Wednesday, December 22

The Dazzled, Frazzled Christmas Mom, Part 2

Alright, alright, so I guess you want to hear my second frazzled Christmas all know I offer up my deepest, messiest  mothering secrets to make you feel better about your own lives, right?

It's always kind of funny and slightly startling when someone comes up to me at church, or in a store, or at the mall and says, "OMG I can't believe you sent your child to church without underwear OR cleaned them in a park sink OR took your entirely crappy day out on your husband to make you a crappy wife AND mother! OR dropped their Wendy's cheeseburger on the ground and then fed it too them.  THAT was hilarious!"

I always pause for a moment and think, "OMG. How do they know that about me?" 

pause. pause.

"OHHHH. That's right! I share my deepest, darkest, most failed parenting moments on the world wide internet for ALL of the world to read." 

HaHaHa. I'm laughing too. I swear.

That's fine. You can all thank me later.

So, without further adieu, here is my second most frazzled Christmas season moment in the last couple of weeks.

It starts with a picture...the picture tells the story, truly...see if you can guess what is coming when you take a look at this?

Now, I bet you're all wondering if this story has to do with the fact that my wallet is suspiciously sitting in a red shopping cart or the if it has to do with the purple gunk all over the front. 

Well, mostly the shopping cart...but it's kind of about both. See, this wallet is emblematic of my life these days; messy AND disorganized. 

Here's the story...

Yesterday morning, I dropped my girls off at a local church for playschool. I typically like to use the time to get some reading and writing done, but given the length of my to do list this week that felt a little too self-indulgent so I decided to run some errands. 

The morning was going quite well. I stopped into a local liquor store to pick up some last minute bottles of wine and had a lovely conversation with a man who appeared to be the owner of the store about Massachusetts (where he had grown up and I had lived) and the Christian school I used to work at. He told me he LOVED those people at that Christian school and that they always had the prettiest cheerleaders. Totally random, but kind of funny nonetheless. I left hoping that my cheeriness and the reminder of the pretty cheerleaders from the CHRISTIAN school left some sort of positive imprint on his memory...who knows maybe it will remind him to go to church this weekend if he wasn't planning on it already! 

Off I went to Rite Aid and then to Target. 

The sun was shining for the first time in DAYS...maybe weeks...and I was footloose and kid free! 

I bumped into an old high-school friend at Target who actually said she had somehow stumbled upon my blog and enjoyed reading it-- always a LOVELY thing to hear...and a bit of unexpected encouragement. We'll all take that, right?

I scored some super cool stuff for the girls in the $1 section. Found the rest of what I needed, checked out, packed my stuff in the car and drove over to Marshall's to finish my Christmas shopping. 

I was feeling like a pretty on top of it momma at this point. 

I pulled into the Marshall's parking lot and found a great spot right up front. I went to grab my wallet and phone off of the passenger seat, when all of a sudden my eyes got wide and I had an "Oh NO!" moment...

No wallet. Lisa! Where is your wallet?

I rifled through the bags and the box and my purse in the front seat. I checked the door, and the back seat. I got out and opened the trunk and looked to see if I had put it in one of my Target bags.


Some lady stopped to ask if I was leaving. She wanted my really good parking spot. I nodded a "NO" to her and continued to rifle through my stuff.

Please God, Please. Let me find my wallet. It's got to be here!

I opened the passenger seat door, AGAIN. Nothing. I opened the driver seat door, AGAIN. Nothing. 

You've got to be kidding me. 

A second lady stopped to ask for my very good parking spot. I nodded yes in my moment of resignation and decided I needed to drive back to Target. 

You know the end of the story since you've already seen the picture. I drove BACK to Target, found my cart in the same spot I left it (While God didn't answer my prayer for my wallet to be IN my car, His hand was certainly in the miraculous return of my wallet!), looked down into the car and lo and behold, my wallet sat there, in the front pocket of the cart, just waiting for me to return. 

I grabbed my wallet and sat in my car in stunned silence and rolled my eyes at myself and shook my head. My heavens Lisa, HOW on earth do you live with yourself?

AND then, to make me even crazier, I got back out of the car, placed the wallet back in the cart and took a picture of it with my phone. 

I did ponder the need for medical or psychological intervention when I got back in the car. I mean SERIOUSLY, why does this stuff ALWAYS happen to me. I'm not really into the whole meditation thing but I'm starting to think that maybe I should be because I've GOT to do something about the major disconnect between my hands and my head. 

Just in case you were also wondering about the purple marks on the front of the wallet...the other night, after grocery shopping I picked up a purple Odwalla smoothie because I was feeling like I needed something healthy in my life. I was drinking the smoothie out of small dixie cups in my car and when I got home I somehow thought it would be o.k. to throw the dixie cup into my purse while I carried my groceries into the house. 

OBVIOUSLY not the best idea. 

Again, considering psychological intervention here because that probably should have been common sense. 

Oh well. 

I wanted a new wallet anyway. 

Hope your Christmas preparations are going all and a little less frazzled then mine! 

I'm going to write something really nice and inspiring and relevant and reverential about Christmas before the week is out, I swear. 

Tuesday, December 21

The Dazzled, Frazzled Christmas Mom, Part 1

As I sit in Starbucks for my last 20 kid-free moments this morning (BTW: that is NOT a picture of me...I can only WISH I was cool enough to pull off a bird on my finger, or that my fingers were that nicely manicured, for that matter!) I was pondering a title for this blog post. I didn't want you all to think I was completely losing my frazzled mind.  While all of the Christmastime running around, and cookie baking, and card mailing, and present wrapping, and house cleaning and gray snowy days have perpetuated a couple of very funny (though not at the time!) moments on my behalf (see my stories below), I do also love the festivity of the season. While the running around and hecticness seem to bring about crabbiness in some people, it seems that there are also a lot of extra smiles, and friendly strangers and Merry Christmases as well. And that is where I am...dazzled by the celebratory nature of Christmas and frazzled by the running around.

So let me share with you 2 of my most frazzled moments in the last couple of weeks...

STORY #1: A Botched Cookie Swap

We'll start with my MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) meeting last week!

For those of you who were there and caught a glimpse of my crying in the corner, yes, I was having an official Christmastime meltdown. Here is how the meltdown came about...

While the MOPS Christmas meeting was a lot of fun, you have to laugh at the irony of all of these moms, already schluffing in car seats, toddlers, diaper bags, cups diapers, strollers, jackets, hats, boots, and gloves who were now also carrying decorations for tables, $3 Christmas presents, food for the breakfast buffet and cookies for a cookie swap (if you decided to participate, which I did after my husband agreed to make the cookies the night before!).

SOOO....I was running late, I pulled up to the door, left the car running, pulled the girls out of the car, my gifts, my bags and my cookies, and ran into the church. As I entered the meeting room one of the moms saw the crazed, hurried look on my face, along with my girls at my side and bags hanging from every appendage and said,

"Hey! Can I lighten your load?"

I handed her the tray of cookies I had baked for the swap, set my bags down and grabbed my girls to go check them into childcare.

Ella's dropoff was painless...she usually runs away with her coat on without so much as a goodbye.

Ava on the other hand.

Do I even have to tell you....



as she clings to my neck and wraps her legs around my stomach.


The childcare worker holds out her arms. "She'll be fine. It will probably be easier if you just leave."

I hand her off and I leave, though I'm feeling emotional ( PMS induced emotions if you MUST know!) and a bit reluctant.

I run back out to my car which is still idling at the front door of the church, park it and run into the meeting.

As I walk through the back door to the meeting I look down at the cookie exchange table. First of all, ALL of the other cookies are individually packaged by the dozen with printed recipes attached.


SECOND OF cookies were not on the table.


I do a quick glance around the room and my eyes land on the breakfast buffet that all of the very hungry mommas are helping themselves too.

My eyes get big. My face drops. CRAP.

Yes. Yes, my friends. My cookie swap cookies landed on the buffet table and were being happily indulged in.

I run over to the buffet, not making eye contact with anyone, swoop my cookies off of the counter, right out from under the reach of a hungry mom and fly into the kitchen with them. I find paper plates and saran wrap and manage to individually, though quite unfestively and certainly without a printed recipe, wrap my hello dollies on 4 separate plates.

I go back out into the meeting room, set my cookies down and my friend Rose comes over to ask how I'm doing.

I burst into tears.

"It's not about the cookies," I blubber. Snif. Snif. "REally. I'm just tired. And the cookies. And the girls."

Rose just smiles and give me a hug. It's all I really needed. I was on the verge of tears for the rest of the day.

Please don't' feel sad for me. It's kind of funny now that I"m not PMSing anymore.

Alright...mommy free time is up....if you want to hear silly story #2 you'll have to read tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 15

Looking for Inspiration...

I feel that I am lacking in blog inspiration these day...I blame it on the following facts:

1. It gets dark by 5!!! GRRRR!! Is there anywhere in the world that it stays light until at least 7 ALL year round?! I'm moving there! Next week!

2. I am buried, did I say BURIED in snow!!! Seriously people, somehow the real estate agent forgot to tell us that we are right on the border of the friggin' Lake Erie snow belt and that at time you will get BLASTED with snow! Like the 3+ feet we received about two weeks ago (when bordering towns got less than one inch!), and the flurries that keep coming to pile on top of it! Here are a couple of pictures!

3. I am on my 3RD STINKIN cold of the season! I have been jacked up on DayQuil and NightQuil around the clock for the last 48 hours because I'm sick of being SICK and it's REALLY hard to take care of toddlers when all you feel like doing is eating instant bowls of soup on a couch in front of the television...the medication helps with that just slightly!

4. Because it gets dark at 5!!! I'm BURIED in snow, and have my 3rd cold of the season, I have not been running or doing much exercise lately which makes me a little NUTS!

If I sound a little might be on to something there...

If ya'll know of a place where it stays light later and it is warm all year round, please, please, PUHLEEZZE tell me because I'm ready to move.

In the meantime here are some random thoughts peddling themselves around in my mind these days...

1. I'm turning into an uncool middle aged lady! Fortunately I'm not wearing "mom-jeans" (for the benefit of those who read THAT post!) BUT I do listen to classical music and jazz in my car because it's much less chaotic than the NOISE that is on the popular radio stations. Did I just say that? My mom used to say that. AND I do things like go to pampered chef, candle and make-up parties as a NIGHT OUT! AND...I cut coupons in my spare time.

Oh boy.

2. I'm quite thankful for Facebook! In the world of stay at home momminess, AND being enveloped into my house by mounds of arctic snow, the world of Facebook allows me to live vicariously through the MUCH cooler people I know. It also helps me to realize that I'm not the only one who gets pulled off the treadmill after getting into a sweat inducing run to take my toddler to the bathroom. Thanks Dana!

3. I'm trying to stay sane during the Christmas season because I KNOW that I am not supposed to get wrapped up in the shenanigans, BUT I just spent another $100 at the grocery store today!!! Partly on food, but partly on stuff to make cookies and candy, lightbulbs for our Christmas lights, tissue paper, cards, etc. I think we've almost reached a FULL mortgage payment on Christmas expenditures AND THAT my friends is definitely not in any Dave Ramsey or Suzie Orman book!

That's all I got for ya my friends...send me some well wishes to perk up my spirits over here!

Thursday, December 9

When Dirty Diapers Turn into Fights

A not so magical thing happened here earlier this week...

One of Ella's full, dirty, needs to be changed, stinky diapers, somehow turned itself into one big ole fight between Scott and I for the whole gosh darned day.

Yes, you heard that right; 1 Diaper = Major Argument ALL DAY LONG.

Pretty mature, huh?!

It got me thinking though...I bet we're not the only couple ever to fight over a diaper full of poop and whose responsibility it is to change it.

And, for those who don't have kids, or who are past diapers, the very same fight can often erupt over dishes left in a sink, trash left in a can, toilet paper unchanged or beds unmade.

It's all about the distribution of responsibilities around a house...a tension that has likely been going on as long as humans have walked this earth...but probably even more so in modern society. It's a a distribution battle that tends to make each person feel like they are in the right, like they deserve to be heard, like they have perhaps pulled the "shorter stick" (so to speak) or have the tougher job. It's an issue that seems to rear it's ugly head even more when things are crazy  and stressful in each others lives.

It's no wonder that quick online search yielded these two very interesting and aptly appropriate facts:

1.  Housework is one of the top 5 things couples argue about (along with work, sex, children and money.)


2. Housework is bad for your sex life (according to THIS article anyway! I don't know about you, but I believe it! I read the article with relief thinking "So THAT"S the problem!").

So how did said dirty diaper turn into spousal uproar? The dirty details looked like this...

Scott and I had both gotten up around 7:30...we both spent time reading our bibles (good start, right?!), and drinking some coffee. Around 8 I spun into major mom mode- getting juice cups, prepping breakfast and turning t.v. on for the girls. I heard Scott playing his guitar in the basement for a couple of minutes. A totally fine thing for him to be doing UNTIL...

...he wandered up the stairs, passed the kitchen, without so much as a "hello", shouted  "Ella has a poopy diaper" from the upstairs and the proceeded to head into the shower.

"That's not cool," I thought.  Grouchy wife wanted him to know just how uncool it was.

I marched up the stairs into the bathroom and came out with "both guns blazing" as Scott likes to say.

"If Ella has a poopy diaper don't you think you could have at least changed it before you went upstairs?!"

There were sighs and defensive gruffs and a "Lis, I have a job to get started on."

(Ha. You know the mommy soapbox is coming....I'm not exactly sure what I said, but it sounded something like this....)


(I told you it was really mature...a shining moment for me, really.)

Alright, in retrospect, I KNOW Scott has a job to do (he does a lot of his work from home so the boundaries can become especially blurry sometimes), and I KNOW a less selfish person, wife, mother, would have just changed the diaper and went on with her day, but the diaper became WAY bigger than the diaper.

The diaper epitomized the struggle that Scott and I deal with on a daily basis, and which seemed to be rearing it's ugly head even more so this particular week (or perhaps month with the end of Thanksgiving and the beginning of the craziness of December... and being stuck inside with a lot of snow and shorter days!)

The diaper become symbolic of the struggle to manage life as manage our time...the house...the all consuming work it takes to take care of a house (when you cannot afford nannies and cleaning ladies and people to cut your grass or plow your lawn)...the struggle that I feel to selfishly fight for "my" space, "my" time...the tedium that builds up, particularly for stay at home moms of very young children, but also for single moms, and military moms and all others who spend the lions share of time taking care of their children.

I'm not saying Scott is not helpful. He is an INCREDIBLY caring, attentive and helpful father...particularly compared to other men out there who I've heard stories about...who sit and veg in front of the television, or work around the clock, or hunt all the time, or golf all the name it...

That said, it doesn't mean we don't struggle. Just like a lot of you probably have incredibly wonderful husbands with whom you find yourselves fighting...and think, "Man, how did we get HERE?!"

So how, after being curt and snippy with each other all day, did we finally resolve the fight?

The true answer is WE didn't...

All I can say is that as incredibly mind blowingly busy as life with children can be, and as incredibly hard as it is to be on the same page as your spouse all the time, as incredibly crazy as it feels to fend for your own time, interests and a Christian couple Scott and I have an INCREDIBLY large advantage over couples who are not...we have the knowledge, and if we choose, the intercession, of an INCREDIBLY large God who teaches us to submit to one another, to seek others needs before our own, who teaches us about grace and forgiveness and not going to sleep without resolution.

And boy oh boy do we need it on MANY days.

It is God, who at the end of the day when Scott (being the better Christian at this point) stepped into say, "Let's pray," changes all bets, all values and all hearts. And for that I am INCREDIBLY thankful.

Last night I was hanging out with a couple of good friends...just chatting about life. They mentioned that some friends of theirs, our age, seem to be on the brink of divorce. And while I didn't say it, I was thinking, "Man, they need Jesus. I don't know how ANYONE stays married without Jesus."

Left to our own devices we are SO human; selfish, prideful, argumentative, angry. Several weeks ago at a MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) meeting at our church a dad was speaking and said, "Naturally, we were not created to last in marriage... It is why so many marriages fail...we are flawed humans. BUT, when our relationships are grounded in God, we have the SUPERNATURAL to help us along the way."

Amen to that.

In closing, I seem to be thinking about all of my life through the lens of the soon to be upon us Christmas holiday...But this situation inparticular, a poopy diaper, reminded me about how much I need Christ and how thankful I truly am, on a super practical level, that he was born into this world, as Immanuel, or "God WITH us." How grateful that I am, that as many times as Scott and I are not on the same page about the issues of life...the we are on one major same page together; the importance of our faith in the midst of life and how much of a priority it needs to be to survive.

What an incredible gift THAT is. How lucky I am to be pondering such a savior this month...Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 4

"Mom" Jeans and Other Unfortunate Things

A while back I caught an episode of Oprah in which they were giving several moms total makeovers. They did one of those hidden camera stints where they followed her around, and lo and behold (!) she was caught wearing dreadful things; leggings, t-shirts, uncombed hair, bad jeans, bad shoes and even pajamas!

I won't lie, I look around furtively on some days to see if such a camera is following me. Like last night, when I NEEDED to get out of the house for an hour and ran to TJ Maxx. I didn't think twice about what I was wearing...I simply ran from the upheaval in the house as quickly as I could ( upturned dishes, a whining 2 year old, dinner smattered on the counter and table and floor, you know!)

As it turns out I had on very light washed, loose fit, jeans (that I had purchased on a mega sale rack at Ann Taylor Loft for like 7.99 earlier this year), my big brown down coat and my tattered looking black dansko clogs that are quite comfortable (you know those clogs that chefs and nurses wear), but seem to have been much more widely accepted in Cambridge, MA (where EVERYONE had them!) then in Buffalo (where I get dirty looks for wearing them!). 

By the time I actually made it to the store, recovered my senses, and caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror, I almost gasped in horror! Who let me out of the house like that?

 I was feeling, well, frumpy, to say the least. 


I promise this isn't a pity party, because as entirely frumpy as I felt and as much as I may have wished, just a tinsy bit,  to be looking more trendy, or posh, or sleek, there was another part of me that entirely could have cared less because I was truly just grateful to have made it through the day and to have gotten out of the house. 

And that is how you end up on the Oprah show in need of a makeover. 

And now I totally get it. 

And, Oprah, if you're reading this, SIGN me UP! because seriously, for me to look good at this stage of the game someone else is going to have to pay for it! 

And, truly, that is what it comes down too. Despite not having the time to pamper, and wax (Oi, you should see my eyebrows right now-- they are a sight to behold!) and nail polish, and hot iron myself before leaving the house, my money gets spent on so many other things these days, I can hardly keep up; diapers, baby food, pajamas for the girls, shoes for the girls, Christmas presents, gymnastics classes, mittens, hats and boots (x2!), coloring books, play dough, Dora videos...shall I go on?

Seriously, that $65 I might have spent on myself without a thought before children, on random sweaters or t-shirts or jewelry or shoes, well, there are new demands on doesn't exist anymore. I saw a purse at TJ Maxx last night that I liked...nice soft leather...big hobo style...$198 price tag! 

I blinked, my mouth dropped, my eyes opened wide! $198?!!! Who pays that much for a purse?!

 You see, I'd like all of those people who are judging my bad clogs and whitewashed jeans to know that I actually DO have good me pick up this purse that I really DO like...and then watch me put it back down, because despite having good taste, I also have a WHOLE lot of common sense these days. I have to. It comes with the territory or you don't survive. 

(And, can I just add an aside here, if I DID have extra money, I still wouldn't spend THAT much on a PURSE. People, there are homeless moms and children in our very own city who could be fed and housed for 1/2 of that! Someone please tell me that I'm not the only one who find it stark, raving mad that a purse would cost that much?!)

So, as I left the store with my $180 in purchases, which included a traveling coffee mug (ours all diappeared), some non-"granny" (as my husband calls them!) undies (mostly for the benefit of my poor husband, but that's another story!), socks (that I found on sale for $1.00), Christmas presents for 4 people, two knit hats for hubby to wrap for me for Christmas, and a really cute memo board for our kitchen, I have absolutely nothing (outer appearance wise) to show for my shopping...I glanced at two women in line donning trendy leggings, and leather boots, and cute belted sweaters and thought, "Someday"... 

Or not. Because there will be college, and weddings, and then grandchildren. 

But, HA! I'm really coming to terms with it. It is just another way that I empathize with my own mother even more now. A mom who I recall buying her own clothing at Amvets, so that she could afford our sneakers for school from K-Mart. A mom whose luxury was a $6.99 tube of lipstick from the grocery store. A mom, who by all accounts always looked great (and still does!), but who very often probably felt "frumpy" because she was buying school clothes and food for me and my three siblings. 

LOVE YOU MOM! And thank you for all you sacrificed, emotionally, and materially, so that we could have! I'm sorry for all the times I wanted more, envied the other kids, or whined that I didn't have enough. You gave us all that you could and I SOOO get that now...and while my girls aren't whining about it yet, they ARE girls and I'm sure the time is coming....I'll take great comfort in knowing that they too, will understand, finally, when they have kids of their own.

P.S. for the fun of it, I pulled this off of

jeans highlighting the flat curvature of the 40+ buttocks. Similies: upside-down-heart shaped-butt. Commonly seen aacompained with front butt. Extremly high waist, and always a crappy shade of blue or black. Usually found in Kohl's or Mervyn's.
mom jeans images
Mom Jeans: High waisted and tapered. Nobody looks good in these type of jeans. Angelina Jolie would look like a pile of crap in Mom Jeans.

P.P.S. Despite my apparent frumpiness, please DO tell me if I've crossed the line and end up attending a MOPS meeting or grocery store in jeans THIS bad!!