Swept Away


I can't remember the last time the Hubbs swept me off my feet. This year marks ten years of marriage, and we were more or less dating the five years prior to that. So over time you forget those moments when the one you love, or hate, depending on the day, totally takes you by surprise. But this year, for whatever reason, The Hubbs pulled out all the stops on Valentine's Day.

Hotel Room Selfie
We are not big Valentine's Day people. The Hubbs thinks it's an obligation. I like the overuse of pinks and reds. We don't usually go out to dinner because of the crowds. We don't get each other over the top gifts because we have kids now, and before that, we usually didn't have the extra cash anyway. The first Valentine's Day as newly weds we stayed in and cooked dinner together. Most likely spaghetti and gluten free spaghetti for me. I don't remember the dinner, but what I do remember is that Valentine's Day finally felt right. A little dinner, a little quiet, and a lot of contentment. It set the tone for all the Valentine's Days to follow. Call me boring, but I really like to be home and cozy with dinner and a movie. And so I figured that this year would be no different.

But it was different. The weeks prior, the Hubbs called around for a dinner location, and was able to score one because I had to work on Valentine's Day. He was worried the restaurant wasn't fancy enough. Fancy enough for whom I asked? Do we even remember what fancy restaurants look like? Then we tried to convince the kids to stay the night with Grandma, but they wouldn't have it. They didn't want to stay anywhere and were sure curious why we would need them too. I figured this year would be like most date nights, we go out, we enjoy some limited alone time, and we come home the the monkeys that would still be awake, way past their bedtime with wild eyes and lots of questions. I was okay with that, in fact I was good with that.
He wanted to go to a fancy restaurant and do this?
A few days before Valentine's Day the Hubbs mentioned that I would need to pack an overnight bag. Yes, he said an overnight bag. I asked him if it needed to be weather specific, and he said no, we'd stay local. He said that we wouldn't be coming home after our semi-fancy restaurant dinner, so pack some pajamas. Which I'm sure was supposed to be roughly translated to "sexy underwear", which I have none to speak of. I mean who has the time? But I was excited at the idea that we would be going away. Away. To a room, with a bed with clean sheets, no human alarm clocks, and no schedule to keep. Heavenly.

This year I was totally swept away. The kind of "swept" that makes romantic comedies worth watching. It was nothing extravagant, it was nothing historical, but it was perfectly us. It was the idea that the Hubbs wanted to do this for us. For. Us. To give us this night, and this time together, that is so precious these days. He reminded me that he does listen and pay attention, as evidenced by the package from Lisa Leonard. Sure enough, the earrings I posted to the Hubbs Facebook wall over a month ago were now mine. Then dinner out was fantastic. We sat and talked for an hour without serious interruption. Even though I had to send my dinner back (I'm a food allergy person aka a server's nightmare), and then they threw away the Hubbs dinner while they remade mine, we just ordered more drinks. We laughed about how the cooks and the server probably hated us, and didn't mind waiting longer for our food, since this time we didn't have to keep a schedule. We didn't have to cut the night short. We walked around Fresno's Tower District, which we never inhabit, and I went to a bar I had never been too. We had time, time to spend and waste together. We had each other's undivided attention. And I only took out my phone to capture some pictures.

When we did make it back to the room, the one the Hubbs booked on the sly, it was glorious. Champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, laughter and love. We watched stupid TV and sipped champagne and laughed about both. We had a wonderful night just the two of us, and were able to really enjoy each others company. We didn't have to argue about the kids or the dishes or all the paper towels I leave on the counter. It was just us, like it was so many years ago. Because we sometimes forget that we really do like to be around each other. We get busy and distracted. We have to work and parent and sell Girl Scout cookies all weekend, then fit in some grocery shopping along the way. We don't get to be selfish and runway together. So we forget that before all the other chaos, it was just us.

He pulled out all the stops, champagne included.
We woke up the next morning bleary eyed and exhausted. If we could have, we would have booked another day and night. Just to make the time stand still. Just to live in that little pocket of time where it was just us again. But of course we thought about the girls, and if they were missing us, and if they were giving my mom a headache. We had to pack up and come home, but not before we stopped ourselves and ask, "Why don't we do this more often?". Because I'm voting that we totally do this more often.

After ten years and two kids, I was swept off my feet, and I can't wait to be swept away again.

Growing Up


I think I have outgrown Parents Magazine.

I don't think I've read a copy of it cover to cover in over a year. It's a great magazine, don't get me wrong, but I just haven't really been interested. Maybe it's because my kids are older, and I don't need so much baby/toddler advice. Maybe it's because we can't use the recipes as much anymore since one kid is gluten free and the other eats a steady diet of chips and string cheese. Or maybe, I've just outgrown it.

Let me say that I don't think I know everything there is to know about parenting. I still have a lot to learn and I'm learning it everyday. I guess I just feel like I have experts in my life. When you blog, you have Parents Magazine at your fingertips, in some cases just a text or a Facebook post away. And I know this sounds like social media is going to kill off print media, and in some instances it may, but reading about toy recalls and Tylenol dosing and how to get your kid to use his manners in ten steps isn't doing it anymore.

In January's issue there was a story on how to train your baby to be a good sleeper. My entire mothering life this will always be a hot button issue for me, because I didn't have a good sleeper the first time around. I also have broken and continue to break every "good sleeper" rule in the book. But I was curious so I read the finer points of the article which included: stop rocking your baby, stop giving your baby a bottle before bed, don't pick up your baby when they are crying, and so on.. I'm sure you've heard these before. And it's all really good advice if a sleeping baby is important to you. If your baby isn't a super sleeper by nature this may be some much needed advice, but it also made me sad. I wanted the other side of the story too. The one from the mom like me who tried all those things and failed at every one of them. The one who surrendered to rocking and bouncing and bottles at all hours of the night. The one who could not for life of them stand to hear their child "cry it out", and had to hide in her master bath with the fan on while listening to music on her iPod. Where was that story?

I wish I could write that article for them and say that a sleeping baby is a wonderful thing, but so is a baby who won't. A baby who will watch the sunrise with you. A baby who will look into your eyes as you rock them and hold handfuls of your shirt in their tiny fists until all their fight is finally gone. I'd tell those mamas with sleepless babies to embrace the night owl, the night feeder, the two hour stretcher, and enjoy every singe minute with them. Because yes you are tired, and yes you are angry that your kid will not for the love of Pete sleep, but the flip side is that this time will not last forever. Even though it feels like it. This time, these countless hours while the rest of the family sleeps and the world sleeps and the only thing on is CNN, is so damn short. And while it pains you now, one day down the road you will be up, way past every one's bed time and think, "What was I so worried about?". One day the kids will sleep, mostly in your bed, but they will sleep. They will go to school and not hold your shirt in their ever growing fists. And when they wake at night it's for things like water, which now you are happy to get them and if you try to start a conversation with them they will grumble and walk themselves back to bed. Because one day everyone will sleep, and you'll wonder where your baby went.

I guess we all grow up. Babies that won't sleep. Mothers who think they need articles about healthy sleep habits. I guess it's the circle of life. Do expectant mothers even buy What to Expect these days? I can't even imagine. I don't think I'm an expert, but I'm pretty confident I know my own way. The way that feels right for my kids and my family. Parenting is so dynamic that there is never one right answer, just the answer that is right for you.

In my case, I told The Hubbs not to renew my subscription. He looked at me like I was crazy, since it's been in our house for seven years... I told him it was fine. Everything is going to be just fine. We are growing up.

More Frozen BS

*** This post is not meant to be serious. It was written with the intent to make you laugh. Please do not proceed if you are offended by the "eff" word and other words like it. Also I use the word douche bag in this post. My apologies if I have already offended you***


I know that I've already written two posts about the Disney movie Frozen. It's no secret that we love all things Frozen in this house, including the message that it sends to little girls. Positive role models for kids are important no matter who you are, but me, I'm a women's libber at heart and so the idea that a girl forgoes the guy and saves her sister before she saves herself is more than just an act of empowerment. It's a friggen social movement.

The other day someone on my Facebook feed shared a video of a woman on some talk show ranting about Frozen. A woman. Her biggest complaint was that Frozen puts boys and men in a terrible light. It depicts them as stupid and inept and how can we as a culture "empower women" while "emasculating men"?

And with that I turned into a feminist riot-grrl. Ranting and raving and almost throwing my iPhone in a frenzy of: Are you effing kidding me? Does this woman even have a vagina? What kind of bullshit is this?

The Hubbs looked at me like I was crazy?

I'm sorry but has she not been participating in the world since I don't know, nineteen hundred and always**? **this is a John Stewart/Daily show joke

Then when I calmed down and thought about it, I was able to form a different opinion. Maybe it's not so rational, but we are talking about a cartoon here, and even if I may have taken said cartoon a little too seriously in the past, I'm going to lighten the mood here. Frozen does not emasculate men. Not for one minute. What is does do, is show little girls who will grow up into Empowered Women, what an asshole looks like.

Hear me out.

Prince Hans of the Southern Assholes seems like a real stand up guy. At their "meet cute" he saves Anna from what will sure be her drowning since I'm sure she never learned to swim locked up in that castle all those years. He doesn't even get mad that he then gets drenched when she leaves, and that Anna may or may not finish his sandwiches. I mean, he looks like a guy who really cares about his turkey and swiss foot long. He basically falls in love with Anna during a song where they do the robot which hasn't even been invented yet, and he wants to marry her on the spot. This is classic Disney: handsome stranger who knows nothing about you and your seedy past, falls in love with you at first sight and proposes marriage. This is why we (us gals) all grow up with the Cinderella complex, we just think that some handsome stranger is going to walk up to us in a bar and say, "Will you marry me?". At this point though, who cares, Anna has found her handsome prince, and has not a single care in the world. Which is wonderful considering Anna has no game in the love/relationship department after growing up in said locked castle. Thanks to Hans, she won't even need an match.com profile, which also hasn't been invented yet.

Prince Hans further promotes himself as "Suitor Number One" by promising to watch the kingdom while Anna has to find her sister, Elsa, who upon losing her temper has frozen the entire kingdom in an eternal winter. Which if I may point out is totally Anna's fault. So we leave Hans feeling good about Anna's decision. Wondering how the other dude, who we saw in the previews is going to fit into this situation. Because that other dude is on his way and somehow we know he is going to throw a wrench in this love story.

Enter Kristoff. Disney's blue collar man. Look, if ever there was a blue collar profession in the world of Disney, it's the Ice Man. Hard working with strong arms (no one will ever mention Prince Han's arms), he smells like the woods and reindeer and probably the Marlboro's that he smokes behind the Trading Post. He too seems like a stand up guy, since he agrees to the demands of a total stranger who claims to be a princess. She doesn't even show ID or anything and he just says, sure let me take you too the coldest fricking place in the land. No problem. He likes to joke with her and calls her crazy for getting engaged in twelve hours or less. He seems fun and adventurous, but hold on... He's an ice man and that Prince guy who is holding down the fort, er castle for you, he's the guy. He's a prince and so handsome and well obviously the better choice.

Until, as we all know, Prince Hans turns out to be a fucking douche bag.

Prince Hans is a gold digger, and as he begins to show his true colors, somewhat homicidal. He is a liar and a cheat and is perfectly happy with letting Anna die alone cold and heartbroken. What a dick.

This is not emasculating. This is shedding light on some men that really exist in the world. Perhaps I've never come in contact with any that have homicidal tendencies, but I've met plenty of assholes in my day. And if just once Disney movie would have said, "Listen up, this could happen to you!", I would have been all, "Oh shit, not all fairy tales have happy endings?". Maybe I wouldn't have planned my wedding against a Cinderella backdrop at age six. Maybe I would have said fuck it, I'll save myself, before worrying about a true loves kiss.

Can't we also argue that showing little girls everywhere that the Ice Man (Kristoff) is a solid choice is good for business too? Especially if it's love. That Ice Man loves that Princess,  yet I'm sure if her parents were still alive they would say Hell to the No, because he is just an ice man. So the fuck what? He's going to give Anna a good life, filled with love, cute kids, and lots of reindeer. Anna will probably move him into the castle, and she will be the bread winner and damn if that ain't good for empowering women too. And it's not emasculating Kristoff, it's bring his ass, and all our asses into the Millennial. Finally.

Bottom line Frozen is my favorite right now. I have daughters and they should know that the Prince isn't always right, the hard working Ice Man may very well be the man of your dreams, and for the love of GOD save your sister and yourself before you let some guy do your heavy lifting. Unless you want him to do your heavy lifting, then by all means girl, let him. It's your choice. It's always your choice.

I get that not everyone is going to love the empowerment that is going to be inspired by Frozen. Smart women are scary. Ask a smart woman, she will tell you. Someone is always going to have a problem with new. But I honestly think that Frozen will be one of those movies where in thirty years my grand kids are going to say, "Well duh, of course she saves her sister". Because the woman saving the day will be so common, we won't even question the ramifications of it.

Isn't it romantic?


My husband really wants to take me out for Valentine's Day.

This may sound normal to you, but in this house, we rarely do Valentine's Day. Sure we do little things, like he will bring me flowers, look the other way when I charge a mani pedi on or around the fourteenth, and I may or may not cook dinner. Like a real one using pots and pans and ingredients that have to be chopped. But anything that needs a reservation or shaved legs is usually out of the question.

Isn't it romantic?

With Valentine's steadily approaching I suggested we go to this fancy chain restaurant because we got a gift card there for Christmas. Look, I am in no way above letting my man treat me with a gift card. Because money we save there means money I can spend on books or fifteen dollar salads at Whole Foods (which are a very real thing). But when he called they said they were booked. Booked? I didn't even know they took reservations, because WE NEVER GO ANYWHERE THAT WOULD NECESSITATE A RESERVATION. And I'm not complaining, it's just a fact. We go to places like Red Robin so no one notices that our kids are bat shit crazy.

The Hubbs was bummed, he called around to a few other restaurants and they too were booked, because I guess Valentine's Day is a thing... Who knew? So I suggested the Ultimate Valentine's Day;

Let's take the kids to my moms. Force them to spend the night. Then we can get take out or cook and then spend the entire night watching movies or stupid YouTube videos, or binge watch a show, in our bed... Then we can sleep in the next day and watch TV in bed or whatever... And we can be in our bed, alone. Just the two of us, in our bed watching movies that say the eff word. A lot.

Because if I'm totally honest, that's what I really want.

It's been years since it was just me and The Hubbs. We used to do those things. Wake up on a Sunday morning and stay in bed for most of the day. Watching dumb movie after dumb movie, and Lawd have mercy if Beerfest and Super Troopers was on. We'd eat food in bed and go to Starbucks and Taco Bell in our pajamas and ignore the laundry or the fact that the next day was Monday. There were no other mouths to feed or bodies to make/force to take a bath. It was just us, being lazy and enjoying every damn minute of it.

Isn't it romantic?

We found a restaurant. They had a reservation at seven. Which is fine since I have to work Valentine's Day anyway. We will get dressed up and ship the kids to my moms. We will enjoy ourselves and eat food we don't have to cook, on dishes we don't have to clean, and then we will come home, and most likely our kids will still be awake waiting for us. And it will be just as good as any Valentine's Day we've ever had.

But before you all get so wrapped up in what a romantic couple we are let me share this story...

The Hubbs and I both had to work last Saturday, but he had to be at his job hours before I had to be at mine. I heard him get up. Which is usually fine... Except he, well, what is it about men and the first thing they do immediately after waking is shit? I mean what is that? Anyway, here is our conversation:

Hubbs gets back into bed.

Hubbs

Good morning (whisper)
snuggling and cuddling happen

Me

silence

Hubbs

Are you up?

Me

Stop. Shitting. With. The. Door. Open.
Bed starts shaking because the Hubbs is laughing

Hubbs

laughing silently
You heard that?

Me

Yeah. I heard that.

Hubbs

Laughing


Isn't it romantic?

Having Flashbacks {coming to terms with the "latch"}


I saw my labor and delivery nurse today. The nurse who took care of me after I had Caitlin. The nurse who told me that I couldn't take my baby home if she hadn't latched on or eaten. The nurse who still haunts me today.

I'm sure she is a nice person. She seemed very sweet as she shopped in my store. She was very appreciative as I looked for her item both on line and at other stores. She complimented me on my service, and how well the store was kept. And the entire time all I could think of was ripping her face off.

It's not entirely her fault. I became a mother during a time when I was blinded by perfect stories. Stories about beautiful babies who were so perfectly precious, their mothers aglow in love and joy. I hadn't heard a single story about mothers who were disappointed or dissatisfied with motherhood and how it had turned out. I hadn't witnessed yet just how unstable your emotions can be in the days after you birth a little human into the world. So I pushed and pushed with all my might, willing myself to know that everything was going to be just fine.

My first night in the hospital as a new mother was a rough one. I could not for the life of me get my kid to latch. At the time that was the most pressing and important thing in my life. Isn't it ridiculous that "latching" was the biggest worry. Everyone said, the baby has to latch to really be successful at breastfeeding. Don't let the baby get nipple confusion. Make sure you try all the different positions with all the different pillows. Don't you dare feed that baby a bottle, she will never latch on if you do. They said, they said, they said. It never occurred to me that I had a choice to skip the breast. For the first time in my life, I was worried about what everyone else was doing. My friends that had kids were breast feeding, so why not me? Why should this be any different from the time when we got tattoos or decided on highlights? All my friends are breastfeeding so that means I should too, and I'll be awesome at it. Needless to say, I worked all night with a screaming baby, trying this position and that. I was brought a nipple shield and more pillows to pile around me. At one point a Jamaican nurse with the thickest accent yelled at me and said that I had to take control of my child as she shoved a screaming Caitlin on to my right breast. All the while I was in tears. Finally at three in the morning, I was able to swaddle her, get her to sleep and sleep myself.

Enter my nurse that I saw today. Back then she greeted me at seven the next morning with breakfast. She took my stats and the baby's stats and then proceeded to lecture me on my baby's inability to eat. She said I had two choices, one I could continue to try and get her to latch, or two I could give her a bottle. Either way there was no way I was going to take my baby home until she ate.

I couldn't take my baby home until she ate.

I wish I could go back. In some motherhood time machine and tell her to go fuck herself. I wish I would have had the confidence that I have today to know that latching is and was and will always remain the least of my worries. I wish I would have just given Caitlin a bottle, because guess what? She took one anyway. Baby girl never did "latch", and I was a slave to the pump for six months before I just couldn't take it anymore. It didn't matter what my friends were doing, or what the woman in the next bed was doing, what mattered was what I was going to do for my child. I wish I would have just done what I wanted to do and said screw you guys, I'm going home, and taking this baby with me. Because it was my choice. I'm the mother, the one with the boobs, that for whatever reason didn't want to do their job, so I get to decide how to proceed. But I'm a people pleaser by birth, a type a by nature, and always good at my job. Except this time. This time I was the rookie. This time I didn't know anything about anything, except I wanted to take my baby home.

I felt every damn emotion today when I saw that woman. That one nurse that I swore would haunt me forever. I realize now that I have given her way too much power over the years. I've laid blame on her for things I didn't want to do, for making decisions I didn't think I had a choice in. But I've always had a choice on how I want to parent. I've always had the choice on what kind of mother I want to be. Seeing her today reminded me just how far I've come since that late June day. I'm stronger now. I use my voice when it comes to the kind of mother I am, and the kind of mother I want to be. I no longer take the advice of other mothers unless I ask for it specifically. I don't read the books or the magazines anymore. I just live. I let them eat Cheetos and Dr. Pepper. I vaccinate. I let them watch movies that are PG13. I let them listen to Megan Trainor. That nurse today was a reminder of all the things I can't change about my past, but all the things I have changed for my future. It was nice to know that that scared, naive, people pleaser, who's biggest worry was something called a "latch", doesn't live here anymore. She grew up, went to mommy college, and is working on her masters. Today her biggest worry is making sure the cupcakes make it to the class party with the label peeled off the box.

As I've grown as a mother the desire to please people who aren't my children has waned. My desire to be perfect and have a perfect house with perfect kids has disappeared. It would be nice, but perfect doesn't make me happy. Messy and loud, chaos and joy, love and laughter, those things make me happy.

And none of those things require a latch.