Tag Archives: life lessons

Not so little, plenty to go

I’m kinda bummed with my lack of creativity anymore.

I used to make a real point to write on the old blog a few times a month. Then once a month. Maybe. Give it a shot.

Not it’s like, twice a year.

It’s not like I gave up writing. Frankly, it’s all I ever do. If I’m not writing an actual story for an actual newspaper, I’m writing notes and lists and texts and emails and thoughts and ideas and facepage posts. I’m telling the kids when I’ll be home and telling old Jimmer what’s for dinner and telling myself not to freaking forget to take in the taxes yet there they sit… on the counter… I still have 15 days, don’t judge me.

I’m busy.

Not crazy busy.

But busy.

Enough that it took me a solid 10 minutes to figure out how to make a new post because all my neat-o wordpress options have changed.

So it’s no surprise that the passage of time has prompted me to have a good hard think about the passage of time.

“Are you going to be sad when I go to high school next year?”

Actual words from my actual child’s mouth. He’s going to be a freshman in the fall.

Bring on the woe is me, the “oh noes my baby boy,” the fear upon the realization that he’ll be legally behind the wheel in just over two years.

But then I saw some mommy blog crap, and my fears of “cannot believe my baby is growing up” came to a screeching halt.

Now, just a disclaimer. I really dislike mommy blogs. Like. A lot.

Probably the biggest reason that mommy blogs grind my gears is that they always appear to be written by women between the ages of 25 and 35 with only toddlers underfoot. They want to share their sage wisdom or hilarious stories of failures now that they are experienced moms with all the answers.

Even though they don’t yet know the horror of the 45 minute shower. Or wondering where all the hand towels went. Sippy cup problems are pretty ridiculous when your teenaged son morphs into a Disney princess sprawled across the bed shrieking “YOU DON’T KNOW!”

And I haven’t even hit real dating and high school dramz yet.

I often see mommy bloggers as embellishing storytellers with tales so ridiculous and way too long that sound like they come from jackasses who changed their email addresses to DylanandXandersMommy@Ihavenoidentity.com

Scary Mommy is the worst. If you Google “Scary Mommy Truth” you get 420,000 results, with hits including “the truth about divorce,” “the truth about having a third child,” “the truth about snow days” and my very favorite, “the universal truth of motherhood.” Spoiler alert – according to that post, the universal truth of being a mom is that we never again get to use the bathroom alone. Which is a hella lot of bullshit, get some god damn control over your home and your children and piss like a civilized human with the door closed, it literally takes a few seconds. My lord.

There’s also a “confessional” which rivals the Penthouse forum. It’s really weird.

So Scary Mommy and her sister blog sites share those DOWN TO EARTH truths about motherhood that I don’t identify with at all. But at the same time, these things have  something like a bijillion readers so obviously people like it and whatever, it’s just me. Others relate so that’s cool.

But yesterday I spotted this one – NOT Scary Mommy – and it irked me off more than usual:

“Lies I Refuse To Tell Myself Now That I’m A 30-Something Mom”

Featured on the “Message with a Bottle” blog, I have to admit, I didn’t get too far into this one. Because the very first lie that this 30-something mom refuses to tell herself is this:

I will no longer pretend that I’m young

Age really is relative, isn’t it? No matter how many 80-year-olds point a finger at me and proclaim, “YOUTH,” there need only be one 20-something to remind me that I’m pretty much ancient. Go hang out with someone fresh out of college if you doubt me. They’ll be like, “Let’s do shots!” and you’ll be all, “Ugh, just a half a glass of wine, please, that’s all I can handle tonight.”

I throw the bullshit flag on that so hard that I throw out my shoulder and dent the ground with the thing.

First.

Moms.

ENOUGH WITH THE WINE. What is this nonsense where moms are like “oooohhhhh lookey at MEEEEE I love wine!!” We get it, your kids drive you to drink. Newsflash, this started about 16 generations ago. Get with the times.

But second, and far more important, is this crap:

“I’m pretty much ancient.”

I get it. Hyperbole. Hilarious!!!

Now stop it.

For one thing, I didn’t go around in my 20s taking shots every night of the week, and I happen to know a lot of 20-somethings, and they don’t either. I had a job. Then later, I had a KID. Those  shot-takers who you cannot keep up with? They aren’t 20-somehtings, they are drunks. No one likes a drunk, not even a recent college grad.

But more importantly, it actually puts true sadness in my (apparently ancient since I’m not even a 30-something mom, I’m a fragile 42-year-old) heart to hear young people lament the loss of their youth, even in jest.

If your age is 30-something… you’re not old

Also not old — 40-somethings and 50-somethings. If you’re 60-somethings, you’re on the threshold. Maybe.

Why do people do this to themselves, this “I’m so old” nonsense. Of all the ways I love to poke at myself, age is not one of them. If you’re already doing the “oh my *deep sigh* I’m soooooo old” and you’re just in your 30s, how the hell do you expect to chase around your teenager. Because trust me — you NEED to chase them around.

You’re too old in your 30s? Aw, honey, middle school moms are going to EAT YOU ALIVE.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the passage of time, realizing that my little ones are not so little anymore.

But I’m reminded daily that while I’m 20 years out of college, I’m young as all get out. I don’t need to be 20-something to be young. I just need to be alive to be young.

My kid is going to high school next year. I look forward to him trying to keep up with his young mom.

And her glass of wine.

*cheers*

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The real problem with Elf on a Shelf

Hint – it’s not the elf.

It’s Christmas.

Christmas!

CHRISTMAS CHRISTMAS CHRISTMAS!!!

Let’s be clear.

There is nothing worse than winter.

It’s cold. It’s full of salt and dirty snow. It’s perpetual chilly nips no matter how many layers you are wearing. It’s heavy boots that still don’t stop your feet from getting wet and frozen boogers in your nose and car windows that are 100 percent clean except right in front of your eyes.

Winter blows.

Its one redeeming quality – when in comes old man winter, so follows Christmas.

Jim is not exactly into, like, God. He thinks it’s adorable that people think a baby was born in a stable surrounded by farm animals and none of them ate him and he didn’t get dysentery. He loves his pagan tree. He calls a nativity a “shrine” (is it? I don’t know!).

But you know what he really loves?

This:

Merry_Christmas_Mariah_Carey

Oh my lord, how he LOVES THIS ALBUM. All he wants for Christmas is you, Mariah. It’s all he wants.

When you talk about Jesus being the reason for the season, you are not talking about people like Jim. He’s not rude about it, I don’t mean it like that. He just isn’t much for organized religion.

But what he does love – what I do love – is some capitalism Christmas. The kind that tells you that Santa Claus drinking a Coca Cola while hanging out with a Polar Bear in line for the Black Friday sale at Walmart is the reason for the season!

Which means in this house, Christmas is about magic.

Enter Steve.

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Steve is our Elf on a Shelf. He arrived one year IN SHELVES. No really.

George had started to ask about the elf, some of his friends had one. So we went to Target (like good suburban parents) and picked up one of the 49739591357893493 dolls on display, and brought it home. That same day, the shelves that we ordered for the family room arrived. So Jim pulled the box opening back a little and shoved in the yet-unnamed Steve, and when he opened up the shelves – boom – out popped the elf.

It was adorable.

If you don’t think it was adorable, you are an asshole have a heart of stone.

George quickly named him Steve, clearly after his favorite Minecrafter. Steve.

Then he went to work moving about from place to place, until Christmas morning.

This is our third year with Steve, and it’s possible it’s the last year that this trick will work like magic. The child is 9 years old, I don’t know how much longer until he’s ready to tell us that he knows.

But for now, it’s just more Christmas magic, and it’s as much fun for Jim as it is for George.

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Steve will fight you if you take his candy.

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Steve loves to play Minecraft with his friends, Frog and Lucky Banana.

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There was that time that he did MTV Unplugged. Beautiful.

It wasn’t until I had an elf that I knew that elf-hate is a real thing. And now that it’s December, it’s plastered all over the internet.

A blogger on the Huffington Post proudly slapped out “8 Simple Ways to Exile the Elf” where she explains how you can use the elf to scare the shit out of your kids, ha ha! So hilarious, then they won’t like it. She ends the post with “you’re welcome.”

Another contributor writes about how we’re LYING to our children, when her daughter realizes the doll is a doll.

“Made in China?” A. asks dubiously. She fingers a white tag on Shelf Elf’s rump. “I thought he was from the North Pole.”

First of all lady. For real? She fingers his rump? What are you, 50 Shades of Elf?

I don’t know why you let your kid finger a doll, but ahem:

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There ain’t no tag on his ass. Unless you bought yours at the “here are some dolls for asshole parents” store. And let’s not forget the obvious – SANTA. If you’ll lie about Santa, the elf is RIGHT THERE WITH THAT LIE.

Of course we lie to our kids.

“I totally want to hear about that video game.”

“Your hair looks great!”

“Sure, that matches.”

“That picture is really good! You could be an artist!”

“We’ll see…”

All lies.

(Especially that last one, everyone knows that “we’ll see” is fancy talk for “no way in hell.”)

Then there’s this year’s top idea, floating around the facepage like a real life internet piece of downright genius:

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Hey kids. I’m here, but I’m not going to move around. Because I have a potentially deadly disease.

I just have one question to the parents who bitch and moan every year over the elf on a shelf:

Why are you assholes?

No really.

It’s not a competition. It’s not mandatory.

Every year, without fail, the whining, the moaning, the CRYING.

“Who has time to do that??”

Well, I don’t know, other people manage to binge watch TV shows and stand in line at Starbucks every day, somehow moving a doll is a commitment as time consuming as getting your PhD?

“Why would you use a doll to make sure your kids are good??”

I use discipline to make sure my kids are good. I use a doll to play a game.

“It’s creepy!”

No more creepy than a guy who rose from the dead after three days and started talking. You know… the reason for the season.

“That must be for stay at home moms!”

Yeah, we aren’t even going to go there…

Look, I get it. You don’t like the doll.

So don’t do it.

And don’t complain that you HAVE to do it because your kids are asking about the elves of their friends. You don’t have to do shit. Tell them the same thing you would tell them if the neighbor got a toy they couldn’t have, or went on a trip you can’t afford, or has things you just don’t have. Tell them – wait for it – NO.

Why is this suddenly too hard when it comes to the elf?

If you really think that the elf pictures on another person’s social media account make you look bad, you have a serious problem with narcissism. You are literally making the family fun of other people somehow about you. Dude. Put down the mirror, there are other people in the world.

Enough blog posts about how to rid yourself of the elf. Look, moms of the suburbs, if you can remember to pour yourself a glass of wine every night, you can remember to move a doll. It’s not about forgetting it, or not being creative.

It’s about that fact that you don’t wanna.

You don’t have to. It’s all good.

But no one is harassing you. Stop being so bound and determined to wag your finger at the elf.

The problem with the elf on a shelf isn’t the other parents who enjoy it every year, or the other kids who talk about it.

It’s you. You and your crappy attitude and incessant need to complain about something that you choose to do or can choose not to do.

It’s just you.

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Because this kid’s happiness is not there for you to shit on.

Merry Christmas!!

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Mean girl

We were sitting in a meeting. My boss was talking.

“Blargity blah blah blah, and also bleh blargh….”

My co-worker tapped me on the shoulder.

“He’s talking to you,” he whispered out of the side of his mouth.

I could feel my face burn with flush as I looked up, my boss still talking. The others who sat around the table were giving me the side eye, aware — and amused — that I was totally busted.

I wasn’t listening to the bossman. But it was important.

I was on the facepage.

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Dealing with a bully.

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Womp womp.

There’s this mean girl who won’t leave me alone. Yes. Mean Girl. Like the movie. The one with Regina George.

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Only this mean girl isn’t a teenager in a fictional film. She’s a grown ass woman. A REAL one. I’ve been around her forever but frankly didn’t notice how awful she was. But here she is, once again, terrorizing me on that stupid facepage.

Her name?

Narcissism.

And holy hell is she kind of a bitch.

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I don’t know when this actually happened, but it’s been happening for a while now, and it’s especially noticeable on social media. She is snarky and blunt. She cuts people off (as much as you can do in type). She has favorites and rolls her eyes at other people’s posts. She screen grabs them so she can show them and sneer about it with others. She is ALWAYS RIGHT. Don’t even try to argue, she’s in your face with her rightness and her-let-me-prove-its.

And she’s not letting up.

I’ll give her this though…

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She. Is. Adorable.

I have officially entered the most ridiculous phase of my adult life. At 41, I find myself glued to my smart phone. Clicking on apps, counting up likes, posting nonsense, pissing people off.

And I don’t know what the hell is going on.

We spend all this time giving aggressive eyerolls to the youth of world. Those Millenials. They’re so full of themselves. They think it’s important to post photos of every scone they eat, every outfit they wear, and god forbid they don’t announce when they go to the gym. We get it. You do pilates.

But the fact is, if they are full of themselves, its only because someone else is feeding it. And that someone is pretty much the rest of us. For as Gen X as still am (hello, I have THREE butterflies tattooed on me!), I’m as self absorbed as anyone else.

It’s not a bad thing, to be self absorbed. To a point. I mean, sure, there are a handful of truly selfless folks in the world. But pretty much zero of them are on the facepage. It’s quite literally your own internet page with your name on the top and every word typed is about your thoughts and your feels and your needs and your hilarious whatevers.

I found myself recently counting likes.

And then?

Then I was comparing them.

“I have more likes than her, and she’s kind of a beast, so I am totally winning.”

“More people looked at my post than his post, score.”

“I’ll just type this” *clackity clackity clack* “And…… boom, send.”

Did I mention how old I am?

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Yes. I’m 41 years old. FORTY-ONE.

Which is how many more likes I got than that jerk, zing!

I kid.

Kind of.

I’m older than Joan of Arc and the Virgin Mary COMBINED, and I’m counting my likes. And getting annoyed at people for not liking me more, or faster, or better, or in a more vocal way. I can only assume that the people who don’t fall all over themselves over my words are all…

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Because they certainly are talking about me behind my back. There is no other explanation. They can’t stop talking about me. That’s why they aren’t talking about me.

Wait. What…

Seriously.

I’ve become such a narcissist about my social media, I’ve literally gotten in ACTUAL fights about it. Because people are talking. And they might be talking about me. They probably are. I need to go check.

While my boss — a real and actual person who gives me money — is ACTUALLY talking to me.

And then finally make it back home, where I sit at home and obsess over it more.

Not the assignment my boss just handed me. No no. I obsess over the likes.

This is officially the dumbest I have ever been in my entire life. Most of the people who I interact with in this way? I don’t really even know them. I think I do. But I don’t. And since there’s enough narcissism to go around, I think it’s only fair to say, they are pretty much in the same boat.

I took the facepage app off my phone. I had to. I can’t stop clicking it. And reading. And deciding what’s about me even when it makes no sense that it could be, but I’ve turned into someone so self absorbed I think that EVERY COMMENT IS HIDING AN AGENDA.

And who am I ignoring in the mean time?

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The ones who do know me. The ones who are talking about me. The ones who talk to me. The ones who I want to talk about more than anything else in the world.

I can’t break up with the facepage. I love her too much.

But I have GOT to rid myself of this narcissist. She’s such a nasty bully.

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Take that, narcissist. I’m done with you.

*end note — Writing a long blog post all about myself saying that I am done making everything all about me… now that’s just comedy.

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The fall ball

He followed behind me through the Target, trudging ever so slowly, his small feet stomp-stomp-stomping on the linoleum, something obviously amiss.

“What is it,” I crabbed through a yawn.

“I just… I thought I’d get a prize,” he said, stone cold serious.

“A prize????” I said, shocked. “For what?”

“For dancing with you,” he said, looking down at his slow, stomping, untied shoes on his slow, stomping, little boy feet.

But he was serious as a heart attack. Eight years old, that tear in the corner of his eye threatening to escape right on out and down his cheek. We’d spent 90 minutes at the annual Mother-Son Fall Ball, you see. There had been line dancing former woo girls recapturing their college days with eyes closed while they forgot for three minutes that they were in the cafetorium of the elementary school. There were at least three moms who didn’t realize that it wasn’t a full on formal event. There were banana clips. We had to hear what the damn fox said.

But for a brief minute, Stevie Wonder sang some mellow, comfortable, soothing Stevie Wonder song, and that boy came and grabbed me by the hand, and let me swing and sway right in the center of that makeshift dance floor, where at one point I even dipped him low and smothered him with wet kisses right there in front of his friends. Surely that’s worth a prize. Say, a Lego, retail price, $25. Why else would he have asked to stop at Target under the guise of “I’m hungry, can I get a snack.” We needed milk anyway.

Should have seen it coming.

A prize.

*scoff*

He looked up at me. Pitiful.

“Please,” he whimpered. “You’re just so awesome.”

Call me a sucker. Call me a fool. Slap my ass and call me Lloyd Christmas. Because he’s right. I’m awesome.

It’s getting away from me, this childhood thing. Just like my Mama said it would. I won’t say that it’s blink-of-an-eye fast, but the things that I thought were just NEVER. GONNA. END….

  • …middle of the night wake-ups
  • …toddler sized clothes
  • …believing in magical creatures
  • …cuddles
  • …wanting me
  • …needing me

It’s fading. It’s fading fast.

There was no “mother” in the Mother-Son Fall Ball. I joked with one of the other moms that they should sell alcohol. And we both went, “ha ha… ha ha ha….. a ha ha.. ha…”

*sigh*

*throat clear*

*look around*

*sip lemonade*

*look at it disgusted because it’s not spiked*

*wish the alcohol fairy would appear*

*smile at one another*

*look at the air*

We really were just there to drop our kids off, and watch them run around the cafetorium for 90 minutes, and occasionally hand them a dollar bill to go and buy another glow stick like some learning curve into the raves of tomorrow. I suppose whatever it is that the fox says would be hilarious if I had some mind altering medications in me…

I digress.

My fun and free party days gave in to these days of motherhood, of poopy diapers and midnight wake-ups and sore boobs and screw it I’m bottle feeding I’ll just lie to the breast-feeding Nazis because FOR THE LOVE my nipples are bleeding and carry on and carry through and first steps and first words. My fellow women-folk and I read the books and did the work on our relationships and made MORE babies (because of the alcohol) and did it again and took on more than we should because as it turned out we could and dammit we were good at it.

But the funny thing is, while we were busy preparing for babies — leaning to install car seats and to put them to sleep on their backs and testing nipples (for our filthy bottle feeding habits!!) and becoming oblivious to the vomity smell of the boppy wondering if we’d ruin them for life with an exersaucer versus the walker — no one even ONE time told us that we’d need to prepare for things like the Mother-Son Fall Ball. Or MAP testing. Or weekly spelling tests. Or parent teacher conferences. Or the extended phone call you’d have to have with an English teacher who’d marked on your seventh grader’s paper that the event he’d written about – the 1989 San Francisco earthquake – had never happened (totally true story).

One day they went off to pre-K, and it was so adorable, you pretty much wet yourself. You fail to realize how quickly it stops being so cute. That the 100-day project and Flat Stanley only go so far into a kid’s academic career.

Suddenly you’re left still with these little kids. But they sure aren’t your babies any more. They’re youngsters who want a prize for dancing with you.

“Isn’t he so amazing, he’ll be all grown before you know it,” my mother would say, her annoying words carving like a scratching bug right into my earhole.

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Seriously, lady, why are you rushing him?

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Why are you rushing along the mop top toddler-hood like I’ll forget all about it?

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See. Still as little as always. Only not so much. Now, they want prizes for dancing with me.

I hate it when my mother was right.

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So we made a deal. First, the selfie. The proof that there was in fact the Mother-Son Fall Ball. He wore a tie. I bought him glow sticks. I was his date. He lost a tooth just for the occasion. We danced. It wasn’t the longest dance, but it was a magical one. I sang when Stevie Wonder sang. He rolled his eyes at me. He let me kiss him in front of his friends.

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He got his prize. One messy pre-packaged, terrible for you salty snack pack, and one (not $25, more like $3.99) Lego. He did, after all, dance with me.

And there is still this:

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The little one and the big one, the big one almost there. The tips of my fingers just ever so slightly reach over the tippy tops of his. For now, this week, for the moment, my hands, these hands that once could hold both theirs inside the palm of my own, are still bigger.

They are still my baby boys.

They always will be.

You can have a prize.

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Good Lordy…

Ah, I remember it like it were yesterday.

The lady who lived across the street and a few houses down was turning 40. FORTY! I thought, how is she not dead? She was turning 40, and her husband got up early and erected a big old sign in the front lawn.

“Good Lordy, Whats-her-name is 40!”

(I can’t remember what her first name was, I am certain he used it though, and did not call her Whats-her-name.)

I heard my Mom and the biddies some of the other upstanding adult women from the neighborhood gossiping engaging in intelligent conversation based only on facts and not conjecture about the big four-oh for Whats-her-name, and it appeared that her gift back to him for his surprise was a nice packet of divorce papers.

Forty-year-olds, I thought, are weird.

Huh.

I really wondered if I would not handle 40 well. Would I curl up in the corner denying the age process? Would I do something stupid to prove I’m still young (I mean, I am — go ask a group of Baby Boomers if they think 40 is old) like jump out of a high place with only a hand-sewn piece of rayon to keep me from splattering to earth? Would I storm into Forever 21 demanding service?

As it turns out, though, I’m not even a little bit annoyed. I’m so unbothered to be 40, the only thing bothering me is why I’m not more bothered. I think, maybe, it’s helpful to be the youngest of five. When everyone goes through it first, including one of them hitting the big FIVE-oh before you even get to FOUR-oh…

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…well, then maybe you just aren’t as annoyed or scared or desperate to divorce your husband at 40 like old Mrs. Whats-her-name was.

I did wake up with a sore hip.

But rather than LAMENT the passing of time, I decided to take a look back at the last decade. Did I spend my time wisely in my 30’s? Was I properly mature and responsible while still being fun and full of awesome (I think we all know it’s a resounding YES to the awesome part, but that’s just a given). Did I properly leave my 30’s as a graduated member of the Generation X Dirty-30 Club, as well as an honored and respectable alumna of Volvo-Driving Soccer Mom University (those might actually be the same thing).

In pictures, I think, it looks like I had a good time.

Let’s take a look!

Age 30 ~ I couldn't find any digital photos, so at a minimum, I really AM showing my age. Here I am with a sweet two year old Hank.

Age 30 ~ I couldn’t find any digital photos, so at a minimum, I really AM showing my age. Here I am with a sweet two-year-old Hank.

Age 31 ~ Fulfilled Mom and Dad's dream by finding some fool to marry me and take me and my kid off their hands. They actually would have preferred if I left Hank behind, but as it turns out, he was Jim's dowry.

Age 31 ~ Fulfilled Mom and Dad’s dream by finding some fool to marry me and take me and my kid off their hands. They actually would have preferred if I left Hank behind, but as it turns out, he was Jim’s dowry.

Age 32 ~ I spent most of this year with a baby either in my uterus or attached to a bosom or hip. How cute is George? And how enormous are my jugs?

Age 32 ~ I spent most of this year with a baby either in my uterus or attached to a bosom or hip.

How cute is George?

How cute is George?

And how enormous are my jugs?

And how enormous are my jugs?

Age 33 ~ I looked sexy in yellow.

Age 33 ~ I looked sexy in yellow.

And I inappropriately sat on Jesus' lap.

And I inappropriately sat on Jesus’ lap.

Age 34 ~ I continued the family tradition of getting your father drunk.

Age 34 ~ I continued the family tradition of getting your father drunk, and looking uncomfortable at the fair, and making sure to suck in when you stand next to a pregnant woman for a photo so you look extra skinny!!.

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Age 35 ~ 8th Grade reunion? Yes please! It's weird that I'm the only one in the photo holding a beer, right?

Age 35 ~ 8th Grade reunion? Yes please! It’s weird that I’m the only one in the photo proudly holding my beer, right?

And of course, we took this sweet shot with Brendan. Big dumb loveable jerk.

And of course, we took this sweet shot with Brendan. Big dumb loveable jerk.

Age 36 ~ Kayla and I got dressed all sassy and took photos and went out boozing. It was just like the decade before, only we came home at a reasonable hour because it's only wise to get a good night's sleep.

Age 36 ~ Kayla and I got dressed all sassy and took photos and went out boozing. It was just like the decade before, only we came home at a reasonable hour because it’s only wise to get a good night’s sleep.

Age 37 ~ The ladies of the Chick Shack visit the big cracked bell. Like you don't want to party with us. After George graduated I made him get a job, then I relived my younger days by driving to Kansas City on a whim for a ball game with Kayla. Where we again got a decent night's sleep so we would be refreshed for driving home the next day...

Age 37 ~ The ladies of the Chick Shack visit the big cracked bell. Like you don’t want to party with us. After George graduated I made him get a job, then I relived my younger days by driving to Kansas City on a whim for a ball game with Kayla. Where we again got a decent night’s sleep so we would be refreshed for driving home the next day…

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Age 38 ~ If there is one year where pictures show my endless battle with my weight, it's age 38. First I ran and drank.

Age 38 ~ If there is one year where pictures show my endless battle with my weight, it’s age 38. First I ran and drank.

Then I took more photos with this fatty.

Then I took more photos with this fatty.

Then we ruled the field at unafflilliated minor league ball park.

Then we ruled the field at unaffiliated minor league ball park.

And I mud raced! (this left quite an ass bruise)

And I mud raced!
(this left quite an ass bruise)

And I turned into the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, but at least I finally got to see Ireland!

And I turned into the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, but at least I finally got to see Ireland!

Age 39 ~ Determined to get my body back in a shape other than round. First I ran another 13.1 miles without even being chased.

Age 39 ~ Determined to get my body back in a shape other than round. First I ran another 13.1 miles without even being chased.

The I held hands with the KGB.

Then I held hands with the KGB.

Models became my besties for a brief moment in time.

Models became my besties for a brief moment in time.

I died.

I died.

I conquered!

I conquered!

So as you can see, I think I took advantage of all the things there are for a woman in her 30’s to take advantage of. I reproduced. I suckered a man into marriage fell in love. I got fat. I got less fat. I went places. I met new people. I exercised. I saw historical artifacts! I made Kayla take photos with me TWICE while pregnant so I looked skinny. I had just a few drinks.

And I managed this:

wedding3139

Granted, this might be more meaningful at 46 or 51, but I was excited, yo. Because Fatty Marney didn’t fit in that a year ago.

So how did 40 start?

Eating breakfast take-out while checking out my new John Denver Greatest Hits album while wearing my Mrs. Kenny readers.

Eating breakfast take-out while checking out my new John Denver Greatest Hits album while wearing my Mrs. Kenny readers.

How. Hot. Am. I?

Looking forward to the next 40! Who wants to party with me?

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Lucky ’13

I’ve totally been waiting for the longest time to post this.

There were plenty of ups and downs in 2013. The most down was probably the idiocy that was my brief time in “fashion” and the fact that I now know that someone as hideous as The Beast exists in this world.

But there were more ups than downs, in the end. For starters, these guys:

010

Looking all cute on Christmas…

101_1961

And giving the hugs…

boys in ties

And wearing ties!

Then there was the joy of watching my husband cry in public, AGAIN:

cup

And he touched it too!!!

marney jim cup

Lucky Banana even got to go to opening night.

marney and lb

The year 2013 was also the comeback of LASERS:

00elflasers 003 012

And of course, Rob Ford.

00ford1

Thank you, Canada!

But the thing that I really like to show off about good old 2013, was the difference from beginning to end. On Jan. 1, 2013, I came home after a trip to Ireland. After that trip, at 5’4″ tall, I was officially 193 pounds, and apparently, no one told me that my clothes did not fit.

On Dec. 31, 2013, I am 150 pounds.

marney green sweater

See what I mean about the clothes? They couldn’t tell me that didn’t fit? Thanks, sisterhood, you jerks.

I think my ability to take a selfie has also improved, if you ask me. I’m pretty totes adorbs. I think that sweater is actually too big now.

You know, according to my BMI, I am still overweight. But I’d like to give a good old fashioned FU to the BMI. I’m not so fatty these days. Let’s try to keep it that way for 2014 — the year I turn 40!

b&a

Hopefully my next Indi Mini-Marathon won’t be so plump.

Happy New Year, Y’all!

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In my expert opinion

And…… nothing.

That’s right, I have nothing to add in my expert opinion, because I am not an expert. Not in anything that I can mention on a blog that my mother reads, anyway.

So, here I am, looking at 40. This is an interesting age, and I think it is especially interesting for me as the youngest in my own family, where hitting 40 is once again just the thing that everyone else got to do first.

Do I feel old? No. Maybe? Just a tad sometimes? But while maybe I can look back on 26 or 31 with fond “oh, to be young again” bemoaning, I also know a few 50, 60, 70+ year olds who think the same of 40. So maybe I should stop mourning the loss of my youth and embrace the fact that I am still, in fact, young.

But as I age, there is one thing that I STOP doing, slowly. And that, my friends, is thinking that I know it all.

I saw a “trending” article on the facepage about a mom named Stephanie Metz, who posted on her blog last month a diatribe aimed at the agents of “modern parenting” and how “the mentality of our society in 2013 is nauseating” to her. Stephanie is a mother of two young boys, and as a mother of two boys myself, you’d think I relate to this lady. And I suppose I probably could. If I could see past her arrogance of presuming to know how the world works for ALL other parents from her perch behind a computer screen somewhere in South Dakota.

I’ll avoid my bitchy instinct to comment on her annoying habit of writing her blog in centered text.

Seriously, this is annoying

as hell to read. Why the hell are you

centering the text. Who taught you this

nonsense? Stop it. Stop it right

this very minute.

But I do want to take just a moment to address the substance of her post from October 25, entitled, Why My Kids Are NOT the Center of My World.

I assumed I would agree with this post, based on that title. Jim and I try really hard not to let the kids think that they are sun around which our world revolves. They have their shining moments, but they have their backstage ones too. We try not to spoil, or to let them have expectations that we’ll just do something for them.

But then I started reading it, and it was downright comical at parts.

A small sample:

In completely selfish terms, bringing my boys into this world was such a great decision – for me.  They bring me so much joy, they fill my heart, they make me happy.  But I often question whether or not it was the right decision for them.  My boys are typical little boys.  They love to play guns.  They love to play good guy versus bad guy.  They love to wrestle and be rowdy.  That’s the nature of little boys, as it has been since the beginning of time.

How long will it be before their typical boy-ish behavior gets them suspended from school?  How long before they get suspended from daycare???  How long will it be before one of them gets upset with a friend, tells that friend to go away and leave them alone, and subsequently gets labeled as a bully?

The mentality of our society in 2013 is nauseating to me, friends.

Do you see what I mean about the center text? That’s annoying.

Once I realized she was starting off on a “let my kids have their guns” stance, I realized maybe we’d have issues. I get it, you want your kids to play with their toy guns. Newsflash, mine have them too. But also, newsflash AGAIN, not all little boys play with fake guns. And newsflash times three, guns in school are an actual documented real threat, and schools have to do SOMETHING. They set anti-gun rules and regulations. If you hate it, home school your kids. But is it really that big of a deal that your kid can’t bring his Nerf gun to school? Is this such a necessary part of his childhood?

I digress.

She carries on about how modern parents are too protective. They answer to their children too quickly, they don’t let them feel agony of defeat. They will not be prepared for society, she notes, because their folks aren’t letting them learn to be disappointed.

While I don’t disagree that parents like this exist, the idea that it is new or modern or the plight of the Mom and Dad of 2013 is downright laughable. There have always been parents who hovered over their children and protected them from the big bad, and there have always been children who received a rude awakening when finally dropped into the real world. Where do you think the term “Mama’s Boy” came from, anyway?

Stephanie goes on about how we overreact to bullying, and how her boys will be prepared for the real world, because SHE is clearly winning at motherhood as she preps them for the fight by letting them know that they can’t always be the most important person in the room.

Take that, modern parents. Schooled!

For the most part, however, I find her post naive and uninformed. At best, she is being disingenuous in parts, although, if she is not, then she is clueless.

At one point, on her anti- anti-bulling rant, she writes: “…if Sally calls Susie a bitch (please excuse my language if that offends you), Susie’s whole world crumbles around her, she contemplates suicide, and this society encourages her to feel like her world truly has ended, and she should feel entitled to a world-wide pity party. And Sally – phew! She should be jailed! She should be thrown in juvenile detention for acting like – gasp – a teenage girl acts.”

That’s fine and all, except that there’s nothing accurate about it.

Girls call each other bitches all the time in school. Still happens. And they really do still just deal with it, just like we all did when we were younger.

Stephanie is equating every instance of name calling with every instance of true bullying. The latest incident of a girl who killed herself in relation to being bullied, it wasn’t because of one little comment, and no one was jailed for just acting like a teenager. It was documented systematic abuse of a girl who was subsequently failed by everyone, from her school to her own parents. It was far more serious than a single instance of name calling.

I felt my skin crawl a little reading Stephanie’s rant, as she cheapened the true struggles of those who ARE bullied, by suggesting that it’s all in their heads. It’s not. That’s great when so many of us can look back and say, meh, it wasn’t so bad, I dealt with it. But to suggest that our experience then MUST be the one everyone else feels, that’s just ignorant. Did you know that suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people aged 15-24. It’s not a punchline. Should we really brush these people off like they just weren’t tough enough to take it?

I say this to Stephanie and those who nod their heads along with her:  My world does not revolve around my children completely either. That said, I can teach them to function in society while simultaneously protecting them from the truly bad things of the world, just like my own mother and father did for us. I can teach them not to put up with being crapped on by others, without telling them that it’s just a part of life, and toughen up.

Because it’s not.

Most people aren’t shoved into lockers by their employers. Co-workers actually are NOT allowed to walk around calling each other bitches. It’s okay to teach them that they don’t have to accept being pushed around, figuratively and literally. It doesn’t mean I am tuning them into losers with no critical thinking skills. Quite the opposite, I am trying to teach them conflict resolution. Who knows if it will stick. But it’s my job to try.

I can also teach them to come to me with their problems, big and small, and, lacking the ability to reach a solution on their own, I will come to their aid. Not because they are the center of my world, but because I am their mother, and that is my job.

They don’t have to just sit and take it. Sometimes they can come to me. Sometimes they can come to their father. Sometimes they can go to each other. And other times, yes, they will be told to figure it out. But I won’t teach them that figuring out solutions to all their problems MUST be done on their own. That dealing with problems in the silence of their own thoughts will somehow magically make them better adults.

And I won’t assume that their experiences will mirror my own. That’s just, well, dense.

Stephanie does not seem to understand that there are more than two kinds of parents out there. It’s not just her kind, and the wrong kind.

But it was her end notes that really got me: “I know of two gentlemen that are going to be able to accept failure and move on having learned something from it…  I know of two gentleman who will be hurt emotionally, but who will be able to work through the hurt and carry on with life.”

I find this hilarious.

Try not to break your arm patting yourself on the back there, lady. No one knows exactly how their children will turn out as adults. Especially in light of the fact that the two gentlemen who Stephanie is raising are pretty much still babies.

Stephanie is not an idiot, and I suspect she is not at all ignorant or dense or naive. But she certainly is presumptuous. Stephanie clearly thinks she knows that which she cannot possibly know. I imagine, as I wind my way through understanding junior high, my brother and sisters with grown children are laughing at the things I have yet to figure out.

My mother is enjoying this the most.

You can’t possibly be an expert on what other parents do, or how they do it, or how your brand of parenting teens is the right way to parent teens, when your children are more than a decade away from that milestone.

Stephanie mentions she is 29.

I’m 39.

Talk to me in ten years, honey. You’re not quite the expert on raising hormone-filled boys and navigating middle and high school behavior that you seem to think you are. Nor are you all that knowledgeable on how to navigate the world of bullying just because you once faced a bully or two yourself.

This isn’t your story. It’s theirs. And you have yet to see a glimpse.

In my expert opinion, I say, you’ll learn.

And you’ll realize how ridiculous you sound.

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