Monday, December 8, 2014

Cancer and stuff

It's been a busy couple of months.  

My brother has colon cancer.  He's my oldest brother, and the one who gets in the most trouble, so it should be no surprise that he found out about the cancer by falling down the stairs and breaking his arm, collarbone, and two ribs.  I know, none of these have anything to do with the colon.  I'm assuming they were checking for internal injuries, but with Eldest Brother, who knows?  He doesn't like to ask the doctor questions.

He had surgery to remove the cancer in his colon, but got a call last week saying they were going to do chemotherapy as well.  He'll meet with the doc today.  I sent him a list of questions that I'm certain he won't ask, but it made me feel better to send them.

If your loved one is diagnosed with cancer, ASK questions--when I was diagnosed with a cancerous molar pregnancy (gestational trophoblastic neoplasia that was invading the uterine wal, to be exact--and yes, that definitely conjures up pictures of little grumpy dwarves pick-axing my uterus)-- 

image credit:

I didn't ask enough questions, and later wished I had.

What kind of cancer is it? (Do you know there are many forms of colon cancer? And each one requires slightly different treatment.) What stage is it? (Staging also helps decide course of action.) If I require chemotherapy, will it be intravenous, intramuscular, or pill form? (Mine was intramuscular--a shot in the ass.  I combined that with a leukovorin pill, which kept my hair from falling out and my puke from ending up on the floor.)  Is it hereditary? (I still don't know.) If it's hereditary colon cancer, which kind is it? (There are two.) Should my children be monitored for this?  When will my chemo start, and how many "rounds" will I have to go through (there may be no answer for this, but don't you feel better knowing you asked?) And last, but certainly not least, what experience do you have with this disease?  (Because doctors aren't infallible, and you want one who knows his sh*t.)

So.  Ask your questions.  Get your answers.  Get a second opinion, if so desired.  

Then get treatment, ASAP.  Don't ask the doctor if you can postpone until after Christmas, because the kids would rather have you here for five more Christmases. (Yeah, I'm talking to you, Eldest Brother.). And pray. I'm not a religious person, but it can't hurt.

Good luck, and positive thoughts!
And just to cheer you up after this mostly depressing post, here's a hug:

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The "Me Do It" Stage

The "Me Do It" years of a toddler's life can be your salvation or the bane of your existence.  Nine times out of ten, it'll be both.

Rose has hit the "Rose do it" and there are days where it's adorable:

Rose put her rainbow hat and green Froggie boots on all by herself.

And then there are times where it's not so cute.  For instance, today Rose wanted to change her diaper.  "Rose need do it a' by ha-sef!!"  Unfortunately, there was poop in her diaper.  And on her hands.  And on the potty.  Sigh.

I've decided to come up with a plan for Rose so that she can do as much "ha-self" as she possibly can--without getting crap all over my bathroom.

I put out some big shoes:

And lots of hats: the hopes that the more she can do herself the less she will be...toddlerific when I have to help her.  I even bought some pull-ups, in the hopes that letting her pull up her diaper like underwear will give her the feeling that she is doing everything herself.

On the (very) bright side of the "me do it", she loves to help put silverware in the dishwasher, or clean up her toys.

Now if I could just convince her that a cup is much more exciting than breastmilk, I'd be in business!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What's In A Mom?

There are just those days...

There are days where I rail at being home.  The days where I am worried that this is what my kids will see, the laundry lady, the cleaner, and the cook.  Where I fear they won't see me, but rather this temporary version of myself I have become.  The one who can't always get in to take a shower until night-time, because Rose refuses to take a nap that day.  Who doesn't have the energy to bother with makeup and contacts. They won't realize that there's a writer in there, an educated woman, someone who loves deeply and takes chances by trusting people that don't always deserve it, by believing in people who are destined to fail, by giving my heart not in hopes that it won't be crushed but in the certainty that it will be fulfilled.

They won't see the optimist, only the suck-at-home mom.  They won't remember the woman who got up every day and worked hard at her job as a childcare administrator, but only the one who they come home to, who worked equally hard but doesn't have the pen and fingerpaint stains and folded up latex gloves with tissues from the playground in it (because I don't use gloves to wipe Rose's nose, and most times we don't even get to the playground) to prove it.

Then there are days like today, when I think about my childhood.  Before my parents divorced, my mother didn't work--my father never wanted her to.  (No it wasn't was that old fashioned mentality that a man is a man because he provides.) So my mom stayed home.  Some of my greatest memories are going to Woolworth's with Ma.  Visiting Grandma and Grampa with her.  Sitting under the table at her feet while she played cards on Sundays.  The pretty dresses she loved to put me in (though they were damned itchy, back then, with those puffy, scratchy petticoats.)  My mother was the cook, the cleaner, the laundry-woman.  She was the nurse and the teacher.  I never thought of her as any of those things, but only as my mom.  When my parents divorced, she worked long hard hours, and I missed her, but I was still closer to no one.  

I think about those days, and I think I have it pretty great--I have the chance to make my kids look at me the way I always looked at my mom.  And I can live with that.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tv and Writing Blocks

     I am experiencing an awful writing block, and it's making it difficult to fulfill my promise to myself to write every few days on the blog.  I'm struggling with the direction of the blog, too--after all, I am the Suck At Home Mom, but I am also a complete comic book/comic characters/Cosplay/Doctor Who geek who writes both non-fiction and speculative fiction.  Where does that put Suck At Home Mom's Cranky Blog? Do I use it for these general rants, or use it solely to show you just how sucky I can be at this mom thing?
     Well, just ranting about that is bringing me a few ideas for writing, so that's partially an answer in itself.  
     This week I'm having a hard time avoiding tv.  I used to keep it off all day, and Rose and I would play games, read books, go outside.  But lately she's been hooked on Sully and Mike (Monsters, Inc., Lalo (Lilo and Stitch), and Doc Masuff (Doc McStuffins.)  One part of my brain is yelling at me to shut that stuff off, to engage Rose in a myriad of fun and engaging activities...and the other half is ripping off pieces of duck tape to quiet the more conscientious side, by force if necessary.  
     Don't get me wrong, I don't want her to be like this all day:  

....but is it so wrong to want a little bit of time to write? To have a cup of tea? To pee alone?  
     I chose to have a baby 10 years after the birth of my second child.  I chose to stay home with her.  I brought her into this world with the hope that I would be enough to keep her learning at an appropriate pace, enough to teach her how to be caring, polite, smart, and charming.  I'm doing all of those things, and yet I still feel guilty for the hour of Disney Jr. she just watched.  
     Time to assuage my guilt with a little snuggle time.  What's your guilty mama pleasure?


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I'm Baaaacck!

     I haven't done much posting in the last few months, between the kids being back at school and working on both a short story and a novel.  I just finished up the short story, and am submitting it to, so let's all cross our fingers that they'll love it as much as I do!
     The novel has been tougher to work on, simply because of its scope and size, and I'm a much more "hands on with a pen" person when it comes to edits.  Hopefully I can carve out a little time each week to work on it and get it ready for publication.  
     Oddly enough, my best successes have been personal stories about my life and family, but my short story and novel are complete fantasy.  The only similarity is that I've been writing these characters since I was 12, so to me they feel very much like my own personal story.  I am pretty hard on myself, so I've edited a lot, which sometimes means big re-writes throughout different sections.  I'm desperate to have my audience love my characters as much as I do, and sometimes I re-read and realize I've got to explain something that's in my head but not on the page.  
     Any fiction/creative writers out there?  What do you find is your biggest challenge?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How To Survive Boston Comic Con

The 9th Doctor, Moon Knight, Poison Ivy, a Baby Dalek, and Batgirl.  

I haven't had much chance to write lately, between being sick and getting costumes ready for Boston Comic Con.  My costume was a little difficult--I went as Poison Ivy on the second day, which meant lots of ivy, glue, and Spanish moss.  I lost most of it carrying Rose around!  But the really tough costume was Punkgirl's Cassandra Cain/Batgirl.  For those of you who don't know, Cassandra Cain was mute when she first became Batgirl, so she sewed a costume piece over her mouth.  I accomplished this with some yellow thread on a morphsuit (a morphsuit is a thin stretchy suit that covers your whole body but you can see through it.) Then I used craft sticky paper to make a Batgirl symbol, and bought a cheap kids' Batman belt.

The effect was pretty cool.

Happyboy went as Moon Knight, which was pretty easy--a silver moon on a a black morphsuit with a white cape.  The little one, Rose, had a pretty tough costume--she was a Dr. Who Dalek!  

Pretty intimidating kids.
We went without Rose the first day, so that we could see the Jon Barrowman/Eve Myles Torchwood Reunion panel--which we barely made it into.  It was fairly awesome.  They were funny, charming, and just a little bit risqué! It was great!  But the staff hadn't planned for the 600 people who showed up for a room that seats 350.  We were packed in like sardines waiting for them to let us come in, and the reality was that we might not get in.  Luckily, we had had the foresight to eat lunch before we came, to spend time on the floor seeing what we wanted to see so that we could get in line an hour early, and to bring our own water so that when we were packed in like said sardines we wouldn't die of dehydration. Luckily for us--we made it in.  But there were at least 200 who didn't.
 The panel was the highlight of our day, though this was pretty cool:

A life-size Tardis!

The second day, we went as a family.  It was a little tougher to keep track of Rose, but such a fun time! We again ate before we went, and I packed a couple of gluten free snacks in my bag.  We did the kids' costume contest first!  Then we went straight downstairs and took a family picture.  When Rose got a little  fussy, I took her for a snack and then let her run around in the back area for a little while, while Coffeeguy and PG went for a walk around the Comic Con floor.  We all met up a little later.  We even got a picture with JB:
JB looks a little weirded out.

And Coffeeguy took this:
Proof that my teenager still loves her mama.

While waiting for our photo to be developed, the kids--even Rose--and I decided to help the volunteers out by removing the tape from the autograph room floor.  The two solo volunteers assigned to that project were extremely grateful, as we finished an all-night project in just about 45 minutes.

All in all, though it was pretty crowded and there were a few glitches (not enough seating for Jon Barrowman, for one, and a very crowded venue for another), it was a super fun experience! And we got to make this:  

Batgirl fighting Poison Ivy.  Or, as I like to call it, the physical interpretation of a regular day with a teen.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Bada** Forces For Good

I don't think it's any secret that we are a family of nerds (well, except Rose.  One year old Rose finds our embrace of nerd culture amusing.)

Boston Comic Con is nearly here, and we just spent an inordinate amount of time on finding things we need to make costumes.  Punkgirl, 13, is going as Cassandra Cain's Batgirl, Happyboy, 11, is going as Moon Knight, I'm going as Poison Ivy, Coffeeguy is going as the 9th Dr Who, and Rose is going as a Dalek.  

I'm sharing this because I want to point out the magic of nerdism when you have kids.  Two weeks of bickering has morphed into conversations about the costumes and the difference between concept Cosplay and authenticism.  Coffeeguy and HB are both sticklers for authenticity.  If it's a leather pea coat, a leather motorcycle jacket simply will not do.  PG and I like to be accurate, but also like to put our own spin on a character.  For instance:
The beginning of my Poison Ivy concept.

Once again, Rose is not impressed. 

She wore these for a millisecond before her nerd contempt got the better of her.

Little dalek for my little darling.

Today we lie in wait for all the lovely boxes containing morphsuits, gloves, etc. and instead of bickering there is speculation on what might get here today .  Now, you could argue that any interest can do that, and to you I say good for you.  But in my house, nothing gets the gang cooperating like the prospect of doing something outside the realm of "normal."  Maybe that's just my own nerd tendencies rubbing off on them, but I don't think so.  They love comic books, especially stories of outcasts becoming something more.  Cassandra Cain is a mute Batgirl, with a dark past, and yet is the most bada** good gal you could ask for.  Moon Knight has multiple personalities, but is still a force for good.  

We were supposed to go for two days, and the kids were psyched.  In looking at the prices, I realized that if we bought tickets for two days we couldn't get any photos with the celebrity guests.  I talked to the kids about it.  I wanted to be there for two days, too, but I knew that Coffeeguy would really love a photo.  The kids made a decision together--they could dress up on the day of the costume contest, and maybe use the costumes for Halloween, too.  We're going to geek out on August 10th, and we're even getting a picture with Doctor Who/Torchwood/Arrow guy Jon Barrowman, a fave of both Coffeeguy and myself.  It occurred to me, in putting his desire for a picture ahead of their own desire to go for two days, my kids are also bada** forces for good.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Museum of Fine A**

I took my kids to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, taking advantage of the Highland Foundation's Free Fun Fridays. I had taken my older two when they were 7 and 5, and being the bizarro kids they are, they loved it.  We went again a couple years later, and again--they were thrilled.

So when I found out it was free I jumped at the chance to go.  Even though the baby is just 19 months, I was sure I could handle it alone.

I had forgotten how many things were in reach in the Museum, and also, how many paintings of nudes there were.  Of course this led to some giggling.  I'm ok with that, as long as it's good-natured.  But eventually this quickly turned to an embarrassed teenager telling her tween brother to "grow up."

Punkgirl has anxiety, especially in strange places, and sometimes takes it out on everyone she comes in contact with.  I tried to quash this, and of course Rose took the opportunity to become a full-fledged "me my mine do it myself!" toddler.   

We made it through at least three temper tantrums of epic proportion and two proximity alarms (whereupon I cursed myself for bringing a toddler to a place where they can't touch anything!) when we arrived at a gallery full of European Art.  Punkgirl had headphones in at this point, stressed to the max by the little terror dressed in purple and her ear-shattering squeals.  In the corner was a woman who saved our entire trip to the Museum.  She had large clipboards full of sketch paper, and every sort of pencil created.

Rose colored with a pencil.  

Happyboy sketched a European silver service set

I almost hugged the woman.  She gave me two minutes straight where Rose wasn't setting alarms off or screeching hysterically, and bonus, Happyboy got to enjoy sketching too!

After that, even Punkgirl enjoyed herself.

And we got to see a giant baby head:

And this guy:

And last, but definitely not least, we got to see this:

Psst! Look behind the dancer!

You can't tell me that placement is accidental.

All in all, I probably wouldn't take a toddler again, but the sketch pad was a huge hit, and I got the kids to take a family picture with this nice couple:

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Farmer's Market Madness

There's something about fresh air and crazy, crazy sweet strawberries that makes me insane.  By insane I mean that my normal cheapne--uh, thriftiness disappears and I suddenly need to purchase every fresh veggie and fruit that crosses my path.  

Now, there are two reasons I visit the Farmer's Market.  The first is that I like the idea of supporting farmers.  After all, they did all the work, and I get to eat all the yummy food.  The second is that I have discovered in myself a love of fresh fruits and veggies.  Am I paying extra?  Sort of.  But I'm coming home with things I can't get anywhere else--because if you think there is no difference between farm fresh and grocery store veggies, you haven't gotten quality pieces from your local Farmer's Market.  Here is what I came home with today:

Notice that one of those is a plant.  Yes, even though I have a brown thumb, I bought a cherry tomato plant.  It was the fresh air.  And the strawberries.  But it was also the instant gratification of this:

...and knowing that if I don't kill it in the first three weeks, I'll have even More. Yummy. Tomatoes!

It's also a great place to take the kids:

...not to mention the colors!

And when you get home, the kids love to wash the veggies...BONUS!!

And last but not least:

It's great family bonding time!  There were no tantrums, no rolling eyes, no bored's the fresh air.  And the strawberries.  (Ok, maybe it was also the gluten free cinnamon rolls, the freshly made ice cream, and the muffins...)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

We're a little bummed out--one of my favorite cousins had to move her annual 4th of July party to Saturday because of Hurricane Arthur, and we already have plans on Saturday.  Today has been spent playing video games and avoiding going out in the rain.  Still, it's never the wrong kind of day for a tutu photo.

It's quick, it's easy, and with the Pic Collage app, it's a simple jump from a cute pic to a fantastic greeting card photo.  Go download the app--it's free! And enjoy!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Lake and a Trebuchet

I've been slacking this week in Camp Awesome--between appointments and a sore knee I haven't put in as much effort as I normally do at the beginning of the summer.  But I wanted to make up for it a little today (even though I had another appointment before my knee surgery this month.)  

The kids asked if we could go to the local lake, and normally I hate going anywhere water related with all three kids by myself.  I hate cold water.  We live right near the Atlantic, and as much as I like the beach, and dipping my feet in the water, I really don't like going in far enough to actually swim.  As in, I would rather you drive nails down the chalkboard for hours on end, as long as I don't have to put my body in that freezing cold pit of hell.  But Rose loves it.  When I say loves it, I mean you have to pry her screaming little body out of the water, and as you're trying to gather your items to go home, she's running back towards the water.  

Punkgirl and Rose enjoying her reflection in the water.  This was right before Rose melted down diva-style about leaving.

But it was particularly hot and humid, which meant the lake, unlike the Atlantic, wouldn't be so bad.  

We had a great hour, and when we got home I felt like we had had such a great time that it brought home how much I had really slacked.  I usually don't let them go anywhere without a challenge first!  Well, it was too late for that, but I did do one other activity from my lesson plan.  It's "Dangerous Camp For Kids" Week, so we built a trebuchet!  If you're wondering what that is, so was I until a friend explained it.  It's basically a catapult, with a weight on one end.  

When my friend had said she built one with her kids, I looked it up, and I decided it was beyond me.  I am not in any way, shape, or form mechanically-inclined, and I have zero depth perception.  

But I really wanted to teach them how to make them!  So I did a little research and found this:

It was so step-by-step easy even I could do it! (Ok, there were one or two spots where Happyboy had to read the instructions and explain what he was supposed to do...he totally has Coffeeguy's aptitude for science!)  

Happyboy could use the hot glue gun, with supervision.  This is the base of the trebuchet.

Zing!! The weight pulled down, the basket pulled up, and voila! The trebuchet is a marvel of medieval science.

This was so much easier than I thought it would be. But it still kept him busy for two hours--although, because of the hot glue gun use, that meant I couldn't really leave!  

All in all, it was a productive day (as far as the kids go), even if I did manage to stick my finger in hot glue, bring a pound of sand into the car, and get a sunburn on one small patch on my arm. (Hey, I don't call myself the suck at home mom for nothing!)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Birthday--And Why We All Need A Laptop

My birthday was last weekend, and I scored lots of fantastic gifts!  I also got to spend the evening with an amazing group of friends, having dinner and visiting a Drag Queen Theatre in Boston (generally not something I would want for my own birthday due to the lack of movement--I was hoping to take my fancy dress and go out dancing for probably only the second or third time ever--but I actually had a fantastic time and got to have strong drinks, a little friendly embarrassment, and best of all, a lot of laughter with very happy friends!)

I got to glam it up, and see the little typewriter necklace?  Read on!

One of the best things about the night was that Coffeeguy had made it a surprise, and also that he had made a theme.  Before he handed me this silver beauty, he made me close my eyes and said:  "You like to tell everyone you're a stay at home mom.  But you're not. That's not what you are. You.  Are.  A.  Writer, Baby, that's what you are."  And I opened my eyes and saw this:

Well, ok, I saw the box it was in, but it was just as exciting.  Oh, I know what you're thinking, because I thought so too.  Don't we already have a laptop? I mean, how do you write these pithy blog posts?

But I never use the laptop to write, I almost inevitably use my phone.  And now that I have downloaded Scrivener (if you're writing a long novel, or memoir, etc, please, just take my word and go look it up), I need to use a computer, so I have worked less on my novel.  But now, I have my own laptop! I can use it whenever I want!  I am a writer!!  And I shall follow the advice of my next gift:

I have also noticed 3 things about having my own laptop (because the family one is often in use.)

1.  When you write on your phone, you're not busy, and you're "fair game."  Often if I just get into the writing groove, Punkgirl, Happyboy, or Coffeeguy have a story they desperately want to tell.  I want to hear their stories.  But by the time they finish, GONZO.  I forget what I was writing.  If I'm on the computer,  I'm suddenly greeted with "Are you busy?" Or "Remind me when you're done to tell you about so and so."  BONUS.

2.  When you're writing on your iPhone, you're just "playing on your phone."  I can't tell you how many times I have been in the middle of editing my novel when my kids have said "You've been playing on your phone for an hour!" (Which, btw, is never true, because I don't get an hour to myself!). Now that I'm on the laptop, it's a respectful, "Are you done working yet?"

3.  I get things typed faster with all my fingers than with one thumb.  I don't know how that could possibly be, but it's true.

So, if you're an iPhone writer like me, consider buying a laptop, if only for the 25 minutes you might get to write in peace---worth every penny!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Camp Awesome Begins!

Its officially the first day of summer for us, and we have gotten off to an auspicious start.  We made Summer Bucket Lists last night, which included (on Happyboy's list) "hug Punkgirl every day" and (on Punkgirl's list) "avoid Happyboy's hugs daily"...

Being a former educator, I like to put my ideas into lesson plans.  I can't help myself.  It makes it so much easier to plug fun things into a day.  It's not like we have to follow it to a t, but it's nice to look and see that recipe for clay and making ornaments that I really wanted them to try.  My book looks like this: 

My favorite are the writing prompts.  In the book it says "writing prompts 1-5"...on a separate sheet, I have about 50 writing prompts, some I came up with, some I looked up online, some I asked them for.  I then torture Happyboy (who loves to create a story but hates to actually write) by adding an option to give me a 10 page typewritten (double-spaced, I'm not THAT mean) report, with evidence, that will convince me that he shouldn't have to write at all this summer.  I figure if he puts in that much effort he deserves to skip it.

Now, that might sound like I force the kids to do everything in my little book.  Au contraire.  This is the book I pull out when they say "I'm bored." Ok. You're bored.  Great!!! I have writing prompts today!  They'll either do it because they really are bored, or they'll go find something to do on their own!  Either I get something fun to read, and "free" (this word has such a different meaning for parents) time, or they go find something to do and I don't have to hear "I'm bored!"

This week's writing prompts look like this:

I can't wait to see what they come up with!

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Wrong Stuff

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

I am a huge advocate of seeing a good therapist.  You know why? Because LIFE IS HARD, and sometimes you just need someone to tell you it's ok to be overwhelmed, and occasionally to maybe slap you back into the realm of reality in a comforting and safe environment.

I have had great therapists--my marriage counselor was a wonderful woman (well, maybe she still is, since she's still alive), and she was able to steer our marriage from the rocks into smooth waters with a few suggested exercises and by facilitating better communication.  I firmly believe she saved my marriage.

That said, there's nothing worse than a bad therapist, and there are just as many bad ones out there as good ones.  I've had some craptastic therapists, so  I'm going to give you the benefit of my experience, to save you time and money.

With the disclaimer that I am not a professional, and my only experience with therapy is actually attending it, and you should discuss any mental health concerns with your primary care doctor, this is my list of therapists to avoid:

The "Mountain Out Of A Molehill" Jerky Jones: I once had a therapist belittle my feelings to the point that I would have anxiety attacks about going to therapy.  Your feelings are not stupid.  They are feelings, and you dread your therapy appointment so much that you find yourself choosing to schedule that long-awaited dental surgery just to avoid it, you need a different therapist!

The "All About Me" Chatty-Cathy:  If more of your appointment is spent hearing about your counselor's life than talking about your own, you've got the wrong person.  If you know your therapist's family structure down to how many kids or grandkid's she or he has, something's not right.  There's a difference between empathizing and using a patient as a sounding board.  And don't feel bad about changing therapists--it's only business, and your business is what you're paying to get off your chest!

The "Tell Me Again" Annie:
If your therapist forgets your name and/or your issues from one session to the next, run away, and don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.  If your problems aren't important enough for your therapist to remember, you'll never get the help you need.  Remember, you are the client, and that means your anxiety attacks or feelings of anxiousness, anger, or depression are real to you, and important to you, and they should be equally important and real to a good therapist.

The "Belligerent Bob":
Your therapist may tell you things you don't necessarily want to hear.  But a good therapist is going to let you get there on your own time, and help you see it for yourself.  If your therapist seems angry with you, puts you down, or otherwise antagonizes you, say "no thank you" and find a new one.  You're paying someone to help you get through a tough time, not to add on to the stress you already have or to make you feel anxious or worse, afraid.

And finally, the "High Horse Hannah":
If your counselor looks down on you or treats you like a child, show her/him you're an adult by being firm but polite when you show them the door (figuratively speaking.)  You are a human, and they are a human, and while they may be trained in communication and issue resolution, that doesn't make them better than you.  A good therapist's job is to teach you conflict resolution and to listen to your concerns and feelings.  They are there to guide you, not to rule you.  

If you're in the market for a good therapist,I suggest that you check with a healthcare provider that you trust, or a trusted friend or family member.  If you have no luck there, check out this website:

Friday, June 20, 2014

Confessions of a Control Freak:Birthday Jitters

Confession of a Control Freak:

Sunday is my 42nd birthday, and to celebrate, we're having a night out with some friends tomorrow night.  Coffeeguy has elaborately planned a surprise night, and I know nothing of the details of where we are going or what we are doing.  To give myself a little credit, I was totally ok with that, excited even, until last night. I started thinking about my outfit (he only gives me hints, and this one was that the girls are dressing up Up UP.) So I picked my outfit out, but am now thinking (as I do), "What if it's not right for where we are going?? What if we're doing a lot of walking??  What if there is air conditioning and I'm freezing???"

 I'm also thinking, "Will there be gluten free food? Of course he must have checked, right? Will it be good, or look like this:"

Last night he was making little gift bags (I love adult party gift bags!!) and mentioned that he originally didn't think he'd had enough for 8 bags, but luckily he did.  I mentioned that he must have meant 7, the usual number of friends, and he said, no, there are 8 people coming.  Now of course I am thinking, "WHO IS THE EIGHTH PERSON??? Is it a friend from out of town? A fun friend of a friend? A guide in the city of Boston???? Who is the mysterious 8th person???" 

And where are we going? Dinner, that much I know, but then what?? It is killing me! Is it dancing, bowling, or maybe:

I can't ask.  Then I would spoil the surprise, and he has kept all of this secret for a month and a half.  

Then there's the babysitting.  My mother had heart surgery, so she's out of the running.  Coffeeguy says my 13 year old can handle it, but what if I come home to this:

It's a lot of stress for a plan-ahead kind of woman....

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pride Parade Boston

I took my kids to the annual Pride parade yesterday in Boston.  If you've never been to Pride, I have never had a more wonderful, celebratory experience than the Gay Pride Parade.  It's tame, compared to some other states' parades, but that also makes it very family friendly.  And what families there are!! There is no difference in a Pride parade between same-sex, hetero-, black, white, green, whatever, couples or families.  There is just love and acceptance (well, not counting that one guy holding the Jesus destroyed sodomy sign), and it's a beautiful thing to see.  

Rose is too young to know what everyone is marching for.  She's too young to know that many of the people marching fight a battle every day just to love who they love, or just to be who they are.  She doesn't look at a transgender girl and wonder why a "boy" is dressed in "girl clothes."  She doesn't look at two moms and see something unusual.  That's one of the reasons we go to Pride, because someday the two moms she sees could be her older sister and her sister-in-law.  She will see the love that flows between them and know that it's the same love that Momma & Daddy share, it's the same love that her brother and his spouse share, it's the same love that she will find one day.  

   Equality is serious business.

For now, she sees a big party.  She claps, she smiles, she cheers.  My hope is that as she grows older, she will clap and cheer for the freedom to love who you want and be who you want, instead of just the music, balloons, and bright costumes.

   Rose is an equal opportunity clapper

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Narcissist Rose

Like most toddlers, Rose has become "all about me."  She particularly loves to see pictures and videos of herself, and has been known, at times, to grab at my phone and cry "Bebayyyyy!!! Bebayyyyy!!!", looking pitiously for the little baby in the box.

Lately her favorite thing to watch is a video that I'm bound to regret when she is 12.  Normally, we do play popular music, but we pay attention to lyrics and keep it pretty appropriate, but Fancy just happened to be on Coffeeguy's playlist, and Rose felt the need to jam.  We weren't expecting  You can see the "Bebayyyyyyyy" here:

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Scent of Success

So this month I decided to participate in a diaper study.  It's a study where you get 16 days worth of diapers, you try them out, record data each day, and hand the diapers (which you put inside heavy ziplock bags and then inside a construction-weight trash bag) back in with your paperwork a couple of times per week.  At the end you get $190 for your time, effort, and baby poop.  Sweet deal, right?  I have to change Rose's diapers anyway, so now I'll just get PAID to do it.  Plus, 16 days' worth of free diapers, yo.

       Rose thinks that's pretty cool.

I'm going to digress here and tell you that if you are a SAHM or hold a part-time job, go find the nearest focus group company around you.  I get emails from a group called Focus on Boston, and while I don't qualify for many of their studies (food allergies, or I'm not diabetic or the right age, etc), the ones I have done pay really well.  Like this one, they take up a small amount of your time, and you get paid the day it's complete.  

Back to my original story.  The first week I turned in my bag of diapers & paperwork and thought, "PIECE OF CAKE!!" This is going to be soooo easy!  Everything was organized by the company, plus they sent email reminders on which diaper to use on which week.  It was making me feel pretty successful, and like I was making a contribution to the household bank account (and also a little bit to my own personal wallet, since I feel like, in doing this work, I've earned it.)  

Then came this week.  Now, I worked in early education for 17 years.  I changed diarrhea poops and cleaned up vomit, even got pooped on once and had to go home and (shower and) change.  I'm no stranger to the yuck that comes with children.  That is until I realized that, even though the instructions told me this already, I was going to actually have to "shake the BM into the toilet."  Now, if Rose had perfect little formed BMs this wouldn't be a problem, but for whatever reason that kid has the mushiest poop in the universe.  It's impossible to get it all off.  Couple that with the fact that I have to keep the diaper, and this week is the longest one during the trial (you go from Tuesday to Tuesday before turning it in) and you have a recipe for stench.  I've bagged the plastic Baggie inside the construction bag INSIDE A SCENTED TRASH BAG and the smell is still over-powering.  I'm convinced if I left it on the porch it would scare away neighboring coyote, but I can't take the chance that a skunk might think he's found a new lover in that bag.  No, who am I kidding, even a skunk would be afraid.  

I've got two more days before I can turn this bag in, and I now have a "stick-up/glade" on my grocery list for today,  but you can bet that since they open at 7:30 a.m. I'll be out the door in record time on Tuesday.  I can't wait to get rid of the smell of success.