Hello, 2016

I love new year’s. I love the excitement and the fun. And while I’m pretty sure our wild NYE parties are behind us, the alternative of banging on pots with the kids at “midnight”and making smores is pretty awesome.

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What will I be working on in 2016? Here’s a few ideas….

  • No Negative

Whenever I’m looking for inspiration to write, I read. It always gets my brain moving and thoughts flowing. And in this hectic life, I find the thing I read most are short articles and blogs. The problem is,  a few of the blogs I read, leave me irritated rather than inspired. At times I find the writers to be pretentious, judgy and shallow. I walk away feeling judged and annoyed. No mas. I’m clearing out my browsing history and saved pages. The only stuff going in now is the stuff that makes me want to write, uplifts and inspires.

  • Less noise

Ha! I know that’s funny to read with two kids and a dog running around. But I find my thoughts are scattered between schedules and to do lists and the news blaring in the background or a pod cast playing and FaceBook alerts chirping at me. It’s time to turn it all down. Waaay down. I don’t have a lot of quiet moments, but when I do, I need to not turn on the news, or radio or social media. Rather than filling up the quiet, I need to use the silence to clear my head and make way for creativity.

  • I’ll Do Me

I have really amazing friends. Like really amazing. And in addition to great friends, I think our little community is full of interesting, inspiring and quirky people. I have noticed that when I listen to a friend or acquaintance, etc. I find myself thinking of how I could be should be doing what they are doing. It’s some kind of odd self judgement. I’m great at making to do lists and checking them off. I’m not always great about sitting back and realizing what I’ve accomplished, of what I bring to the table. Peter is my biggest and best cheerleader and I think I finally got what he’s been saying for so long. So I’m going to keep listening, I’m just not going to feel the (self) pressure to take it to heart. I’m good at doing what I do and what I do every day has value and I need to remember that. My to do list for 2016 is big, I need all my attention here.

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Hello, Universe

When I started The Goon Room, I wrote to vent. I was a new stay at home mom and frankly, I was losing my mind. I didn’t see anyone writing about how hard this mother thing was and I needed to get my thoughts out in the hopes that someone would relate.

As the years went on, I wrote with the goal of turning The Goon Room into a source of income. I wanted to write and get paid to do it. I cautiously sought out sponsors and tried to write things I thought someone would want to sponsor. But when I looked back over past posts, I realized the blog had become this sweet record of our lives. It was the happy times, the rough times, pictures, tears, smiles and it was awesome. Who was going to pay me to write about myself? No one. And I realized I was happy with that.

Over the last year, I slowly began to seek out how to become a freelance writer. I talked with an acquaintance who is a mom blogger / freelance writer who gets published AND paid. She turned me to the woman who taught her the ins and outs of the writing world. Despite being in the middle of selling two houses, buying another and the endless end-of-the-school-year parties, graduations, and other hullabaloo, I reached out to the mentor and inquired about her online freelance writing course on getting published. She was incredibly sweet and got back to me immediately with three options on a course.

And then the aforementioned shenanigans got to me.

Her response is still sitting in my in box.

I leave it there because it’s presence irritates the shit out of me. It’s a reminder, every day, that I didn’t follow up. That I didn’t take that next step to do what I want to do. That lack of time is always going to be an excuse. So why not now? I worry about not being able to make the time to be creative and or not having the time when I have the words to write – thus resulting in sub par work. That would be the worst. I don’t want to do a crappy job. I want to do a really really really good job. Which is why I’ve been putting it off.

And then, sometimes God says “yeah yeah, that’s nice. I’m handing you an opportunity and if you don’t take it, you might as well delete that damn email ’cause this isn’t happening”. (sometimes God swears, yes?).

Because I’m really good at putting our family’s needs and work’s needs and the house’s needs ahead of mine. Force feeding is often the only way I’m comfortable switching gears. And that pressure came in the form of another email. An email from a friend asking if I would be willing to do some work on a professional biography, etc for their family business. It was the perfect way to get my feet wet. And it’s been incredibly enjoyable and satisfying.

I write this now, a little scared to put it out there, but my displeasure with failure will hopefully hold me accountable, that I will return the mentor’s email. It will be my 2016 goal to type those words of explanation and apology and then dive into her class. I have been laying the ground work and the universe has decided it’s time so I will make it the time.

Here goes nothing.

Parental Punt

Some days, there just isn’t enough time for it all.

Normally, I can schedule my work time around the kid’s school hours and or nap time. In a perfect world, I pack it all in and I’m able to leave my desk and desk top sorted and to do list checked off ad the first sound of a waking child.

For the last 6 weeks, that has not been the case. In addition to a larger than usual work load, there are about 9 other plates spinning above my head perched precariously on little sticks. I look like a circus side show desperately trying to keep all the plates spinning in the air. And when one of the plates is not spinning fast enough – or at all – the mom guilt kicks in. Big time.

And thus, the parental punt.

Yes they eat. They get baths. Their clothes are clean-ish. But they watch more cartoons than they should. Laundry sits longer than I’d like it to. We eat out too much or worse, there are way too many meals of quesadillas without a veggie in sight. I drop them off at the first minute they can be on campus per our tuition bracket and pick up at the last second. There is far too much wine consumed and too few hours slept.

But there is a light. I won’t always be the kicker. Soon there will be enough time, energy and daylight to run the ball in. At least, that’s what I tell myself to dissuade the mom guilt.  That and a few carrots on their plates should do the trick.

Jump On the Bandwagon

Phew. It is rough to be a parent these days. It’s always been a tough job, but given the current climate of social media and an invisible force that urges you to define your parenting style  – helicopter mom, baby wearer, breast feeder, anti vaxer, free range parent – the list is endless and yet well defined.

And if I’m being honest, I think it’s amazing that so many moms are talking, sharing, posting. I constantly question my parenting method, look for new skills and sigh with relief when I read that I’m not alone. It’s all good.

Except when it’s not.

That’s right. I’m jumping on the bandwagon of posts about vaccinating your kids.

My bottom line is this: get educated. Ask questions. See more than one doctor. Read articles, posts, journals. Do whatever you have to do to reach the conclusion that vaccinating your healthy child is the right decision. And I emphasize healthy. Because those not healthy kids are the other reason we need to vaccinate our children. Herd immunity is meant to protect those that aren’t healthy enough for vaccinations, those that can’t be vaccinated for health reasons, and those too young. Choosing not to vaccinate your children out of a fear of the vaccination is not an excuse. Fear is not an excuse.

If you’re still conflicted, then think over this scenario in your head. I was sitting with Auggie in the emergency room a few months ago. He had a horrible case of croup and was in severe distress. His sweet little chest caved inward with each gasp for air because he was sucking in so hard. At some point my brain flipped into survival mode. Gone were the emotions and my only focus was to get this kid some help and fast. I realized after the storm had passed how awful it had been. How horrible it is to have the thought his oxygen levels are ok so if they have to, they could do a tracheotomy and then he could breathe.

It is not a fun when the thought of having a hole cut into your child’s throat is comforting.

The one thought that popped into my head over and over was how I could have prevented him getting so sick. And while the answer for his condition was “nothing”, that would not be the case for whooping cough. I cannot imagine the guilt of watching my beautiful little boy not be able to breathe because of my decision not to vaccinate him.

Which is why we do vaccinate our kids. When Baylor was a baby, I talked extensively about vaccinations, vaccination schedules and risk with our pediatrician. And the bottom line for me was when she said “I totally understand your concern. I do constant research about vaccinations and as a mom and a doctor, I fully vaccinate my child and that’s why I require this schedule for my healthy patients”.

That was all I needed to hear to make the decision to prevent the preventable. There’s enough unknown with our kids. Being able to check life threatening illnesses off that list? I’m in.

 

 

 

Little Whispers

I’m so grateful for little whispers from Heaven. The little messages from Mamie that let me know she’s still here. Still sees her Baylor. And that knows we talk about her, pray for her, think of her, and say her name every day.

From the moment Baylor was born, Mame would tell Baylor when you are a little bigger, you can walk down to my house and we’ll make biscuits with butter and grape jelly. We’ll put chocolate milk in tea cups and we’ll have a party. 

When I got Baylor’s snack schedule for January, I nearly fell over my own feet reading it. Today is Baylor’s snack day and her assigned snack was biscuits, butter, grape jelly and milk. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to laugh, cry or both.

Thanks Mamers. We miss you and love you too.

Mom Moment

That moment where you accidentally text “hoes” instead of “how’s” to the baby sitter.

As in “Hi hoes!” instead of “Hi how’s it going?”.

Most concerning is that auto correct thinks you use the word hoes so frequently, that’s probably what you meant…

A Mindful 2015

I hate new years resolutions. I get that it’s a good time to drop bad habits and gain some good ones, but I always struggle with doing it right after the let down of Christmas.

A few weeks ago, I had something hanging over my head. It was this crummy feeling that I couldn’t shake and no amount of talking it out, waiting it out, crying it out, dancing it out would make it go away. Finally, late one evening I just sat in silence. I realized what was at the heart of the issue and then made a decision to move past. Listening to my brain think (as odd as that sounds) and my heart talk was all I needed to loose that heavy feeling and feel better.

So for 2015, I’m resolving for more meditation. I’m not a quiet person (somewhere in downtown Phoenix, Peter is laughing in agreement) so sitting and or being quiet is not really in my nature. I did a little research on meditation and how to do it. Stupid, I know. But really, how do you meditate? What should I focus on? Not focus on? How should I breathe? For how long? I came across a really simple explanation of Mindful Meditation and how mindfully meditate. What I like most about this technique is that it’s very simple. At the basic level, it’s taking account of your body; how it’s feeling, moving, breathing. Letting thoughts flow in and out of your mind…or not at all. It’s enough thought for those time when sitting still is hard and not so much thought that it’s not easy to follow. Just enough instruction that I will actually be able to do it.

And so far? It’s been awesome. Maybe it’s just getting a few deep breaths in while the kids are napping, maybe it’s just a minute of calm, but it’s been so energizing. Something about those 5-10 minutes makes a huge difference.

Now if I can just get this guy out of my lap while I’m meditating, I’ll be in business.

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