Category Archives: Identity crisis

Vivienne Tam: Giving Thanks and Feeling Worthy

vtstoreme

Do you know that feeling when you watch reality shows like “Extreme Home Makeover” and you see amazing things happen for people and you say out loud “that sort of stuff never happens to me”? Or how about the reality show “What Not to Wear”. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to wear really nice clothes instead of jelly smeared jeans? I know these sorts of shows well. I watch, I smile and I think “not in a million years”.

Well, during my time in NYC, I kind of had an “Extreme Home Makeover / What Not to wear” moment. A real one. I think it would have made a great reality show actually. And it all has to do with Vivienne Tam.

As you know by now, I spent 4 amazing days in New York City for fashion week thanks to the folks at Buzz Corps, HP and Vivienne Tam. The entire experience in itself was “reality show” worthy in that this sort of stuff *SO* does not happen to me. I spent every day thanking everyone around me. I thanked drivers (oh wait I hugged him too), door holders, hotel folks, waiters, even random people I passed on the streets for slightly stepping out of my way. I was so damn grateful to be there. Every crack and crevice I happened upon heard my gratitude, loud and clear.

But then something even more amazing happened to all the bloggers on this trip. “What? MORE?!” I hear you mumble. Yes, more. We were given a gift.

We started out mid morning in our shuttle not exactly knowing where we were headed. When we pulled up to Vivienne Tam’s boutique, it was familiar to us after having been there the night before for her show. So we stepped out of the bus and walked in, curious. The entire space had changed into a “store” with racks of her dresses lined up, mannequins dressed, shoes and bags on display. We all wandered around, happy to see the goods in daylight for better pictures and also excited to see more of her line. We snapped pics, picked out favorites, held them up to each other, laughed at the possibilities and moved along.

And then Alan Wang, the Vivienne Tam boutique manager and all around very nice man, got our attention. He stood at the front of the store and thanked us for being here this week. He told us how much Vivienne Tam truly appreciates our support and that she recognizes the important work we do. And as a symbol of her gratitude, she would like to give us a gift. Each of us were welcome to pick out one dress. To keep.

Blank stares. It dawns on us. Mouths drop. Rushed whispering. Quiet squeals. And then me, “Can I hug you right now?”

I am not sure what he said next (although I remember that he diplomatically ignored my invitation for a hug, smart man), but it had begun to sink in. Kind of. We could pick a dress in that room to take home. To wear. To have. To feel fabulous in.

And we were off. Some spending time carefully considering. Others leaping on the handbags and shoes (understandably). And then there was me who grabbed one dress and dashed for the dressing room. What if they changed their minds? Quick. Let me get this on and out the door before they decide this isn’t such a great idea.

I wound up with the second dress I tried on. I truly felt amazing in it. I ran around the store in it. I teared up. Three times. Shamelessly. My friend Moosh in Indy saw my Hanes her Way and that’s cool by me. This was serious business. I got an amazing dress. A Vivienne Tam dress. Glamorous pieces of clothing like this just don’t exist in my life. But now one does. (And it is laughing at everything else in my closet as I write this.)

So what happened next? Just wait. Yes, there’s more.

That night we were welcome to attend another event back at the Vivienne Tam boutique. This was the official launch of the Vivienne Tam Hp Mini. Another night on the town? What better excuse to don our fab dresses. And that we did.

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I also brought my VT HP Mini with me. I just figured it would be good to have it since that evening was all about it.

And so what happens? Vivienne Tam arrives, speaks to her guests and then offers to sign anyone’s computers. So now, under my right hand in the bottom corner of my Mini, is Vivienne Tam’s signature. She signed it for me and you know what she said to me? She said I was so beautiful in her dress.

Wow. This mom with jelly smeared jeans and a leaking sippy cup in her purse could be beautiful.

It was a moment. To be sure.

vtsig

And that’s what the dress and the computer have come to represent. Women running around managing the insanity of their lives, elbow deep in dirty boy socks and sticky pots of mac and cheese DO deserve nice things. A dress like this, a computer like this – well, they are simply special things. Little bits of fabulous that remind you that you are actually “worthy” – socks and mac n cheese aside.

So I had that “What not to Wear” moment. And staying true to the thanking theme of my week, I thanked Vivienne Tam that night. I thanked her for making me feel more beautiful and special than I had in years.

My gratitude is endless, my heart is full and my sense of beautiful is in check.

For that (just one more time) I say: Thank you.

vtandme

For more information about the HP products I review, please visit my HP Update page.

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Filed under Blog love, Bloggers, Gifts, Giving respect, HP, Identity crisis, Mothers, One of those moments, Parenting, Shopping, Stuff I have, Techie Stuff, Women

Just Thought I’d Ask

8ball_0

As much as I try to deny it, my children are growing up. (Damn.) My sweet little two year old C.  is going to be three this summer. I have even begun the process of enrolling him in school part time this fall. Its hard to believe that in a mere nine months, I won’t have a child home with me full time.

How did that happen?

And where does that leave me?

In 2003, I quit my full time job to be home with my children. And soon, over five years later with two kids in school and a huge gap in my resume, I have to figure out how I am going to help earn more for this family. Times are tough everywhere. We are lucky my husband is even employed. I am an able bodied person, so back to work with me. If this all sounds familiar, it should because I have been stressed about this issue before. Its one I go round in circles about. I think we all do.

But here’s the thing. This past year, some amazing things have happened for me. I am beginning to feel that I need to pay careful attention to whats going on around me. The signs are there.  It seems that something real may waiting for me in my future. I know this sounds like I am buying into some new age hocus pocus… *Shrug* Well. I don’t know. Maybe I am. Because I almost feel like the universe – and all that is beyond me – is quietly trying to tell me something. You might remember I have noticed this before. And all of those crazy signs I was talking about then still just keep popping up everywhere.

This way, this way. Over here. Come this way…

So, if we are going to go there, and get all spiritual up on this blog, I think I am going to go ahead and practice a tried and true lesson from the heavens. I have heard that in order to get what you want, you must ask for it. So that’s what I am going to do. I am going push aside those feelings of “I shouldn’t ask for anything, I don’t deserve anything more, I have enough” and just simply ask the powers that be for a little favor.

To all that are listening, whether they be up at the pearly gates or right here next to me as I type this post (cue the inspirational Enya music, switch on the hallowed lights from the heavens) – this is what I hope I can do to earn my keep around here:

I want to write.

(Shocking, I know.)

But I want to be paid to write. And I adore blogging, really I do, and I plan to keep doing it. But am I the next Dooce? I don’t think so. My life is really not interesting enough to have a well paying blog about… err… little ol’ me.

But I would love to write articles, be paid to post on other blogs, write reviews, write editorials in magazines or online… shoot, whatever it is, I just want to write and make some extra scratch for groceries or (eeks, this seems like a lot to ask) maybe even a car payment.

Now if you are a parent blogger, writing from home like I am, I am betting you are having a good laugh right about now. Because this is probably exactly what you want too. You know how great writing is. You can work from home and then be there for your children when they get home from school. You set your own hours and you take on as much work as you can handle. Its kind of ideal, right? Yeah, that’s what I think too.

Well, even if every other parent blogger wants to do what I hope to do, so what. It still can’t hurt to ask, right?

So. To the powers that be. Whoever is out there, up there, over there, right here pushing mystical buttons and pulling heavenly levers… could you just make a note? Maybe tag me and set me aside for something that seems to fit my needs down the road a bit? I’m not asking to be Editor in Chief of Redbook or the next Jen Weiner, I just want to love what I do… and write. Then maybe I can help pay some bills around here and make sure T. is getting his homework done before he turns on the Wii. It’s not too much to ask, right? I hope not.

Anyway. Back I go to stumbling down this path, with no clue where it will take me, uncovering the tiny little signs that are pointing me this way.  I know I keep checking myself, questioning my faith in it all, saying “Well, I don’t know, I’ll try it for now but lets not get our hopes up.” But then, right at my feet, another sign will appear. And if I look very, very closely it says the same thing that they all do. It simply says “write, write, write”. So I am.

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Filed under Blog love, Deep thoughts, Destinies, Guilt and motherhood, Identity crisis, Panicking, Reality check, Self-analysis, Signs, Spirituality, Working moms

Be a Better Parent without Forgeting about Yourself

mompic

This is a post for parents. For mothers and fathers whose lives have done an entire 180 and have landed *splat* face down on the sidewalk since they have had children. After five years of parenting, I consider myself entirely too enlightened about one key factor: the you, the “you” you knew before your kids were left in a bundle on your doorstep, will become a scarce, mythical beast, read only about in fairy tales, lest you corner that old “you”, wrastle it to the ground and trap it in a place you can access on a daily basis.

What am I on about? Parents know. Its the days of wearing old t-shirts because your breasts are leaking constantly. Its cutting your hair because you are tired of having it yanked out a strand at a time. Its crushed crackers in a diaper bag, while all the cute bags slowly fade out of style in your closet. Its Friday nights asleep on the couch while a well intentioned DVD plays in the background. Its the groundhog days filled with time outs, thrown applesauce, nails down the chalk board screams, flushed toys and poopy diaper wrestling. It’s considering your annual trip to your OBGYN “a day out”. It’s never having a private moment in the bathroom. Ever.

Please. To all my brothers and sisters in the trenches of parenthood. Take a look around. When was the last time you went on a date with your partner? When was the last time you wore something “dry clean only”? When was the last time you left the house without diapers, snacks, sippy cups, and an outift change? When was the last time you slept somewhere away from your children and then – gasp – allowed yourself to sleep in past 7am?

It is so very important to remember what makes you happy. Yes, yes. Your happy child makes you happy. So does 8pm when they are (God willing) in bed finally. But what makes YOU tick? Before kids. Did you like to read? (And I don’t mean board books.) Did you have a hobby? Did you see friends often? Did you exercise? Did you have actual leisure time?

Did you?

Do you have any of that stuff now? No??? Go find it. Quick. Hire a sitter, even if it costs money. Figure out a girls night out. Have a friend take the kids for an afternoon. Check the guilt at the door and do something for YOURSELF.

Because if you don’t, you will truly lose yourself and your mind. You will forget who you are. You will actually forget what you truly LIKE to do. All of the sudden, ALL that you know about yourself is being… well… a parent. Take away the kids, and suddenly there is nothing left. Your identity is simply… a mom. Or a dad.

And it can happen so quickly. You’re there and then *POOF*, suddenly, you’re gone.

No disrespect of course. Being a parent is an incredible and, yes, noble job. It is an honorable identity to assume, and every parent should claim that title with pride. As my aunt always reminds me, parenting it the hardest job there is. Yeah, you bet your animal crackers it is. And THAT’S exactly why its so easy to loose yourself. There is so much to do while parenting that when you forget about the “you” stuff, the “kid” stuff seeps in and fills in all the cracks. There is always a sippy cup to fill, a puzzle to make, and a nose – or bum – to wipe. Just let someone else do it once in awhile, that’s all. It will still be there when you get back. No one will take the title of “mom” or “dad” away from you. Just be your first name, the name you had before “mom” or “dad”, once and awhile.

Have you still not shaken your parental guilt to consider more time for yourself? Don’t forget that when you are happier, you are a happier – and therefore better – parent. And then theres the whole “absence makes the heart grow fonder” thing. When you take some time away, you do miss your kids. And upon your return, you and your partner will actually fight for the chance to change a poopy diaper. Seriously, it happens.

And I know the tough times of parenting are fleeting. I am betting my wiser readers who have been parents longer than I have are pleading to me “Oh but enjoy these tough days. Enjoy your child before he grows up. They will be gone in an instant!”

Sadly, I know that. And I fear that. Everyday I bring my 5 year old home from school and I hold him tight tight tight because I can literally feel his mind and body growing in my arms. But that is also my point. They DO grow up so damn fast. And then in an instant, they are off to college. Where does that leave you? If your child went to college today (forget that he or she is a 2 year old toddler) – who would you be right now? How would you identify yourself? What kind of fun would you have with your spouse? Do you know? You need to know. Think about it.

Now please do not assume I actually have this figured out. (Snort.) Honestly? I am writing this post while deeply in the trenches of an extraordinarily all consuming phase of parenting. My husband is just about to begin his season and that will require him to work six days a week, working as late as 10pm. But in the midst of this time, while I raise these wonderful but tough kids of mine and my husband works so that I can take care of these wonderful but tough kids of ours, I am trying to keep track of myself. For instance, I write when I have any time, from my home, with the kids here next to me. While multi-tasking this mommy stuff, I am hoping to piece together some clue so I can be a better (potentially paid) writer “when I grow up”. And I have started running. Insane, right? But I’m into it (I’ll even go before my husband leaves for work) and now dream of finding some way to have my kids watched so I can run a 5K.

Granted, I keep reminding myself to keep my expectations reasonable. Diaper changing, referreeing the rules of sharing and helping with homework is just what I do for now. But dreaming, and clinging stubbornly onto what truly makes me tick, does allow me to be more than just “Mom” – but “Caroline” too.

The picture posted above is of me with my boys. It was taken about a year and a half ago and might be titled “Me as Mommy”. It is one of my favorites as I am caught in a very typical, absolutely wonderful, however all consuming parenting moment.

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Filed under Aging, Boys, Children, Deep thoughts, Family, Fathers, Growing up, Guilt and motherhood, Identity crisis, Marriage, Mothers, Parenting, Reality check

My Baby Belly Battle

strongest-man

I loathe my baby belly.

And all the mother’s out there who have given birth to their children know exactly what I mean. It’s that tire of flabbed out muscle and mushy fat left over from carrying watermelon sized babies around in your abdomen. And even after you’ve breastfed both children (hoping they suck off the extra pounds), even after you patiently wait out the old mantra “9 months in, 9 months out”, even after everything else seems to have gone back to where it was… (eh… pretty much… good enough at least… if you squint with one eye… after your contacts are out) – that baby belly stays right with me like some trusty sidekick. It just won’t quit. It’s as if your abdomen is thinking “Hey, hanging out here in the wind really ain’t so bad after all. If it works for Homer Simpson, it works for me.” And you are left avoiding the empire waisted shirts or anything remotely maternity-ish for fear that if you wander too close to a Babies R Us, you’ll hear a squealed “ooooh, when are you due???” I’m not exaggerating either. It’s happened to me.

So I really loathe my baby belly. And I swear to you. I am not getting all vain here either. Honestly. I am not all into losing weight or getting some hard, Linda Hamilton type of bod. No way, being stacked like that just doesn’t get me that fired up. My body is my body, take it or leave it. All I reeeeally want to do is wear jeans WITHOUT the muffin top – do you catch what I’m saying?

So back to that damned baby belly. I want it gone. And how do I do that? Hold on to your hats folks, its a totally crazy concept for me. Here it comes… Exercise.

BOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Hiiiisssssssss…. virtual rotten tomatoes are being lobbed at such a concept.

But, heres the thing. Or irony of it all. I have a college coach for a husband. And he majored in – of all things – P.E. (For real, he did. Side bar I know, but he actually took college classes in badminton and ballroom dancing and teaching kids how to play kickball. And he ALSO took a lot of nutrition and physiology classes. Hence my perfect resource.) It’s crazy really. I had to marry a guy who is so damn physically gifted – athletics, sports, and physical fitness come as naturally as breathing for him. So, yeah, he certainly knows what it takes to get my flabby midsection back in the saddle again. I have an expert living right along next to me.

But can I also mention WHY I love my husband dearly? Because he NEVER, and I mean NEVER, has suggested I work on my belly by the way. He could care less if I do. He loves me as is. But when I ask questions, he is happy to provide information. Score for me.

So. Finally. I asked that husband of mine what I need to do to get my baby belly to bugger off. And he said two things. Aerobic exercise and toning my ab muscles.

(And then there is a third. Eat better. Whatever. Pass the Halloween candy.)

Huh. Now lets back the truck up a bit here. I hate exercise. (Hence those lobbed tomatoes.) I was the dorky, awkwardly tall, uncoordinated kid in bad glasses who dreaded P.E. I have not one ounce of competitiveness in me. And so when a soccer ball hit me square in the face at age 6 and my glasses went flying – I cashed it in. I mean, ow. That hurt. I could care less which net the ball got into. Exercise, sports, getting all sweaty = NOT. FOR. ME.

Well, at the ripe age of 35 and after having two large boys, exercise is no longer optional. If I don’t want to look like a potato with toothpicks sticking out of it, I better get off my ass. (Note: yeah, yeah, I am sure I am exaggerating. While I may not look exactly like said potato, I feel like said potato – and THAT, my friends, is JUST as bad in my book.)

And let’s not forget that studies have proven that exercise lowers a woman’s risk of breast cancer – which my mother has had. And weight bearing exercise will build my bones now and help me avoid osteoporosis – which my mother has. It’s time to get out the door and get it done.

So after all this whining about my baby belly, what have I started doing about it? How do I get to work on kicking its ass when I have a coach husband who never works regular hours like 9 to 5 and is often gone weekends? When I don’t have the extra cash to join the Y (with the baby sitting included)? When I don’t have any fancy stair master in some personal gym in the basement? How do I commit to cardio and toning? This is what I do.

1) Do I have a half hour? Yup. All I ask myself is to spend a half hour of my day doing something that raises my heart rate above “yawn, stretch, thump, wassup, oh yeah right, thump“.

2) If I am by myself, I get out the door and walk. Fast. With music. Walk, walk, walk.

3) If I am by myself, can I dare myself to run, just a little bit? Yup. It sucks, but I get done faster.

4) If I have the kids, can I drag or push them in any way? I don’t have a jogging stroller but pushing a heavy sit-n-stand or pulling 75 pounds of children in wagon has gotta give me some kind of work out.

5) Can’t leave the house? Out comes my jump rope in front of the TV

6) Ab time? Groan. I ask myself to do 80 sit ups, 20 jack knifes and some minimal core work. That’s it.

So its not much, right? But its more than what I was doing. A LOT more. And the funny part is that its actually becoming addicting. I can’t wait to get out and do it – even if it SUCKS while I’m doing it. But I will do whatever I can to get out there.

This is all so UN-me, I am telling you. Like today, me, dragging that wagon full of my kids. Even trying to run while pulling it. I swear I must have looked like I was in The Worlds Strongest Man (Or World’s Lamest Mom) competition. You know, when they are pulling a car behind them? That was me and that wagon trying to run but really barely getting anywhere. It kicked my ass, I am telling you. And probably offered my neighbors some comedy in their day.

But I’m doing it. I’m trying.

Do I see any difference? Nope, not yet. No idea if I’m losing weight because I don’t care about that (I don’t even own a scale, I think they’re evil). I still have my tried and true muffin top rockin out of my jean top. But I remind myself that it can’t happen over night. (Not with that lovely, delish bowl of Halloween candy sitting right here besides me as I type this. Oh no.)

But I’m doing it. I’m trying.

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Filed under Aging, Breast cancer, Children, Educating myself, Exercise, Health, Identity crisis, Mothers, Panicking, Self-analysis

The Crux of Better Blogging.

Folks, here’s the truth. I really need to get better at this blogging thing. And I absolutely don’t mean that in a “Wah, I suck, I’m needy, I need attention, someone tell me I’m a good blogger before my whining makes you jump off your roof” kind of way.

I don’t mean it like that. Ew.

But I have to be honest here. Blogging is -fer real – something I just need to get better at. Sure, sure, I confidently spout off here about all sorts of horse pucky, sounding like I really know what I am talking about. But… actually… blogging has me a wee bit flummoxed. (Oooh now *that’s* a fun word.) And I am going to “out” myself about this right here, right now.

First of all, I take forever to post. Huge groan. I so annoy myself over this. Usually the first draft of my post writes itself, for the most part. Which is why I love to blog, because it just comes rushing out – typing diarrhea – and *yay* you all get to read it.

So writing really isn’t the problem.

It’s my self imposed over-editing which is to blame. GAH.

Its the obsessing, the going back and forth over one word, it’s the “let me just see how this reads ONE more time” thing. While I may have whipped out the initial post in 10 minutes, the editing can sometimes take hours.

This will not do.

I am a mother. I have kids to shuttle around. I have fights to break up. Homework to help with. And really reeeally fun trips to the grocery store with two miserable, grocery hating children. I even have a husband who kinda likes to talk to me at night. I was almost late to kindergarten pick-up once because I could not finally just press publish and rip myself away. Tinker, tinker, tinker.

Enough already! Grow some ovaries and publish the flipping post already, SHEESH!!!!

So, yup, I need to get faster about my posting.

And if I post faster, maybe I could think to post more often! Because my next issue is that I just don’t post enough. I really could and should write more. But when I DO write, I think too much, go on for too long, edit forever (see above) and – gasp – completely exhaust and highly annoy myself.

And when I think too much, go on and on and wind up with posts that are far too long, what does that tell me?

Am I… am I… not… editing enough?!??

OH NO! Not more editing, for the love of all that’s good in the blogosphere. NO. MORE. EDITING.

Can we talk about my blog layout itself? I am so clueless (“how clueless are you?” …you yell from your PC). I am so clueless, that I actually don’t really understand such things as “Adsense” or “self-hosting”. I mean, what the hell is a trackback? I don’t know how to Digg anyone. I am signed up for technorati but what does it exactly mean?

Seriously. The bloggy techie stuff? (Shrug my shoulders.) Whatever. I got NO idea.

I write, I stick a picture or video in now and then, maybe I can copy or paste some fancy html code I found somewhere. But that’s about all I got.

All potential for slick blogging with cool branding seems lost. Or at least far far out of my reach.

I’m hopeless. Far from cool. Not very legit as a blogger I think.

But ah-ha. Here lies the crux of the problem. (Crux. What does that even MEAN and how the hell do you spell it? …Hopefully my editing will take care of that. Snort.)

Fast, good, frequent posting seems all about confidence.

I mean, to just write your mind and then – all cool and relaxed – press publish without one thought… well, you need to feel really solid about yourself as a blogger. And that, my friends, takes time. And practice. And the careful careful art of remaining true to who you are when you post. Bloggers must be: what you read is what you get.

My theory (oh, soooo scientific aren’t we) is that if we bloggers are true to ourselves, feel confident that our posts are, in fact, of value, and know we have amazing blogger buddies out there who have our backs – we should find that confidence to press publish. Just like that. Just like this…

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Filed under Bloggers, Educating myself, Identity crisis, Self-analysis, Techie Stuff

Turning 35 and Getting Over It.

A few days ago, I turned 35 and for some reason it seems to be a bit of a milestone.  35. 5 years from 30, 5 years from 40. When I turned 30, I hardly noticed. I was deep in the trenches of tending to a newborn.  A “milk making, diaper changing, ever baby holding, never sleeping” machine. I hardly noticed it was summer, let alone that I had turned 30. It seems that since I have had children, my aging, my progress forward, my evolution in any way has kind of come to a screeching halt. And that’s been ok actually. I have been able to pretend I am still 29, the age I was when T. was born. I have almost let myself believe that everything is just at a stand-still, waiting for me to come back into the game when the coast is clear and the baby gates are down.

But here we have it – I have turned 35, and I am not so sure the game is exactly waiting around. Age is happening to me, whether I like it or not. Weight has redistributed itself – things around the back have seemed to have sucked through my body and deposited themselves on the front. Except for the top portion of my front, which actually WAS sucked away -thanks to my two boys- and I’m left with gaping, “been there done that”, A cups. I’ve got some white hairs, sun damage has become more apparent, I’ve got a bunion for cripes sakes, and I can’t focus up close when I read quite as well as I used to.

The other true indication that my life is really not stopped in place waiting for my return is the fact that my children are growing up. Nothing demonstrates the passing of time more clearly than children growing before your very eyes. 5 years have gone by since I have become a mother and turned 30, and my growing children (just add water, the Chia Child that grows…. Cha-cha-cha-cha- chia!!!) have made sure I don’t live in denial about that fact.

So yup, as so many do, I have grumped my way into 35, responding with a groan when someone wishes me well. Clearly, I am feeling sorry for myself. But, ugh though. This self pity crap is really annoying, and you know I am not the only one who does it. Why can’t we accept this inevitable aging process and the milestones that come with it?  

So to change it up, and slap some sense into myself, I think this might be a good time to take stock. I think to make myself feel better and actually celebrate this mark of 35 years, I need to list all that is good about this age.  So read along as I try really reeeeeally hard to make myself feel better and remark on what a fabulous half full glass 35 actually is.

·         I can finally just relax into my own body. It is what it is. The genes are laid down, the babies have been born and left it as so. I should be good to it, appreciate it, throw pride to the wind and wear that bikini after all, accepting that what I got is what I got.

·         By now, I have to know something. I have to have enough life experience that I can safely feel some confidence about having a clue about how the world goes ‘round. And if someone asks for it, my advice could maybe possibly hold some water.

·         Being carded at 35 is a compliment. It really is. That 18 year old kid asking for my I.D. truly makes my day. 35 probably doesn’t look as old as I think it does.

·         In my twenties, I was in a frenzy of getting engaged, planning a wedding, being married, and then trying and succeeding at having babies before my child-bearing years were over. And now, (throw some confetti in the air) I’ve done it! I got that covered. Now it’s time to figure out the next steps without that crazy pressure over my head.

·         Years ago, before children, I hated to be alone. It seemed pointless and lonely and too quiet. Now, I cherish some time alone. To remember the old me, think my own thoughts, make my own choices. Granted, I still don’t want to fly solo for too too long, mind you, but the time alone I do get, I savor and cherish.

·         At 35, all radio stations are my musical oyster. The soft rock station plays songs I actually know (honestly, it’s not THAT bad). The oldies station plays my favorite tunes from high school. I still know top 40. I still jam out to R&B (I don’t care how ridiculous this white suburbia mom probably looks). Classic rock rocks, even if it doesn’t seem THAT classic. And when I am running up to the store without the kids, I’ll even blast the alternative rock station and swear I still do “get it”.

·         White hairs on blond women can be written off as “highlights”. At least I’D like to think so.

·         I don’t care what “What Not to Wear” says, at 35, I still feel like I can buy fun t-shirts in the Jr. Section and get away with it.

·         Laugh lines just mean you’ve been happy. And when you smile, well those laugh lines just make you look happier.

·         As I raise two children, at least I know that one day, I have left this world with something really really good. That alone kind of negates any said bitching and moaning about my age.

·         35 is ONLY 35.

Now for those of you smug folks who are 5, 10, 20 years my senior and are currently rolling their eyes at my pathetic little mid-life crisis (which I am constructively trying to reconcile with a harmless little blog post, mind you), just remember you were 35 too once. We all go through milestones and experience them in our own particular self-indulgent way.

Ok then. Now that I have accepted that I am the ripe, wise and proud age of 35, maybe I can stand my ground and really show how I have gotten a clue in future years. Each year forward, I want to try very hard not to dwell (“try” being the key word) on the “getting old” bit. Really, enough already, it’s just annoying. I need to get over it and keep taking stock and celebrating those achievements – big or small. And more to the point, I need to get fired up about what I still have yet to tackle, discover, celebrate and enjoy. My boys are growing up and a bit more independent – let’s get on with it, there is so much to do!

And finally, my dearest friend also reminded me that the day we are born isn’t meant for bemoaning our white hairs and droopy body parts. Remember, we were born this day. We have come into the world, done some cool stuff, made our world better in whatever large or small way and people have loved us for it. Our friends want to cheer us on and we should accept that love, light some birthday candles and get on with the party. So, happy birthday to me. Happy birthday to me. May I get plastered you baaa…d girl, happy birthday to me. Cheers!

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Filed under Aging, Birthdays, Growing up, Identity crisis, Self-analysis

Giving Thanks and Going to BlogHer.

A crazy kind of fortune fell into my lap a little while ago. I won an all expenses paid trip to this year’s BlogHer conference in San Francisco. I know. It’s absolutely unbelievable. I was completely caught off guard. And I have been sitting on this news for fear the other shoe might drop. I mean, this is just too good to be true! But no shoe has dropped, babysitting has been lined up, the ladies at BlogHer came through, conference registration is done, plane tickets are bought and a very dear friend in SF is having me stay with her. So finally… FINALLY… I would like to take this opportunity to scream my gratitude and pure jubilation from the rooftops. Ok, so bear with me, here it goes…

WAAAHHHOOOOOOOO!!!!!! I’M GOING TO BLOGHER!!! YIPPI-KI-YAY!!!! SLAP MY ASS AND CALL ME SALLY! I AM GOING TO BLOGHER!!!!!! AHHHAHAHHAAHHHHAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!

Phew! Hee hee, I am really going to BlogHer!

But here’s the thing. Really, the emotion that is truly filling my heart right now is gratitude. You have to understand that this trip – a trip on my own, no kids, all for me and for my brain and my new found LOVE of blogging – means more to me than one could ever imagine. You see, I have been home with my children for 5 years now. Of course, I adore them. And, although we have hardly two pennies to rub together, I feel like the richest woman in the world that we have been able to afford to have me home. But my brain is mush, folks. Honestly. I am quite sure its shrunk from misuse, the stench of ghastly diapers and too much Noggin. I have been feeling like I would never find the old me.

But then I timidly started blogging. And it was like a tidal wave of brain cells rushed back over me. I CAN think; a truly “Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz” moment, indeed.

And then I won this contest.

As you can imagine, this opportunity was absolutely unattainable before. Like so many families these days, we have nothing extra for anything as extravagant as a trip across the country for a blogging conference. Cha, RIGHT! And little ol’ me, just trying to keep up with diapers and light saber fights and smashed strawberries in the carpet… little ol’ me who pecks away at her 8 year old computer whenever a child is napping… little ol’ me who peers out into the world through her computer monitor because I just don’t get out so often…. I… *I*… get to go to BlogHer. I am humbled and beyond grateful.

The other part of this is how smoothly it has all worked out. First of all, the ladies at BlogHer rock. No doubt. Who am I? Some lowly Ragu contest winner. They sure don’t have to rush around on account of me. But they did! Thank you so much. And then my family, not quite entirely “getting” this blogging thing in the first place, well they all shuffled themselves and made it work so my kids would be looked after. Even the flight times and dates I was looking for were found without a problem. And my friend in San Fransisco is welcoming me with open arms, even though we haven’t seen each other in 10 years. To quote Natalie Merchant, it’s as if “Fate smiled at Destiny” – I am meant to be there.

Now, stop laughing, because I believe in this mystical mumbo jumbo crap. I do. I truly think the blogging thing is supposed to be happening in my life right now. So I am going to follow it and see just where it leads.

And I am so frigging PSYCHED about it!

So again, to the wonderful goddesses at BlogHer, thank you. A million times over. This is a big life changing thing for silly ol’ “weary mom whose only been blogging for 4 months” me. I don’t think you could have happened upon a more grateful winner. I am going to soak in every single second. And then, I’m going to come back here, to my 8 year old computer, and do the absolute best I can by this little blog.

“All the goddesses will come up to their ripped screen door and say ‘What do you want, dear?’ ‘I want inside.'”

-Ani Difranco

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Filed under Blog love, BlogHer Conference, Identity crisis, Travel