Den State http://denimiller.com Fri, 27 Jan 2017 13:05:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 48405131 If You Need Some Hope. . . http://denimiller.com/2017/01/27/if-you-need-some-hope/ Fri, 27 Jan 2017 13:05:08 +0000 http://denimiller.com/?p=6561 Read more...]]> Okay, things are CRAZY.  It feels like the entire world is moving closer to violence.  But people ARE still mostly good!

Last night I ordered a pizza.  We order pizza about 3 times a year.  I ordered it online while the kids were at the playground (cause I’m sooooo efficient haha).  When I got home, I realized I had a voicemail from the pizza place saying they had no power and couldn’t fill any orders that evening.

A considerable amount of time had passed at this point and my head was spinning trying to figure out what we were going to eat FAST.

Chris – who had been running and was apparently coveting a commercial pizza implored me to find another pizza place.  “What about that place we used to order from all the time?  That was good pizza!”

It was good pizza.

BUT, I had a coupon from the other place and I wasn’t looking to spend $25 or $30 on dinner.  (We had recently gone on a family sushi bender).

I called our old favorite pizza place.  They had a reasonably priced cheese pizza.  It met the delivery minimum.  Dinner done!

Shortly after, there was a knock at the door.  There was a young African-American man (not that race should matter but I feel like we need to be reminded at this divisive time – people are people.  PERIOD.)   He was a kid really.  I was surprised to see he was holding a pizza box AND a plastic bag.

He handed me the box.  Then offered the bag.  “Here,” he said.  “I could hear on the phone you had kids so I brought them some Hawaiian punch and soda.”

How kind was that?  How thoughtful?  How just SO GOOD?

My kids have never had soda or Hawaiian punch but I tucked those cans away in the basement refrigerator.  Some day soon, maybe if and when things get even uglier, I’m going to pull them out, and we’ll toast this young man’s kindness and thoughtfulness and all that IS SO GOOD about human beings.

Keep the faith!  And don’t get complacent!  This world is so diverse and yet, we have so much in common.  Don’t ever forget that.

Just in case you need more proof or encouragement watch this NOW!

http://<iframe src=”http://www.nbcnews.com/widget/video-embed/863704131678″ width=”560″ height=”315″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

(I hope this link works. . .if not, I’ll share it via Twitter and Facebook too.  I’m a little rusty with my blogging, in case you haven’t noticed!)

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I Wept. http://denimiller.com/2016/11/29/i-wept/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 04:40:43 +0000 http://denimiller.com/?p=6550 Read more...]]> So things haven’t been going 100% around here. (ahem extra-shitty shit show)

Chris had a thing with his leg and hasn’t been running.

I had a thing with my leg and it’s just sometimes an absolute pain to push 70 lbs of kids on a stroller.  (Yet, more of a pain for me to click them into car seats for a 1-2 mile trip).

There was vomit (on a sofa).  Fevers.  Snotty noses for weeks.  A few random rashes.

And the daylight savings time switch.  Dark.

And an election.  Darker.

I’ve been eating my feelings in hummus.

And even though I don’t engage too much with the “news,” (whatever that even is these days?) it can’t be ignored.  (I’m not super optimistic – but that’s another post).

As much as I try to keep the kids away from adult worries, (the news is NEVER on.  The TV is NEVER on.), they are intuitive little things and I think they are starting to internalize some of the angst and turmoil and uncertainty Chris and I are trying to process ourselves and protect them from. . .

I’m sure they sense our unease, our feeling unwell, our feelings of insecurity.

They have both started to ask to sleep in our bed.

Our family rule is everyone sleeps in their own bed unless they are terrified or sick. (We co-sleep liberally but we TRY to stick to the family rule).  And no matter what, everyone starts the night in their own beds.

Lately, things have been a little wonky.

So tonight after Chris came home from work and nearly went to sleep in short order, I tried to have a family meeting with the boys to brainstorm how we could make sure we could all get a good sleep.

Teddy was too exhausted to contribute.  Mac tried.  But his only idea was one he hated – lock our bedroom door.  Then he just started to get angry with all of my other ideas.

Ultimately, we decided on the “pom-pom” fix:  Every night you stay in your own bed, you get a pom-pom. Get 6 pom-poms, get a toy/book/activity you want.  Teddy’s a little young for this but he still got his own labeled mason jar to collect pom-poms since he wants to do everything the older kids do.  Done Deal!

Our kids are rock stars when it actually comes to falling asleep.  They usually fall asleep FAST.  One of us usually lies in Teddy’s bigger bottom bunk while they fall asleep.

Tonight, Mac was tossing and turning.  Teddy was already asleep so I set aside my fear of heights and heaved myself into Mac’s bunk.

Face to face with Mac.

He was quiet but not asleep.

I waited. . .

I started to get a little impatient.  So much to do.  So much left undone.  What if I fall asleep up here?!  

What if I fall asleep up here?

Safe.  Secure.  In a world where I can move freely.   Where we can be friends with anyone we want.  Where there are hospitals to help children if they are ill and injured.

What if I wake up to a nightmare?

Bombs?  Horrible bombs.  No resources.

And I started to sniffle so quietly.  I’m so sorry, how can I help?  We have so much. There is so much suffering.

And then Mac put his hand gently on my teary cheek, and mumbled “Good night.”

And I wept.

Thank you for all we are blessed with.  

How can I help?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Of SHIT, Preschoolers, and Electoral Politics http://denimiller.com/2016/11/11/of-shit-preschoolers-and-electoral-politics/ Fri, 11 Nov 2016 06:01:45 +0000 http://denimiller.com/?p=6540 Read more...]]> Weeewwww Nellieeeeeeee!!!! How about that election?  What a roller coaster! Anyone feel like somehow the great country of America just completely lost their shit?

Understandable.

But we haven’t lost our shit.

That’s good and bad news.

The shit is still here.  Lurking like a smuggled turd in my preschooler’s boxer briefs.  Lurking beneath the surface.  The proverbial shit is still here.  The racist shit.  The xenophobic shit.  The rape culture shit.  All the really horrible reeking shit is still here.

BREAKING:  It’s been here festering since our Founding Fathers.  Those really wise, forward-thinking white men who believed “all men were created equal”  – so long as they were men.  And white.  The same men who agonized about how to form a perfect union of states drafted a beautifully written Declaration of Independence, debated about how to protect the minority against the majority, and came up with an amazing idea called the electoral college (which I 100% support despite the outcomes with Gore and Hillary Clinton), also built their estates and this country on the backs of slave labor and indentured servitude.

That’s some seriously conflicting and confusing shit.

It’s so messed up and so shitty, we haven’t been able to reconcile it in over 200 YEARS!

MAYBE THE TIME IS NOW?!

Today I watched my white children crazy-run-play on a playground with African-American children, Latino/a children, and Asian-American children.  They were having a blast.  They didn’t know one another prior to meeting at the playground.  They ranged in age from barely 2 to 7.

The older kids decided my 3 yo Teddy was the “Monster” and kept calling him that. He kept chase, but at one point he said to me as I was spotting him on some equipment, that his feelings were hurt by being called the monster, I called out to the other kids, “Teddy doesn’t like being a monster!  Can he be a dragon?  What ideas do you have?”

Immediately, the entire kid crowd erupted, “He’s a dinosaur!”

Teddy’s eyes light up.  He growled and he began to scale the playground equipment with increased vigor and joy.  The kids called out all the different names of their favorite dinosaurs while happily running around the playground.

With young kids it’s as easy as changing a benign label because they live in the moment.  They are not burdened with the shit adults worry about.  They are not burdened by identifying their differences, they easily unite and work toward a common goal.

AND THAT IS SOME COOL SHIT.

Consider your adult self schooled.  Let’s work to emphasize our similarities and discuss and show compassion for our differences.  Let’s be smart with the media we watch.  Let’s think critically.  Let’s strive to know more.  Be better.  We are all in this together – and there is no road back!

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NOT THE VAGINA!!!! (Educator-Approved) http://denimiller.com/2016/03/16/not-the-vagina-educator-approved/ http://denimiller.com/2016/03/16/not-the-vagina-educator-approved/#comments Wed, 16 Mar 2016 11:32:16 +0000 http://denimiller.com/?p=6519 Read more...]]> Kids.  Crack. Me. Up.  (And have led to my almost cracking.  Why won’t they sleep?!)

So a few months ago, we were in the restroom at Safeway and Mac screams “Mommy, I want a vagina!”

Now this was something I didn’t expect to hear until he was a teenager, but his request was heard loud and clear by everyone else snickering in the restroom.

And shortly after our unceremonious exit from the store, I attempted to get at the root of his need for a vagina.  (Explaining Santa can’t bring a vagina to a 4-year-old = attempting to staple Jello to a wall.)

The source of all the fascination seems to be that women can give birth.  Mac wanted to have he same superpower.  (WHAT?  WHY?  It’s barbaric).  Anyway, that’s apparently why he wanted Santa to bring him a vagina.

I talked to his preschool teacher because I wanted a script for how to handle the discussion age appropriately.  And she said we needed a book.  In her opinion, kids, even really young kids, think parents are filtering or censoring the information they pass along.  However, if it’s in a book. . .well, it’s not the bumbling words of a parent. . .It’s IN A BOOK! Cue Oprah voice.

She didn’t suggest any titles so. . .I slugged some whiskey and browsed Amazon.  Into my virtual cart along with a massive bag of Snap Crisps, 1 million antibacterial hand wipes, and knee-high stockings (for our easter craft – I’ll write a post on that disaster for sure) went a book about making and having babies.

The exact title escapes me; however the book is interestingly illustrated – very colorful and written in a nice way for having babies in any manner – even if there are two moms, two dads, all ways of conceiving and all ways of delivering a baby.  (I’d go get the book to pass along the title but the only reason I have time to write this drivel is because the kids are asleep and the book is in their room so. . .no). . .

It’s a decent book and I’d say age appropriate for a pre-school and the early elementary crowd.

Before bed, Daddy does all the reading.  So it was Daddy who was reading this book to the kids on a routine basis.  .  .which is probably how this whole mess started. . .

One Saturday morning, Mac’s at the kitchen table playing contentedly with his snap circuits.  Chris all ornery twinkle in his eye whispers to me “Watch this.”

“Hey Mac, ” he calls from across the room, “How were you born?”

“OH NO!  NOT THE VAGINA!!” Mac scream/whines in response.  “I wanted to be born from the middle part!  NO!!!!”

He’s freaking out because he wanted to be born via C- section!!  (He was about 3 minutes away from getting his wish).  He says he didn’t want to come out “all upside down.”

Cracks.  Me.  Up.

Also, I think what’s really important here is we found an educator-approved way to torment and scar our kid.

Poor thing.

NOOOOOOO!!!!

NOOOOOOO!!!!

 

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What the Shit? Cancer Bear?! http://denimiller.com/2015/11/04/what-the-shit-cancer-bear/ Wed, 04 Nov 2015 11:48:04 +0000 http://denimiller.com/?p=6481 Read more...]]> We’re no strangers to solicitors.  They are routine visitors in our neighborhood.  Sometimes, we open the door.  Sometimes we do not.

Although we’ve been opening the door a lot more frequently. . .ever since Mac has discovered a knock at the door often equates to a package delivery.  And maaannnn does that kid love him a package delivery.

One evening last week we were in the middle of dinner when there was a knock at the door.  Mac bolted from his seat and sprinted towards the door, Chris hot on his heels.

Chris opens the door and Mac wiggles his backwards-underwear-wearing self between Chris and the door jamb for a greater vantage point.

I continue to wrestle at the sink with whatever remains in the non-stick pan from the dinner I-so-lovingly-prepared-which-no-one-will-eat.

A few moments pass, and I hear Chris ask, “How much?”

I hear a kid reply, “Two dollars?”

Related:  for as much joking as I do about how ahem frugal Chris is, he seems to have a genuine soft spot for kids hustling stupid fund-raising crap.  Apparently his boyhood Boy Scout fund-raising efforts have left him emotionally scarred, because he is almost always willing to buy something or donate something to support a kid’s cause.

Oh, they’re probably selling those crappy chocolate candy bars. . .They aren’t very good but it could be worse. . .it could be those crappy $25 tubs of cookie dough. . .$2 ain’t nothin.’ Of course, I’m kinda’ irked about the timing.  I mean neither of these kids has eaten much dinner and now they’re going to immediately demand some shitty chocolate.  

I turn my attention to Teddy who is sitting in his booster seat smashing and smearing beets and strawberries all over the table.  I poke him playfully in the belly and remind him beets are NOT poison.  He laughs and takes a long pull off his drink.

“Cookie?” He inquires smiling devilishly.

“Not until you make some good food choices, Mister,” I laugh back at him.

Awwww.  He’s so cute.  He’s going to love this crappy candy bar headed our way in. . .

Mac slams the front door closed.  I hear Chris turn the lock.

“What were they selling?” I query, as I turn towards the front door.

Chris is holding something red and fuzzy in his hand.  It is most definitely NOT a chocolate bar.

“What is that thing?” I ask slightly alarmed.  “What?!”

Chris examines it, confused look on his face, then stretches his arm straight out in front of him so I can have a look.

“It’s a Cancer Bear.”

“What?”

“A Cancer Bear.”

Mac is jumping up and down like a rabid Jack Russell arms stretched over his head screaming, “I want the Cancer Bear!  Cancer Bear!  Can I see the Cancer Bear?!”

From his beet-smeared perch, Teddy soon joins the chorus, “CANCER BEAR!!!!  May I have Cancer Bear?!!!!!”

“Hold up a minute here.”  I half-shout.  “What is this thing?  People don’t sell Cancer Bears.  That would be twisted.  At least they aren’t called Cancer Bears right?!  And they surely don’t sell them door to door.”

“CANCER BEAR!”  The boys echo in unison every time I say it.

“Look at that thing!”  I exclaim.  “That’s a freaking Valentine’s Day reject.  Were these kids with an adult?  Dear gawd.  Is that a Hershey’s Kiss?”

Indeed it was.  Cancer Bear was a red-stuffed bear, who was initially holding a foil-fabric Hershey’s Kiss between his two paws.  At this point in his existence however, he was barely clinging to the Kiss with one paw.

IMG_6913

I stared at the thing in disbelief.  What the shit?  

At that very moment, surely sensing our confused weakness, Mac made his move and snatched Cancer Bear from Chris’ grasp.

“CANCER BEAR!”  He laughs joyfully.

Joy be damned, Cancer Bear could very well be riddled with bed bugs or other disgusting parasites and germs.  My fist shot forward and grabbed Cancer Bear from Mac’s happy little hands.  I honestly think it might have been the fastest I’ve ever grabbed anything. . . even the last Miller Lite in a cooler at a party in my College years. . .Seriously.

“Give me this!  Cancer Bear needs a bath ASAP!” I proclaim as I whisk him towards the basement and shove him into the sanitary cycle of the washing machine.

I return upstairs to interrogate Chris:  These purveyors of Cancer Bears. . .were they also selling knock-off handbags and watches or what?  How old were these kids?

He offered no satisfactory answers.  He just looked confused. . .This could explain how we got the Baltimore Sun for approximately 800 years plus half a million dollars. . .

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it:  The man who won’t even purchase a T-shirt if it has a loose string, purchased a $2 Valentine’s Day reject somehow rebranded as Cancer Bear.

WHAT THE SHIT PEOPLE?  WHAT THE SHIT?!

Meanwhile, I’m cautiously optimistic.  Hopefully, the kids were working to raise funds for cancer research and were going about selling some of their personal items?  Very cool, selfless and resourceful concept.  I’d still like a parent explaining the process. . .Buying a Slightly Used Valentine Reject Possibly Bed Bug Infested Cancer Bear was way more than my OCD could handle.

 

 

 

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#happylifetweaks: Managing the Melissa & Doug Sticker Mess http://denimiller.com/2015/10/21/happylifetweaks-managing-the-melissa-doug-sticker-mess/ http://denimiller.com/2015/10/21/happylifetweaks-managing-the-melissa-doug-sticker-mess/#comments Wed, 21 Oct 2015 11:29:15 +0000 http://denimiller.com/?p=6470 Read more...]]> A few years ago, I read a blog post discussing great quiet activities and toys for toddlers and preschoolers.  One of the suggested toys was the Melissa & Doug brand reusable sticker sets.

Reusable stickers?  I was intrigued.

A quick Amazon search revealed they’re basically like the Colorforms of my childhood – only way better.

I loved Colorforms!  I HAVE TO HAVE THESE!  

Ahem.  MAC HAS TO HAVE THESE!!

I quickly placed two sets into my cart and waited for them to be dropped at our door.

Mac was excited to play with them however, after the first use, I could tell we were going to have a serious problem.  The set comes bound with about 5 pages of nothing but stickers and about 5 pages of “scenes” or backgrounds where you can apply said stickers.

Presumably, when you’re done playing with the set, you meticulously replace every sticker in a spot on the sticker pages.

However, this was NOT happening at our home.  The pages fell out of the binding after one use and the stickers just ended up in a very crumpled jumble.

Just the sight of it gave me a panic attack.  What a mess!  I hid them in the basement and hoped Mac would forget about them.

But in the cold winter that followed Teddy’s arrival, desperate for a moment of peace, I whipped out the stickers again for Mac.

Mac played happily at the table while Teddy crawled around under it.

I nervously watched the scene while I prepared dinner.  “Mac, honey, we must make sure we aren’t dropping stickers.  Teddy could choke.”

Still, untangling the jumble of stickers proved difficult for Mac and fall they did.  Big ones and little ones.  I’d race to the table to gather them up.  “Please, watch what you’re doing with the stickers.”

Not surprisingly Mac quickly lost interest in the unappealing mess.  He had no idea what stickers he even had due to their lack of organization.

And worse?  A few minutes after putting them all away, I realized Teddy was making an odd whistling sound.  A swipe of my finger in his mouth produced a tiny sticker:  a picture of a construction worker not longer than 1/2 an inch.  AHHHHHHH!!!!!

I again put the stickers in the basement and vowed to find a way to make them easier and safer to use.

My first “solution” was to glue a large envelope to the cardboard back of the “book” where we could place all the stickers and to use a binder clip to keep the loose pages together.

It was an awful solution.  All the stickers still clung to one another in a heap in the envelope.  They were all bent and nasty.

Again, I hid them.

But several months ago, I noticed Melissa & Doug had a sticker set featuring scenes from a home – with furniture you can arrange.  Mac would love that sticker set!  I have to get it for him!  But what about the mess?  These things are a hot damned mess.

Still, I ordered the stickers.

Plus several sets for Teddy because he wants to do everything Mac does.  Of course he does.

And Mac wants to do everything Teddy does.  Including throwing his dinner all over the frickin’ floor.  Infuriating.  

Anyway, I knew with a bunch of new choking hazards arriving in a few short days, I needed a new plan to keep these little bitches in order.

The following morning Mac asked to go to Target to get some “sticky notes” so he could “be like the teachers at school.”

You know, if a pack of Post-its are going to keep him from attempting to murder Teddy or our cats, I’m happy to indulge him.  To Target!

While we were in the office supplies section, I stumbled across a pack of those clear page protectors. . .the kind you insert in a three-ring binder.

Hmmmmm. . .

What if I used these to corral all the Melissa and Doug stickers?  They could see all the stickers.  They wouldn’t be falling all over the floor.  It would be easy to clean up and store.

And?!  They could draw their own scenes or use pages from magazines in the inserts and stick stickers to them too!  How creative!  Mom of the Year right HERE!

The best part:  It actually worked!

Yes, it was time-consuming to set the whole thing up; however, the stickers cling to the pages nicely (I found using a sheet of plain paper between each page protector ensures the stickers don’t cling to one another when the binder is closed.).  They are easy to store.  The kids each have their own binder eliminating bickering.  It’s a little disappointing the “scene” pages are too big for the binders but they store neatly on a shelf too and are easy enough to grab and go separately.  I personally, no longer suffer anxiety looking at a wadded up ball of stickers.

WIN!  WIN!  WIN!

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Taking the Kids to See A Pair of Brown Boobies. . . http://denimiller.com/2015/10/21/taking-the-kids-to-see-a-pair-of-brown-boobies/ http://denimiller.com/2015/10/21/taking-the-kids-to-see-a-pair-of-brown-boobies/#comments Wed, 21 Oct 2015 10:14:20 +0000 http://denimiller.com/?p=6448 Read more...]]> I can’t believe people still check my blog daily! THANK YOU!!!!  THANK YOU!!

Anyway, we’re plugging along and Mac’s in preK 4 a couple of hours several days a week and Teddy attends a 2-year-old program once a week.  He’s like the damned mayor of that place. . .all “Hey, Ms. Cetta.”  It’s disgustingly adorable.  (Her name is Concetta but he’s already tailored it to serve his adorable “customized” salutation.)

I digress.  This is, (as usual) a post about MAC.

So a few weeks ago, the Baltimore birding community was all ahem a-twitter because a pair of brown boobies were just hanging out in the Inner Harbor.  Yeah.

Now if you’re not impressed by a pair of brown boobies in Baltimore because say, you have a life, I’ll elaborate:  These birds are tropical.  And mostly sea-faring.  They are seldom ever located this far north.  And in the middle of such a densely populated area no less!

These birds were remarkably predictable.  They were almost always in the same spot All.  Day.  Long.  And?  The spot was accessible via Water Taxi.  The damned boats paraded practically under them also All.  Day.  Long.

Despite the fact that the birds were so accessible, we still had some logistical issues to iron out regarding how we were going to get to them.  I was pretty sure I could pick out the birds from the shore near our home, but rare was they are, I wasn’t satisfied.

I wanted a front row seat in the Water Taxi.

Seems so did my Husband.

But he’s got this thing, this work arrangement where he gets to exercise on their time and dime several times a week so it really limited our ability to just jump on a water taxi when he arrived home from work.  And yes, occasionally  I acknowledge my own limits, and two under 5 plus a stroller on a boat with what I’d imagine is a life-vests nightmare while I try to oogle “lifer” birds clumsily with binoculars . .no.  Just no.

Plus, I wanted Chris to see the birds too.

So every day before school, I’d parade the kids down to the water to check on the boobies.  I’d feed them junky fruit snacks to keep them pacified while I strained my eyes, searching for the birds.

“Yes!  They’re still here!” I’d announce excitedly.  “The brown boobies are still here!”

While Mac was at school, I’d obsessively monitor the rare bird alerts to make sure they were still present.  I’d look at the beautiful Flickr stream photos hoping the birds hung around until we could catch a Water Taxi.

Over dinner Chris would inquire about the status of the boobies.

This went on for days.

There was a LOT of talk about a pair of boobies.  Brown boobies.

Finally, one evening after work, we decided we had just enough time to make one round trip on the Water Taxi to Tide Point and grab some kind of carry out on the walk home for dinner.

I’ve never seen anything like it.  The Water Taxi was full of “normal” commuters and boobie-crazed individuals armed with an insane array of optics and cameras.  The Captain helped me with the stroller while the Mate groaned at the sight of my binoculars (and maybe our children, who were excitedly yapping about boobies on a boat).

Long story long we got the boobies.  Both trips pretty satisfying looks.  The kids were pretty well-behaved although I did have to whip out lollipops on the return trip.  And I’m pretty sure Tide Point will never be the same after their visit. . .

Yeah us!

As you would expect, there was more boobie talk following out adventure.  Both kids were pretty jazzed about the whole deal.

And the next day, while walking home from dropping Mac off at school, I had a minor moment of terror:  Mac is going to go into school yapping on and on about how he saw a pair of brown boobies.  That sounds AWFUL!  It’s definitely open to a lot of misinterpretation.  AAHHHHHH!!!

Shaking my head at the absurdity of the entire situation I pull out my cell phone and text Ms. Laurie:

“If Mac is yapping on about a pair of brown boobies, he’s talking about a couple of rare birds that showed up at the Canton Waterfront a few days ago.  We’re weird, but not age inappropriate weird.”

Sounds about right. . .

Here’s a nice article in the Baltimore Sun about the birds.  

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It’s Not Up to You. Because I Can. . .Or Could. . .And Will. (If I Want) http://denimiller.com/2015/07/16/its-not-up-to-you-because-i-can-or-could-and-will-if-i-want/ Fri, 17 Jul 2015 03:46:56 +0000 http://denimiller.com/?p=6425 Read more...]]> It’s been a long time. . .Sorry.  I have precious little time. . .Which is why I’ll just throw myself head first unceremoniously into this corner of the Internet and Go! (Slightly crazy on you).

Chris and I seldom argue.  Sure, we get grumpy with one another at times.  Yet after nearly two decades together and two kids, and a lot of adventures, we know our roles, we understand our responsibilities, we are on the same page with our lifestyle, our finances. . .all that boring shit.

When we have a spare moment – to dream, or to think about the future it usually involves a very quiet moment huddled in our basement bedroom slurping salsa and watching a bad 80’s movie on one of the three TV channels we get.

For the most part, we’re on the same page.

At least I thought we were on the same page. . .

And then one night, in a slightly whiskey-induced, Throw Mama From the Train, fog I told Chris I thought I would love to be a National Park Ranger 0r work with Audubon once the kids got older:

“When I was in College, I loved doing the Science outreach. . .and I like history. . .and I’m articulate. ..and now that I have kids, I realize I like kids.  Sure it won’t pay much but it feels like a good fit for me.”  I gushed.  (Mostly Drunk but being completely fearless in my honest desires and dreams.)

Chris:  “Deni, you’ll never get a job like that.  You need degrees you don’t have.  There are tests you have to take.” (and perhaps he also silently insinuated that I’m too old for a lot of those positions).

He likely didn’t mean it to come out that way. . .

But it did.

And it hit me in the gut like all the times my Mother told me when I was a kid,  I had “such a pretty face, if only I could lose ten pounds.”

It hurt.

SO MUCH INSECURITY CAME FLOODING BACK:  They didn’t think I could do it.  As if I wasn’t ENOUGH.

As if I wasn’t good enough already, with an undergraduate emphasis in environmental policy, and a law degree also having passed the Bar on the first try, and a very muscular 147 pounds who can hurdle baby gates in a single bound and give the fiercest hug on the planet, and take away a world of hurt with some Aquaphor and a kiss.  

I crumpled inside and I wallowed.

These people who are supposed to love me the most still find me lacking or don’t believe in me despite all that I’ve done. . .all that I do. . .What must my kids think?  How do I prove myself?    

I wallowed.

I wallowed in 80 calorie cheese slices slathered in mayo.

And I wallowed (very happily, I’ll admit) in laundry, and chores, and all that other shit I did at this time of the evening. . .because I was beginning to consider the possibility that all I had to offer was housekeeping, cooking, laundry services to my family.

I even wallowed joyfully in my own CHILDREN.  (Somebody might be a bit of a helicopter – or worse – parent).  (BUT THEY’RE SO CUTE AND I WANT TO BE WITH THEM ALWAYS BEFORE THEY HATE ME!)

FINALLY, I wallowed until I felt something else;  DESIRE, AND INSPIRATION, AND FREEDOM.

Maybe you just need to start typing again?

Maybe it doesn’t matter if it makes sense?

Maybe just type?

Maybe you should listen to the underlying messages those who love you the most are offering?  Maybe they aren’t meant to be hurtful?

Maybe my Husband didn’t think being a park ranger would make me happy?  Maybe he thinks I’m better suited for something else?  Maybe he can see something in me I can’t?  Maybe Mom thought that being a little overweight would be bad for my health?

Maybe they have higher hopes for me?  Or see something in me, I’m not yet capable of seeing?

I should embrace that.  Challenge myself.

What do I honestly have to prove to anyone else?  Even to those I love the most?

In the end, it doesn’t matter.

It’s not up to them.

It’s up to me.

And I can.

And I will.

And my kids deserve to learn from my example.

I can’t promise I’ll be here every day, but I’m hoping to be around a lot more.

It keeps the wallows away.

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Life With Toddlers: (Mostly) Lost In Translation http://denimiller.com/2015/04/08/life-with-toddlers-mostly-lost-in-translation/ Wed, 08 Apr 2015 17:34:56 +0000 http://denimiller.com/?p=6395 Read more...]]> We’re reading Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington. . .

Me:  Look, Annie’s making a bundt cake.

Mac:  Mac wants to make a cake.

Me:  You need a special pan for that kind of cake.  You should ask Mimi Aunt Carol or Grandma if you can bake one.

Mac:  Mimi Aunt Carol and Grandma are going to make BUTT cake!!!

Yum.

 

Easter Monday. . .

Mac has (sadly, predictably) placed half a plastic egg over his penis.

He quickly determines he needs the um larger part of the egg for maximum coverage.

Mac:  “It’s a penis cover.”

Me:  “Plastic Easter eggs are most assuredly not ‘penis covers.'”

And I can’t help but think of that Cameo video from the 80’s. . .(and yes, I’ve wasted no fewer than 37 minutes entranced and recalling my glory days of Night Tracks and sleep-overs.)

It does seem some of this era is coming back into fashion.

Who knows?  Maybe Mac is a total trendsetter?  Maybe I shouldn’t discourage the whole concept? 

 

This One?  Got it.  Loud and Clear. . .

Me:  “Hey Teddy, did you make poops?”

Teddy:  Looks at me, starts laughing hysterically, smacks his ass and screams “YEAH!  POOPS!”

 

Repeated OUCH!. . .But It Finally Clicked. . .

Teddy:  “OUCH!”

Races towards me, head down, full steam slams into my leg and

BITES ME!

Me:  “Teddy, the rule is no biting.  Stop.”

Redirect his attention.

Twelve Seconds later. .

Teddy:  “OUCH!”

It took about seven more biting attempts however, I did eventually figure out his teeth were killing him and gave him some medicine and something cool to gnaw on.

 

I’ve Got Nothin’. . .

Can anyone explain why there are no fewer than 60 photos of this on my photo stream?!

IMG_7467

 

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You Can Accomplish This Before Your Head Explodes: Beet Reuben http://denimiller.com/2015/03/23/you-can-accomplish-this-before-your-head-explodes-beet-reuben/ Tue, 24 Mar 2015 02:01:46 +0000 http://denimiller.com/?p=6385 Read more...]]> THIS.  WILL.  ROCK.  YOUR.  WORLD.

I can’t even pretend to be this brilliant in the kitchen,  so here’s the LINK

We cannot stop eating our CSA beets this way, added calories be damned. . .

Trust me.

Best Ev-Ah!

PS:  Are you wondering if my kids eat sauerkraut and/0r beets?  Not in this mix.  However, they’ll try a plain beet.  And they’ll happily eat a grilled cheese sandwich and raw veggies/fruit.  Super-easy, (sometimes), family meal – especially a snowy (NO MORE SNOW!)/rainy weekend living room floor picnic-style lunch.

PPS:  If you’re planning to do the indoor picnic, offer your kids golden beets.  Don’t EVER EVER set them loose with a red beet.  Hell no!

 

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