Friday, October 24, 2014

Burnt Out

This summer, 'Listen to Your Mother' stage show came to Orange County. I fully intended on going; I knew it would be right up my alley. I was even toying with the idea of auditioning, even though I'm petrified of public speaking. Sadly, I missed the show altogether.

Recently, when I was searching to see if Listen to Your Mother was coming back, I stumbled on some recap videos. I especially loved this one of a pediatrician turned stay at home mom. Everything she says is so spot on for me! I am so burnt out and seriously considering choosing mothering full time over working. It's becoming too difficult, with minimal reward for my tremendous effort.

Enjoy the performance and HAPPY FRIDAY!!!


Friday, October 17, 2014

Family Music: Walter Martin's Hey Sister

Our family LOVES this new song by Walter Martin, "Hey Sister". It's so sweet (and catchy)!!! We heard it first on Sirius XM Kids Place Live. We looked for it on YouTube and only found this personal tribute, which is so endearing.

It reminds me that childhood (and sibling rivalry) only lasts a brief time. To enjoy and savor those precious and chaotic moments.

I hope you and your family like it as much as we do!

Walter Martin's 'We're All Young Together' album on Amazon.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

I'm the Bitch in the House

"The Bitch in the House"
Amazon Affiliate
"Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play
When No One Has the Time" by Brigid Schulte
Amazon Affiliate
Here are the two books I have checked out from the public library right now; no joke. "The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth about Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood and Marriage" and "Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time" by Brigid Schulte. Such great books!  

Can you guess what my state of mind is? I'm so stressed, anxious, frazzled... I'm too tired to delve into details, but you'll be thankful for that. It is the same story: too much to do, not enough time, feeling like I'm not doing enough, bad mom, bad worker, bad wife...

But now with my new job, my overwhelmed feelings are more extreme. It's not logical; it's full on reactionary and gut level emotions. My sister tries to 'talk me off the ledge' when I'm in my irrational outbursts, but it's ineffective. Yes, I should stop the negative loop, take deep breaths, meditate, think positive... I just don't feel I have the luxury of time for that.

Some minor things I've done to 'own' more of my time: put an hour lunch break on my work calendar each day of the week (even if I don't actually take it) and I've gone walking in the afternoons with a few coworkers. It's nice to get fresh air and stretch my legs.

I'm a month in at my new job. It's the end of the week. TGIF. I hope that next month I own it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Guest Post: "Mommy Has to Go to Work" Poem

A friend of mine recently had her second daughter and has been enjoying her maternity leave with her two girls. She and I have talked at length about how hard it is to leave your babies to get back in the grind.

The night before she had to return to work from her maternity leave, she shared this poem she wrote with me.
Mommy Has To Go To Work

Tomorrow mommy has to return to work.
Tomorrow our daily routine will have to change.
You may be too young to understand that in order to secure your future,
Mommy has to work and provide for you.

I have enjoyed every second of you.
From waking up to you, to every meal,
To all our many adventures throughout the day.
From play time, to reading time, to movie and cartoon time,
To bath then bed time and everything in between.

Those special moments are what will help me make it through my day.
I will carry your laughter and giggles in my heart.
I will close my eyes and imagine your scent, warmth and cuddles.
I will miss you so much, the pain is simply indescribable.
I will even miss the times you fought me,
As well as your fussiness and temperament.

I hope your sitter gets you the way I do.
I hope she learns your likes and preferences.
I hope she imitates the healthy food I make you.
I hope she is patient and makes sense of what you want.
I pray she treats you with kindness and respect.
I pray she comforts and reassures you the way you like.

I hope she constantly teaches you new things.
I hope she is attentive and affectionate.
I hope she is fun and makes you laugh as I do,
With all the silly things I do.
You deserve the best this world has to offer.
And because of this mommy needs to go to work.
The end of maternity leave is the saddest day ever.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Allusive Work Life Balance



I can't even bring myself to write in full sentences. I've had a writer's block for months. At this current moment, we're at the end of a Saturday. I'm feeling so anxious and overwhelmed; I mainly experience this way on Sundays. The sensation that there is too much to do, not enough time or energy, that things are slipping through the cracks.

In addition to the normal stress of work, home, leisure and the upcoming back to school extravaganza, I've been interviewing for a new job. For the past month. My nerves can hardly stand the suspense and unknown. I'm torn between what is comfortable and known and what is new, scary and potentially extra workload. I don't want a more difficult work life balance. I don't know if I can handle an even heavier load.

I enjoy being a working mom to a certain extent, but I don't necessarily want to be totally entrenched in my profession at the expense of stretching myself even thinner. Will I ever have balance and well being? At my current job I am able to be available to the children and their special events, doctors appointments and their sick days. I get a plentiful amount of vacation, personal days and work at home options. I don't want to sacrifice that.

Is an increase of pay worth it? I almost think not. But then again, the reality is that my finances are tight and I could use the extra money. I am pursuing the opportunity and seeing where it takes me. I may not even get an offer. And if I do, I don't have to take it. In fact, maybe I could become a non-working mom for good measure! Quit working altogether! Yeah, probably not a wise move.

What does a good work life balance look like to you? I need a pep talk.

P.S. In other happy news, it seems as though my l'il Chicken Hawk (3.8 years old) is officially potty trained! Underwear 24/7 - yay!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Chickadees' Music Review: Secret Agent 23 Skidoo's Perfect Quirk

Secret Agent 23 Skidoo's new CD - The Perfect Quirk
 Secret Agent 23 Skidoo recently released their new CD - The Perfect Quirk. We love it!
"Secret Agent 23 Skidoo is the King of Kid Hop! Purveyor of Family Hip Hop at its finest, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo has captivated crowds internationally with his own funky brand of positive half pint party music. Combining deft wordplay, great storytelling and pure positivity on top of thumping drums and sophisticated multi-instrumental productions, 23 Skidoo speaks to kids and parents alike. 23 Skidoo bumps up the volume and kids’ self esteem, while setting the family music bar higher than a hidden cookie jar..." More about Secret Agent 23 Skidoo.
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and Family | Photo Credit: Mike Belleme
Songs include:
  1. You're It
  2. Unwind 
  3. Imaginary Friend
  4. 3 Pointed Back
  5. Pillowfort Pillowfight
  6. PJs All Day
  7. Guess What
  8. Caught in the Screen
  9. Time Machine
  10. Nightlight
"The Perfect Quirk, a raucous celebration of originality and the quirkiness of being a kid in this crazy awesome world, is the ideal soundtrack for living room dance parties or a summer vacation on the road less traveled. The tunes are classic hip hop spiced with Motown, reggae, club thump, blues, and the occasional pirate shanty, each one aimed at the quirky soul of the funky family." (That would be applicable to my funky family of five!)
Skidoo explains, "The word 'weird' derives from the Old English 'wyrd,' which translates as 'destiny' or 'fate.' I hope this album will help kids realize that their quirks are their own funky destinies, meant to be lived to their potential. Oh yeah, and I hope it makes 'em dance like they're crazy!"

My six year old chickadee has definitely been uplifted by their songs and messages. She has told me countless times after listening to their music that she's unique and special just the way she is, so she has gotten the message. Her older sister can be quite harsh and mean-spirited towards her, so it's a constant struggle to reverse the self esteem damage. 
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo also has a new music video for their song, Pillowfort Pillowfight. It's so fun, playful and silly. Watch and see for yourself.

I have loved Secret Agent 23 Skidoo's music since I first heard their song Space Cadet on SiriusXM's Kids Place Live; then I saw the video - so cute and catchy! Their songs are super fun, light-hearted, entertaining and have a positive message for kids (and parents). Have you ever heard Gotta Be You? -- "Whatcha gonna be?" "I gotta be me!" That is a great reminder for even the grown ups out there, struggling to be true to their 'perfect quirk'.

What's fun about Secret Agent 23 Skidoo's music is it's got a little bit of hip-hop (they call it kid-hop) mixed with a little bit of some funky Mother Goose. My favorite song on The Perfect Quirk is Unwind - it is certainly an uplifting summer song.

"Daddy-O" loves the band too. His assessment: "They are a cool band with great music that helps build kids' character. It's fun, entertaining and I like the whole family experience; everyone's got a part."

Secret Agent 23 Skidoo are out on tour this year and we want to see them live badly! We're thinking of driving to Las Vegas to catch them in action this October.

Here are our eight and six year old's (our little chickadees) reviews of Secret Agent 23 Skidoo's CD, The Perfect Quirk.

Little Chickadee's review:

My six year old's review of Secret Agent 23 Skidoo's new CD
  • I think it is a jig
  • This jig is fun
  • I have never done a pillow fight
  • What does your songs mean?
  • I like your songs
Oldest Chickadee's Review:

My eight year old's review of Secret Agent 23 Skidoo's New CD
Translation (organized by song, I think): 
  1. I like the beat
  2. It feels like summer
  3. Sounds really funny
  4. Great idea
  5. Love the synthesizer
  6. I love your voice
  7. I like the instruments
  8. I love all the songs
  9. I know you worked so hard
  10. I love your whole family
  11. My favorite songs is pillow fight, pillow fort
My little Space Cadets working on their 'Perfect Quirk'

Sunday, July 6, 2014

My Chickadees' Review of Laurie Berkner's New Lullaby Album

Laurie Berkner, one of our favorite children's musicians, came out with a new lullaby CD recently and it is exquisite! Her voice is so soothing and warm and her songs are incredibly catchy. We've been listening to this CD in the car and at home and all sing along together to the songs.

I especially love the beautiful melodies, fun lyrics and some of the new twists on her popular songs (Pillowland, Moon Moon Moon, Goodnight, 5 days old, Under a Shady Tree.) My 6 year old chickadee said it best when she said, "I feel like I'll never grow up when I listen to her music." That's exactly how I feel.

After listening to Laurie Berkner's new album many times, I think one of my favorite of her new songs is Mahalo; it's definitely catchy and upbeat. Her music is geared towards children of young ages, but even appeals to my eight year old; they are not annoyingly babyish or 'sing-songy'.

Laurie is joined on Laurie Berkner Lullabies by band mates Susie Lampert (keyboards), Brady Rymer (bass) and Bob Golden (drums, percussion). The album is enhanced by the voices of children including Laurie’s own daughter, Lucy.

Laurie says of Lullabies, “I have been getting requests for this album for many years. I’ve now been a parent since 2004, and I’ve had a chance to feel that amazing experience of singing my own child to sleep. I’ve written lullabies for her and I’ve sung my favorites from my own childhood to her over the years. To me, making that time feel safe and full of love is so important. I hope some of these songs create some of those feelings and become as special to other families as they have been for mine.”

Here is what my youngest chickadee (6) noted about the album, in graphics and words:
A six year old's review of Laurie Berkner's new lullaby album
  •  Lullaby - I like it a little bit
  • Firefly - it's fun
  • Pillowland - I could fall asleep
  • I like it
  • I love it
  • I feel like I could never grow up
Here is my eight year old chickadee's review of the album in graphics and words:

An eight year old's review of Laurie Berkner's new lullaby album
She tried to put her notes in order, but she tends to get a little distracted... But I love how earnest she is and sweet. She really loves music.

Notes translate to:
  1. Soft and peaceful
  2. Creative talking and singing
  3. Loving and kind
  4. Love the instruments
  5. I like the title
  6. I love the beat
  7. I like the rhyme
  8. I love the melody
  9. Like your voices
  10. Sweet and good
  11. Creative rhyming
  12. It reminds me of Hawaii
  13. Kind of sad
  14. The name sounds weird
  15. Peaceful song 
  16. Grassy
My little chickadees rocking their spunk and creativity
 The album's songs include:
  1. A Lullaby 
  2. Fireflies  
  3. I Gave My Love a Cherry  
  4. Pillowland 
  5. Sing Me a Song    
  6. Under a Shady Tree
  7. Your Beautiful Eyes
  8. Moon Moon Moon 
  9. Hush Little Baby 
  10. All Around My Room   
  11. What Is the Color of My Dreams? 
  12. Mahalo  
  13. All the Planets 
  14. Nona 
  15. Little Boy Blue 
  16. In the Clouds 
  17. Like a Seashell 
  18. All Through the Night
  19. Five Days Old    
  20. Stars Are Shining
  21. Goodnight 
I'm a little melancholy that my chickadees are getting older and will be aging out of some of this fun children's music. I hope they carry these little gems with them in their hearts when life/school/friends gets tougher and it helps ground them in familial love. For me, being from a disconnected/dysfunctional family, listening to Laurie Berkner's music (and similar musicians) with my kids, it helps heal some of my childhood angst.

I highly recommend Laurie Berkner's new lullaby CD for your family!


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Music Review: Bari Koral Family Rock Band

Our family of five recently had the opportunity to review a copy of the new CD by Bari Koral Family Rock Band, "The Apple Tree and the Honey Bee." We listened to it on our long drive from Southern California to Arizona on our spring break Grand Canyon road trip. What a fun way to spend hours cruising down empty stretches of desert highway; singing along to catchy tunes together.

Bari Koral is a popular kids music artist and The Apple Tree and the Honey Bee is their fourth album, which released this week. For this CD, Bari brought her band to Nashville to record the album under the guiding hand of legendary producer Brad Jones.
Bari Koral | Photo Credit: Shervin

Bari Koral songs on The Apple Tree and the Honey Bee CD include:
  • Dancing Bear
  • Apple Tree
  • Big Truck
  • Birthday Bee
  • When I'm Five
  • Sisters and Brothers
  • Roller Coaster
  • Yes/No
  • Fall Down
  • Back to the Farm
  • Give a Hug
Bari Koral has also established herself over the past seven years as a performer and a leader in the "yoga for kids" movement. Bari's catchy, pop-friendly tunes and interactive live shows feature a creative blend of music and movement, and many of her songs are also widely used in kids' yoga classes and preschool classrooms. Bari will soon be the host of the world's first yoga-based, movement-and-music TV show for kids, coming soon on the Veria Living Network.

I solicited some feedback from the family on our road trip about the CD and here are some of their comments. Keep in mind, getting children (and husbands) to talk can be like pulling teeth.
Daddy O: "Some of the songs have a beat too young for our daughters."
Oldest Chickadee (8): "I like her voice".
Youngest Chickadee (6): "I like the instruments and the beat."
Oldest Chickadee: "I love the art work on the CD. I like her face. I also like the tree design." (Apple tree with all the songs listed on the branches.)
"Bee bee bee don't bother me." - a catchy, fun song that was everyone's favorite.
Daddy O: "It's like a rockabilly version of Laurie Berkner's voice."
Oldest Chickadee: "She has lots of good rhymes in her songs."
Disgruntled Mommy (me): "I like the 'When I'm Five' song best; it's sentimental and sweet."
'Sisters and Brothers' is a fun and cute song that we all enjoyed singing along to: "Sisters and brothers, brothers and sisters, when they're away you miss them. A friend when you need a friend."
Littlest Chickadee could relate to the song 'Fall Down': "I fell down once and hurt my knee. I don't have the owie anymore." Which proves that these songs are good family conversation starters.
'Give a Hug': All of us enjoyed this song.
Daddy O: "All these songs have the same rhythm, but I like the rockabilly sound."
Littlest Chickadee: "It was great and I hope we can hear it again. The songs are all about being confident and nice that we learn this through the music."
Oldest Chickadee: "It was great music! The beat, her voice, the stories and the songs all give happiness.
We would all happily listen to the CD again and would recommend it to other families.

Congratulations Bari Koral on your new CD and thank you for the opportunity to sample to your new music!

The Apple Tree & The Honey Bee is available at, iTunes, Barnes & Noble and at independent retail outlets throughout the country.
Highlights - Summer 2014

June 15         Hard Rock CafĂ©, Philadelphia, PA
June 21          Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA
July 17           Madison Square Kids Series, NYC
July 30           Newport Festival Family Concert, Newport, RI
Sept. 21          Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey, CA

*Disclaimer: We were provided a CD from her PR agency in order to facilitate a review. All opinions are our own and are authentic.

Monday, May 12, 2014

40th Birthday Present to Myself: BOOBS!

I turned 40 last week! It's a little sad for me, but I had an awesome party to celebrate with about 60 friends on a booze cruise. I wish it never had to end though - I had so much fun!

I've been challenging myself leading up to my birthday to get in better shape, be more outgoing, adventurous and have more fun. In a way, it's an attempt to stave off depression that always wants to creep in. So perhaps I've been a little manic and uncharacteristic of myself lately, but I think I've definitely invigorated my life.

My latest rebellious act is that I've scheduled a breast augmentation! I'm having surgery this Thursday (three more days)! I'm excited, but also nervous. I've always been small chested, so it's part of my identity! I think it will be interesting to adjust to a real chest for once!

In a way, I wish I didn't go around telling people I'm having it done though. Some people have an opinion against it and question my motive. I think they are valid arguments against breast augmentation, and I've believed those things myself in the past. But now I have decided not to live with a teenage boy physique anymore. I have developed a funny retort: "I'd like to have bigger boobs than my husband." (Which is true; he does have plump man boobs right now, and mine are shriveled up nursing boobs.) I successfully nursed three healthy babies for almost their entire first year of life, so these boobs have been very giving and utilitarian; they've done their job very well! Now it's time for them to shine!
"What Nine Months of Pregnancy Actually Does to a Woman's Body" - Huffington Post
When I told my mom, she said to me, "I think you've been living in California too long."

Here is the email I got from my mother in law when I told her the news:
"Wow! What a surprise. I had no idea breast implants were on the radar!  You seem so "organic", to put something foreign into you body would have been the last thing I would have imagined. I always pictured you camping, hiking; the all natural outdoor girl from Washington."
She also is concerned about the message it sends to my daughters, their body image and that women are viewed as sex objects. (Personally, I'd like to be seen as a sex object right about now!)

Here is a Facebook message I got from a coworker/friend:
"A mom-friend of mine posted this article and I looked at every photo and a piece of my heart is breaking a bit. It shows what a woman's body looks like after carrying a baby for 9 months. Such a feat of power and creativity changes our whole lives, including our bodies. The women in these photos, and you, are so beautiful.
Ok, ok, I know I'm just a coworker. (And hopefully a friend who is becoming a better and better friend!) And you only let me into this very personal disclosure this week because you trusted me enough to tell me, and NOT so that I could talk you out of it or judge you for it. So I will steer clear of doing either of those.
"Just a coworker" you may be, but I love you like my weird big sister. I can't say if it's "wrong" to get a boob job. And it probably isn't wrong. But it is so easy to do for the wrong reasons. I guess, I just wanted to lift you up and encourage you to take a deep breath and a moment to meditate on where your heart is at. Do you *actually* believe you are beautiful? Do you know you rock and that you are strong and original and creative and quirky and crazy-hard working and highly-accomplished and independent and that ALL of that and your identity and personal sense of confidence and beauty get to come from none other than the almighty God of the whole universe!?! The creator of the concept of looking good itself formed you Himself. He made no mistake when he fashioned your proportions.
I don't think that means we ought to never "upkeep" and dress up our bodies, but, we are able to do so without a single bit of our identity/confidence being extracted from our bodily appearance. After that big list of your character traits, "has a body Hollywood would approve" just pales in comparison. The Psalms say "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

When I talk beauty, I'm not saying you have some prima pretty princess body. I'm calling it "fearful," "Wonderful!" Far from some perfectly propped up Barbie figure, according to Psalms your body is downright formidable!! Capable of wielding new life, running an ugly sweater 5k, AND bringing a grown man to his knees! (Hopefully your husband ) Please believe me when I say I am not trying to talk you out of a boob job. I just want you not to do it out of perhaps, for a minute there, forgetting where your beauty and confidence comes from. I just think you are such a woman of high accomplishment and a rocking babe." 
What 9 Months Of Pregnancy Really Does To A Woman's Body - Huffington Post
I love her sweet, caring demeanor and genuine concern for me. But I'm still getting boobs!

In addition, my older sister has given me several talks about beauty and self esteem and sent me a link on a documentary she happened to stumble upon recently with a pro-woman slant: Missrepresentation.  And she gave me a meditation healing CD in the mail for my birthday. Perhaps I will listen to it when I'm recouping from surgery with my new bigger boobs!

My husband and most of my friends (with and without children) are understanding and supportive. Many friends want to have the same procedure done!

As I said before, I'm nervous, but very excited to fill out my shirts, dresses and bathing suit this summer! The 'icing on the cake' is that I'm also getting a little liposuction on my belly button region. But shhhh... don't tell! That would really get people up in arms!! The vanity of it all!!

Which side of the fence do you sit on when it comes to plastic surgery - specifically on mom bodies?

Wish me luck!  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fun SoCal Event: Sweet and Wyland Launch Party

If you're into all things sweet and ocean conservancy like me, you are going to LOVE this new partnership between Sweet! and Wyland Foundation. Who isn't into sugar highs and the coastal lifestyle?

Please see this media alert below about this cool new partnership and launch event in Los Angeles. I apologize for the mere pasting of the media alert, but I am a working mom of three kids, it's Sunday and I'm in a rush to get to the park before the L'il Chicken Hawk burns the house down.

If you end up going, let me know how it goes!!! I'm envious! We'll be on a spring break road trip to the Grand Canyon!! woot woot!

Celebrates with April 12th Grand Opening & Interactive Event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WHAT:                Sweet! at Hollywood & Highland Center is proud to partner with world-renowned marine life artist and conservationist, Wyland on the first ever Wyland Gallery in Los Angeles. Bringing together Wyland’s art with the world of candy, the partnership will introduce a whole new line of Wyland candy, chocolate, and chocolate sculpture as well as Wyland original artwork and giclees. The first-of-its-kind, Wyland Gallery of Hollywood will be located inside the South Side of SWEET!, the store’s 28,000 square-foot flagship at H&H. Renowned for his famed murals, Wyland has been a leading advocate in the effort to protect the world’s ocean resources for more than twenty-five years. 

                                In celebration, Sweet!, Hollywood & Highland, and the Wyland Foundation LLC are commemorating the grand opening with an all-day event melding art, conservation and candy.

WHEN:              11:00AM – 2:00PM at Hollywood & Highland Center
  • Passport Distribution Booth where families and kids can receive Sweet!/ Wyland passports to be stamped at the below stations (Prizes will be given for each completed passport!):
  • Chocolate Station with Sweet! Chocolatier, Richard Ruskell, the Food Network’s top winning chef
  • Experiential 24-foot Wyland Mobile Learning Center a 1,000 square foot interactive exhibit on wheels dedicated to demonstrating how water shapes our lives. 
  • Mayor’s Challenge Kiosk set-ups for pledge drive for the National Mayor's       Challenge for Water Conservation on conservation and recycling of this vital resource.
  • Gigantic Wyland Chocolate Sculpture, Candy-Decorating, Sculpting
  • Canvas Paintings with Notable Artists in H&H Orange Court
  • Art Contest for Kids, where kids design their own candy bar packaging
  • Tours of Wyland Gallery at Sweet! Hollywood
  • Stamping and Instagram photo at each activity station
  • Special hashtag to be created specific to Wyland Gallery Opening
  • Prize will be given for each completed passport
  • One percent of all proceeds from Sweet! on April 12th will directly support the environmental education and outreach programs of the Wyland Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, founded in 1993 to promote, protect and preserve our world's ocean, waterways and marine life.

WHO:                   Open to the Public

WHEN:                 Saturday, April 12, 2014 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

WHERE:              Hollywood & Highland Center, 6801 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028.

Self-Loathing Sunday

Melancholy is truly an art. | Amazon Affiliate Link
Sundays are not always my favorite days. It should be a day of rest, recuperation and leisure. Instead I feel pressure to tackle EVERYTHING that has been neglected throughout the work week: cleaning, groceries, laundry, blogging, side business... The problem is, it's too huge to tackle, and the three year old is so busy, that I am demotivated and I can't get to anything.

It is 10:00 am and I've drafted up a wish list of things I should try to do in the next few hours when the cartoons run continuously. We're skipping church because that takes up too much of the precious morning hours and since I'm the only adult home this weekend, I'm making the executive decisions.

I'm not totally wallowing in self pity today though. I feel a little hopeful and inspired that today will be a good day and the coming work week will be great as well. I don't necessarily care that the house is completely trashed after paying a housecleaner a month ago and killing myself to keep it clean last weekend. It's this season of my life and I should accept it.

I'm one month away from my 40th birthday and I've attempted to get fit with sufficient success. I'm psyched for my big birthday bash at the beach!

The one thing that is leaving me feel crappy today and lately is a deep sense of sadness and loneliness. I have happy moments interspersed with times of melancholy. I feel invisible to my husband and neglected. We're so busy and occupied with our jobs, the kids and the house. We never go on dates, have in depth conversations about things other than tasks, there is limited affection, we're practically celibate. It's not a good time in our marriage.

This is my biased opinion because I'm experiencing emotional angst over turning 40 and going through a little bit of a midlife crisis. I want him to pay attention to me, compliment me, desire me, pursue me and lift me up out of my funk. Instead, it seems he shuts me out and gives all his attention to the dog, his job, his volunteer role and the kids. I'm sure that's the same way he feels about me too. We're both so busy and prideful, we won't stop to say ENOUGH and sit down to talk to one another.

Last weekend we got in a big fight in front of the kids because he accused me of ignoring everyone all day (I was cleaning and listening to an audio book while they played or did their own thing.) So I felt defensive and went on the attack. Which turned into Daddy O becoming passive aggressive victim, calling me a name calling bully. He insinuated that I didn't do enough around the house, which is a common accusation from him. He fails to recognize the massive load of domestic crap I do that goes completely unnoticed, but I don't need a gold star for.

I keep thinking, "I would be better off single; at least I could date and get laid." But then again, I know the reality would be a lot harsher. I'm not up for having my life WORSE off!

For now, it's back to the To Do list! What do you have going on today? Are you excited for Monday? ;)

Getty Images Promo: Save 10% on Videos and Images when you spend $750 at Use coupon code 9R2PC46N during checkout. Expires 04/30/2014. Getty Images

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

One of Those Days

Headache. Fatigue. Melancholy. Disinterest. Stress.

My To Do list is huge and I can't seem to scratch the surface.

So I ponder if being a stay at home mom might be more relaxing... hmmm...April Fools Day!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Potty Accidents, Hershey Squirts and Skid Marks, OH MY!

I'm annoyed yet again with my childcare situation. Beware of the tangent to unfold below...

My l'il Chicken Hawk has been in his current preschool for one year now. I was looking forward to the expedient potty training they offered (for an additional fee) in hopes we would get out of diapers as soon as possible. Unfortunately, he has been three years old for three months now, and he's still not potty trained. In fact, he sometimes regresses a lot lately. Tuition has increased too so it's become a financial burden as well.

The teachers and administrators have been harping on us (me) to do more at home to motivate him to the toilet such as: negative feedback, scolding, taking things away that are 'babyish' or special to him, etc. They also wanted us to take him to the doctor to see if something was wrong with him since he is pooping so frequently and it's so loose/explosive. They always seem annoyed and exhausted when I pick up my son and when I ask how his day was. MONOTONE voices and LACKLUSTER expressions. Not very inspiring and encouraging for me.

Last week, the administrator cornered me to ask if we could have a joint meeting with Daddy O and I to discuss our potty training methods, etc. She launched into me again about all the terrible issues they were experiencing with him and how they really want to move him up to the next level. As it was 5:00 and I still had to pick up my other two children, and I didn't want to listen to another minute of her B.S., I told her something like, "I have three kids, we're rarely home, we have activities, dinner, homework and lots of other responsibilities..." Basically meaning that I don't have time to be responsible for my son's bowel movements, he will be ready when he's ready and I have other responsibilities to worry about.

Apparently she didn't like that. She huffed and puffed to my husband when they talked that I'm too busy to be consistent in potty training our son, after ALL the effort they put in all day at school. Like I do NOTHING towards that goal. Pah-lease! My husband gave her a note from the doctor stating that our son is neurologically fine and he will potty train when he's ready, that we will cut out the dairy and juice in his diet. That we DO work hard at home to potty train him and motivate him. My husband expressed that they need to be more encouraging when working with our son and his potty training efforts. He also told her that from now on, to talk to him only when they have an issue, because I'm busy, frazzled and not in the right mindset  to receive their messages well during my pick up rounds.

HA! In a way I'm glad he was the warrior in this situation. But in another way, I feel guilty, ashamed and embarrassed that they think I'm a shitty, selfish, working mom who doesn't care enough about my son to pause for a chat about his bowel issues in the evening. Am I projecting? I don't want to deal with them and that nonsense. I won't make potty training sticker charts, set timers, forceably take him to the toilet on the hour, every hour. Yes, I am trying to minimize my overall hassle factor. So I'm lazy? Kids need to take it upon themselves to control their bowels, just like they should be responsible for their own homework. I've already graduated from college and grad school, I've become toilet trained (sorta), so I've done my time. They can do theirs now!

So, needless to say, I'm seriously looking around at other daycare options again. I'm thinking an in-home center.

Wish me luck in the coming months! We've had so many potty accidents, Hershey squirts and skid marks these past few months, I'm at my wit's end!

Friday, March 7, 2014

See Mom Play Update

Three months into the new year and I have lived up to my resolution to include more play and recreation into my life.

I have carved out time in my life for a fun book club with other working moms, lunch dates with friends, nature walks, shopping, gym visits, as well as increased sexual activity! It's so refreshing to have new experiences and fun infused throughout the work week.

Life is still hard with all the stress from child rearing and domestic chores, but it's nice to have things to look forward to each week. I have a lot of fun things coming up to look forward to:
  • Family visiting next weekend
  • Social Media Marketing World Conference in San Diego
  • Spring break at the Grand Canyon
  • Girl trip to Nashville in April
  • Huge 40th birthday party for me in May
  • Business trip to D.C. in June
  • Several summer camping trips in Northern California
The unintended consequence of all my play and recreation is less blogging time. I hope you don't miss me too much; I miss my words, but playing will give me lots to talk about!


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Working Moms Need Play Therapy Too

I'm proud to be a guest blogger on Proud Working Mom today with my post, "Working Moms Need Play Therapy Too." Proud Working Mom is a blog that is geared to empower, inform and inspire working moms. I've found it to be a great resource!

It outlines my recent struggle with my oldest chickadee's ADHD diagnosis and our remedy attempts thus far.

My closing remarks:
We are not planning on medicating our daughter for ADHD, but I will likely need some sort of medication for myself before this school year is over! If anything, I could definitely benefit from play therapy.
Please take a read and let me know what you think. I'd love to hear any advice you might have to share.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Self Loathing Sunday: Sister Edition

My sister has inspired this edition of Self Loathing Sunday. I'm not necessarily loathing myself, as much I am her and my inability to confront her.

My sister, whom is my closest sibling to me in terms of speaking to each other frequently, lives in my hometown a few states away and NEVER visits me. I've had three kids in the past eight years and she has come to California once with her husband and two sons to go to Disneyland. It was convenient because I was living in Anaheim at the time.

I've been trying to hint and prod her to come down for years and she always says, "That would be fun" or "I wish we lived closer so we could exercise/laugh/commiserate together." (What she means by closer is that she wished I lived back in our hometown near her.) Last week I told her that I'm planning a big party for my 40th coming up and cornered her asking her point blank if she could come. She said her son's birthday was the same time frame, so she probably couldn't make it. I said, "No it isn't; his birthday is in March, mine is in May." Then she laughed nervously and said, "oh yeah, you're right."

Then I swallowed my pride and asked her pointedly why she has such an issue with traveling to California. The distance of a 2 1/2 hour flight? The cost? What?  By the way, she doesn't work and has two sons who are 13 and 8 and they're pretty self sufficient. She's never used any form of childcare and has stated to me before, "I don't want anyone else raising my kids." Whatever; that's one of my least favorite SAHMisms.

She didn't have a valid answers, saying things like she has trouble getting out of her comfort zone, her routine, etc. Yeah, right, it's really frightening to go on a quick weekend trip to celebrate your sister's 40th in an awesome way; it is way more rewarding to spend your weekend at Costco in your small town. I see. I will be having friends coming from farther places in the U.S. with more kids and younger kids to celebrate with me.

I don't want to ask/beg her anymore to come visit me. Don't 'normal' families travel to visit each other periodically despite challenges? I wonder why I haven't pressed her on this sooner? Like I don't have the right to ask for what I want from people (which tends to be an underlying theme in my life.) I don't want to keep thinking she will spontaneously want to be with me (or her nieces or nephew) on her own accord and do something 'wild and reckless' like leave her place of comfort. It's too much like my relationship with my mom, where I cling for any hope of affirmation and reciprocation. For me, I choose differently for my life. I relish challenge, change, travel, work, continuous education and varied friendships. Pushing past anxiety and fear. I'm so glad I moved away from my depressing home.

My family is dysfunctional and disconnected. It hurts my feelings, embarrasses me and leaves me feeling lost a lot. My sister has been my saving grace and I always looked to her almost like a mother figure. During the 20 years I've been away from home, I always made an effort to fly home several times a year to spend time with everyone and try to bridge the gap. They've almost never reciprocated and I've remained relatively close by them in the western United States. Now that I have three kids of my own, it's too expensive to fly there several times a year and to be honest, it's not rewarding enough to spend that kind of money visiting them. I've always thought family was important, but not when they are a complete downer.

I'm at the point in my life that I'm realizing my attachment to her and the rest of my family may be unhealthy and codependent. I should reassess how much time, energy and money I spend caring about those people in my life who don't care enough about me. Which reminds me of a quote I saw recently and absolutely love:
 "Why cross oceans for people who wouldn't even jump over a puddle for you?"
In fact, why am I even having a big party for my 40th at all when I could spend the money on a fun trip somewhere with my husband and kids? Do I want my friends' approval and attention? "Hey look at me, I'm 40, and I can still party like a rockstar and look good doing it!" ?  :)

I do want to have a big party for those reasons a little of course, but to also bring various friends from different times of my life together to celebrate my midlife crisis and 'carpe diem'. Make some great memories for an evening and forget the domestic hell.

Either way, I've booked the venue and the party is happening - a Newport Beach dinner/dancing/booze cruise. I just wish my sister would set aside her own hangups to support me and do something for herself for once. #YOLO! (young person lingo for 'you only live once' and ain't that the truth?!)

So, I'm feeling a little sorry for myself right now, but I'm going to plunge ahead in the coming work week and try to enjoy my busy life (in the last few months of my 30s).

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Last Days of Diapers

My final days of using diapers are almost here! I think...
My three year old son (L'il Chicken Hawk), my last baby, is almost completely potty trained. We've cloth diapered him from day one except for Pull Ups when he started preschool (cloth diapers prohibited). I'm psyched to have saved substantial dough these past three years. But I just want to be DONE completely.

The more we keep him bare buns, the better he does. The Pull Ups are a crutch; an expensive crutch. He's got the hang of being dry all day, but the poo poo/#2 is the only thing holding him back from underwear.

His bowels are inconsistent, frequent and often loose and messy. Not to mention SMELLY. I attempt all forms of motivational persuasion. He does the best when it's his idea on his terms.

Any day now we'll be in Thomas the Train undies...then again, he told me today that he really wants My Little Pony underwear.  Funny little dude!

Wish me luck on quitting diapers forever!

P.S. He just woke up from his nap and subsequently pooped himself. Damn it.