Wednesday, September 30, 2009
But what happens now that the pressure is on? I mean, here I am, trying to come up with something amazing and brilliant to write about. Hmmmmm. Do you mind if I tell you about an "Ahhhhhh" moment I had today? (SIDE NOTE: Doesn't Oprah have them? Those "Ahhhh" moments? I used to subscribe to her magazine and I think they have a monthly article describing someones "ahhhh" moment. I don't subscribe to "O" any more, simply because I found I was spending alot of money for a publication that just collected dust on my nightstand, since I never had enough hours in the day to actually read. Please note: I am in no way endorsing or not endorsing Oprah, "O", or her "Ahhhh" article, in any way. Maybe it's an "ah-ha" moment. Oh, I don't know. Forget about it.) Anyway . . . back to what I am calling My "Ahhhh" Moment.
My boss is in town this week. We have been busy visiting many of our Illinois clients, which has kept me driving all over the state and sharing pleasantries with lots of people. One of our stops today was in Oak Park, a place that I have become so very fond of through the years. Those of you who know me, know that I am a HUGE Frank Lloyd Wright fan, and over 10 years ago I volunteered for, and was then employed by, the then Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio Foundation (now the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust) in Oak Park. My time spent at the Home & Studio were some of the most remarkable moments (artistically) in my life. To be surrounded by the work of this genius architect, to practically LIVE in this space, was absolutely a gift and something I will never forget.
Today we had about 30 minutes between appointments and as we were IN Oak Park, I had to drive past the Home & Studio. We parked the car and ever so quickly walked around the property and through the gift shop. And I felt, immediately, at peace and at home. Amazing. Over 10 years after working there, and not seeing a single face I recognized, I immediately felt inspired, at peace, and connected to this building. So special. I realized that I have spent too much time away, and one of my goals for the new year will be to reconnect with my Frank Lloyd Wright interests and look into volunteering there, once again. I love to tell the story of this home, and the story of the architect who built the home. I long to spend time in its space again, and just the few moments there today brought such clarity to me - it was awesome.
I wonder now why I let myself step away from something that so clearly brings me such joy. Don't we all do that, though? As life happens, we loose sight of those things that make us happy, or perhaps become blinded by the day to day "chaos" and simply forget what makes us happy. I think that is what happened to me. I got married, had kids, had jobs, had a house, had bills, became a grown up. And when you become a grown up, sometimes it's hard to make the time to do the things that really fill your spirit - especially when you aren't getting paid for it. Hmmmm . . .
I left my employment with the H&S because working for a non-profit does not offer much financial incentive. And as I just mentioned above . . . LIFE was "happening" (the marriage, the house, the wish for the kids, therefore the bills). It was a tough decision to leave. But one that was the best for me. No regrets at all. What I forgot, though, was that leaving the job didn't mean I had to leave my interest of it. I could still volunteer. And seeing the place today, reminded me how much I NEED to volunteer there, again. It was so strange. As if I could breathe, a little easier. Therefore . . . . . "Ahhhhhhh". How sweet it was.
So, there you have it. That's all I've got for today, Rita. Hope it filled the void of me a little! Love you! (Photo of H&S courtesy of the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust.)
Monday, September 28, 2009
Reading this story to Katie made me realize that I, too, am a bit of a worry wart. Always have been, I think. But it has really manifested since becoming a homeowner, and then MAGNIFIED 1,000 x's when becoming a Mom. I am a worrier. Phil is constantly trying to put my mind at ease, but it's not always an easy task. My worries this week: Will I do well in a presentation I have at work? Will I get to Katie's soccer practice on time? Will I finish that "30 Random photos" Scrapbook project I started (yes, seriously, worrying about it)? Will the antibiotics start to kick in and finally help Ellie feel better? Will Phil get his proposal done for work on time? When am I going to get the girls fall clothes out? When am I going to get Ellie potty trained? and on and on and on. . .
What is most interesting to me is that when I really sit and write down what I am worrying about - I realize that only 1 item is something that really warrants a "worry" (Ellie feeling better). All the others . . . . truthfully . . . . are things that either are completely out of my control, are things that I have absolutely nothing to do with, or are things that honestly just don't matter (I mean, seriously, will the Soccer coach yell at me if we are 5 minutes LATE? Really? Of course not. So, WHY am I worrying?) All the time and energy I am putting into these worries, would be much better spent on something else. My mom actually told me something last week that has been stuck in my head since she said it. She said that when faced with a challenging time in life, you should think about what it is that is bothering you and do three things: 1) Ask yourself if you can change it and 2)If you can, then do it (make the change) and 3) If you can't, then walk away from it.
I think this is a good time to sit down and really evaluate where my energy is going, and do some major "Worry Clean-Up". I'm going to turn this into a "Worry Free" zone. Join me, will you? Together, let's get the worry OUT!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
"Some days you gotta dance.
Live it up when you get the chance.
'Cause when the world doesn't make no sense
And you're feeling just a little to tense,
Gotta loosen up those chains and dance"
About 10 years ago, one of my coworkers used to tell me that the song reminded them of me. It's funny how now it reminds me of my daughter. Yes, Katie and I are very much alike. I think we may have to paint that quote on the wall in Kate's room. She would love that. For now, she dances and dances . . . and doesn't care who is watching.
Friday, September 25, 2009
One of the last times we met to scrapbook, I got myself into a little bit of trouble. It was back in April, I believe. We gathered early on a Saturday morning (just like this time), and I couldn't wait! I was driving down Route 30, heading to my sisters (affectionately known as the "Scrapbook Cellar"). It was about 6:30AM (we like to get an early start for our Saturday scrap days) and I was so eager to get there. I stopped at Walgreens for some bottled water and pulled out onto Route 30 without really thinking about what I was doing. Before I realized it . . . I saw him. The Police Man (bum bum bummmmmmmm). I really didn't think I was going that fast. But, unfortunately he was able to prove otherwise. (Uh, oh). Yes, he pulled me over. Quite a handsome police man, I must say. Our conversation went like this:
Mr. Officer Man: Good Morning, Ma'am. Where are we off to in such a hurry this morning?
Me: Good Morning, Mr. Officer. Ummmmm . . . I'm going Scrapbooking.
Mr. Officer Man: Scrapbooking? Really?
Me: Yes, Sir. Scrapbooking. We get an early start.
Mr. Officer Man: Do you have any idea how fast you were going?
Me: Ummmm . . . actually, not really.
Mr. Officer Man: Do you have any idea what the speed limit is here?
Me: Oh, of course.
SIDE NOTE: (You know, I can't even remember how fast I was going . . . it was that long ago. All I remember is that I started rambling and rambling to Mr. Officer Man. I don't think he was able to get a word in, at all. I think I just went on and on. . . . .)
Me: You see - the kids are still sleeping and my husband is taking care of them today and I really don't get out very often and I'm really excited to get scrapbooking and I took my husbands car because I had to leave the minivan with him and I usually don't drive his car, which is why I'm really not familiar with how fast his pick-up is in this car and really didn't imagine that I would get so fast so quickly and I'm awfully sorry that this happened and I'm just so glad for an opportunity to get out of the house, you see I work from home and don't really get out very often and you seem like an awfully nice man and you know the last time I was pulled over was probably about 15 years ago and I was heading to Halloween party and I was dressed as "Elizabeth Taylor on the way to the Betty Ford Clinic" and I had on big mu-mu and had empty pill bottles hanging around my neck and the police man made me get out of the car because I think he just wanted people to see me in my costume and I can't believe I was speeding right now and oh my goodness. . . . . . . . . . .
SIDE NOTE: (The officer DID give me a ticket. He was VERY nice, but said because it was raining, he wanted me to be a little more careful. I was totally fine with that. I was speeding, it was what was right. I deserved the ticket. My sister was mad and thought he could have let me go. But, I really was ok with it. The last thing I remember of my conversation with Mr. Officer Man went something like this. . . . )
Mr. Officer Man: Now, I want you to have a great day scrapbooking, and don't let this [the ticket] bother you today.
Me: Oh, don't worry. This doesn't bother me AT ALL. I will have a FANTASTIC DAY!
And I did. We laughed so hard about this ticket, all day long, and my sister had to take a picture of me with my ticket.
Tomorrow I plan on driving a little bit slower on the way to the Scrapbook Cellar! I CAN'T WAIT!!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Then . . . there is me.
I work only 20 hours a week. I have only two children (and have an army of help with them). I have a lovely lady come to my house every other week to clean it (and I'm telling you - I will continue to work - if only to continue paying for this service, I swear!). I have a husband who really is a hands-on father and helps as much as he possibly can. And yet I manage to be in a constant state of chaotic"ness" and look equally disheveled and disorganized. WHY?? Yesterday I had to take the girls to the Doctor. I sat in the waiting room and looked down at the mess of a shirt I had on and thought to myself, "Oh, honestly, Leanne. Couldn't you have fixed yourself up a little?" The honest to God truth was, though, that I was grateful we even GOT to the doctor. Seriously. I don't think I had an ounce of energy left to fix myself up. Again . . . I ask myself, What is the matter with ME?? Why can't I get a hang of this whole "Mom" thing?? Please, don't get me wrong . . . it is the best thing I have ever done. But I sometimes feel like I don't do it as well as I would like to.
Are those women who appear to have it all together REALLY all together? Seriously?
Anyway . . . back to feeling blessed.
I am all of this (disorganized, disheveled, chaotic, mess) . . . but have somehow, by the grace of God, surrounded myself with people (husband, sister, mother, mother-in-laws, friends) who love me for who I am, and do whatever they can to help me. And for this, I am eternally grateful. This week has been hectic - I'm still feeling some of that cold I was experiencing last week, and it has managed to kick me HARD. I've got a busy week next week and am already feeling a bit of anxiety towards it. I was off of work today, and planned on spending the day at home with Ella. My Mom called me at about 10AM and offered to come and pick up Ella and take her for a few hours, so I could get some rest. Honestly. I really do NOT have a rough life. And here was yet another moment when someone from my "army" called and offered help. (Blessings abound). I immediately took her up on the offer. And before I realized what was happening - Ellie was on an adventure with her Grandma (which Ella absolutely LOVES), and I was napping. Seriously.
I tell you this not to make you jealous. Chances are YOU are one of those women I am in awe of - who manage to do it all and make it all look so simple. YOU are amazing to me.
I tell you this to simply say . . . if you happen to be a part of my ARMY . . . THANK YOU, Again. I laid in bed this afternoon in a clean, quiet house, and said a small prayer. "Dear Lord, I am BLESSED. Thank you for giving me today and for the help you always provide." And I drifted off into a land far far away. And this evening, I prepared a home cooked meal for my family . . . and again counted my blessings.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
It really was a fantastic adventure! One I would strongly recommend for anyone who had a day and wanted to take a little drive up to Wisconsin. Let me know if you are going. . . I'll tell you all of my Bird Whisperer secrets!
Monday, September 21, 2009
So, I have to tell you about a quick conversation I had with Ella. It still cracks me up just thinking about it.
Yesterday we were driving on Route 30 and at a point on the road where a great deal of construction was underway. Ella was having a great time looking out the window pointing out all the mounds of dirt and rubble along side of the road. We were at a particular spot that had a lot of construction equipment, and one large backhoe piece was right next to us. Our conversation went like this:
Ella: Mommy, what is THAT?
Me: I'm not sure, honey. I can't remember what it is called.
Ella: What is it, Mommy?
Me: Honey, I can't recall. I wish Daddy was here. He would know.
Ella: But what is it, Mommy?
Me: Ummm, I just don't know, honey. We'll ask Daddy. Daddy is very SMART. He will know.
Ella: NOOOOOoooooo, MOMMY!!!! DON'T CALL DADDY SMART. HE'S NICE GUY. DON'T CALL DADDY SMART, MOMMYYY, HE NICE, MOMMMMMYYYY!!!!
Me: (laugh . . . . . hysterically . . . . . for a few minutes . . . . . . then . . . . . . ) Ummmm, ok!
Well, will you look at what I've done . . . You see, lately I've been working on "back-talk" with Katie. I imagine I'm often saying something to her, like, "Don't talk smart" or something like that. And in saying that to Katie, I am probably saying it in a "not-so-positive" tone. Unfortunately, Ella now associates "SMART" with something negative. Ohh, gees.
But I have to tell you . . . it still cracks me up - just thinking of it!!! My dear husband would probably not find it as funny as I do (SORRY HONEY!) But, SERIOUSLY. It was precious. "DON'T CALL DADDY SMART!" . . . from a 2 year old. Tooo funny!
Don't worry . . . I took time to explain to her that SMART wasn't a BAD thing. That being SMART was something GOOD. That it meant Daddy was knowledgeable and knew a lot about things. (Sure . . . now explain KNOWLEDGEABLE to a 2 1/2 year old. Gees . . . this parenting sure isn't easy!) But I'm hoping that she won't offend Daddy at any point in the near future. And I might use a different word to describe Daddy's intelligence if Ellie is around. . . . or maybe not. (teee heee!)
Friday, September 18, 2009
I'm still fighting my cold. I called the Doctor (and NOT Dr. WebMD this time - I actually called my REAL doctor), and he has ordered me to take antibiotics. I'm still recouperating from a little episode of pneumonia back in June and we don't want to take any chances on it returning. So, it's all rest for me this weekend (along with soccer games, gathering with Phil's co-workers, birthday party for a friend of Kate's and potty training Ella.) Yes, just a regular chaotic weekend in our house. But you know how it goes. . . . From Chaos comes Happiness . . . and I'm looking forward to having some happy times this weekend.
I hope you and yours have a wonderful weekend, too. Go out there and create some happiness, and think of me.
I've been in denial and can no longer ignore it. I feel icky. Don't you hate them . . . the end of summer cold? I believe the blog Gods did not like my post yesterday about summer fading, and decided to kick me with a cold just before all was said and done. Well, it's here. Augh.
We've been passing these little cold germs from person to person in this house since school started (darn . . . those dreaded school germs already. Gees, they make me mad.) Katie started with it, then Ellie, then Phil and now me. Yuck. Here I am, 3:23AM, and I can't sleep. The mucinex has worn out, the nighttime cold medicine did nothing to help these tired eyes sleep, I'm tired of playing facebook games and I'm unmotivated to do much of anything else.
Ever have one of those nights when you really want to sleep . . . you know it is good for you and your body needs it . . . but you can't find it? Mr. Sandman has gone to another house. And left me here . . . with my blog. So, I'm feeling the need for comfort. I'll change the blog look around a little. Make it a little "fall" . . .
Hmmmm . . . maybe some tea.
Katie is my Tea Making Girl. When she knows Mommy is under the weather, she hops up on the cabinet (I know, I know, I should NOT let her do that . . . but this is her way of making Mommy feel better and has become her job, and it is something that if I told her NOT to do it, would make her feel very sad. . . ) Anyway, she grabs a cup and a tea bag, and heads to the water cooler. She'll put cold water in first (because the hot is just too hot) and then adds hot, and continues to stir and stir until she feels it is just perfect. She cautiously carries it to me, and offers it along with some extra special TLC. I'll tell you, it is the best cup of tea I've ever had. Funny, isn't it? How something like a simple cup of tea can become the most special part of your night. Especially when made by your 6 year old, with love. She is a good care giver, my Katie. Sigh.
I love the mug I am drinking my tea out of right now. It is of the Edward Hopper painting "Chop Suey", set in a restaurant showing two women having lunch together. It is my favorite mug in our mug collection. I've used it so often throughout the years that it has lost it's shine. But still, it is my favorite - simply because of the scene of two women having lunch. Everytime I use it I think of my friends (both past and present) and I feel as if I am with them, having a quiet moment. I have such comfort in the feeling that my friends are somehow near to me. And I feel peace.
Interesting, isn't it? How here, at 3:45AM, I am finding peace in my friends. In you. You don't even know it. But your friendships give me peace . . . even at 3:45 in the morning.
Thank you, dear friend.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I sat in the backyard looking at these beautiful sunflowers and had to grab the camera to try and capture the moment . . . right now. Just beautiful . . . the way they dance in the wind and reach out to the sun. Today the sunflowers have reached their maximum height in the yard - which has well surpassed the 6' fence. These sunflowers were a gift from the Easter Bunny (via Auntie). They came as seeds in a tiny itty bitty terra cotta pot that the girls planted and watered and grew. As the plants sprouted, Phil moved them to the ground in the garden, where they flourished this summer. They have brought such joy to us and lovely meals to the birds who visited them regularly. But soon, they will close their eyes for the season. Because soon things will be change. Change is hard for a lot of people. Not me. Change is good.
Soon the petals will fall off of these flowers.
Soon the wind will pick up and leaves will start falling from the trees.
Soon the flowers will be cut down and the grass will receive it's final cut for the season.
Soon the birds will fly south and the bird feeders stored away.
Soon the children will be wearing tights and long sleeves.
Soon the pumpkins will be placed on front porches in the neighborhood and the costumes will be bought for trick-or-treating.
Soon the cider will be warmed and the candles will be lit.
Soon the sweaters will be aired out and jeans put on.
Soon the summer days will be memories and dreams of sugar plums will be upon us.
Soon . . .
How will you spend your last days of summer?
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Arthur was born in France and lived there till he was ten (speaks fluent French and even spoke a few sentences to me in French, at my insistance, of course.) He then moved with to Malawi, Africa, where most of his relatives were. While home in Malawi, he learned his native Malawi language, and Arabic, as Arabic was primarily spoken outside of his village. At the age of 20 he had an opportunity to come the to United States and attend school at Notre Dame University, where he participated in an exchange program. His major in college is Anthropology (the study of human beings, everywhere and throughout time), which is probably why he didn't mind conversing with me (I'd make a good case study, don't you think? wink wink). I asked him what made him start driving cabs, and he explained what I probably already knew, that he had to do it to make a living. He said it is his dream to complete his studies and go on for his masters. While talking about school and Anthropology, there was such life in his eyes. (It's interesting to have a conversation with someone and all you see are their eyes. Imagine that for a minute. . . he was driving the cab and I was seated behind. All I could see was the look in his eyes when he glanced up - other than that, he was watching the road. The eyes are the window to the soul - I believe that. And I was able to see Arthur's passion and life. It was a great moment.) At one point he looked up at me and said, "I want to do things with my life. This isn't what I am going to do forever, you know, drive this cab. There are other things I dream of, and I will do them." It's amazing, isn't it. Here we were . . . two complete opposite people from two completely different worlds. But we both dream.
We spoke of home. Of each of our homes. I talked of Chicago and shared that it is the only place I could really ever see myself living. He spoke of Malawi, Africa. That even though he has had opportunity to travel around the world and has an opportunity for a good future here in the United States, he will go back to Malawi to live. He said that Malawi is home to him. It always will be. And he will go back and make life better there.
I've often been driven in a cab from one destination to another. Most of the time I sit quietly while looking out the window, avoiding eye contact and making as little connection with the driver as possible. Today, something changed. I imagine now what the ride could have been if I hadn't started talking to him. What a loss it would have been, to have missed this wonderful opportunity to connect with someone so different from me. I'm so glad that that we spoke. This quick ride reminded me of the opportunites we have daily to connect with each other - to learn from each other - and to dream for a minute, with each other. How cool was that? We really have such a short time on this earth. Isn't it awesome that while here, opportunities like this happen? Yes, for me . . . it was awesome.
When we arrived at the airport, Arthur jumped out and grabbed my bag. I paid my fare, and reached out to shake his hand. He said, "Miss, (I love that he called me Miss) Thank you for getting in my cab. It was a pleasure driving you today." I smiled and thanked him in return. Off he went, on to his next passenger, and off I went, to catch my plane. Two completely different people. I only wish the ride would have been a little longer . . . imagine where the conversation might have taken us. (Image of globe courtesy of www.maps-continents.com/globes.htm)
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I've always been a fan of U2 (Phil even more so), and we are so lucky that we have seen them a couple times before. Each time, they make me feel as if they are performing for ME (I swear Bono looked directly at me. . . even though I was a thousand feet away from him and there were probably 65,000 other people there.) Tonight, it was just he and I . . . seriously.
And it was there, in the middle of the show, that I had an epiphany. It all was clear. During an acoustic version of "Stuck in a Moment." If you don't know the song, listen to part of it here. If you do know the song, you know what I'm talking about.
I've written recently about how I've been feeling "OFF", in a rut, a funk, as if my universe was a little tilted. I've written about crankiness and mood swings. But, last night, Bono sang a song to me. . .
I'm not afraid
Of anything in this world
There's nothing you can throw at me
That I haven't already heard
I'm just trying to find
A decent melody
A song that I can sing
In my own company
I never thought you were a fool
But darling look at you
You gotta stand up straight
Carry your own weight
These tears are going nowhere baby
You've got to get yourself together
You've got stuck in a moment
And now you can't get out of it
Don't say that later will be better
Now you're stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it
. . . .
And you are such a fool
To worry like you do
I know it's tough
And you can never get enough
Of what you don't really need now
My, oh my
You've got to get yourself together
You've got stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it
Oh love, look at you now
You've got yourself stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it
. . . .
And if the night runs over
And if the day won't last
And if our way should falter
Along the stony pass
And if the night runs over
And if the day won't last
And if your way should falter
Along this stony pass
It's just a moment
This time will pass
And all of a sudden . . . it was lifted. The weight was lifted. Totally surreal. I've got myself stuck in a moment, and I can't get out of it. But I believe, as written in the song, that "It's just a moment . . . this time will pass". Thanks, U2, for an incredible concert . . . and for a NEW SOUNDTRACK to my life (right now)!!!
(Photo courtesy of Phil's camera phone during the 9/12/2009 Soldier Field U2 Concert. Song lyrics to "Stuck in a Moment" written by Bono/U2. )
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Anyway, once in a very long while (during the course of being a Mom) I come up with what I call a "Good Mom Idea". You know those - one of those things that you come up with and afterwards think, "Now, THAT was good idea! I'm a GOOD MOM for coming up with that one!" I don't have them often (they usual require a good night sleep and some originality, which I am often lacking in this chaotic life of mine). But I LOVE when they surface. Today I was cleaning up the girls toys and I came across a "Good Mom Idea" I had a couple of years ago. I immediately thought I should share it with you, my faithful blog reader, that perhaps you might enjoy it, implement it (if you have young children in your home), or maybe pass it on for another Mom to try.
This "Good Mom Idea" originated when Katie was about 4 years old, during a cold harsh winter, when playing outside was just too dangerous due to the cold and staying inside had become a nightmare with a 4 year old & 1 year old. Katie, Ellie and I were playing kitchen with all of their plastic toy foods when Katie brought what looked like a delicious plate of food to me. I took one look at it and thought, "Wow! That looks soooo yummmy!!! I could EAT that!!" I immediately grabbed my camera (the inspiration just took over), and I took this photo . . . .
Katie absolutely LOVED that I was taking pictures of the food, so little by little she kept bringing me plates of food. And I kept clicking away. . . .
(Ok, yes, I admit it . . . I did start to "take over" a little and helped with the layout and placement of the food on the plate. I was immediately inspired and the need to design the food layout on the plate was becoming a quest for me. I mean, once you motivate an artist on a project, it's very hard to get them to stop. Maybe in my next life I'll be a food artist for magazines, or something.) Anyway, after developing my "look" and shooting 25 pictures, I bundled up the girls and off to Walgreens we went to develop the photos. We quickly came home and created this . . . .
I mean, EVERY good restaurant needs a MENU, doesn't it? Well, the cover was easy. The inside . . . . BRILLIANT (if I do say so myself) . . . .
And it was done. 10 pages total of incredible culinary delight made at "Katie and Ella's Children Restaurant" (yes, my originality was fading after a few hours and I lost all creative thinking when coming up with the name of the restaurant. But, that's ok. The girls didn't notice!) We even have 2 pages of desserts (cake, cookies, strawberries) and one page of drinks (milk, coffee, tea.) Really . . . it is so much fun to see.
I have to tell you - this menu has been one of my very favorite "Good Mom Idea's" to date. It not only is great fun to play with - it is a FANTASTIC learning lesson. It has helped the girls learn about nutrition (each meal contains veggies and/or fruits), colors (they would use the same color plates as shown in the menu), numbers (they would take your order by number, as written on the menu and write down the number on their pad of paper), customer service (we play restaurant and they are learning how to ask for things politely and say "please" and "thank you"), and I truly believed has started them with a great appreciation for cooking.
We've had the Menu for a couple years now, and we STILL play with it. I've thought about adding a price to each meal now, so that as Katie is learning about money, we could actually have play money and PAY for our meals and have Kate give us change for the food. Maybe I'll do that. But even if I don't, this certainly was one day when I felt like a GOOD MOM and came up with a pretty GREAT idea.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Tonight I was in the kitchen cooking dinner, as Phil checked his email on the computer downstairs, and both girls were up in Katie's room - dancing and jumping around to music they had blarring on the radio. I found myself stirring Sloppy Joes to the sound of (gulp) . . . Hannah Montana . . . and it made me really really happy. Yes, Hannah Montana:The Movie soundtrack, to be exact. Me, 38 year old well-rounded music lover, bee-bopping to this little pop star music that my girls LOVE. And I stopped for a minute and chuckled, because this CD, this soundtrack, is honestly The Soundtrack to My Life (right now).
Now, let me tell you - this is probably not something I would share with everyone (ok, wait a minute . . . "Then why are you writing about this here?" you ask? Because this, here, is ok. It's therapy. I digress.) The truth of the matter is that I absolutely and totally LOVE this CD. Seriously. Most of the "Hannah" songs are ok (typical pop song), but starting around track 4 and on . . . there is some fantastic music there. Seriously. I can't tell you how many times I'm driving in the car and have this CD on, only to realize that I am the ONLY ONE in the car (no kids), and I'm enjoying it. Silly, but honest. (Hey, don't knock it till you've tried it!)
The reason I bring it up is not to necessarily plug the Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack. I just started thinking about how music has played a very important part in my life and how, looking back, I can easily name the Soundtrack to My Life at particular times of my life. Here are just a few of them:
1984 - Thriller by Michael Jackson: thanks to a dear friend who bought it for me for my 13th birthday this year!
1987 - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles: My brother introduced me to the Beatles at a very young age and I must have played this album a thousand times this year. We used to go to Beatlefest every year and spend 72 hours straight taking in the glory of the Beatles. It was awesome!
1990 - Can't Fight Fate by Taylor Dane: I was a freshman in college and feeling LOVE for really the first time and would belt out all the emotions in "Love will lead you back" after loosing my first love (oh, to be young!)
1993 - Wish by The Cure: "Friday I'm In Love" was the motto of every theater group friday night social gathering and I could have listened to this CD for hours.
1996 - August and Everything After by Counting Crows: the year I met my husband, and moved out of my parents house. Music was a HUGE part this early relationship with Phil, and we both absolutely LOVE this CD and band.
2002/2003 - Home by Dixie Chicks: I remember listening to this CD on my drive home to and from work when I was pregnant with Katie. Absolutely LOVE this one, too
Now, I recognize that not all of these are top albums of all time, however during those particular times in my life, the albums each were pretty important to me. And there are many many more on my list (only shared a few with you now, to avoid boring you any longer). What I'm really wondering . . . is how about YOU? Have you thought about the Soundtrack to Your Life recently? Do you have one?
I don't imagine the Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack is going to remain the Soundtrack to My Life for very long. But for tonight, and probably tomorrow, it is. It gets me moving, it puts tears in my eyes (listen to track 9 - with a tissue, please!), it makes me laugh (track 10), and hearing little Ella sing along to "Best of Both Worlds" (track 18) at the top of her lungs is just about the most adorable thing I've ever seen.
So, what is YOURS (right now)? I'd love to hear it.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Last night . . . I, Leanne, recent blog writer of Perimenopause and out-of-shapeness . . . rode my bicycle! Yes, it's true. Those reports you heard on the news of the crazy woman riding her bike, after all these years, were true!!!! And it was me. And it was . . . AWESOME!!!
I needed that. Right about now in my life, I needed that feeling of complete and utter bliss. And I found it when my daughter, Katie (who recently has been the subject of many posts here), asked me if I would ride my bike around the block with her. What could I say? Well, I could have said, "No, honey. Mommy is just way too out of shape and hasn't ridden her bike in a few years and doesn't even think she could get around the block." But instead, I paused . . . thought about it . . . and said, "Ok."
And that was it. The look on her face alone made it worth it. She was so excited when that I said yes, that she ran outside yelling to her neighborhood friends, "HEY!! MY MOM IS GOING TO RIDE HER BIKE!!!" (Which, frankly, I wasn't too thrilled about, because all I need was more attention brought to my out-of-shape bootie riding on the bike.) But, again, I went with it.
And off we went. Around the block. Now, just to bring a little perspective to this . . . it's not a very big block. But a block, nonetheless. And I made it . . . all the way. Some folks were sitting out on their driveways along the way and I felt the need to apologize to them (why do I do that? now there's a therapy session waiting to happen.) But honestly, it was a perfect moment, and Katie was in all her glory. She kept turning towards me and saying, "How are you doing, Mommy? Are you doing ok? Are you having fun?" When we got back home, she went inside and asked Phil if he wanted to join us (YES, CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!?! We were going to RIDE SOME MORE!!! So, THERE! It really turned out to be even MORE than just a "ride around the block".) Phil grabbed Ellie and put her in the bike trailer he has attached to the back of his bike. And the four of us went for a lovely ride through the neighborhood. I felt like a kid. I felt free and alive and happy. I haven't felt that way for a long time. And it was truly awesome.
Later that night I overheard Phil talking to Katie about our ride. I heard Katie say to him, "Daddy, did you see Mommy riding her bike? I didn't even know she could do that. She was REALLY GOOD!" and I smiled. It's been so long since I've ridden my bike that she couldn't even remember it. And she was proud . . . of me. You know, I have had so many moments when I am proud of her. Tonight, my six year old was proud of ME. And it was the most amazing feeling I ever had.
Tonight, we are going bike riding, again.
Monday, September 7, 2009
I believe in this country.
I believe we need to stand TOGETHER. Not apart.
It is not easy. We all have problems and opinions and anger and unfair examples to bring up. The world is a rough place. Yet I would rather be one who finds solutions, not problems. And in between all the bad . . . there is good. I believe that.
Yes, yours is not an easy job. You are already aging. The worries and responsibilities on your shoulders are much more than I could even begin to imagine. But I thank you for stepping up and giving it a try. I support you. Because you are the President of these fine UNITED States.
- This letter to the President was written after a political discussion around the dinner table while celebrating the Labor Day Holiday. I am not a political activist, I do not intend to include posts like this in the future. But after a heated discussion at my home this weekend, I wanted to put a little letter out there to the President, from me. I was not encouraged, or discouraged, by anyone to write this letter. I think that, afterall, is what is so amazing about this country. That I can have my views, and you can have yours. And hopefully we will meet somewhere in between. If you do not agree with my letter, please do not discard me. Let's learn from each other. Photo courtesy of www.linkingmatters.com.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
What an insane week.
A week that I am glad to put behind me.
A week that I have learned so much. Cried a lot. Laughed a little. And grown. As a Mom. As a person.
What a week.
I thought, very certainly, that I was not going to blog about this week, because I didn't think I would find humor in it - just yet. Here I am, Saturday morning, beginning to feel a little lighter about it -and realizing that I don't think I will be able to blog about anything ELSE, until I share this one with my therapist (my blog). I think the creative writing side of my brain is being stalled by this story, and it needs to come out.
So, here goes.
Week #2 of Katie at school. Actually . . . day #6 (to be even more specific.) Phil was home on Wednesday (thank goodness) and I was at work. My phone rang at my desk and I picked it up to hear Phil say, "Honey, I just hung up the phone after the most upsetting conversation with the Principal at Katie's school." Without even realizing what I was doing, I had turned my computer off, stood up at my desk, reached for my purse, turned off my desk light, and was ready to head out the door to home - because if it upset my husband . . . then it was bad. And I had to be there.
My Katie. My imaginative, story telling, dreamer of a daughter, who makes me laugh and inspires me daily, decided to tell a story at school. An untrue story, to make matters worse. Katie told the school nurse (who then told the social worker and Principal) that every morning her Mommy and Daddy leave to go to work and leave her (I'm adding in here . . . "a SIX YEAR OLD") to wake up all alone, wake up her baby sister, change her baby sisters diaper, get themselves both dressed, fix them breakfast, comb their hair, and then, Katie goes and walks herself to the bus stop, and gets on the bus for school. Again, I remind you, all ALONE. Seriously.
So, sparing you most of the detail, my husband and I spent a couple hours that afternoon explaining that this was completely, absurdly and utterly UNTRUE and that we would never and have never, under ANY circumstance, left our children alone and unattended. Convincing this new school that we weren't unfit. And that, actually, we ARE pretty good parents. Seriously.
Now, somewhere inside I can chuckle and realize that we will laugh about this. But this week . . . this week I felt . . . absolutely . . . awful. I felt like I failed. I felt that I did something wrong in raising this child. Why in Gods earth would she say that we left her alone? Now, my brain can rationalize all of this (she tells stories, she had a **new audience** who was very interested in what she was saying and that helped her imagination soar, she wanted them to see her as a BIG girl doing BIG GIRL things, and on and on and on.) But my heart . . . augh. The fact that Katie told a lie is one thing, the fact that this lie could jeopardize our family and the future of our family is just unbearable.
So, we have been spending a great deal of time in this house talking about TRUTH the past few days. The importance of it. The choices we have to tell the truth. The consequences that we can be faced with if we don't.
Does she get it? Well, I'm hopeful. But I don't know. I only know that we will continue to reinforce these things to her daily, hourly, by the second, until I fully believe that she understands. I've spent the past few days really thinking about how I've raised Katie. Have I done a good job of teaching her the difference between right and wrong? Have I encouraged her imagination too much? Then all of a sudden I remember the moment of this photo below. . . taken in August of 2004. She was just about 14 months old. We were exploring the flowers (and picture taking opportunities) at Pilcher Park near our house. I remember this exact moment when we looked up and could see the moon in the bright blue sky. It was so beautiful. I said, "Can you catch the moon? Catch it!" and Katie stretched her little arms up, believing that she could CATCH THE MOON! Phil snapped this picture of her, with her little arm stretched out reaching for it. I love this picture.
Is that when it started? When we encouraged the imagination? I mean, could she really catch the moon? Of course not. But I wanted her to believe that she could. And, you know, even after a week like this one . . . I don't regret telling her to catch that moon. And I'd tell her to do it all over again.
Just maybe . . . um . . . next time, not in front of the nurse, social worker and Principal.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
You see, today I am on the defense against . . . SPANX. Seriously. Spanx. I believe that Spanx is the anti-christ. I'm pretty sure of it. And I'm a little offended that someone suggested I try them. That someone? A sweet, full-figured sales person at my favorite Lane Bryant store. Ok - I've made some strong statements here . . . so I better start backing them up, don't you think?
So the other day I had an opportunity to stop at Lane Bryant (hereby affectionately referred to as LB). I have a gift card from my sister that I haven't used yet, and thought I would stop in and see if I could find anything I can wear for an upcoming business trip. I found a few pairs of pants to try on, and was pretty sure they would work (right? wrong). Anyway, #1 . . . had some potential, #2 . . . was bad, #3 . . . was actually pretty good. However, I wasn't completely happy with the lines on my bottom (hereby affectionately referred to as bootie.) That's when the sweet, full-figured sales person suggested I try the SPANX. Let me start by telling you - I'm not upset with her. She was a doll and was really helping me. However, what she DID was sic the Anti-Christ on my thighs. And that action requires a little mentioning.
First of all - what is SPANX? Well . . . it's a GIRDLE!!!! Why have we given something a trendy modern name when it is just a plain ol'fashioned GIRDLE!?!?! Yes, I know SPANX are much lighter than the girdles of, say, my grandma's day and age. However . . . getting the Spanx up and over the bootie was, let's just say, a WILD CIRCUS ACT that surely would have gotten 1million+ hits on You Tube, if I had a camera with me. (Darn, why didn't I think of that? I could have made $1million off of America's Funniest Home videos! Wait - that means my bootie would have been seen by people all over the world. Ah, well.) Anyway, after much pulling, pushing, shoving, grunting, squatting, stretching and sweating . . . the spanx were on. And how did they look? Well, without the pants, I looked like a freshly stuffed polish sausage link. With the pants . . . I looked . . . pretty darn good. So I took the dressing room runway walk, up and down, and checked out my bootie from all angles. Yes, pretty good. I could live with this. That is . . . until I remembered something.
You see, I know that at some point when wearing said pants and spanx, I will have to use the ladies room. That's just a normal thing, right? Now, let's just imagine that it is the restroom ON AN AIRPLANE. Let's just IMAGINE that for a brief moment, why don't we? (But don't imagine it TOO long, because the thought is quite disturbing!) But could you, for a brief moment, picture my bootie and I pulling, pushing, shoving, grunting, squatting, stretching and sweating in an actual AIRPLANE restroom? HELL NO!
So, I did what any intelligent woman would do. I gladly handed my sweet, full-figure LB girl the opened SPANX and said, "No thank you!" and bought #1 - the some potential one. Taking a second look at #1 now, and I have to tell you, they look pretty darn good! Photo of spanx courtesy of http://www.spanx.com/.