Thursday, January 31, 2013

Say What?

Mr. Mompean and I met for the first time 15 years ago this coming April.  I invited him to my apartment.  That was VERY DANGEROUS. He brought me pizza.  That was VERY TASTY.  He had been bragging about how awesome this pizza was and said that the only way he could truly prove it's goodness is to share it with me.  That's when I gave him my address. BAD ME.

I would go nuts if Sarah ever did what I did, it really was not a smart move on my part, however, there was something that made me trust him.  Maybe it was the gazillion hours we clocked via email, instant messages, and phone conversations.  Maybe it was that I had my besties in position, ready to knock the doors down if they didn't hear from me by a defined time.  Either way, I did it and IN THIS CASE, it turned out amazing.

Mr. Mompean came over that night and we have been inseparable ever since.  I think it's safe to say we were both instantly smitten with each other. When I wasn't working, when he wasn't taking kids to UC Davis Medical Center, when I wasn't studying, when he wasn't recording... we were at each others side.

In just a few short months we couldn't help but share that we were, well, we were in love.  I loved hearing him say it as much as I loved telling him.

Neither of us were in a rush to get to a chapel per se, but I wasn't ruling it out.

And then...

Kim said this...

"I want you to know that I will not even think about talking about thinking about getting married for at least two years."

BUZZ KILL!

I wasn't quite sure how to take that.  I mean, I wasn't looking at rings or planning honeymoons, but what the hell is this two year thing?!

I was torn between admiring his rational, smart, wise thinking that I AGREED with and being completely irritated, disappointed, and frustrated with the lack of romance in the statement.  

He went on to say that things were INCREDIBLE between us, that he felt connected in ways he hadn't before, that he felt love in his heart, that he loved my beauty and was enraptured with my spirit, all of which I loved hearing.  He also said that this was the honeymoon stage - the fun part of our relationship where we are still unwrapping parts of each other (mom, that was a metaphor - he still hasn't seen me naked - ever).

He continued on by saying in two years time we would slowly get more comfortable and life would present opportunities for us to see each other in many different ways. Happy, sad, mad, hurt, angry, rational, irrational, and everything in between.  Until we see each other completely there is no way to know if we would be good in a marriage.

BUZZ KILL TAKE D'EUX!

I think he may have been introduced to the pouty part of me at that moment.

However, I knew he was right.  Like him, I had already been in a long term crappy relationship. I didn't want a repeat of that.  If it's time we need, it's time we should give each other.

Just a few short months after THAT talk, Kim saw me in pain.  I was terribly ill and required full care... he cared.  A few months after that, I saw Kim in hurt. He was terribly worried for his son's health and required full care.  I cared.  A few months after that we saw each other angry. ANGRY! Like super mad angry.  We both eventually moved back to caring.  And sure enough, over the course of the next several years we experienced talking. listening. fighting. disagreeing. hurting. fighting again. loving. caring. threatening. aching. Then back to caring. Always back to caring.

In those two years I shared all of me.  He shared all of him. We loved each other despite everything we learned about each other and because of what we learned about each other.

It wasn't for an additional 4  years that Kim asked me to marry him. 

14 years we have been together, 7 of them have been married. April 28th we will celebrate both, the day we met and the day we married.

And you know what... now more than ever the words that I once thought were a BUZZ KILL are actually very inspiring to me.  In some ways they are even romantic. They are words that I will share with my son and daughter when I talk to them about relationships. 

Why?

Because for me and for Mr. Mompean, by agreeing to wait on getting married the focus shifted from getting married to building a marriage.  There is a difference.  Anyone can get married. But the marriage piece, the part that comes after the fancy wedding day, that's where the romance really is.  We love each other.  We saw each other at our best and our worst and STILL CHOSE to be married because we knew our "marriage" would work.  

For the record, I am not saying it is wrong to jump in and get married -- everyone has to choose what is right for them.  I know people that got married right away and they are married to this day.  But according to statistics, it's rare. The key, I think, comes down to the due diligence of knowing each other completely and then deciding to love each other despite of and because of who we each are individually and who we become as a team. 

Then again, maybe I'm wrong :)  







Wednesday, January 23, 2013

You, Beautiful YOU!


You are not your bra-size, nor are you the width of your waist, nor are you the slenderness of your calves. You are not your haircolor, your skin color, nor are you the shade of your lipstick. Your shoe-size is of no consequence. You are not defined by the amount of attention you get from males, females, or any combination thereof. You are not the number of sit-ups you can do, nor are you the number of calories in a day. You are not your love handles. You are not the hair on your legs. You are not a little red dress. You are no amalgam of these things.

You ARE the content of your character. You are the ambitions that drive you. You are the goals that you set. You are the things that you laugh at and the words that you say. You are the thoughts you think and the things you wonder. You are beautiful and desireable not for the clique you attend, but for the spark of life within you that compels you to make your life a full and meaningful one. You are beautiful not for the shape of the vessel, but for the volume of the soul that it carries.

It is not a crime to invest in those "things" that accentuate our "selves". However, they are only that, an accentuation of the true beauty that we are without them. Love the core of you.  Nurture, care for, pamper, treat, and embrace the core that is you, Beautiful You!



Look What I Found

I'm a mom.  With that comes boogers.  It's the truth.  The ugly, snotty truth.

Boogers are a normal part of a cold ridden day in my home.  In the last seven years I have said things such as:

"Whoa, that's super green, like neon green!"
"Did you just put a booger on me?"
"Is that a booger on the window?"
"Please don't lick that, get a tissue!"
"Do not wipe snot on my pillow!"
"Please keep your boogers to yourself."
"Next time I see your finger even in the VICINITY of your nose, I will chop it off!"

It's the ugly truth of mom-ing.  There is all the wonderful stuff we talk about like hugs, kisses, unicorns and rainbows, but beneath all that beauty is the real... the real life of kids, colds, and their boogers.

As a mom I have not only talked about snot but I have wiped, washed, and held the Kleenex to catch snot more times than I can count... but friends.. I have NEVER sucked snot and I'm not sure I ever could.  

Both kids have had some pretty nasty colds.  Colds that got them stuffy, unable to breathe well, and have kept them and I up for most the night.  I have used many different remedies to help them through it.  I have Baby Vicks, Breathe Right stips, cold medicine, aloe tissue, the green snot bulb, propping pillows, humidifiers, and more.

But the one thing I haven't employed is the NoseFrida.  Not sure I ever could. I saw this and thought I was watching a SNL skit.  But it's not a joke.  It's real.  Really.  Real.  

Would you consider this to be part of the Mom's arsenal of cold remedy tools?



Friday, January 18, 2013

Breathe In, Breathe Out, Blink Real Slow


I have a seven year old girl and a two year old boy and while the boy is CURRENTLY pretty simple (hand him a Matchbox car or a very expensive electronic tablet and he's happy) the girl is becoming more challenging with each day.  Challenging because she has an insatiable need to know things.

Things ranging from where milk comes from exactly to how and who decided to name cars "cars".

Don't get me wrong, I love that she is on a constant quest for knowledge, always has been.  We knew she was a smart girl from the get!  However, the questions she's coming up with are becoming a little more intense, for me, which you may recall from THIS POST about nipples.

THAT conversation should have been my first clue, but I am not Sherlock and this IS my first rodeo. My guess is my son will be a little easier since I will be SOME WHAT prepared. Or maybe not (shoot me now).

The most recent conversation with my daughter had to do with my brother-in-law and why he felt it was acceptable to say the "S" word.  I guess at sometime during the 49'ers and Packers game the "S" word slipped out of his mouth. I didn't catch it, but she did. And she was promptly before me demanding to know how it was ok for him to say the word, but not her.

I panicked.  But didn't let her KNOW I was panicking.  Instead I simply said, "I am sorry, babe, but sometimes adults say things that they shouldn't."  Funny enough, she took that answer calmly and wondered off to get some more M&M's from the candy bowl.  I wiped the figurative beads of sweat off my forehead.

In less than 10 minutes she was back in front of me with a more serious scowl on her face, wrinkled nose, and all.

"MOM!" through gritted teeth, "he said it AGAIN!"

I sighed.  FOR THE MOST PART we have kept Sarah pretty far from any of the "bad" words and now my BROTHER IN LAW was making them a big deal. GREAT! I am not ready for this! She's seven and I would rather talk about rainbows and unicorns.

I took yet another sigh. Slow blink of the eyes. Big breath. All of it was stalling on my part as I thought how I might handle this direct conversation about cussing.

"MOM!!!!  HE SHOULD NOT BE CALLING ANYONE STUPID!!!"  Stupid.  The S word was STUPID! Bwhahahaha! 

(interruption for a public service announcement: the words stupid is not funny in any way, shape, or form, I apologize for laughing.)

What a relief!  "I know babe, he shouldn't, let's softly remind him that the Mompean's don't call names and use the S word."

Done. Chuckle Chuckle.

And I smiled. How fun it is that the "S" word is still standing for stupid!

And then it hit me, this same tactic might work for future questions that scare me. Simply take a moment, breathe in, breathe out, blink real slow.. maybe the questions won't be as bad as they first seem.

I was tested on my theory just two days later when the conversation of kissing came up.

"Mom, you realize that there are all kinds of different kisses. Some kisses you can do with some people and some you can't, and some are not good to do with family members."

Breathe in. Breathe out. Blink REAAAAAAL slow.

"What do you mean, Sarah?" as I reel thinking about how I explain why some people linger, suckface, etc. 

"Well, there are kisses that I can give my sissy on the mouth, and other kisses where you only kiss on the cheek and then there are those other kinds of kisses." BRACING MYSELF FOR WHAT'S NEXT.

"Yea?"

"Yea, you know, like Eskimo kisses and butterfly kisses."

And I smiled.  How fun it is that the kisses she refers to are still the innocent, fun, eyelash kisses I have been giving to her since she was a baby!

So today's lesson for me.. sometimes it isn't as bad as it seems. Sometimes we moms are looking too far down the future path when we can really just breathe, blink and relax.

Sure, those questions will get tougher, but as she grows up and asks about the harder facts of life, I will hopefully have grown up some and be ready to answer them. Bwhahahaha!

Until then, there's always the tactic of: BREATHE IN, BREATHE OUT, BLINK REAL SLOW. Buy yourself some time to remember seven isn't 14, and when 14 is 21.. well, we'll cross that bridge when we get there.


Community Tie In:
Remember there is no shame in heading on over to the parenting section of the local Public Library or Barnes and Noble to peruse the many books they have on pretty much every age and stage of raising kiddos.  We are Super Women Warriors because we are smart enough to know when to ask for help!  

  

Monday, January 14, 2013

Life Has Pull-Backs


In the world of photography there is a term called "a pull-back".  Rather obvious term that references a tracking shot or zoom shot that moves back from the subject and the photographers angle to reveal the whole context of the scene.  As a photographer myself, I am ALWAYS interested in seeing the pull-back shot so I can get a better understanding of the lighting, the space needed, the set-up that created the end result photo that I admire. 

I also like pull backs because it is nice to see that I am not the only one that uses unexpected spaces to get a shot... like a front entry way, a garage, the bathroom (yes, the bathroom, it has good lighting!!) etc. 

Pull-backs also provide me a glimpse of another photographers real space, real life, real method. 

Let me explain.  As a photographer I do spend a portion of my time looking at other photographers work as a form of mentorship and inspiration.  But what tends to happen is that over time I start to feel inadequate, like I don't have the right gear, the right space, the right ideas, the right stuff to be a photographer.  When that happens, it is no bueno.  Not for me, for my husband or for my clients.  If I lose faith in what I do have then I am not going to produce good work.  Photography is art and producing art has no right or wrong, it is about passion and joy... at least for me.

What I also know is that the desire for mentorship and inspiration is needed for life.. in general.  There is an urge for us to see other ways people style their clothing, their hair, their laundry rooms, their remotes, the way they parent their children, love their spouse, etc.  People are interested, naturally, in seeing how others LIVE. 

The information found in Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Magazines, Books... all of it is showing us what others are doing, thinking, living, being... and after a couple hours, days, weeks, months of seeing how other people do what they do... the thought might creep in... "I'm not doing IT right. I'm not good enough."

Hell, not only do I sometimes think this, but I provide the material for others to feel the same way.  I post pictures of my beautiful kids hugging in a recliner on a Sunday morning.  I post images of a clean house with everything in its place.  I post status updates of my husband and I supporting one another completely, I share date nights online that include what theater we are at and what our meal tasted like.  I provide snapshots of my so-called perfection.

But to go full circle.  I remind you... every image, has a pull back.  Every life moment has a pull-back.  And sometimes, a lot of the time, it is nothing close to perfect! 

What I don't post is that sometimes I threaten to not feed my kids unless they smile at the camera, that my husband and I have had pretty heated arguments/fights that resulted in one of us sleeping on the couch, dates nights are far and few between unless cooking mac and cheese for the kids in the kitchen together counts as a date, the images of a perfectly clean house is only showing THREE of FOUR walls because that fourth wall is filled with a cluttered, chaotic, mess of papers, boxes and shoes strewn across the desk.  My pull-backs are pretty messy.  My pull backs are where the real is.

Even the pull-back on my relationship would reveal that while my husband and I love each other intensely and forever... it isn't easy.  Our love has never heard the word easy.  It takes work. Hard work. Sometimes the passion gets a little weak and you have to rely on the promise to see you through.. until the passion is reinvented.  The goal is to always reinvent the passion. Much and Often.

So what I am getting at is this.... if you, like me, ever get stuck feeling a little down because your hellions are running around with underwear on their head waving flyswatters as swords while your friends children are sitting perfectly straight at the table, eating broccoli, and singing love songs to their parents... trust me... there is a pull-back.  There is always a pull-back.

Not many people like to show the real parts of their life cause it isn't likely to get re-pinned or a thumbs up.  And we all have a need to be liked and accepted.  It is a basic need for all humans.  No fault, just a reality. 

But now you know when you see pretty pictures of my house on Instagram or Facebook, it will only be three of four walls, and only right after I cleaned up one hell of a mess.  Which only happens twice a month. 

Remember... there are ALWAYS pull-backs to that beautiful life and this life is not about what is right, but about the passion and joy in what is.  Life is exactly that - imperfectly beautiful.

Now I gotta go.  It's time to threaten the kids so I can get some good Valentines photos of them... in the bathroom so I can make ridiculously lame school favors that I will post on Pinterest so I look like a perfect mom, which I am not -- at all.  :)

Three of my four walls:

Friday, January 11, 2013

ON FIRE!

On Thursday nights I spend the evening with a couple of besties at our weekly Stitch'n B!tch. It's a night of coffee, crafting, griping, supporting, laughing, laughing, and laughing.  We crank the music up high and check all maturity and proper-ness at the door - it's part of the agreement of being included in the Stitch'n B!tch club. Equally there is no judging, demeaning, or negativity toward one another.  It is a safe chaotic evening that rejuvenates my spirit.  It is a necessity in my life.

It's also an evening of sharing.  Sharing food, sadness, happiness, worries, jokes, frustrations, and music. 

Last night my bestie, Gina of Dear Gina Quilt Company, shared with us a great music video of an Alicia Keys song. 

Whether you like Alicia Keys and even if you don't -- if you are a woman I believe you will not only like this song, but you will love it.

We all listened and watched in silence while we played the video loud and big on her screen. This was pretty much the only time our mouths weren't yappin'.  We couldn't speak, we were being spoken to. Powerfully.

I admit a few times I got teary eyed not only because of how it spoke to me personally, but because I could see in my besties that it was speaking to them, too.  No matter our ages, no matter our life's past, no matter our present, this song is a song for all women.

Listen, tell me what you think.  Tell me if we aren't all ON FIRE!  I don't care if we are picking up toys, taking care of parents, making dinner, working in an office, or getting kids ready for school... WE ARE ON FIRE!

There is no mistake that a woman is strong, mighty, capable, a warrior if you will.  Everything we do we do with purpose and while from the outside it may seem as though we are just housewives, business women, mothers... etc... make no mistake we are FIRST women.  WOMEN!  AND WE ARE ON FIRE! 

I may not walk around dressed to the nines, I may not own the shape of the perfect model, I may not live the glamorous life... but the life I do live is lived with an incredible amount of passion, purpose, dedication, honesty and strength.  I AM ON FIRE!  So are you.

We all are! We are all doing our routines, making our livings, taking care of our business and the strength it takes to do these things is the strength of super heroes. 

I wish for each of you to truly take a dedicated three minutes and fifty three seconds and honor yourself.  Listen intently to the lyrics and watch this woman live her life.  It is you... honor you, honor your strength and your passion to do good in your day. Your every day. Cherish you and remember that you are precious and meaningful and you are a world changer with every step you take.  YOU ARE ON FIRE!


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Multi-Purposed


Remember awhile back, like LAST YEAR when we posted a video on the many different ways one could wear scarves? You know, this post.

Well guess what. We have another video for you that is super cool. "Boop"

I know as a mom that sometimes we don't always have time, money, energy to do a lot of shopping for ourselves, but when we do, isn't it the best when you find an article of clothing that can be multi-purposed?

I mean, if I can make 3-4 outfits out of one primary piece of clothing that is NOT yoga pants, then it's a good day and a great purchase!  "Boop"

That "Boop" stuff will make more sense once you watch the video. "Boop"

But listen, no need to hear me rambling on if we have super cute Wendy in a video to tell us more -- oh, and remember, shop local at places such as Theadora, FINA, Remedy, and Zuesters in Lincoln Center or other great shops in Stockton's Weberstown Mall, Sherwood Mall or Stonecreek Village! They can help you find the perfect starter dress as mentioned below:

"Boop"

 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Coffee and Pineapple


This last week I had the luxury of talking with a friend while my daughter played happily with one of her besties and my husband and my son raced Matchbox cars on the coffee table.

Our conversation topics zigzagged, touching on subjects such as how to teach our girls to ride without training wheels, embracing family dysfunctions, how good pineapple tastes if cut by a Filipino, the emotional journey of coping with the death of a child, and more.

It was a good night.  There were laughs, pleasant disruptions, tears, and coffee, pretty much a perfect evening if you ask me.

As you can see some of the topics were pretty heavy, but the ability to talk freely, share openly, cry safely… it was just what I needed and I didn’t even know it.  I felt a little cleansed afterward.  Like a tiny bit of space was made in my broken and full heart.

For those that don’t know, this Mom About the Town is smack-dab in the middle of lots of things such as raising a seven year old girl to be modest and confident, teaching a two year old to share, loving a husband through the darkest days of our life together, and mourning the loss of his 28 year old son, my step-son of over 14 years.  Life is busy. Life is sad.  Life is full.

Not always is my conscious self so aware of what my subconscious self is working through and therefore I am not always as tentative to me as I should be.  But taking the time with a friend, drinking a good cuppa, and resting was just what my “me” needed.

Some of the new and old revelations of the evening…
1)      Duct tape can fix a wand and save the night.
2)      Kids are loud but when the loudness comes from giggles of happy, loud is ok.
3)      Every one of us comes from a screwed up family.
4)      Death sucks.
5)      Pineapple in December, cut Filipino style is the best.
6)      No matter how alone you think you are; you are not.
7)      It’s ok to be sad… it’s ok to be happy.  It’s ok to be both within seconds of each other (although the DSM-5 does spell out when that can become diagnosable).
8)      Crying can feel good.
9)      No parent should ever lose a child.  Ever.  At any age. Period.
10)   Parents lose children, and it sucks.

I think one of the biggest moments for me that evening was when I remembered Bowen’s concept of “Family System’s Theory” that I studied in my MA program for Counseling Psychology (anytime my ridiculous decision to go to an expensive university pays off, I celebrate it;  I need a million and twelve more revelations).

Essentially the idea is that we all are connected, we all have roles we play in our home, in our work environment, in our everywhere.  We are connected to everyone around us in some way.  The deepest connections are of course with family.  And when one of our family members is no longer here – because they pass away from the complications of the incurable disease Cystic Fibrosis on September 13th, 2012 while you are holding their hand, with no words able to describe the pain your heart endures at the moment they take their last breath and you want crawl up with them and leave the world behind to join them…. I digress.

As I was saying, when one family member is removed from the system… it affects everyone.  First you just stare at the big emptiness that is left behind. That staring at the emptiness takes awhile – nobody knows just how long and it differs for everyone. And it hurts.  Bad.

The overwhelming acknowledgement of just how much that person is needed in your life and how much they are missed is not just a thought, but a physical ache. A gut wrenching hurt.

Staring at the emptiness you realize that the person you lost is no longer present to fill their role.  They are not there to be the honest, blunt, wise, loving, an in your face soother.  They are no there to challenge your ways, to forgive your sins, to offer you laughter, to be a mirror, to offer you a cheesy smile at the perfect moment, to look at you with eyes more soulful than should be possible for a 28 year old. They are no longer there to balance the Harmony of one, the anger of another, and more.

Now we are all left unsettled and missing and I am hoping that eventually we will all be able to accept our new roles, absorbing part of what we miss so much. Maybe those that need are able to forgive a little more, those that need are able to speak up a little more, those that need are able to make changes where they should… taking on the role of who no longer exists in our day to day “play”.  And maybe, just maybe, we can get to a point where we feel connected again. 

Right now this Mom About the Town isn’t feeling connected at all.  Discombobulated is more like it.  But I have faith, and I had the “Aha” moment while eating pineapple that this is just for now.  I will figure out a new normal, I will treasure the new wisdom I have received, and I will slowly plug back in to my family unit, we will all slowly plug back in and we will be ok.  We will make a new norm.

However, it is worth putting out into the universe that right now, if at all possible, I could use a little break from any other roles being thrown into a tailspin.  I need some good status quo in my life while I figure out the emptiness I am feeling, we are feeling as a family.

It won’t be forever, but for right now.. yeah, give me a freaking break!  And in return, I promise to give people around me a break.  Back to the saying that I love so much.  Do no harm.  And when you can… Do good. 

Whoa! That was heavy stuff. Clearly the next post needs to be something fun and light.  But hey, this is life, right? We can’t hide from it.  No matter how much we try.  Mine as well share it and move on.

As for all the other Mom’s about the town… I hope you are doing well, I wish you lots of love, great friends, and occasional nights out where you just get to drink coffee and eat pineapple!