Please send oxygen

Greetings from the beautiful Rocky Mountains, where my family is gasping for breath, as one does on vacation in a place where there is a shortage of air. I was not informed that we’d be spending the first few days of our vacation with the equivalent of terrible hangovers, or I certainly would’ve had a lot more to drink so at least it would’ve felt productive having such an intense headache.

Anyway, we’re having our every-two-years-ly giant family gathering, and aside from the whole not being able to breathe thing, we’re having a grand time. You can read more about our adventures thus far over at Alpha Mom, and you don’t even have to climb to 9,600 feet to do it. (I mean, unless you want to, in which case, knock yourself out.)

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Go ahead, shimmy down the stairs

The first rule of the Internet is: You don’t talk about the Internet.

Wait. That’s something else. Whoops!

No, the first rule of the Internet is: You don’t announce when you’re going out of town, because surely someone in your Facebook feed whom you haven’t seen in person since 1986 or some random blog reader who suspects you have really awesome socks will break into your house while you’re gone, so pretend you’re not traveling. (Socks? That seems improbable. As does some random robbing us, which is sort of the point.)

Anyhoo. In the past I’ve always been sort of vague about trips because I’m paranoid and whatever, but no more! HEY INTERNET, we’re going on a family trip. C’mon over and try to break into our house, if you like. You’ll recognize it because it’s the one with a dozen PROTECTED BY OFFICIAL-SOUNDING ALARM SYSTEM COMPANY signs all over it, now. This is because 1) we recently has the Official-Sounding Alarm System Company spend a fun-filled day here drilling holes into pretty much everything and 2) I’m pretty fond of my socks and don’t want them stolen.

The dogs are at the Puppy Spa (why yes, we did opt for the “daily nature walk” for Licorice—only Licorice, as a “daily nature carry” was not offered for Duncan—and afternoon Frosty Paws treats for both dogs) and a friend has been enlisted to water the vegetables if it doesn’t rain and I am pretty sure that if anyone so much as breathes sideways on the exterior of the house, it will blare sirens and call the police and maybe even spontaneously combust. (more…)

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Oh, the places we went!

I feel like I could probably write an excellent Dr. Seuss-esque book about some of our recent adventures, although small children might not find them as entertaining as I’d like.

Into the kayak you’ll go,
You’ll plan to go slow…
But oh, the river goes fast,
Until sanity’s flown past!
And then you might need a plaster cast.

I kid, of course. No one is injured. Much. (Otto doesn’t want to talk about it, though.) But we did go kayaking. And then I wrote about it for Alpha Mom. You should read it, maybe.

(Also, I am mulling over Things I Can Write About because I know it’s been a while. The next post may be Things I Spent Money On, because if there’s anything better than a person navel-gazing about their life, it’s a person navel-gazing while talking about gratuitous consumerism.)

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What we know and what we don’t

I keep meaning to come write about stuff. Mother’s Day! (Monkey got me a mug that sports a monkey, as in, the handle is a monkey’s arm. Also, the monkey has visible nipples. Not creepy at all. Of course I love it even more because of the creepy factor.) Our familyversary! (SEVEN YEARS! “How have you put up with all of this for that long?” I ask my beloved. He looks quizzical and says he has no idea.) Having this new job with an actual HR department that sends me pamphlets about benefits in the mail. (“I’M A REAL BOY, GEPPETTO!” I screamed as I opened it. “Mom, you are so weird,” said Chickie.) Also, school is almost over and I haven’t strangled anyone. Real life accomplishments are happening here, in other words.

But I’m so busy not strangling anyone (NO MATTER HOW CLOSE THEY ARE TO FLUNKING GYM, OH MY GOD) and enjoying having other people pay into Social Security for me that there’s precious little time for that, I guess. Instead, I’ve been reading stuff from people about how we feel about motherhood and whether people tend to regret motherhood… and so instead, I wrote this over at Alpha Mom. (Spoiler alert: I don’t regret it.) Mostly I think there are things we cannot possibly know in advance, and at the end of the day, I tend to think that’s a good thing.

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Life is funny like that

I have been working out. If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know that this is not a thing I do because I like it or because I love being healthy or anything like that; this is a thing I started doing because I feel BLAH and squishy and weak and old. I have tried to develop a regular exercise regimen, on and off, at various times in my life. I’ve had a modicum of success for months or even years at a time, sometimes. And then slowly I give it up, because I never LIKE it enough to keep going just because it speaks to me. (I have friends who say they LOVE working out. I strongly suspect this to be the modern-day form of no soap radio.)

I do not love this thing, this carving out of at least 30 minutes every day to move my body and pause my mind. But I am kind of getting to where I can see that it’s Not Awful. (“Not Awful” may be as close to “I like it” as I ever get. Baby steps.) The past few years have taken a toll on my health in ways I never could’ve predicted, and the one silver lining is that now when I exercise, I kind of appreciate it. (Sometimes Otto and I refer to my time on the elliptical as PEDALING AWAY THE RAGE and while I doubt anyone is going to patent that as a a tagline for a marketable exercise program, it works.)

These days, I move more, and talk less. I still don’t move enough and talk too much, but it’s progress in the right direction. (more…)

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Kind of like real grown-ups

I went to Mom 2.0 this past weekend, and it was a verrrry interesting trip for me. In 10 years (!!) of blogging and freelancing and working for various clients, this is the first time I’ve gone to a conference as a representative of my employer rather than as just a freelancer looking for work, and that was very different. I’m still adjusting to this new phase of my career and still kind of looking around and going, “Is this my life? Are you SURE?” It’s all awesome, but I don’t know if you’ve maybe noticed that I’m not always so good with change…? Shocking, I know. It’s a secret. Don’t tell.

Anyway. In addition to the work weirdness of it all, Otto was busy being SuperDad (er, SuperStepDad?) here at home, which made my job about 10000% easier. The kids even seemed to still like him when I returned, so I feel confident in declaring him to have magical powers. And of course, I wrote about it for Alpha Mom, too.

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Second time’s the charm?

Have I mentioned lately that my husband is awesome? Because he is. He’s my favorite. And I don’t know if it’s his inherent awesomeness (probably) or the fact that this is my second marriage (possibly) or some combination therein, but I spend a lot of time considering what sort of example of life partnership we’re setting for the kids.

I hope it’s a good one. (Though if it can’t be good, I at least hope it’s entertaining.)

So I’m over at Alpha Mom, considering how my various baggage and divorce and now very-happily-married self shows my kids about love and respect. Probably I should’ve let Otto write his side of that. He might tell a different story, but I hope it would be at least somewhat similar. (Or maybe he’s an excellent actor and his story would begin with “HELP, PLEASE SAVE ME!”)

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Life! And other stuff!

Remember when I used to write here all the time? No? Huh. Me neither. But I heard a rumor that it used to be so. You know, back before life chewed me up and spit me out as a humorless husk of crankiness.

[HA! Just kidding. I'm TOTALLY CHEERFUL! I mean, most of the time. Some of the time. Occasionally. Look, I'm working on it. (No, really, I'm literally working on it. Like, old-school literally, not the new-fangled literally that makes linguists weep.)]

Anyway. Stuff has been happening, I just haven’t had the time to sit down and write about it because of reasons. (Those reasons include—but are not limited to—children, ice cream, pollen, chocolate, the return of Mad Men, work, trying to exercise regularly even though we all know I hate exercising, illness, laundry, fantasizing with my husband about all the things we’ll do once the kids have finally gone to jail moved out, school meetings, and shopping for groceries.) (So not kidding about the groceries thing. Seven gallons of milk a week. SEVEN GALLONS. I need a second fridge. Also a nap.)

Just how thrilling has it been? Let me count the ways! (more…)

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Stupid adorable heartbreakers

If only our dogs could be… I dunno… a little less squishable.

“Oh, hello. I’m just here being lovable and stuff.”

That would make life a whole lot easier, is all I’m saying.

Today I’m over at Alpha Mom talking about how love is always a risk, and so sometimes you really do just sign up for having your heart broken, and maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Because, seriously, look at that face. LOOK AT IT. It’s not like I had a choice.

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Sweets for my sweet

It happened again, last night… the inevitable pre-birthday sadness. This is the first year you tried to put it into words: It’s too big of a deal, too much pressure to be a happy day and too many eyes on you. You didn’t want it. Don’t want it.

“I look at the past year, the past three years, and… nothing’s changed,” you said, voice low as we lay on the floor of my office together, pretending to be starfish, because for some reason that made talking easier. “I’m still me. I haven’t fixed anything.”

“Of course you’re still you,” I said, trying to keep the alarm out of my voice. “That’s a GOOD thing! And things have changed. It’s just not changing as fast as you want.” I flung out my starfish arms and struck what I hoped was an evocative starfish pose, drawing a small smile as my reward.

I don’t write about you much anymore, kiddo. I want to. My fingers itch, sometimes, poised over the keyboard, desperate to share something wonderful or terrible so that someone will say, “Us, too!” This new habit of holding back (or writing, when I must, but not sharing) makes me feel a bit unmoored, sometimes, but it’s what we need. (more…)

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