Monday, October 31, 2011

Dream BIG, Baby!

*This is a reprint of one of my columns that ran in the Kansas City Star in October. Due to a technical issue, it was never posted online. I am reprinting it here because it tells you were I am in November. And maybe it encourages you to follow your dreams.*

The Value of Turning a Someday Into a Now

Dream big!”

“Don’t stop! Reach for your goal!”

We want nothing but the best for our children, right? We support and encourage them in their interests. Helping our kids reach for their dreams is one of the things parents do.

What about our dreams? I’m not talking about something that might put more money in our pockets- not a work related Go For The Gold-but a personal goal.  Something that validates our existence in some non-parental way.  Something that says, “I worked my butt off, and the prize is not of monetary value, but it confirms that I turned a Someday into a Now.”

Maybe it’s going back to college and getting a degree for the sole satisfaction of completion, or learning purely for the joy of learning.

Maybe it’s rebuilding a car that reminds you of your childhood.

Maybe it’s running a marathon.

I have a friend named Julie, who is the mom of two young children. A few years ago, she decided that she liked running. She dreamed big and completed the Chicago Marathon.

What was her most rewarding part of this seemingly individual challenge?  It had to do with her kids. She said it was seeing, “the awe and admiration on their little faces when they finally understood what I was up to.”

When I was a kid, I remember my dad saying that he was going to build a dinghy to tow behind his sailboat. I was really impressed that he was going to BUILD a boat! Himself! In our garage! And he did!

Later, I remember having to cut that dinghy loose in a storm and watch it sink. It was as heartbreaking as it sounds. But what did Dad do? He built another one! (Well, he bought one first, THEN built another one- boat building takes some time.)

Making those beautiful little boats was a personal challenge for my dad. But watching them be built? Watching Dad start his dream all over again? Those are memories I cherish.

Just like Julie’s kids will be able to cherish the memory of Mom running and completing- with a better time- her second Chicago Marathon.

Because sometimes things that we do for ourselves that challenge and reward us, we want to do again.
My thing is NaNoWriMo- National Novel Writing Month. 

What is NaNoWriMo?  Within the 30 days of November, the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel. It’s not about quality as much as it is about finishing.  It’s not about writing a novel that gets published, although some have. It’s about pushing yourself to see if you can write one. 

Last year, 200,500 people from around the globe officially participated in NaNoWriMo. Of those participants, only 37,500 got to the finish line. The boat launch. The graduation day.

I was one of them.

Alright, maybe that doesn’t make sense to you. I can’t even run a mile without my lungs exploding so I can’t understand the appeal of running 26.2 of them. But, like a marathon runner, it’s about attempting, pushing through the pain and self- doubt to completion.

And in a few weeks, I will be attempting it again.  I know that my kids are watching, at least one with those eyes of awe and admiration. How do I know?

NaNoWriMo has a Young Writers Program. The goals are less in number, but equal in challenge.

Last year my teen daughter learned that winning NaNoWriMo is completing NaNoWriMo.

And she won.

This year I will look at her with mirrored awe and admiration as we sit down, crack our knuckles and do it again.

Dream big, Baby, dream big.

This is my NaNoWriMo profile reminds me of two of the characters in the story I'm writing this year.
If you are participating in NaNoWriMo '11, buddy me up! My screen name is EssephVee.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

It Really Does

Just in case you ever wondered...

Size matters

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dear Susan...

Dear Susan,

Good morning. It's nice to see that you are comfortable and confident enough to drive the kids to school while still wearing your jammies.

Yes, the flamingos on them are very cute.

Yes, you do rock them.

Yes, like no Othah Muthah.

However..just because you know all the words LMFAO's  Sexy and I Know It....and just because you have some bitchin' drivers seat dance moves does not mean you should combine them in the drop off lane, and at every red light you encounter.


Your Dignity

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Secret Language Of Boys

I sipped the warm, creamy brown beverage of the gods, and the coffee did it's job. Head clearing. Vision focused....(I do NOT have a caffeine problem, shut up!)

I was saying....As my coffee helped me ease into the day I surveyed the house. Dishes filled the sink, dishwasher waiting to be emptied; backpacks and coats and various mystery items identified the debris field of Friday's Apres School Couch Crash. Dust had settled over every surface matting the shine. I never did get around to cleaning the bathrooms yesterday, and there were several loads of laundry in various stages of completion.

The place was a mess.

Someone was going to have to clean this.

Then the boys skidded into my view.

"Mom! Can we  go to McDonalds for breakfast!?"

"Can we make smoothies later?"

I smiled the smile of a mom who just realized that the path to obedience is lined with food and a minivan. My eyebrow went up as I realized a way to seal the deal.

"Sure. I'll take you, but when we get back you have to help me get this house clean."

"Will you make a chore chart so we can X out stuff?"

"Yeah! Tape it on the wall!"

Where did these kids come from? I looked in my coffee mug and took a sniff...just coffee.


20 minutes, 4 breakfast burritos and three hashbrowns later, we were taping the chore chart to the wall, and assigning tasks.

I like to think that I am not much of a cusser. I like to think that cussing isn't necessary. But I know that sometimes, it adds just enough ooomph to drive a point home. THIS was one of those times.

"Boys! Let's make this house our bitch!"

Three knuckle punches and we were off!

Two hours later, my house was really clean.

Thirty minutes after that we were making pineapple smoothies.

And and  hour after *that* I had to tell Noah to stop saying," Mario. Luigi. Prepare to become my bitch!"

His language might be dirty, but my floors are clean!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Drunk Barbershop Kitchen

Ever watch My Drunk Kitchen? If you never have,here is the latest episode based on her recent trip to Toronto.

Newbies be advised: watch only one at a time. I did a marathon my first time and was ready to send her to rehab after about episode 4. Now, pacing myself, I can really appreciate the host- Hannah Hart- a lot more. Funny, clever, self assured-- Ok, in my head she is faking having had too much of whatever she is sipping...but they are cute videos and I say- without shame- that I laugh.

Are these the best to watch before, say, bible study?

Noooo, prob'ly.

Are they the best to watch if you have chemical addiction issues or are a part of a family that has been torn apart over them?

I'm gonna say no.

The other day, I was enjoying a warm Indian Summer evening. Once in a while, when it is toasty like that, I enjoy a glass of some somethin'. That night it was sangria. I had a bottle in my fridge and wanted to finish it up before the cold weather comes and it sits there all winter because who wants sangria when it's snowy out?

Not me.

I was a couple of glasses in, when my husband suggested that I cut his, and the boy's, hair.

I am no where near as cute as Hannah Hart, but this is my best impersonation. I was even cooking!

This may very well be the worst picture ever taken of me..but  after what I did to those boys, I deserve it to be on  the internet.

Should I have been driving the clippers? Well, I would have passed a breathalyzer test, so sure.

Was my judgement a little off?

Sure, again.

Did I take risks with the 'dos?

Oh, yes I did.

It's feeling just a little Hitleresque, non?
Noah wanted me to buzz his surfer/Bieber hair. I gave him a #4 on the sides and scissors on the top. And forgot about his extreme cowlick. Fortunately, he he adores the use of hair products.

He loves it. Ha. There. It's all that matters. Right? Right? *sigh*

Luke fared the best, he wanted a #3 all over and that's pretty much what he got.

Brian? Uh, he has some follicle issues so his took the longest. Plus he kept micromanaging me and I was starting to get pissed off and MAY have hacked one side just a little too low to the scalp.

Brian doesn't like me to put his picture on here, but -essentially-this is what he looks like.

Since sangria is made of fruit juice, and I always add ice and a splash of 7Up, I wasn't technically drunk. I don't let myself go there any more. But I was a little tipsy---so really, it was more like my Buzzed Barbershop Kitchen.

In more ways than one.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I have RULES! New Rules!

I had a rule for my social media interaction from the moment I opened my first facebook page: Only people I knew online or in person. And I kept my rule with my first facebook page.

Which I had to take down, or rather, facebook had to take down because, I broke their rules. (Honest, it was a misunderstanding, I wasn't spamming, I was fundraising.)

So-- I made a new page with a new name and new rules. I also got busy with the security buttons. I would only friend  people who knew me, and could find me.

And then I decided I wanted to network on facebook.

So I morphed my rules: if they could find me, or if I was ballsy enough to send them a friend request and they accepted, they were in.

This worked well for awhile, until facebook rolled out not only the new changes of a couple of weeks ago, but the changes for the future. I wanted to play, but I wanted to only play with a certain kind of people.

So I pruned my friends list. I used the Coffee Shop System: If I walked into a coffee shop and saw them, would I a)recognize them b)pretend I didn't see them, c)or walk up and say hi.

If the answer to A as No, I pruned them. If the answer to B  was Yes, cut.  A C Yes and they stayed. (And then I pruned some kids who I had been censoring my language for and a few people that I got tired of  reading statuses that alternated between whining about their life and making others feel bad for whining about their's.)

When the new changes roll again, I think I will cut again using the Fart Method: If I tooted loudly in front of them, would they pretend they didn't hear it or laugh at me. The pretenders go. Come on, when an adult lets one loose among friends, it's funny!

It doesn't mean that I don't like the people that I cut from my list, some of them were hard to X out. It's totally not them, it's me. I just want to know that I will feel comfortable sharing my music and movie choices with them and know that it won't change the way that they think about me.

Meanwhile, I have a g+ and twitter account. I don't plan on sharing my love of  bad '80's Romantic Comedies, and brags about my kids with people on there.

I only have a one rule on g+: Circle up anyone who I damn well feel like. (Two caveats: If I  have to click "Would you like google to translate this page?"  or are men with circles only full of women-- I'm not circling back.)

But basically, I'm a Circle Ho.
Ditto Twitter.
Find me.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Calender flipped to October! 2012 Calender in basket,waiting to be filled.

"Yay!" Bekah said as she flipped the calendar to the next page,"I love this! I've been waiting!"

I wasn't even at my first sip of coffee yet, so I didn't get it.


"Because these are my favorite three months! First, October is full of fun Halloween stuff, and then Thanksgiving is in November, and then-yippee!- it's Christmastime! All three months are fun, they are my favorites all year!"

Her joy was juxtaposed with the clutching of stress in my belly.

Halloween? I still have summer decor outside! I'm not ready for pumpkins and costumes and creepy looking treats!

Thanksgiving?! All that work to get that meal on the table! Planning, and shopping, and cleaning and chopping, and cooking....and  more cleaning.

Christmas!?! CHRISTMAS? That's the biggie! All that shopping and planning and wrapping and...

I took a sip of coffee to calm myself. These next three months are going to be busy, and full and...

I looked at my daughter prancing out of the room, excited for the fun and suprises that the next three months will bring. That's when it hit me... she has that image of these months because I have made the activities of them special for her and her brothers. All the planning and work--sure, it puts a pumpkin on our stoop, a beautiful dinner on the table, and a sparkly season celebrating the birth of our Saviour--it also make memories.

All that effort on my part makes the childhood memories of my children.

Worth it.

But I am going to need A LOT more coffee.