Tuesday, August 20, 2013

10 Things....

From Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop:

1.) 10 Things to Smile About (inspired by Things I Can’t Say)
2.) Tell us about a time you wanted to punch someone in the face.
3.) What were you blogging about last year at this time? What has changed?
4.) Share the story behind your current Facebook and/or Twitter profile photo.
5.) Bake something yummy and share the recipe!

5. I've been doing Weight Watchers since the first week of February; I'm down 42.2lbs
And I'm right now I'm afraid to bake (and anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE baking) as I am dangerously close to falling off the wagon
4. Deactivated Facebook account and don't Twitter (or Twerk or Plank or any of those crazy things you kids do nowadays)
3. Last year was all about me turning 40 and now I turned 41....and about Ziggy coming to live with us......he still lives with us
2. Hmm, this one would probably be therapeutic for me right about now but, I'd rather tell you about
1. 10 Things to Smile About (plus I love making lists and this is such a list prompt)


1. Lucy's new favorite thing to do is make up songs
They've been about the Ziggy and Herbie, about school, her teachers, her day
She's "written songs" about coloring, her friends and last week, she made up a song about being sad but then being happy
When I asked her what made her happy, what turned her being sad around she said quite simply Singing Mumma! As soon as I started singing, I got happy

So she'll be in the back seat and I can hear her humming and sort of singing quietly to herself
And then all of a sudden she'll yell
I finished it Mumma! I finished a new song
And she'll start singing

Sometimes, the words aren't even words; its just jibber jabber set to a melody
Sometimes, she sings a story about her day and what she did
Sometimes, she just takes a song she already knows and changes the words a bit to make it hers

But the best, what really makes me smile, is when Lucy teaches me the words to the song and we sing it together (though I am always getting the words wrong....)

That makes me smile

2. We recently (and by that I mean last weekend) did some redecorating and rearranging of rooms and furniture in our house
Since we moved in, the first floor, the living room, has been not only, well, a living room, but it has  also doubled as Lucy's playroom
All her toys, animals, trampoline, little table and easel have been on the first floor since we moved in almost 4 years ago
When you sat in our living room, you may or may not have actually felt like you were at Day Care and at any moment, someone was going to try to give you goldfish crackers and juice as a snack - and then let you finger paint
The TV was in the finished basement, along with, you guessed it, more of Lucy's stuff so we've never really had our own space in this house....and we've been fine with it
But we decided we needed a change
We decided Lucy needed her own space - and more of it
And we decided we needed our own space
So we moved the TV upstairs, got rid of two chairs (heavy old recliners that we loved at the time but were now  just too big for our small house....you know what I  mean right?), replaced said chairs with smaller, lighter chairs and rearranged all the furniture
We moved all of Lucy's stuff to the basement....well, not quite everything, we've yet to move all her books down .... something she reminds me of every day because Mumma! How can it be my playroom with no books?!?!

I love that our living room now looks clean...airy...not cluttered
I love that Lucy now has a playroom
But what makes me smile?
What makes me really happy about this?
Lucy instituted a password to get into the playroom
And it is the password, the pass phrase, is the second thing that makes me smile (okay the password plus the fact I no longer have to go all the way upstairs to get a snack while watching TV):

The password that makes me smile?
The password I say every time I stand at the top of the stairs to go down (even when Lucy is not with me)?

The password is................

Bing Bong Blueberry Bop

That makes me smile

3. We are talking a vacation together as a family for the first time ever later this month

Let me qualify that: we are taking a vacation for a family as a first time which does not involve some one's wedding, shower, or visiting family
Not that I don't love visiting family, I do

But we have never gone away as a family that has not in some way shape or form involved my family or Sean's family

We have never gone away as just the three of us.....
And we are

Taking our first vacation as a family

That makes me smile

4. Sean quit his job
I know - in these economic times, why in the world would I be happy about that?
But I am happy
I'm happy and it makes me smile because Sean is happy

Because it has been an unbelievably challenging months few months for us

And when you have two people coming home every day with the stresses and strains of work....
It tests not only a marriage but takes a toll on your mental health and well being....
Not to mention the impact on anyone else in the house....
And yes, I mean our daughter and maybe even the cats
There's been a lot of yelling, crying and venting going on of late
But there is an end in sight

And that makes me smile

5. Sean has a new job
This makes me smile even bigger than number 4
Sean has a new job
And its two miles from the house
And if you live in the greater Boston area and have to commute more than 7 miles to work...well, right now you are smiling for Sean too
And you may also be a little jealous

Sean has a new job 2 miles from the house

That makes me smile

6. My youngest sister had her baby
Little Girl
8.7lbs, 19.5"
Born at 2:42pm, 8/18
Her name is Morgan Loretta

My youngest sister is a Mum

This makes me smile

When I received the call that the baby had arrived, I shared the news with Lucy:

Lucy! Auntie Mikel had the baby!
She did Mumma?! Oh my word!
Yep, you have a new cousin Lucy!
Mumma....what is it? What is the baby? WHAT IS IT?
It's a girl Lucy....

Silence....she screws her face up

Are they sure Mumma?
Yes honey
Did they check for a penis 'cause I asked God for a a boy cousin
Uhh, the baby is a girl Lucy
Whatever Mumma....what is its name?
They haven't given her a name yet
Oh....'cause they wanted a boy too?

Monday morning, as we were brushing our teeth, Lucy asked me if the baby had a name yet
No honey, no name yet
Mumma! If they haven't given the baby a name yet, maybe they can trade for a boy baby!
Umm, no Lucy, that's not how it works
It might Mumma, they could ask for a boy.....

My youngest sister is a Mum

This makes me smile

7. Lucy moved to a new classroom a couple months ago
She moved up a bit early
Initially, Sean was against it
I was all for it
Lucy needed a change
As much as she loves Miss Barbara (and who doesn't), it was time
For a number of reasons
Not the least of which was she was becoming a target for a couple of the girls in her class who were not impressed with Lucy's choice of clothes - and told Lucy every chance they got (you look like a boy, you can't play with us because you don't look like a Princess, we have play dates and you can't come)

But for me, the best thing about her moving up early has been that she had gotten some undivided attention

When I say that out loud, it seems terribly selfish
And I don't mean it to be selfish....but if I were being honest, yes, I am being selfish

I knew that if she moved up with all the other kids, she would get lost in the shuffle
Through no fault of the teachers mind you
I am certainly not implying that she has ever been ignored or not taken care of well by any of her teachers because believe me when I tell you, these teachers at her school are top notch

Lucy would get lost in the shuffle because she is that kid who people tend to look at and go
Oh, she'll be fine...she's smart, she's independent...she'll be fine
Because Lucy is big for her age and looks older than she really is
Because Lucy is a smart kid and has a vocabulary that is a bit more expansive than most kids her age
Because Lucy is an independent kid who likes to figure things out on her own
And she sort of gets forgotten as other kids and their needs (read their demanding parents) take precedent

Know how I know this?

Because Lucy is me
And I have to tell you, as you get older, that feeling really sucks
You would think it sucks as a kid but it doesn't because you don't really know its happening
But as you get older, and you realize you are being "ignored" because you always have your shit together, it sucks
It sucks because when you do actually need something or someone, no one knows what to do for you because you've never said anything before (which is not entirely true, its just that no one really listened)

So I smile because two wonderful women see in my daughter exactly what her Dad and I see
And these two women appreciate Lucy for who she is and for her potential
And these two women love Lucy enough to give her a bit of a head start

Lucy has Miss Barbara and Miss Julie in her life

This makes me smile

8. Last week, two different people implied I repel people
One actually used the words you repel people
And he was not trying to be mean
He was actually being sincere
I know it sounds like a stretch but its not
He really was trying to make me feel better
He was trying to say that though my intentions are always good, for whatever reason, people don't see that
Instead, they pull away from me and don't want my help or my outstretched hand

Seriously, he was trying to make me feel better
And he actually did (if I were to replay the entire conversation)

The other person was not
That person was simply saying to me there is something about you that turns people off
People just don't like you
And when they see you coming or you offer help, they just think you are bossy and mean and condescending
He went on to say it did not matter how nice I am because, in his opinion, I am typically always nice
Its not like you attack them he said to me
I think they just don't like you because sometimes you come off as smarter than they are
People don't like that

Sunday someday told me I was opinionated
That I had strong views
That what I felt was I felt and what I thought was what I thought and there was no changing that

Now I suppose under normal circumstance, and for normal people, this is not something that would make one smile

But it did make me smile
It actually made me smirk more so then smile
But let's call it a smile

And here's why

Because at least I am honest
At least I know where I stand with people

I smile because at night, when I put my head down on my pillow, I sleep just fine because I lived my day being true to myself
I am true to who I am and what I believe in
I'm not perfect
And I have no problem admitting any of my limits, faults, flaws

And I'm learning to embrace my strengths

I don't smile because I repel people
I don't like to think I repel people
And I don't smile because my very being turns people off
Both make me a bit sad
And I don't smile because someone thinks I have strong opinions and won't budge

I smile because I am who I am....I laugh because there is nothing you can do about it...
No, just kidding

I smile because I know exactly who I am, good, bad or indifferent
I smile because deep down inside, I know who I am...and it has taken me a long time to figure that out
I smile because I am proud of myself for figuring that out

I smile because sometimes I want to change
And I smile because I can change.....
And one can only change if they are comfortable enough with themselves to admit they may need to

I smile because of who I am

9. That last one was pretty heavy huh?
I am in the midst of some serious soul searching and clearly, as a reader, you are going with me

That makes me smile - both the fact that I am soul searching and you're going with me

But let's lighten it up shall we?

Know what else makes me smile?

Fresh flowers
Shamrock Shakes
Soft Serve ice cream in a cone
Wild Flowers along the side of the road
That week in autumn just before all the leaves start to fall off...when the tress look like they are in fire with reds, yellows and oranges so bright that even Crayola can't do it justice
Sean's Garden
Lucy's Deck Box of flowers she planted
Lucy's art work
Sitting on the back deck or the front stoop just after Lucy has gone to bed - house is quiet, lunches for the next day are made, no laundry needs to be done and I can just sit and watch the night sky or listen to the trees rustle as they settle in for the night
Uncle Ed makes me smile
So does Aunt Nell
And Uncle Michael
A good strong thunder storm
A perfectly balmy day
Sand in my toes...or my toes in sand
Blueberries for Sal
Make Way for Ducklings
Corduroy (the book not the material)
Yellow rain slickers
Rabbit Pie
Kid's laughter - even is if it is not my child...their laughs make me smile...and their squels of delight and wonder
Ice Tea
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
Hearing Lucy say her prayers

All these things make me smile

10. Simply stated, I smile because I have Sean and Lucy
Sean and Lucy

Oh how they make me smile

Maria the Mum

Friday, August 9, 2013

Conversation I had with Lucy......

Conversation I had with Lucy in the car the other night on the way home
Lucy honey, please stop picking your nose
Sorry Mumma, but there's stuff stuck in there
Ok well, when we get home, we'll get a tissue and clean your nose out
Ok Mumma, thanks
Sure Lucy
A few moments pass and I glance at Lucy in the mirror
She's deep in thought
What are you thinking Luce Goose?
Mumma, do you think God picks his nose?
Do you think Jesus used to pick his nose when he was a little boy? Do you think Jesus picks his nose now?
I don't know Lucy....I never thought about it
'cause God and Jesus have noses and sometimes noses have to be picked
Yeah, true....
Well who would know Mumma? Who knows God and Jesus?
Oh never mind Mumma, I'll just ask Noni, I bet she knows God

Conversation I had with Lucy a couple weeks ago the day after she ate two ears of corn for dinner....and at said dinner, I had teased her, as she finished her second ear of corn and asked for a third, that she'd poop corn for the next week if she ate any more
Good thing we're out of corn then Mumma!
Yes, I agreed, good thing
The next day, after dinner, I asked Lucy if she pooped and if so, was there corn in her poop (because we all look at our poop right?!?!)
What are you asking me Mumma?
Did you poop today Lucy?
She screws up her face and asks in a most incredulous voice
You mean in my pants?!?!?!
No honey, in the potty, did you poop in the potty? I just want to know if you pooped today, specifically if there was corn in your poop
You so weird Mumma.......
(again, please see why I am not mature enough to be 41)

Conversation I had with Lucy when I returned home last weekend from a solo trip to Maine
So Mumma, how was your visit with Noni and Papa?
It was good Lucy, I had a really nice time
Oh...that's good....did they ask where I was?
Well, they knew you were staying here with Daddy
Oh, well, did they miss me?
They did honey
Bet they didn't miss my epic temper tantrum I had last time I was there....
No, no they did not Lucy

Conversation I had with Lucy as we were waiting in the car for Sean
He came into view and she says
There he is! There's my handsome Daddy!
Yep, here he comes Lucy
Mumma will he still be handsome when I grow up?
Yes honey, your Dad will always be handsome to you
Yeah........he'll just be old when I grow up

Conversation I had with Lucy while brushing our teeth the other morning
Hey Mumma
Yes Lucy
You better brush your teeth really hard, you have pretty bad breath this morning
Thanks Lucy

Conversation I had with Lucy about getting more pets
Mumma, can I get a hamster? And a dog? And maybe a lizard?
Lucy! You have two cats and a fish already!
Yeah but when one of them dies, I'll need a new pet so I won't be sad.....I'm just tellin' you what will make me happy when Ziggy dies....

Conversation I had with Lucy about what kind of dog she wants
Mumma, I want a wolf dog!
You do?
Yeah Mumma, I love their eyes and their ears and I love how they look like a wolf
A wolf dog huh?
Yeah....and if we can't get a wolf dog, I want a German Shepard
Ok Lucy
And Mumma, if I can't get a wolf dog or a German Shepard, I'll take a Chihuahua
A wolf dog, a German Shepard or a Chihuahua?
That's quite a list to choose from Lucy
Yeah, I like all kinds of dogs....big and small
Any other small dogs you like Lucy?
You mean 'cause we have a small house? No......I'll just wait until we get a bigger house with a big yard and then we can get a big dog....or two Chihuahuas 'cause two would be like be like one big one
Oh, so you have this all figured out already?
Yep, and Daddy already said yes.....

Conversation I had with Lucy earlier this week
Mumma, is it almost your birthday?
It is honey, on Friday
Not this day?
No honey, not this day, today is Tuesday, my birthday is on Friday
So not this day?
And not the day after this day
No honey, tomorrow is Wednesday...in three more sleeps, it will be Friday
Your birthday
Hmm, I'm 4....then I'm gonna be 5
That's right
And I forget Mumma, how old are you
40?!? Mumma 40 is like 4 but with a 'orty?
Sure Lucy, that's one way of looking at it
So after 40 are you gonna be...Mumma what's 5 with a 'orty called?
I think Lucy you are thinking of 50 but no, I'm not going to be 50, 50 does not come after 40, 41 does so Mumma's gonna be 41
Are you sure Mumma?
Pretty sure
Are you sure you are not gonna be 50?
Yes Lucy
Hmm well, I'll check with Miss Barbara and Miss Julie
Honey I'm telling you 41 comes after 40, 50 is not for like another 9 years...shit, I'm gonna be 50 in 9 years
You shouldn't say shit Mumma

Conversation Sean and I had with Lucy in the car the Sunday on the way to the grocery store
Mumma, you're not supposed to say Oh my God unless you're praying right?
Right Luce
And you can only say Jesus when you're praying
That's right
And you can't say stupid or shut up
And if you make a mistake you can't say sh..
Sean interrupts her and says
When you make a mistake or forget something you can say something like Darn it!  Remember Friday when Daddy forgot the strawberries at the store and I said Darn it! I forgot strawberries? Darn it, darn it darn it!
No Daddy, you said Shit! I forgot the strawberries! Shit, shit, shit!
No I didn't Lucy!
Yeah Daddy, I heard you say Shit! I forgot the strawberries, shit, shit, shit!
Lucy Ellen! I said Darn it! Maria I did not say shit!
No Daddy, I'm pretty sure you said Shit! And I said Daddy! You can't say shit and you said well I forgot the strawberries! Shit, shit, shit!
Sean by now is out of the car and laughing without making a sound as tears stream down his face
Guys, I say, enough arguing and no more saying shit
Mumma, you shouldn't say shit! Daddy! Mumma said shit......

Maria the Mum


Sooner than later, it will be my birthday
And by sooner I  mean in one hour and fifteen minutes as its 10:45pm

Last year I turned 40 so it stands to reason, this year, I'll be 41

And I had just gotten used to saying I'm 40

Not that I had a huge issue with turning 40, it was more like I did not feel 40

Not that I am a total healthy nut or anything with the body of a 25 year old and the metabolism of a lab rat on coke  (though I have lost 41.8lbs since the first of February)

I mean like I am not convinced I am mature enough to be 40

I still call people dude

Any conversation centered on farting makes me laugh
The fact that I even have conversations about farting should be proof enough that I am not mature enough to be 40

The word dink makes me giggle
And if you say vagina or penis, I blush a little

At work, we speak in terms which include butt welds, nipples and rods.....I can't say any of those things without snickering just a bit

And we used to have a customer called Lecoq Cuisine
When the customer called, it was always a guy called Dick
So he'd call and say This is Dick with Lecoq Cuisine
And I would, no kidding, start laughing so hard I had to hang up on him on more than one occasion

I still act out songs (picture my sister Teresa and I singing Total Eclipse of the Heart while acting it out in our parents living room...totally happened this past weekend)
I use Lucy's hair brush as my microphone (Lucy just rolls her eyes at me)

There's a guy in my office, we're pretty much the same age and when we're together, we behave like 14 year olds
He'll come in my office and we'll have a conversation via song
He'll come in and say Hey Maria, you know what I'm trying to do but I can't?
And I'll say You can't smile without me can you?
And he'll say that's right and I can't laugh and I can't sing
And I'll ask are you finding it hard to do anything?

I also bust out with random movie lines from my favorite 80's flick - usually at totally inappropriate moments....
Like last week, I was in a meeting that got sort of intense
Someone in the room asked if there were anymore questions and I was all, Yes, actually, I have a question for so and so
And I turn and look at him and say in my most serious voice,
Does Barry Manilow know you raided his closet?

I get giddy at the thought if giving gifts - so much so that I usually crack and tell you what it is before you even have a chance to open it
I get so excited that I'll bug you a hundred times to open your birthday gift from me even though your birthday is still  a week away
And then once you open it, I'm all deflated and think there should be more
And then I'll buy you another gift for you to open on your actual birthday
Which means we'll go through the whole cycle again and by the time your birthday rolls round, I've spent a ton of money and you'll have roughly 4 gifts........three of which you probably won't even need or like

I still think that I could be Michelle Pfeiffer circa Dangerous Minds....
And I still kind of sort of want to live life like they did on Friends
I'm also pretty sure that at any moment, I will be asked to play in a Women's Baseball League and Madonna will sing the soundtrack to my life

Or say I meet you and I ask where are you from
And you say I'm from blah blah blah in Minnesota
I'll respond with Oh Wow! I knew a guy from Minnesota; we were trainers together - his name was Jeff......do you know him?
And sadly, I'm being serious....I do in fact think you know him because you are both from the same state
And I wait for you to answer
Staring all intently at you
And you finally realize I'm serious and you say Oh, wait, you're serious?
And I'll say something not so smart like Well yeah - I mean what are the chances of you being from Minnesota and me having worked with someone from then
And you'll just stare at me and think Bless her heart, someone lets her be in charge of a 4 year old

Sometimes, just for fun, when Sean or Lucy starts talking, I'll start talking too
Just jibber jabber.....you know I sort of talk over them
And when they stop, I stop
And when they try to speak again, I let them get two words out them start repeating what they're saying
They laugh the first two sentences but by sentence 5, well, we never do finish the conversation

So not mature
But I do it

I'm not sure how I got here, how I got to 40....I mean I get how I turned 40 I just always thought that by the time I got to my 40s, I'd be a bit more mature

But I'm not
Sure, I'm a Mum, a Wife and I just got promoted at work (don't be too impressed, I just got a fancier title)
But I am not convinced I am mature enough to be 40
Kicker is regardless of how immature I appear to be, I apparently still have to turn 41....

Not cool Universe, not cool

But whatever
I'm 41
Holy crap...I'm 41......

Maria the Mum