It’s Tough Being a Mom and a Daughter

Are you in that spot too? It snuck up on me. The other day I was saying something to my daughter and turned around to wonder where my mom came from and it turns out it was me. I was channeling my mom.  I suppose it’s a good time in my life and I’m fortunate that I can be a mom and a daughter.  That my mom, my parents, are here to spend time with the kids.  One weekend at home with my parents visiting and I’m a kid again.  I’m with my kiddos every day and I’m “the mom”.  I actually used, “because I’m mom” as a reason for something the other day.  I always thought I wouldn’t use that as a rationale, but there you go.  I did it. I’m the mom.  The power!

But then I spend time with my parents, especially when it’s just my mom, and I feel like I’m in high school again and we’re lamenting high school dramas.  Except it’s not high school drama, it’s the kids, or friends, or something random we’re just talking about, but I don’t feel like a mom, I feel like the again.  I’m not sure I can be a mom and a daughter at the exact same moment.  Is that even possible?

A Romantic Weekend

My closest girlfriend (friends since before we could drive) and I, have a date this weekend.

We’ve been talking of doing a girls day for a few months, just the two of us.  No husbands, no kids, just us.  Usually when we get together with our families we have a ton of fun but it only happens a few times a year because we’re separated by a few hours drive.   What to do, what to do….

We decided we need to shop.  We need cocktails.  We want at least one meal we don’t need to cook or clean up.  We want to wake up, when we wake up.

So this is the big plan: We’re going to THE CITY for the weekend.  We are meeting for lunch, we are shopping, we are having cocktails, we are staying in a hotel room together and we are not setting a wake up call.

I’m really looking forward to it.  I’m pretty sure I’m also really going to miss the little hugs and kisses and book reading to my 2 and 4 year old in the evening and my friend will miss her 3 kiddos too.  However, it will be rejuvenating in the way only a little personal time can be.  Please, my only other time alone is a 5 minute shower every day and even then I hear tiny voices of ‘mom, mom, mom!’ through the door.

I’ll miss it, but I’m really looking forward to the weekend.  Maybe we’ll read each other Goodnight Moon.

Breaking From Tradition

I proposed something earth shattering today.  I proposed to my parents and my sister, that we open our Christmas presents on Christmas morning, instead of Christmas Eve night.

Growing up, my family always went to an early evening Christmas Eve church service, came home, and – oh my!  Santa came while we were at church!  We would open the presents then, and then the stockings Christmas morning.  Maybe it’s a cultural thing?  Any Swedes/ Germans/ Dutch that can confirm?

My husband grew up with the Christmas morning kerfuffle that I see in every movie and coffee commercial.  Kinda nice.

So, our kids are now 4 and 2 and we’re spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my parents.  I proposed leaving cookies for the big S and going with the Christmas morning production.  

Not sure how the deviation from tradition will go over.  It is at my parents house.  However, I am currently the only provider of the grand children.  So, I’m pretty confident I’ll have some say in the process.  I just hope they embrace the plan.  

Any advice on breaking from tradition with your own family?

He Had a Good Life at 95

My grandpa, whom I mentioned here, passed away last week.  He was in hospice care for barely a week and then he died.  This past weekend we went to the funeral in rural Illinois.

He was a really good person.  Quick to smile, full of stories, and most of them were true.  He was the only 80 something I knew that could email and had a cell phone; although use of both declined in the last several years.  Even though we lived miles apart, I  thought of him often.  He had 4 kids, 11 grandkids and 13 great grandkids.  I’m sure that’s not a record but it’s certainly a lot.  Thank you grandpa, for all the memories, and the fun.

Evidently I Wasted His Time

You know when you receive a rude email your initial response is to respond in kind? No? Just me? About a year ago I was looking for a new job.  I was new to the area and had been freelancing so, a new full time job.  After interviewing at many companies, it came down to two different companies where I had interviewed three times at each place.  I was very fortunate.

The more fortunate part was they both made an offer on the exact same day, within hours of each other.  I turned down a very good job offer, in favor of one that was even better in many ways. Instead of graciously saying “okay Katie, thanks for letting us know you’re declining, may I ask why?”, as professionals typically do, this person said I “wasted his time”. Excuse me? You were clearly interviewing other people, as you should, so why should I put all my eggs in one basket?

No one enjoys the interview process, but no need to make it ugly. I wrote a reply in my head, and then deleted it. I badly want to respond saying that he is correct. I did clearly make the right decision, but I think it best if I just leave it unsaid. If anything it made me realize this is not the type of person I want to be working for. I have a whole file of email responses in my head. I just have to remember not to actually write them out for fear of accidentally hitting send.

I had a little incident of ‘don’t respond!’ at work today and it brought this back to mind.  And all that made me remember how much I hate interviewing. I think it’s a little like first dates.  I didn’t love those either.

It’s Tough to be a Grandkid When You’re a Teenager

My grandpa is in hospice care right now and it’s got me thinking about him, and the time I spent with him and grandma when I was a kid.

I have a lot of great memories of spending time with my paternal grandparents.  They lived in a small town in central Illinois and a few times a year we would make the 3 hour drive to their house spend a few days. Most summers I would spend a few weeks there with either my younger sister or a cousin, and we’d have a blast.  We would do all sorts of things that my parents would alternately laugh and be shocked at if I told them now.  Do you know what lawn darts are?  A big, dart with a 4 inch metal tip that you would hurl into the air with the hope that it would land in one of the 3 foot wide circles that you spread on the lawn.  At least that’s how we played it.  Come to think of it, the ‘rules’ are a little fuzzy.  How we didn’t impale ourselves I’ll never know.  We went running BAREFOOT in the street.  We played in the wood paneled basement that was basically a museum of curiosities.  My grandpa’s wood shop was in the basement and the door was always open. Electric tools. We never went in there, but I know some other cousins did.  Always back in time for dinner at grandma and grandpa’s.  Then we’d play Uno or Connect Four until it was time for bed.  At Halloween they would always make the drive to our house in the suburbs and dad and grandpa would take my sister and I trick or treating. They would stand down on the sidewalk while we marched up and rang the bell.  Then they’d help us sort through our loot when we got home.  Taking out the sketchy home made popcorn balls and unwrapped candy.  (Do people still do that?)

Then we moved to California and I got older.  I was a teenager.  Dad would call his parents and ask me to say ‘hi’ to them. I would roll my eyes in that cliched teenager way and humor him- talk for a few minutes about school or the weather.  Conversations with them were so boring I thought.  They were OLD.  I didn’t have anything in common with them and I didn’t know what to tell them.

In my mid 20′s I became interested in my history. Their history.  I did the whole ancestry (dot) com thing and learned a lot.  I contacted all my relatives and got more family tree information.  Then I started asking specifics of my grandparents.  Important things, like, what color was grandpa’s hair was he was younger, and what kind of jobs did he have?  Where did they meet?  And I wrote it all down.

A few years ago my grandma passed away.  She was a great woman and I remember her smile, her laugh and the fun.  I wished I stayed in touch with her more during the recent years.  More than the cards with pictures of the kids every now and then.  My grandpa had been in a nursing home for about six months until recently and I called and wrote more often.  That makes no sense.  He has no short term memory, and that’s when I decide to communicate more?  This week he was moved to hospice care.  Not surprising as he’s 97 now, but still.

I try really hard not to have regrets, but I do here a little.  I wish I had done a better job of staying in touch with them over the years; I can’t go back.  But I’m going to try to remember all those stories, all those little things, and write them down so I can share them with my kids, when they are teenagers.  Even if they roll their eyes.

October = New Swimsuit

At 9pm tonight, operation swimsuit goes into full effect. In October my husband and I are going to Hawaii for 5 nights- sans kids.  I’m really looking forward to it.  This summer we went to the beach a lot, but the beaches here in northern California are pretty cool, so shorts, sundress, light sweater, are more in order than a swimsuit.  But now, now, we are going to Ha-wy-ee and a suit will clearly be in order.  Possibly, even a two piece. Possibly even a bikini, not the tankini with a skirt I’ve been sporting at our local pool.

I’d like a swimsuit that says: She looks good. I know a swimsuit won’t make me look good, but wouldn’t that be nice?  Just as copious amounts of black eyeliner won’t make me look like Angelina Jolie, and the perfect straight bangs won’t make me look like Zooey Deschenel.  I just want to look the best I can. Not oh, she looks good for 37; or, she looks good for a mom of two; or, she looks good considering her job is making her a ball of stress, she is now getting her hair colored every 5 weeks instead of 6, her daughter just turned 2 going on 15 and her son is 3 going on 2.  I want to look good.  I want my husband to say ‘wow’.

So, a few pounds in 2 months and at least one new swimsuit.  I’m running, I’m relatively in shape, I just need to snack less and be more mindful of what I’m eating.  At least that’s the theory.  What do you think? Reasonable? Also, this is in effect at 9pm because I am really craving some cheese and after today, night time cheese snack is out the window.

Also, now that it is August, I’m not seeing many suits in stores now. Best bet for finding a great suit?

Time to Re-evaluate My Decision Making Paradigm

That would be true, if I had one.  I think a lack of a decision making paradigm is the problem.  That phrase is in some movie but I can’t recall which.  I’m suffering from a ‘grass is always greener’ thing combined with something else.  I love my career.  I think I have found an actual (gasp) balance in my life.  Or maybe I’m just juggling really well.   I jinxed myself didn’t I?  If only money grew on trees.

I think I’m just doing a lot of things, only half way.  How do you juggle it all? Does it work, or is it just a mirage of organization?

How Do You Not Compare Your Kids?

I shouldn’t be so thrilled by this, I knew it would happen eventually.  My 23 month old daughter now has 6 words in her vocabulary.  For the past few months she’s been getting by with Momma and Dadda and a lot of pointing.  She would sing and make lots of noises, but no effort to repeat words she’d hear.

I’ve been trying so hard not to compare her to her 3 1/2 year old brother.  Really, comparisons aren’t fair for any kids right?  But I was starting to get a little worried.  Little boy had almost 100 words by the time he was 2.  Little girl is getting by on grins and giggles.

Have no fear, she is up to 6, in just 2 days.  There is no stopping her now!  We’ve got apple, door, bowl, more!  And earlier today?  “I know.”  But she draws it out, “I knooooooowwww.”  And it’s ridiculously cute.  How do you manage to not compare your kiddos?  I was thinking, this is likely the only time I’ll be so thrilled she’s becoming a talker right?  Eventually she’ll be a…. teenage girl!  Fulfilling stereotypes for the next generation.

Still weird about posting pics of the kiddos. They’re actually bigger than this.

Really though, how do not compare your kids?  I know they are individuals, boy/ girl no less.  I just want them to be happy and healthy.  We take it so for granted sometimes.

She looks like a giant meringue

I forgot how much I like Four Weddings and a Funeral.  I don’t usually like British films, or British humor for that matter, but each time I see this movie, from … late 90′s I’m guessing?  I like it more.  And now that guy is in Spartacus.  Do you know who I’m talking about?  Since we’re talking about Spartacus, I really liked the story line from the first season, but I don’t think I can watch it anymore.  Too much death.  Thoughts?

Anyway, great lines from Four Weddings as I’m watching it on some third rate channel while multi-tasking while I have a whole hour to myself:

  • You’re blind, she looks like a giant meringue. (on the bride)
  • Excuse me. I think I had better be where other people are not.
  • I assumed since we slept together we’d be getting married. (joking, joking)
  • Charlie! Oh, God! The way you used to look at me! I just misread it, that’s all. I thought you were going to propose and you were just working out how to leave.

Clearly I need to go do something productive.  The vegging is over.  The family is back.  Off to the fun!