Saturday Morning

Outside the mourning doves are cooing. Inside the house, my daughter is declaring the toast to be too toasty (and her highness is requesting less-toasty toast please!). There is a low whine in the background — the sound of a broken toilet that won’t stop running and that my mediocre plumbing skills are not capable of fixing.

I am wearing a happy birthday hat that my daughter put on my head. I am eating the discarded toasty-toast. It is all glorious because I am also sitting here writing! With my coffee, natch. 

Happy Saturday, friends.

A list of 20 things I am grateful for from the hell that was 2016

2016 WENT LOW BUT WE WILL GO HIGH!

Yesterday I started a list lessons from the little bastard teacher that was 2016.

Numbers #1-10 were posted yesterday.(My spirited child hindered efforts to finish this in one fell swoop.)

And now, I present #11 – #20.16, Lessons, gifts, and gratitudes (is that a word?) from 2016:

#11. SWEATY PALMS. Lot’s of sweaty palm moments. I’m not talking about gratitude for my generalized anxiety (though I do have lot’s of love for Paxil….) No, I’m grateful for all the SWEATY PALM moments that seemed to culminate in Summer-Fall 2016. Those scary but good moments when I pushed a lil’ bit outside my comfort zone with people I trust to support me. That’s right, I decided to share my writing publicly not just with strangers but with people who know me. (!!!) I started by sharing  a piece I wrote about my grief and healing journey. It discusses fun topics like the loss of my mother and miscarriage!  The reception I got from family and friends was incredible. This paved the way for me to write and share some other pieces – see item #20.16.

#12. A greater appreciation for family in all shapes and forms. I miss my mom. I miss my extended family that lives 1200 miles away. But it makes me savor the moments I do share with them that much more.

#13.Peppa Pig— because without her I could not be writing right now. As my husband says, turn on the child pacification device!

#14. Loving my kick-ass body. The year started off really crummy – I had a miscarriage. And what I did not expect about this experience was how hard it would be on my body image. Every ounce of extra fat reminded me of the fact that my body had been pregnant…and lost a pregnancy. I wanted all reminders gone (as though that would magically make it all better). Well, I finally decided to change the script. I’m not saying it was always sunshine and roses but little by little I have morphed the ways that I view my body. I started swimming and found myself in a flow experience a lot of the time. And now that pool temps have dropped I have started running. I used to hate running. Now I love – and I mean love- the feel of my thick muscular legs, my strong arms pumping, the wind in my hair. I don’t look remotely like I did at the start of 2015 but dare I say I am in awe of this bigger, stronger body?

#15. It’s getting a little serious on this list. I am grateful for ambient music even though it won’t put my kid to sleep. I am grateful for dark chocolate even though it kept my kid up very, very late. My child’s refusal to sleep came up again and again and again. BUT GUESS WHAT. We have instituted new routines and last night my child was down, in bed and left to her own devices to sleep in 20 minutes flat. <—- CoNTACT the PONTIFF cuz THAT THERE IS A MIRACLE!

#16. Sharing my healing journey with Sound of Music gifs.Because if you can laugh instead of crying, or heck, even while you are crying, it makes it all a little bit better.

# 17. Slinkies.Apparently the cheaper and simpler the toy the more it keeps my kid entertained. (And the plastic kind doesn’t bend and warp like those old metal ones we had did! Brilliant. And it comes in rainbow colors. Hoo-ya!)

# 18. Blogging friends. Which are simply friends in my book. Thank you, dear readers and fellow bloggers, who have supported my writing and my journey. I am beyond thankful. (Also, you need to read these blogs asap: One Blue Sail, Plainmama, Dana Schwartz-Writing at the Table , Kimberly Harding Soul Healing Art, 20-20 Spiritual Vision and more I’m sure I’m forgetting. 

# 19. Coffee. I stopped drinking it for a cleanse and I subsequently wrote about it nearly every. single. day. that i was without it. Coffee, my dear friend, I love you. And clearly I cannot live without you.

# 20. Peppa pig playing in one continuous loop in Amazon video streaming. Bless Peppa for still keeping my kid entertained so I can write.( Also, factoid, did you know the Brits pronounce “Zebra” as “Zeh-bra”?!)

and. . .because I am a dork who wanted 20.16 items, here is 

item # .16!

#20.16 This number is tiny,  which is perfect because I am only .16 grateful for this one. I’m grateful for the awakening that has resulted from Trump’s election. See, I didn’t say I was grateful FOR Trump, that would be going a tad too far. Here’s the deal. Trump’s blatant misogyny–seeing patriarchy laid bare–compelled me to break my own silence of surviving sexual trauma. It has compelled me and so many others, too. I am hopeful that the pain of this election will lead to an awakening and a stirring of voices who have remained silent for too long. Or who have been silenced for too long. Change starts with ME.  

That about sums it up. Tonight, join me in dancing on the ashes of the fire monkey year from hell.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Wishing You a Very Andy Williams Christmas

Guess which Christmas song is my daughter’s favorite?

A live recording of Andy Williams performing what might be the cheesiest, grooviest  rendition of Jingle Bells that you have EVER HEARD.

Those dancers! The jazzy flutes! I cannot get enough of this song.

What makes it extra special is that this cheesy CD was a gift from my grandma many many years ago and it brings back so many good memories. My grandparents hosted a party every year on Christmas night. Grandpa and grandma raised a blended family of twelve children, enough for each day of Christmas! As you can imagine it was quite a crew of grown children, grandchildren, and any and all assorted friends who had no where else to go on Christmas (and whom my grandma welcomed with open arms).

Pretty sure my beautiful grandma is tickled pink up in heaven knowing her great-granddaughter is in love with one of her old favorites. 

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and blessings for a beautiful season and new year, however you may celebrate. 

 

 

 

 

I don’t like onions! I make them cry!

That was the three-year-old in response to stuffing being placed on her thanksgiving plate. The nerve! You don’t even want to hear what she said about the celery.

(She did however find Redi-whip to be quite to her liking. She ran around the house with it clutched in her hands and squealing. It took three of us to corner her and grab the can before total-and-utter-whipped-cream-chaos ensued.)

Never a dull moment with this kid.

Three more reasons to smile – and one reason to frown

Don’t worry – the reason to frown will also make you laugh. Stick with me.

three (more) reasons to smile:

1. the Canadians are back! the Canadians are back! Our Canadians (that’s what we call them) who live down the street have returned from Montreal. They have a huge, sweet brown dog named Buddy. They are polite and their country’s leader is Justin Trudeau. I want them to adopt me. 

2.  My daughter’s preschool had a thanksgiving lunch today (aww!) and the kids sang us songs. It was super cute. One staff member made a huge rice krispy treat dessert shaped like a turkey. It sounds weird, but It. Was. Awesome. 

3. My painted buntings are now friends with my mourning dove. IS THIS REAL LIFE?!


…and one reason to laugh/cry:

1. I discovered gray hairs in my eyebrows today. MY EYEBROWS. As the kids say, “what the actual f@”!?”

Thankfully I see my hairstylist Monday. She may or may not tint my brows which is technically not allowed in Florida (we regulate eyebrows more than gun purchases), but she takes care of me. Actually this is a reason to smile.

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Who Killed JR? His toddler who refused to sleep!

Flashback to 1983. My parents are watching Dallas in the basement with their friends. I’m at the top of the stairs, trying not to squeak the steps, hunched in a nightgown with my knees pulled tight. Of course my mom sees me and yep, she is upset. Despite her frustration she lets me sit on the floor  and join them in watching the number one show of 1983.600x600bb-85

My mom had to do this a lot–put up with a kid who was awake until all hours of the night. Usually it was just the two of us. She’d let me watch Love Boat on the tiny black and white TV in our kitchen while she made popcorn. Initially she would be exasperated (Of COURSE she was, adult Sarah gets it now!) but she always softened and lovingly let me join her in her late night routine.

Let me write it out right here in case my prayers haven’t reached my mother: MOM I AM SO SORRY FOR WHAT I PUT YOU THROUGH. MOM HOW DID YOU DO IT. MOM YOU POOR WOMAN YOU NEVER. GOT. A. BREAK!

Why the mea culpas? Because now I’m in her shoes. My almost-four-year-old is having what I jokingly refer to as the “four-year sleep regression.” She is awake approximately 99.98% of our waking hours. No break from the kid. No down time. And let me tell you, as an introvert this is so hard.

How am I responding to it all? I’m trying to model my mom’s love. (She still teaches me. When people say love never dies, that it extends forever, this is what they mean.) Lately I’m following her lead as much as I can. Like her, I’m surrendering to the fact that my kiddo won’t sleep and there isn’t much I can do about that fact. I might as well make some popcorn for her while she sits on the floor to join in watching Jane the Virgin.

I have a feeling she may someday look back fondly on these moments. I have a hunch I just might, too.


Did you interrupt your parents’ Dallas parties? Share here or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

 

The time I tried to lure my child to sleep with ambient music

Nobody is getting sleep in our house lately. The kid seems to be getting too much sleep at preschool nap time plus allergies and colds and high-spirited-child. No sleep. No time for watching Jane the Virgin before bed. (Me, not the child.)

Ok, I’m done whining.

But first, a story. A humorous story where I thought I could perhaps FIX this lack of sleep thing!

(Laughter.)

I read about some music that has been proven by science to be the most relaxing and I thought, a HA! WE WILL TRY THIS.

So while my husband was trying to get the kid to sleep I listened to it to try it out. I nearly fell asleep. Oh this was good. 

When it was (inevitably) my turn to take over trying to get this child to go the f to sleep, I brought my handy music playlist.

This is a recap of how it went down:

Me: “We are listening to nighttime music.”

(Turns on ambient-ish music on iphone.)

Child: “I WANT TO SEE! I WANT TO SEE!”

Me: “NO! There is nothing to see. You listen with your ears.”

(Places phone high, high up where child cannot reach.)

Child: bouncing on bed to music.

Me: Yelling, cajoling. Finally gets kid to lay down in sleep position.

Several minutes pass. Music is weird and includes rainstorm sounds.

Child: Sits straight up in bed. “What is that sound?? It is not raining! Why is it raining in the music!”

Me: “It is supposed to relax you! Just LISTEN! AND GO. TO. SLEEP.”

Music nears the end of six minutes. Child is twitching and falling into sleep. Omigoditisactuallyworking. 

Music ends. 

KID WAKES UP.

Child: “I want the music again!”

 

Annnnd back to square one.

(These small beings eventually grow up and actually sleep. Unassisted. Right??)

 

 

A Lesson in Lightening Up, Letting Go

Which meltdown do I begin with? Me yesterday frantically trying to find my daughter’s Halloween costume (the one I purposely bought early since I knew I would be busy traveling for work) only to lose it and despair over the fact? Or the blueberry smoothie that spilled over half the living room rug and had me yelling at nobody in particular? Or maybe it was the bathroom desperately in need of mopping before someone mistakes it for a baseball stadium restroom. (Thank the kiddo and her pee-pee accidents for that.)

Yes, yesterday was a Day. It was a day where I felt so super-charged in my responses to fairly benign stresses (or at least routine ones) that it was hard at times to remember that I shouldn’t just blindly obey the part of my brain that desires a knee-jerk reaction, and more importantly that I should not identity with those emotions and distorted thoughts that demand I feel victimized, or resentful, or defeated, or righteous. What Jen Pastiloff calls the “bullshit stories”, the false soundtrack about our life that we all create as human beings. So much easier said than done, especially when the lizard brain is clamoring to be in charge.

Yesterday, as I was frantically looking for my daughter’s costume so she could wear it to a Halloween-themed birthday party, I got teared up. It was silly and I knew that, but the emotions overcame me and I just let them. I needed the cry and I didn’t fully understand it but I tried to just be with it. My daughter saw me upset and she playfully started poking me with her broom and said “cheer up mama!” I could not help but laugh. How perfect, right? The costume that was for my daughter (not me) and yet was causing me such distress. But she wasn’t in tears! We had found a dress that looked sufficiently “witch-ish” and she had her hat and broom and what was all this fuss about exactly?

A reminder not to take ourselves so seriously.

free-flying-witch-clip-art-graphicsfairy

That as intense and strong as those emotions may be, they are not us, they are simply the wave that is surfacing and we can ride it and–yes–even laugh!

I needed that reminder from my almost-four-year-old. A young human being who knows all about intense emotions, and yet also seems to inherently know that sometimes you just pick up your broom, brush off, and keep flying.