Friday, November 21, 2014

Dead fish. Lice. Life Lately. {11.21.14}

"I couldn't make this shit up if I tried"

That is a constant lament when I talk to my bestie on the phone. How is life so much stranger than fiction? Just when you think you have it all under control... Something comes and pulls the rug out from under you. Or as in my case, pulls the possibly lice infested rug from under you and promptly instructs you to put it in the washer. On hot, with all the chemicals and detergent, and maybe some vinegar. Whatever. Let's talk about last Friday night.

Fridays are my hardest days because I have to be at the store at six in the morning. Yes six, and now since it's getting colder, these mornings have become an even harder task. Fridays are spent getting to two thirty which is usually when my shift ends, coming home to change, and then picking up Caitlin from school. Then it's usually a quick stop for food, since mama ain't cooking, and then home. Where I put on sweats, eat all of the things, and watch any TGIT (Shonda-land holla!) that I may have missed. I don't ask for much. I'm a simple girl. I just want a quiet, lazy Friday night.

Except for last Friday night.

As we were putting together dinner (which was pulling out leftovers, cereal, chips, and toaster waffles), I received a call that the LICE ALERT of 2014 at Mac's preschool was not an isolated incident, but in fact an infestation with three kids and counting affected. Oh shit balls. So far, we were clear, but I didn't want to take any chances, so we went into action taking precautionary measures, and putting our terror level at Orange. Well, maybe a yellow orange. After dinner a trip to Target was going to be necessary, add in the trip to the pet store for new fish.

What's that you say? New fish? Why?

Because we murdered the fish. Okay, accidental homicide. The famous fish from the Fresno fair had survived a trip at the fair, the ride home, the week spent in plastic tanks with tap water, only to meet their demise in a clean tank with a filter. Sort of. The Hubbs sprang for a real tank with a filter a few weeks back since the fish had survived living for a week on the counter in the kitchen. They were happy in their new home and had fun swimming in all that space. So a week ago Monday I came home from work and declared that the tank was filthy and needed to be cleaned. I had been stating this for a week, but this time I put my foot down and made some demands and bitched a blue streak about it. So the Hubbs did his thing and cleaned the tank, put in the sparkling clean water, fed them, and then we all went to bed.

Tuesday morning. Roughly five o'clock.

Hubbs: Megan. MEGAN (loud whisper).

Me: What? (annoyed as all get out)

Hubbs: I killed the fish.

Me: Wha???

Hubbs: The fish. I killed the fish. The fish are dead. I'm a fish killer.

Me: Was it the clean water? Did they go into shock?

Hubbs: The kids are gonna hate me.

The kids didn't give a shit about the dead fish. They only asked two things: Did we flush them? and Can we buy more?. The Hubbs on the other hand felt terrible and called himself a fish murderer for a week. But he did take them to the pet store, buy all the supplies for a tropical fish, and came home to set up the tank before bringing new fish home. Hence the Friday night promised trip to the pet store. 

So first up, Lice kits, new pillows, and prayers. Second, new tropical fish. I mean if that's not an exciting Friday night, I don't know what is.

Of course it wasn't until I had the lice killing shampoo on the heads of my children that I realized that I didn't buy new brushes or pony tail elastics at Target when I was there just a few hours before. I also realized as I started the first of what would be seventeen loads of laundry that we were dangerously close to being out of laundry soap. So I went back to Target, alone and under the gun, because the lice killing shampoo was killing my kids. Not really, but they sure acted like it.

Can I also add that when we are in the thick of it, and life seems so impossible, there are always those people that come through and make your heart swell? My neighbor Jeanette sent me a text while I was at Target that had me tearing up. She wanted to let me know that she was totally available to comb out nits. Nits, people. Since this business was all a precaution to avoid an infestation, I asked if she could come over and check for nits to begin with. She said yes, and came over in her pajamas, coughing and sniffling. She had a cold, but that wasn't going to stop her from helping me comb out nits if needed. She's a great friend, and so I thanked her the only way I knew how, on Facebook of course.

So we set up two new tropical fish babies. We started the Laundry Festival of 2014. We stripped beds, treated hairs, and sprayed some toxic concoction on all of the things. Then the Hubbs vacuumed all of the things, and then I fell asleep and the Hubbs most likely gave me the death stare.

In his defense, he did all seventeen loads (we lost count after seven, so seventeen still seems appropriate almost a week later). I had to work all weekend, so he had to play super hero. For the record, he folded almost all of it. With the exception of my clothes because as he likes to tell everyone, I just lay mine out all over the house and hang them up as needed. That is an pretty accurate statement if you ask me.

It's been a week, and thank the Lawd no lice. It may or may not have helped that both kids had fevers this week, so we didn't go to preschool once. I have to say having clean sheets and clean underwear in the same month is something pretty fantastic, but I seriously doubt it will ever happen again. Those are little luxuries we just can't afford. 

The fish are still alive, so here's hoping that we don't have another incident. I'm still scratching my head from all the lice talk, and somehow still have nightmares of having to do it all again. Did you know that lice can hold their breath underwater for ten minutes? Isn't that just bat-shit insane? What the hell could they do if they had opposable thumbs?

It's Friday again. And I'm saying a silent prayer for a quiet night. I want to wear leggings and sit on the couch and watch whatever Christmas movie my kids want. Because I want to relax. I want to be lazy. And I want to enjoy this life, lately.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Four Gifts: Wear {Slumber Party}

Today's four gifts is all about WEAR. This was an easy one for me since every year pajamas area always under the tree. Writing this post was so easy, I found all of these fabulous looks at Old Navy. Of course Old Navy isn't sponsoring this blog (insert ugly cry), but who cares. Their prices can't be beat and they always have fun and trendy items that can make any Christmas bright! I adore the pieces I found for the girls and I think I finally found something the Hubbs can't live without. Don't forget, this is a series with Alyson M, so join us, and link up! Now here is what will most likely be under our trees this year!

4 Gifts : Wear

For the girls, graphic tees are key. Hello Kitty is always a must and I threw in a night gown just for fun. We are very much a lounge wear family, so I added in some leggings that can cross over. There is nothing wrong with wearing leggings as pajamas, they make those trips to Starbucks so much more fashionable. Baristas have no idea that you are in pajama couture! These pieces are so fun, and even better, they are so affordable.

4 Gifts for Me

I'm the queen of lounge wear. I've added some velour pants, and I know they have been "out" for almost a decade, but by golly they are the comfiest! Plus, I will need any kind of Aztec printed cardi to get me through the "frozen" months of winter here in Fresno. Which is a joke since it's never really that cold, but we are wimps around these parts. I think this entire collection would make my Christams, especially those cat socks. The cat is wearing pink glasses. Pink. Glasses. What is not to like? I also I threw in a fleece blanket since I have a think for reasonably priced, printed fleece blankets. 

4 Gifts : The Hubbs

The Hubbs is in for a huge surprise. I'm going to track down that Clark Griswold shirt and guarantee it's under the tree. It's perfect for him, since we watch Christmas Vacation, every time it's on TV, no matter if it's the end, or the middle, or the beginning. Also it doesn't matter if it's spring, summer, fall, or Christmas. It's too perfect, and with those red and green plaid flannel pants? Amazing. Oh, and the other two sets aren't too shabby either. 

So what did you think? Did I inspire you to put some pajamas under the tree this year? What were your favorite pieces? Do you think if I tweet this link to Old Navy they will make my Christmas wishes come true and send me everything on this list? 

A girl can dream, right?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What is the hardest thing about being a working mom?

For the past two weeks I have cursed "Time Hop". What is supposed to be a little app on my phone to remind me of what I was doing last year, or the year before, has turned into a gut wrenching look into my recent past. You see this time last year I was still a Stay At Home Mom. I still had things like free time and care free thoughts. There were still concepts like, "I'll get to it tomorrow", and "Don't worry, I'll take care of that this weekend". Those words are no longer in my vocabulary. Things have to get done today, or they don't get done at all. There are zero carefree thoughts, instead they have been replaced with stressed out, holy shit, thoughts. It's as if my Time Hop feed is someone else's life. Someone happier. Someone less stressed. Some other, better, more attentive mother. But just as I guilt myself into thinking I'm such a failure now at this life, I remember that it's not entirely the truth. 

As a working mom, I've slipped as an occasional At Home Mom. I'm a part-timer in a full-time position. Is it possible to be a part-time mom? I think so, because I'm pretty sure that's exactly what I've been doing. I've been getting by, doing the least about of work as possible so I can slide under the radar as the "Okayest Mommy". And as a joke I will call myself that, but in reality it kind of sucks. Actually it totally sucks. There have been missed notes home, I have no idea what time the Grandparent lunch is on Thursday, and I didn't even realize my second grader was sick today, until I picked up her one hundred and three degree self from school today. How is that for "Okayest Mommy"?

I can continue to lament the ways I've gone wrong on my mothering journey this year. I most likely will as the weeks go on until Christmas. Since I'm flying, literally by the seat of my jeggings this year. There are thirty six days until Christmas, I'm pretty sure I'm working thirty of them. Add in the other nine which are over scheduled and you already realize there is not enough math in the world to get me to Christmas. That's the thing about being a working mom. There is never enough time, or money, or effort, or emotions to get you through the day. There may be enough wine to knock you out, or enough chocolate to make you gain another five pounds, but hours and effort and money... They allude all of us.

I'll confess that I'm in the middle of my monthly cycle, so everything seems sharper. Everything hurts a little more. Today was one of my days off this week, and I just about lost all my footing watching my seven year old muscle through her physical, which turned into an actual doctors appointment when we showed up one hundred and three degrees hot. Her normally chipper self, lying quietly on the paper covered table, in a paper gown, just waiting with tears running into her ears. My heart just broke. Because I can't stay home with her tomorrow. And while I'm sure this is par for the course with working moms, I'm just not okay with it. I could work for the next thirty years outside the home, and I will never be fully okay with this part. Isn't that the shittiest part of working motherhood? When their world stops, yours continues to turn. 

So here I am, when I should be sleeping. Writing through the tears, because maybe it's the cycle or maybe it's the season, but for the life of me I just can't stop crying. All day today and last night too. Every single thing pulls at my heart. Makes me wish for the simpler times, which I thought were the hardest times, which is hindsight and cliche in the worst of ways. All I can think about are things like: are there enough Popsicles in the house; are there enough waffles; is there enough ibuprofen; where is the Tylenol. In the same line I'm thinking that my work pants are still waiting to be washed, and I should have showered tonight, and what the fuck am I going to take for lunch. These are the things that haunt me, and taunt me, and make me turn to Pinterest to pin things that are never going to happen if I can't even find the time to put of my own Christmas tree.

Now for the part that makes entirely no sense. I'm good at my job. I do a good job being an assistant manager, and please don't insult me and say it's not rocket science to work retail. I know that already. But I have goals there and sales targets to hit and you can only sell so many ornaments before you really have to sell a couch and pray to Jesus that no one returns it on your shift. But the mind boggling thing is that when I'm at work, I'm good. I'm good at my job. I can juggle and be organized. I can hit sales plans and conversion targets. I can supply excellent customer service and make connections with my associates that yield a level of performance that even I'm surprised that it's happening. Yet, I can't get my shit together to turn in one goddamn paper to the school for a fucking fundraiser. Explain that to me.

Saturday, as I was getting ready for work, I figured out the hardest thing about being a working mom, 

Going to work. 

Going to work is the hardest part. Leaving the house with your hair done and make up on. Remembering your lunch or your work bag. Getting out of the house on time to make it to the library for AR testing. Making sure the kids have their homework folders, lunch boxes, signed notes, and money for snack shack. Going to work is the hardest thing to do. Leaving your babies, when they are sick, when they are well, when they are acting like little monsters and hanging on your legs with Cheeto hands. That is the hardest part. When they wave to you from the door as a sign of support, and it breaks your heart to know that you are missing another Saturday. That is the hardest thing. The going. The getting there. Because once you are there, you are there. Working your ass off, trying to be the best, the elite, the one you know you can be. 

And then you come home with every intention of working your ass off, trying to be the best, the elite, the best damn mother your kids deserve. Which is the second hardest thing about being a working mother. Coming home and being the mother, mommy, mom. And like my mother always says, you can be good at one, or the other, but never at the same time. Lately, Home Mommy sucks. Work Mommy shines. And Megan has been lost all together. 

One day, my girls will be mothers. Maybe they will work. Maybe they will stay home. And I'll be able to impart some wisdom if they ask. My hope is that they will remember that mommy tried. Even when she was tired, even when she was stressed. I hope they will know that I did it all for them. That I had every intention of being great, good, and grand, but that some days all I could be was okay. This has been the hardest year of my life. Trying to create some kind of balance when there isn't any. Balance is a myth and a lie. It's something we strive for, kill ourselves to achieve. I don't think I will ever find balance between the two lives I lead now. One will always tip the scales, one will always require more, one will always win. And when that happens, I hope I can find the clarity to tip it back, get it close to even as possible. Because so many things about being a mom are hard, and so many things about being a working mother are hard, so why make them so much harder on me? On us? Balance may always allude me, but happiness doesn't have to. So I'm learning to hold on to that. To carve out some of that. Even in the middle of the mess, I may be able to dig a little peace. 

Because sometimes the hardest part about being a working mom is finding the middle place. The place where you can be comfortable and happy and thriving. The place where fast food dinners are king, and homework is done at breakfast, and sometimes we are just late to school because we are late. Maybe in my middle place all the Thanksgiving desserts are store bought, the tree gets decorated at two in the morning, and everyone gets gift cards this year. Maybe the middle place is skipping bath time, paying $5.99 for that DVR rental, and eating junk food for dinner. Maybe the middle place is right here, writing when I should be sleeping, reading when I should be writing, and letting my girls cut school so we can finally make some Pinterest worthy Christmas crafts. 

I'm pretty sure the hardest thing about being a working mom, is that at your core, you are a mom. A mom with hopes and dreams and expectations, that have nothing to do with you, and everything to do with your children. 

Sound familiar?

Monday, November 17, 2014

How the f*ck is it November 17th?

I spent Sunday night in bed with a box of tissues. I wasn't sick, and it wasn't for very long, but I was having all of the feels. A missed form that should have gotten turned in to Caitlin's school last week, set my emotional breakdown for November in motion. Because I have an emotional breakdown every month. Because I'm a woman and that's the way of the world.

Having an emotional breakdown in November is a little different from the others however. Yesterday I realized that Christmas is thirty seven days away, and that is not enough time to do all of the things that I want to do. It's not enough time to make ornaments with my kids and bake that thing I pinned three years ago with the excuse that I would get to it next year. I have this overwhelming fear that as I help every customer that comes into Pier 1 trim their tree, my beautiful, gorgeous, expensive, fake tree will stay in it's box as the holiday season passes me by. I'm worried that I will never get to finish my Christmas shopping and everyone, including the kids will get Amazon gift cards that I can buy at Von's while I buy toilet paper and foil which we will inevitably run out of three days before Christmas.

Of course The Hubbs believes no such thing. He said he would put the tree up tomorrow if I'd promise to pull myself together and stop telling the kids that Santa isn't coming. Well I didn't say that in so many words, but Santa is spending all her time at Pier 1, Santa doesn't have time to shop. And that's great that The Hubbs would set the tree up today, but I still want to trim the tree. I want to be here when he switches on the lights and the girls dance in delight that before they can blink, Santa will fill stockings and buy way to many things because Santa is overworked and overstressed and has way to many feels.

And thinking about Christmas got me thinking about the year ending, and that is not good for anyone. I'm a fatalist and every year, as it closes I get emotion thinking about all of the things that have happened that won't happen again. But this year especially, I feel like I've missed so much. How in the world is it November 17th? How did that happen? Caitlin looks and acts like a teenager, and Mackenzie no longer looks like a baby. I dread looking back at my New Year's post from last year and realizing that I didn't make a dent in my "resolutions". I didn't write that book, I didn't write more on this blog, I didn't get to that writing conference. I could say there is always next year, but I said that last year. Twenty fourteen is going to end, and I'm still going to be dreaming about the same things, but now they will feel farther away.

My pity party didn't last very long. I didn't want the girls to see me cry. I worked all weekend, and I didn't want them to think that being at home makes me sad. It's just the opposite, it makes me emotional. I was too tired to tickle fight and wrestle with them, so dad did it instead. I was too tired to make a real dinner so Mac and Cheese again. I was almost too tired to read, but I pulled that one out last minute. Still, it sucks to realize that you are almost too tired to function. Too tired to breathe. Too tired to do anything but tear up when they hug you tight and tell you they love you. 

Even now, as I type this with the clock ticking down to my closing shift, I have all the feels. I have lists to do this week, and next week, and the week, after that. Thanksgiving will be a blur and so will Christmas if I don't find a little wiggle room. If I don't stop and breathe. And I can do those things if I can just let go of the small things. No one is holding me to any standard but myself. That's a hard truth to swallow.

I'm thinking I will set new "Holiday" goals for myself. Let's see, relax, let go, breathe, and buy everything on Amazon. Maybe not the amazon part, but the rest sounds pretty good. 

By the way this wasn't the post I was going to write today, but its the one that came out. Hopefully I can find time to write the good stuff. Until then, you can have all the feels with me.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Four Gifts Week Two {Need}

It's week two of the Four Gifts link up with Alyson M. Last week I talked about our "want", this week is all about what we need. Every year we need boots. It doesn't get very cold here in Fresno until December, so we wait it out until Christmas for boots. These are just some examples of the kinds of boots my girls would go crazy for. I'll be honest with you, we buy faux Uggs every year. And this year, I'm pretty sure we are going to get them at Costco. But if we could dream... These would be our choices.

For the girls

Now it's my turn, and of course I need boots, but the question this year is will they be for work or for play. I also added in a pair of glitter Toms, because I can wear those to work too, and maybe the Hubbs is reading and maybe, just maybe I'll find some under the tree. Because of course I need works shoes too. I know Uggs are really out of style and get made fun of for all sorts of reasons, but I just can't quit them. They are my favorite thing to wear to school drop off and for days when I'm in leggings and flannels. But let's also take a look at the Toms booties. I could totally wear them to work, and my Lawd! Don't they look fantastic?

For Me

I would have added a nice polyvore collage for the Hubbs, but he gave me the funniest look when I asked him what kind of shoes he would need this Christmas. Then I explained to him the idea for this series and link up and he gave me an even funnier look. So is the life of a blogger, who's Hubbs thinks that she's totally crazy, he doesn't believe me that these are important discussion points during the Holiday Season! 

What are your needs this holiday season? Are Uggs on your list? Am I the only one who still likes them? Join us and link up for the Four Gifts series!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

You have to F**ing Eat {Book Review}

**An advanced copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for a review on this blog. It was the only form of compensation. The opinions are my own. Aren't they always?**

Who remembers the book that changed the lives of parents everywhere, Go the F**k to Sleep? I'm pretty sure it was a hilarious parody of this children's bedtime story, and it received rave reviews from editors and parents. You can even download an audio version that is read by Samuel L. Jackson. I mean, what is not to like?

Imagine my surprise when I was approached with an advanced copy of You Have to F**king Eat?

image via Amazon

Not only is this book funny and snarky, it uses my favorite "F" word. But more than that, it will make you laugh as it hilariously illustrates the battle that is mealtime. True to life situations  that parents of toddlers and young children face. Kids that refuse to eat. Kids that eat so little, you wonder how the hell they are still standing and jumping off the couches. Kids that refuse Cherios and Cheetos and even on the odd days chocolate, but have no problem eating last nights chicken nuggets they find under the table. This book gives you the real deal on getting your kids to eat, or not eat, or giving in to crackers or pancakes at the 11th hour just so you can go to bed.

image via the Publisher

This book provides you with the nitty, gritty, what the f**k is wrong with this child confirmation that you may need the next time you sit down for dinner. It's a quick read, and the prose will make you feel like a classy member of society again. It would make the perfect gift for new parents, expecting parents, and parents of toddlers. It's a perfect stocking stuffer for that person in your life that needs a good laugh about the kinds of epic food battles they have daily with kids who refuse to eat.

Now available on Amazon, get a copy today. And grab one for your friend who's kid will only eat foods that are white. They will thank you.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

What about that weekend though?

When I left work on Friday afternoon, I did so with a little more swing in my step. You see, I was walking away from the busy world of Thanksgiving decor and Christmas ornaments; and into the world of a three day weekend. What's that you say? A three day weekend? Well, that's almost unheard of in retail... Almost.

Saturday morning was spent blissfully on the couch. That was after a six thirty wake up call from my oldest who suddenly forgot it was mommy's first day to not have to wake up by alarm clock in over a month. I tried to be cool about it, but truth is I threw a fit and went and got into Mac's bed since there is a black out screen on her window. I got about an extra hour and a half. Then I got up and served a respectful breakfast of Oreos and Sweet tea and parked my ass on the couch. In a blanket. In last nights make-up, with zero intentions of moving. It was wonderful. It was bliss. I even read a book on my Kindle. 

But there was a home game and Daddy's Fraternity Alumni tailgate, and I have to be honest it wasn't on my list. All I wanted to do was to stay home and be lazy, and make a permanent dent in my couch. So I split the difference. The girls and I got decked out in our Fresno State gear and went to the tailgate for a few hours. It was nice, they were good, and right as the sun started to go down we got out of there.

On our way home we stopped at Whole Foods, and filled our baskets with too many prepared foods and expensive gluten free treats. The girls used their own mini baskets and I said yes to almost everything. Because it was that kind of day. We listened to Christmas music in the car, and I even let a person merge into my lane... I slowed down even. And it didn't go unnoticed. Caitlin remarked, "Mommy you must be really happy because you let that car do that and you didn't even yell". My reputation precedes me. 

Today I spent the day making tamales and sugar cookies with these ladies. It was wonderful in so many ways, because Sandi, my mom's best friend taught me the ways of the sugar cookie. That is a whole different post on it's own, but today was special in all the ways you would want it to be. And I'm tired and there are still dishes to be washed, and everyone had a tamale lunch and a sugar cookie dinner. I'm so tired as I type, but there is no other place I would have rather been today. Today really reinforced the idea of living in that moment. Even when you are tired. Even when you'd rather sleep. Even if you have other chores at hand. This moment, the one I had today, was the one that will make those lasting memories. 

I was even able to sneak in some cuddles with this guy. He is totally grabbing my boob in this picture, but if that ain't romance I don't know what it. I've missed these weekends. The kind where we do everything and nothing and it's all of the same importance. I miss being with my family all day, taking it slow, ignoring things like time. These kinds of weekends have become few and far between. So this is a weekend for the books. The last full one I will probably get until January. Trust me, I will be squeezing every ounce of joy out of this one.