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Saturday, June 29, 2019

Exciting and Terrifying Beginnings


Alright alright I know it’s been awhile. I haven’t dropped the ball I promise I’ve just been juggling other balls while I kept this one tucked under my chin.

It’s time to release the ‘blog’ ball once again. Let it fly!

Let me tell you right off I’m in Canada (yippie!). The flight here was as wondrous and glorious as air travel can be with a five year old and a two year old and a tiny dog. No one threw up, no one did number two in their underwear, the dog waited until we landed to have diarrhea so all in all it was perfect.

First night here we all crashed hard after some home made chicken noodle soup (thanks dad!) and the second night the universe tried to kill me.

It all started with the alarm clock Benji had been playing with during the day. It went off at three pm and I turned it off, eventually. I had a nagging thought I should probably just unplug it but I’m still learning to trust my own instincts. (How old are you again?)

Old enough to know better. At 13 minutes after midnight the alarm clock blared to life and I was in Ben’s room and pulling the plug from the wall before I woke up. Once I did wake up I realized I was holding the top part of the cabinet (which was sitting prettily on top of the chest of drawers) and every single precious breakable thing mom owned had slid and shattered on the floor at my bare feet. It, too, was sliding slowly to the floor except that I was holding it up with my shoulder.

“Um. Bill?”

Bill, having heard the alarm go off but was resting comfortably in the knowledge that I would get there faster being both younger and quicker, heard the crash and reached for his glasses.

Benji sat up bleary eyed in his bed and miraculously didn’t cry and didn’t try to run to me over the glinting shards of glass bears and figurines scattered on the floor.

“BILL!?” by now Bill had gotten his glasses on, carefully pulled his feet from the tangled sheets and walked to me.

I’m not struggling because I’m like She-Ra from carrying around Benji’s 31 pound frame all day. I waited patiently as he flicked on the light and surveyed the damage. Then he stepped in glass in his bare feet all the way to me to put up the falling hutch. How he didn’t get any cuts on his feet is beyond me. He was very, very careful.

We put it back on top of the dresser and stared around us in amazement. “Where do I start?” I remember saying. Bill looked at me mutely. Bill may be in management but I’m the boss in situations like these and I ordered him about like a general.

“Take Benji to your room. I need shoes. Shut the door behind you. I’ll clean it up.”
And I did. From 12:13 to 12:45am I swept and carefully placed large broken bear bums and Precious Moments heads into the blue plastic garbage can.

When I was done Bill wandered back in and shook out the mat onto the floor and then went back to bed.

I don’t know if he went back to sleep but I laid awake for two hours waiting for the adrenaline to dissipate.

Anyway, that was the exciting and terrifying beginning to my Canadian vacation.

While I was overthinking everything after the incident I thought maybe this was a good analogy for life. Sometimes everything precious to you (or to your mom) gets shattered in a random, unexpected way. You may be left in the middle of your wreckage of a life and wonder what the blazes to do next.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re looking at the whole picture. I am speaking from experience, and not just in regards to the broken figurines.

Luckily all we ever need to do is the next step, and then the next. It’s terribly simple and yet so hard to do. But if you can allow your monkey-brain panic-thoughts to fall away and focus on what needs to be done right now, I think everything will be okay.  At least, that’s what I believe.

Or maybe the trick is to eat a lot of lobster and home made spice cake. I'll try that too, just in case.

Sometimes it takes a good fall to really know where you stand. Hayley Williams.


Thursday, May 09, 2019

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! Also, SAHM Survival Guide eh?


Happy Almost Mother's Day!

Have you called your mother lately!? I call my mom so much she's like...sweetie I love you but maybe stop calling me more than five times a morning while I'm at work?

In any case, it’s time for an episode of…SAHM Survival Guide eh?

The anxious stay at home mom (or dad) survival guide. The antsy stay at home mom (Or dad…you get the idea) survival guide? The full of self-doubt stay at home mom survival guide?

What I’m aiming for this week:

1) Staying calm in the face of tantrums and chaos. Keeping my sense of humor when Benji is screaming and tearing off his pants and throwing them in the dog’s water bowl and now the dog is really thirsty and Ellie is needing some quiet cuddle time on the couch and we are already ten minutes late for school.

2) Keeping my own joy and balance in my life, and in that vein staying healthy not just physically but emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and socially. Let’s face it, we’re complex beings full of layers of wants and needs and desires and they can’t all be fulfilled staying home with the kids all day, every day. A good life needs change, and growth, and room to expand. And a reliable babysitter! And, really, a nana and papa close by.

3) Letting go of my desire to control their relationship with each other. I want them to build a close relationship, one that they will both learn to treasure and count on now, tomorrow and twenty, thirty years down the road. I’m learning to surrender my referee compulsions and let them work it out on their own.

4) Disabusing myself of the notion that a good parent is an anxious parent, one who has worried about and foreseen every difficulty and planned and arranged to have them all systematically removed for them. Wow even writing this I am realizing how much I do this and how much it needs to stop, like, right now.

I do NOT have all the answers. I have found a few that work for me, and I’m willing and able to write about it, and willing and able to put myself out there and share my hopes. My desire is that this connects with other SAHM’s out there. Or anyone, really, who struggles to care for another person and still maintain their own identity.

Let’s leave you with some action plans, yeah?

1)   Begin the morning consciously, whether that’s reading a bible passage or praying or meditating or even just laying out the day the way you want it to go. Then forgiving yourself when you can’t because the baby has jumped up into bed with you at 530am wired for sound or your dog throws up on your pillow. And then sits in it. And then licks your face until the lovely doggy-puke-breath odor rouses you. I can’t make this stuff up people.

2)   You need a physical action plan you can do at least three times a week. It can be an expensive gym, or your bike, or your own two legs. It can be swimming or climbing a rock wall, it can be with the kids or without but you need it. Your body needs it. Heck your brain needs it. Exercising lowers your risk of cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s/Dementia and depression. Boom, boom, boom. You don't just want to be around when your own kids have kids, you want to be healthy and active able to enjoy them. Don't forget to forgive yourself when you skip the yoga class to work on a poem about working out instead sometimes. (Who does that!? Me. I do.)

That’s it folks, some concerns I’ve had I’m sure I’m not alone in, and some action plans I’m putting together for myself to have my best life possible.

Really lastly, if you’re a stay at home mom and you can’t fit in an exercise routine easily try this neat trick that works for me. Start doing 5 pushups a day. Then drop and do 5 pushups whenever you think of doing pushups. Maybe not in HEB but if no one’s around and you’re not in the middle of a parking lot…go for it. It adds strength amazingly quickly and the fast progress you make encourages you to go for ten, then fifteen pushups a day. Just in time for sleeveless shirt weather. You’re welcome. Now go forth and drop and give me five people, your shoulders, and your future grandkids, will thank me.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

April is National Poetry Month Y'all!


 So April is national poetry month! To celebrate I’ve written two new poems about my two favorite people:

Ellie:

She’s so wise
A shy wonder
Her perceptivity a marvel
Her resiliency surprising

Bouncy brown curls
An open grin
A flash of small white teeth, laughing with me now


Arms shaking
Eyes narrowed

Taking what she wants

Curled in close
Holds my leg with her delicate, perfect
Fingers

I hold her tight, too.

Benji

Dragons on the floor (ouch)
Hand soap in an out-of-reach cabinet (right?)
A closed bedtime door (is it still closed?)

He’s an adorable maniac
A generous, giving soul

A
Bundle of energy
Chaos incarnate

Does this
Etched glass shatter when I push it
From the kitchen table?

Yes.

His laughter
Peals around him
Like a halo

See? It doesn’t have to be Shakespeare or Maya Angelou or even Robert Frost or Nikita Gill. It just has to make you feel. And it can be about anything. I wrote about my kids because as a parent of young children I am boring and obsessive about them.

Anyway – April is also Donate Life awareness month and distracting driving awareness month. So if you’re driving distracted make sure you sign to be an organ donor – someone should be benefiting from your mistakes.

That’s it, it’s a short one this time – if you’re in the Woodlands, I’ll see your kids at my kids yoga class tomorrow at Yoga Pod at 11am! If you're in Canada - I hope the snow melts again soon. If you're in the Woodlands, enjoy mowing the lawn! I know Benji sure enjoys it.




Sunday, March 31, 2019

THE RETURN OF THE BLOG



Alright my peeps I’ve been on hiatus for a bit working on some side projects called…

Angela Goes To Mexico and Angela Finishes Her Book and Angela Does Kids Yoga! BAM!

The sun was grand (ouch) the waves were cool (ahhhh) and the kids were angels for most of the time. I would do it again in a second and I hope to do so next year as well. I can’t explain the feeling that came over me while I was watching the kids playing in the sand, relaxing with my oldest and best friend in the world. There’s nothing like reconnecting with friends who have known you since you were a kid - they remember the magic times, the amazing, full of potential and possibility times. They remember the ‘you’ you were before. Before husbands, before kids, before jobs and careers. The ‘you’ that may have gotten a little buried alive under all the layers of life. But she popped out in Mexico. She waved her arms around ecstatically and shouted, ‘I’M STILL HERE!'

And so, to my book. Some people refer to their books as their babies. Mine is a rebellious teenager but I love her anyway. I wrote the book about elves and handsome assassins chasing Maya, the Queen of Voldaria, about nine years ago. I’ve been polishing it ever since. I send it out, it gets rejected, I polish, I change, I re-work, and I re-send. I’ve been doing this for about ten years. Maybe most people would give up? I refuse. She’s a good book and she deserves to be read by the next generation of girls who are expecting to get to know a kick-ass heroine who saves the world.

Recently I found an editor I really like, Joan Dempsey, (https://joandempsey.com) and she’s right now taking one final look over the book from end to end. Once we’re done working it over I am going to send it out again, but this time, I gotta admit, I’m feeling lucky.


Meanwhile my Kids Yoga class is switching to Sundays at 11am at Yoga Pod - Woodlands Parkway- starting next Sunday. The age ranges so far have been Ellie’s age (four) to ten years old. It’s a lot of fun and at the same time mom (or dad) can go to the PodFlow class with Mary-Catherine (only my favorite yoga teacher in Texas!)


This summer I’m going to work on my book and focus on getting that out of my head and into real life, and into YOUR hands, ha ha ha ha ha. Yes. You. I’m talking to you.

That’s it for now folks, thank you for taking the time to read me, and stay tuned two weeks from now for the next installment of ‘The Return Of the Blog’ - but with video and more cool pics, yah? As per the other Queen I love, Beyonce, 'I'm gonna upgrade ya...'

Monday, March 04, 2019

Being A Better Angela Right Now, Eh? Or, at least, a happier one.


We’re driving home today from school and my little guy starts fussing.

“Jacket (pause) OFF, Mommy.”

I glance in my rearview mirror and he’s pulling at the hood of his big, puffy green winter jacket (it was 34F here today!) and struggling with his car seat buckle and making adorable grunts of frustration. He's spitting out the fur getting in his mouth from the hood.

“Baby we’re ten minutes from home, can’t you wait?”
“NO! Jacket (pause) OFF!” Tears and adorable snorts ensue.

Now normally I would just roll my eyes to myself and assure him he’s going to be just fine until we get home, I’m not pulling over just to take his jacket off.

And then I remember this podcast I was listening to about being in the present.

About bringing comfort and joy, as much as you can, pull it all in, right here and right now. Not in ten minutes or ten hours or ten seconds. If there’s something you can do to make yourself feel better now, do it. Now! What are you waiting for? I mean, don’t get fired or anything, but if you can do little things to make it better until you can get off work or get home or get to your happy place, do it!

I admit, I am the worst for this, the absolute worst. I am the Queen of ‘just get it done’ and speeding through and bearing down and putting that shoulder to the wheel and pushing until the job is done or I collapse with Pneumonia. (Hello three weeks ago).

So I turned up my car seat heater (what was I waiting for?) and we stopped at the Pet store so they could look at fish and when we get back in the van we take his jacket off and had a very pleasant rest of the drive home. That is, until we got home and he wanted to play outside and I said no because he smelled like his poo had poo'd. Dude needed a diaper change and I needed a Hazmat suit.

Once he knew I wouldn’t budge though, he said; ’Okay’.

After I picked myself off the garage floor I wondered if helping him be more comfortable now, when he needed it, helped him be in a better state of mind when he didn’t get to do something he usually always gets to do and enjoys very much, playing outside as soon as we get home.

I was certainly in a more patient state of mind having not listened to him fussing all the way home.

I love being a mom for a million reasons but one big one is that they push and pull and make me a better Angela. There is no shadow of your heart that goes untouched when you have kids – no unhealthy habit or old conditioning that isn’t working for you anymore that they won’t shed a light on.

So, thank you guys, I know you can’t read this yet but you make me better, just by being you. That goes for you too, Kait and Dyl.

Lastly, I have this print out poster from ‘Big Life Journal’ (biglifejournal.com) about raising resilient, kind and confident kids.  I use them quite a bit to help bridge the gap in my parenting knowledge.

Anyway – I have this print out framed and set up in front of the stove where I am sure to see it at least twice a day, and it includes phrases that will help build a more resilient child. Phrases like, I love you, You can Do it, I Love Spending Time With You, etc.

Funny thing is, when I’m having a rough day, I say these things to myself and I feel better. It doesn’t make the screaming fits less loud or the fights over who gets the big basketball to play with any less annoying but it helps remind me I’m a smart, kind person and I may not be doing this perfectly but I’m doing my best and it’s enough. I’m enough. And so are they.