Turn Around and Swim

Life | Lessons | Laughter | Love


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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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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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$182.13 and You Got What?

Some people decided to drink their St. Patty’s Day away. Others suddenly turned Irish for a day. Some looked to the leprachauns for luck and inspiration. I went broke on my three little clovers. I decided to forego the festivities and spend the day with my little men. We had a great day filled with a mommy workout, a free lunch due to their creative coloring artwork submissions to a local cafe, boys haircuts super pimped out style, a trip to the grocer and an all hands on deck homemade dinner. It was the “Patty’s Day of Perfection”. Well almost.

After it took more of a workout to get out the door Sunday morning to get the kids to my gym than my actual workout, I got dooped by the gym childcare center. Apparently somewhere between a gym name change and last Saturday they now require a key card pass to check the kids into the kiddie zone at the gym. I’m sorry but I seem to have missed that memo. It required all this paperwork, new credit card on file, blood type, shoe size, a photo ID of me with the kids, me separately and then each kid separately. By the time I checked into the workout class they were already 3 towels of sweat into their groove and by the time I busted my first bead, class dismissed. Huh?

Then off we went to gather our free brunch courtesy of childhood doodles. As they each cashed in their lucky leprechaun coloring pics, I was standing in between them and the mob of drunks from the local college who needed a quick carb fix before round two of their Guinness frenzy. Yikes. When you tell children some people just act silly on St. Patty’s day and they look at you with a questionable gleam in their eyes, do know they know. Anyways, we carried on through our brunch while I distracted them by spilling Vitamin Water all over my lap. Oh boys, time to go, mommy made a mess.

Would you like a hot facial wrap with your neck and shoulder massage there little fella?

Would you like a hot facial wrap with your neck and shoulder massage there little fella?

Luckily it was a “National Holiday” or something observed for all things Irish and nobody was getting their haircut on a Sunday afternoon. Most people don’t down 10 pints of Guinness and crave a haircut. Most people. So we had the whole place to ourselves. Now let me tell you these boys got the royal sports spa deluxe treatment for free. I’m talking haircut, scalp massage, wash, wax, dry, finish, hot towel facial wrap and neck and shoulder massage. They definitely got the MVP VIP upgrade. I can only imagine how they talked their way into this one.

When I went to the ladies room I didn’t expect to come out and see the three amigos getting massages and wrapped in towels. But I do know what I will do the next time they are getting too wild and crazy. I will institute the mommy hot towel wrap massage session. They were so quiet. I totally would have paid extra for this service and I even inquired how I can pay in advance to secure this MVP VIP treatment in the future. I actually read six uninterrupted pages of my book I downloaded last August. Count them. Six. Six whole pages.

Now with nothing but time and booze free fun ahead of us, we headed to the grocer for a few things. The kids begged and pleaded for each of them to have their own cart. Peeno had a mini me and Noochie and Nickelbass got the express shopper dual basket cart. So we were off. Mama duck and her three little ducklings cruising from aisle to aisle. Now when there is one cart and eight hands, I can usually put things back onto the shelves (a few aisles away of course – and I do apologize in advance for messing up the store). But when there are four carts and three sets of grabby hands, I cannot be responsible for what happens.

So, as they were unloading their carts and I was desperately trying to open a fruit stick for Peeno before he had a major meltdown, the cashier was scanning and scanning and scanning. It wasn’t until my oldest asked, “Umm Mommy, do you have money? Like a lot?” I immediately threw down the fruit stick, well, tried to shake the sticky thing, and peered up at the running total. $170.00 and still scanning. Then the cashier pages Customer Service Baggage Help. Oh no that could never be a good sign. So when all was said and done I had to hand over a card because cash wouldn’t cut it as my total was $182.13. Cha-ching! Now mind you I had just gone grocery shopping three days earlier.

Being this independent can only mean trouble.

Being this independent can only mean trouble.

When we got home and I began to unload the groceries, these are some of the items we now have in stock. Two pineapples, a cantaloupe, cherry tomatoes, tomatoes on the vine, hydroponic tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, potatoes in every family to include Idaho, Yukon, Red, Sweet and Yam. We also have every variety of Kids Cliff bars in triples. Three mega size shower gels, deodorant for a five-year old, protein powder for a nine-year old, bananas, more bananas, another pineapple, almond bites, ice cream sandwiches, 4 pints of ice cream and frozen pizza in plain, BBQ chicken, Greek, pepperoni and sausage. We also have sesame sticks, trail mix in everywhere color of the rainbow and I no longer have a pot o’ gold.

But we learned about economics and bartering. We learned that sometimes it takes 4 bags of coffee to get the grinder to explode work and grind the beans. We learned that our grocer has a baggage help person on staff. We learned that coupons are pointless when it comes to keeping hands from getting stuck on a conveyor belt. We learned that mommy cannot just whip out a card when the green stuff runs low. We learned teamwork and most importantly we learned that spending time together, no matter what the cost, is worth it. Even if after $182.13 and my bags didn’t even include mommy juice wine.

After the initial shock of cost and the full stocked pantry, we were able to use our ingredients to prepare a delicious dinner. Like all hands in the cart, we had all hands in the Sunday dinner food prep. It was lovely and if I had to do it again, I wouldn’t get a sitter for two hours at $10.00 bucks a pop for a quiet budget wise trip. Sometimes the most unplanned and out of budget mishaps turn into the best adventures.

Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle. - James Russell Lowell

Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle. – James Russell Lowell

So parents, do you bring your children to the grocer? Do you leave them at home with a sitter? What did you do back in the day?


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

"At the end of the day, it isn't where I came from.  Maybe home is somewhere I'm going and never have been before." - Warsan Shire

“At the end of the day, it isn’t where I came from. Maybe home is somewhere I’m going and never have been before.” – Warsan Shire

They crouched down on the snow-white ground and peered into someone’s home.  My little boys wondering what tiny, fury animal makes his way in and out of this hole each and every day.  The place spiders, squirrels, insects and chipmunks shield themselves from cold winter nights and hot summer days.  In the tree’s crevice these little critters hide from stronger beasts.  The place they call home.

I often think about the boys and where we live.  The place we leave from and return each day.  The place I call home.  The place where I have watched them take their first steps, eat their first foods, ride their bikes without training wheels and make off from, onto a school bus.  The place where we planted trees and watch our wild flowers grow.  The place where we run through sprinklers and chase fireflies at night.  This place we call home.

Yet, these are moments that define our home.  The moments can travel with us to any place we set up our temporary camp.  We cannot define our love for each other by the brick and mortar that surrounds us every night.  Real home is living in the moment and building experiences.  Home is where the heart is and it does not stop when encased by a layer of wood, brick or glass.  Home is not a place, but a moment. 

For the protection of the tree only shields and contains us, it doesn’t define us.

– Swimgirl


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Weekly Photo Challange: Unique

In a new post specifically created for this challenge, share a picture that says UNIQUE to you.

Vote for Me!  Grande Mocha Whip Cupcake (with Life, Laughter, Lessons and Love)

Vote for Me! Grande Mocha Whip Cupcake (with Life, Laughter, Lessons and Love)

I’m a mom of three boys.  Am I unique?  I sure am not.  People raise children every single day.  I own a business.  Am I unique?  Nope.  People work hard in their careers each and every day.  I can bake.  Am I unique?  For some, perhaps, that missed the Betty Crocker gene.  But I’m just a girl who can bake.  Nothing too extreme or out of the ordinary.  BUT, is this cupcake you are drooling over in the above photograph unique?  You bet it is.

I am not a professional baker.  I am not trying to go places with some creative little cake that represents many things I love.  Yet, with my whole 2013 resolutions came this quest to think outside of the box and venture outside of my comfort zone.  It is about doing things I’ve never done before.  So the two zero one three to a new me is pushing me out into a world I typically would not explore.  It’s about doing things when you’re told you can’t.

So, I entered this unique delectable treat into a cupcake contest at celebrations.com.   Upon entering, I did not see the micro-fine print that said this was a social media contest.  Fortunately, with age no longer comes the need for numbers.   That keep track of how many friends you have tally up.  It’s about quality relationships with alum, those you love and those you want to be a part of your life and your Facebook escapades.  I probably have about 368 friends on Facebook.  Could I have 4,000?  Maybe I could.  But I prefer to keep things light, airy and simple.  Yet, my cupcake is special.  It is unique.  But do I have a chance to win this contest?  Perhaps I do if I start friending everyone. 

People I don’t know like my mother’s cousins, brother’s son’s BFF from college daughter’s ex-boyfriend.  So, I need the help of my fellow blogmates.  We too are unique.  In our own little place here in the blogosphere.  So, I am inviting you all to look into the story behind this cupcake by clicking right HERE.  I know it is hard to vote for something you have not sampled.  But this really isn’t about taste.  It’s about spreading the word and social networking.  It’s about enlisting friends, family, fellow bloggers and all their followers into making this cupcake come to life by winning the 2nd Annual Celebrations Cupcake Crown.

So, if you want to help me keep my Facebook friend status manageable and take down the other cakes, click the link below.  This to me is unique.  

vote-for-me[1]

Why are you unique?  Feel free to leave a link to your most unique blog post in the comments section!


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It’s A Boy! (Volume 3, 3rd Edition)

For a short while, our mothers' bodies are the boundaries and personal geography which are all that we know of the world. Once we no longer live beneath our mother's heart, it's the earth with which we form the same dependent relationship." - Louise Erdrich

For a short while, our mothers’ bodies are the boundaries and personal geography which are all that we know of the world. Once we no longer live beneath our mother’s heart, it’s the earth with which we form the same dependent relationship.” – Louise Erdrich

It cannot be your third Birthday already. Where have the past 36 months gone? I remember like it was yesterday when I would tell people, you are 5 days old, one month old, 18 months old and now I have you classified in years. Three to be exact. Well little man, today is your day. Of course we celebrate all things you and all that is so very special about being three.

You will start preschool in the Fall. You will turn to me and wave as the teacher pleads with me to give you one last kiss and leave you be. I am not sure I will be ready to walk away. Soon you will be out of diapers…forever. You will want to play with your friends more than me. You will write your name. You will brush your own teeth and visit the dentist for the first time. You will call me mom more than mommy.

All these things are special. They mean you are growing up and becoming more independent. Yet, I want you to be little forever. I want to be able to sit in the rocking chair and rock you to sleep. Instead, you want to be one of three little monkeys jumping on the bed. I want to snuggle with you every night, even if it means maneuvering my adult body into your toddler fire truck bed. But lately I’m being replaced by Jingle the stuffed dog and Thomas the Train.

There you go, while I watch you grow

There you go, while I watch you grow

This summer you will put on a helmet and take a ride on a bike with training wheels. Yet, I just had the stroller wheel replaced so we can go on long, exploration hikes in the park. Perhaps I may still have a bit more time to push you in a stroller. You will swing by yourself and will only need my gentle touch to get you started. You will start swimming on your own and will not need to cling onto me for dear life. You will paint, draw and create with little or no help from me.

You will stand on the stage during your three-year pre-school Holiday performance one year from now. You are officially old enough to play smart start tee-ball, basketball and mighty mites football. I will watch from the sidelines as you run off onto the fields and courts looking back and waving to me. I will not be able to go out there with you, holding your hand.

You will request playdates more than trips to the grocery store with me. You will be able to attend the library story time without an adult by your side. You will get into conflicts and will want to work them out for yourself because you now know how to share and express your thoughts on your own.

It is hard being mommy sometimes; watching you and your brothers grow. Some days I do wish I could be without a diaper bag, multiple change of clothes and an endless supply of keep you busy activities. But then it’s days like today, your third Birthday that make me wish you were young forever.

Especially being my baby, my last born, I want to cradle you in my arms. I want to sing you lullabies again and rock you gently to sleep. I want to hear your cry at 3 a.m. because you are hungry or need me to soothe you back to a slumber. I want you to reach up to me making the motion for me to pick you up. I want to hear you say your first word again, watch you take your first step and eat your first foods. But I cannot go back.

Yet, these moments will remain in my heart forever. You will always be my baby, whether three, thirty-three or fifty-three. We are moving along through this journey called life. I know we will create new memories and cherish those as well. I know if I beg you, you will still call me mommy sometimes and not just mom. I know that when you have your college buddies over, I can make you mommy’s secret recipe hot chocolate and your pals with think I am the bomb. I can still bake you cookies, call and sing to you and buy you new clothes. We can always go apple picking, to get cookies at Starbucks and play on the slides.

Close your eyes and make a wish and blow them out like a little fish

Close your eyes and make a wish and blow them out like a little fish

But for now, today, I celebrate you. I celebrate you being just three and here with me. I will watch as you tear open your presents and scream with delight because you get yet another Thomas the Train and Friends. I will celebrate as you smile from ear to ear with your little, bitty baby teeth as we sing Happy Birthday to you. Then I will watch as you close your eyes, make a wish and blow out your candles.

Even though I want to be selfish and squeeze you up and keep you little forever, I do aspire that all your wishes come true! Happy Birthday Peeno. May all your dreams come true…today, tomorrow and always. I love you!

This post’s draft was written prior to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Once again, these events change things like our perspectives and our thoughts. These events challenge our faith and bring reality to our fears. My heart goes out to the families, the children and administration along with my prayers and thoughts. These were and are children just starting their lives. Our children should feel safe and secure ALWAYS. This has to stop. Do not forget to hug and kiss your children everyday! Please take a moment here to stop and offer a moment of silence for those lost on December 14, 2012.

____________________________________

Thank you!


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What’s in Your Cup? A Cinnamon Powder Reflection

“What Lies Behind Us and What Lies Before Us are Small Matters Compared to What Lies Within Us” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s Monday and we meet again for our Monday Morning Mojo Booster via What’s In Your Cup?  Now don’t go and log off or get all hot and bothered, I will begin blogging my regular show here again soon.  This is just an added bonus to keep me accountable and you sharing in on the fun.

I started my morning off with an Extra Shot Soy Latte.  Since I wanted it served in a real cup that requires dishwashing, I ventured into the cafe.  I thought it would be a great way to start a Monday coming off of a tryptophan coma and many days filled with Holiday hoopla.  What I didn’t anticipate is what I would find in my cup.

Once the froth cleared and the cinnamon powder settled to the bottom, there in my cup were two twinkling eyes and a button nose.  Now this isn’t some freak thing like where people see images of saints or athletes in their grilled cheese sandwiches, this was just my very own reflection staring back at me.

It is bit different to see your reflection in anything other than a mirror and a coffee stained glimpse of my morning face was initially a bit startling.  Yet, as I looked deeper into my cup I couldn’t see the bottom no matter how hard I tried.  Then when my thoughts and eyes carried me back to the rim, I was gone.  But it got me to thinking and reflecting and thinking some more. 

You can’t always see the bottom, sometimes you have to be still and just float and other times, you have to tread like hell. – Swimgirl

The year is quickly coming to an end and with all the holiday happenings, it will be easy to get side-tracked and caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season.  This morning, I vowed to make a point to stop and reflect on this year before anticipating the next.  So, with that being scripted, I shall reflect on the events of the year.  Here is a list of my top ten reflections for 2012:

1) Spending time with a loved one in their last few days here on earth can be extremely spiritual and healing.

2)  As taken from my two-year old son; Whenever someone asks what you are up to and you really care to not share, just answer, “Anything!”

3)  Saving for a rainy day is encouraged, saving for a storm is a must!

4)  There will come a time when you have to walk away from all the drama and just do for you.

5)  As taken from my five-year old son;  Things don’t always happen when you want them too, so you might as well make a melody out of the madness.  Because when you have to go #2 in a public restroom, wearing your Sunday best and mom is frustrated because we are out to brunch, just sit on the pot and make like Gene Autry.  “Frosty the Snowman will get the job done mom and I will be out soon!”  He can carry a tune that kid even if in the wrong setting.

6)  Sometimes you have to lose your map to really know your path.

7)  Deep breaths can heal your soul, even if temporarily and sweating like mad on a yoga mat.

8)  There will always be people throwing boulders.  You have to make like a river and flow over, around and in between them.  There will be times when you have to swim along with the current and at other times you can rest and it will carry you.

9)  As taken from my nine-year old son; You cannot always be the way people want you to be, sometimes you have to be you.  “I don’t always color in between the lines, but I like it that way sometimes.”

10)  Never stop being grateful.  For even in turbulent times, there is at least one thing you can close your eyes, breathe deeply and smirk about.

I am grateful for a lidless cup of java today.  Grateful that I took the time to sit still and just show up.  That with only 36 days left of 2012, I still have time to reflect on the past, look forward to the future and pause in the present.  That before busting out the journals, notebooks, scratch pads and eNotes to start our list of resolutions, we can also make a list of reflections.  Some may be good and some we may not want to turn back to.  Yet, each event makes us who we are.  It is our own unique story that some day will be our legacy. 

So, What’s In Your Cup?  Is there anything in your cup worthy of reflection?  Is there anything you could share that would stir the cup of communication?  Perhaps you prefer to reflect silently.  It’s all good here.  But I challenge you to pause, show up and just be before the end of the year. 

 Life Is Only A Reflection of What We Allow Ourselves To See