Home About Me Awards Favorite Blogs Momformation Favorite Adventures

Guest Post about Sports/Schedules

soccermoms

I have a post up at The Soccer Moms today, about my struggles with juggling multiple sports schedules:

Juggling Schedules Is Not for the Weak (click link)

When I started writing this, I was irked about something a coach had said to my son and discombobulated because practice days for one of our sports had changed on us causing conflicts that hadn’t previously been there with another sport, but as I got further into the writing, it took a different path. I’ve come to the conclusion that that there is no blame to place, it’s not the coaches fault (though I can do without the comments to my kid) nor is it mine as a parent. The bottom line is that life is hard and full of challenges and when you have multiple kids and full time jobs and other extracurricular activities, it gets even harder. Add in the fact that the full time job and the activities take place in different cities and the hard magnifies by a bazillion. It’s impossible to be in more than one place at a time, but it’s also impossible to not strive to give your child as many opportunities to grow and learn and participate as possible.

Credit should be given to those (many of whom are also parents) who give their time to coach (paid or volunteer) as well as to the parents who do everything in their power to get their kids where they are supposed to be on time and to those kids who many times are changing uniforms in the car but still work their butt off once they get there. Everyone needs to see the other’s side and be supportive.

It’s called teamwork for a reason. And as we all know, when you have kids, it takes a village.

-CMK

 

gingerbreadmama

Happy 5th Birthday, baby big girl

Today she is 5. An age she’s been counting down to be…“Am I 5 tomorrow? Or the next day after the next day after the next day?”

Flynn at 5

Flynn at 5

Five is a milestone, in many ways, for both of us.

For me, I’m that much older and removed from the baby making phase of my life. That ship, long sailed.

Flynn_growing_up03 Flynn_growing_up02 Flynn_growing_up01 Flynn_growing_up04

 

For me, it’s not only watching but letting you do your own thing, like your hair styles. You no longer want me to put your hair in pigtails and forget about bangs. You told me (didn’t ask) you were growing “these things long” when you were barely 3.

Flynn_growing_up08 Flynn_growing_up09 Flynn_growing_up10

 

For me, it’s often buying new shoes because you outgrow them faster than you wear them, and missing the times when I not only couldn’t keep socks or shoes on your tiny, tiny feet, but you didn’t need them because I mostly carried you.

Flynn_growing_up06

For me, it’s relishing each moment you gain more independence, but wishing for the moments when you needed only me.

Flynn_growing_up05 Flynn_growing_up07

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For me, it’s realizing that while you will always be the baby of the family, you are now such a big girl.

flynn4

For you, it’s excitement over starting Kindergarten soon, and doing your own homework.

For you, it’s about being “big”, and faster and stronger to keep up with your brother and being “big” like him.

FullSizeRender

For you, it’s about being the same age as your best friends from school.

For you, it’s about the birthday crown your teacher made, the cupcakes and pink pancakes I made you for breakfast, the Barbie fashion show dress up singing and dancing birthday party.

pancakes1

 

 

pancakes2

 

 

 

 

 

For you, it’s not just instinctively knowing what you want; be it to wear, accessorize, eat, listen to, read, learn, but being able to express those wants clearly and be understood.flynn5

Five is a milestone, in many ways, but for both of us, no matter how old, wise, big, smart, sassy, or far away you are, you will always be my baby, my little shadow.

meandfpk

So today you are 5. And we celebrate you.

Happy birthday to my favorite girl in all the land. I love you, love you, love you, baby doll.

IMG_8088

gingerbreadmama

Trust me, I KNOW – Things I Can’t Say

I’m over at Things I Can’t Say today, venting about people who tell me stuff I clearly already know. Because it’s been one of those weeks.

things-they-cant-say-button

 

gingerbreadmama

Guest Post: Not a Numbers Game

I’m over at The Soccer Moms with a guest post on how playing a game can’t always be answered with a number.soccermoms

 

gingerbreadmama

Never Alone

Driving home from church, singing along to Fix My Eyes, her favorite For King and Country song, all seemed happy and right in the world, but as her song ended, she quietly asked

                         When you and daddy are gone, will I still have brother?

I looked in my rear view mirror and saw her looking back at me, with eyes wide. I said, I hope so honey, why are you asking?

                         Because I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to sing my song alone.

I didn’t know how to answer her, she’s not quite five and doesn’t need to bear the burden of our mortality before she can fully comprehend it.

But her question made my heart ache and I wanted to answer it right.

I thought about telling her that of course we’d always be here, and of course she’d never be alone. But she’s not quite five, and we won’t always be here.

I reached back and took her hand in mine and said

We don’t know when our time here will end but you have me and daddy and brother, and nana and grandpa and uncle and grandma and friends and God. You won’t ever really be alone. Always know that if one of us is gone, we will always be in your heart, singing with you.

She was quiet, her eyes still wide, but my words seemed to pacify her. A few seconds later her brother said something to make her laugh and the moment passed.

Because, you know, she’s not quite five.

photo by coreen

photo by coreen

gingerbreadmama

Everyone’s got a TP

I ran cross this article called State of Working Moms Today https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/the-stressed-out-state-of-working-moms-today-99578825202.html) and of course had to read it. I’m a working mom, so what do I need to know? It’s written around a survey Care.com put out called Working Moms Tipping Point. According to the article, Care.com cofounder Donna Levin via Yahoo Parenting said they polled nearly 1,000 employed women with at least one child under 18 living at home.

Before I continue, I have to declare that I feel many of the things covered in this article applies to stay at home moms and even dads, too. We all share similar feelings of stress and pressure to do it all, we all wish for more time and we all have a TP: tipping point.

For me, what resonated was that the survey found “one in four [moms] cry by themselves at least once a week due to household-related stress.” Amen. I’m not alone. In fact, I cried today. I knocked my entire cup of coffee all over the kitchen counter 2 minutes before I was going to walk out the door and the first thought that went through my head as tears began to fall was “I just can’t get a break. I’m now going to be late.” Of course, it wasn’t a disaster. My husband and kids didn’t even see what happened. The mess was contained to the counter, it did not get on me or the floor and was quickly wiped up with the use of multiple paper towels. But it broke me. For a few minutes, in that moment, I couldn’t do anything more than let the tears fall.

The article also mentions how many families don’t eat family meals together and when they do, they are quick sit downs. I’m happy to say that my family does eat meals together every night of the week. Some days my husband is absent because he’s a fireman and works 24 hour shifts, but we always eat together and mostly at home. Some meals are fast, yes, but we are almost always together.

Another staggering and truthful tidbit was about couple time…according to the survey “the women reported spending just six hours alone with their partners each week.” Yeah, I live that too. But with two people in  fulltime demanding careers, two kids under 8 in two sports each, playdates, birthdays, school activities, LA Kings hockey games…it’s to be expected. I’m not saying I love it, because I certainly don’t. In fact, there are days that it’s almost unbearable because of the tension. But I’ve learned that we both need to be better at carving out couple time and savoring it when we have it. It’s a continual activity.

Honestly, life is phases and this is where we are now. I’m not going to lament or complain because of all we do have; health, careers, help, fantastic kids and community. It’s important to be thankful for the little things and look for the magic in those moments, because they are there, often overshadowed by the crap we choose to terriblize but if we recognize them, we can bring them to light.

Do I get overwhelmed? Yes. Do I feel pressure at work and at home? Yes. Do I sometimes feel like I could do better? Yes. Could I use more sleep and more downtime? Yes. But I also know that most days I kick ass.

I kick ass.

And there is laughter and smiles and a general sense of accomplishment and well-being.

So I am going to give myself a break, realize that it’s ok to cry over spilt coffee and know I’m not alone in feeling pressured, exhausted or overwhelmed. It’s life. A good life.

from care.com

from care.com

gingerbreadmama

Long Time Soccer Mom, First Time Coach

I’m sharing my thoughts on being a first time coach…of 4 year old girls…over at The Soccer Moms today. Come check it out and share your experiences!

http://thesoccermoms.com/long-time-soccer-mom-first-time-coach/

Because sometimes, you just have to practive in a tutu!

Because sometimes, you just have to practice in a tutu!

gingerbreadmama

Just Five More

You know how people say “X more sleeps before….” Well, I only have 5 more drives before both of my children are attending the same school in the same city.

We started at our preschool in July, 2007 when my son was six months old. He advanced through all the classrooms, eventually “graduating” from TK (transitional Kindergarten) in August, 2012. At that point, my daughter had been going there for almost two years; she started when she was four months, in October, 2010.

Her first day of school, 2010

Her first day of school, 2010

The preschool is exactly 11.23 miles from my house and 6.8 miles from my work, putting it right in the middle of the two places I spend the majority of my time. It’s an amazing school and because of my firefighter hubby’s schedule, having my kids in a preschool closer to my work made sense. That is, until my son started Kindergarten at the school that’s only .82 miles from my house. I timed it once; it takes 2 minutes and 14 seconds to get from the school to my house.

With getting the kids in and out of the car when we drop off/pick him up, California traffic and having to take side street and hitting all those red lights, it takes me an hour from the time I leave my house to the time I get to work. AN HOUR. Then I get to do it all again on the trip home.

I’m not going to lie. It’s exhausting. Not that I don’t love the talk time she and I share in the car together but a two hour commute every day just kicks my butt. And don’t get me started on the one day a week I work from home…having to drive her to another city, then come back home then go back to her school then come back home…Oh My God.

Needless to say, when she became age eligible for the full day pre-K program at her brother’s school, I jumped at the chance to enroll her. And when I found out that I could start her in June for the full day summer program, and the dates coincided with her current school year ending, before she transitioned to the next age classroom, I was maniacally enthusiastic. Sure, it gave me pause (for a split second) that changing schools with no transition time would be hard on her but rip off the band-aid I shouted! This change will save this mama 40-45 minutes each way!

But with this afternoon’s pick-up marking 5 drives away from this reality, I feel like I might burst into tears. My daughter has only ever known this school. She has many friends, some she’s been friends with since she started at 4 months old. She adores her teachers to the point of wanting to invite them to her birthday party. She knows the routines, every corner of the playgrounds, all the classroom pets, the songs, and chapel experience.

When I first told her she was going to start at her brother’s school, she dug her heels in and adamantly said no, no I’m not. But as we continued to bring it up and discuss it, she’s started to come around and now seems genuinely excited to begin a new adventure. So my trepidation is my own. I’m realizing that this preschool is all I’ve known. I know all the routines, every corner of the playground, all the teachers and parents. This preschool has become part of our family. When my son started Kindergarten, everything was new but it wasn’t preschool. The reality of switching preschools, leaving the one we’ve been attending for seven years and starting anew, is hitting me.

I know we will be fine, both of us. I know she’ll make new friends. I know having my children at the same school will restore and preserve my sanity. And there is the added bonus of the price decrease. And while all of that makes me feel giddy with glee, it is also a little daunting. Change always is.

So I’ll take a lesson from my brave girl, and be brave myself. She and I will look forward to this new adventure together.

It’s only 5 more drives away, after all.

Flynn_2014

gingerbreadmama

Off-the-cuff: this is how I do it

Leave it to Tonya (Letters for Lucas) to tag me about writing. She’s a dear friend, one of my favorite people and seriously the best at subtly (or in this case not so much) inspiring me to get off my ass. I just dropped everything and wrote this blog post because of her (my last post was April 5). I auditioned for LTYM because of her. I shared my adoption story because of her. You know, I even joined Twitter because of her. So you get the idea. She’s really, really, really good at giving you the right nudge at the right time with the right amount of inspiration to make you think “sure, I can do this, why not”…

1. What am I working on?

What am I working on is a trick question. The only answer is everything and nothing. See my response to question #4.

2. How does my writing differ from others of its genre?

Is being a 40ish, married, mom with a career and penchant for high heels a genre? Like everyone else, I’m sure; the obvious answer is it differs because it’s mine. Topics may be similar (read: motherhood) but it’s my take, my humor, my sadness, my irritation…my whatever that spurs me in that moment to write it down.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I write what I do because I need to. As stated above, I’m (a tad over) 40, married to a fireman who is only home half the month, a mom to two young children, I work full-time in a fast-paced, mostly stressful but I’m good at it career, and I’m the Queen of complicating things. I’ve mastered multitasking (or not, that’s TBD) and I‘m always on the go. So when I do write, it’s because I HAVE to. I have to say and share whatever it is I need to say and get it out of my head. I find myself and those around me funny (and at times annoying) and often that makes for a good blog post.

4. How does my writing process work?

I’ll be honest. I don’t have a process. I used to be fueled by angst. But then I grew up, fell in love, had kids and am now too happy (read: tired) to remember what it was like to feel angsty.

Writing is something I’ve done my entire life, always. It’s just a part of me. I have a creative writing degree but have been out of college for over 20 years. I stumbled into technical writing soon after graduation and began blogging in 2007. Before my blog, I wrote two columns for the now defunct website Scoopme (a review of the show Alias and a gossip column) and I also wrote a gossip column for Tea With Lemon but couldn’t keep up (or rather interested) in the so-called celebs in the news these days to care enough to write about it.

If I had to describe it, I’d say my process/writing style was off-the-cuff. I have dozens of topics I want to write about in the Notes app on my iPhone and more than a dozen pieces that I’ve started but never finished. But what mostly gets put out there is the everyday funny/irritating stuff that happens in the moment. The Wha? That just happened?! events that make me stop what I’m doing and write about it then and there. I write all day long in my head and sometimes get my shit together long enough to add my hands to the mix and type it out.

Computer, iPad, whatever is handy when the mood strikes me to type it out.

Computer, iPad, whatever is handy when the mood strikes me to type it out.

I should probably be more disciplined with writing and publishing on a consistent basis but factor in family time, work, soccer, ballet, baseball, hockey, homework, dinner, laundry, birthday parties, school events, working out (and everything else I’m forgetting) plus all the freaking driving around that occurs with motherhood and I’m reduced to only having enough energy to post funny facebook statuses (and a truckload of pictures of my kids).

But thanks to Tonya and her pushes me to do stuff superpower, I just wrote something. Off-the-cuff but it’s mine. My style, my process, my words.

Now it’s your turn! California Kara (who got me blogging in the first place and while she doesn’t write much anymore, she should) and Kristin of The Swift Kick (my HS friend, who, thankfully, writes all the time because she’s good at it), I tag you! Tell us about your writing process.

gingerbreadmama

A Rant

Have you ever had a day that is kinda shitty and you feel like crying and you can’t really pinpoint why, because it’s not one thing but maybe a culmination of things and even then you know none of it is that bad but all of it together is bringing you down?

Well, I’m having one of those. I feel like sending a big FU out to the haters, slamming the door and turning some music on really loud.

But I have responsibilities. Shit to do. So instead I’m taking deep breaths, going about my business professionally and with dignity (but don’t think for a second that my inner monologue is profanity free) and focusing on what I know. I’m not letting someone’s skewed perception (which happens to be way off of reality) dictate my day.

So there. Neenerneenerneener.

 

 

gingerbreadmama