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Writer’s Workshop: “Nit”-picking

2.) Share one of your “did that really just happen to me” life moments.

I can now say that I have been professionally deloused. Check that off the bucket list.

Parenting is fun, isn’t it? I spent two days, including a Saturday night, washing everything in the house and boiling hairbrushes after my three year old daughter was sent home from school with “nits”.

You are getting itchy just reading this, aren’t you?

Apparently she was the second child to be sent home from school that week. Sadly, lice happens. It’s beyond gross, but you have to deal with it. Or it will just get worse.

So, after treating her with an over the counter remedy at home, I made an appointment at a Lice Salon (so glamorous, my life) on the recommendation of a friend, and I am very happy I did. Because the “combing out” aspect of the process is very important and very tedious, and when you have a child who screams as though a limb is being torn off just upon seeing a hairbrush, having someone else do it is a GODSEND.

A little over 2 hours later, we were all deloused, smelled like the inside of a cedar closet and were equipped with follow-up instructions. I now know more about the lice lifecycle than I care to admit and will be arming myself with a lint roller the next time I get on an airplane or go to the movies.

But the best part of the process? I got to go through it not only with my terrified of the combing process three year old, but also with my mother-in-law, while I was nursing a small hangover. A bonding “did that really just happen to me” moment, to be sure.

Mama Kat

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Christmas Ditty (Writer’s Workshop)

It’s been a very long time since I participated in Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. But this week, I wanna play. However, I’m modifying the prompt I chose a little though: 1.) 10 things I Wanted for Christmas as a Kid but Didn’t Get and Still Want

I cannot recall not getting what I wanted for Christmas. Ever. Except maybe a boob job, so I just bought it for myself (but you know what? My mom paid for half of it). So I guess I’m lucky, or spoiled. Maybe a bit of both. Don’t hate.

But this year, I’d really like a few simple things. It’s not much to ask for but it is a daily battle at our house. Seriously, some aspects of motherhood are such fun. So I put my wants in a song (to the tune of All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth by Donald Yetter Gardner).

Sing along now!

All I want for Christmas
is to pee alone,
pee alone,
oh  just pee alone!

Gee, if I could only
have some time to pee alone,
then I could wish you
“Merry Christmas.”

All I want for Christmas
is to chew food slow,
chew food slow,
oh  just chew food slow!

Gee, if I could only
chew my food slow,
then I could wish you
“Merry Christmas.”

Ok, insert your pre-motherhood wish here and sing it loud, sing it proud.

Hopefully I’ll get one day (but will settle for half-a-day) where I get the bathroom all to myself, I get to actually enjoy my food at the temperature it is supposed to be, and I don’t hear NO every time I ask the kids to do something.

The magic of Christmas, it could happen.

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Thought process behind 6 word memoir

One of the prompts for this week’s Writer’s Workshop was 1). Last week you chose a 6 word memoir to share…this week elaborate. Tell us the story or thought process behind the sentence you wrote.

I wrote six six word memoirs because I can’t pick just six words to describe anything, especially myself. And I have too many moments that I want to capture and remember and describe. Which all takes words. Lots and lots of words.

But this one seemed to resonate with others: I overaccessorize with stress and exhaustion. I can actually sum up the thought process behind that one in six words: Two kids, I work, Firefighter husband

To say that some days I feel spread a little thin is an understatement.

My kids are 4 and 1. One of them can’t do much for herself yet and the other one can but doesn’t want to because he is envious of his baby sister. The baby is teething so she is up 2 to 3 times a night and the toddler is going through a phase where he just.won’t.go.to.sleep. I don’t sleep well and therefore am operating on minimal sleep. So I wear my exhaustion like an extra sweater only it’s not hip to do so.

My husband has been working a lot lately (96 straight hours on, 48 off then it starts over again) which leaves the daily chores to me. You don’t realize how many little things you do each day until you are doing all of them. Feeding everyone, cleaning everyone and the house (toy pickup is practically a full time job on it’s own, watering the garden, taking the trash cans out, picking up dog poop (ok, I do my best to not do this much to my hubby’s chagrin), washing, drying, folding and putting away laundry (and good lord the amount of laundry in this house is astounding), school food (deciding what to pack the baby for her 3 meals a day is daunting), school drops offs and pick ups. I know I’m forgetting something but trust me it is a long list of To Dos.

I don’t want to discuss work too much here but I manage a team of 12 people. So that should explain the stress. And my team is now global so with the time differences I’ve had early and late meetings which contribute to the exhaustion and stress.

It’s fairly plain to see why I think I overaccessorize with stress and exhaustion. The worst is the when you leave the house thinking you look like hot stuff and then catch a glimpse of yourself in a window reflection and realize that you left the house wearing your stress and exhaustion like an extra sweater and instead of h0t stuff you just look like stuff and you look exactly how you feel.

Now I am not (really) complaining. And I know there are women out there who do all this and more and women who don’t have any help at all, or are single parents and women who have even more kids. The fact is, we all live busy and hectic lives. And we sometimes need a break.

But until I figure out how to beat it, I’m going to join it and just incorporate my stress and exhaustion into my wardrobe. And maybe wear a little extra mascara and lipstick too while I’m at it.

A couple of you suggested I overaccessorize with stress and exhaustion should be on a tee-shirt so I created one. There are a couple options (including a tank top) and you can get your own here:

http://www.cafepress.com/gingerbreadmamasays

Enjoy and for those of you that can relate, hang in there!

This post was written for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

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Six Word Memoir

Six words to describe something significant in my life. Um, how does a long-winded, soap-box type do that? Not easily. So I wrote six. Six Six Word Memoirs of six words each.

Husband, two kids. Employed, healthy, blessed.

I overaccessorize with stress and exhaustion.

Sometimes I am so over myself.

My family is my whole world.

Adopted. Awesome family. Awesome biological family.

Mama needs a vacation soon, please!

Written for Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop. Prompt 1.) Six Word Memoir: Write about a significant time in your life in just six words.

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Vlog Foray – Lessons Learned

For Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop, this week’s writing prompts included a: Bonus Vlog Option! 6.) Tell us the story behind the title of your blog. What is it? What inspired it? What other options did you consider? Are you happy with it?

I have never done a Vlog and now I know why. It is freaking difficult! I admire all of you that do it on a regular basis.

I wasn’t as uncomfortable in front of the camera as I thought I’d be but I had lighting issues, sound issues. And then there were the Me issues that included speaking too fast, too slow, too soft, losing my train of thought (this happens to me more often than I’d like), calling my kids by their names instead of nicknames, not looking directly into the camera, and not knowing what to do with my hands. I also got interrupted by my son, who came in to show me his Power Ranger Ninja moves and wanted to know who I was talking to and why I was talking to a camera. And my attempt at being funny by filming in front of my never-ending pile of laundry which is the bane of my existence just comes across as me being messy. So now you know.

But the best part about my foray into the Vlog experience is that I cannot share the video! My video is 2.23 minutes long and too big to post! I didn’t even think of that. I used my Olympus camera to create the video and I do not have any video editing software. The free software I found adds a watermark to the output and the sound is off so it looks like I am dubbing in a voice-over!

I own a Flip video camera and I’m kicking myself for not using that. I think I’ll stick to being a wallflower and stay behind the camera instead of in front of it from now on, but thank you Mama Kat, for the prompt. It gave me the opportunity to try something I never thought I’d do. And I’m not ruling out never creating another Vlog, but I will be much more prepared before my next attempt.

Lessons learned.

I bet you really want to see the video now too, right? Well, I’m working on it!

But until then, you can read more of the story of my blog/title on my About Me page.

Revised: April 29 (Arbor Day)

Ah-ha! I did it!!

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Grown-up

My mom used to tell me “you can wear that when you’re 25, you can go there when you’re 25, you can have that when you’re 25″. To her 25 was grown-up.

Was I grown-up at 25? In some ways. I had a job, a nice car, had gone to New Zealand by myself and it was the year I met my husband. Did I feel grown-up? In some ways. I paid my own bills, had a strong network of friends, and truckloads of self-confidence. But I also hated my job and had been looking for a new one for half the year and had more rejection letters than I had interviews to show for it. I also rented an apartment with a male roommate, who, for lack of a better description, was a whore. Several nights during the week he’d have a different lady friend over and none of them knew about the others. The walls were thin and I often had to leave my own home for peace and quiet and to keep from spilling the beans that girl x was just one of many. Not necessarily a grown-up situation.

After my wedding shower, my mom told me what nice, grown-up and mature friends I had and how she realized I had become a beautiful  woman and was no longer a little girl. Those same mature friends made me wear a penis necklace at my bachelorette party and the day after our wedding my husband and I snuck away from the hotel and all our guests (and the group brunch) and had breakfast at a dive joint. Did I feel grown-up? Yes. Did I act it? Not so much.

It took several years, fertility help, a miscarriage and more fertility help for us to have our son. With that comes a variety of emotions and stress. My husband and I worked through it together and learned how much we really wanted to be parents. It brought us closer together and we made grown-up decisions. We still do, every day, especially now that we have two children. But on my 40th birthday (which was just last September and four months after I gave birth to our daughter), I puked in a cup and then kept on partying. I don’t recall that. I also pumped and dumped and only have a vague recollection of that. Did I feel grown-up? Yes, it was my 40th birthday, I felt old. Did I act it? Not so much.

I have oodles of examples proving I’m grown-up  but also just as many of not acting like one. I can’t pinpoint the moment I realized I was grown-up because it’s murky and tangled with so many other moments and memories, all making up my life and who I am.

To be truthful, part of me doesn’t want to admit that I actually am a grown-up.

I think I might go jump on the furniture now.

This was written for Mama Kat’s writer’s workshop, prompt 1 (inspired by my friend Tonya): The moment I realized I was a grown-up.

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If you really knew me…

If you really knew me, you would know that…

1. I always read the last page of the book first.

2. I back-packed around New Zealand by myself.

3. I do not like surprises.

4. Family missing milestones is hot button for me.

5. I can tie a cherry stem into a knot with my tongue.

6. My math skills are comically bad and my hand-writing is worse.

7. I have no patience for small talk so I’ll ask lots of questions to get you to talk about yourself. Because you know you want to anyway.

8. I consider raisins to be dead grapes.

9. I have a temper. I work hard at keeping it under control. Some days, I can feel it simmering below the surface. Yoga breaths help. 

10. I crave the sun.

11. TV/movies are my escapism. I’m intimate with my DVR.

If you really knew me, you would also know that…

1. My family is my numero uno, top-priority, love of my life, and I am feircely loyal and protective of them.

2. I’m a fixer. I am always going to try to make it better.

3. I’m an optimist and do my best not to terrible-lize things.

3. I do not believe in creating problems where they don’t exist, or worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet. Mostly because I don’t have the energy to waste.

4. I pray.

5. I can be exceptionally patient.

6. Home, to me, is anywhere with my husband and kids.

7. There is a silly word that always makes me laugh, and my husband knows it. He can always get me to smile.

8. My brain and my heart sometimes forget my age. I still feel 22.

9. I like to stand on furniture to get a different perspective.

10. I’m an advocate for networking.

11. I will always have your back. You can count on me.

This post was written for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

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Bookcase chaos

Before we had our baby girl
who makes our life so merry
I had a sanctuary of my own
that I called my library
A room so filled with hope
in the form of books a-plenty
a place you could just lose yourself
in stories that transport you away
But now the room belongs to her
our sweet Little Missus
so my books have found new homes
on different bookcases
But in the room of Fussypants
the case always looks like this
a constant state of chaos
there is no book bliss
No matter what I do or what I say
the placement ends up always
upside down and backwards
and difficult to decipher
And here my hope does wane
tested tested tested
this mess, this unorganized mess
really drives me insane
How can one enjoy
the pleasure reading brings
when you cannot find the book you want
because you treat the stories
like nothings 
My feeble attempt at poetry and my loose interpretation of hope is for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop, prompt #2: April is national poetry month…Write a poem about hope.

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10 things my mother taught me

Have you had that moment where you realize you sound like your mother? Then did you have the moment where you smiled because you realized that your mother was right and sounding like her made you even more proud to be her child?

I was adopted at birth and I’ve always felt the person I am is a product of my environment, nurture over nature. In 2008 I met most of my birth family and came to realize that while I am my parent’s daughter, there are parts of me that also came from my biological parents. It makes me feel very well rounded, to be such a nice mix of nurture and nature. And it makes me feel very lucky to have an amazing family and now an amazing extended family. The story of finding my birth family is a good one and I’ve been working on putting it in writing, which I hope to share soon.

Because of an unselfish act by a young woman not ready to be a mother, I was blessed with an amazing family and a mom who has, basically, taught me everything I know.

Even with my penchant for being long-winded, there is no way I can possibly capture all the wisdom, gifts, gems and advice she has passed on to me but for Mama Kat’s Writer’s workshop, I am going to share my top ten.

10 Things My Mother Taught Me (in no particular order)

1. “If you don’t know what a word means, look it up in the dictionary, use it in a sentence and then it will be yours forever.” My mom said this to me on many occasion as I was growing up and it works.

2. How to drive a stick shift. She had me stop on a hill (going up), take off my shoe and feel the clutch with my bare foot. We were there for a long time, it was incredibly frustrating for both of us, but I can drive a stick shift.

3. Patience is a virtue. Was she always patient with us? No. But she taught me the value of patience and how having it and exercising it rather than flying off the handle makes just about any situation bearable and allows you to really enjoy the things life has to offer.

4. Kids thrive on structure. My brother and I are only 13 months apart, my dad traveled for business and my mom worked. Maybe the structure was as much for her benefit as for ours but we had a set dinnertime, a set bedtime, chores and certain household rules we had to follow. Now that I have kids of my own, I realize how much smoother life is when structure and discipline is involved in the daily routine.

5. Manners matter. My brother and I addressed adults as Mr. and Mrs. XXX, and to this day I still address some of my folks friends that way. We answered the phone “Gunnarson Residence” until we were in college, we had to ask to be excused from the table, we said please, thank you, excuse me and pardon me. It may seem like a little thing but it’s so noticeable when you are around kids who do not have manners and it is so nice when someone tells you how polite your child is.

6. Use babysitters. Parents need downtime, married couples need adult alone time, dads need boy’s nights, moms need girl’s nights and sometimes you just need to be alone. If you don’t have family to help, hire someone.

7. Be present and make the time. With my dad’s travel schedule and two kids in sports and other extracurricular activities it wasn’t easy for my mom to be in two places at the same time but she always did her best and never made me feel as though she was choosing one kid over the other. And she always, always, always answered the phone or came to where ever I was, if I needed her right then and there.

8. Listen/hear. Listening and really hearing what people are saying is an important skill. I can always count on my mom to listen to me and to just know what I need without me even having to say it.
  
9. Experience as much as you can. We were exposed to so many different things and traveled so many places as children and although we didn’t love everything, having the opportunities to experience so much has made me a better person. So be it travel, reading, plays, sports, food, music, whatever; the world is exciting and meant to be explored.

10. Always believe in yourself. My mom is one of the strongest people I know, she is smart, dignified, capable, funny and just knows how to figure stuff out. She’s taught me to be strong, independent and self-assured and I hope I can pass all that along to my children.

And a few others for good measure…don’t smack your gum, boys don’t like girls who swear, don’t rush growing up, if you don’t like something about yourself, then change it, wear lipstick, say your prayers, and always wash your face and brush your teeth before bed. :)

I love you mommy!

(of course, my dad, brother, husband, aunt, cousins and certain friends (you know who you are) also had a hand in helping shape me into the person I am today, so know you are important to me, but this post is about my mommy).

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