really have no certainty as to what is in store but can only hope that the waves of change feel more like a splash than a tsunami.  I know how to swim so I am confident I can weather through whatever may come but I am quite anxious to see which “shore” I wash upon!  Hoping I don’t end up as a castaway…
Being a fan of routine and habit, I have a hard time jumping on board with the vision that our new leadership team has in the works.  I like to think that they have everyone’s best interest at heart but being the worry wart that I am, I naturally fear the worst.  It almost feels like what military “brats” might experience when they are suddenly uprooted from their home and friends.  Thankfully, they usually bounce back by making new friends and discovering new cultures.  The change brings a newfound appreciation for diversity as well as adaptability, well-roundedness and worldliness.  Similarly, I may not understand or even like the looming changes but who’s to say I may not come out on the other side with stronger skills, more business savvy and experience that I might not have otherwise encountered.  As intimidating as change might be, I choose to embrace it.
A friend of mine shared a quote that I thought was quite insightful (mind you, it’s from a rap song which makes the line both amazing and puzzling):  “A chance is like a picture – it would be nice if you just take it!”  Isn’t that true?  You’ll never know unless you go for it.  You may look back and hate the outcome, wishing you had never done it…or you might not.  You might look back and wonder what took you so long to take the leap!  I am really in no rush to make any sudden movements anywhere, as I am truly content where I am especially with the amazing manager and coworkers I have.   Yet if everyone else is moving forward and the train is leaving the station, I do not want to be left alone on the platform waving goodbye.  I certainly have no desire to be stagnant, so instead I will be eager and enthusiastic!
On an intertwined side note, I want to take a few brief moments to sing my manager’s praises.  She is a leader but to me, she is much more.  She is a mentor, an inspiration, a sounding board, a dose of reality when my head is in the clouds, a great judge of character and a sympathetic (or empathetic) nurturer.  She is wise but humble, determined but diplomatic, kind but defensive (especially for those she cares about).  She is strong in her convictions and gratefully, she believes in me so I can always count on her relentless support.  I am blessed to have worked with her for the last (almost) four years and hope we’ll continue to work together for many years to come.  However, if things are to change, I am at least comforted knowing that I will have a friend for a lifetime!
Finally, change can often be an amazingly wonderful thing.  For example, changing from a family of three to a family of four was perfect for us.  It makes our family whole.  Baby P completes our lives and fills any empty space in our hearts that may have existed.  Her sister R, too, created a new and invigorating dynamic for us.  Those two small individuals have forever changed me and in this case, I can honestly say, change is good!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

This afternoon, as my 10 month old napped on my chest and my three year old entertained herself in the playroom doing who knows what (don't worry, I know what you're thinking, "Mother of the Year"), I was able to have some "me" time.  How did I spend the "me" time, you ask?  As much as I would have enjoyed a run on the treadmill at the gym, a mani/pedi or other spa service or heck, even a nap, I had a sleeping baby on my bosom which stranded me in the La-Z-Boy much to my displeasure.  I shuffled through the guide to see what was on the tube and discovered why I typically get out of the house on Saturdays - there is nothing on TV worth a second blink.  I thought of purchasing a movie On-Demand - something that had piqued my interest with a titillating preview that I never got around to seeing because let's face it, that requires a sitter and about a hundred bucks these days.  Instead, I opted to watch something I had recorded months ago that I kept putting on the back-burner - a movie called "Motherhood" starring Uma Thurman and that geeky doctor from "E.R." (a.k.a. Goose from "Top Gun").  In retrospect, I should have kept it on the back-burner until it auto-deleted from the DVR.

The movie follows a frustrated Manhattan mom (former book author) who just wants ten minutes to write a blog to submit for a contest with hopes of winning a job as a contributing writer.  She finds herself getting caught up in chores, grocery shopping, dropping off something to her daughter's class - you know, being a mom!  Of course, it's a movie so other not so everyday real life things occur but overall, I can't find myself sympathizing with this woman who misses her pre-stretch mark and sippy cup days.  Welcome to "motherhood!"  I was, however, inspired to write this blog so I guess that hour and a half wasn't a complete loss.  When this movie came out in theaters for five minutes last year (surprisingly enough it was not straight to DVD), Parenting magazine ran their own writing contest.  Naturally, I wanted to enter being the passionate writer that I am.  I'm sure you're wondering where I miraculously found five minutes to write an essay considering that I'm a M-O-M (gasp).  Well, for one thing, I wrote the essay when I was in possession of one less child and I likely wrote it with a sleeping child in my lap.  The contest stipulated a 300 word essay describing what motherhood means to you (me).  Easy enough, right?  I had a harder time figuring out an appropriate picture to include (also a requirement) to portray your theme. 

In relation to the title of this blog, here is the good (in fact, great) part of motherhood as described in the piece that I sent to Parenting for the contest.

R’s mom.  Suddenly, it seemed I was no longer Jessica but rather mother of R.  Although it may appear I had lost my identity, the truth was that becoming a mother to this extraordinary girl helped me to find myself more than I could’ve imagined.  Motherhood to me equals fulfillment, growth and purpose.  As early as I can recall, being a mommy was all that mattered.  I had other aspirations but soon determined becoming a parent would be the most rewarding and worthwhile accomplishment that I could make in my life. 
Since her birth, seeing R reach daily milestones has brought an enriching fulfillment to my soul.  Each day I witness discovery and exploration through her innocent eyes and it reminds me to appreciate the little things and life’s precious moments. 
Watching R blossom before me inspires me to grow into the woman and mother she deserves – one that she can respect, admire and aspire to be like someday.  My heart has expanded to make room for the overwhelming amount of love that I feel.
Many believe their purpose is to change the world.  I believe being a parent can change the world, maybe not everyone’s world but certainly your own and that of your child.  I have the opportunity to shape R in both significant and insignificant ways whether teaching her a lesson on inner beauty or showing her how to apply makeup (someday).  Being her mother and making even a small impact on who she becomes gives me reason.
Motherhood means everything to me and has not changed my individuality.  Instead, R is an extension of me; in fact, she is truly the best part of who I am.  Now expecting my second daughter, I am excited to start the cycle again while still evolving as R’s mom. 
There you have it - the joys and blessings of being a mother.  Now, of course, I have two beautiful girls who are my all and bring such definition to my being.  That does not mean that there aren't bad moments when I too reminisce on those days when I could sleep until noon or hop in the car to take a road trip on a whim.  The "bad" (and it's not really bad - more so hard and less than enlightening) means picking up toys over and over and over again, wiping tushies over and over and over again, saying "no...NOOOOOO" over and over and over again after each breath when the three year old wants candy for dinner or when the 10 month old repeatedly tries to pull a cord out of the electrical socket.  Not to mention the way your heart stops when you hear your 10 month old gagging on a Puff or when you lose sight of your three year old in Target for two minutes.  Times like that certainly put into question the wonder and amazement of parenting.  Thankfully, the good certainly outweighs the bad.  Love certainly conquers all in relation to motherhood - that's why they call it unconditional.  The moment you hear the breathtaking, melodic sounds of your baby's cries as they enter the world - your life changes for the better and although you may at times question what you got yourself into, there are no regrets.

Well, that's not completely true.  I have one regret.  I totally should have used that 90 minutes today to do something more constructive today versus suffering through the bad acting that is Uma Thurman, ergo the ugly part of this blog.  The day wasn't a complete waste - I spent one on one time with kids and that is (in the words of Miley Cyrus) pretty cool!

By the way, in case you were wondering what the picture looked like that I submitted for the Parenting contest (and shockingly I know, I didn't win) - here it is:

By the way, R's name is on the blanket in the background so that explains the heart (blocking it out).  Unfortunately, I don't have any fancy photo editing software - just Paint, ha!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Swim in Denial

Where to begin?  I started thinking of this blog last week.  It's a little all over the place so bear with me please!

I was reflecting on the relationships in my life, some of which have thrived and flourished and others that have slowly started to wither.  Like a flower which takes water and sunshine to grow, a friendship takes work from both parties.  You can water a plant everyday but if you keep it in a dark closet, what's the point?  Likewise, you can set a plant on the windowsill with the sun shining upon it daily but without nourishment from water, how will your precious plant blossom?  Enough comparing people to botanics.  What I am trying to say is that I have found it quite disheartening to put in so much effort when it is not being reciprocated.  A successful relationship is not one-sided yet I continue to find myself making excuses for the other person's absence in the friendship.  What can I say, I'm knee deep in denial.

I then started thinking about how uncomfortable I am when someone compliments me.  Why?  Your guess is as good as mine.  It's not that I would prefer to be criticized, as that certainly doesn't feel any better but receiving kudos is about as easy to bear as a root canal (for me, at least).  My husband will often tell me how attracted to me he is and all I can do is casually laugh it off with a roll of my eyes.  If it weren't just us in the room, I might just turn around to see if he were talking to someone directly behind me.  But why?  I look in the mirror everyday - it's not like I'm a grotesque beast or anything so I'm unsure of the reason for a lack of self confidence.  I really have no explanation but do know that it is something I need to work on.  I've taken steps to improve my esteem including eating better, exercising regularly and thinking more positively.  I know it will take time before I see results and ultimately agree with any compliments I receive.  So here I am now, waist deep in denial and potentially treading into deeper waters. 

But thankfully, my two daughters are both an anchor to keep me from sinking (or drowning) and also lifesavers to bring me back to shore (reality).  They are two of my best friends who always give back towards the efforts I put forth.  Their love will never be fruitless or in vain.  And when they tell me they think I'm pretty, I believe them because I know their eyes are nonjudgmental and pure.  I truly hope that they will always believe me when I tell them how proud of them I am, how beautiful I think they are (and not just because they are my spawn), how much I love them and how much they have enriched and changed (for the better) MY life!  I never want them to be in denial about my unconditional feelings for them so I will make every effort to tell them how I feel - showering them with praise and shining my love on these two delicate flowers everyday so that they can never deny the value they have in my world and in my heart!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Taste of My Own Medicine

I have recently been diagnosed with a serious condition.  The condition is called Obsessive Impulsive Disorder and yes, I diagnosed myself.  Obsessive Impulsive Disorder is a hybrid of OCD, as it incorporates obsession.  As I'm typing this, I've rewinded the TV several times to watch the same song on Glee over and over again.  See, obsessive!

The impulsive part is my incessant habit of buying something, saying something, becoming obsessed with something without any forethought.  This disorder of mine explains why I can't walk out of a Target without having shelled out at least a Benjamin or two.  Naturally, I have spent my fair share of time at the return counter after having come home and taken the time to determine whether I really needed that Playstation 3 game that was on sale.  Mind you, I do not own a Playstation 3 but a deal is a deal - right?!?

To go off on a side tangent, I also have a condition in which I buy things that I may not need right now (or ever) because it was on sale.  An example of this was last night when I bought a bag of coffee for the hubby that was on sale even though we probably have enough coffee to open our own cafe.  I'll have to come up with a witty name for this other disorder.

Back to the topic of the evening - my OID.  It has become a serious problem.  When I find something that garners my interest, I obsess over it and impetuously do whatever it takes to obtain it.  Past impulsive obsessions include a DSLR camera (even though I knew I would never pursue photography professionally), taking a family vacation, the iPhone 4, family photos (and what we were going to wear), starting my blog (yay!), a bicycle - just to name a few. 

Most recently, I have become consumed with getting into shape.  As soon as the idea entered into my mind, I began recklessly running online searches for gym membership specials, nutritional information on my favorite foods, fitness class schedules, you name it - anything to do with losing weight and becoming fit!  Last week, my preoccupation with taking better care of myself came to a head when I went to get some more information on LA Fitness.  I stopped in on my lunch break expecting to bring home some pamphlets and walked out with an agreement, a key ring and an appointment with a personal trainer.  If anyone is available, I might need help washing "SUCKER" off my forehead...

However, I am proud to say that I am sticking with my new obsession (not throwing it to the wayside and moving on to something newer and more exciting like usual).  Instead of buying those cupcakes that were staring me in the face at Publix last night - begging for residency in my kitchen, I opted to walk to the seafood counter to buy some fresh mahi mahi as well as the poultry aisle for some lean turkey breast.  This is an obsession that will prove to be good for me and I couldn't be more excited or proud of myself!

Before I finish my blog, I want to add one more example of my ailment.  When I met my husband, I liked him but nothing more.  It wasn't until someone else expressed interest in him that I realized just how much I liked him.  The thought of losing him made it that much more important for me to have him.  I aggressively pursued him (ok, I threatened him - you caught me) until he was mine.  Here we are almost ten years later, happily married for five years with two of the world's most beautiful children.  Sometimes those instinctive urges pay off.  In this case, I would say that I have hit the jackpot.  It's a diagnosis I can easily live with!

Monday, January 10, 2011

I Always Feel Like...Somebody's Watching Meeeee

I'm sure my kids feel that way.  They probably always have an eerie feeling that someone is staring them down.  You know, that feeling where you just know someone is watching your every move or that their eyes could burn a hole in your skin.  That person staring my kids down is me

What can I say?  I can't help but stare at my beautiful girls - especially when they sleep.  I thought about this blog topic as I was laying down with my 10-month old this afternoon trying to put her down for a nap.  I was overwhelmed by just how precious she is.  I could have laid next to her all afternoon just counting every golden hair on her head or watching her rosebud lips quiver as if sucking on an invisible pacifier.  When my three year old sleeps, I love the tenderness of her pink cheeks and the way her eyelashes curl.  I am in such awe of these beautiful creatures, I really could stare at them every second of the day.  It's just too bad gawking at the kiddies doesn't pay the bills, am I right!? 

Riley has caught me gazing over at her with misty eyes, a crinkled forehead and pout and asked me "Mommy, what are you looking at?!"  It's too hard to explain to her that I am mentally begging and pleading with the hands of time to stop where they are, somberly watching their childhood go by at super speed with no pause or slow-motion button or that I am looking at her trying to freeze and capture that moment or the look on her face to store it in my memory bank.  I simply tell her that mommy is looking at her with love.  It depresses me deeply knowing that they will not remember much about this time in their life and more so that I will not remember much about this time either.  Pictures and videos can only do so much - they don't capture the way your baby's breath smells, the softness of their sweet skin, the way your heart flutters when they smile at you or tell you they love you (whether with words or with the way they embrace you). 

Of course, there are many other reasons for watching them like a hawk other than for the sheer pleasure of it.  I have to constantly keep a watchful eye to ensure my three year old isn't using our white walls as a canvas for her latest artistic rendering or to prevent my 10-month old from sticking every object under the sun into her mouth in her own game of "Is This Edible?  Let's Find Out!" 

It's a special treat seeing their little personalities develop.  My three year old is extremely considerate, sensitive and creative.  I just love watching her nurture her sister, show emotion when she sees something that brings her joy or draw a picture of a turtle or our family at the beach.  She reminds me so much of me when she dances around while singing "we're always, gonna be together" (her own version of "We Go Together" from Grease) or when she plays waitress and jots down my dinner order on a notepad.  My 10-month old is playful, curious and strong.  I smile ear to ear when I see her devilish grin as we play our own little game of "I'm gonna get you" (my version of a tag/hide-n-seek hybrid), when she cruises around seeking something new to discover and get her hands into or when she tumbles like it was nothing and gets right back to whatever she was doing (which was probably something mischievous).  I see my passion and stubbornness in her when she continues to try something over and over again (until she gets the hang of it or until she gets her way). 

No matter the reason for my intense stare down, nothing gives me greater joy than having the privilege of watching these girls grow.  Although I'm not thrilled about the growing bigger or older part, I am certainly enjoying their growth as individuals.  Their unique intricacies combined with their stunning similarities is visually (and emotionally) stimulating.  Clearly, I am in love with my girls.  I just hope my love is as transparent to them - now and always!