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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Country Clubs are great!

Last summer we joined a country club for the summer. It’s a great deal (or so you think). For a great flat rate you can use the pool and cafe all summer. Oh and by the way you have to spend at least $50 in food per month... Oh and another thing, we will tac on gratuity to a $2 bag of chips. Last summer we over did it a bit, but this year we plan on being diligent on our food expenditures.  At least I thought we had that conversation.  Because it was a holiday they had an all you can eat buffet, which charged per person $$$. Thankfully Don has a huge capacity for food consumption, because I could not justify paying $8 per kid who each ate a rib and half a corn of cob. Not to mention the $5 beers Don kept ordering.   I drew the line when Jack came to our chairs with 3 bags of chips and an economy size box of peanut m&m's . I asked him how he got that and he said, it was easy, he went up and took it, and they asked him his name. I said did you tell them your last name? "no, just Jack". Hopefully they didn't figure out he was our son, but who am I kidding we all look alike. But seriously, if a 3 year old goes up to a bar and asks for a drink do you give it to him? No! geezus.  Its going to be hard to break the habit of overabundance this summer, but someone has got to do it.  I get a bit of bathing suit anxiety a few weeks before I know I have to be in one.  I must say I have been really good about working out and last summer I had just had a baby, so at least I know I look better than that. Despite being very pale, I felt ok about being half naked in public. 

That was until I got there. For whatever reason, there appeared to be a spokescouple for P90X enjoying the pool too.  I always can justify their ripped appearance by thinking that she hasn't had babies yet. Just wait. Well, she did and not one but two!  Ok, well I don't want to live in a gym.  I think women and men are very different when it comes to the pool scenario. Don can look at a guy his age who is un-naturally fit and think , huh that guy is ripped.  I don't even look at the hairless guy, I'm mesmerized by this women's abs. ABS? or A bunch of Bull Shit if you ask me. How is it possible?

Thankfully the pool area fills up with normal looking people so the Mr. and Mrs. Muscle and Fitness are not so obvious.  

I love watching the boys swim.  Parker is continually trying to jump off the diving board into a inner tube.  Unfortunately for him,  we don't have prescription goggles, and because he is blind as a bat his aim is a little..off.  Finegan is exploring with his snorkel, the helicopters and other things that have flown in the pool. All I can see is his butt and snorkel swimming around. Jack is wearing a life jacket and I can tell where he is by the life guards yelling " Jack, Walk!"  I have Oscar outfitted in a baby life jacket suit which is interfering with his balance.  He is toddling all over the place and not yet aware that if he falls into the pool he will sink, or almost sink. I spent most of the day following him.  Don is just a bigger version of Parker and I don't see him for hours at a time..

I had finally gotten over my body issues when the Kardashian sisters walked in (the older ones, not the younger one).  Just in case I haven't explained, I have what has been described as an "athletic" body type. I look more like a soccer player, than a softball player, but curves are not something that I would use to describe my silhouette.  The sisters looked to be about 20 and dangerously curvy.  They decided to set up camp at the only two chairs available, next to ours.   Don emerges from out of nowhere to ask if I needed anything. What?  As they put lotion on each other I feel myself adjusting my control top tankini.  I have a strong urge to hate them and go up shaking my finger to say " you better enjoy that body because before you know it, it will be gone GONE!"  After another hour or so Oscar is popping like corn, That is what I call whining in repeated little outcries pop pop, he was hot and hadn't slept or pooped.  I decided it was time to go.  The Kardashians had decided they were hot and needed to put their sexy feet in the water.  Like bees to honey all my boys were at their side. Finegan was pinching their toes. Parker and Jack were squirting them with squirt guns and Don was "making sure everything was ok".  When I  told them (again)  it was time to go and Jack was devastated, crying and screaming "no!" Thankfully Kardashian sister #1 piped up and said " Jack, would it make you feel better if you squirted me one more time" NO JOKE.  First of all, when were names exchanged? And why is she consoling my son with her boobs? That is my job.  So Jack puppy dog eyed her and said yes... And squirted her a final time.
Before we left, he asked if she would be back on Saturday, " yes" she said and with that, Jack made his first date.

On the ride home Oscar passed out, and the car was quiet, a very rare occurance. Don mentioned what a great day it was.  I said, " I bet it was, with all the eye candy"  He didn't respond. So I repeated it " I bet it was with all the eye candy". He said, he heard me the first time. But why wasn't he saying something like "  your candy is enough for me, or what candy?"  I guess he was exercising his right to remain silent.  I have no idea why I was mad at HIM for girls being there. I guess it goes with the territory.  He was smart to not say anything because it could have been used against him in the court of me... and it would have. But the insecurity storm blew over.

And with that the start of summer has begun.  I will continue to work my butt off to look average and there will always be someone who doesn't work out and makes looking good easy, but what they don't have is an all boy entourage following them around all day, every day.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Quick Fix

If anxiety was a fruit I would squeeze it dry. I have had anxiety for as long as I can recall. I can't exactly remember when it began but it wasn't something that would plague me all day every day. Usually there was an instigation. For example, my brother building a ramp and telling me to ride my bike as fast as I could over it. Or, that same brother telling me to swing from a vine which ultimately ended in me breaking my arm.  Of course those were anxiety producing events.  In college I would freak out over exams, or laundry or whatever.  As an adult most of my anxiety is caused by worrying about things that haven't happened, but could. My anxiety was getting so vivid that I wasn't sleeping well.  I took it upon myself to contact a psychiatrist.  I chose him by his 5 star rating on line. Also, he had his M.D. not Ph.D. Which = drugs.  I sat in the office. The same brother that caused my childhood anxiety had sent me a text telling me to read a David Sedaris book. I had brought that along to read while waiting. I didn't know anything about David Sedaris other than my friend Greg liked him too.  I had no idea he was so freaking funny.  I'm sitting with other patients, laughing hysterically and trying not to, then getting church giggles all while waiting to see a psychiatrist.  I'm sure the others thought I had a screw loose, so I was in good company. I was still laughing as he escorted me back to his office.  Bla bla bla, worry, bla bla bla. He said I  tend to make everything into catastrophes. bla bla bla. Here is an rx.  He came to this conclusion after 10 min. What if I was full of crap? What if I was an addict?  I asked him if this was temporary and he told me it was something I would have to deal with for the rest of my life. So I left. Prescription in hand with a life sentence as a recovering anxiety ridden catastrophizing freak. Poor me.  I took the meds for about a week and decided the side effects were causing me more anxiety than anything.  Against the advice from family, friends, the average joe and the dog,  I stopped taking it.   It seems to me that if anyone in todays society is feeling a twinge of discomfort, there is a pill for that.  Maybe the nucleus of the Earth is feeling sad too and is pulling all the serotonin out of us to make us feel blue.  Or maybe we are just used to getting a quick fix. Headache?  Tylonal. Can't sleep? Ambian.  Can't get it up? Viagra. Sad? Prozac.  Can't concentrate? Adderal. Too Hot? Air conditioning.   Don't like your body? You can get a quick fix for that too.
* I will never understand the justification that a women uses to get implants. " I did it for me" Really?  Having foreign objects in your body in a particular area makes you smarter, sexier, able to have the confidence to get that job promotion? Doubtful. Well, I guess it depends on the job. Trust me. I know. I had perfectly awesome boobs from the early age of 14 - 25. After each child they shrunk, and I'm completely ok with that. Plus, most of the best things in my life occured after 25. 
I too have fallen into that mindset. I got to thinking, if I had taken one of my sons into a doctor and they suggested putting them on a drug with in 10 minutes of meeting them,  I would want to know every little detail about it and if it was possible how to prevent it.  But when it comes to myself, I opt for a quick fix.  I find it interesting that we are continually taking meds to cope. Cope with life. Is our life really that bad? Think of when the settlers came to this country. It took them months if not years to travel from one side of the country to the other.  People died. They had to find and make their own food. It was hot. It was cold. They were in a covered wagon. I'm sure it smelled.  I have a sneaking suspicion that some of them may have even felt.....depressed!  And with good reason. They didn't know where they were going, what they would find or if they would even get there. We don't have nearly the amount of stress as they did, yet we need drugs just to get through a day. Can you imagine if one of those women told her husband, "I don't think my boobs are big enough and if they were, I would be much happier, I'm going to sell the wagon and get an augmentation."  She would have been left behind at the next wagonstop.  Trust me. I know about chemical imbalance and I truly believe that if you need these drugs, by all means,  take them. But for the people that diagnose themselves on line, I challenge them to try to figure out what is at the root of their problem before they turn to medications. Chances are that same root will still be there just masked by a dose of the pharmaceutical de jour.  Maybe you just need them for a little while. Agreed.  I have been there and I credit medication in getting me through a really rough time. But just like I took off training wheels when my son turned 5, I learned to deal, slowly but just like my son I feel a sense of control when I am left to balance myself.
When I was in LA I took an acting class with a fantastic method actor named Eric Morris. He did an exercise called Vesuvius. You stood on stage, in front of 20 or 25 people and just started spewing your thoughts to get an authentic feeling. Sometimes it needed a little prompting to get an authentic reaction. Like when he said, "how does it make you feel that the guy you are dating (who was sitting in the audience) is married? WHAT?  That really happened. I had no idea, but it certainly got an authentic reaction. His point was, to allow those feelings to come and remember what they felt like in order to recreate them through a script.  Allowing those feelings to surface and explode ( hence the name) was not only freeing, it was therapeutic.
I have found ways to deal with my anxiety. I work out, I try not to drink (a lot) and I talk, mostly to Don.  Most of the time, once I have said my worry out loud like, " what if Oscar silently gets out of his crib while we are sleeping and makes his way out of the house and we wake up and he isn't there"
it isn't as much of a worry.  I also laugh. I surround myself with people who make me laugh and I watch funny stuff. I hide people on facebook who complain all the time. I emotionally eat.
Maybe I'm in denial. Is there a drug for that?  Maybe in a week or so I will write from a psychiatric ward that my husband, coworkers and doctor have committed me to.  Who knows, but for the time being I'm going to be a renegade and try to get over myself.  Perhaps it is a personality trait that makes up what is known as me. If I take something every time I feel sad, then how can I possibly appreciate when I feel happy?  What will become of us if we because a society that doesn't experience raw uninhibited feelings?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Little league vs. piano league

We had a weekend of firsts. First weekend of little league and our first piano recital. It was also Don's birthday and I will get to that.  I couldn't help but notice the sharp contrast of the company I was in. Friday night Don and I went to a new Mexican restaurant. I always feel at home or at casa in these places. I suspect that in a former life I was a fat catholic mexican woman with at least 15 kids who stayed at home cooking tortillas all day.  I seem to have the culture (and margaritas) in my blood. Even though my Mexican self would probably be deeply offended by that comment.  Once I saw a photo of a women who looked like me in a day of the dead celebration..just saying.  After, we went to a dive bar which is the most authentic place in town. Nobody is there putting on airs. Nobody is grinding in the corner. Its just a bar, with a juke box, darts and  shuffle board.  Don dominates the music to ensure we don't have to listen to country. His selections range from Tom Petty to Queen and I even threw in a little James, Laid for good measure. There were a total of 9 people including the bartender.  A couple who seemed to have rolled out of  Wal-Mart, muffin tops and all. A rough thin old guy sitting at the end smoking a cigarette, another rough chubby old man sitting at the other end, who happened to trip walking in , which caused me to obnoxiously laugh and pretend that Don had just said something funny. And lastly, two couples playing darts.  I couldn't help but notice one of the guys glancing over at me every 3 minutes.  He didn't see me as the mom of 4, he saw me as a hot young-ish thing enjoying a night with my boyfriend, (not my husband of almost 10 years.) And who did NOT arrive in a honda Odyssey.
The two hours flew by like ten minutes.
The next day I went to Finegan's first T-ball game.  People that don't know me would probably think I was a bit stand offish. The truth is, I'm shy and until I really get to know you, I'm pretty quiet. That is the case most of the time. In this case, I just didn't want to talk to them. I'm there to watch a suspenseful fast paced t-ball game, not socialize. And people watch, or as I call it observe.   To my left is a mom and her sister, aunt, friend, and whoever else lives in their house, with a two year old little girl. This girl whined the entire game and they kept her quiet by giving her packaged crackers and processed cheese and hi-C, (excellent selection ma'am). To my right was a mom crying whenever her son hit the ball off the T. I can't knock her too much, but at least don't announce to anyone who is listening that you are crying.  At one point I had to get out of my seat and walk to the right field fence to tell Fin to stop doing everything in slow motion.  He does this 40 min. into any game because of 3 reasons
1. He is too hot.
2. His _______ hurts.
3. He is tired.
He literally moves like he is in the Matrix.
When I returned I glanced to my right were a family had camped out with chairs and a cooler. The games are 60 min. maximum. It wasn't lunch time. They had a smorgasbord of hot dogs, popcorn and nachos.  As a former mexican I take offense to calling round tortilla chips covered in cheese whiz nachos.  They also had huge cokes.
Is it any wonder why we are the most obese nation?   By the time it ended it was starting to rain and Parker had a game at that exact time. Don dropped the 2 younger ones off with me.  There I was standing in now a down pour with a baby, a flight risk 3 year old and a 6 year old who was in slow motion while Don stood under a tent with Parker.  In retrospect Don said  "it wasn't the smartest decision" and my Dad reminded him that if I'm anything like my mother, I will bring it up 25 years later when he least expects it...he is right...and I will.
Its not easy dodging cars backing up in a parking lot that was designed by a blind person.
With that behind me I looked forward to Sunday.  We missed the recital rehearsal because of little league, but arrived early to get a little rehearsal in before the " performance". It took place in an Episcopal church and the piano is to the right in a choir "hutch". The entire audience had to look to the right while facing forward. The boys played 2 songs each. They were back to back. Altogether, with getting to the piano, bowing and taking their seat the total time was 2  1/2 minutes.  The entire concert was one hour and 40 min. Or the equivalent to 3 days when you are sitting with a 3 and 1 year old. Don't let strange rain-man like piano instructors fool you, they are making the big bucks. There were at least 25 performers at $25/ 30 min. each, once a week...one savvy business lady.  My parents dutifully attend all music events for their grandchildren, for my mom its time to revel in their virtuosity and for my dad its a great time to nap. My mom pointed out that when my boys are older they are going to be the hit of any party, what, with their piano playing and tap dancing.  Sure if they take a time machine back to 1951, maybe Dick Van dyke will be there doing some crazy chalk drawings too.  If there was the polar opposite of the baseball crowd it was this crowd. The ability to sit for an hour and 40 min. without food, water, and in silence is amazing, except mine who were snacking on dumb dumbs ( excellent selection dumbass) . We were the rebels in this crowd.  Fin insisted he had to pee even though he went before and had consumed about a thimble ounce of juice prior.  He was gone for an extended time and when he returned he went in the wrong door which placed him wondering right in front of the performer looking shocked and lost.  This caused me to get the church giggles which sent us further into rebel status.  After listening to a family of five with the same bowl haircuts and pleaded pants, the recital was over.
My parents suggested we go to celebrate Don's birthday and the recitals.
You would think that I would know that taking kids to a restaurant to sit and wait after they have been sitting 24 hours ( in kid time) and then 2 hours (in kid car time) would be a recipe  for disaster, but I didn't. I was hungry. Something about church makes me hungry, maybe its my soul emotional guilt eating.
It was just as I had suspected, but rather than reflect the entire disaster dinner, I will give you the highlights.
Don takes Jack away from the table. Jack screams. Don threatens. Jack laughs. Dad says What? I glare at Jack. Oscar head bangs the table. Parker orders ribs. Finegan announces he likes the taste of beer. Jack falls back in his chair and the entire restaurant comes to a silent stand still. After seeing that Don and I didn't rush to his rescue a man next to our table jumps out of his seat. Only to discover that the "unconscious" Jack is only playing opossum because he knows that if he gets up he is in really big trouble.
Check please.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bloody Mother's Day

I still feel weird being called a mom, let alone a mother.  Mother's day is for my mom, not me. Almost anyone can become of mom, but being a mother is a title that is earned. And although I am a mommy 4 times over ( 5 if you include our lab),it is only a part of me as a whole, not until you have raised your children do I believe you can consider yourself a true Mother.   But I do enjoy the nod of appreciation I get from my boys, even though I know they (Don) put together a gift at 9 pm the previous night or it was made by their teachers.
Being the mom of 4 boys has been quite eventful.
God must be a divine comedian when he gave me this "blessing".  I don't think he took into consideration that I have issues with blood, or maybe he did. Ha! Good one Yahweh!   I don't like lacerations or anything associated with plasma.  When I had my first son, it is protocol to place the baby on their mother's chest immediately after birth. I politely asked them to clean him off first. I was ok with the cheese, just not the blood.  The choice was, have me pass out, or clean him and have me coherent.
As I was making dinner last night I sent Jack out in the backyard to blow some bubbles. Within 2 min. I hear a scream outside. A few years ago I would have rushed out of the house, but in this case I just kept on cooking.  I then remembered that he was outside alone... well, if its bad enough he will come in. As I heard his cries getting louder I knew he was on his way in.  I figured he had spilled his bubbles.   When he came in the door he showed me his finger with blood running down his hand.  I Scream! * Someday I will realize this only escalates thier emotions, but it freaks me out too.  Don isn't home. Ok. stay calm I tell myself as I rush him to the bathroom to wash off his bloody stump.  As its running under the water he tells me that he was bit. Bit? By what? Is there a dog on the lose?  Is there a brave squirrel? No, he was bit by the brick wall.  I didn't ask him to elaborate, because I didn't want anything he said to be evidence that all the bumps to his head really have caused a slight retardation.
 Thankfully the blood washed away long enough for me to put a band-aid on his 1/4 inch cut and send him back outside.  I really wish my grandfather would have invented band-aids. We would be rich.
The other boys arrived home and with in moments of entering the door I notice that they are a mess, I'm starting to wonder if they acutally go to school or just roll around in a sand pit all day.  Earlier that day Jack had shown me that he had eaten a mouthful of sand that a boy had thrown at him. He had dirt in his teeth.
I instruct them to wash thier hands for dinner, but does it really matter when they look like the came out of a Chilean coal mine? Don walks in with his 5 o'clock shadow-beard and a coffee stain on his shirt as well as an unidentified ketchup stain, which is funny because there wasn't ketchup in the lunch I packed him......( Evidence A. he is cheating on my lunch with McDonalds value meals)
Dinner at our house consists on massive food consumption They have inherited their fathers hollow leg, designed specifically for food storge.  The boys go in fazes that I have broken down to a science.
Ages 1-2 they eat pretty much anything.
Ages 2-3  Complex Carb superabundance , anything not a carb is offensive.
Ages 3-4 Protien Party, anything meat, is fair game, cheese, nuts, anything not a protien is offensive.
Ages 5+ Anything is fair game... unless it is a mushroom or a "chinese" noodle...word on the street is that its cool to NOT like something, even if you unknowling eat it in pizza and whenever I make speghetti.
Sugar is the only consistant thing in their diet.
After dinner the boys are instructed to take showers.  They each have their own loofa and are instructed to start from top to bottom and scrub until in kind of hurts.
Finegan was the last to shower and he called out for me.  I could tell he was worried by the inflection of his "mooommmeeey?"  He came down completely naked and asked me to look at his weiny. ( his words, not mine) He said it hurt, I said, I'm sure its fine, he then pulled a portion of skin back and I screamed when I saw blood.  This caused him to start crying and he asked " what's wrong with it?" " I don't know!?, I don't have a penis! Go ask your daddy!" He frantically ran to Don for the inspection.  Besides blood, penis's are a mystery to me. It was just a week ago that one of the boys showed me that he could push it back in, which horrified and scarred me.  Turns out he wasn't cleaning it properly and there was some skin adherance going on. How would I know that? Especially since I had nothing to do with the care of their circumsitions. It just creeped me out.
I don't think grown men remember what they put their mom's through..or maybe mine are just very open with their bodies?
Regardless, if you are a man,  chances are your mom has seen you inside and out, brought you down a notch and built you back up.
When my mom is gone ( hopefully not for another 35 years) I will be given the true Mother's day title. And when I am,  I want my 40 something son's give me one thing for mother's day..  to come home clean, un-bloody gentleman and tell me that they are happy. Authentically happy.  Thats it, and all the blood dirt and tears will have been worth it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Quarter life crisis

People are living longer these days. If I live to be 100 then I have already finished the first quarter of my life.  I would say it was a pretty productive quarter:
Birth (thanks mom)... (and dad)
Youth (dedicated to soccer and dogs)
Teens: (crazy I might add)
College graduation: (nobody saw THAT coming)
20: (very wild year, last year as a single lady)
21- 29: (I have dedicated these to my husband because I met him at 21) Babies 1 and 2
30-33: (babies 3 and 4)
33-34: snooze
35+ Now what?
I had this realization last week. I was at my niece’s confirmation.  I was looking at her thinking that she has so much to look forward too. High school, college, friends, boyfriends, life. She is beautiful, athletic, and smart and the world is her oyster. Youth is wasted on the young! Wow, I really am getting old.
Plus the royal wedding was last week and whenever I watch any wedding I regret my wedding dress choice.  I never wear strapless anything, but for whatever reason I thought it would be a good idea to wear a strapless wedding dress. I spent the entire night pulling it up and as the videographer as my witness, my nipple made a cameo as I was dancing with my father.
Then you have your first baby and that is always exciting.  Maybe what I am getting at is there won't be another reason to dress up and have a party to celebrate anything really big. Oh sure I could re-new our vows, but last time I checked I didn't think they expired, there for, no reason for renewal.  I suppose we could celebrate my birthday, but that would be counterproductive for my quarter life crisis.
I realize that I will celebrate my son's achievements, heck just the other day Jack learned to put his pants on, albeit they were backwards, oh and we bought a new mattress, not your typical one but a memory foam! Time for an ice cream cake.
But what about me?
Immediately I started making plans for our 5th baby and remembered that this is why I had my tubes tied.
My bucket list is mostly completed and I just started my 34th year!
Marriage, check, kids, check, house, check, job, check. Meeting Oprah, check.
I did work hard to get where I am today but its like I have climbed this mountain, gotten to the top only to find flat land for the next 76 years until I get to the end and fall off.
Did I not set my standards high enough? After all, I am living the American dream, but now I seemed to have hit the snooze button.
I think my Dad went through this at this age and that is how I came along 7 years after my brother and how they ended up having a 1977 corvette.
My point is, I work at a place I will work for the rest of my life. I live in the home I will live in for the rest of my life and I'm married to the person I will be married to for the rest of my life. Maybe that is why swinging was invented. Totally kidding (DON).
Is this it? Clearly I don't have the answer.  But right now I feel like I'm on a road trip of my life and if I was crossing the country from West to East my midlife is looking like Kansas, Missouri and Illinois and if you have ever been on that road trip the most exciting part of that is the next McDonalds to get a twist cone... and for the record they don't even have swirl anymore, only vanilla.