You Know You're A Mom When-sDaze

You know you're a mom when:
  • You wander the aisles of Target in order to kill an hour or so and hopefully get a couple of things marked off your grocery list in the process, not to mention, blow $100 on stuff you didn't know you needed.
  • You would PAY for extra time, sleep and privacy.
  • Your favorite author's latest book is sitting on your nightstand... collecting dust.
  • You wonder how on earth you are going to get through the day when every last nerve is already fried and it's not even 8 AM yet.
  • Family and friends give you anti-stress gifts in the form of neck pillows, relaxing foot creams and gift certificates to spas from here on out.
  • You consider getting a fresh diaper, new change of clothes and socks and shoes on your tot a mini workout.
  • Your son's smile lights up a room.
Thanks, Arizona Mama for creating this meme. Visit her blog, Our Daze in the Desert.

The best is yet to be.

Desperately Seeking Mary Poppins

I am so frustrated with our nanny search that I am ready to pull my hair out!! See photo demonstration at right.

If you haven't been following along... Up until last week, we had a wonderful young woman named Angel help care for Lucas two days a week for 5 hours each day and less than a month ago, she gave us her notice. (Saddest. Day. Ever.) She and her husband decided to move to Idaho so that he could go back to school. We were/are genuinely happy for her, supportive of her decision and had hoped that she would find us a replacement. She had previously placed nannies as part of her career and we had every confidence in her abilities.

Angel brought us ONE candidate that seemed like the perfect match, but in the end decided to devote more time to the family she is currently with, a widower and his two daughters. We can't really blame her for that... they need her more than we do.

It was an interesting interview though. It turns out that she recently discovered that she can't have children and broke down in tears while we were talking. My heart goes out to anyone that is unable to have children of their own and something inside me knew that she would be perfect with Lucas. This outward display of emotion and honest disclosure was refreshing.

Alas, it wasn't meant to be...

It was shortly there after that Angel decided "it would be best if I hand over nanny search responsibilities to you. I still have a lot of packing to do and want to make sure that I get it done on time." Um, are you kidding me? With only days until you are leaving, you drop this all on us? Great! Angel, I know you read this and I'm sorry, but that was super crummy and very disappointing.

Okay, never one to back away from a challenge, I immediately signed up for on the recommendation of several friends and instantly had an In Box full of applications. Girls that clearly can't read or comprehend the words LONG TERM AVAILABILITY IS A MUST. We don't want to be in this situation again in three months.

I have had ten phone interviews in four days and two face-to-face interviews and still no one very promising. Here are some highlights for your amusement:
  • One girl is three months pregnant and wants to bring her baby to our home with her once she delivers.
  • One girl currently lives in Cleveland! We live in San Diego. She is moving out here, but not until next month.
  • Many girls are teachers and are waiting with baited breath for a teaching job offer. PLEASE READ THE AD!
  • Others are students and are looking for summer-only work. AGAIN, READ THE AD!
  • There has also been a plethora of applications that have been downright illegible, riddled with spelling errors and incoherent sentences. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GET VERY FAR WITH ME WITHOUT GOOD GRAMMAR!!
Ugh! This is so much harder than I thought. It's like trying to find a mate, but WAY worse!!

Maybe it's a sign. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me to suck it up and be a 40 hour a week Stay At Home Mom. Who needs 10 hours of "me time" anyway?

I DO and I shutter at the thought of giving up those 600 minutes up each week. Nanny Gods, please, please, please, send someone fabulous our way!! Thank you.

The best is yet to be.

This post is for the word game, Word Up, Yo! hosted by Natalie (Mommy of a Monster), Kristin (Taming Insanity) and Liz (a belle, a bean and a chicago dog).

If you like words too, you should play along!
This week's word is plethora.

the Lucas card

I got this idea from a fellow blogger mom on the cicircle yahoo listserv. There was a string of discussion on how to deal with rude people and their stares/comments about CIs. She mentioned that she created a card that she gives out when people are being curious or rude. It reminded me of this post and my struggle also to deal with the stares. To give an update, I am finding my voice when it's appropriate, but I feel empowered by this idea of creating a card about Lucas's CI.

Being the bargain shopper that I am, I caught wind of this deal at Kodak Gallery for 50 free "mommy cards" (you still pay $3.99 shipping) and I decided to create my own Lucas card. I'll put one in my pocket when I go to the park, and I'll keep one in my toddler bag (no longer really a diaper bag). I'll let you know how it goes. I just got them in the mail on Friday and I think they look really great.

What do you think of my card?


I have been trying to write and post this ALL. DAY. LONG., so forgive me if it just turns into a hodgepodge...

I had a wonderful birthday weekend filled with some of my favorite things: pancakes, a big fat juicy cheeseburger, Berry Happy frozen yogurt, a champagne brunch with good friends,
Lucas' first swim lesson, some great laughs and quality time spent with my little family.
Oh, and a couple of SUPER frustrating phone interviews with (not so) potential nannies. More on that in another post!

I also saw not one, but TWO movies at the theater! What a treat. I LOVE going to see movies at the theater; the giant screen, the dark room and the incredible surround sound. It’s enveloping, albeit expensive. My husband and I saw Get Him to the Greek on Saturday night and I saw Knight and Day with my sister yesterday afternoon. Both are very entertaining, but definitely worth waiting for on DVD.

My husband, who has been working from home (or a nearby coffee shop) for the past
several months (89 days, but who's counting?) is supposedly moving into his new office this week and I am giving him my old industrial desk for something prettier. Remember this from my post, A Place To Call Her Own?
Guess who reads my blog? What an awesome birthday gift!! It arrived today, in three enormous boxes, which will probably sit in our foyer for a week, but it's here and it's mine and I love it. Thanks, P. xoxo

Second best birthday gift? My sister got me tickets to see Lady Gaga in August at Staples Center and I can't wait for that show!!

I am a lucky lucky girl!

I'm looking forward to what's in store for me at 38. Whether it's a growing family, move to a new city, another exciting trip across the Atlantic or even if things remain status quo, hopefully I will gain a greater sense of self and my place in the world as a wife, mother, sister and friend.

No matter what the future holds, I know that the best is yet to be.

Flip Off!! 2

It has been a L O N G week and I have really been looking forward to Friday Flip Offs:

In no particular order:

#1 Okay, adult acne, I've HAD IT!! I had clearer skin when I was 15 and ate junk. Gimme a break already! What is it gonna take? How much tea tree oil can one person use? And by the way, I have seen you pop up on several other Flip Off lists lately, so you might just want to watch your back.

#2 To the birds that have all of a sudden started showing up outside our bedroom window at 2:00 in the morning, let's just say I'm looking into shot guns. WTF?!

#3 Speaking of being rudely awaken at night, will the case of the hungries, the growing pains, teeth trying to bust their way into my son's mouth, tempting toys and perhaps even, the monster living under the crib, just FLIP the hell OFF?! Let the child sleep, for God's sake! More importantly let his mommy (and daddy) sleep... a full 12 hours. Thank you!

#4 No Friday Flip Off list of mine could be complete without me bitching about traffic, but this week it's my fellow motorists, okay, cyclists to be exact and point a (middle) finger. What the hell are you thinking?! You lycra-wearing snobs aren't above the law and you don't always have the "right of way". Follow the same rules as I do in my car or you're gonna hit. It's the law, oh and while you're at it, FLIP OFF!!

#5 With my (gulp) 38th birthday tomorrow, I would be remiss if I didn't give the big ole bird to AGE and growing older. I firmly do believe as Honest Abe is quoted as saying In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years, but I would swear since I had a child, I have more gray hairs and more defined crows feet than ever before. Plus, there are new aches and pains cropping up here and there and my mind is not what it used to be. This can't all be the baby's fault, so I have drawn my own conclusion that getting old SUCKS!

Whew, I feel so much better and it's all in part to Gigi at Kludgy Mom for creating this awesome meme.

Happy weekend, everyone!

The best is yet to be.

Time Well Spent

We don't own a piano, but I have always dreamed of having one simply to display dozens of photos across. Instead, we have this beautiful side board that does a pretty nice job.
I couldn't choose just one photo to write about, so I chose all 15. As I reminisced and went back in time, here is what I thought:

  • What a goofy grin on my face! I can't believe my husband not only took that photo just moments after I had completed my first (and only) half marathon, he had it blown up and framed so that I would always remember that pain... and pride.
  • My perfect wedding.
  • My husband and his parents - they are my family now too:
  • I have the best friends a girl could ever hope for:
  • I'm sad whenever I remember that this is the last photo that I ever got to take with my parents:
  • My dear, sweet sister, whom I sometimes feel a million miles away from, but always hold very close to my heart. Here we are after our first grueling day on the 3-Day Walk:
  • The joy and hopefulness in my eyes as I rest my hand on the new life in my belly:
  • My perfect baby just four weeks old:
  • My oldest and dearest friend in the world and all of our children together at last:
And then I actually did become inspired enough to write a poem:

They say a picture is worth a thousand words...

What if a thousand pictures were worth just one?
I'd say much easier said than done.

One word that fully encapsulates smiles, fun, tears and laughter,
Hopes, dreams and the happily ever afters?

Would it be: Happiness? Joy? Blessings? Love?
Ah, love, that's fitting. After all, isn't it the only word to speak of?

Photographs take us back and remind us of travel and distant places,
Moments with family and friends in possession of warm and familiar faces.

Our snap shots are displayed like treasures,
Out of love, in memory and for pleasure.

We capture, frame, post and share with everyone our two dimensional grins
But mostly, our photos are for our own selfish whims.

Whether they are in color, black-and-white or over exposed,
The images are not always of what is being proposed.

Were we just smiling for the sake of the lens,
Or were we truly satisfied with our lives and friends?

A sense of mystery can lie in each and every one,
"Why was I wearing this or that?", "Look at my hair!" and "I didn't know what was about to be done".

Protect your memories and your photographs as if they were gold,
Something that can never be traded, bought or sold.

And remember, L-O-V-E is what they represent
And just gazing at them is time well spent.

The best is yet to be.

I wrote this post for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop - Prompt #2: Write a poem about a picture.

You Know You're A Mom When-sDaze

How many of these can you identify with?

You know you're a mom when:
  • You have no clue if Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel are still a hot Hollywood couple and frankly don't care as much as you once did.
  • It takes you (on average) up to three nights to finish watching a movie because you keep falling asleep.
  • You think your child should be as excited as you are when he gets a piece of mail addressed to him. All I ever get anymore are Land of Nod catalogs, Gymboree coupons and bills!
  • You swear if you have to go to the grocery store one more time this week you may need to be committed.
  • You make sure your kid has three square meals a day, ample snacks and plenty of liquids, but you can't remember the last time you drank a full glass of water.
  • Your child is slathered in sunscreen and wearing a hat, but you forgot all about your own sensitive skin.
  • When your child's music or favorite television program is on, all is right in the world, but God forbid you try to catch up on the news or play a little Top 40!
  • It might take you all week to do one load of laundry because you keep forgetting that you started it and once wet laundry sits in the washer for over 24 hours, it needs another round.
  • Your child uses your boob (either one will do) has an arm rest.
  • You want better for your child than you ever had it and you had it pretty dang good.
Thanks to Arizona Mama for creating this meme. Visit her blog, Our Daze in the Desert to join the fun!

The best is yet to be.


My husband is a very patient person.

I, on the other hand, hate waiting in lines.

I hate red lights.

I am not good at dealing with my son's temper tantrums.

I have several of my own temper tantrums each week.

I want things done N.O.W. and I have ZERO tolerance for people that dawdle or indecisiveness. I don't like to "wait and see" or "talk about it again later". I want to make a decision and move on.

They say patience is a virtue. Well, I don't get it. Clearly, I don't have very much of it and while I'd like to think I'm working on it, I don't really know that I am.

What makes one person more patient than another?

How do you develop patience?

What is so virtuous about patience anyway?

Does being patient really make you a better person?

Ah, patience, you slay me!

Webster's dictionary defines [being] patient as:
1. enduring pain, trouble, etc. without complaint
2. calmly tolerating insult, delay, confusion, etc.
3. showing calm endurance
4. diligent; persevering

Well, no wonder people (I) have such a difficult time with it. If being patient is equated with enduring pain without complaint and calmly tolerating insult, then you can keep it. It does me no good.

It sure makes patience sound like taking on a martyr "suffering in silence" role, doesn't it? No, thank you!

But, if I think about patience in terms of showing calm endurance, being diligent and persevering, then MAYBE I can SORT OF see a different aspect of patience and one that for a mommy like me, should aspire to be.

Yesterday was one of those days that particularly tried my patience.

Thank goodness my husband is a very patient person.

The best is yet to be.


Get your buckets, pails, sunscreen, wide brim hats and bathing suits ready, it is time to hit the beach, summertime is here!

We spent Father's Day at the beach yesterday and Lucas had no fear of the sand, ocean or waves, so something tells me that we are going to be spending a lot of time there this summer and I for one can't wait!
Today I am guest posting over at Mommy of a Monster and I'm talking about one of my favorite things on the planet (next to my adorable son and summertime) and that is of course, wine, glorious wine! Check it out.

Happy first day of summer, everyone!

The best is yet to be.

Father's Day 2010

Unlike last year and the year before that, Nate was HOME this year for Father's Day... until tomorrow when he leaves for another Europe trek with students. We'll see what next year brings! Anyway, it was nice to have him home.

I believe that any man can be a father, but it takes a special man to be a daddy. And Lucas has a daddy whom he adores. I think Nate will be the first to tell you that hearing Lucas call him "daaaddeee" in his sweet little voice melts his heart. Lucas asks daddy to give him a bath every night, Lucas asks daddy to build duplo towers with him, Lucas loves to go on walks to the park with daddy and Lucas loves to wrestle and tumble with his daddy on the floor. He is a patient, wonderful father who adores his son too. I'm not sure on whom this travel separation will be harder, Lucas or Daddy.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy! Lucas and I love you very much!

Savasana with Sarah Powers

I love Sarah Powers and have greatly enjoyed workshops with her in the past and hope to again.

I thought I'd share her description of Savasana (corpse pose) here.

For many it's the hardest pose of all.

And remember... savasana can be practiced anytime, not just at the end of class.

I hope you take the time to invite a little peace into your life this weekend.
I'm off to enjoy one right now

Father's Day

Lucas has one of the very best fathers I know. Lucas is very lucky, although I think his daddy would say it's the other way around.

In celebration of Father's Day, here are some quotes that I think epitomizes the role of father and the relationship between a father and his children:

"It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was." - Anne Sexton

"It is admirable for a man to take his son fishing, but there is a special place in heaven for the father who takes his daughter shopping." - John Sinor

"When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years." - Mark Twain

"Fatherhood is pretending the present you love the most is soap-on-a-rope." - Bill Cosby

"The kind of man who thinks that helping with the dishes is beneath him will also think that helping with the baby is beneath him, and then he certainly is not going to be a very successful father." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"One night a father overheard his son pray: Dear God, Make me the kind of man my Daddy is. Later that night, the Father prayed, Dear God, Make me the kind of man my son wants me to be." - Anonymous

"He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it." - Clarence Budington Kelland

"Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes." - Gloria Naylor

"Spread the diaper in the position of the diamond with you at bat. Then fold second base down to home and set the baby on the pitcher's mound. Put first base and third together, bring up home plate and pin the three together. Of course, in case of rain, you gotta call the game and start all over again." - Jimmy Piersal, on how to diaper a baby, 1968

"Small boys become big men through the influence of big men who care about small boys." - Unknown

My personal favorite:

"The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." - Henry Ward Beecher

Happy Father's Day, everyone!

The best is yet to be.

totally on the mend!

Lucas is doing really well. If you didn't see his fingerless glove-like bandages, you'd have no idea that he had surgery this week! I'm so glad that he bounced back so quickly!

Friday at Dutch Wonderland was a wonderful way to end a stressful week. This amusement park is geared toward younger children, is the right size and has the perfect amount of trees for shade. If you ever decide to visit the park, let us know and we'll join you!

Here are some pictures. He did pretty well with his ear all day. We only had him remove it once, because we were afraid it would fly. He kept asking for it though, while he was waiting for the ride to start. Our boy loves to hear, that's for sure! We spent the day with Oma & Opa, Aunt Kristin, Uncle Mike & Ryan, and we even saw Aunt Liz, Uncle Chris & Lydia later in the day. Lucas got to ride rides with both of his cousins. The joy on Lucas's face while he was on the rides was absolutely priceless. He especially liked "The Whip"! We hope to go back again some time in August.

Patenting Without Parents

I am parenting without parents. Are any of you?

People ask me about Lucas' grandparents all the time. They know my husband's parents live a two hour plane ride away and that we see them every month, but they don't always know where my parents are. When I tell them, it always brings the conversation to a screeching halt. I hate it when that happens.

It's always on my mind... my parents aren't here.

My parents will never meet my son.

For those of you that don't know, they both died almost three years ago of carbon monoxide poisoning. You can read details here.

A lot can happen in 32 months and every now and then, a little more than usual, (cue Lucas' recent birthday, Father's Day tomorrow and my birthday next week) I can't stop thinking about, not only what they are missing, but what I am missing too. Can there be a statue of limitations on needing a mother even if you are a mother? I don't think so.

It's stupid really, I'm almost 38 and I have no one to call with my silly parenting questions. There’s no one to ask. Sure, I have a wonderful (much younger) sister, a loving aunt and uncle, a very smart mother-in-law, a supportive sister-in-law, who is also a mother of two and tons of amazing friends in the blog world and real life, but sometimes it feels like I’m flying solo on something I shouldn't be.

To me, having a baby brings you closer to your own parents. You finally realize all the pain, suffering and worry they went through with you. Once you have a child of your own, you know just how much your mom and dad love you.

They should be here.

I should be having conversations about Lucas' milestones, poop, food, toys and TV watching habits with my mom. I should be getting choked up over seeing my dad play with his grandson and rolling my eyes at them both when they try to put, yet another visit on the calendar. I should be asking them, "when did I do this, that or the other when I was his age?".
All it's only been one year!! How am I going to do this for the rest of my life?

They would have been terrific grandparents.

Aside from two incredible people who built their lives around educating children, so much else was lost when my parents died; family traditions, history and a whole set of memories that I don't share with anyone else but them. Whenever something crosses my mind that I think Lucas might be interested in or should know, I jot it down and more than once, I have poured my heart here. It helps, but I still miss them every day.

The best is yet to be.

Oh baby daddies! Happy Fathers day to you!

Whether you are the father of a baby or toddler, a teenager (then you really deserve a medal- haha!) or like my dad...the father of two sweet little girls in their 40's and fifties. Holy cow!!

You are a baby daddy. I can only imagine that as a dad your children will always be your babies to you, just like the mom's I know. I have had the great privilege and honour of knowing so many wonderful dads. My hat goes off to you dads! I love my momma's out there, but I sure love and admire those dads as well.

You rock parents! Somehow you all make it look so easy and I will never truly know your secret.

Til then, I'll just keep admiring you and supporting you every way I can.

Loads of love to you this Sunday on your "day of days!" Hope you get spoiled rotten whether your little munchkins are 4 or 40 or beyond

@#!%^ You! 1

I LOVE the idea of flipping stuff off, so I'm going to participate in this every Friday, as long as I don't have anything else worthwhile to share and I'm good and pissed off at something.

Thanks to Gigi at Kludgy Mom for creating this meme. I know I'm going to feel better after this rant.

In no particular order:

#1 There is an intersection by our house that no mater what time of day or direction I am going, I get stuck at the red light, which would be okay, except for the fact that I end up sitting there for 4+ minutes sometimes. I've timed it! This is especially fun when running late.

My husband and I un-affectionately call it the "punishment light". It's like going to confession (I'm not Catholic, but I have seen it done in the movies). I feel like I am meant to sit there for 4+ minutes and think about all of the horrible, no good, very bad things I have done all day. Stupid light!

#2 I'd like to flip off elementary school children, high school teens and college kids....anyone who gets their summers off to frolic and play. Oh, what I wouldn't give... I l.o.v.e. summers. I have always loved summer and I miss them, so screw all of you still in school with your free of responsibilities season. I hope you have a bitchin' summer!

#3 Our DVD remote control in our bedroom. Every night, it's the same thing... I have to turn the entire machine off at least once and sometimes TWICE in order to get to the main menu and play the DVD inserted. Novel concept, huh? Oh, this infuriates me to no end. Why can't shit just work?!

#4 I'm not saying any names, but I recently took Lucas to a very popular department store to have his one year portraits taken and I was assured that the entire session would be available on line "by the time I got home". It's been a week tomorrow and I have made four phone calls and sent an e-mail and have yet to see them. Apparently the Web site was redesigned in APRIL and they are still having problems with it. Luckily I bought our favorite pose, but c'mon people!

I know there's more where that came from, but for my first time, I'll leave it at that. Feels good, you should try it!

Happy weekend, everyone.

The best is yet to be.

The High Five

It's High Five time again... a list of five products that I am loving right now and why.

1. Huggies Overnight Diapers
God only knows why, but we just started using these and all I have to say is: AWESOME!! On a good night Lucas sleeps 12 hours and these suckers are absorbent.

2. LAVANILA Pure Vanilla Perfume
If you love the smell of vanilla as much as I do, then you have to check out this fragrance. Plus, not only does it smell good, it's good for you too:

From Sephora: LAVANILLA carefully infuses pure essential oils with 100 percent active botanicals for natural fragrances that are fresh, clean, and nurturing. With each spray, proprietary natural technology wraps the skin with super antioxidants goji berry and kakadu plum, soothing willowherb, and hydrating olive leaf for a healthy dose of 30 essential vitamins and minerals and 19 amino acids.

Now if I can just remember to spritz a little on each morning!

3. Trader Joe's Light Kettle Corn
TJ's is at it again. They seriously sell the best. snacks. ever. and like all the others this one doesn't disappoint and I especially love that they are packaged in their own individual bags at just 110 calories a pop.

4. Lululemon Athletica
I live in these fantabulous yoga-inspired pants. They are a bit pricey, ($80-$110) but so so SO worth it. They are comfortable, reversible and keep their shape wash after wash after wash. The hidden pocket is a nice bonus and perfect for a key and a little cash.

5. Bubbles!
When was the last time you blew bubbles? Our nanny gave Lucas a bottle for his birthday and I forgot how delightful they are. It's our new favorite thing to do at the park and in our back yard. Perfect summertime fun!

For past High Five posts, click here. Be sure to tune in tomorrow because I'm not going to be so nice.

The best is yet to be.

Dirtbag Diaries: Yosemite's Next Top Idol

Yosemite’s Next Top Idol- is on The Dirtbag Diaries- Listen to the recorded version.

Every year, hundreds enter the contest to become Yosemite’s Next Top Idol. Only a few earn the honor. Hopeful climbers gather around the cafeteria table in the Yosemite Lodge during the spring season, and again in the fall, to talk about their glorious achievements, to make outlandish exaggerations, and to flex. It’s a seasonal ritual. To move beyond just being another face at the table, to be Yosemite’s Next Top Idol-one of the great Valley climbers, one has to be a true character.

I wanted flashing lights. I wanted to live forever. I wanted real fame. I wanted a Facebook fan club page. The reality though was that I was a just a humble dirtbag rock climber. I fought to be Yosemite’s Next Top Idol. Status as an A-list celebrity, a Yosemite Idol, was way better than being a D list dirtbag.

Everyone moved seats when the heavy hitters came to the Yosemite Lodge cafeteria table. Mouths dropped when Surfer Bob pointed at his wide back and proclaim, “You don’t get a back like that by towing into the little waves. I surf the monsters.” Emaciated trad climbers watched Platinum Rob nibble certified organic high protein whey supplements. They marveled at his dedication. Platinum once brought a scale with him while free climbing El Cap to weigh out perfect proportions of food. He worked out constantly and was also known as “The Dictionary”; he had definition. Magoo, the mouth of this vicious social climbing ladder, wore horn rimmed glasses with coke bottle for lenses. He had hustled his way into a full time career as a sponsored rock climber, and voiced the path to being a Yosemite Idol. He said that to gain true recognition you needed an incredible story- escape captivity from Krygakistani rebels, climb enormous Arctic walls in single pushes, or huck laps on down canyon testpieces then swim back up to Camp 4- feet first. My climbing ability was mediocre at best. I just wasn’t cut out of granite like those guys. For years I’d had a soft spot for donuts. Now, I had a lot of soft spots because of donuts. Still, I wanted to join the elite.

I wanted to train like Surfer Bob. I wanted to Platinumize my body into an extreme fitness machine like Rob. I wanted to be a fully sponsored rock jock like Magoo. I was desperate for the glory that these men had achieved. I wanted to be Yosemite’s Next Top Idol. I wanted it bad so I transitioned from my life as a college student and into one of a dirtbag climber.
My first step was to move into a tent in the woods behind University of Califirnia Santa Cruz campus. I had to toughen up mentally so I did.

I hate the rain. I don’t melt in it- I’m not made of sugar but the whole cold and wet thing is not for me. The first season living in my tent, it rained for forty days. The Santa Cruz redwoods became lush and red, the banana slugs emerged from the forest in full force, and I -- I went crazy. I thought about how the flooding water would float my little tent out into the Pacific. I wondered how long it would take me to sail to Australia, or Europe, or somewhere warm with good rock. I festered through the rain, contemplating if suffering through storms was really part of being a rock climber.

One day I found a banana slug on my pillow. I brushed it off to living outdoors in the Monterey Bay. A few mornings later, I woke to the tickle of a tick on my testicles. Alliteration aside, it was not a pleasant sensation. I swore that if I found another critter in my “home” I would go savage. The next morning, I found a worm in my sleeping bag. I showed him no mercy; I buried the bastard alive.

The grim living conditions, the nightly wet bivies, they forced me to escape-to go climbing on the weekends, and ditch school for short trips during the week. I had little to do but climb. I didn’t go to college with high academic dreams. I majored in Economics and Business Management with the intention of getting a job where all I had to do was staple things. My motto was “C’s” get degrees. I dreamed of meeting a nice, young, rich girl and then marrying her mom. I could be a “sponsored athlete,” a rock climber supported by someone’s mom. But my constant trips to Yosemite kept the ladies away. I saw few. Plus, if I mentioned that I lived in a tent in the woods behind campus, they would think I was either an Ewok or Ted Kazynski. This was the kind of thing a true Yosemite Idol needed though- a monastic lifestyle, where there would be no fear of women ever distracting me in my goal from being Yosemite’s Next Top Idol.

Every weekend I was in Yosemite, or at the sport crag, or in the boulders. I commuted to the climbing with Platinum Rob, who gave me training goals, and reminded me to stay thin. At the top of Tuoulumne Meadow’s Private Property cliff, after a hard day of sport climbing, I watched Rob pour a handful of macadamia nuts into his hands. He counted them, plucked three out, and put them back into the bag.

“How many macadamias do you eat Rob?” I asked, stuffing Cheetos into my mouth.

“Well, James,” Rob chewed slowly, relishing his nuts. “I eat 10. But you, since you’re a little- you know” He ballooned his cheeks. “You’d only want to eat seven.”

The Yosemite Idol contestants were all so thin they’d disappear if they turned sideways. I had become mentally tough in my woodland hovel, but if I was to be a contender, I’d need to go on a strict diet. Over the years I had contracted Dunlop disease- my stomach dun lop over my belt. Rob agreed to train me at his Santa Cruz gym. I biked down from my tent on Tuesday and Thursday mornings before school. After class, I hit the climbing gym, and then on the weekends I headed back out to the crag. The wafer thin Supermodel Kate Moss gave me a mantra. Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. My muffin top, the spare tire around my stomach, slowly started to fade. I was lean and I was mean. When I showed up at the Cafeteria table, all skinny and fit with pine needles from the Santa Cruz redwoods sticking out of my hair, I looked like the best of the contestants. I had the mental toughness, and the lean physique. But I lacked talent on the rock. I needed to step up my game.

The climbing came along slowly. I have never been adept at moving my body. My only redemption is that my tenacity makes up for my lack of talent. I shook up the most mediocre of routes. A half inch above my last placement, I would be wrought with jazz hands and Elvis leg at the same time. I was an autumn leaf about to blow off the rock. I went to the Cookie Cliff, where Surfer Bob trained. He lapped the same cracks a million times, fueling his body off a tablespoon of olive oil. He trained for the ultimate training day. I tried to do the same, running countless laps up routes that I had dialed. “It’s just like paddling into Jaws,” he said while he cruised his 139th lap up the Red Zinger, a difficult 5.11+ crack. “You got to start off strong and ride into the wave. Let the motion take you there.” I tried to follow his advice instead I thrashed. I’d never been surfing in Hawaii break and, frankly, the water scared me. I had no idea what he was talking about.

In the boulders behind Camp 4 Magoo, showed me his circuit- a series of heinous offwidths and horrendous grovel problems he had wired over the years. Every “easy” problem felt impossible. He sandbagged me at every opportunity. Magoo explained his secret to success, “You don’t really have to climb anything. Just try real hard, talk a mean game, and shamelessly self promote.” He sniffled and shoved his glasses up his face alot, “That’ll work way better than climbing harder,” he added in a conspiratorial manner. I followed his advice. When I established a first ascent, I called it the Muir Trail, telling people that I hiked it. I related half truths- I claimed to have climbed up to 5.14 on El Capitan. Which was true- I had climbed up to it and then I aided through it. I worked my mouth like Magoo suggested.

Soon, I had the big talk down. Everyone in Yosemite knew that I was kind of a big deal.
I kept working on Magoo’s impossible boulder problem circuit. But I kept flailing. I had leaned up on Platinum Rob’s diet but I was still a Man of Girth. I trained like Surfer Bob but then I would fail on anything off the circuit. That was how they earned their Yosemite titles but none of it would work for me. Each of them had sandbagged me into believing I could do it. I couldn’t keep up. I could only try and fail. So that’s what I did. I tried and I failed. I made small craters from wildly falling off the center stage routes in Joshua Tree, in Yosemite, anywhere there was a crowd. I was covered in cuts, and bruises from falling all the time. Soon I earned a moniker. Big Fall James. Long scars ran across my elbow, ankle, and back. I became a highly recognizable walking disaster. When I hobbled through Camp 4 with huge rope burns across my arms, watermelon sized ankles, and enormous bruise- people knew who I was. Big Fall James. The man who could survive the most enormous whippers around.

A few mornings ago, I sat at the table of the Yosemite Lodge. I’d been living the dirtbag climbing lifestyle for four years. I stayed skinny even in the winter months. I climbed without looking like a jackhammer on the rock. I talked an enormous game. I was as close to being Yosemite’s Next Top Idol as ever. A kid, fresh out of his mom’s house, in a collared shirt buttoned to the neck, sat next to me. He glanced at me, then cast his eyes down, and mumbled, “Big Fall James, How do you become a Yosemite Idol?” I smiled. I had fought for years for this moment- this opportunity to be acknowledged as one of the great Yosemite Climbers. My mind raced through a library of sage advice. I had sat in the same spot, listening to Surfer Bob, Platinum Rob, and Magoo. I thought about what they had told me. I looked at the kid. I thought showing him Surfer Bob’s ultimate training day schedule, about telling him Platinum’s dieting advice, or describing how he needed Magoo’s confidence. I prepared to tell him how he should follow my lead and become a walking disaster. Then I paused. He would need a lot of help. I patted him on the hand, put my arm around his shoulder, and totally sandbagged him.

a button?

the passionista herself requested a blog button from me – so i got right to work. would you like one, too? it would make me the happiest to hop over to your blog and see a little run lucas run love sitting over on your sidebar. be sure and let me know if you use it so that i can come visit your bloggy space, too.

i can’t wait to show you some of the other blog goodies i’ve got up my sleeve. working on a header for a certain canadian farm girl that i adore. and i’m getting my tabs in order so that i can link to the new happy blogs that are currently taking up space in my reader since the big over haul.  
good stuff, i tell you.

happy thursday friends,
love, lindsay

two thumbs up

June 16, 2010

3:45 AM - my cell phone alarm went off for the first time.

3:50 AM - I groggily got up and jumped in the shower.

4:10 AM - I headed downstairs to gather everything, got Lucas's ear ready and went to wake him.

4:25 AM - I opened Lucas's door and he stood up and walked over to me... not what I was expecting!

4:35 AM - We were on the road and only 5 minutes late. Not bad for us.

5:55 AM - We arrived at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. It's unbelievable that one day it takes us 2.5 hours and the next day 1 hr and 20 minutes.

6:00 AM - We arrived at cardiac registration. We no longer go to the regular surgery registration because Lucas now needs cardiac anesthesia.

6:30 AM - They finally called us back. It was a little annoying to have to arrive by 6, but not do anything until 6:30. Our nurse's name was Lauren. We enjoyed chatting with her all day. Lucas was in really good spirits, and not afraid at all of his surroundings. He enjoyed watching Elmo on his personal tv.

6:45 AM - The IV team arrived to place an IV in Lucas's foot. During the last two surgeries, they put Lucas under before putting in his IV and I was VERY glad for that. I was not pleased with the reverse decision, and I made it clear to the nurse, especially considering what a hard stick he is. Luckily, they found his vein on the first shot and he only shed tears for a few minutes. I was hoping for none though.

7:05 AM - The nurse gave him "giggle juice" and he went to his happy place. He just chilled in his bed and watched Curious George.

7:15 AM - The orthopaedic surgeon came to chat with us and examine Lucas's newly triggering right thumb. Nate and I signed off for his right thumb to be fixed too. He signed Lucas's palms and away he went.

7:30 AM - They came for him and away he went. He didn't even notice that he was leaving us. I guess that was a good thing. We decided to send him away with his ear. We thought it was important that the doctors and nurses be able to talk to him. I was a little nervous, but they assured me they wouldn't lose it.

7:40 AM - Nate and I went to the cafeteria to get something to eat. We decided to just eat there. Breakfast was really good. They had made to order omelets and pancakes. I was thoroughly impressed.

8:05 AM - We headed back to the cardiac reception to wait for news. We thought we would hear by at least 9 AM.

8:50 AM - We spoke with the surgeon about the thumbs surgery. He reported that everything went well, but his left thumb might take some time to completely straighten out, as it has been bent for so long. He said that neither thumb will ever trigger again! Lucas was now having his heart echo done.

10:30 AM - They finally came to get us. The heart echo must have been really thorough!! I'm not complaining though. Lucas continued to sleep for another hour, although he kept wiping his face in his sleep. Very strange.

11:30 AM - Lucas woke up happily for about... 1 minute. Then, he was absolutely hysterical. He wanted his hand bandages OFF and nothing would calm him down. Nothing. He kept flailing his arms, so I held him, Nate held one arm and the nurse held the other arm. It was a long 15 minutes. We gave him some oxycodon and he finally took his sippy cup and calmed down. I've never seen him act like that before in my life. I think he was in a strange state with the anesthesia. I'll be happy if we never experience that again.

12:00 PM - We started getting ready to leave. Everything looked fine and Lucas had been drinking and keeping everything down. Now all he had to do was pee. No problem... or so we thought.

12:30 PM - Still no wet diaper.

1:00 PM - Still no wet diaper.

1:30 PM - Still no wet diaper.

2:00 PM - Still no wet diaper.

2:30 PM - Still no wet diaper. Lucas was very active this whole time too. He entertained the nurses all afternoon with his funny sayings and actions. Even though he was tired, he would not sit still for more than 20 seconds. At least he wasn't crawling out of his bed, but he did keep trying to stand up.

3:00 PM - Still no wet diaper, but Lucas wanted to be held by me. Lucas's bladder was visibly very full, and he was doubled over in pain. We debated whether we should catheterize him or not. Lucas still needed to pee on his own. But, since he was in so much pain, we decided we needed to help him. So, the nurses got all of their materials out, put on their gloves, I laid him down on the bed and.... we had a WET DIAPER. We were thrilled. So, we started the discharge process.

3:20 PM - We were just waiting for the nurse to bring us a dose of medicine for Lucas for the road, and Lucas kept asking for the wash basin. But, it was full of water, because we kept trying to put his feet in it to make him pee, so I couldn't give it to him. I guess he remembered what it was for though, because he proceeded to throw up everywhere. I'm telling you, he's one smart cookie.

3:30 PM - We left the cardiac floor and headed to the 1st floor to pick up his meds. Lucas enjoyed the atrium. It's really a beautiful hospital. I really got the feeling that "hope lives there", just like their motto says.

4:00 PM - We left the parking garage and headed to the Schuykill. Traffic was pretty bad, and what should have taken us 20 minutes took us an hour. Thank goodness Lucas was sleeping.

5:40 PM - The gas light went on. We had forgotten to fill up our gas tank after Tuesday's CHOP trip. Luckily, we were only 3 miles from the service station. We were seriously L.U.C.K.Y.

6:00 PM - We were almost to our exit on the turnpike, but we were engrossed in a story on NPR and we missed it. We're not talking like "oh just get off at the next road and turn around." We're talking "next stop: Harrisburg, PA." We had no choice. At least Lucas was still sleeping.

6:40 PM - We finally arrived at our humble abode. I went to sit down on the couch with Lucas and he immediately wiggled down and asked to watch "toys" (Toy Story). Then he requested to "build towers" (play with his legos and build towers).

9:00 PM - Lucas got a sponge bath, because there will no bath until his bandages come off in a week. I don't know what we're going to do!

9:15 PM - Lucas got one more dose of pain killers and went to sleep.

9:45 PM - I went to sleep. It was a loooooong day.

I didn't hear from him again until 8 AM, although we checked on him several times. Today he is back to his normal self AND he's leaving his bandages alone. He's doing so well that we haven't even given him Tylenol today. It's over. No more thumb surgery. Summer can begin. I give that two thumbs up!!! We are celebrating tomorrow with a trip to Dutch Wonderland. Hopefully he can keep his hands dry!

An Introduction to Yin Yoga

You Know You're A Mom When-sDaze

The "I'm a mom" reminders are EVERYWHERE!!

Thanks to Arizona Mama for putting together this great meme. Visit her blog, Our Daze in the Desert to join in on the fun!

You know you're a mom when...
  • At the end of the day your pockets are filled with a half-eaten pretzel stick, numerous Cheerios, a baby bottle cap, a dryer sheet and a Boogie Wipe...who knows what I'll discover in there tomorrow!
  • You know exactly how hard you have to push the stroller out in front of you in order to stuff you hair into a hat.
  • You tell your husband a little white lie about what time a mommy-only event begins in order to allow yourself just a few extra minutes to yourself.
  • You are more than willing to share your turkey from your turkey sandwich, if it means your kid will eat!
  • Going ANYWHERE requires at least 20 minutes of prep and packing and maybe even a list.
  • And speaking of going anywhere, like out to dinner, if tot is in tow, you are enjoying the Early Bird Special with all the Senior Citizens, so you get back home in time for bed time (AKA the most wonderful time of the day!!).
  • Your child smells like lavender, his hair is combed, teeth are brushed and is wearing the cutest new outfit, but you are still in your pj's and haven't washed your hair or shaved your legs, let alone put on perfume in days.
  • You justify every excessive crying spell with "it must teething".
  • You can't get "Elmo's Song" out of your head. Damn that furry little red monster!
  • Your heart bleeds a little every time you hear of an injustice to a baby, child or teen.
  • As soon as your overly fussy, overly tired child FINALLY gives in to take a nap, you feel the incredible (not to mention stupid) urge to wake him up because he is just so dang cute.
The best is yet to be.

Teaching mindfulness to kid's~Susan Kaiser Greenland

Some of you may know that I teach one children's yoga class per week. It's a lunch time school program. The kid's are adorable, tons of fun, bright, and there is never a dull moment!

My reasons for doing it may sound a little selfish but the truth is...I get to teach these kids things that I really really wish were taught to me as a child!

And yes we have lot's of fun too. We don't sit and meditate for the 40 minutes (not at all) we jump around, play yoga games, tell stories, and we've been known to bark and meow and do all sorts of wacky things! The kid's know all about breathing and what their breath can do.

And believe it or not they all have a lovely relaxation/savasana at the end and go back to school clear, refreshed and relaxed!

Ahhh the power and beauty of Yoga (these are grade 1's to grade 4's).
This class always has a waiting list.

Anyways, I am always looking for creative new ideas for these classes and came across this woman. She has some very interesting and simply explained ways to present some of the invaluable life tools that we get from our yoga so thought I'd share.

I love the snow-dome/glitter-ball idea. Me & my kids are done for the summer but I'll be adding a glitter-ball to my bag of tricks for the fall!

It's never too early to teach kid's mindfulness. It's never too early or too late!


and the surgery saga continues...

Summer is finally here! But somehow it doesn't feel like it yet. My stress level usually dissipates on the last day of school, but it's still here. Why? I'll tell you.

Yesterday started the first day of my 3rd graduate course in 6 weeks. It's a really great course, and I'm learning a lot, but it's still a lot of work. When the course is over, summer really begins for me, because I don't have to think about school again until August. AMEN.

Lucas's thumbs surgery is finally going to happen tomorrow. That's not a typo, by the way. His trigger thumbS will now be fixed, we believe. Last week I noticed that his right thumb is now triggering. Go figure. We haven't seen the surgeon again, so he'll evaluate when he sees Lucas tomorrow, but he's likely to fix that one too. I guess it was a hidden blessing that surgery was cancelled twice already. We are hopefully avoiding another surgery.

Last week I got a call informing me that Lucas now needs cardiac anesthesia. I was pretty surprised and upset by this, because it's an indication that Lucas's heart condition has either worsened (and we weren't really informed of it) or his condition has been interpreted differently. The most recent cardiac letter (4.5.10) states that the reguritation (which causes the audible murmur) is probably closer to moderate than mild. I believe that's the reason for the change. Nonetheless, Lucas had to attend another pre-anesthesia appointment this morning to cover that. It was rather anti-climatic after traveling 2.5 hours to Philly during rush hour, but I got to drop off his referrals and make sure that everything is ready for tomorrow.

On the bright side, whereas the first time Lucas's surgery was cancelled he had a 12:30 PM arrival time, tomorrow we have a 6:00 AM arrival time. Yes, we have to leave our house by 4:30 AM (no fun!!!), but I don't have to deal with a hungry/thirsty toddler for 6 hours prior to surgery. Lucas's schedule shouldn't be thrown off much because of this surgery time either. I hope.

Tomorrow we're planning a three-fer: three procedures in one surgery. Left thumb, check! Right thumb, probably! And a heart echo while he's still under anesthesia. This way they can get a really good reading of his heart and we can have a baseline for the future.

Please pray for Lucas's safe and successful surgery tomorrow. It's going to be a long day...

Moving On

Any change, any loss, does not make us victims. Others can shake you, surprise you, disappoint you, but they can't prevent you from acting, from taking the situation you're presented with and moving on. No matter where you are in life, no matter what your situation, you can always do something. You always have a choice and the choice can be power. - Blaine Lee

Friendships shouldn't be difficult, but sometimes they can be a downright messy and very complicated endeavor.

Some friendships die a natural death: people move, change jobs, start a family, or embark on a completely different stage of life. Other friendships, however, end prematurely and abruptly. When a friendship is over and you don't always understand why and it can be painful and puzzling. Sometimes a friend ends your relationship without even telling you and sometimes they are able to muster up enough courage to FINALLY say all the things they have wanted to say for a very, very long time.

I spent a good part of last week stewing over a friendship I have had for 20 years. We exchanged scathing e-mails and I ended up sharing some things that were WAY overdue. Should one of us have picked up the phone to discuss our issues? Absolutely, but e-mail has always sort of been "our thing" due to our geographic challenges.

It would take an entire blog to describe all the ups and downs and twists and turns I have had with this person over the years, so I'll spare you the torrid details and just say that like in any relationship, there were good times and some nice memories that I will always cherish, but ultimately, pride, ego and an unwillingness or inability to "show up" played a huge role in the end of our friendship.

I am certainly not perfect and there are two sides to every story, but this is my blog, so you can figure out which one of us I think was the selfish one.

I have experienced monumental changes during the last three years (I got re-married, lost both of my parents at the same time, left a 10+ year career in marketing to deal with the fall out and became a mother) and my friend wasn't much of a friend to me during any of these life altering moments and instead of saying anything to her, I pretended that everything was okay.

It wasn't.

To be fair, she had fallen on tough times too and has spent the last three years trying to find steady work, all the while nursing a back injury sustained from an auto accident and in my opinion popping too many pills and letting herself spiral out of control. Every e-mail I received was worse than the last, a virtual "woe is me" tale of sending out resumes, worry over paying medical bills, asking for money, a repossessed car, and "boy toys".

Ah, can you say different phases of life?

I am not saying that what was going on her life was was any less important than what was going on in mine, but there was so little acknowledgement of my burdens that it bruised my heart.

How does this relate to Lucas and/or motherhood?

I believe when you become a parent, you gain a much clearer view of the world around you, the relationships you have and what your priorities are. I literally don't have the time to build egos or coddle anyone but my son (and occasionally my husband) anymore!

Friendship plays a key role in shaping an individual and in making the person he or she turns out to be. I have always thought of myself as a good friend. Thoughtful, loyal, fun to be with and above all engaged. I get caught up in the details sometimes and admit to having high expectations, but over the years, I have realized that that is okay. Why shouldn't I expect the very same that I give in return?
I want nothing less for my son and the friendships he cultivates someday.

There is a lesson in this loss for me... hopefully, I'm little wiser and will be a lot more open in future. Life is too short.

Today, I feel lighter and a tiny bit sad. I am proud of myself for finally speaking my mind and letting her know how I feel about her absence over the years, but I will miss her and moving on, will think of her only with fondness.

The best is yet to be.

Real Life Moms

Real Life Moms is a social Ning group lovingly created by Surviving Little People and is for real moms who are out there living life, raising children the best they know how and trying to see the world (and parenthood) with a sense of humor.

It's a great place to go to ask questions, share stories, photos and connect with other real moms just like you.

I am thrilled to announce that this week, Letters For Lucas is featured as a Real Life Moms Blog of the Week! I love that I actually have readers out there and appreciate SLP for choosing me!

The best is yet to be.