Make Over Cure All?

maincureIn a futile attempt to get my pajama-clad body off the couch and take them somewhere, anywhere (because they are soooooo bored), my daughters gave me a make over this past Sunday. My youngest gave me a manicure and a pedicure, while the eldest braided my hair and did my makeup.

Upon completion of operation “let’s go,” my eldest daughter told me, “You look so beautiful Mom! Don’t you want to go out and show off how great you?” While the little one chimed in, “You look so pretty. Now all you need is clothes!”

I s pulled they blanket up around my neck and coughed. “Thanks girls! You did make me feel a little better. But, there’s no way I’m looking remotely attractive right. Sorry girls. It’s not happening today.”

You see my throat started to feel scratchy Friday night. I downed some OJ, but by Saturday morning swallowing was painful. Sunday morning brought the sniffles, sneezes and watery eyes. So while I may have looked marginally good on the outside, and the inside I still felt like total crap. My littlest brought me tissues, cough drops and a glass of water (bless her heart!) and my oldest told me she “hoped I felt better soon.” And I drifted off to a fitful sleep.

The next two days, I “Dayquilled” and chicken-souped my way through work.  Today, while I still have a bit of a stuffy nose and a cough, I feel 100 times better than I did Sunday. I glance down as my rainbow-colored nails tap on the keyboard and smile to myself. (I’ll take it off tomorrow.) Somehow, I think, getting a make over and a little love can make you feel a just bit better no matter how bad you feel. So maybe tonight, we’ll go out for a special treat…unless the scratchy throat has moved on to one of them, in which case, I’ll do their nails:)

My Little Card Sharks

photo credit: Velvet Android via photopin cc

photo credit: Velvet Android via photopin cc

The smile that flashes across my six-year-old’s face when she beats me at a game of cards warms my heart. She beams from ear-to-ear. She tries to be a gracious winner, but is unsuccessful (I suspect she gets that from her grandpa – who used to make us kiss his feet when we lost at euchre. I’m still haunted by his “kissy, kissy” taunts as he waved his stinky foot around).

Both my girls love to play cards – Go Fish!, Uno, War, Slap Jack and Trash top the list today. The youngest though by far loves to play the most (unless she’s losing). Her favorite is a game called “Trash.” This is a new one for me that she learned in preschool. We all spent this afternoon playing her beloved game with my parents. Low and behold the little shark won (again) and I came in last (again). She’s either really good or really lucky. Even when I try to win (which is all the time now!), she manages to beat me the majority of the time. I do have to keep an eye on her though, as she likes to skip my turn if I’m not paying attention and my oldest claims she cheats as her sixes become nines and vice versa or she peeks at the next card in the deck.

We have a wonderful time playing though no matter who wins and I hope we are building happy memories. Some of my fondest memories are playing cards with my parents, grandparents and sister. We’d play cards (Rummy 500,Gin Rummy, War, SkipBo, I Doubt It, Euchre, Uno and Hearts) for hours on end, laughing and talking and making memories. I’m happy to pass the card tradition on to my girls.

What about you? Do you/did you play cards? What’s your favorite game?

Dancing Girls

2013-04-18 17.19.36Sorry to disappoint anyone, but my dancing-girls are ages ten and six. We just finished up a long recital weekend. I’m drained and I’m not even a dancer. The girls performed Friday night, Saturday night and again this afternoon. The show lasted three hours and forty-five minutes minimum. Yes, you read that correctly – three hours and forty-five minutes times three shows equals almost twelve hours of my weekend I’ll never get back.

When other mom’s told me the recital would be long, I had no idea how long. Both my girls started dancing when they were three years old. However, this was the first year they took dance at a full-blown, competitive dance studio. Prior to that my girls were at the lazy-mom’s dance studio. We loved Ms. Karen’s. The girls got to perform in two recitals a year instead of just one. In addition to that, there were no costumes or hair/makeup requirements. It didn’t matter if you had a side pony or a high pony. She didn’t care if you wore pink tights or tan tights. You could wear black shoes or whites shoes or tan shoes. Ms. Karen’s  focused on dancing, having fun, building self-esteem and getting the kids on the stage. Besides the monthly lesson fee and tap/jazz shoes, I only had to buy a $10 t-shirt and some black leggings for recital day. The recital was only one day and only lasted an hour. Ms. Karen broke up her classes into three separate one-hour recitals instead of one mega-long recital. In the six years my girls danced with Ms. Karen there was only one time when the girls were in two different recitals.

Sadly, Ms. Karen closed her dance studio two summers ago to focus on her daycare center. My girls were devastated. I was devastated and so was my pocketbook. Last year, in an attempt to circumvent the inevitability of enrolling them in the high-end dance studio, we tried the only other dance studio nearby. This place focused mainly on gymnastics, but offered several dance classes. Neither of the girls made it past the December recital. My oldest took jazz and there was only one other girl in her class. She didn’t show up for the recital and my daughter ended up doing a solo dance. She was a trooper though and did a great job. The youngest didn’t like doing “ballet” and thought her $60-costume was too itchy. Lucky for me, we weren’t committed to a year-long program and didn’t return for the spring session.

Which brings us back to the high-end dance studio. Don’t get me wrong the production was spectacular, the costumes were adorable and the girls had a great time. It’s just the mommy-stress of it all, the expensive costumes, getting their hair just so, making sure their headband went the right direction and that the tights had no holes that got to me. That and the waiting around for hours. The girls were each in one number, but we couldn’t leave as everyone danced in the grand finale at the end of the show. By 9:30 PM we were all tired and grouchy.

I’m not sure what we’ll do next year. I wish I could find a happy, medium dance studio… I’m guessing I’ll be sitting in the dressing room doing hair and makeup, and waiting for the grand finale. My youngest is more excited than ever about dance now and wants to do baton too. My oldest was ready to quit, but a friend doing hip-hop convinced her to dance another year. On the bright-side, I have three months away from running the kids to and from various activities as after this afternoon all their activities are done until September. Yeah me!

My June Bug

a-to-z-letters-jRain, sleet and wind swirl outside my window this dark April night. The warmth of June’s just a hopeful dream. But, as my daughters and I brainstormed “J” words that I could blog upon, my oldest hit on June – her favorite month. Being one of my favorite months as well, I settled on the subject of my J blog post for the tenth day of the A to Z blog challenge.

What’s so special about June? June brings with it the first day of summer, the longest day of the year, lightning bugs, flip-flops, lemonade and long evening walks to the park. But most importantly, eleven-years ago on the 17th of this coming June, my beautiful first-born daughter made an early entrance into this world and I became a mother – the best and hardest job I’ve ever had.

I can remember the day as if it were yesterday. She wasn’t due until July 25th, yet I spent the day before her birth-cleaning the house, doing laundry and packing my hospital bag – just in case. I’m one of those people who always likes to be prepared. I’d invited my parents over supper to celebrate Father’s Day. It was a warm beautiful evening and we’d just finished eating when I felt something “weird” down “there.” I went to bathroom and my waterbroke a’la Niagra Falls.

“It’s too early,” I worried as my mom helped lie down in the back seat of the car and timed my contractions while my husband sped us to the hospital 45 minutes away with my Dad following behind. In the ER the nurse confirmed via the “wet towel test” that indeed my water had broken and I was in labor.

“It’s a full moon,” they concluded when they took me to the last open room on the OB floor.

The doctor explained that they weren’t going to stop my labor as most 34 weekers did quite well.. I was still terrified. Because she was a preemie the took me to the OR and two pushes later at 5:39 AM she arrived. I didn’t get to hold her. The doctor showed her to me briefly and handed her over to the neonatologists. What seemed like an eternity passed. They wrapped her and put her in an incubator. I wouldn’t actually get to hold her until almost two hours later. Relief and happiness flooded me when they finally placed my baby girl in my arms.Jun17_02Emily

I cried hard when they released me two days later without my baby. Having problems with the “suck-swallow-breathe” response she spent a long two weeks in the NICU. She came home on a heart monitor, but I was grateful for it and the peace of mind it brought with it.

And now looking at the young girl who is almost as tall as I am, it’s hard to believe she was ever that 4 lb 15 ounce little peanut. She’s beautiful on the inside and out. She’s kind and compassionate toward others. She’s smart, sassy and sensitive. She’s creative and crafty. She likes to dance, ride bikes, write stories, read books, and eat ice cream. She hates scary movies (I wonder where she got that from) and thunderstorms. She’s my daughter and I love her.

Give Me Some Of That Energy!

a-to-z-letters-e“Come on, let’s race Mom! Ready, set, go!”

The girls are off and all I see is a blur of their long hair flying behind them and their legs stretching across the grass to our destination. I’m not even going to try to win and I slow down to a walk and watch and smile. I sit on the park bench and watch them swing and slide and cross the monkey bars. Where do that get their energy? I wonder. Thirty minutes later they’re racing back to the van.

Back at home the dance and twirl and jump off the couch. I lay on the couch and really want to get my hand on their elusive energy. I day dream about all things I could get done in a day if I had a quarter of their energy. My mind wanders and ponders the nature of energy (which could be why I don’t get everything done I need!). What is energy? This invisible force that makes my children laugh and run, lights up my house and powers the engine in my van? It is a mystery to me. I’m sure it really can’t be contained in one of those little bottles of “energy drink” they sell at the gas station. Although, there are days when I might be willing to give it a try!

According to Dictionary.com, energy is “The strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity” or “A feeling of possessing such strength and vitality.” The physicist’s definition at Northwestern say energy is “the ability to do work, and work is moving something against a force, like gravity.”

Ok, it’s still a mystery to me what energy actual consists of. I just know my girls have more of it than I do! I’m sure if I ate better, sleep more and exercised consistently, I’d have more of that wonderful elixir, but I just don’t have the energy:)  What I need now is motivation!

What about you? Do you have a lot of energy?

My Dear Daughters

a-to-z-letters-dAs I tossed around all the “D” topics I could write about on this fourth day of the A to Z blogging challenge, it dawned on me that my favorite “D” topic in all the world is my two dear, daring, dramatic, dancer, distinct, dreamer, doer, darling daughters.

I am a truly blessed mother. Back in the day, before motherhood I’d heard people tell me how much I would love my children one day. I couldn’t fathom the love I have for them back then. But it is true, my love overflows for them.Sure I may yell and complain when they spill an entire carton of cottage cheese upside down on the bathroom floor or refuse to eat the supper I made or leave their toys where I can trip on them or bicker with each other over what show to watch in the end I love them more than I can express. They are so much more than just their short-comings and so am I. My daughters make my life brighter each and every day. Whether the the sun is shining and everyone is smiling or dreary clouds hang above and I’m feeling depressed, thinking about them and the little things they do always brings a smile to my lips — like the way my oldest daughter comforts and protects her little sister who is afraid to go to school or the smile on youngest daughter’s face as she realizes she can read a book all by herself. I feel their joys and accomplishments as well as their pain and suffering. Through their tears and smiles or mine, we always seem to find find our loving arms around each other. We are all learning, growing and living.

I am so proud to be their mother and with God’s grace and guidance I hope some day as they look back on their childhoods that they will be proud to have me as their mother. I’ve heard it said I’ll love my grandchildren even more than I love my children, right now I don’t see how that is possible, but time will tell.

 

I Saw My First Robin This Spring On My Way To Church And…

I saw my first robin this spring on my way to church this morning and smiled. Seeing that red-breasted bird after months of dreary bleakness always brings me hope. The little guy was sitting in a patch of brown muddy grass next to a stop sign – prime worming ground I’m guessing. Unfortunately for him and me tomorrow freezing rain and snow are in the forecast with the official start of spring only days away.

Last year at this time we had unseasonable 80-degree weather. It doesn’t look like even the luck of the Irish is going to bring that warm sunshine this March. Sigh. Yet with the tweet of that “rocking” robin I am reminded that in the coming weeks the trees will bud and the daffodils and tulips will bloom. And while I wait for the warm weather to spring me (get it spring?) from my bulky winter coat and sweaters, I’m taking the time to declutter and purge the things crowding out light and energy from my life.

Yes, in research for my next novel, I’ve been reading a lot about Feng Shui. In particular, I just finished a book by Cathleen McCandless called “Feng Shui that Makes Sense – Easy Ways to Create a Home that FEELS as Good as it Looks.” The principles and ideas behind this art and science of arranging and making a living space a place where you want to spend time and actually enjoy fascinates me. The concepts make so much sense to me. Step one in the form process is to get rid of anything you don’t love or doesn’t provide a practical use. So I’m slowly going room by room to get rid of the CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, cassettes, old clothes, shoes, toys, books, knickknacks and other stuff taking up space in our house. After three trips to Good Will in the last few weeks, I’ve gotten rid of bags and boxes full of stuff and it feels great! In fact it feels better than great, it feels wonderful. I know I have a long way to go, but I will get there bit by bit, bag by bag, box by box. The best part is that my girls are getting into it too. They spent yesterday with me going through drawers thumb up-ing and down-ing clothes and toys. I am proud of their eagerness to make our house more of a home.

As my five-year old said the other night as she explained to her Dad why we were loading two garbage bags of clothes into the van. “Clutter causes confusion!”

Yes an “A-ha” moment from her kindergarten class’ life guiding principles. Yes, indeed…clutter does cause confusion. And so here’s to a clutter-free life filled with clarity and understanding.

What about you? Have you heard of or tried feng shui? Any tips or suggestions?