Remember That Time My Twins Humiliated Me in Public?

I started this blog years ago {in 2006 to be exact} to record little stories about my life as the mother to a bunch {5} of little kids {at the time they were aged 6 years and under, I believe}, including my twins who were constantly and I do mean constantly getting into all kinds of mischief.  Since then it’s morphed into so much more, and as you know, these days there’s a lot less mischief going on and more requests from the girls to stay absent from the spotlight there are  less entries about my kids {boo} yet more entries about other things that interest me {yahoo}.

So, it’s fun for me to go back to my archives and see how much the times have changed.   This post is one of my all time favorites because it so clearly illustrates one of my most embarrassing moments, but also reminds me what life used to be like when I had to deal with strollers and bottles and diapers and when shopping with children was a necessity.

Back then I wrote a  6 word description of my life, but really spoke about my life as a mother.

Most days my memoir was: 

Not what I imagined. Better. More. {I love that I wrote that back then when I remember things being so messy!}

Back then I also wrote:

Some days it’s

I did not expect. Utter. Humiliation.

Because sometimes being a mother makes for some seriously humiliating situations. I’ve been pooped on, peed on, coughed on, bled on, and had snot wiped all over me. I’ve had personal stories revealed, family secrets exposed and inaccurate information distributed. All humiliating instances I can roll with, but I have to draw the line somewhere, and that line is firmly placed where I’m wearing clothing. Go ahead and embarrass me in public, but PLEASE, make sure I have my clothes on, that I can move all of my limbs, and that there is an escape route. Because I really cannot stop thinking about being exposed to the Banana Republic shoppers in my underclothing on Saturday, with no escape route and my finger wedged in the door hinge. All compliments of my twins. So here is my advice.

Never, ever, ever under any circumstance take your twins into a dressing room with you and park them next to the door, wedging yourself into the room.

Never, ever, ever grab the inside hinge of the door to try to close it when it has been flung open by your children and you are in your underclothing. Because then your wedding ring might get stuck in the hinge when you are trying futilely to close the door and the fitting room attendant tries to help. And then you’d be stuck in your under clothing right by the mirror that reflects down the whole dressing room with no way to close the door and no where to hide.

Just then, you might be mortified. And want to crawl into a hole and WISH you were having a nightmare.

And if I were you, I’d stick to trying on bathing suits when you are alone. You just never know.

Thank goodness I can go shopping alone these days!  :)

Love writing?  Then you’ll love Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop!  Join in!

The Thing I Love Most About My Job

I have a few jobs.

I have the job of being a stay at home mom, and I have the job of working from home on the computer.

One is definitely the most important and the other one allows me to be a stay at home mom but also work outside the home, although technically, I’m not working outside the home.

{What other job would allow me to get all dressed up in hip new jewelry just to stay home? Too bad the effect is ruined with a super hero band-aid.}

I love that I can have a job that allows me to work with some pretty talented women and yet always be available to my children and husband.  When my kids get home from school I’m done working for the day and I can concentrate on all the things that need my attention like their homework and shuttling them from here to there, making dinner, origami, and underwater basket weaving.  Plus, I vowed when I was a child that when I became a mom, I was going to work just as hard as my children.  See, when I was a child, I was convinced I had the hardest job in the world.  I want my children to see that I’m not sitting home watching TV while they are slaving away at recess all day at school!!!!  I have important tasks to do like Facebook and Twitter updates, and let’s not forget the power of Google +.

All joking aside though, the thing that I love most about my job or jobs is that I get to do them from home.  I LOVE my home.  I love the feeling I have when I’m in it.  I love my cozy, comfy places, and I love feeling like the jobs I’m doing are helping my children become better, more responsible people.  I love that my job that requires online attention is helping to grow a site that is creative and beautiful and promotes moms that want to stay at home too.  I love that in my online job I work with amazingly talented women and that my “boss” has integrity by bucketfuls.

I am playing along with Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop this week and answered the prompt, “What do you love most about your job?”

Ode to a Cold

Ode to a Cold

Roses are red
Violets are blue
We’re getting sick right and left
I do think it’s you.

Mother nature, make up your mind.
Warm then cold.
Rain then snow
I’m sick of listening to the wind blow.

It’s because you can,
Admit it.
You think it’s funny.
When it’s sunny and we all sigh in relief.
Only to be slammed on our feet when you make it unsunny.

I need cold relief.
DayQuil®, NyQuil®, you name it.
This is beyond belief.

Missing work,
Missing school,
Missing my tap, tap, tap on my computer.

I’ll trade the shivers,
and achy limbers
for a the sound of someone yelling “timber”.

Mother Nature,
hear my plea:
Send the warm weather,
AND keep the colds away.

We’ve been washing our hands,
Coughing into our elbows,
Doing it all right, yet we still have the mellows.

I’ve tried to be nice,
I’ve sighed with resignation
but I’m sick of the colds
And I want you to fix it.

If you value me at all..
…Make it STOP…
…and bring on the sun…
And I won’t blame you. For long.
I’m done.

I’m playing along with Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop today using the prompt:  What battle are you fighting? Write a poem overcoming.  Since Jeff, the kids, and I  have been laid up with colds and the flu TOO many times these past few months, it’s only fitting that I write about our interminable colds.  I am also a compensated member of the Vick’s Blogger Brigade. Photo from the Vick’s VapoRub Facebook page.

Writer’s Workshop: A Memorable Neighbor

It’s been far too long since I’ve participated in a Writer’s Workshop.  I was even the inspiration behind most of the prompts last week {gasp.  I know. Who’d have guessed?}, and didn’t find the time to join the fun.

Mama’s Losin’ It

So, this week I’m turning over a new leaf.

Kind of.

And joining in on the fun once again.

This week the writing prompt that spoke to me was the one about a memorable neighbor.  I definitely have a memorable neighbor.  She’s a fast driving, Italian speaking, huge party throwing, chimney smoking grandma.   Who likes to peep in my yard.

I’ve written about her before.  She’s that memorable.

Here’s what I had to say about her, and a few other neighbors, too:

I’m pretty sure none of my neighbors will ever have access to my blog so for once I can talk about someone and feel pretty confident it won’t get back to them. I feel sure that none of my neighbors are up with the whole blogging scene. They are WAY too busy looking into or wandering around in my yard.

Here’s the thing.

We moved into a well established, older neighborhood where most of the home owners ARE the original owners. Their children are all long grown up and gone, and I sense they have a sort of proprietary feeling about the neigborhood.

On one hand, I’m glad. I feel SUPER safe here because we definitely have a built in neighborhood watch system. On the other hand, I’m having a hard time getting used to having neighbors in my yard, or looking into my yard when I didn’t invite them. It’s just weird.

When we first closed on the house, I can’t count on my two hands how many times I arrived here to work on the house and strangers would be wandering around the property, not realizing it was NO LONGER on the market. I thought that was odd.

Then one day the next door neighbor opened the side fence, walked on back and asked my husband when the new owners were moving in. Did I mention she interrupted him on the phone to do so? She thought he was a “worker”. Irritating.

When our pool was being remodeled another neighbor frequently let himself into our backyard to talk to our concrete guys. He wanted some work done too. He even brought his dog with him. I don’t know. I was under the impression that if you wanted to enter someone’s gated yard, you asked. You walked to the front door, rang the doorbell. Introduced yourself to the home owners. Told them you needed some concrete work done and could you have their business card please? Or better yet, could you talk to them in person? And you’d leave your dog home. Possibly?

Remember those pictures I showed you of the side of my house that we landscaped? Well, the area used to function as RV parking. So, there is a two sided opening fence behind a DRIVEWAY. Not the driveway we park in, but a driveway none-the-less. Let me illustrate:

(see there on the right? You can see where the side walk sort of T’s with the driveway?)

(That’s the gate I’m talking about.)

One has to walk the length of the driveway to get to the gates to enter the backyard. I just happen to have a sliding door that leads from my bedroom to the sideyard pretty near the fence. One morning I woke up to one of my neighbors was practically climbing the fence trying to see into the backyard.  She got a nice view of the backyard, AND me in bed.  So embarrassing.

She and I have never spoken of the incident, yet it hangs over us every time we see each other.  I know that she has seen me in my underware, and she knows that I know that she’s seen me in my under ware.

It’s awkward to say the least.

I’m just thankful I haven’t see her in her under ware, too.

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda.

I want the world for my children.

I want them to escape bad things and not make choices that they regret.

I want them to be successful.

I want them to be adventurous (yet safe).

I want them to be honest.

I want them to be kind.

I want them to be educated.

I want them to take joy in the little things.  And the big things.

I don’t want them to have regrets, like I do.  I don’t want them to look back on their life and replay instances in their mind where they could have done something but didn’t.  For whatever reason.   One of my biggest regrets involves instances where human kindness/compassion/care could have made a difference, but it was withheld, which in turn made a big difference.  But not a good one.  I replay scenes in my mind where I was mean to someone………for a variety of reasons, none of them valid.  I replay scenes when I observed bullying and teasing and not only didn’t I step in to stop it, but I didn’t try to make them feel better after wards, either.  Let’s not even get started on the regrets I have of bad choices that I made that possibly taught me a lesson but also changed the course of my life.

I am reminded of a day in the 4th grade that changed my life forever.  There was this boy in my class that transferred in mid year.  He was from Mexico and didn’t speak a lick of English.  Because of his inability to communicate at the same level as the rest of the class, I could tell he felt isolated.  His inability to participate in lessons that were instructed in a language he was just beginning to learn must have been frustrating.  At the very least.  For some unknown reason, I didn’t like him, which doesn’t make any sense, but whatever.   He was never mean to me, or did anything to deserve what I did/allowed to happen to him.

One day during art I walked passed his desk and I dragged my pencil across his paper.  Why I did this, I’ll never know.  He got mad and retaliated by doing the same thing I did to his paper on the back of my shirt with a magic marker.  I deserved what he did to me.  I knew this at the time, yet it made me mad and I told the teacher what he had done to me, omitting what I had done to him.  He didn’t have the language skills to defend himself and he got sent to the Principal’s office.  For a spanking.  They did that in school back then.  As he walked away I felt the most tremendous amount of guilt and sadness.  I knew I shouldn’t have done what I’d done.  I shouldn’t have written on his paper OR told on him know that he couldn’t defend himself.  I could have been a nicer person.  Yet I wasn’t.  I should have rectified the situation by being honest and apologizing (which I didn’t).  If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn’t have done what I did.  But I did.  I’ll never know if the events of the day changed his life, but how can something like that not?

I want my children to be kinder than I was.

I want them to make others happy by association.

I want them to be happy.

I want them to be better than I was.  I want them to avoid the mistakes that I made.  I don’t want them to learn the hard way that the way that leads to regret is NOT the way.

I can hope, right?

To hear what others are saying about this, visit MamaKat’s place.

Writer’s Workshop-The Hearts That Didn’t Stop

One of Mama Kat’s prompts this week was to write about a heart that wouldn’t stop.  The prompt reminded me of my twins…..of their “story”.  And mine.  I’m resurrecting an old post about…..about their hearts and mine.

Here we go:

My most vivid season of challenge is finally beginning to fade into lighter shades of memory.

My season of challenge found me living away from my family in a (debate-ably) sterile room, in an institution that never slept. I had my own bedding, pictures tacked onto the walls that my girls drew, plants that I wasn’t allowed to care for on my counter, toys in a drawer for the kids to play with when they visited, and a view of the parking lot outside.

I “lived” in one of the largest suites in my unit. I was assigned someone to care for me 24/7. I had a nutritionist, a social worker, a whole slew of doctors, innumerable nurses and the constant digital company of my babies beating hearts.

I had so much, yet I didn’t have many of the things I cared for most.

I didn’t have my family. More than that, I didn’t know how the separation was going to effect all of us. I didn’t even know from one hour to the other if I would eventually deliver two live babies.

It was a time of challenge AND reward.

I was glad that I was in the hospital doing everything that I could possibly do for my babies, yet I worried constantly. I gratefully stayed on my back for 23 hours of every day. I felt like I was a horse being saddled 24/7 with heart rate monitors. I endured needle pricks every third day. I gave up any sense of privacy; yet doing all of that didn’t give me the peace of mind I craved.

I missed my family. So much. Some days I just wanted to walk out the door and never come back. Some days (OK, so I’m exaggerating, there were only 2 times in 10 weeks) against doctors orders I went outside and dared them to say a word to me. Some days the nurse I was assigned bugged me so badly I wanted to take all of my frustrations out on her. Some days I just cried all day long. But most days I didn’t feel that way at all. Some days I was just plain grateful that I had gotten to that point.

I had a crude hand made calendar that I used to count down the days until delivery. Beginning a new day was a huge accomplishment. Completing a new week was almost grounds for a party. Hitting gestational milestones kept me sane. Hearing the beat, beat, beat of their hearts calmed me.

And terrified me. I became expert at knowing what was normal for my babies heart rates and when they deviated it sent me into a panic.

I didn’t sleep at night because I was afraid that a nurse would miss a deceleration. I didn’t sleep during the day because there were too many distractions. I had a lot of time for reflection.

I reflected on the sanctity of human life. Of the miracle of birth and the great privilege we had been granted to be stewards of our children.

I thought constantly about what would have happened if the egg split a few days earlier (two amniotic sacs),
or even a day later (conjoined twins). I pictured in my mind their two cords knotting tighter and tighter with each movement. I replayed in my minds eye one of the babies almost dying right before my very eyes. I couldn’t remove the image that represented the scariest moments of my life, and still can’t, really.

I had time for soul searching and reflection on the divine. I had the opportunity to see how strong of a man my husband was and how willing he was to sacrifice everything for his family.

It probably sounds like purely negative experience, but it wasn’t. It was a literal season of growth and development for me and my babies, it was a time to define who I was and to know without doubt my Saviour’s love for me. It was a time that dragged by, yet flew quickly at the same time.

It was a gift that I gave my babies. It was a season of challenge, but it was also a season of abundance.

The gift they gave me, of course was their two beating hearts.  The ones that don’t stop and fill mine to over flowing.

Sage Advice for Writer’s Workshop

Before I got married, I had a bridal shower. Or two.

At both showers the hostesses asked the guests to write down pieces of advice to help me on my newest path in life.

I wish I still had the pages handy so I could write down verbatim what they said. But, they contained advice like:

“Never go to bed angry at your spouse.”

“Always keep open lines of communication.”

“When the children come, and they will, remember to make time to make your husband feel special and loved too.”

“Schedule a date night every week if possible.”

And then my aunt wrote:

Open your new bars of soap and allow the air to make them hard. They last much longer that way”.

I thought it was hilarious. Here everyone else gave me relationship advice and after like 30 years of marriage all my aunt advised me to do was leave soap out to get hard in order to prolong it’s life?

Twelve years into my marriage I finally starting following her advice, and guess what?

Joke’s on me.

It TOTALLY works.

Great advice from some one who knows stuff.

You should try it.  I’m almost at that point in my life where people actually think I know stuff too.

{If you want to learn stuff from someone who knows stuff about dating, marriage, pregnancy and motherhood, go to the Casa de Dummies.  Like, right now.  Be prepared to laugh.  You can thank me later.}

Mama's Losin' It

Writer’s Workshop-My “Elevator Pitch”

Have you ever heard of an elevator pitch?  Basically, it’s “an overview of an idea for a product, service, or project. The name reflects the fact that an elevator pitch can be delivered in the time span of an elevator ride (for example, thirty seconds or 100-150 words).”  Darren from Probloggerwrote an excellent article about the importance of bloggers having an elevator pitch for their blog.  He has both a super short one, and a longer one.

Here’s my short one:

Tales from Under the Big Top…

Sound familiar?  I hope?

Francesca from Mayhem & Moxie came up with it for me, and I loved it so much that I had my new blog redesigned around the tag line with a little help from my friends.

The longer version is all about me.  One wants to know about the author that writes the “Tales from Under the Big Top”, right?  I think that in reading about me, one will get an idea of what will be presented in the “Tales from Under the Big Top”.

“If you are here for the first time, or even if you are not, you should know that Angie is a word loving, book devouring, designer jean obsessed mama to 5. With red hair. She’s also a sunshine hoarding, organizationally devout, stringer of letters, words and paragraphs.

Besides running what she considers a tight ship at home, she’s an excellent calendar annotator. Most of the time. She cooks dinner for her family every single night. Or so it seems. She would die without her X-large sized washer and dryer. With steam. She’s a bit over the top in the frequency in which she vacuums. But she’s working on it. She wants to be a published novelist. Someday. When her children are all in school she wants to finish her Master’s Degree, so she can say she has one. She likes to be in charge. Basically all the time.

When her five children were smaller she felt like a juggler in the circus who sprinted through each day one act at a time.  She’s collected Tales from Under the Big Top {which are really just stories of her life as a mother} over the years and likes to sprinkle them about whenever the inclination hits.

Blogging quickly became her favorite outlet for telling her tales, and she’s been happily tapping away, making friends, and broadening her horizons for ever 3 years now.”

What do you think?  Should my long pitch have more emphasis on my actual blog?  I’m undecided.

Mama's Losin' It

Writer’s Workshop-Motherhood

Motherhood.

Are there enough words to describe how it has changed me?
See, the thing about motherhood is:
There are a lot of variables that make being a mommy pretty unpredictable. One can control many variables with schedules, but even those have flaws. There is no guarantee that the whipper snapper(s) involved is going to adhere to the “rules” imposed. I like a schedule. I love nap time and the time it gives me to take a deep breath. I love that every day has a moment that allows for reflection on the unexpected that invariably already happened that day.

The first time I got pregnant I didn’t mind throwing up everyday. I didn’t mind gaining 50 lbs. and looking like a beached whale. I didn’t mind any of the weird things that the body goes through to grow a baby, but I did mind one thing. And it took me years to admit it. I saw plenty of births in childbirth class, yet I don’t remember or forgot that many times they don’t clean the baby before giving him/her to the mommy. After I birthed my first baby, they promptly put her on my stomach and I literally didn’t know what to do. I was crying because I had just experienced the greatest joy of my life, yet I was perplexed. Was I supposed to pick up the slightly stinky, bloody baby, or just touch her? Worse yet, I didn’t know if there was something wrong with me for really just wanting to hold her once she was swaddled and cleaned? That was my first experience with the conflicting emotions that motherhood brings.

While I was pregnant, I fully committed to breastfeeding. I knew that it would be easy, economical and the best thing for my baby. A few days after the birth, my milk came in. I was a little shocked. By everything, even though I thought I knew all about it. I DID not know that it (human breast milk) didn’t come out in a single stream. How was it that no one had ever told me this? I had commited to breastfeeding, yet for me it was one of the hardest things I had ever done. It was stressful for me, and I didn’t feel like it provided an opportunity for extra bonding. I wasn’t expecting this.

The latest revelation that has shocked me is that even though I love to read, I don’t love reading with my children who are learning to read. This is supposed to be a magical time, but I find myself going crazy waiting for each word to be deciphered. I think it must make me a bad mom in a way, but perhaps it just shows how much I love my children in order to do these things that I don’t love.

In fact, that must be it. The thing about being a mommy is love. In all it’s unexpected forms. Has it changed me? Infinitely. It’s perplexed me, it’s humbled me, it’s allowed me adventures I never dreamed of. It’s made me far less self centered AND. It’s filled me with joy.

Head on over to Mama Kat’s place to see what others are saying.

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