Turn Around and Swim

Life | Lessons | Laughter | Love


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It’s Gonna Be Alright Because N-Wide is on My Side

Awe F*^k goes the too smart for his bridges first grader. And the teacher giggles. But she can’t let the F-bomb drop and dissipate without consequence.

So she summons my then first grader to the podium where she frantically taught art skills to rambunctious little tikes. Perfectionism can be a curse when the tissue paper flower gets saturated with just a wee bit too much Elmer’s.

For my little Nooch is just that, a class-A perfectionist. Don’t start talking about how apples don’t fall far from trees now either.

It was what it was that Spring Day in May. Imperfect. He tried so hard to apply just the right amount of glue to his perfect tissue paper flower to make the perfect Mother’s Day Card. It was cut perfectly with perfect little bubble letters adorned in every color of the rainbow including the pastel palette, bright palette, spring glitter palate and classic color palette. I mean it’s not Crayola if wide tip washable markers don’t come in 50 shades of the original eight.

But it was all perfect and colorful until the glue runneth over and melted the tissue paper flower and made 50 shades of Crayola bleed all over his perfect Mother’s Day poem. He went from Roses are red, light red, deep red, off red to violets are blue, green and with yellow marble hue to what the f*^k is up with this glue.

So the teacher offers him an option. She could penalize him for dropping the F-bomb or leave it up to mom. Now naturally to some, leaving it up to mom might be the harsher of the sentence, while a 63 year old grandmother of 24 might impose the more lenient of penalties. But instead, as a perfectionist has to make the perfect decision, he tells his teacher he needs to think about it.

She is astounded. My what big bridges you have there little fellow. For you just dropped the F Bomb in class and you are telling me you need a moment to think about who will implement your punishment. Yet, she is laughing hysterically on the inside.

She sends me an email followed by a voice message with a giggle in her tone, about the events of the day. She further proceeds to indicate, that after several minutes, a pro and con list and summoning of a few fist grade colleagues, Noochie has decided to allow his mother to administer the punishment.

So as I learn of the daily news and think long and hard as to what would be the appropriate consequence, I accept and relay I will report back tomorrow with his penance.

Later that evening after I’m sure he squirmed all through after school snack, homework, dinner, and baseball practice, I mention to the little guy we need to have a talk.
Instantaneously, I am sure he had visions of a trip to Bath and Body Works. Perhaps they may have bubble gum flavored soap.

“Well my son, I appreciate you wanting to make the perfect Mother’s Day Card for me. I’m sorry the glue took on a mind if it’s own and wouldn’t stop flowing from its BPA laden bottle, but you have to have a sense of self control with your words. Plus curse words, in English, Italian or any other language for that matter must be refrained from,” I declare!

He is just kinda nodding his head, taking it all in and then says, “It’s gonna be fine.” Little dude. It’s not fine my man, you can’t drop F-Bombs.

I proceed to ask how he can be so nonchalant about using this language and he replies, “It’s gonna be fine. I’ve heard and know so because nationwilder is on my side. And if nationwilder, like the whole wide nation is on my side, then mommy it’s gonna be fine!”

Well, there you have it my friends, you can take the F out of the Bomb but you can’t take the bomb out of the kid. Or something like that. And I guess, when you feel like you are down and out, you’ll always have nationwilder on your side. Unless you are my offspring. We use another four letter word to protect us, it starts in E and ends in e.

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I Wanna Drink That Shot of Whiskey

thCAVX1DYRI was given a dog and couldn’t blog.  It was brown.  It went down hard.  It had a bad aftertaste like that shot of Whiskey when you didn’t need it but was given to you anyways.

He was boisterous.  He peed and pooped everywhere.  He had big feet and a silly ridge on his back.  He looked at me for something.  I had nothing to give.  I was consumed.  I was spent.  He wanted my attention.  He wanted to take me from my black pup.  My loyal friend who started the most important journey of my life with me.

She sat on my lap.  She smothered me when I brought my newborn baby boy home.  She was loyal when I left her alone while I slipped off with baby boy #1, #2 and #3.  She was there.  She was loyal.  She waited patiently every night to all was calm.  She laid next to my bed.  She woke when I woke.  My girl.

Brown dog wanted me and I couldn’t give to him.  She needed me.  My boys needed me.  My business needed me.  My sleep requested my presence.  My sanity called out to me.  But ole’ brownie, well he was, the push to my swing.

Looking back May 2013 something, he was put into my life to make me swing high.  To pump those legs faster.  To try to reach for the tree tops.  To never stop swinging.  He was terrible but exactly what I needed to walk down that aisle. To walk down it with my head held high.  To take off the glimmer, the shine and the 4 C’s that aren’t always a girl’s best friend.   To replace that glitz, those infinite promises not fulfilled with a smile.  To free the left hand ring finger of the bounds of unhappiness.  To open my eyes and heart to what lay ahead.

The aisle was narrow.  It felt clausterphobic.  I felt like I wouldn’t be able to breathe but then it got wider.  It eventually lead me to the road.  A curvy road.  A quiet, lonely road with no signs, no directionals, no end in sight.  I kept going.  I kept going for Holly girl and the strength she showed me.  Revert back to post http://wp.me/p2eEsV-cy. I kept going for my boys.

Now that I’m rounding the last few months of the back 9 of the 30 course, I love, I’ve grown and I heal.  I see the end of the curvy road and realize it is only the beginning.  That boys are awesome because they see through the drama.  That authenticity is a rarity.  That those who “think” they are real are really just cowards.  For if they knew real and did real, they wouldn’t humor.  They wouldn’t use sarcasm to wash away the dirt or throw more at you.  They’d confront.  They’d tell you off for mother fricken sake.

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I love.  I know that red wine doesn’t always stain.  That Whiskey can heal sore gums in infanthood and beyond.  I know that for every bad deed you do, you can do double the good deeds. I know the most important people you could ever have in your life still love you even if you aren’t always loveable.  I know Holly watches over me and mine and is brown dog’s Guardian Angel.  I know that disappearing people doesn’t make you invincible.

So find your sense of authenticity.  Don’t be a coward.  Because the coward in you may turn on you.  It may want out.  It may want to go back to that one they betrayed.  So don’t be fake.  Be real.  And thankfully people, I’m that girl again who can blog because of a dog!  And dammit it friends, let’s drink to that!


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Thankfully He Wasn’t REALLY Drowning

(Image Courtesy of Google)

(Image Courtesy of Google)

So the three little monkeys of mine now have swimming lessons. All in one place and for a half an hour every week. For thirty minutes I sit calmly and safely. I sit there and zone out from time to time while cannon balls shatter in the distance. I nod my head every once in a while to acknowledge a water tread, back float or half attempt at a dive. I nod away, they think I’m watching.

Sometimes if I get really animated I yell out, “Great job boys, keep it up.” I feel so free. I know there will be no Sharpie’s upon my walls or gallons of milk dripping from the counters. I know no child has clogged a toilet with a toy screwdriver which would later lead to its demise and removal. I know nobody is putting special bubbly in mommy’s contact case. I know no child is breaking and entering a neighbor’s home for chips in their pantry. I am at peace.

Why in the world didn’t I come up with this sooner? Why? This is the calmest thirty minutes I get each week. I do not care if the instructors pass them. I will pay anything to keep them learning water survival tactics. You’ll see, by the time they are 20, 15 and 13, we will have Olympic hopefuls in the making. I am a perfectionist and I believe, in order to achieve, we must practice, practice, practice. Ah, Namaste.

So by the time Peeno gets out of the pool and I wipe him dry, Noochie is getting out. Then Nickelbass finishes up his last belly flop from the high dive. Now I have regrouped, recharged and didn’t even need alcohol. But as we all know, all good things must come to an end. Now when your children are escorted out of the pool by their instructor, you dry them off and they put their shoes on, you expect them to make their way towards the exit sign. There should be no need to have your guard up or your mommy defense in overdrive. Nobody is getting back into the pool.

But yesterday when I was gathering my belongings, because somehow we always leave with more articles of clothing than we came in with, little Noochie decides to conduct a test. Yes, quite similar to the Emergency Broadcast System. Where it gets your attention until you hear, “This is only a test”. Well I guess over the thirty minutes while I was meditating, when I thought little Noochie was working hard at his breast stroke, he was eyeing up the Lifeguards.

(Image Courtesy of Google)

(Image Courtesy of Google)

Not in the ‘dude scoping out the chicks’ kind of way, but as in, ‘are they really paying attention kind of way’. Oh yes, you guessed it. He “accidentally” falls in. Of course they do nothing. I hurdle the swim team members, resin chairs and water-logged noodles and practically jump in after him. He says, “Mommy just calm down. I got this.” Then he swims to the ladder and in Baywatch fashion climbs out. I am all like in fight or flight mode and this little $h*t walks up to the Lifeguard and goes,”Hey, I just fell in the pool and you weren’t even paying attention.” I wanted to crack him upside his head. Yet, at the same time, he did have a point. Well at least he proved a point, which is exactly what he set out to do.

The Lifeguards are all apologizing to him, a five-year old, and I was still without words due to a potential drowning shock. But last night as I lay in bed with fury critters (more on that to come) I thought to myself, what a sly little guy. He is five and while he was challenging his instructor to push his limits and watching me to make sure I didn’t miss a stroke, he was also eyeing up the fact that the Lifeguards were not life guarding. The fact that teenagers were shaking in their swimmers for fear of job loss as a result of a five-year old’s test, just awed me.

Last year on vacation, when a stranger said to her sister, “That boy. That boy right there is gonna be somebody. He just has that look about him.” Well, she was talking about Noochie. I guess she was on to something. I hope I survive to see his triumphs.

What recent scare did you almost ___________ your pants from? What about you LifeGuards? Do you pay less attention when parents are around?


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Asphalt Soup and the Math Goes Whoop

I’m pretty confident I am ready for the school year to be complete. I really am over fourth grade. In fact, I was over it back in 1980 something too. Now it’s all coming back to me because I have little children. Little children that still need my help with homework. What they don’t get is I need Google and I need sleep. Oh thank heavens for Google. Education is just different these days. Seriously how in the world did I get a college degree and start and manage a business? I think we were still on cut and pasting in the fourth grade. Oh and fractions and decimals, that $h*t didn’t start until Junior High.

So after an eight-hour day of work, dinner, baths, homework (sort of) and getting three kids to bed, sometimes mommy dearest can make mistakes. Especially when it comes to checking fourth grade Math homework. It happens, people, let it go! A free pass for incorrectness should be an excusable mishap given most nights I wrestle my three-year old to get to sleep. Oh and laying in bed with my five-year old while he reads to me, it is sweet on most odd days but every other day including Holidays, I sometimes want to pull my hair out. Just say the word already. It sounds like shout.

My patience runs low on energy at about 8:00p.m.  Plus fourth grade Math homework is waiting for me after ‘Splat the Cat‘. I am not a bad mom, I’m real. You know it parents, frustration with a capital F. Oh my friends, that is a whole other blog post bubbling in my veins but for now we focus here on Math mistakes.

Because they can and will happen. And when I am exhausted, the last thing I want to do is help my son with his Math homework. So if I incorrectly add and multiple then divide by ten thousandths and make my ten-year old change his answers, I think I get a free pass. If the stupid a$$ decoder using our answers gives us *asphault soup, then so be it. If asphalt is also misspelled, than please excuse that as well.

20130430-215138.jpgSo, please Mrs. Teacher do not reprimand my son for being mischievous. I made him change the answers and the two freaking words with one misspelled fit in the boxes so with much sleep deprivation and mommy exhaustion we decoded *asphault soup instead of getting the said better code of alphabet soup. I mean really, no need to send an email.  No need to hand out the pink detention slips.  Although I wouldn’t mind sitting alone in a Library for an hour with complete silence. 

Because in all reality, why after two hours of working through the problems do we have to then play Pink Panther and decode the secret riddle anyways? Just turn the $h*t in and call it a day. Yep, that’s what happens when you have that attitude. My son is still calling me out for it. He was summoned to the teacher’s desk for being naughty. It was I Mrs. Teacher and I am freaking tired. So if school does not get out for summer soon, this mama will be face planting in *asphault soup.

So, I ask, what BIG mistake have you made when helping little missy or junior with their homework?

*Asphalt purposely misspelled to fit on a line.  Namaste!


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Weekly Photo Challenge: UP

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Spring. The universal time when the layers come together. Building one upon the other. Where the rooted tree stretches up, reaching for the sky. It stands firm. It is rooted deep into the depths of the earth. Strong but bending to accommodate change. It takes in the light of the mid day’s sky and the buds begin to open…up, and we too awaken.


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Rock a Bye My Baby

I blinked and then waited two minutes. I blinked again as the two bars appeared in the window. I blinked again and there they were, still looking at me. My gaze was fixated. My limbs were numb. My emotions were high. It was real. You were real. My whole world was changing. You were the blessing that would make it happen.

During the nine months you tossed and cuddled inside me, so much of my young life was evolving. I rarely had time to slow down and embrace what it meant to be “with child.” But we ran, boy, we ran. We hustled and started a business. We worked long hours and would be swollen from exhaustion. We pushed through every tingle and overcame every pain. It was all happening so fast. Nine months go by too quick. But on the day you were born you reminded me to slow down. To appreciate our last day together as mother carrying her unborn child. You planned it this way. I know this now, son.

It was just you and I that day babe. We worked a little, played a little, visited with friends and family. We baked a little and snuggled on the couch to grab one last movie. The last movie that would be watched in its entirety without any interruptions. As I snuggled into the soft silky sheets for bed and the spring breeze blew through the room, you gave me a little tug. Then another and I knew, it was almost time for us to finally meet. You gave me the day, our last moments to prepare for both of our about to change forever lives.

You put me through every test. At times you stole my breath away. At times I thought gravity would pull me under. But then at the magical hour of 10:00 a.m., I heard the most precious three words I would ever hear in my life. Some say there are no more precious of words than “I love you”. I disagree. Even though I was tired, emotional, scared and joyful, when I heard “It’s a Boy”, those my son were the three most precious words that fell upon my ears.

7585_10151333929577031_183119441_n[1]You were beautiful. You grew so fast. From cat naps in my arms, to stroller rides to sliding down the slide all by yourself. Then it seemed like overnight you left my side to go to pre-school. The day you got on the bus to ride off to Kindergarten just melted my heart. Your first crack of the bat was like a melody I hear over and over again. Your first touchdown took my breath away yet another time. But you ran, boy you ran.

Your first ride without training wheels would prepare me to encourage you to go forth independently. Your climbs so high upon the trees allowed me to see how much determination you had. Your jumping in puddles, rolling in the mud and food stained shoulders and sleeves have shown me how not to sweat the small stuff. Your hand print stains upon the walls and trails and trails of parmesan balls taught me that messiness is what makes a house a home.

Now you are growing up. You are leaving behind the single digits. The past ten years have taught me more about life, empathy and love than any other years of my existence. There are days I reflect on my own life the past decade. How I have changed and grown and opportunities I might have missed. But if I had a chance for a do over, a chance to repeat, I would do it exactly the same.

I would still hold you until you stopped crying. I would still let you crawl into my bed. I would still sleep on the floor next to your bed, when you felt ill. I would push you 100 times more on the swings and chase after you when you made off for the street. I would still roll around in the grass with you and push bulldozers in the mud. I would still be your elementary class room mom again and again. I would finger-paint until our hands were stained and count your little piggies. I would still rock you to sleep even when my arms went numb and my eyes grew heavy. I want to ‘Rock a Bye’ my baby again.

But we grow. We move forward. I am not sad that those days are over, I’m glad that they happened. Now as you set forth in the land of double digits, I know the next decade will fly by too. I know I will look back again ten years from now and relish the bittersweet moments again. But today I reflect. I reflect on a decade gone by. I reflect on the fact that when I heard “It’s a Boy” that no matter how Type A or organized you strive to be, every day is a new beginning, its very own unplanned adventure. You gave me that gift, son. For that, I am ever grateful and one lucky girl.

Soon you and I will gather at the starting line. When we hear the whistle sound, we will make off towards our goal. The finish line will be ahead of us and we leave behind the single digits. When we cross the finish line, we won’t stop suddenly and call it an ending. We will cross through and carry on. I look forward to our first 5k together. Rocking it out with you, my baby, and we will run, boy, we will run!

539746_4672238565578_485366123_n[1]“When you put yourself on the line in a race and expose yourself to the unknown, you learn things about yourself that are very exciting.”
- Doris Brown Heritage, pioneer in women’s distance running


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Let Running Reign

20130416-110836.jpg “We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves…The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, ‘You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.’ The human spirit is indomitable.” -Sir Roger Bannister, first runner to run a sub-4 minute mile

For a runner, running is freedom.  Running is facing your fears, your “I cannots” and going the extra mile.  When your feet hit the pavement, it creates a symphony.  A collection of notes you create.  You set the tempo, the softness and the beat as you go along with Mother Nature’s rhythm.

Some days we conquer and others days we take it slow, erring on the side of caution. Then there are those days we have no fear.  We plow through. Sometimes we arrive sooner and other times later. But we arrive.  We are present.

We gain acceptance of the challenges, conquer our fears of the unknown and relish in the beauty and adventure. When we finish, we are humbled.  We are strong.  We overcame.  We defeated our negative thoughts.  We made it happen.

Whether we are crossing a finishing line, laying down to rest or slowing down to avoid injury, we conquered.  We let running reign and so to will freedom.

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