Instagram and It’s Contests

I don’t care for those contests that flood Instagram. You know the ones I’m talking about. They entice people with some awesome gift and all you have to do is follow some long ass loop, liking their posts and adding them to your feed.  You’re sent on never ending rabbit trails, hoping you’re the one person out of hundreds that will end up winning. But, at the end of the day, their Follower count is tremendously high and all you end up with is an hour waisted going from one account to the next and jamming up your feed with, well…spam. 

But then, I met a rockabilly model who is completely awesome. The company she supports came out with a very exciting contest. The kind of contest that would make deep seeded dreams come true. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not so delusional, thinking I’m going to win. I’m a born realist. However, I did enter. 

We had to submit two photos And tell why we would like to win. As soon as I submitted my entry, I immediately regretted my photo selection and I believe my answer to the “why do you want to win?” Question was a tad longer and more detailed than they were wanting. Oh well. I decided to blog my entry. Below is what I submitted:


I am almost 40 years old. Forty. I have never thought of myself as beautiful. Pretty, perhaps. On good days. I have always wanted to be a model. Isn’t that always the story with ugly ducklings? I laugh at the thought now. When I was younger, before I realized how truly unremarkable I was, my mother enrolled my sister and I into “Barbazon. School of Modeling”. Do you remember Barbazon? Am I “dating” myself with that? I believe I was ten years old, perhaps younger. Even then I knew it was nothing more than a scam. A way to leach money off of hopeful families who dreamed of something big and bright for their spoiled children. But, I loved it. I was excited. For the first and only time in my life I felt like I could be that person. The beautiful girl in magazines and on the television who other girls wished they could be. But, we didn’t have the money. my mother, divorced and trying her best to raise two daughters on Welfare barley had the money to finish the program. 
So, who am I and why do I want to “win”??

I’m just a mom. A mom who tries to teacher her daughter to not only dream, but to take the chance. To not only dream what her life would be, but to live it.

 My husband was a founding member of the band, Life House. To this day, I still have yet to listen to his work from that time in his life. He is the most brilliant musician I have ever heard, the most dedicated and beyond talented. But, he gave all that up for us. For life, family and reality. As much as I admire his life, I morn for what it was, for what it could have been. Our children have no idea who their daddy was. What he gave up.  I hope they never know. Our daughter, Ava, who is eight was born on our first wedding anniversary and our son, Baxter, was born 16 months after. 

I have gone around and around about whether or not I should enter. To most, it seems like a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t you enter? But, I am still the girl who dose not look at her reflection in the mirror, the girl who hadn’t had her first kiss until she was twenty years old. The fat friend. I’m doing this for me. For my babies. To show them that if they truly want something from life, then to screw it. Do what they can do to achieve their dreams. And honestly, if it doesn’t work out, then to fuck-it. They tried. And trying is a thousand times better than giving up before even starting.

Oh God, It’s ANOTHER Fu@#i%g Mommy Blog!

I hate Mommy Blogs. Even though I am a mommy and I blog, sometimes. Perhaps hate is too strong of a word. It’s just annoying. All these mom blogs get so much attention, going viral and highly recommended by nearly everyone. There’s only a few on-line magazine/articles I subscribe to, Refinery29, being the most read (my little “junk food for the brain”). Even that magazine is not immune to the abundance of these sort of blogs. Yes, I am a mommy and yes, I blog. I try to not flood my posts about my kids; that’s understandable. The main reason I am doing this blog is to help me work through life as it is. My disabilities, dreams and rants. 

Which is nothing new as this is the reason why people blog. I have been trying to figure out what exactly I cannot handle about the “Mommy Blog”. I think one of the main reasons for my distaste is that its all…old news? For me, parenting and preparing for parenting is common sense and patience. I hear about all these women, who after childbirth lament how “no one ever told me…”, fill in the blank since there has aperently been no other woman in history who has given birth and raised kids until they have. The only thing I needed to know concerning childbirth is the fact that you poop. As it turns out, crapping on the Doctor and nurses during delivery is a very good thing. It tells them you are using the correct muscles to push. Using the wrong muscles = no fun. 

But, these women struggle with the surprise of “never, EVER being alone again.” Really? What did you expect after you brought into this world a little human who is completely, utterly dependent on someone to care for ALL of their needs? Did they expect to be able to switch the baby off as if turning off an iPad everytime they want to pee, shower or sit quietly drinking a mocha in the morning? Seriously, is this something new mothers out there really don’t understand? 

It takes me a while to write my blogs. I spend a week or so contemplating what it is that I want or need to express. That is why it’s often a “long time” between posts. As I’ve been thinking about this, I have come to the sickening conclusion that I too, have possibly blogged about such things as every other new mother. I have struggled tremendously with this thing called “Motherhood”. Especially since I had been told my whole adult life I was unable to conceive. Surprise! 16 months apart, fun times.

I just wish some of these women would stop pretending to be so damn surprised when their lives as they had known and loved before children will never again be the same, even after the child is grown and has their own children. You are forever changed. Like an incureable disease. It stays with you forever. The only reprieve, death. 

Missing You.

It has been awhile, three years. I used to have followers, I’m not so sure now. So, I am missing most of all, my writing. My writing is who I am. So, I am, in a sense, missing me. Who I always saw myself to be. Who I thought I was and who I had imagined myself becoming. Me. As selfish as it is and sounds, but me outside of the me who is a wife and a mother. Simple and broken, me. 

I am not needed to inform you how hard and difficult life is; How beautiful, insane and wonderful all at the same time. Anyone who has lived understands this. 

I am not missing, however, the me who has to check all the doors five times each night before bed. And upon waking up in the middle of the night to use the restroom or to take my pain medication. Five times before I can even think of sleep. I do not miss the me who has to open and close the mailbox twice, or who has to count each finger as I crack my knuckles. Not the me who needs to for a bond with the right item in a whole shelf of identical items. Not the me who needs to spend several minutes trying to decide which option is right, perfect and necessary. I wish I could divorce myself from her, that person needing, depending on the right and bonded thing. Counting and recounting. And checking, making sure all the labels of food in the cupboard and refrigerator are facing the correct way, nutrition facts in back, front of the label outward. It is a need I cannot stop and a need which is necessary. 

I do not know how to live without that person and I am too scared to try. 

So I write. I write and think. I find myself writing in my head, with no seemingly, formed purpose. I was told once that writers write, always. I finally understand.  

On Motherhood


There is something strange which happens when one becomes a mother. We cease to be a person- a human with our identities, quirks and passions. We become instead a sort of conductor, a transmitter of sorts. Even with eyes shut, we hear sounds. Muffled sounds and instantly we know exactly what the kids are doing. Especially if we hide away to steal just a moment of quiet. Our ears, from downstairs and on the other side of the house, pick-up the sound. A soft, silent swish and we know the children are upstairs- unrolling all of the toilet paper in the bathroom and shaping it into a large volcanic pile on the neglected bathroom floor.

We know with every circuit, every connection and fiber of our bodies, how truly terrifying silence is.

Who knows when this transformation occurs. When we cease being a woman and turn into this conduit. For every mother, perhaps it’s different. For some, silent and gradual- like a pot of water on the stove. Slowly, slowly it heats and it’s not until the point of boiling that ones aware of the change. For others, a fast and hard descent into their new life as if falling down a sharp precipice after a long and beautiful stroll through a meadow and up a hill. As they walk, ghost-like through the dark halls of home trying to soothe the violent colic of a baby they are helpless to soothe.

But, for all in the grip of motherhood we wonder, how? How, it seems that our bodies feel as though they’ve aged a hundred years and our minds have been plagued with ceaseless headaches.

But. But still… As I hide away in a locked bathroom, enjoying the first chance all day to pee without an audience; I wash my hands. Steaming hot, soap-y cucumber sented lather and head down to advoid the mirrors-I stop and for the first time look up and really look.

I don’t recognize myself at first. The image of myself I’ve held onto being from my early twenties. And now, I see each line emerging, each dark crevice under my eyes; framed by my uncolored hair with each witch-like grey hair unyielding to my Bobby-pins. Then it happends. Thousands of tiny knocks descend on the door and I hear the most beautiful word in the English language: Mommy. Then the onslaught, “Mommy?”…”Mommy, Baxter hit me!”…”Mommy?…Sister hit me!”…”Moomm-y! I have’ta go potty too!”…Mooommy. I need to brush my…teeth?” I smile, shake my head and think, every day really is Mother’s Day.

In Honor of a Truly Sacred Month

It’s National sewing month, hurrah!

Growing up, we didn’t have much money but my grandma countered this with her sewing machine. I still have my most favorite dress she made for me. My av LOVES this dress as much as I do. Grandma sewed lots of clothes for us, knitted, embroidered and built several pieces of furniture for our cabbage patch dolls, all out if white PVC pipes and scrap fabric. She even made hundreds of Barbie doll clothes.

When my sister was old enough, she began learning everything my domestic grandma had to teach. Now my sister makes these things for all of our kids. I wish I had early interest in the art of this type of homemaking. Instead of teaching me these artistic skills, she taught me poker.

It wasn’t until college that I became obsessed with sewing. This is where I met my favorite teacher, Mary Anderson. She was everything I wished I could be. Extremely intelligent, funny, practical and a very creative independence.

And then, the spark fizzled. I was too occupied with life that I forgot what I was happiest doing. More time passed. It wasn’t until I was out shopping for a gift for Ava’s Josiah, that I woke up. There was a big display of odd looking monster-alien stuffed dolls. “Oh cute!” we said, then I looked at the price tag: $30. What the hell?! Thirty dollars for that? I so could make that for under five!

And, well, I sort of did. I made the doll for around $3, and had to make a second for Ava which didn’t cost anything. I’m still hesitant about giving homemade gifts to people, but I see the price and quality of “homemade” gifts that sell in local shops and I get a bit irritated. I would never sell anything with that crooked of seams and hems that bunch. I like making clothes, but I love making my kids’ costumes, purses/bags but most of all, I LOVE, LOVE to make aprons.

I really love aprons.

I finally found the sewing machine and ironing board that I have been dreaming about. Now all I need is an old school dress form and I’ll be in heaven.

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These are a few of my projects, I wish I could sew more. Even though I’m terrified of the nerve block on Wednesday, I hope that it will help and I can start actually enjoying my life again. But, I’ll settle for just getting through my days.

(I confess, I didn’t sew Ava’s first halloween giraffy costume. BUT, I did make the pink bows on the little antler ear things.)

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(p.s. for more detail on each project, you’d need to search my old blog)

http://www.nationalsewingmonth.org/

Kindness Still Exists

I squirm just thinking about the summer months in Chico. It’s unremarkably dry and it’s not a summer day if it’s less than a 100 degrees outside. Besides the grocery store, the New Mall is one of the best places to go.

Shortly after Baxter was born, I tried to adjust Ava’s nap times so they would both be down around the same time and give me a little quiet during the day.
One way to keep her distracted during these times was to run errands. This is where the New Mall comes in.

I strapped the babies into our Sit ‘n Stand and leisurely walked the sweet, cold length of the mall. It was mid-morning and the mall was nearly bare. I’m sure I was actively looking for some specific thing, but I haven’t a clue as to what. We walked the length a few times, stopping at a cheeky boutique here and there. I ended up buying a princess necklace for Av and a hair clip for me, but it ended up as Ava’s, somehow. Just passed the food court was a small ride area where for $0.50 you could ride a train or helicopter. The only one Ava would ride was the Apple Car from Richard Scarry’s imagination. It was louder than we both thought it would be, Bax wanted nothing to do with it.

After the ride we sat at the food court. We had snacks as we talked, sang and cuddled. While we finished up and re-packed the mega stroller, an older man shuffled up to us.

At that point in motherhood, I was a bit awkward with cooing strangers. Let alone, male strangers. But, there was something about this gentle grandpa-aged man. He smiled at my babies and told me how beautiful this time in our lives is and how much they reminded him of his children. Just the sound of his voice alone was a sweet encouragement and his words engraved themselves into my heart. Before shuffling off he reached for my hand and placed a butterscotch candy in it. “Moms don’t always get a reward for all the work they do. This is for you. You’re doing a good job mom.”

I have no idea if he was a “Christian” or not and honestly, I don’t care. He showed me, an absolute stranger, the kind of respect and gentle kindness that I would expect “Christians” to extend to both strangers and friends.

I’ve been thinking about that day and that man non-stop since the incident at the hair salon. I never ate the candy, instead I kept it in the diaper bag for a very long time. Every time I felt defeated, worn out and lost, that candy encouraged me. I would hold it in my hand, hear the crinkle of the wrapper as I played with it. I would remember his encouragement. Unfortunatly, the kids got to it. After digging it out of their mouths, I had to throw it away. But, I will never forget that day and I hope I will soon forget the fight at the salon.

Maybe, Maybe I am.

Today had all signs signaling a perfect day. Perfect days are hard to come by so I was especially giddy. We woke up, snuggled and watched ‘The Lorax’ as my husband worked. I even was able to finish a book I had begun reading some five months ago. It was a really good book.

I studied my little man, blonde bed-head and puckered lips, attacking me. ‘Wow son. You need a haircut!’ and with that, our day had begun moving forward. I got up to put myself together to head out on our errands and my husband came to talk to me. ‘So,’ I knew that tone. That, “you’re not gonna be to thrilled, but…” tone.

After a rather quick discussion it turned out his friends from out of state were in town. There’s to be a big BBQ and he wanted to go. To his surprise, I nearly jumped out of my skin with utter joy. YES! GO! I said, and take the kids. I’m not sure but I think he was a tad confused. ‘What will you do, while we’re out?’ Hmm… I brainstormed out loud. I could take a bath. Ohh! Maybe do a face scrub? Wait! I know, I’m gonna do my nails!…and it’ll be quiet.’ I closed my eyes and smiled. Quiet. Our day was decided. Haircuts, lunch, nap, early dinner and then quiet.

We piled in the car and drove a few blocks to the hair shop. Because of the nearby fire, the air was suffocating and burned as we got out of the car and walked to the salon. Small bells jingled our arrival and I signed Baxter and Aaron in for haircuts and sat down.

There wasn’t much room for us all to sit together so Aaron sat with the kids while I flipped through an out dated magazine. There was one other person waiting and the bells jingled another arrival. She sat next to me, an older lady between my mom and grandmas ages. This lady quietly smiled as Ava raced over to me. ‘Mom, you’re my mama!’
‘and your my baby girl’ I scooped her in my arms, kissed her and let her loose. The babies found the stash of old, worn children’s books. There was a decade of grubby hands that held those books. I watched as my babies looked through the bin. Aaron whispered across the room, asking if we could request a radio station change. K-Love, a semi local mainstream watered down religion music station played happily in this almost bare building. I rolled my eyes, shrugged as the babies crawled up into my lap with a book for me to read. I began to read “Chicken Little” in a low voice. The Lady that had sat down on the small bench next to me, got up and sat next to a rather large, middle aged woman on the other side of the short square coffee table. I only half noticed the hushed comments, only understood it was a conversation about us. But I continued to read to my kids.

I started to feel violated and uneasy as these women continued their not-so-quiet conversation. I paused the story and asked my husband to find another local hair salon that wasn’t as busy or had this music. Looking at his phone he got up and went outside to make a call. Watching him through the glass wall I could tell we were going to be leaving. I scooted the kids off my lap and began to stand up. Before I could even stand up right, the large lady smirked as she pretended to read the book which was open in front of her.

‘aren’t you gonna pick-up after YOUR kids?’

‘excuse me?’

‘you heard me. You better clean those books up.’

‘uh-Yeah. Of course I’m going to put things away. I ALWAYS do.’

She continued her assault as I picked up the books and grabbed my kids’ hands.

‘Who do you think you are, talking to me like that? Judge much lady?’ I said as I stopped in front of the door and let my husband inside.

‘Of course I’m judging you. YOU are a horrible parent.’

I felt as if her words, her bitter words had turned me to lead. She continued to verbally pull me apart as she rambled on about how I let my kids tear up a magazine and litter the floor with books. This exchange was elevated to a whole new level as she told me I’m a bad mother because I don’t like the “Christian” station.

My mouth fell open. ‘you are a horrible, horrible person.’ I lemented and began asking her who she was to judge me since that was not a model Jesus had lived. Where was her love? I shook my head. And Aaron gave the greatest insult, ‘we’ll be praying for you.’

Utterly flabbergasted she snorted, ‘oh really? You don’t like Christain music but you pray? Yeah, right.’

When we got into the car, I began to cry. I have never been told I was a bad mom.

I live in phyisical pain. There is no reprieve, just different degrees of crippling. Through this, I still am a mom to my kids. I change diapers, care for their individual needs and hold them. When they are hurt or ill, I choke back my own agony and pick them up. I pick my children up, hold and carry them as I sooth them; even-though it causes me to be in greater pain then they could ever understand.

I love my children. I love them more than I believed was possible. Everyday I struggle to be a whole mother and everyday I fail. I can’t seem to live up to the standards I have set for myself and this person, I am ashamed to say, pushed me over the edge. I crumbled inside myself. I want to just dissolve and be gone.

If this woman’s idea of being a good mom is weather or not you like “Christian” music, then maybe, maybe I’m not a good mother. And I am ashamed I’ve been crying over it. I hope that person can’t sleep tonight. I hope she sees what a fool she is, but I know that’s not likely to happen.