Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Unacceptable

This past week many fathers in the country celebrated Father's day. While families barbecued, picnicked or played together, many parents were ripped away from their children. These parents brought their families to America to give them a better life. Now their American dream has turned into a horrible nightmare. America prides itself in taking care of other countries when in need. America portrays itself as "accepting" of all races and religions. America's message on the Statue of Liberty says "Give me your tired your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" America did wrong this week and lacked basic human kindness.

Over two thousand children are being held in detainee centers, away from their parents, separated from their siblings and in horrible conditions. The images of these detainee centers reminds me of photos of Japanese internment camps, or screaming children being separated from parents during the Holocaust. It is 2018 and we are having a human rights crisis right here in the United States of America. Border control and immigrant patrol is nothing new, but tearing apart families, and holding children in cages is an all time low.

Fathers day was bittersweet for me. I called my dad, and the kids and I showered my husband with homemade gifts.  But I feel a sadness for the state our country is in. It is hard to stand by and watch the news without doing something to help. Whatever one believes about refugees and rights, no one can deny that this is immoral. We need to do something. A baby was pulled from it's mother while she was nursing yesterday. This has already gone too far.  Hold your babies tight, and then go do something for those who can't.

https://www.facebook.com/donate/490507544717085/10155480834166003/


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Then and Now


My husband and I just celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary. We went out to dinner and celebrated, but we also renewed our vows. This time, we didn't have one hundred guests, we didn't rent a space, or have it catered. There were no floral arrangements, invitations, or DJ’s. We had a much smaller wedding this time and decided to invite only two guests: our children. 

All together, the four of us got dressed up. My husband wore the same suit he wore ten years ago on our wedding day — I wore my wedding dress. Our kids picked out their fanciest clothes, and we headed to the beach. I had hoped to do something like this, and mentioned it to my husband a few months ago. He decided he would plan it and kept the details from me. He kept it all light and said we were going to the beach and lets get dressed up. I love his surprises, and this time he knocked it out of the park. When we got to the beach, he opened up the trunk and pulled out two red balloons, and a big bag. We walked to the sand and opened up a blanket. The kids played while we enjoyed the beautiful horizon. At one point my husband had music playing and gathered us together at the blanket. 

Through laughter and tears, he read to all of us what he wrote about this day, ten years ago, and how everything he had ever wished for ten years ago had come true. We held hands and by the end of it we were both crying. Our kids were good sports but they definitely giggled at the sight of both their parents crying happy tears. I hadn't prepared anything to read, but I thanked him and agreed with what he said, and added that we are so very full, fortunate and blessed to have what we have. 

Ten years ago when we got married we knew we wanted a family. We only admitted to each other that we wanted a little girl first, and when she came out healthy and beautiful we screamed out as if we had won the lottery. I think the hospital thought we were crazy the way we were giving each other high fives. Not everything comes easy,  and having a baby did not come without a lot of hardship for us, so a few years later when friends had second babies we were a little scared to do it again. When we tried we were able to get pregnant right away, but lost the baby in the twelfth week.  It was a difficult sad time for us. A time that was healed only by the hope of trying again. Eventually we had our son. This time we held our breaths cautiously before we cheered, and when we heard his cry we cried tears of relief and joy that we were now complete: the four of us.

So now ten years later, there are hard days, and sad days, but they are out numbered by wonderful days. We are a strong crew the four of us, and we are not ignorant to life and the challenges it comes with. We know there is pain, loss, sadness and devastation ahead, but we have amazing parents who paved the road for us and we plan to do the best we can to keep paving it for our children. Looking forward to ten, twenty and fifty more years like these.







Thursday, May 17, 2018

Partied Out!

This past weekend, I became that mom. The PTA mom, that hosts, plans, and puts on events. The mom that stays up way too late prepping for their son's birthday party. The mom that one of my close friends says she will never be, because she thinks some moms brag about how hard they work for their kids, as if it is a competition. So by day three of poster hanging, school dance purchases, and multiple batches of birthday cake baking, I took pause to reevaluate.


Perhaps, I could have thought out the timing of our school dance being before my son's birthday, but I knew it would be such a fun way to kick off the weekend. I also knew our school could use a fun dance, and wanted to be part of making that happen. My son really wanted ice cream cake for his birthday, and I also wanted to see that happen. Some might say that ice cream and cake can easily be purchased at the store, but I actually love baking. It gives me joy to do these things so it is not a sacrifice. For people who dislike baking, or party planning, well by all means don't do it. There are some of us who actually like putting on a party and there is zero competitiveness behind it. I am not out to impress other moms, I am only out to impress the birthday boy. 


During the school dance, the music was playing and the dance floor was full. Kids were having a great time and my friend and I who planned it all were happy. We both danced with the kids, there was a great turnout, and our candy choices were successful. It wasn't that hard to pull off, and in the middle of the night looking around, I actually said to her, "I really like doing this." There are plenty of school events I don't love to do, but this one wasn't one of them. This was fun for everyone. 


It's important to realize why we say yes to too much at times. I know I need to be more selective, and not make myself available to everything, just because something says "Volunteers Needed." Knowing my skill set, and also choosing to put my energy where I will be most effective is key. I don't have regrets about being spread too thin when its for things I am passionate about. I am proud of what the parents I know have accomplished this year at our school. Our kids are reaping the benefits of a lot of late night planning meetings. When you look at all of the faces, our tired eyes and their smiles say it all.


In the end I am happy to put in the time. I stay off of Pinterest as much as possible, since it seems to be where good intentions go to die, and I try to be creative as much as possible. Yes, I am guilty of staying up way too late icing cupcakes, an ice cream cake, and making a pinata ( my husband helped with that one, super easy but a bit time consuming) but I scored because the next day was Mother's Day. I got the best gift ever: ten hours of uninterrupted sleep. Win win!





Monday, May 7, 2018

Another One Almost Down

How is time moving so quickly? It is nearing the end of the school year. My daughter is finishing fourth grade and will soon be in her last year of elementary school. She reads books faster than I can choose what to start reading, she is taking more interest in style than every before, she loves spending time with her friends, and she can often be found listening to music with headphones. My son is nearing the end of Kindergarten, he learned to read, just mastered riding his two wheeler, and joins us in riding all the way to school. He loves his junk food, and anything skateboard-related. Since the school year began my husband opened up a restaurant with a friend, he continues his work in the music industry, signed a amazingly talented artist, and still managed to be an involved hands-on father. I started this year with a paying voice over job. It was short lived, but fun, I write, teach seniors a few times a week (they are actually teaching me) and participate more hours than I can count as a volunteer at my kid's school. This sounds a lot like an annual holiday card, but really I am writing this all to say that a lot happened this year. Mostly good, some difficult, but all in all it's life being lived to the fullest.

I am grateful for the accomplishments of this year. There have been some challenges with family health. While we go through another year of children growing, it also means our parents are getting another year older. Never before have I felt how precious life is — and how fleeting. We had the pleasure of having my parents stay with us for a few weeks recently. In all honesty, I was terrified at the thought of them staying with us for so long, but my husband encouraged it. We both know we won't always have the luxury of time with our parents, so we made it work. While my parents were here, my father got ill and ended up in hospital. Twice they had to extend their trip until he was well enough to get home to his own doctors. Dignity really goes out the window when you reach a certain age. He finally got to fly home, but had to do it with a catheter, er, attached. While they were here though, we enjoyed good food, countless games of mancala and Crazy Eights, piano playing, and laughing at James Cordon doing musicals in the crosswalk.

  As we enter these last few weeks of the year, I will continue to soak up every second, so that way maybe it won't seem to speed by. My little boy turns six next week. I took him to the store a few days ago and he saw the little coin operated ride at the exit, and said "I used to love that when I was a kid." It was only last year, but to him it was a long time ago. As long as they let me I am going to snuggle these two kiddos. I might hug them a little too close, and I will never be the one to let go first.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Golden Slumber!

I am not sleeping as much as I should be, and I don't exactly have a good excuse. There was a meme that I saw once of an exhausted looking woman and it said “Mombie — when everyone else is asleep but you because this is your only time alone.”

I so related at the time. I love those evening hours when the kids have gone to bed, and I can accomplish a task without interruption. During the day I am so interrupted by schedule, picks ups, drop offs, play dates, homework, and dinner — when it is all done it seems like it truly becomes my time. The problem is though, I don't want that time to end either so I often find it hard to stop what I am doing and go to bed.

Last year I only had two and a half hours a day to myself and three of those was spent teaching, so really five hours of alone time a week. I was always rushing around and life felt very chaotic. This year, I have three whole days to myself when both my children are in school, so clearly time shouldn't be an issue anymore, but somehow it it still is. Naturally, more time on my hands means I should take on more. So, I am working on a book, running several programs, creating a show, and the list goes on. I am never bored but I am always tired.

I love mostly everything I am doing, and I don't want to take anything off the table. I just want to stop taking on another project unless it is directly with my kids, or is going to pay. I simply cannot hot glue any more after 11pm, or I will get burned. It's daunting enough for me everyday to clean my kids lunch boxes and re-fill them with something other than what they ate the day before. Last week my husband gently demanded that I dumb down weeknight dinners since roasting squash for goat cheese and thyme crostinis is not time efficient, or appreciated by our children. The next night I made crescent roll dough wrapped hot dogs which also were sadly uneaten. Fortunately, I also made spiraled zucchini noodles with pesto (I can't help myself) which surprisingly my kids did like. I am not sure that they will ever be happy with foodwise, so I feel it's crucial to give them real food and then once in every seventeen tries they might just like it. I don't know what the right dinner is, but I am sure going to exhaust myself trying to figure it out.

Every day, I have my plan for what I want accomplish in the day. I give myself a little time before I have to pick up my kids. About an hour before I have it in my head that I will read and relax a bit before I get them. I actually plan for that time and keep planning for that time, and keep not taking that time every single day. I really want to read more, but I think of all these other things I need to get done before I get the kids that there is never any more time left to read. I then get into bed at night and think I will read then. Again, I am mocked for my efforts when the book hits me in the face when I fall asleep mid sentence. My husband is very entertained by the frequency of this nightly occurrence.

The time change doesn't help me, because all I do for a week following is think I have more time than I do again. Yesterday, I was out with my kids when I ran into a mom from school. She was alone with her two school aged daughters and her third newborn baby girl. I said hello and asked her how she was. Her reply was that she was tired. Now, she has every legitimate reason to be. I on the other hand, need to set an alarm to go to bed and then another one to wake up. Perhaps there is a sleep training class I could take. I am sure I could squeeze it into my day somewhere.













Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Mostly A Mom

Back in the day when I was working as an actress (some of the time), I had a boyfriend who had a few married friends. He was a couple of years older than me and as his friends approached their thirties, they began getting married and starting families. At that moment in time, marriage and kids weren't even on my radar. I knew I wanted a family, but I was focused on my career and didn't feel I was ready to lose any focus. He was also an actor (the last I would date) and he said that he felt like all of his friends get married, have kids, and then give up their careers. I couldn't understand why anyone would do that. He looked down on their decisions, and saw them as giving up on themselves. At the time, I kind of agreed with him.

A few years later we both got married to other people. Soon after I had my daughter, and thought I could maintain my already challenging career. I brought my newborn with me to an audition and it seemed instantly apparent that I wasn't comfortable with multitasking motherhood and the entertainment industry. I was sensitive to having her around such a dismissive culture, so much of which is based on looks. I felt this impulse to protect her and keep her away. I chose to put my career on hold. If I said I never looked back, it would be a lie. I still work in fitness and have maintained part time work in that field, but I do miss acting. I just don't miss the industry.

Presently, I am trying to figure out what my next steps are. I am toying with the idea of going back into acting, but I also love being a full time parent, and have gotten very comfortable not dealing with the kind of rejection that comes with being an actor. Not to mention how terrifying it is to put yourself out there after years away. I used to be so confident, but my confidence is shaken and covered in dust. I've never let fear get in the way of anything I have done in the past, but I am resisting jumping in.

There are many things that I could do besides acting. I have never felt a shortage of ideas to reinvent myself. I am writing, I am teaching, I am volunteering my heart out at my kid's school, but I still feel like a non-practicing artist. I also feel like I could find a lot of careers that would be less self-serving, but I am mother raising two humans, and that has felt pretty selfless for the last nine years. When I think about not returning to acting, I hear that snide comment my ex-boyfriend made and it makes me mad. He was so wrong. There is so much meaning in raising children, and for some people it's hard to juggle it all. I am one of those people. I may still hold a torch to my old career, but I never regret focusing on being a parent. I just think I feel a slight fire starting under me now. I might put it out, but I might just make it burn higher.




Monday, March 19, 2018

Look Up!

This is going to be a learning year for me. I hope every year will be a learning year, but if I don't learn about time management and boundaries this year then I don't know if I ever will. My friend pulled me away from a conversation and reminded me that I asked her how I could extricate myself from conversations when I needed to go. I'm pretty sure she won't be there to help me out next time though.  I have a hard time transitioning from one thing to the next. I enjoy losing track of time, but I don't have the luxury of doing so very often. That's why Saturday mornings you are not likely to find me on the soccer field. I am trying to stay away from weekend sports activities as long as possible.

Leaving on time for everything is my goal. I don't like that running late feeling at all, but I also love squeezing as much life into my day as possible. I only get one go at this, and it is already going too fast.  I hear "slow down" and "hurry up" in my head all day long. I am supposed to take my time, but also be time efficient. It's very confusing and I don't remember learning it at school.  The one quote I remember though is"Failure to prepare is preparing to fail." That one stuck with me. I just didn't really get the tools down for the preparation part, but I managed to not fail somehow, at least where grades are concerned. 

Interruptions are much more frequent now then when I was a kid. I didn't have a phone, or a computer to send me texts, emails or anything else that signals me to stop what I am doing and respond. These dings and dongs have triggered some serious addictive habits in me and I don't like how dependent I have become on communication this way. As I sit here and try to write this I keep stopping to pick up my phone to see the texts come in. It's hard to ignore it, but it's on my list of goals to at least not look at it every five minutes. Of course that to do list, is on my phone so there is that, but if I can remember how to use a pen and paper I should transfer it. I did learn how to write in school. 

I am the first to admit that I have taken on a bit too much. I need to practice saying "no" and clearing my plate more than I have been. I carve out quiet time every day, but not enough. I spend a lot of time with my kids, but a lot of that time is spent planning for them instead of being with them her and now. I need to stop ignoring my kids because my head is in a screen, and instead ignore my time sucking light box and look at my kids. After all, they are not going to be standing there waiting for me much longer if I keep looking down.