For every perfectly sweet sibling shoot, there will be nine like you see here.
Don't take it personally. Kids are weird.
Guess who doesn't love to be squished into a laundry basket?
Oh, that would be these two...
It is a fact*, that nine out of ten photo shoots end poorly.
For every perfectly sweet sibling shoot, there will be nine like you see here.
Don't take it personally. Kids are weird.
Guess who doesn't love to be squished into a laundry basket?
Oh, that would be these two...
Back in the days of yore, Daddy Pants was a biker. Of the mountain variety. And he was really good. Apparently while he lived in California, he was winning races and being amazing. Spending whole days biking through mountains and kind of being a ninja. When he talks about it, he is wistful. He misses it. The freedom of riding. The open-ness. This level of activity makes no sense to me but it does to him. Even though years have gone by and biking has been behind him for so long. It's a part of him. He's been talking about getting back on the bike and riding with his son since Mr. Pants was somewhere near 45 minutes old. The idea striking a 50/50 mixture of love and fear in me. The fear, well, you know, because of bears and such. Riding off away from me into the great wide open and into the arms of waiting bears. No one has ever accused me of being rational.
So when it occurred to us recently that Mr. Pants was crazy good at riding a bike (of course he is), Daddy's heart skipped a beat. "I need to take him to the bike trail", he said. I returned with, "Maybe just an empty parking lot? What if he gets tired on the trail and can't ride any further? What if you get a mile in and there's an injury? What if he's not ready for a bike trail!!! He's only three! ". And that's right about the time I almost had a mini stroke thinking about my two boys out in the wilderness, hurt, alone, stuck under a boulder and being eaten by bears. The look in Daddy's eyes took me back to a familiar place. "He's Mr. Pants. I'm his dad. I'll take care of him. He will be fine." I admit that he would indeed love it and start bargaining with Daddy about having a first aid kit and never leaving his phone in the car. The eyes staring back at me send a very clear message. They say, "You are going to your crazy place again.". It's true. I was. But I am getting better at this letting go thing. So I take myself by my shoulders and shake the crazy out. It's a bike trail. I'm not sending them off into the dessert on a quest. I mean, it's a paved trail five minutes from the house. So I take a deep breath and pretend to let go of my anxiety. I fake it until I make it. Because the spark in daddy's eyes said to me, "I need this. I have been waiting three years to go on a bike ride with my son" and I needed to quit being such a anxiety ball and not pee on his parade. So off to the bike trail they went. Father and son. Going on an adventure. I waved goodbye and employed my strategy of taking deep breathes and muttering to myself like nut. Trusting (well trying really hard to trust) that they would be ok. "They will be fine", I said to myself. "They will be fine. They will be fine. They will be fine".
And you know what? They were just fine.
Even if Daddy did get thrown from his bike attempting to help Mr. Pants get up a really steep hill. Lil dude refusing to leave his bike because he was literally having the time of his life. But he couldn't get up the hill. An assist from Daddy was needed. And instead of riding straight on once at the top, Pants turned his wheel toward Daddy's front tire. Successfully making every effort to only hurt himself, Daddy hit the ground. And upon seeing his dad go down, Mr. Pants followed suit. In a grand gesture of solidarity, Mr. Pants dramatically and in slow motion "fell" off his bike and lay next to his dad. Waiting for him to shake it off and ride on. So there IS something that can get that kid off his bike. He wants to be just like his dad. Even if it means falling.
When Daddy relayed the story, my heart filled up. Because yeah, they survived the first injury but also because I realized that Pants was going to follow his dad's lead when they encounter trouble. I exhaled. Again. And fell in love with the idea of my boys out there adventuring. Connecting. Being free, together.
So I let go of another fear. Well almost. I just need to review safety measures for bear encounters and teach them to Daddy.
Don't hate me because I'm 20 and fancy
What does Fancy mean to you? What makes you feel it? How do you make sure you are taking the time to care for the fancy inside of you? These are the questions that I have for myself. And also for you. I'm gearing up to add a whole new element to this here blog. One that is gonna pretty much rule. A blog within a blog. And it's called Fancy Pants. What in the world is Fancy Pants, you ask? Well let me explain.
I have written about my journey to fancy. I have lamented my lost fancy. I have made a few strides in the right direction but I'm nowhere near where I want to be. I came across this picture of myself recently and was all, "Damn, I really was fancy!" And I started wondering how it is even possible to get to that feeling again. You know after gaining weight, growing two people inside my body and losing any firmness in my boobs. Seriously, what's fancy about a grapefruit in a tube sock? That's right, I just told you that my boobs sag like crazy. How in the world, for the love of Regis, did I get so from fancy at thirty-six years old that it will take me all year long to regain just a smidgey of that fancy lady over there (never mind how bad I want those arms back). But a pinch is all I need. And maybe that dress back. I mean that dress is probably the fanciest dress this side of anywhere.
Fancy isn't the same for everyone. I mean, sure, sequins and ruby red lips help. And fringe. Fringe makes everything fancy. But fancy is a feeling. It's the confidence and strength that comes from feeling fulfilled. Feeling good. It's guilt free and freeing. It makes you feel alive and reminds you that you are enough. That you can be and fulfill all the goals you set for yourself. And you can do that while wiping butts and picking boogers out of your kid's nose too. We don't have to give up our fancy, because we are parents. Even though sometimes it feels that way.
So here's where YOU come in. Fancy Pants isn't about me. It's about all of us. Mamas who are taking the time to care for ourselves and find that feeling again. Finding a way to bring together the mom and the woman. Bringing them together to create our best self. Without guilt. Without judgment. Finding a way to care for ourselves and our families. It sounds so easy but we know it's not. You know it's sometimes just a very hard thing to do. So I propose that we journey together and inspire each other. That we read each other's stories and get fancy together. One post at a time. One Friday at a time. Whadya say? Are you with me?
Here's what you need to know...
1. Every Friday there will be a new story. A new inspiration. I hope that you will consider sending yours. Pretty please! Seriously, you have to.
2. Write whatever you want. However you want. Tell me, what makes you feel fancy? How did you find your fancy? Are you still looking for it? Do you have a secret for finding it?
3. Visuals are encouraged, but not required.
4. When you send a submission, include a bio line or two at the bottom of your post. Example -> "Mama Pants is a mama of two and eats fancy for breakfast. She is also a Midwestern gem. You can find her writing her lil heart out over at www.theadventuresofthefamilypants.com".
5. Contribute as many posts as you want. Long, short, serious, funny, or raunchy. I want it all. I really do.
6. Come back every Friday starting in July for a new post on the Fancy Pants page.
SEND ALL SUBMISSIONS TO: firstname.lastname@example.org
Now what are you waiting for? What makes you feel fancy? I'm dying to know!
Last night we celebrated a friend. A real and amazing guy who died too soon because cancer is an evil asshole that takes both the young and old. My friend was 37.
Death sucks. There is just no way around that. But you know what else sucks? Funerals. And that is something we can do something about.
Funerals are bland and weird out of body experiences where no one knows what to do with their hands. It is a fact that I almost pulled my own fingers off during calling hours last night. I looked down at my hands to find the right one attempting to kill the left one. I was awkward and socially inept. It's true. At one point someone was speaking to me and I stared off like a trauma patient into the wallpaper. You know, the wallpaper that is in every funeral home? It's hypnotizing. Anyway, when I realized I had left the conversation, I felt like an asshole and spent the next few minutes trying to explain that I wasn't myself. And on about twenty seven different occassions I said things that made no sense to people I didn't know. They probably thought I was on drugs. Again, not myself. And, duh. None of us were. Our friend just died. Every one of us was a bit far away.
There is just something totally unnerving about calling hours and funeral homes. And it's beyond the obvious :there are dead people in them: reason. It's stifling and too quiet. I've been to many many funerals and they are all the same. They smell the same. They feel the same. There are the exact same dudes in nice suits quietly showing you how to find the restroom. The same flower arrangements and poster boards with pictures of the dead. It's all so...the same. Quietly the same. Don't get me wrong, I know a lot of people are comforted by knowing the ritual and what to expect. But I'm not. It makes me uncomfortable and twitchy.
Last night started with the ritual of calling hours. We walked in the door to find the guy that greets you in that quiet and calm voice. We round the corner to find the poster boards of pictures, the guest book and video slideshow. Making a turn into the room, we fall into the arms of friends and cry for our friend who is gone. Moving into the viewing room, it occurs to me that even though the ritual is playing itself out, it's ok. And it's ok, because I am standing in front of my dear friend's ashes, forever encased in a giant yellow happy faced Lego case. Brilliant.
After the calling hours is when the celebration began. A straight up celebration of our friend. At the local bar where we had all played together for years. It has been about three years since I've been there. But it was like I never left. It was the perfect mixture of tears and laughter. Old friends all together for the first time in a long time. The beer was flowing, the hugs were tight and the stories we shared with each other were belly busting. "Remember when Chad stormed the river and lost his glasses?", "Remember that night when we were at Denny's and that guy went crazy?, "I have missed you. Let's get our families together. It's been too long".
The I love you's flowed out and into hugs that made the pain a little less. The vodka helped with that too. Our collective pain eased in the celebration of his life. The way he would have wanted us to. Laughing, hugging, loving and bar yelling. Jessica said to me that it felt like he was there. She was so right. It did. It absolutely felt like at any moment we'd see him at the top of the stairs. That says to me that it was the perfect way to say goodbye. Not in some funeral home, but in the summer heat at the local bar. In the sticky, sweaty-hot arms of a hundred of our closest friends.
When life is unfair and things make no sense, these two crazy kids find a way to bring comfort. I have comforted them and kissed their boo boos and held them while they have barfed all over me. I have changed seven thousand poopy diapers. They've pulled my hair and peed on my clothes. I love it all. Even the Midevil torture that is teething. Because there is nothing more comforting than their love. Especially when they work together to make their mama laugh like they did yesterday. Squeezing into tiny spaces together and thinking they were brilliant comedians.
Look at me! I don't fit in here! Don't be sad, mama...
They lured me from my sadness and challenged me to laugh. Mr. Pants pulled out his creepster voice (a cross between Kermit and the dude from Sling Blade). Seriously the creepiest and most hysterical kid voice of all time and when he pulls it out, Plum believes he is the most fantastic thing that has ever lived. And man does that just egg him on.
Not to be outdone, she breaks into song. Delivering her repertoire of favorite tunes. Complete with hand motions.
And Pants begins to realize he has lost the spotlight and reflects on his ability to hold an audience's attention.
I sit and watch the show. These two. And for a few minutes I am taken on ride away from my sadness. I am so grateful.
I have stared at the text I received yesterday a hundred times. The words don’t make sense. They don’t go together. They are wrong. “C just died”. I had just come in from being outside with the kids. As life was happening at my house, kids playing, laughing. His life was ending.
I am shocked. I’m really fucking pissed. You shouldn’t be gone. People aren’t supposed to die at 37. But my shock doesn’t make much sense to me. We all knew it was the end. For several days we waited for updates. Hoping for a miracle but knowing in our hearts that your life was ending. Those days, for me, were a flood of memories. Lying in bed at night thinking and laughing. Remembering you.
We partied like underage rock stars. Drank cheap and truly horrible liquor, or I did (Aftershock!). We ate ramen noodles and macaroni and cheese. We watched movies, had cocktail parties and went on long weekend vacations at the cabin. Slipping downstream on the pontoon boat and doing shots of Jaeger. We traded loves and helped each other through heartbreak. We jumped in pools at night that didn’t belong to us and ran around after dark during thunderstorms. Invincible. Alive. The old gang.
Our first house was a dream. I’m still not quite sure how we charmed that nice couple into renting their clean house to a bunch of twenty year olds. And looking back we were totally wrong to have left the carpet in such shitty condition. We didn't own a vaccum. The grown up in me feels bad about that. They had no idea the parties and sleepovers that would happen there. The hundreds of foil stars that would be hung from the ceiling. The band that would be formed there. Calling radio stations, E’s Buffalo Bill impression and Soul Coughing.
When I excitedly bought my first lemon of a car and it promptly took a shit and sat in the driveway. You guys drove me to work. When I brought my Navy boyfriend around to meet you for the first time, imagine his shock when he walked into a crime scene to celebrate my twentieth birthday. You all knew me so well. Best birthday surprise yet. Bodies strewn about, bloodied. Crime scene tape. Surprise! He never called me again. He wasn’t The One. And then there was “Mike”, who wouldn’t take no for an answer until it came from you. You would have knocked that guy around, I have no doubt. And that might have been the first time I crushed on you. I swooned a bit listening to you protect me.
The foundation of the second house we lived in was the shape of a hill. Climbing up from the back of the house, peaking in the kitchen and descending into the living room. 1020. That’s where I remember you most when my mind starts to wander. There was a mole living in our kitchen and a million spiders lurking in the bathroom. You were my spider catcher. You saved me hundreds of times from the clutches of those terrifying beasts. We played Boggle and Scrabble. We watched Mystery Science Theater 3K. I watched the band practice in the garage. We stayed up all night long talking about love and our hopes for life. We were young. Our whole lives in front of us.
Christmas nights. Campfires. Porch beers. Pre-drinking. V. Macrame hanging lamps. Whole body swallowing hugs. Blockbuster and Best Buy. The Town Tavern then The Venice then The Loft, and finally The Zephyr. This is how I will remember you. This is how you will live in my heart. A sly smile, a loyal heart and a killer Chewbacca impression. A fierce protector. A gentle soul. And the biggest and most beautiful heart. My Chaddy.
Rest in Peace, my friend.
Hide the Vasoline.
Go ahead. Go hide it and come back. I'll wait.
Did you hide it? I hope so. Because nothing actually gets it out.
Not three washes with clarifying shampoo...
Or Dawn dishwashing liquid...
Or baking soda or egg...
So for the love of Regis, if you have a small child in your house, go hide your Vasoline or you'll have grease spots on every cushiony surface and your child will look like Putzie from Grease for at least a week. Maybe even longer, because you know what?
It's still not out.
I'd like to thank you, Sweaty Half Naked Jogger Guy (SHNJG) for coming along when you did. Several months ago I started implementing my "no judgment" policy. Because well, judgment is gross and I hate the feeling. So, just when I thought I had it down, you run through my field of vision and tempt me. You were wearing the equivalent of a Speedo, your butt cheeks, trying so hard to escape their lycra prison and running like a gazelle through the fair city. My first instinct was to judge you. What kind of person jogs like that? Obviously you wanted attention, right? You are an egotistical center of the Universe type, no? I look over at Daddy and mutter something like, "Jeez, what a creepster.", when I realized I was judging.the. shit. out of you. Dude, I'm sorry. Looking back, I bet it felt really good to have the wind and sunshine on your half nude body and who am I to judge you for it? So I'm sorry. Lesson learned. Run like the wind SHNJG! Run like the wind!
XOXO, Mama Pants
Judgment is a hard thing to let go of. It's so ingrained in our culture to keep score or make assumptions about people. Myself included. But it's stupid and unfair. My whole life I have prided myself on not being a judgmental a-hole. For accepting people for who they are and where they are. Live and let live! But recently I took a hard look at myself and realized that I judge people all the time. In my head where no one but me knows about it. And it bummed me out. It's like I didn't know myself at all. I didn't used to be like that (at least not as much, I mean, aren't we all a-holes in our twenties? Just me?). Then I became a mom. And just like that, I got my quiet judge on. The mommy wars aren't just a media incarnation. Sure, they exploit it but it's real. It's even entered the political debate in time to get people nice and riled up so that we can avoid talking about all that other stuff in an election year.
I mean, sure, I judged before becoming a mom but not to the extent I have in the last three years. And that makes me a jerk face. By my definition. In my quest to rid myself of judgment, I cling to the hope that I never rose to the level of sancti-mommy. Because I hate sancti-mommies (<--- judgment!). Anyway, it's time to correct this veer off coarse before I become a monster of judgment and lose any more of myself. I have started this purge of judgment and I'm not going to stop. Because who the heck am I to judge anyone? I haven't bathed my kids in two days and yesterday Stuart Little parented them while I felt sorry for myself. That's ripe judging material for anyone out there that is inclined to do so. So I'm done and I invite you to join me. Come on along with me and let go of some assholery. It's pretty freeing, man. But I won't judge you if you decide not to join me and keep judging (<---See what I did there?).
The bottom line is, I am a good person. But it turns out that I am not the ONLY good person (Revelation!). My definition of "good person" probably differs from yours. Your definition is not wrong*. Neither is mine. I am not your judge.
So why do we do it? I think it's got a lot to do with judging ourselves. In judging ourselves, we start holding everyone else to the standards that we aspire to. The problem is that they are MY standards and were written or made up on the spot and decided on by ME. The rest of the world did not co-author my standards. Interesting. Basically, I have concluded that we judge others because we judge ourselves. And by judging ourselves too harshly, we bring ourselves down. And well, our culture (?) encourages us to feel better by stepping on the toes of others, hence judgment. So the reality is that SHNJG made me uncomfortable with myself. And if I had to give my best guess as to why, I'd say it was because there he was all sweaty and half naked, running and being healthy while I was on my way to Burger King for a thousand calorie breakfast sandwich. Which is so completely my bad, it's not even funny.
So thank you, SHNJG. And the lady at the grocery store and Octomom. You are now judged by one less person. And that is me.
* Unless your definition is really really bad or you kick people.
What are your thoughts on judgment? Talk to me...
Adding to the list of reasons why she chose the exact right family? The sunshine spotlight. Note: Yep, the house is wreck. All that laundry on the couch is clean and well, just watch the dancing baby....
[Song credit: Fun.- We Are Young]
There is nothing like feeling protected. Safe. Free to live because no matter what life throws at you, there is someone who will be there. Someone you trust. Someone that trusts you. I think every parent hopes that their kids are this for each other. Our dream is that when times get hard or if the unthinkable happens, our kids will have each other's back. That there is always someone on the other end of the line at three a.m. when their heart has been broken or they need bailed out of jail. A friend to turn to when they don't make the team or when they risk everything but are rejected. Someone to stay up with all night long on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa. Or to stay on the phone with as they drive nervously to their first big job. That they feel the kind of safety that is bound by the superglue of learning how to share your toys or take turns. Bound by the love that grows every single day while sitting over a spaghetti lunch. Or blooms over their common love of broccoli.
I saw that love start growing between Pants and Plum when she was somewhere around three months. When my sweet boy suddenly wanted to hold his baby sister and he leaned in for a kiss.
There are times when he seems to drink her in. He looks at her and knows her. It's enough to make my heart skip a beat when they really see each other.
And sure, he cannot seem to share a single one of his seven thousand Matchbox cars with her. Or his planes. Or trains. Or, well, you get the point. But something struck me this weekend. He is protecting her. I wonder how long he's been doing that without me seeing. I have been caught up in the lumps and squabbles and what seems like never ending battles for every single toy she attempts to play with. I missed somehow that beyond all of this he is also loving her. Protecting her. This morning, he layed a hand on her belly to keep her from rolling in the new flying saucer in our backyard. I didn't ask him to. He just did it. He protected her. Because he loves her. Because he knew, she needed his help.
Oh, Hello! I'm Colleen and I do the writing and mama-ing around these parts. I'm glad you're here. I hope you stick around .
Because I like you.
Breastfeeding, attachment parenting, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SPD, food allergies, Unitarian Universalist, community, ECZEMA, sensory processing, SUNDAYS PEARL, Parenting, co-sleeping, Action, Advocacy, traditions, CLOTH DIAPERING.