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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sleeping Beauties






I love being a mom, I really do. But, the older my kids get the sassier they become. They're demands are relentless and their expectations out of control.  They argue, talk back, cry for no reason and are already slamming doors! I understand they are still trying to understand their feelings and emotions. Darya is spoiled so she is used to getting what she wants. Lily has always been good at everything so now that she is reaching an age where things are becoming challenging and she actually has to practice to get it right, she feels frustrated. Needless to say, this mommy has her hands full. Which is why I love bedtime! Kids are so darn cute when they are fast asleep, aren't they? Their adorable lips, pouting innocently. Their chubby cheeks pushed up against the pillow. Their closed lids displaying long lashes just above a button nose. Don't get me started on the way in which they sleep! The way they position their tiny little bodies right before you tuck them in and the way they are spread out in every which way a few hours later when you check in on them. The best part? No whining, no nagging, no pouting, no scowling, no yelling, no crying, no fighting, no tantrums, no demands. They are fast asleep, breathing softly, dreaming a princess dream in la-la-land. I relish bedtime. I get to enjoy the silence as my heart melts over their cuteness and I silently gush over my sleeping beauties. Most importantly, my batteries have time to re-charge in preparation for tomorrow morning when the little nightmares awake!











Wednesday, May 20, 2015

April Antics

Things have been a little crazy on my end here. In between the 'routine crazy' that comes with being a mother of two, I've also been adding--and adding--extra work and thoughts and stress into my busy routine. I picked up "The Artist's Way" from my bookshelf, dusted off and began reading it again. One of the key components in Julia Cameron's book are the "morning pages." She states the importance of waking up fresh, like a clean slate, and writing 3 pages of whatever comes to your head. Even if you have nothing to write, she encourages you to write I have nothing to write over and over until you have filled 3 pages.  For the last month the "morning pages" and my delicious morning cup of coffee have become quite a pair. There's one thing that's been occupying my writing process.

Second, I've been studying for the CBEST. I've really been considering becoming a substitute teacher. I'm not sure being an actual teacher to one class for a full year is something I can do. However, since people tell me all the time that I would make a good teacher because I'm so patient, subbing would be a great way to test the waters. All I pretty much need to do to become a sub (since I already have my bachelors degree) is pass this one test. Thus, whatever free time I can muster up (which is not much) has been going to studying rather than blogging.

There is a third-which is probably the most important factor- that I'll blog about in detail later. It's an idea I have had for quite a few years about starting a web-site. I recently put my thoughts on paper and reached out to a well known lawyer in my community for professional advice in respect to her field of expertise. Upon handing my idea to her close to a month ago, internally I just exploded. I became so emotionally consumed by this business concept that is so close to my heart that when I handed it to someone else for feedback, the anticipation literally gave me an anxiety attack--which I seriously thought was a heart attack! The funny thing is, this lawyer that I looked up to as such a pillar in our community with a heart of gold, never even reached out to me. Two weeks after handing my informal business idea to her secretary I directly emailed her--nothing. Anyway, that's the other factor as to why I have been MIA in the blogging world. A wide array of emotions, rapid high's and low's all at once only leads to one thing= a panic attack.

With all that said, here's a few pics from April...
Lily's first official piano lesson.
Easter Fun
My brother's very kid friendly work party! Face painting, pony rides and petting zoo!




Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Running Red Lights

I ran a red light last week. It was very, very scary. I didn't realize what I had done until after the fact. I was driving down the main road by my house that takes me to my local gym, Starbucks, grocery store, gas station, freeway. Everywhere I need to be is connected to this street. Maybe because of its familiarity I was driving along, my brain not paying attention because I had travelled this path more than a million, billion times!

It was early Saturday morning, the girls and I were off to the gym for our weekly Kids X class that I teach and they attend. They were being their usual talkative selves, while I quietly chewed my granola bar and listened to the radio. Then it happened. At 45 mph I zipped through the red light and all the other cars that had obediently stopped.

"Oh. My. God." I said and due to my shock, kept saying, "Oh-my-gawd-Oh-my-gawd..."

"What is it Mommy?" Lily was asking. "Why do you keep saying that?"

"Mommy did something very naughty. I just passed a red light without stopping. That is so dangerous! I'm so lucky there were no cars on the other side of the road."

Then the girls began reprimanding me, repeating my words, using them against me. "We could have had an accident!" "Are you going to go to jail?" "That's so dangerous Mommy! You have to stop at red and go at green!"

The shock had passed and I was now in panic mode envisioning what could have happened. Truth is I have no idea when the light turned red. I was completely unaware of the lights. I had zoned out.  Then I remembered that this same thing had happened to me just a few mornings prior when I was driving Lily to preschool. I had mentally checked out and when I came through I had no idea if I had passed the street for her school yet. As soon as I got my bearings I realized that my "zone out" session had only lasted a few seconds and I still had two more streets to pass before Lily's school.

Truth is, we all have a lot going on in our lives. When we have daily routines it's easy to switch our brain to auto pilot, let our brain go through planning out our day and that long To Do list while our body mindlessly functions, carrying out routine activities.  This is not good. We must be present. We must take time to breathe in and out. Enjoy the moment.

These days are all about meeting deadlines, being on time, don't forget this, remember to do that! Shuttle the kids here. Husband has to go there. I need to call so and so, I need to remember to tell so and so...so many things in between all the other things... and POOF! at some point we collapse from exhaustion. I do. Every now and again I'll spend days brain dead on the couch, functioning just enough to tend to the kids, resting my bones from all the other things that can wait. And that's the lesson here: we are always in a hurry, when in reality, IT CAN WAIT. Our health, our body, our mind, needs us to slow down and be in the moment. Sometimes, it takes running a red light, to remember that.  (I'm so, so thankful nobody got hurt in the process!)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

RUBY by Cynthia Bond

I was up late one night watching one of the many Super Soul Sunday's I have on my DVR. Oprah's guest was an author named Cynthia Bond. Her book, a New York Time's Bestseller by the name of RUBY.

At the start of the show Oprah gushed about Bond's book, "When something's this good, this delicious, this rich, this full, you know your heart's gonna be split wide open. You're gonna open to new levels of experience."

In love with reading and in awe of Oprah, I made a trip to the library the very next morning.

The book, RUBY, is a deep, dark, soul shattering, emotionally moving journey of one woman whose life's path is interwoven with so many other characters and so many life altering experiences that you  are left in awe of her strength, understand her actions, appreciate her heart and love her whole. The story will open your heart, reveal every shadow and dark crevice that you have for so long tried to ignore or overlook. The book will bring all the darkness to the surface. And just when you think there is no light left, Bond turns the corner to where the sun is shining and hope is leaping off its rays and into your pores. You too can overcome. You too can thrive in victory.  You too, despite it all, can have a happy ending.

MY FAVORITE-emotionally moving-QUOTES FROM THE BOOK:    

"'Ain't nobody ever gone answer you cries. You can fill a well with tears, and all you gonna get is drowned. You sit there long enough and the crazy man find you. You weep too long, your heart ache so, the flesh slip off your bones and your soul got to find a new home. You wait on answers 'til the scaredy-cat curl up in your belly and use your liver for a pin cushion. And that's just how you die. Ascared and waiting. And death find your ghost wailing for help. In this life, if someone promise you aid, they a lie. If someone offer they hand, check five times ten to where they hide the bill. You ain't nobody but alone. And God come to those with fight to find It. Ain't nothing easy. Not for the like of you."

*****

"Your daddy and me named you Otha. It means 'wealth.' You were your daddy's treasure from the time you were born until he died. He used to say there were rubies buried deep inside of you. Remember, baby, don't never let a man mine you for your riches. Don't let him pickax to that treasure in your soul. Remember, they can't get it until you give it to them. They might lie and try to trick you out of it, baby, and they'll try. They might lay a hand on you, or worse, they might break your spirit, but the only way they can get it is to convince you it's not yours to start with. To convince you there's nothing there but a lump of coal.
"Honey, one day I'm going to die, and that's not all, one day you'll die too. And between the here and the there, God sets us upon the business of collecting life's true fortune. I've gotten plenty: the way your daddy smiled when I met him; the apple pie your grandmother used to make, with whole cinnamon grated in with the sugar; the maple leaves in the fall and how that always meant your daddy's fig maple syrup would be on our pancakes. And you. You my big beautiful jewel baby. You my prize. And one day you'll have a child and that child will be your prize.
"Teach them to see it, teach them by doing. But if you can't, if you done give your treasure away, if you find it hard to make your way in the dark of your own soul, if you forget who you really are, know that it comes back to you when the lie they give you die. That lie don't die easy, and sometimes it take you with it. But for all that, your bounty yet waits for you to claim it.
"Remember and it will yet shine. Shine brighter when you let love touch you. Shine brighter when you love yourself. Shine on into heaven when you leave this world."

******

"She turned to her children. She had so much to teach them. To stand. To fight. To believe in rising. She would teach them. She would teach herself. She felt her heart beating steady in her chest. She could give each of them this knowing. She would give it to them like angel cake."

Thursday, April 9, 2015

BLOGGING. My Brand. My Lifestyle. My Travels. My Opinions.

Blogging is easy. Figuring out "my brand" to stick with a blogging theme is, as my daughter would say, "super hard!"
This looks a lot like my head shot from 10 years ago!
Photo credit goes to the best photographer I know: Lily! 

Who the heck am I, anyway?

First and foremost, I'm a mother and a wife. But what does that even mean?

I'm a walking contradiction:
I love the sun, though too much exposure leaves me with migraines.
I create chaos then demand a need for peace and quiet.
I swear that having another kid will push me toward depression yet on a daily basis I'm thinking up names for baby #3 and debating a #4 and strategically planning what months are best for conception.
I swore to myself I'd marry for money because I didn't believe in love but when I married it was solely for love (would've been lovely if it was both!).

My Fashionista.
She doesn't get her stylish diva-ness from me!
I love sunglasses and expensive handbags. But I'm no fashionista! On a normal day you will find me in my gym clothes-ALL DAY!

I love celebrity gossip. Have no interest in politics.

I think I'm pretty boring. So what the heck do I want to blog? What is there to blog about? What will make you want to read my posts?

Maybe I'm just like you in some ways. Maybe you've thought about the same things I write about. Maybe you can relate to my happiness and my conflicts, my stories and my experiences.

Once upon a time when I was an on air entertainment journalist, my mission was to find my brand. I couldn't do it. There was nothing special about me- I didn't have that oomph, that staying power.  My youthful face was perfect for young, fun, celebrity driven journalism. My demeanor however was screaming serious, smart, investigative reporting. I couldn't figure it out. I couldn't hone a skill I couldn't pinpoint. I was clueless. I suppose I still am. Except now it's so much easier to not worry about 'doing me' because I'm hiding behind my kids. They're my priority. They get what they want. Their happiness makes me happy. Except for certain days--that have been lately dragging to weeks, when those whispers have elevated to shouts: WHAT ABOUT YOU?! WHY CAN'T YOU MAKE TIME FOR YOU? SPEND MONEY ON YOU? TREAT YOURSELF? LOVE YOURSELF?

I guess that's what it comes back to every single time: LOVING MYSELF. I've never been good at it. Maybe that's why I'm putting in double time with my girls. To make sure they have that head start in life. Because when you love yourself, you are the best! You don't second guess everything-which means other people won't either! You're not always doubting your worth. For all these reasons you will always be at an advantage.  Even when you fail you are succeeding. Your confidence is uplifting, addicting, inspiring, magnetic!

This blog could possibly be my therapy. Most of the time I log on with a topic in mind and find my fingers typing away about something entirely unexpected and unplanned. Other days I begin with a topic that has been circling in my head for a while and am surprised to find myself unraveling it's layers with each word I type. I'm bringing my issues to light, I'm offering options to the how's and why's. Writing is therapeutic for me. Writing allows me to release a heavy load I carry.

I love being a mom.
It's the most satisfying, fulfilling accomplishment of my life.
I'm a mom. I'm happy, positive, down to earth, patient, and an ambitious busy bee. I'm a writer.  I will always be the one asking smart, inquisitive questions in the superficial, land of celebrities. That's just me.    



  
 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Lena Dunham is a Creative Genius

Or maybe she just doesn't give a fuck.

I could write a book like this.
I'm just too chicken shit to admit
half the things I've done, or thought
about or wanted to do, but...
Thus making her different than the 99% of us who care way too much about what people think. I include myself because half the time I do care. The other half I totally don't--except even when I think I'm not caring, I've probably cared for so long that it has become deeply rooted to my lifestyle that it feels all too natural and therefore I naively assume I'm not caring when in actuality I care and have cared for so frickin long that I don't even realize I'm caring! Whew. That revelation was exhausting.

Cali kids in Spain.
Enjoying our youth AND getting an education!








Lucky for Lena, she was raised with easy going, artsy parents. The polar opposite of my upbringing. Which is why I think if we ran in the same social circle (which we totally don't) we'd be major besties. She'd be crazy and say the most hilarious things and I'd be her sidekick, laughing hysterically and hanging on to her every word. She'd inspire me to tune in to my creative side and be my muse...however, I can't imagine what I could bring to the table. Now that I think about it, I probably wouldn't be able to offer her anything. So I'm not sure we'd be a great match after all.

I used to have a Lena Dunham type of friend. Though we lived within an hour from one another in SoCal, we actually met while studying abroad in Barcelona. I'll pretend her name was Natalay. For the record I'm really bad at pretending, so this might actually BE her name. But I'll never tell. 

Natalay spent the entire class period doodling on her papers instead of taking notes or even remotely bothering to participate in class. Even her doodles were cool and before long I found myself attempting to imitate them: a circle connected to a square attached to a cylinder that spouted little bubbles that turned into shooting stars that burst into more circles and crescents and triangles and squares.  The sides of my pages were consumed by her works of inspiration and before long we somehow became friends. She was uber smart in a nonchalant, passive way. Even though she never did her homework or paid attention in class, every time the teacher called on her she was spot on with her answers. I was in awe.

Oh, Ibiza! Thanks for the memories!
Her host family didn't live too far from mine so we started hanging out often and taking weekend trips around Spain together. Next thing I knew the semester was winding down and she had agreed to go backpacking through Europe with me for a couple of weeks. We stayed in cheap hostels, fell asleep between train rides from one country to the next, even threw away our dirty clothes and shoes to make our backpacks lighter. She loved Fiona Apple and introduced me to Tori Amos. After watching the MTV VMAS with Britney prancing around stage with a massive snake over her shoulders, we snuck down to the basement of our hostel in Vienna where she taught me how to roll weed as we jammed out to Bob Marley.  She was a cool chick. Her stance on life was so chill. She didn't know about tomorrow, she was just enjoying right now.

Like Lena, she was also raised with artsy parents.

We could have stayed and colonized. It was a possibility.
Eventually we both returned home.

I was finishing up my last year at UC Irvine and she was back home with her parents in Los Angeles. We met up a few times, trying to hang out like we did while abroad. But it felt different. It's hard to vividly remember so many years back, but maybe our differences stuck out like sore thumbs and she noticed.  I really don't know. I was so lost in trying to figure myself out--now that I had been thrust in the real world I found myself drowning in life's uncertainties. Graduate school or law school for that matter was as much an option as suicide was!  I was going through a quarter life crisis and debating on whether to start taking the anti-depressants the doctor had prescribed me or to get a one way ticket to Altanta, where I could stay with my cousin for a bit until I figured it all out (with hopes of pursuing a job of some sort with CNN). I chose neither of the two options, by the way. 

One day, I'll never forget, I was at the local library in Marina del Rey checking my email (because I didn't have a computer of my own, let alone access to internet) when I saw that Natalay had emailed me. The email turned out to be a long, heartfelt letter about how I've been such a great friend to her. It was moving, it was touching, if I recall correctly it even brought tears to my eyes. Here's the crazy thing though--after that letter I never heard from Natalay again. I tried calling her a few times, even leaving her messages on her house line, but she never returned my calls. I've tried looking for her throughout the years on Myspace, Facebook, even Instagram-and even though she may have an account she's not at all active on social media.

So that's the story of my cool friend. She fell off the face of the earth. Too cool to really care. Since I've never been cool, it makes me sad every time I think about it, every time I remember her. Who else can I look back on those years with? Who else can I call and say, "Remember the time we went
The sun, the sand, the water, the air...we live a lifetime in our travels. 
to Ibiza and loved it so much we wanted to stay and form our own little colony? Why didn't we do that!? Cuz real life and all it's real problems really blows!" And then we'd laugh and laugh as we reminisced on the good times when we were young and our only real problem was getting super lost in the streets of Barcelona, looking for the house party that cute tattooed boy she liked invited us to.
Why is nostalgia so depressing?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

March Picture Madness! A look back at last month.

I kicked off March as a new instructor for Fitness 19's
Killer Abs class and Saturday Morning Kids Group X class!
Seems like every month there is something big going on! February revolved around Lily's birthday. March was clearly all about the Persian New Year and all the fun it entailed! 

BOOKS I READ THIS MONTH:

Looking for Alaska-John Green
The Fault in Our Stars-John Green
Big Little Lies-Liane Moriarty
The Husband's Secret-Liane Moriarty
Leaving Time-Jodi Picoult

MOVIES I WACHED:
The Fault in Our Stars (duh)
Whiplash
Theory of Everything 
Fifty Shades of Grey (twice!)
Darya had her 1st Ballet Recital!
"Shahar Shanbe Soori" with my girls!

One of the many places in SoCal to
celebrate "Shahar Shanbe Soori"


Norouz=New Day
Celebrating the Persian New Year with my mom.
Followed by a family party at my Aunt's house.
"Sizdebedar"
13 days after Norouz, Persians get together
for a picnic at the park filled with music, dancing and fun!

Lily began her first day of soccer on the last day of March!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I exist. I matter. My journey back into self awareness.

I'm making it a mission to post more pictures of myself.
I will try to be less critical. This is my blog.
This is my journey.


There's more to me than being a mom.

I think I had forgotten that. Day in, day out I'm consumed by 2 gorgeous, yet quite demanding, little girls. Almost everyday I wake up, put on my yoga pants and baggy shirt in preparation for another day as a full time mom. Now that my girls are a little older and pretty much self sufficient (for the most part) I'm finding windows of opportunity where I can have time for myself. For the first few years of mommy hood taking time to straighten my hair or put makeup on was a luxury and done only if it was really, really necessary. For the first few years I was in survival mode: feed the kids, change the kids, bathe the kids, play with the kids. There were many a times where I showered only once a week because I had no one around during the days and I was too exhausted and fell asleep with my girls at night. This is not a boohoo story. It was just my reality for a time. I willingly gave up myself, literally gave all of me, to and for my babies.  Now, 5 years later, I'm ready to take back some of that time that was once allotted for only them. I make sure to wake up early enough to fix my hair and my face. I'm trying to make it a point to wear more than just yoga pants and sneakers (this is a tough one for me). 

I'm realizing that while this blog was initially intended as a mommy journal of sorts--it has evolved into something so much more. It's been a stepping stone into bringing me out of my mommy shell and back out into reality. I'm no longer looking at the world and everyone in it from inside the comfort of my own personal bubble. I'm slowly stepping out and reconsidering my existence in the world as more than a mom but also as a writer, a creative spirit, a traveler, an adventure junkie, an aspiring blogger, and hundreds of other characteristics and traits that make me who I am.  

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love being a mom-nothing has fulfilled me more in my life! However, there is more to me than that. I think the universe is slowly pulling me, showing me, telling me that it's time to keep moving on my journey. Life doesn't stop at being a mom. My passions haven't evaporated into thin air. I simply pushed them to the side for a while and now I'm ready to bring them back to the forefront. It's going to be a tough adjustment, but I need to practice sharing my time between domestic life and office work.  I have so much to do, to accomplish, to prove to myself. 

At the end of the day, this is my life. This is my blog. This is my journey. It makes sense that this blog is ultimately, the journey of me. I'm ready to put myself back out there.  I will face my fears. I will work towards success, but be equally proud of my failures. I will post more selfies on Instagram, no matter how critical I am of my pictures. I will reactivate my Facebook. I will no longer hide behind my kids.  We will co-exist in the front lines together because I matter, too. This is my journey from self loathing (my teens) to selfless (as a mom) to self aware (right here, right now). Welcome to the journey of me!     

 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I'm addicted...

...to reading. That's what my mom said to me the other day. I was sitting at her dining room table, drinking my coffee (another terrible addiction she claims I possess) while casually reading something or other.  The chaos and madness that are my kids twirled and swirled before me but I masterfully tuned it all out and focused on the pages, consumed by words. That's when my mom burst my peaceful bubble with her negative words and disapproving frown. "You're addicted to reading, Ladan!" And then she said those three words that I should be immune to by now. Those intrusive words that she says all too often to me. At me. Words that hurt, when I'm old enough and wise enough to know they shouldn't. "Get a life." I ignored her. Shrugged my shoulders and kept on reading. I pretended she hadn't wounded me, though she had and always did. Sticks and stones...but words, words. Words are everything. I like to think I have a life. A happy one. A good one. Yet my mother always begs to differ. Yet her gaze is always disapproving and her words strike instead of soothe. I know she means well. I know she loves me. I know her life are her kids: my brother and I. However, there is something that lies deep down, something unsaid, something untouched, that I can't put my finger on. Something that no amount of achievement can heal, no level of hard work can cure. Something that stirs within the pit of her soul, enunciating each word through gritted teeth: 'Not. Good. Enough.' And maybe I'll never be good enough. Maybe she loves me so much, believes in me more than I believe in myself, sees my talents and my worth as so much more than I deem even possible, that I'm not meeting her expectations of me. She's on this other level of just how great I can and should be and, why aren't I there yet? Oh. Because I'm addicted to reading. Wasting my life on reading books other people have written when I should be writing my own. Keeping a clean house and tending to my kids when I should be out there getting my doctorate in something or other. My mother is very big on education.  I suppose her perspective on things are understandable. Who doesn't want the best for their kids? Except that I'm proud of who I am and all I've done...so far. I'm hopeful that I'll achieve a lot more before my days in this life are over. In the meantime, I do have a life. One that I'm quite content with and am living the best I know how. I wake up happy. I love my family. And I love indulging in books and coffee, milk duds and sushi. I love tickling my girls until they are laughing so hard that they have swallowed the sound and all you see is their dimpled, wide smiles and the trembling of their body trying to contain themselves as my fingers gently poke and prod their soft, sensitive skin. I am addicted. I'm addicted to my kids, to my husband, to this life I've created for myself. To all the things I do. To all the things I love too much to quit. I guess, with that said, I'm also addicted to my mother.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

TIME

Time is of the essence. Time heals all wounds. Only time will tell. In due time. Time after time. Time flies by when you're having fun. Time's up!

Time is a tricky, tricky thing. The older we get the faster it seems to slip from our fingers no matter how tight our grasp. I remember when we were young, we'd count down our birthdays, wishing we were already 13, 16, 18 and finally, 21. Once we graduated college and entered the 'real world' of finding real jobs that pay real incomes so we can afford to pay our very real bills, time began to speed up. The years began to pass with a blink of an eye. I remember things like they were yesterday. Meeting my future husband, his Easter sunday proposal, my bachelorette party and bridal shower, our wedding. There was baby #1 then baby #2, a move to Virginia and within that same year our move back. All these things take time, all these things have sped up the process of time. All these things have occupied my time.

It's been over a week since my last blog, although it truly feels like a couple of days ago since I last checked in. It's not that I have a shortage of topics to write about, I just don't seem to be able to find the time!  I've never understood people who lay around bored with nothing to do. I have a list yay high and I just keep adding more things to it. I'm never bored, ever! Even in my younger years I was always running around busy, busy with no time to think.  When I tackle my to do list I feel good, I feel proud. It's like a natural high. It's when I don't have time but the errands and phone calls and that nagging list are at the forefront of my thoughts demanding the attention that I can't seem to give that I'm internally combusting from within.

I need to find the time. Make the time. Organize my time. The months are passing, laying themselves out so quickly that it's folding into years before my very eyes. When did Lily turn 5 when we brought her home from the hospital just the other day?! How am I married with 2 kids when I was just daydreaming about this perfect life, and now here it is, playing itself out.

Will I look back 5 years from now in awe and happiness and pride for all the other things that I've achieved that have changed the course of my life? Or will I look back in frustration that I still haven't done half the things I'd like because time wasn't on my side?

They say to steal time away for yourself. I think that's what I need to start doing. Sometimes maybe we need to be selfish before we can be selfless again.

It's go time!    

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Night Terrors: My First Hand Experience On A Very Scary Situation

It began right when Lily turned 4, like a right of passage welcoming her to the next stage of growing pains.

The first time it happened I was taken aback by fear of the unknown. My face was probably as pale as a ghost, or at the possibility that my daughter was seeing and talking to ghosts! I didn't know what to do and so I had no choice but to ride it out until it ended. Those 10 minutes felt like eternity until, finally, the worst was over, and Lily just went back to sleep.

Here's what happens when your child has night terrors: a look into my first experience.

It was close to 11pm, I was stretched out on the couch watching TV, Lily and Darya had been fast asleep for a few hours by then. I heard a whimpering sound--with my bionic mommy ears--and quickly ran into the girls bedroom. Lily was sitting up, flustered, whimpering and mumbling words I couldn't make out. I went to her. She seemed irritated as she reached for me yet also pushed me away. My attempt to get her to lie back down was only agitating her to a fit of loud tears. I immediately squashed that idea and instead scooped her up into my arms and carried her to the living room to keep from waking her sister Darya up.

I placed Lily on the couch in the living room, yet she was adamant about not wanting to sit. Instead she began to pace around the room, crying and speaking in half sentences, saying: "Mommy, I don't want to...Mommy, can I...Please..." To which she would then proceed to burst into tears.

I didn't know what was going on. She appeared awake and coherent, only a little distant and off. I kept asking her questions! "Lily, honey, what's wrong?" "Did you have a bad dream?" "You don't want to what?"

A few minutes into it and Lily begins looking off into the distance, putting a hand up as she exclaims in terror, "No! No! No!" At this point I am so overwhelmed I innocently believe she is seeing ghosts. My baby girl is being haunted by ghosts! I turn to where she is looking and scream with anger, "Go away!!" I thrash my arms in the air and yell, "Stay away from my baby!!"

At this point Darya is awake and sitting on the edge of the couch, watching in silence while rubbing her eyes and yawning.

"Lily, what do you see? What is it?" I just kept asking questions. After about ten or so minutes, Lily let out a yawn and became overtaken with sleep. I put her and Darya back to bed, went back to the couch and had myself a good cry.  

In the morning Lily was her usual happy self, all smiles as she attacked me with kisses during our routine 'good morning hugs.'  Still traumatized from the events that took place the night before, I began my inquiry. "Honey, did you have a bad dream last night?" She looked at me confused. "You woke up crying...were you having a bad dream?" She was clueless. She did not remember anything that had happened.

It was when it happened again, a few nights later, to the same degree of intensity that I googled it!

Turns out Lily has Night Terrors. Apparently it happens to about 10% of kids and it begins around the time they turn 4. Night Terrors also known as Sleep Terrors happens during deep non REM sleep.

Taken from www.kidshealth.org Night terrors usually occur about 2 or 3 hours after a child falls asleep, when sleep transitions from the deepest stage of non-REM sleep to lighter REM sleep, a stage where dreams occur. Usually this transition is a smooth one. But rarely, a child becomes agitated and frightened — and that fear reaction is a night terror.

It's been just over a year since Lily had her first Night Terror. When the Terrors first began it was almost a bi-weekly thing that slowly transgressed to weekly, then they were happening about every other week. In the last 6 months she probably has had 3 or 4 experiences total, one of them being last night.

The thing is that web-sites tell you to leave the child alone while they are going through their night terror as they are technically still asleep. To let them ride it out on their own but to monitor them closely just so they don't harm themselves. I am not able to do this. Every single time my child has had a night terror she has reached for me, she has cried out "Mommy" in between her mumbles and whimpers.  How can I stand back and watch her cry out in emotional distress--in her sleep or not.

My tactic, which seems to nip the Night Terror in the butt within a few minutes at the most is this:

*Turn the TV and all the lights off to keep it dark, to not overstimulate your child's already emotional state.

*Speak in a low, calm, soothing voice.

*Say only positive things while your child is beginning to fall apart : I love you! You were so good today. I'm so proud of you.  Hold my hand. Give me a hug.

*And finally as you continue nurturing your child invite them to cuddle with you. I always take Lily's hand and lead her to the couch as I say, "Come lay with me. Can I sleep with you?" In her awake state Lily wants nothing more than to fall asleep cuddled up in my arms, so naturally she also wants it in her state of sleep.
As I lay with her I feel her body relaxing as she sighs and even coughs a couple times. I give her space to squirm around as she gets comfortable. Within seconds her breathing is slow and deep and she is fast asleep. With no memory of having awoken in the first place.

And just like that I have successfully avoided a personally traumatizing episode of yet another Night Terror. I saved myself and my daughter from what could have been a good ten or more minutes of gut wrenching tears and incoherent screams!  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I DID IT!

I totally did it!

I snuck in by myself to finally watch Fifty Shades of Grey! Well, not snuck in per se--I did pay for my ticket-but snuck in as in, ignoring my mommy duties for half the day and stealing some much needed alone time for myself. Of course, I wasn't completely naughty! I did call my husband and run it by him first. What? I felt guilty!

Anywhoooo...I loved the movie. I'm so glad I loved the movie. I really, really did love the movie. This is where I do a twirl, raise the roof and shout, "Oh yea! Oh yea!"---Ahem--If I did those type of silly things, that is.

I'm actually super relieved I watched it on my own! Not to mention the theater was practically empty save for one odd couple a good five rows behind me. Yet, there were still a couple of moments where I personally felt embarrassed and uncomfortable. Jeez, I'm such a prude. No but seriously, it's different reading it and PG-13 imagining it in your head and then full on watching it for reals (for reals, for reals) in the Rated R version it's meant to be.

By the way, high five to Dakota Johnson! She made a great Anastasia Steele.

I seriously feel so much better having finally seen this movie. I can continue on with my boring, yet super busy life now. So, if you'll excuse I have to pick my kids up from preschool now.
  

Monday, March 9, 2015

Another Reason To Hate Mondays!

Of course I have to point out, it's just a random coincidence that today is Monday. Days of the week make no difference for stay at home moms with tiny tots. Every day is the same, pretty much. With that said, let's get on with my rambling today's blog, shall we?

I HAD TO GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. I woke up this morning feeling even worse than the day before and the day before that and I just had to get out of the house-sans kids!

I suppose it's just one of those days. "Those" days that people have every now and again. Those types of days that a lot of people get all too often which is why America is in the midst of a pill popping epidemic! I don't do pills. Except headache medicine (Does that count? It shouldn't, right?) I can't even down my daily vitamins which is why I've finally converted to buying the chewy, tasty, gummy kind.

Now I've gone completely off topic. Which makes sense since my mind has been running a mile a minute since I woke up this morning! Let's just say, I have a lot on my plate. A lot of life decisions to make with fingers crossed and good intentions but who is to say the choices we make are the right ones until it's too late to change them?! And, it's not just decisions on my behalf, or my husband's behalf, but decisions on behalf of our kids as well. I have a lot going on...just as all adults do! A lot I can't ever talk about. A lot I keep to myself. A lot I know will work itself out, just as life always does.

But some days, like today, the simmering deep down in my gut has escalated to a bubbling, boiling and sputtering of nerves splashing and burning my insides.  I find myself suffocating, the thoughts in my head are bouncing off one another and caving in, shutting down. I need release. I need to vent, to write. To take in the sun, soak it in. The warmth is soothing to my bones, thaws my cold, cold heart. I've been called selfish, bossy, bitch-separately or all together in one sentence-so many times in my life, I had to put that last bit in. Plus it sounded good! Ha! 

Anyway, alone time is truly a luxury for me these days.

However, today I had to steal alone time for myself. I left Lily and Darya on the couch: one with a tablet, the other with the remote and told them if they need anything, daddy was in the other room.

To be fair, I did offer to take them along.  "Where are you going?" They both asked in their sweet, curious voices. "To the library," I answered. To which they both, quickly responded, "No" and went back to focusing their attention to the tablet and the TV.  I'm actually a bit offended by the speed of their response! What's wrong with the library? All those books on the shelves, the quiet ambience, everyone there for one reason: to read, to learn, to escape. I was, however, relieved they declined, because my intentions were to be alone, to cure myself of these thoughts and feelings and make myself right again before going home to the question marks, to the chaos and insanity, that makes up my life.

So, without telling my husband--I really couldn't handle any sort of conversation without having a breakdown! I literally had to fight back tears as I gave my order to the barista at Starbucks! Of course she took my sour face and tight lips for just being a total bitch (figures) because she was giving me a death stare and placed my coffee so far from reach once it was ready, I really had to lean in to grab it! Ugh! I'm so misunderstood! Ha! See, my writing and venting is putting me in a better mood already!

Sometimes all we need is to change our perspective: the way we see from our minds eye. Leaving the house, taking a walk, breathing in the fresh air. Writing is therapeutic for me. The thoughts in my head, now on this blog, makes everything seem so achievable, makes my thoughts feel so menial.

Sometimes all we need is to change our perspective and to gift ourselves with (stolen) alone time. Maybe I'll even do something I've NEVER, EVER done before...go watch a movie by myself! A movie I've been trying to see, a movie I've been wanting to see before it even hit theaters. Yet, I didn't have the time, couldn't find the time, found it impossible to make the time.

I think my next blog is going to be about TIME, or lack thereof.

Now if you'll excuse me, the library awaits! Gosh I'm so naughty, my alone time consists of blogging at Starbucks, checking out a book at the library, and the possibility (I feel dirty just pondering the thought!) of seeing a movie by myself!  Mi Vida Loca.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

February in Pictures...

February has been a bit crazy, hectic, chaotic and stressful...to say the least! For almost half the month I had 2 sick, clingy and nagging kids AND the other half was spent celebrating Lily's 5th Birthday! She celebrated with her cousins in Arizona. At her favorite restaurant, Kabuki. With her teachers and classmates. A small party at home. And finally, at Legoland! 5 birthday wishes for my 5 year old!
Renaissance Fair with Cousins





She was so excited to have her birthday with her cousins!
Mia, Lily, Darya, Zoey
Celebrating at home with her cousin Gloria,
sister Darya and Best Friend Sara
With Uncle Toofan 
Kabuki!
Cupcakes at Preschool







LEGOLAND and SEA LIFE AQUARIUM
February, it's been a pleasure...but I'm exhausted, and very ready for MARCH!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

My First Worst Day of 2015

Yesterday was a terrible, terrible day.

Everyone has days like these every now and again: where everything that could possibly go wrong, does! It didn't help that I was pms-ing or that both my kids have been sick (and naggy and clingy and moody and not at all their usual happy, energetic selves) for the last week.

So the day began where I really couldn't get myself to clean up our messy home as I had planned...instead I made myself a cup of coffee and began to read (a favorite past time) "The Fault in our Stars." By 10 am I had already choked up twice and by 10:16 I was choked up with tears welled up in my eyes and a developing migraine (possibly caused from all the chaos my kids were creating while I tried to simultaneously contain it and tune it out while still reading).

Alas, I put the book down and began folding laundry. Exhausted from crying excessively and without reason (other than just feeling under the weather), Darya passed out on the couch next to me while I folded.

Lily insisted she was well enough for gymnastics and since she had already missed a week of school and her fever was gone, I obliged. Two hours later, 'sleeping' Darya was now awake and back to being a 'crying' Darya as I rushed to get them dressed and out the door. They were both fast asleep when I arrived, five minutes late, to gymnastics class.

Darya, a social butterfly, ran inside as though she hadn't spent the better part of the day crying her eyes out for God knows what. Lily, however, changed her mind about gymnastics after all and decided to cling to me while moaning and groaning in my ear as we sat together on the bleachers.

I suppose everything I've written sounds like a normal, mundane, mommy day, but it wasn't. It was actually far from it!

My kids are--on a normal non-sick day--self sufficient, coherently speaking, peacefully playing, happily co-existing, little big kids. On this day (Day 9 of being sick for Darya and Day 5 for Lily) I had had it! I just couldn't bear to hear "Mommy, mommy, mommy" for the gazillionth time in their whiny, pouty voices one more time! Their over the top demands, "I want this, I want that, I want it!" Their constant need to be carried everywhere around the house. I WAS TIRED!

The tension building up inside me was like a thick, white, cloudy fog--blurring my vision, chilling my bones, and my patience was way past running thin.

There was too much throwing up in one week, way too many tears shed, way too many demands for this--at her wit's end--mommy to bear. My emotions had exploded inside me and thus, I was experiencing my first WORST DAY EVER of 2015!

I suppose I did what any mom would do: I just rolled with the punches.

I yelled and screamed. Told quite a lot of people off...IN MY HEAD (and a tiny bit in real life).

But, once (Jesus, finally! I thought the day would never end) I put the kids to sleep, I went into my own bed, pulled the covers over my head and just cried-A LOT.

I cried for too many reasons to count. For years and years of mistakes and memories. I recounted all my life's regrets. I sobbed into my pillow, releasing all my pent up pain. With each tear I felt lighter, I saw clearer.

When I was all cried out (over my own trials and tribulations) I picked up "The Fault in our Stars" and read (while crying over someone else's trials and tribulations) until there were no more pages left.

Sometimes, even grown ups just need a good cry.

*Note to self: Do not read a super sad book when your having a super bad day*


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Happy 5th Birthday, Lily!

My Dear Lily,

Around this time 5 years ago you burst into this world angry and with a vengeance. You kicked and screamed, wailing at the Gods with the most powerful lungs, I wondered if it was all real or the drugs had kicked up my senses and I was imagining the chaos surrounding me. Then my doctor looked up with bewildered eyes and exclaimed, "WHAT IS GOING ON?!" It was then that I knew my life would never be the same. My baby was born, she was kicking up a storm, and everyone in the room was running around on high alert tending to her screams.

From day one you were strong and defiant. You came out with your head held high, turning your neck from left to right, taking it all in: this new world, your chosen life. You observed, you learned, and you were ON TO THE NEXT THING. My beautiful, independent, Aquarius baby. As soon as you learned to crawl you were focused on walking. The second you began to walk you were mastering the art of running. This has been your personality from the get go.

I call you my little big girl because that's exactly what you are. You have always behaved older than your age. At 9 months old you ran circles around the 2 year olds at the playground. Your energy was exhausting but your point of view on life, your perspective in situations was educational for me. I understood you when no one else did. Maybe it's because I'm your mom and that's my job but I feel like I get you. While others only see the picture in black and white, I see you in full color. The opposite of your sister, you don't try and explain yourself and your actions through words. You automatically expect everyone to see life the way you see it. Your lack of explanation has sometimes gotten you into trouble and it has often times broke my heart--seeing you so wounded.  We can't choose who we are nor can we change.  There's no reason why you would want to because you, my dear sweet Lily, are beyond exceptional.

Your heart is so good and pure and giving. You are the best big sister and the perfect daughter. I am so proud of you. You are smart and enthusiastic, social yet withdrawn. Left handed like your mommy, you have a creative side that is brilliant and amazing. You can go off to a corner and quietly work on your puzzles or your drawings for hours on end.

You love to help Daddy cook. You oblige in helping mommy clean.

You enjoy playing with your sister while nurturing and reprimanding, forgetting that you are only 15 months older.

Your smile is my sunshine. You're dimpled cheeks, your mouth spread open revealing tiny toddler teeth. Your happy, mischievous eyes, full of tricks and schemes, always silly, always alert. You hardly ever cry. So when you do, I'm overwhelmed with emotions beyond my capacity to even explain how badly I want your tears to stop. How far I would go to make your world a happy place again.  

I wouldn't change a thing about you. I must be the luckiest person in the world for God to have blessed me with such an amazing spirit and soul. I know you love me, you tell me all the time. I only hope that in the years to come, you will continue to keep me near, let me be your best friend as well as your mother. In your young age, I know that I am your everything. I am your guide. I am creating your life's path. I am your teacher. I just want you to know that there are so many things I have learned from you in these last 5 years. So many things you have opened my eyes to.

I can't even imagine what life's adventures await you in the years ahead. I only pray that you live a long and healthy life, that you are lucky, that you are wise.

I love you with all my heart. I don't know how I existed without you in my life all these years. But I must have done something right, somewhere, for God to have blessed me with you! You are the greatest gift I have ever received. When I tell you that "I love you so much" you always interject with a crazy amount of numbers to calculate the extent of your love. Well, since this is my letter to you, I get the last word, and "I love you ten thousand, five hundred, 2 million and seventy three!" (times infinity!)

Happy Birthday my honey bunny, my silly Lily, my Lil'Bil, my hercules!  

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Daddy & Daughter Date

Last weekend my husband and my daughter had their first Daddy & Daughter date.

Naturally, I was on cloud nine over the whole thing.

I was having a I need to be alone to clean (cleaning is a form of meditation for me) and gather my thoughts and I can't be bother to get dressed and go anywhere kind of day.  My husband took the girls to my mom's for lunch and to also hang out with my brother who was also visiting for the day. A few hours later, on their way back home, my husband called to see if he could pick me up and we could all go to our favorite sushi restaurant for dinner.  Of course I declined the offer as I was still in my pj's and still knee deep in cleaning.

About ten minutes later my husband walks in through the door happy as can be and giddy with excitement, yet there was no sign of our loud, squealing kids trekking behind him.

"Where are the girls?" I ask. Wide eyed and confused.
"Darya fell asleep on the drive here and Lily is still in the car waiting for me."
"Okay." I say. Still wondering why he is so happy.
"Lily wants to have a Daddy date with me. When you said you didn't want to come and Darya fell asleep she asked if just me and her can go to Kabuki and have a Lily and Daddy day. Just the two of the us!"
"That is so cute, honey." I smiled.
"Do you mind? Is it okay if we go?" He asked.
"Of course not! Go! That is the cutest thing. I love that." I responded.

And so, I kissed one happy Daddy and one happy Daughter before taking a sleeping Darya out of the car, so they can head out to enjoy a couple hours of alone time together.

You know what I love most about this story? The fact that my husband was more excited over Lily's request to hang out with him alone than probably Lily was when he said yes. He was beyond ecstatic. The fact that he felt bad leaving me and worried that Darya would be sad when she woke up was also very sweet.
When they got back, my husband told me that Lily commented a couple times about how nice and quiet it was without Darya and had asked if they can do this again.

I've read that it's important for parents to try and spend quality alone time with each of their kids individually as often as they can. I guess Lily is getting old enough to want that and that she is recognizing her identity as something separate than always being with her sister. It's hard as a parent of two so close in age to remember that. I'm glad she is confident and comfortable enough to express her needs to us-- and smart enough to already be aware of them!

In the end, Lily and Daddy had a great night together and got takeout for Darya and I.
All hearts were happy and every stomach full.
The End.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

If Happiness is Winning the Lottery..then Jackpot!

Becoming a parent is a revelation.  An eye opening, life changing, often times gut wrenching, always remarkable, revelation. To say that I've given up my life to raise my girls couldn't be further from the truth, because they have given me a new life--far better than the one I was living before! To say that everything I have done has been for them is also a half lie, because I do all those things that they enjoy for my self enjoyment as well. If it brings me happiness to have a picnic at the park with my girls, than I'm not just doing it for their sake, I'm also doing it for mine. 

Their happiness makes me happy.

Since I've become a wife and a mom I've experience a happiness I never knew existed, but I've also become much more emotional. I've let my guard down. I feel everything. I cry. I laugh. I love wholeheartedly, without fear or skepticism.

Lily (right) and Darya (left)
Recent Preschool Pictures
Yesterday my cousin posted a picture of my girls on her Instagram page while praising me for being
an awesome mom. I was surprised by her words of praise and the picture of my beautiful girls smiling back at me. I was moved to tears. Other than my husband, it's very rare for someone to give me a pat on the back and tell me that I'm doing a great job.  Why is that?

A mother's job is to love, to nurture, to raise their little ones in a positive light, shielding them from all the negative. We don't do it for the money (Ha! That was a joke). We don't do it just so we can turn around and boast about all our hard work and the plight of a mom.

We certainly don't do it for the praise. However, it's always nice when our hard work is noticed. I realized that yesterday when I read my cousin's post. A lot of people assume it's our job as a mom to do all those things that we do. They don't realize the sacrifices we make to raise happy kids.  Only we, as parents, know all of the ins and outs of what it took to get us here. Most of the time we are so blinded by love that we don't even acknowledge making sacrifices, because that's not what they are, they are life choices made in the name of love.

The reason I got choked up when I read my cousin's post wasn't because she was giving me kudos for being a great mom. It was because she was acknowledging that my kids are "happy" and "spunky." My goal as a mom is to have happy kids, to give them the childhood I didn't have. When someone other than myself or my husband acknowledges our kids happiness, it's like I just won the lottery.

My life can't get any better than it is right now.

I don't know what the future holds. All I have is right now. And right now, I have health, happiness, and the beautiful sunny California weather on my side. A perfect Sunday for a picnic at the park!




Friday, February 6, 2015

A Blessing and a Curse

Career? What career?!


That's what my brain is saying to my heart these days. My brain, the logical, make a list and weigh the pros and cons, part of my body knew becoming a stay at home mom was going to hurt my career in the long run. However, my heart, the emotional, I'm not going to think about it right now because I'm too busy feeling all this love, part of my body just wanted to hold and nurture her babies and never be apart from them! I guess there really was no middle ground, no halfway. It's not like my career was flourishing at the time. It was hardly existent. So, which path to take was pretty obvious for me, because it was really the only one. Unfortunately, I didn't pick a very cut and dry profession. The land of entertainment journalism is a tough and tricky one to maintain and grow in. So, when husband and I decided to try for baby #1, the web-site I was working at had just gone bust due to the recession and I was in dire need of a break from months of countless hosting auditions that were getting me nowhere! 

I got pregnant almost instantly and when Lily hit 8 months, I was surprised to find out that I was almost 2 months pregnant with Darya. There you have it. My path was chosen for me. I became a mother of 2 under 2 with no time to even think about all those previous years I had spent in pursuit of being a successful career lady.  It's not like, being a mother of 2 little ones, I had time to even send out my resume and demo reel...hell, I barely had time to shove food down my throat eat something before one (or both) of them started crying, needed a diaper change, needed to be fed! While they napped, I quickly took care of my needs: bathroom, food in my belly, few sips of coffee(!), breathe....and they're awake again. The amount of times I heated and re-heated my coffee in the span of a day was depressing. As a coffee lover, there's nothing worse than burnt coffee.  Alas, with a blink of an eye, the years passed! Lily turns 5 this month! My babies are now full grown, talking (back), grabbing snacks out of the fridge (leaving the door wide open as they run off with their item of choice), dressing themselves (a tornado hits their bedroom every morning in the process)...so, we still have a few malfunctions. I still need to break up their fights, wash their bottom after they've pooped, pour their juice, put them in time out...but, they no longer cry when they see me getting ready to leave them. They no longer need me the way they used to. For that reason, I can be away and be at peace. My heart and mind have both given me the green light. I'm ready to put a third of the focus back on me.

Which is where the curse comes in...who the heck wants to hire someone who has been a stay at home mom for half a decade. I'm not fresh and new. With two young kids, companies could see me as a liability. Last week I applied for a handful of jobs within my area of expertise: investigative reporter, writer and producer, assistant editor. Every position explained that the hours are long and far exceeding the required 40 with nights and weekends expected as meeting deadlines are crucial. Who expects a stay at home mom to be able to keep up with the fast paced entertainment industry and be okay with not getting home in time to tuck their kids into bed? I wouldn't hire me! As much as I would love for them to take a chance on me, I can't blame them that they aren't.  This is my curse. I'm trying to figure it out, find my way, but it's hard and sometimes sad. But when I think about how I could have done it differently, I really don't think there was any other way for me at the time. Which is why I have to believe that I'm living out my life's path just as I'm supposed to and I have to keep doing what my instincts tell me is right until new paths open up.





   

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mommy Hard At Work

1st Date Night with Hubby
Post Lily, Pre Darya
Probably the last time I looked this good!
As someone who has been in the working world (and by that I mean a clock in & clock out, paying job) since high school, I can easily say that my being a mom has been the most grueling job yet.  Kids are hard work. And as a mom, you are definitely putting in the hours (there's no 9-5 here, you are on the clock at all times, my friend). I remember, not too long ago, when my girls were too little to be left alone for even a second that I had to patiently wait (sometimes for days) before someone else was at hand to watch them just so I could take a shower. Yoga pants, slouchy shirts, hair in a bun--the just woke up look was my all day ensemble.  Being able to (and by that I mean having the time, the energy, and enough sleep in my system to even care to) go to the bathroom and fix my hair and wear make up is such a luxury!  Yea, there's no sugar coating it, when you're a mom you literally put in blood, sweat and tears raising your babies! It's not just time consuming and hard work, it's also a physical and emotional feat.  From even before a woman gets pregnant, the hardship begins. The emotions of trying to get pregnant, the hormones that kick in once we do. The 9 months when that sweet baby is growing inside you, your body is experiencing all the changes that come with being pregnant. I remember when I was pregnant with Lily I looked great. Everybody would comment on how my face glowed, my hair was thick and shiny.  My body got big in all the right places. I looked hot as a pregnant lady...from the outside. Inside, I was a big ball of pregnancy hormones one second away from combustion! I cried at the drop of a dime. I was forgetful. I was always franticly worried about whether my baby was okay, if she would be born healthy. I went cold turkey on my coffee consumption (not even decaf), and I stopped eating everything I was told may be harmful to my baby. I'd panic with crazy thoughts: what if my baby choked on the umbilical chord while I was sleeping? Then in my third trimester, the sciatic pains kicked in and all of a sudden I was experiencing a whole new level of pain and even less sleep than I was already getting!  Let me tell you, all that is nothing compared to how much your life changes once your precious baby is born! I didn't scooch over a little to make room for a baby in my life. THE BABY BECAME MY LIFE, MY ENTIRE EXISTENCE. I couldn't part from her. I was worried all the time! I was researching, reading, making sure I was on top of her sleeping and eating because it was a critical part of her brain growth. When she woke in the mornings I would take her to the living room and dance around with her in my arms as I sang her songs. I would engage in conversations with her because it was an important part of her growth process. I was physically exhausted and emotionally spent. Yet, I'd never felt more fulfilled. Seeing Lily's little face smiling up at me as she wriggled her body, her arms and legs flailing in the air (I'm putting it mildly when I say she was an energetic baby) I couldn't be happier.  Fast forward to today and well, I've basically been a stay at home/full time mom for the last 5 years. It's been both a great blessing and a curse that I now have to face-I'll discuss this one small yet very powerful sentence in detail in my next blog post!

I'm exhausted just looking at these pictures!
The beautiful thing is I remember it as though it was yesterday! 
Becoming a mom has been the hardest job I've ever had to take on. However, there is something that I wish I could scream over the rooftop address in respect to being a stay at home mom. WE ARE NOT LAYING AROUND CHILLAXING WITH OUR KIDS, ENJOYING SOME NON EXISTENT VACATION! I hate that non-parents (and the older folks whose kids are all grown up and so they've forgotten how hard it is caring for a kid) always make stupid comments-assuming I have TIME on my hands. LISTEN UP. From the moment I wake up to the moment I put my kids to sleep, I AM ON MY FEET!

Sticky fingers, mischievous stare.
They're not making my job any easier! 
I actually got a temporary retail job as a form of my very own guilty paid vacation where I could get dressed up, do my hair, where my nice clothes and mingle with adults all day. A refreshing change to my slave labor at home. Let me tell you, by day 2, my already appreciative husband was calling me at work praising my hard work at home as a mom and (his exact words) "how did you do it?!" Of course, my husband is very hands on, and he managed perfectly fine without me-but he acknowledged the exhaustion that comes with being a stay at home parent-and the acknowledgement and praise in itself is very gratifying--and most times, a parent's only form of pay! I love being a mom. I love that I have been blessed with TWO beautiful little girls. If I could, I'd honestly have two more! But...and it's a big but (part of the whole blessing and curse that I'll write about tomorrow)...there's so many other things I still want to do while I'm still young enough to do it! Being a mom is hard work. The hardest and most selfless job in the world. I think I'm ready to put myself back in the picture again. Meet halfway between selfless and selfish and learn to do me while still being a good mom.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey. Quite the conundrum.

9 more days until we see our beloved Christian Grey on the big screen!

Like most of you women out there, I can't wait to watch Fifty Shades of Grey in the theaters!

A poorly written erotica focused on BDSM, a man who doesn't know how to love and a girl who is so young, innocent and naive you really want to slap some sense into her. And yet, I loved the book! I couldn't put it down! It followed me to the kitchen, to the bathroom, to the gym, on the couch, the dining table where I ate my meals. I don't know how many pages the actual book is, but I read 500 something pages of the e-book version in its entirety--in one bloody day! Me! A mother of 2 who never has time to put her laundry away! Now that for me, is seriously Fifty Shades of F*@$d up!

Here are all the other reasons why the book is fifty shades of messed up for me:

For starters, I ordered the book off my phone, inconspicuously, 3 years after it was already a New York Times Bestseller and a fan crazed phenomena because I was, quite frankly, way too embarrassed to read it, be caught reading it or admit to reading it! Calling my inner Ana, or as Ana herself refers to as her inner goddess. Hi, it's me, meek, timid, shy and unaware that being bad feels so good! How are you? It's so good to finally meet you!

Charlie Hunnam. My Mr. Grey.
Second, this whole controversy over who will play our beloved Christian Grey (I'll get to him in a minute) has been stirring up women's hormones and messing with their state of mind for way too long. I know, through a friend, that there was a huge war with fans over a few Hollywood names that were possible prospects. Ian Somerhalder and Matt Bomer were two of those names. Being that I came on the scene 3 years too late (story of my life), I bypassed all that craziness. Yet, somehow I really didn't!  When I first read the book, I imagined-just as EL James wanted me to- a copper haired, gray eyed, beauty of a man with a perfect physique (of course). The crazy thing is, even though I had yet to watch my first Sons of Anarchy episode (yup, 3 years too late to that craze too) I imagined someone who looked a lot like Charlie Hunnam!

It was when I got to my last page of the book at about 2:30 in the middle of the night that I let out a heartfelt "Noooooo!" and instead of rolling over and going to sleep, I went on Youtube to watch the recently released trailer for the movie. WTF. I was not happy with the guy they had cast (he's grown on me a bit, but I'm still quite skeptical) he looked more like a good looking computer whiz who works for a Fortune 500 company than the badass Christian Grey I had spent the entire day reading and fantasizing about.  Then I came across Charlie Hunnam, the actor who was supposed to play Grey but backed out due to scheduling conflicts with his hit show, Sons of Anarchy...holy mother of hell, are you f-ing kidding me? And that my readers is how I became obsessed with a fan of Charlie Hunnam  Sons of Anarchy!

Here's another thing that's kind of messed up. I spent the entire day yesterday re-reading the book--in excitement of the film's release in about a week--but, this time around I read the book with Charlie Hunnam/Jax Teller as Christian Grey.  Spot on. I'm hoping the movie in my head isn't better than the actual movie! Don't let me down Jamie Dornam, please!

Okay, so let's get to this Christian Grey, 50 shades of messed up in the head, not a hearts and flowers kind of guy! I'm sorry, but this cold and heartless BDSM lover is more romantic and in tune with what women want than 50 normal (real live-not characters in a book) men put together! For a man who doesn't know how to love, he sure as hell does it well! Isn't that why every woman who has read the book has fallen in love with him? A beautiful specimen of a man who is beyond wealthy and successful, talented in so many ways (plays the piano, flies planes, runs a multi-million dollar company, all while courting Ana). Speaking of courting, the man only has eyes for Ana, isn't even aware of all the flustered admirers--come on! In real life, you glance over at a guy, any guy, and he automatically thinks "she wants me" yet this perfect man is oblivious to his perfection and the swarm of lusting eyes that only Ana sees...because he only has eyes for Ana. Just as he is her first, she is also his first in so many ways! So sweet, so romantic, so far fetched yet every woman's fantasy. Fifty Shades of Grey you are pulling on my heartstrings and I don't like it! I wish in real life a girl could email her lover that she missed him and wished he was there and viola! ten minutes later he's lurking in her bedroom or even better, hops on his jet to fly 3,000 miles to see her. All men should "aim to please" like that. Shouldn't they? Oh, if only! I suppose the book would have been boring and mundane and certainly not such a phenomenon if every man was as amazing as Christian Grey.

Last but not least, here's what is really Fifty Shades of all kinds of F*#@ed up for me, as an english major and a writer. To be blunt, the book is written very poorly. There are grammatical errors, words and phrases used and re-used time and time again! The amount of times Ana thought to herself, "Oh my!" is nauseating. The amount of times she "came undone" is an exasperating double eye-roll (no one around to spank me into submission). The author, EL James had said in an interview that she wrote the book on her blackberry during her train rides to and from work! Considering how basic the book is, I believe that! There's a reason I managed to read it so fast, it's an easy read! But, here's what's crazy...I also read it so fast because I couldn't put it down. I was hanging on to every word, because EL James brilliantly wrote a novel encompassing every woman's fantasy.  Hot rich guy. Hot, anything but vanilla, sex. Hot cars and Hot adventures. We are all living through Ana as we read. And, I believe most of us are as innocent and naive as Ana when it comes to matters of the heart. We relate to her conflicting heart because we'd be equally conflicted!

EL James, you have single handedly written (excuse the pun) a perfect novel for our "we want more" generation and caused quite a conundrum with a woman's want to be strong, independent and in control versus their need and desire to submit and give everything they can, all in the name of love.  



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