Why I’m Not Making any New Year’s Resolutions

 

new-years-eve-1941665_1920I am barely keeping my life together and now I’m supposed to make resolutions? To what? To commit to more things when I’m already falling behind in the stuff I’m committed to? To lose weight when I’m already busting my butt just trying to maintain my current weight?  To be a better mother, wife, Christian, friend, daughter when I’m already trying and failing and trying again?

The idea of New Year’s Resolutions is completely overwhelming to me. Here I am drowning in a mess of a house, a bunch of kids, an overload of volunteer commitments, a super strange ever changing work “schedule,” and a long list of unmet personal and professional goals. A New Year’s Resolution just feels like I’ll be throwing one more thing on top of the pile that I’m currently buried in!

I don’t usually make resolutions. Ok, well I usually do eat more salad the first week in January, but that’s mostly because my body is so upset with me after all the crap food I ate the past two weeks and I feel like a little detox is in order. But I promise you, I’m not planning on eating any more salads than is absolutely necessary this coming year. Got a little sidetracked there, sorry! Lemme start over:

I don’t usually make resolutions, but I don’t remember getting upset about about other people making them like I am this year. Whenever I see a friend posting a resolution about losing weight or selling more Lularoe, I get angry! Stop raising the bar people! You’re weight is fine and honestly, we don’t need anymore crazy leggings. Plus, you’re making me feel like I should be resolving to do something which, if you read the second paragraph, you know it’s just not going to happen.  

I know what you’re thinking, “Anne, no one can make you feel anything unless you let them.” Which is true. So maybe my problem here is that I’m comparing myself to other people. Which is dumb. Who cares if my friends want to lose weight, get healthier, or sell more crap, I mean, buttery soft leggings? I think that’s’ great for them. And I need to realize that their resolutions have nothing to do with me, that their resolutions aren’t in any way meant to point out that I may need to improve upon myself or my life. So maybe what I should do here is make a concrete decision to stop comparing myself to other people. Yes, that’s it, I’m going to make that decision and see if I can keep it going all year long.

Stupid resolutions.  

 

Why I love Pokemon Go-Even Though I Don’t Play (and My Kids Don’t Either)

 

1471865484537When I heard about Pokemon Go about a year ago, I dreaded it’s release, but now that it’s here, I love it-even though I don’t play and my kids don’t either. Here’s why:

My ten year old bestest boy loves Pokemon and has for the past 5 years. And when I say love, I’m putting it lightly. He has over 500 cards, most of the games, novels about the characters, he watches the shows and movies, and has almost all of the pokedexes (which, for you pokenovices, are encyclopedias of Pokemon-listing all the characters and details about them). Before you think I spoiled him with all this stuff, please know that it took 5 years to accumulate this crap, I mean special, important, pokestuff, and a lot of it was in the form of gifts from our large and generous extended family.  

In a Minecraft world, being a pokefan hasn’t been too easy for my sonny boy. Pokemon is not popular in my son’s school. Very few of the kids play the video games or watch the shows. A couple have some cards, but they aren’t invested like my son is. Add to that that my boy is a little on the quirky side. But if you are a true Pokemon fan, you probably already guessed that. So, he has learned not talk about Pokemon at school; he doesn’t wear his favorite Pokemon shirt because “nobody else likes Pokemon, Mom,” and he holds his own with his knowledge of Minecraft, which more of the kids like.  

It’s not all doom and gloom though friends, luckily most of my nieces and nephews are also superpokefans! My boy pulls out his pokeshirt when he knows he’s going to see them, pokecard binder in one hand and Nintento DS in the other! We all go to the beach together for a week in the summer and the kids find a space to hang out, trade cards, play games, but mostly talk about Pokemon. We call it the pokeden. It’s super cute and honestly, a nice break for the parents who are sick and tired of hearing about it. Then all us adults can sit around and talk about stuff we are interested in-like who was Mom’s favorite!

Anywho-I was so apprehensive when Pokemon Go came out, I didn’t even tell Will. I don’t really have a problem with Pokemon per se, but I do know that when sonny boy spends “too much” time doing pokethings, he has a hard time switching his mind over to the task at hand. He gets lost in his own pokeworld and on the way up to brush his teeth, he forgets why he was going upstairs.

pikachu edit

But of course I couldn’t hide it. And sure enough he started hearing about it from friends, family, Pokemon websites, and even on the news. I made sure to point out all the “Wow, Pokemon Go is so dangerous people are getting robbed and hit by cars” stories to dissuade him.

But then something really cool happened. I found out that the people playing the game aren’t necessarily the pokepeople. They are just people who want to play this game, which is actually pretty fun-even if you’re not a fan.

Then something even cooler happened, I was helping out at Sunday school and a teen helper asked the class if any of them had Pokemon Go. Sonny boy said no, but that he liked Pokemon. The teen said he just downloaded the game and found his first Pokemon, a little orange dragon. (I was thinking, “do you mean Charmander,” all rolling my eyes at his lack of pokeknowledge and then immediately thinking, “ugh, why do I know so much about pokemon?”)

But my son politely and enthusiastically said, “That’s probably a Charmander!” The two talked and the teen found my son again the next week to talk to him about the 76 more pokemon he found.

So now, I love Pokemon Go! Because people who aren’t true fans are playing it, getting interested in Pokemon, talking about it socially, asking my son questions, and appreciating his encyclopedic knowledge.

I know this won’t always be the case for him, that what the mainstream is talking about is something he’s interested in. Most kids in the school don’t have a special love for geodes, a crazy amount of knowledge about sharks and Greek mythology and prefer doing science experiments over playing soccer. And I’m ok with that. I love my quirky little boy. All these things he’s interested in are what makes him who he is and I wouldn’t change any little bit of him.

But I do have to admit that I am excited for school to start this year! So just once, my son can be truly involved and engaged in what the majority of the other kids are interested in!

I’m hoping the poketalk eclipses the Minecraft chatter. I’m hoping my boy dons his pokeshirt and lets his quirky flag fly and shows those Pokemon Go players what a true pokefan looks like.  

Wanted: The Perfect Bathing Suit

swim-39386_1280Last year’s bathing suit, which I loved, is worn out and faded so I hit the mall searching for a new one.

People, it didn’t go well. I tried on a bunch of tankinis but the fitted tops made me look kind of muffin toppy and the tops that were flared will float up when I’m swimming and that’s uncomfortable. And I’m looking for a bathing suit to actually swim in. I guess I should have mentioned that first. Last year we bought a house with a pool so I’m out almost everyday with the kids, so I need a functional bathing suit.

If I were looking for a bathing suit to look good in, lounging poolside with a big hat and a drink in my hand, I could probably find something fairly quickly. Maybe a low cut tankini, that’s not too tight around the belly and a super cute skirt-type cover up.

But these things don’t work when you are actually playing and swimming with kids. I already mentioned the top floating up. And the low cut, that’s a no no. I mean, you can’t lean over in those things. Well, I sure can’t. The girls are too big; it’s obscene.

Back to trying on suits: I just wasn’t finding anything comfortable that looked good.  

My first thought was, “Dear Lord, what has gravity and having children done to my body?” But I stopped myself. Because I want to be one of those women who loves her body all the time and is so amazed that she carried babies and is a good role model for her daughters and teaches them to have a healthy body image.  

So I stopped the negative thoughts. And tried to come up with another logical reason why all the bathing suits are the worst.

And I figured it out! I went out too late. I mean, it’s already the end of June, so the stores are probably packing away all the good bathing suits to make room for school supplies. Yes, that must be it. Or wait, maybe it’s just this store has crappy suits. That’s it. It’s not me. It’s this crappy store and their awful bathing suits.

So I left and when to another store. Okay, like three more stores. And you know what? I think they all must be affiliated somehow because all crap. And again, it’s not me, right? Because I have a good body image and stuff, right?

But store number 5! Well, they actually had a suit that fit, was comfortable, and looked pretty good. Honestly, I didn’t love it, but it worked and I needed a suit.

“See,” I told myself, “it was just the stores. It has nothing to do with my body and I’m not fat and I look good in this bathing suit so there.”

After my affirming experience in Store #5’s dressing room, I headed over to the register with my purchase feeling pretty good about myself. And that’s when I saw the brand name clearly displayed on the tag.

My suit, friends, was made by Swim Solutions.

Swim Solutions? Seriously? This is where I am in my life right now? I need a “solution” to my swimming “problem?”

It’s like my husband is going to holler, “Hey, the kids and I are going swimming; come join us!” And my response will now have to be, “Oh, that sounds terrible. What a predicament. Oh wait, I think I have a solution,” as I pull on my bathing suit.  

swim solutions.jpgI couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t do it. I mean, if I loved the bathing suit, I would have kept it. Even if the brand was called, “Bathing Suits for Old Fat Ladies.” But I didn’t love it. So I put that bathing suit right back on the rack and walked out of Store #5 empty handed.  

I am determined to find something I love. If I don’t, then that negative self talk will start creeping back up and before you know it, I’ll be sitting on the side of the pool in a turtleneck and sweatpants, drowning my sorrows in Pringles, telling my kids, “Mommy can’t swim because stretch marks and stuff.”  

I will find a suit I like! And in the meantime, I’ll just pull on my old faded suit and cannonball into the pool!

What about you? Do you have a suit that you love?

 

Escaping Tragedy

arrowsI feel like I’m walking down a hallway and arrows are whizzing by my head. Striking my friends, their children.  

When I turn around I can’t see anything.  I don’t know where the arrows are coming from.  We continue walking but when I turn around again, I can see that we haven’t gone any farther.  When I try to run, I can’t. I’m just walking.  

I hear an arrow buzz past my ear.  I try to duck, to cover my head, to cover my children but I can’t. I can only walk.  

There are so many people walking down the hallway with us and as I turn my head to the left and right, I see the arrows piercing, a person falls, a child falls.  

I don’t know what we are walking towards. Safety I guess, but it doesn’t seem that we are getting any closer. Step after step and I can’t see anything new. I can’t see the end of the hallway.  Just people. Just people walking. And falling.  

I’m terrified and heartbroken. I feel helpless. I’m relieved that an arrow hasn’t struck me or my family. And I feel guilty for feeling that. My neck tingles in anticipatory dread.   

I keep walking.  

photo credit: Manuela Kohl, pexels.com

 

4 Conversations I Can’t Have because I’m a Triplet Mom

mouthcoveredIf you are one of my mom friends and you notice me getting quiet during a discussion, you know something is very, very wrong. Because if you know me, you know I love to talk and it’s hard to get me to shut up. Add in a glass of wine or two at one of our moms nights in and I’ll probably dominate all the conversations. Except the ones below:

Conversations about what it’s like to go from having one kid to two kids – or two to three – or even three to four

Because I have no idea. I have four kids, yes, but I went from having one to four! Who else does that? Even in my multiples club, I think there are only a few of us that did that. So when you all start talking about which was harder, to go from having one kid to two or from two kids to three, I’ll just sit over here, sip my wine, much on the delicious snacks and wait for the next topic to jump in on.

Conversations about the differences in your pregnancies

Because most of you had your babies the normal way: One. At. A.Time. Like normal people do. So you’ll all talk about how you carried higher with your boys or had more heartburn with each successive pregnancy and I’ll just sit there. Because I do know that I carried bigger with my second pregnancy but that’s just because there was a full litter in there! Other than that, not much I can offer to this either. So, I’ll just be over here. What is that, crab dip? Lovely, I’ll have some of that.

Conversations about the baby days

Because I’m a little worried about seeming like a show off. Because you’ll all be talking about reflux, colic, the witching hour, teething, mastitis, and all kinds of fun stuff. And I’ll be like, yeah we did that times three! And you’ll all look at me like, show off! Or like I’m supermom Or both! My baby days stories are un-relatable. So, I’ll just be over here. Is that cabernet? I think I’ll try that next.

Conversations about deliveries

Because there was a team of people, people! Yes, some of my girlfriends have had emergency c sections and some have had babies early. So I can talk about the surgery, the recovery and that sort of thing. But do you know how many people were in my delivery room? 12! A dozen people, not counting the babies. My OB, her student, (teaching hospital) two anesthesiologists, a NICU nurse for each baby, two NICU doctors, my nurse, my husband and me. And then when the babies were delivered, they were whisked away to spend their first 4 weeks of life in a isolettes. So, I’ll just be here with this plate of mini eclairs…and another glass of that delicious cabernet.

So what I’m saying here is ladies, if we don’t talk about something else at this moms night in, I’m about to get real full and real drunk!

But seriously, I actually do participate in all these conversations with my close friends. All of our experiences are different – I have friends that had babies born early, HELLP syndrome, emergency c-sections, unmedicated deliveries – I have friends who had hyperemesis with all their pregnancies, who have children with special needs, kiddos born 15 months apart, kids with FPIES and other food allergies. We have all had difficulties as moms and I’m more than willing to share my experiences with my closest, bestest friends.

But I do shy away from these conversations with people I don’t know very well – because I don’t want to come off like I’m a show off or a supermom. (Even though secretly I think I’m a combination of the two! But don’t tell anyone!)
What about you? What’s something unique about your pregnancy or baby days that you don’t typically share with the random group of moms on the playground?

Bertha

berthaThis here is Bertha. Ain’t she purdy?

She looks like a Bertha, right? If she were a person I imagine she’d be in her mid 60’s with big fluffy grayish white hair that curls away from her face. She’d be chubby wear cardigans and comfortable brown shoes. Sometimes she’d be a little grouchy when her gout was acting up but mostly she’d be cheerful.

She looks great in this picture – but don’t be fooled. I got lucky with that lighting. Really Bertha is pretty beat up. First there’s this rusty scrape that goes allllll the way down the right side of the car from when that guard rail came out of nowhere. Honestly, I haven’t even washed her since then because it’s like, what’s the point?

bertha scar

Then there are various dents and bumps and scrapes from throwing my kayak on top and having kids who like to play frisbee and wiffle ball in the driveway.

There is a spot on the windshield that never gets clean because even though the wipers work and the washer fluid is full, the washer fluid sprays all areas of the windshield except for the section right in front of my face.

The automatic door on the right doesn’t obey the automatic door button and doesn’t lock automatically either. And no, it wasn’t because of the guard rail incident; it was broken before then.

The automatic door on the left works most of the time. Except for when it doesn’t. But it works well enough so that when you push the button, you walk away expecting it to close without checking it. And then you come out of karate an hour and a half later to find  a gang of raccoons helping themselves to month old french fries. Ok, that last part may have been a little bit of an exaggeration.

The air conditioner doesn’t work. Well, it does work kind of. It blows cold air out of all the vents except the ones on the driver. Those blow burning hot air.

If it rained overnight I can’t steer for a few blocks.

The brakes squeak. Not the breaks, but the break pedal. When I push it down it makes a faint, high pitched, “wheep.” Like a sad little guinea pig. The actual brakes don’t squeak, but they don’t work that well either.

It’s hard to explain the noise she makes when she’s idling, but it doesn’t sound good. It sounds like she’s tired, she’s struggling.

And so we are getting ready to say goodbye. And I am surprised that I’m feeling kind of sad about it. I thought I’d be ready to kick her to the curb and get a new, sleek van with a camera to help me back up and maybe some of that satellite radio and ooo!, maybe even a DVD player built in for long trips!

But, as I think about getting rid of this van, I think about all the time she’s been with our family.

All the times I drove around with one, or two, or three crying babies trying to lull them to sleep. The time when the girls were 3 and everything was hard and cooking dinner seemed like an impossible task so we scrapped it and hopped in Bertha to go out for ice cream. The time we got stuck in traffic on a bridge for 2 hours and I cried in the backseat along with the kids. The time we brought our cat home and she made cute little squeaking sounds the whole way home. The time the car overheated and we pulled over in front of my 6th grade crush’s house to wait for Daddy to come rescue us. All the trips to the doctors office, the sing-a-longs, the fights and the giggles, the chit chats, the prayers for passing ambulances, the everyday conversations.

When I started this post, I thought I’d end up at fake sentimentality. I thought I’d make a few jokes about how “important” a minivan is to a stay at home mom. But now that I’m here at the end of the post, I’m a little embarrassed to say that the fake sentimentality has turned real. And now I’m not really sure where to go with this. I wanted to end on a funny note but now I’m feeling a little melancholy. So much of our life is tied to that van.

So I guess I’ll just end by saying, “Thanks Bertha.”

Hello From The Other Car

Recently I had the privilege of babysitting my niece and nephew who are just awesome kids.  First, they are 12 and 7 so they are easy to take care of. That might be my favorite part. Also, they are smart and funny and kind and polite and goofy and put up with me always trying to give them cuddles even though they are clearly too old for that sort of thing.

So, it was gearing up to be a good day. The only thing wrong with them is that one of them is allergic to my cat. It’s their only flaw really. So off to the supermarket we went to pick up some allergy medicine. I won’t name which one here because, what is this, a free commercial? But in case the company wants to get in touch with me and sponsor this post for some dough that would probably be okay with me. So, allergy companies, I’ll give you a hint as to which one it is – it rhymes with flertec.  

Sorry about that tangent there. So we go to the grocery store and easily grab the flertec (I say easily because they are such awesome kids and so well behaved! They stayed with me and didn’t roughhouse or fight or get lost in the store or anything!)  

We hop in the car and as we are getting buckled and ready to roll I happen to look over and see that the woman in the car next to me is crying. Like fat tears streaming down her face, nose running crying. 

hello from the other carSo, I poke my niece, “Do you see that?  Is that woman crying?” Niece confirms. So I ask my niece what to do since she is like 12 now and pretty much an adult. And also because I have no idea what to do. She looks at me like, What are you asking me for?  You’re the adult here. (12 year olds can convey a lot just with a look).  

So, here we are sitting in the car and I can’t go because I don’t know if I should get out of my car and see if she is okay or just respect her privacy (and avoid all awkwardness) and drive away.

 

I start rapid fire questions at my perfect niece and nephew:

  • Would you want someone to approach you if you were crying in your car alone?
  • Do you think we are on a hidden camera show?
  • What would Jesus do?
  • If I drive away, am I leaving because I don’t want to deal with an awkward situation or am I leaving because I think it’s the right thing to do?
  • What if I go over and ask if she is okay and she really does need to talk and then we are all stuck in the parking lot?
  • What if I go over and she’s just embarrassed that someone saw her crying?
  • Do you see any cameras anywhere?
  • Cause I mean, this has to be a hidden camera show, right?

All the while I’m hoping the woman will finish her cry, dry her eyes, and head into the grocery store. Or notice that we keep looking over at her and stop. But she keeps sobbing, head in hands. It’s so sad.

My niece and nephew look at me blankly, clearly not having the same internal struggle as I am. I’m pretty sure they both want to beat it the heck out of there, take the flertec, go back to my house and eat all the junk food I just bought for them. But because they are so awesome they don’t say anything of the sort.  

I think if I were on my own in this situation, I would have driven away and maybe felt bad about it later. But because I had kids with me, both of which are my godchildren by the way, I felt obligated to reach out to this woman and be a good example to my niece and nephew. To do something uncomfortable because it was the right thing to do.  

I made the children aware of my decision.  

“Kids, I’m going to go ask if she is ok.”

Blank stares. Followed by longing glances towards the frozen pizza rolls.  

“Ok, I’m really going to do it.”

I’m thinking, “Boy am I really going to do this? Wouldn’t it be easier to walk away?” But I take a deep breath, hold my door handle firmly and pop the door open.

And I am greeted with music, blaringly loud music coming from the car with the crying lady.

“Hello from the other side.  I must have tried a thousand times…”

Relief washed over me. I sat back down in my seat, buckled up and put the van in reverse. We were going home.  

My niece looked at me like I was crazy. After all that discussion and I wasn’t even going to go over there?

“It’s okay guys,” I said “she was just listening to Adele.”