United States of Motherhood: February 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Internet Makes Sense of Angelina Jolie

We all saw the awkward Angelina stick limb jutting out of her dress. Still not sure what that was about, but leave it to the internetz to make sense of it all:

She must have thought she was teaching her girls to squat over a restroom toilet when they were out of cowboy hats, right? We all know this pose.

So clearly she was confused from lack of protein that she was at the OSCARS, not an McD bathroom?

Source: Oldghost

Monday, February 27, 2012

Swoon Marine Homecoming: Gay Partners Kissing Make Me Proud to Have Served

My husband was deployed once in the Middle East with an infantry unit during our time in the Army. While it was a dangerous time with terrorists targeting American embassies, I was lucky it was during peacetime.

Still I worried. I cried. I missed him. And when he got home, I ran into his arms. Everything else ceased to exist.

I ran into his arms just like this soldier did:

My friends, what a long way we've come. I am so damn proud that this soldier was openly able to show his love and relief at being finally home.

I am so damn proud this soldier kept my family and I safe at night while he served.

I so damn proud of my country for finally agreeing love is love. Love is beautiful.

Oooorah, Marine!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Stress: Or How's Your Day Going?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On Marriage: Gifts, Reciprocation, and Always a Work in Progress

Source: tumblr.com via Erin on Pinterest

I wrote last week about the guilt of not reciprocating to the level of my husband's and kids' Valentine's gifts. I have this problem of not feeling worthy.

Not feeling good unless I give as good, or better, then I get.

I tend to be a gift one-upper. I admit it. I get way more of a self-esteem boost, joy, and happiness from watching someone open my gift than I ever get from receiving.

My friends? I struggle to perfect the art of accepting compliments graciously and apparently now, it is clear I do not gracefully accept gifts as well.

I know it's a problem. It is not that I do not ardently appreciate gifts my family gave me. I do. However, they also make me feel less of a wife, less of a mother, and less of a friend if I do not have something in return.

If I do not match. If I do not reciprocate. I feel less...

I can clearly recall this being a problem even in high school. One of my best friends gave me a gift she knew I would enjoy. A thoughtful gift of music video of a band I obsessed about at the time. Instead of being grateful, I panicked.

We had never exchanged gifts before! How could I have misread our relationship I shouted in my head instead of accepting she had found something that she thought would bring me joy.

Instead, I told her I left her gift in my room. I ran in and grabbed gift bag, tissue, and a pair of clearance jeans I has scored that day at the mall...jeans several sizes too small for her.

If only I could have just said thank you. Sometimes we do more harm than good. At least her good manners prevailed, and she accepted them in the spirit of the gift rather than being insulted.

Still, it was awkward. It was one of many head slaps I have made over the years.

Back to Valentine's day, several people, whether through Facebook, StumbleUpon or just email, rightly let me have it. I was duly chastised. Enjoy the #@$&*#@ gift was the message I heard loud and clear.

I heard the message and truly appreciated the gifts, but I still rushed to match gifts with my husband and kids. I am imperfect. I am a work in progress even approaching forty. And? Once again I am reminded, that 15 years married, or not, marriage and relationships are always a work in progress. Always a situation of give and take:

Heartstrings from Rhiannon Evans on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

One Proud Mama of a WA State HS Finalist

So **STINKING* PROUD of my 10th grader for placing 4th at WA State 4A High School champs! 4:44!!

You took on the big boys, Alec Raines, and you killed it in the 500 Free! 200 Free and relays were also awesome.

Just please excuse the crazy film work and wacky loon cheering on her baby boy in the background...I admit I was a mite excited especially at the end there. You think??

Alec/Eldest swam in lane 7--2nd from the bottom of the screen. Again, sooo proud!! XOXO!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Valentine's Day Ideas for Bacon Loving Paleo Husbands

Wednesday, as I was hurried taking down our Christmas tree (shaddup, I know, I know) before a play date so I could actually open my front blinds from the shame of judging neighborly eyes, I thought it might be nice to celebrate the next holiday... on time.

For Valentine's,  I made it up to the kids with this when they came home:

As for that awesome husband of mine who made my day special, I knew exactly what would put a smile on his face:

Yep, a bacon bouquet!

So back to the next holiday, that leaves either Dr. Suess Day--a day which my 4th grader tried to assure me today was an actual holiday so he did not have school. Riiight this mom happens to know Dr. Suess's birthday is in two weeks.

Orrrr...St. Patrick's Day. A day, even with a maiden name of Murphy, I have never fully celebrated in my true, over the top, Martha Stewart crazy style. This style is otherwise known as my house is a catastrophe, so I need some seasonal decor to distract visitors.

Bacon Bouquet:

Take thick-sliced bacon and with wooden skewers in center, roll the bacon.  Wrap a small bit of foil around base to hold and keep bloom up right so grease can drain away. Place on cookie sheet with parchment or silpat.You can also place these rolled up without skewers in a muffin tin then add skewer later.  Bake 375 degrees for 28-40 minutes or until desired crispness and color is reached. I added real rose leaves and put them in a vase.

So, my friends? What will be the next holiday you celebrate with your family? Send me some ideas!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hip Mamas AND Dub Step Cats [Video]

I try to be a hip mama...and often fail miserably. I often come home from a long day of chauffeuring kids to swim practice to the house blaring with something called dub step blasting throughout the speakers in the house.

Yes, dub step, a musical genre particularly enjoyed by my husband and teen son especially when it rattles the crystal.

It's jarringly loud but growing on me:

I. Am. This. Cat.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Spoiled on Valentine's Day...and Feeling The Guilt

I am feeling both spoiled... and like a chump right now.

I thought we were spending Valentine's on a date. We made dinner plans and chose a suitably romantic movie. I thought that was our gift to each other. Then I got breakfast delivered to me--freshly baked vanilla bread pudding.

What strikes fear in every woman who is trying to lose weight's heart? The pink box.

When I saw the pink box any woman who is trying to lose weight dreads, my heart fell. Then it crescendo-ed when he said with a gentle smile it was filled with fresh laundry. No scary, skimpy piece of lace. Nope, he did my laundry. He gets me!

Then I saw the roses. No fanfare. Left for me to find after he left for work. My friends? I thought the date was our gift. I had nothing for him.

Chump. And now for more chump....

For the kids, we didn't do our usually elaborate Valentines. Store bought with a cute backpack pin and blow pop at the last minute seemed just fine to Li'l Man.

PB and Eldest had made such a stink last year about having to carry around Valentine's treats that I took them at their word. PB even reminded me several weeks ago of the horrible mom I was "forcing her" to carry around a basket of treats at Halloween treats to all her classes. She did not want a repeat.

Then last night, both she and Eldest, realizing I was taking them at their word, asked at 9 PM if we could go to the store for treats for their friends.

I said no way. I felt a little miffed they expected me to go to the store last minute. I felt unappreciated from past years of staying up until midnight for their over the top treats for all their friends. So? I held my ground even though PB was working her incredible disappointed, sad baby girl face...

This morning I got this box from them. My husband and the kids had made a box full of handmade caramels, dipped in chocolate, and sprinkled with sea salt. My favorite:

PB was chosen as the box decorator and every inch of the box was covered:

She left for school with no Valentines and with me feeling even more guilt.

I ended up getting showered in breakfast made for me, handmade chocolates, and roses. I let life distract me and gave nothing in return. Who knew gifts could make a mother feel so craptacular. Sigh...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mixing it up in My Marriage: Otherwise Known As I Watch Too Much Food Network With My Husband

I do not have a normal marriage.

I repeat. I do not have a normal marriage. I am not sure I know anyone who does.

Yet, don't we all expect relationships straight from the Lifetime network? No, no not the psychodrama murder thy wife ones. You know. The Hallmark, Anne of Green Gables, Wear a tiara, and live happily ever after marriages.

Anyway, I try to challenge that happily ever after yawnfest by pushing my husband. He lately has become a grumpapus. So what do I do after cleaning, packing up the kids, and going to various after school activities until 8:30 tonight?

After he's worked a 12 hour day which I am sure is really, really stressful because his work environment is all mohawks, flip flips, and Yoda T-Shirts and rhymes with Cram-as-many-pretty-things-on-to-my-wish-list-a-zon.

Gawd, I hope his snot is not one of the ingredients.

So what about you? What challenge are you going to give your husband tonight?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Washington Gay Marriage: Republican Representative Maureen Walsh Speaks Out in Favor of Same Sex Marriage

My friends. Most of you know I am a fiscal conservative. I often call myself a MODERATE Republican.

However, I am often NOT proud of what my party does-- really what a minority in my party does--that reflects on me. I have often shuddered at the ugliness of what certain outspoken Tea Party advocates shout or the bigotry and close-mindedness of fringe parts of the Christian Right push on to the Republican agenda.

I have even considered switching to the Libertarian party. But today?

Today, after watching the testimony of Washington Republican Representative Maureen Walsh, I am in love.

I love her bravery.

I love her ability to go against the grain of our party and do what is right.

What is fair. What is equal.


I don’t wax as eloquently as most of the people on the floor here, but I have allowed my heart and mind to guide me on a lot of different decisions I’ve made in the legislature. I think sometimes that’s what we have to do.

I too don’t want to wag my finger at anybody about which way to vote on this. It’s certainly an issue of consciousness for me that I’ve been weighing very heavily for the past few weeks.

You know, I was married for 23 years to the love of my life and he died 6 years ago. I think of all the wonderful years we had and the wonderful fringe benefits of having 3 beautiful children. I don’t miss the sex, and to me that’s kind of what this boils down to. I don’t miss that… I mean I certainly miss it, but it’s certainly not the aspect of that relationship, that incredible bond I had with that human being, that I really really genuinely wish I still had. And so I just think to myself: how could I deny anyone the right to have that incredible bond with another individual in life. To me it seems almost cruel.

Years ago my daughter went to elementary school. Many of you have met my daughter she’s a fabulous girl, she’s wonderful, my boys are great too, but she’s really something special. She was the light of her father’s eye.

So she went to school and there were a whole group of kids picking on another kid, and you know, my daughter stuck up for that kid. Even though it wasn't the popular thing to do it was the right thing to do. I was never more proud of my kid than knowing she was speaking against the vocal majority on behalf of the rights of the minority. And to me, it is incumbent upon us as legislators in this state to do that. That is why we are here.

And I shudder to think that if folks who had preceded us in history did not do that, frankly I’m not sure I would be here as a woman. I’m not sure other people would be here due to their race or creed. And to me that is what’s disconcerting.

And someone made the comment that this is not about equality. Well yes it is about equality. And why in the world would be not allow those equal rights for individuals who are truly committed to one another in life to be able to show that in the way of a marriage.

My daughter came out of the closet a couple of years ago and you know what I thought I was going to agonize about that. Nothing’s different. She’s still a fabulous human being and she met someone she loves very much. And some day, by God, I want to throw a wedding for that kid. And someday I hope that’s what I can do. I hope she will not feel like a second-class citizen involved in something called a “domestic partnership” which frankly sounds like a Mary Maids franchise to me.

Thank you Mr. Speaker. That’s all I want to say.

How often do we see partisan politics force politicians to tout the party line or coalesce, moving away from the center? It's hard to move away from the pack. Just look at California's Proposition 8. Yes, it's hard to disagree, but not impossible.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dignified Fraility: Quality of Life for Elderly Pups

Seb is falling. Falling a lot. Each time my heart falls a little bit and breaks into a thousand pieces.

I am starting to get that sinking feeling we had with Grendel. Wondering when the dignity is gone.

With Grendel we knew it would end with the cancer. Hope was futile, so it was all about quality of her life. With Seb, it's not cut and dried. It's arthritis and fatty tumors. It's pain. It's frailty.

Still, we have always based our decision on mobility and more importantly, the wagging of the tail.

When the wag is gone, you know.

Yesterday, I took him on our typical walk around the block with a short detour in the woods. He fell.

And fell.

And fell.

There was very little wagging. It was more a hell-bent challenge he was staring down.

Since I am again dealing with my own health issues, the falls hit home.

I truly was not sure we would make it home. I try to cut our walk short. He refuses to stray from our course. If I pull his leash at all, the slightest pressure knocks him over. Stubborn old man. You win!

We walked 48 minutes and covered less than 3/4 of a mile. He stubbornly trod on. Then we would stop. He looked around dazed for a minute, then suddenly he would regain his momentum and his bearings. We inched on. I let him take the lead.

Three feet walked. One minute rest.

He is at least fourteen years old which is an amazingly long life for the 90 lb. crazy, bouncy, exuberant, naughty, but lovable dog returned twice to a kill shelter in Alaska before we snatched him up.

Now he is wise. He is calm water. He is stubborn. He is too proud for one so frail.

Lead on, Sebastian. Lead on.

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