It’s Been A Long Time

It's been a long timeIt’s been a long time. Too long. I’m not sure what I was waiting for- permission maybe?

But from who?

And then it hit me. Maybe I was waiting to give myself permission, because certainly my husband is all, “oh my gosh, of course, why wouldn’t you?” But then again, he’s my husband and he’s supposed to say nice things like that.

It’s been such a long time that most of my friends only remember back to a time when I did allow myself to do this. They are all, “what, you stopped?”

My mom would be all, “who cares!” My dad would be all, “would anyone notice?”

And I’m certainly not going to listen to my kids.

“Ewwww, mom! So embarrassing!”

I turn around, as I see Sweets is watching me as I try it on.

“Why? What’s wrong?”

“No, you can’t! Your belly! I can see it!!”

“Well, of course, because it’s a bikini.”

That’s right. A bikini. I wore a bikini for the first time in over 5 years.

Then SJ walks in.

“Mommy wear underwear to pool?”

My kids have never seen me in anything other than a one piece or tank-ini, that made for mom bathing suit.

And mostly then I’d have on a cover up unless I was safely in the water.

I decided it was time. I’m not sure what I was waiting for, because I certainly don’t care what other people think. I’m way beyond that.

Or am I? Why else wouldn’t I wear a bikini to the beach/pool if I didn’t?

Given my history, eating disorders, wacky body image ideations…it’s not surprising. But I WAS surprised because I’ve come such a long way that I’ve not really thought it would be a problem.

Now that I have kids, I am bound and determined to give them a role model, someone that focuses on health and fitness, not weight and pant size.

I want my kids to feel good in their own skin. I want them to feel comfortable in their own skin. I want them to be healthy and treat their bodies with the respect it deserves, because they are beautiful. I don’t want my reservations to make them think they should feel in any way ashamed of how they look.

And of course they don’t, because they are 5 and 2 and all they can focus on right now is that there is a SNACK SHACK at the pool and they get to have a TREAT.

But first, back to the bikini situation.

Sweets: “Mom. You look like you have zebra boobs.” It is a black and white striped bikini.

SJ: “boobies? you wear bra?”

“No, it is a bikini and I am wearing it and I think it looks great.” Gosh, how long has it been since I said that?

It’s been a long time.

Have a great crazy day!

Shining Moment

This weekend Sweets had her shining moment. Or maybe I had MY shining moment. Well, at least one of us had a shining moment.

Sweets ran her first 50 yard dash. In a field day track meet. On a real track.

This is when all those who know me, that I ran track all through school, my love of track starting in elementary school where I won the 50 yard dash and my first blue ribbon (I beat a boy…not just any boy, but the fastest boy in the school. Which then made me the fastest PERSON in the school. And I know that fast boy reads this blog and he’s thinking to himself, “REALLY Voltzy? STILL!?!?”), are groaning and thinking, “oh no, she’s going to be THAT mom.”

I actually got a bit anxious about that myself, to be quite honest. I don’t want to be THAT parent, sitting on the sidelines, yelling and coaching and being all kinds of the opposite of a positive parent. I want to be the parent that is silently proud and beaming.

Well, I was certainly proud and beaming. I was also certainly NOT silent.

I had a great experience as part of my Junior High and High School track team. I loved the competition, I loved the camaraderie, I loved being part of a team. There was nothing better than being up on the podium accepting a medal with my relay teammates, cheering for my team, and sharing in the collective joys of a team doing well. Or just DOING THEIR BEST. Which is what I try to focus on with Sweets- DO YOUR BEST. If you do your best and don’t win, you may be disappointed, but you should still be proud of your effort.

Sweets has a tendency to not want to do something if she can’t do it perfectly. She wants to do everything the right way the very first time she tries it. She’s had her eye on my blue ribbon for a while, and has said she “wants it” and could she have it?

I told her no. Why not just give it to her, you ask? Because think of when you have done something for the first time and were given praise, or a medal, or a ribbon, or were just told “good job” for something YOU did. How did you feel? It was pretty great, right?

It’s not about the ribbon- it is about what the ribbon represents. MY blue ribbon represents MY hard work (well, I was in 6th grade and beating that fast boy wasn’t THAT hard). I could give her the ribbon, but what is behind that? What does that mean? That as a mom I am willing to just give my daughter whatever she wants because she wants it?

No. She needs to work for her accomplishments, just like the rest of us. I will not hand it to her. Believe me, I will be (as you have seen) be a screaming banshee supporting her in whatever she decides to do. I don’t care if she wins (but I will celebrate accordingly if she does) or loses (I will dry tears and dole out hugs if necessary).

She didn’t win Saturday, because the day wasn’t about winning. It was about experiencing something for the first time and having a REALLY GOOD time. It was about the feeling you get when you are part of a team. Everyone got a medal, because everyone deserved a medal for showing up and trying something that maybe they were a bit scared of trying.

She had her shining moment. Look at that face! The look on that face and what that look represents- that is MY shining moment.

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***To “the fast boy”….we can have a rematch anytime. ;)

Share your “shining moments” in the comments!

Have a great crazy day!

Love is Banana Pudding

For Mother’s Day I videotaped my 5 year old talking about what she loves most about her Grammy. She tilted her head back,  closed her eyes, had a wistful expression on her face and just about whispered….

“Oh, her banana pudding!”

I then asked her what she thought about when she thought of her Grammy. Her response?

“I think about her making me banana pudding!”

Last question. What does Grammy do that makes her feel special?

“Makes me banana pudding.”

Well then. Love = Banana Pudding.

She did say she wanted to hug and squeeze her so tight when she saw her next. Probably hugging her in thanks for banana pudding.

I know what she means though- my mom makes a mean banana pudding. And she learned from her mom, my Granny.

When I think of my Granny, immediately all the special treats she made us comes to mind. The popcorn balls, the finger jello, the Sunday BBQ with Southern Pork Steak, morning breakfast of biscuits and milk gravy.

She made all these meals because she knew we loved them. So she made them, because she loved us.

Almost everyone has a “signature” dish. Whether it be a fancy, took all day busting my butt in the kitchen recipe, or a quick semi-or full- out of the box meal, you have a meal you’ll be remembered for.

It could be simple, “She always has the cereal I love!” or “she has the best snacks!” It doesn’t have to be much, but the memories are lasting.

My mom has always been a “foodie”, and I have inherited her love of cooking and good food. When we traveled cross country together I planned the state parks/national landmarks portion of the trip, my mom painstakingly researched and planned everywhere we would eat in each city. Each state was punctuated with stops in roadside diners, restaurants recommended word of mouth from friends, or reviewed in one of her many food magazines. In my family, food = memories.

Before I got married, a good friend of the family passed away. She was one of our mainstays down at the beach, known for her dinner parties and get togethers. Whenever she had a good meal, she’d always say, “mmm. ‘licious Nana!” After she died, friends got together all the recipes that had been shared over the years at various celebrations and put them together in a cook book titled, “‘Licous Nana!” My goal is to make each of those recipes over the next 2 summers, brining back the memories of back yard BBQ’s and beach cookouts.

A good meal isn’t just about the food. It is about who made the food for you, the time, the planning, the preparation, the presentation. There is always a story behind a family recipe, one that is remembered and retold at each serving.

So when my daughters are remembering my mom through one of her special desert recipes, that is just about the highest compliment one could receive. Do you have a family favorite recipe that you’ll be remembered for?

Have a great crazy day?

On Mother’s Day

On this day, when women are being honored and celebrated for being a mom, spending time with their kids, getting woken up to be given homemade gifts from small, smiling faces, I am celebrating something else.

I am celebrating being me, and I am much more than just a mom.

I do not, at all, identify with the phrase, “My kids are my life and I would be nothing without them.” Or “I could never leave my kids for the weekend”. Or, “Being a mom defines me.”

Being a mom is part of the definition that makes up who I am and it is a role I cherish.

But I am also a friend. A sister. A daughter. A teacher. A free spirit. A reader. A beach bum. A cook (and not the short order variety that creates meals at the whim of my family). A traveler.

In order for me to be a happy mom, a caring mom, a loving mom, I need to take care of myself. And I don’t just mean making sure I am healthy and don’t get sick and need to stay in bed all day (hahahahaha!!!) so I am not there to care for and love my kids.

I mean that I need to take care of myself by doing all of the things that make me ME.

This means spending time away from my kids.

Spending time away from my kids and NOT feeling guilty about it.

Mom’s shouldn’t need a “special day” to go out and spend some time for themselves. When my husband asked what I wanted for Mother’s Day, I said I just wanted to go out and get my nails done. His response?

“How is that different from any other Sunday?”

And he didn’t mean that in a bad way; in a way that would suggest somehow that always going out to get my nails done is a luxury I am fortunate to “be allowed”.

He meant that I should choose something that would be special to me, something that I don’t get to do often.

But here is the thing; there isn’t anything I would do today that I wouldn’t do on any other typical Sunday. I frequently go get my nails done, go and leisurely browse the bookstore, go to lunch with friends or just by myself.

This in no way suggests that I don’t 100%, absolutely, and totally love spending time with my kids. I love watching them explore, learn, laugh, run, play, tease, hug. I love being able to give them opportunities to experience a fulfilled childhood.

But in order to give them that, I need to give to myself first.

I need to feed my reading obsession; and let’s be honest- there is not much reading to be done in a room full of attention-needy children. Going out to meet friends for book club keeps me reading books other than by Oliver Jeffers and Dr. Seuss.

I need to grow my garden and while I welcome little hands in the dirt, it’s hard to get things growing when those same little hands are pulling things out quicker than I can plant them.

I need to go out and explore- and many of my places of interest, such as art museums, don’t keep a kids level of interest for long before they’re rolling on the floor chanting “we’re bored!!!”

Skiing in Colorado with a 9 month old? Skiing in Colorado; yes. The 9 month old got a vacation week with Grammy.

My mom is the one that taught me that being yourself, taking time for yourself, spending time without your kids, is okay.

You can love your kids so much you’d give your life to keep them safe.

But you don’t need to give up the life that makes you the wonderful person you are when you have kids.

So on this Mother’s Day, remember who you are. You are a mom, but also, so much more.

Have a great crazy day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

For all the stories, for all the tales of frustration, woe, overall craziness and chaos, I am the luckiest woman alive.

I’ve got a great husband and we celebrate 7 years together this weekend. On Mother’s Day, actually.

I’ve got 2 wonderfully unique girls that tell me they love me and I am the best mom ever.

I’ve got the most fantastic mom ever, who has taught me how to be a great mom by allowing me to be me and pipes in only when I ask. She’s the bomb.

This weekend I will celebrate all moms, grandmoms, moms that are moms in their heart if not quite holding that bundle yet, moms that cuddle and kiss their kids goodnight, and moms that pray to their angels in heaven.

Happy Mother’s Day!

And to Pi- Happy 7th Anny.

Have a great crazy day!

The Crew

All the girls~

Signs of Spring

After the long winter of relentless bad weather, multiple snow days, and being cooped up indoors, I am welcoming the Signs of Spring with wide open arms. And a wide open door, accompanied with yelling, “go outside and play!”

I ponder the phrase, “Spring Cleaning”, because with Spring comes muddy shoes, dirty clothes, filthy little bodies, and a collection of shoes by the door that far outnumber how many kids actually live here.

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Spring is messy, and I love it.

I encourage it.

If my child comes home squeaky clean I ask, “what in the world did you do all day?”

Want to jump in puddles? Go ahead!

Want to climb that pile of mulch like a mountain? Go for it!

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Play with sticks in the mud puddle? Have at it!

Dig in the garden bed to find pet worms? Have fun!

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Want to go barefoot and shirtless? Fine by me!

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Sweets was so excited about the “Signs of Spring” that she actually made a sign for Spring. She hung it up outside to let Spring know we were ready for it. It was way cute. I wish I took a picture of it before Spring decided to rain all over it and it became a mushy paper mess.

We also had a birds nest we were watching and were very excited about.

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Unfortunately, the nest and the eggs inside met with an early demise, which led to a “circle of life” conversation that, given Mahlie’s conclusion of, “well, I think they just went on vacation”,  didn’t exactly get the point across.

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We have a garden project we are working on that will result in a 23′ x 10′ garden space. We’ve been clearing out the many bushes and small trees in our planned garden space, which has now far exceeded our original time line. But with SJ and Sweets’ “help”, I am sure it won’t take much longer!

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Warmer Spring weather also means I can bring the messy art activities outside!

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Instead of paint all over the floor and the kids, I had paint all over the driveway and the kids. And the rocks. And the car tires. And part of a tree. Because painting on the paper became “boring” and they decided to paint other things to make them pretty.

Spring also means the kids get more exercise. Hiking and running and biking and running and running and running (because kids only have one speed, and that is running).

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More exercise also means this:

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And we can ALL agree that is a wonderful sign of Spring!!

Have a great crazy day!

Spring has me busy and I’ve not posted as much as I’d like, but you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter lamenting my lack of time and wine!

The Other Side

This weekend was a long weekend in our household for the Easter holiday. The entire family had work and school off Friday and Monday, and the weekend was chock full of family time plans.

With the long, holiday weekend also came the required photo’s: in our Easter best, of joyful faces Easter morning at the finding of eggs filled with chocolate scattered through the yard, of tasty looking Easter meals, looking happy spending time with our family in a variety of funfilled activities. You know the instagram/Facebook picture post drill.

These photo’s get shared and tweeted and posted in all their filtered lovliness on social media. “Likes” are clicked, comments are left about “what a lovely family!” you have, how “delicious!” that Easter meal looks, “what fun!” you all are having.

Then there is the other side. That’s right, the OTHER SIDE of instragram. Those lovely photo’s aren’t a “ruse”, but they are definitely misleading. Don’t get me wrong, my family got dressed up and looked beautiful, had a great meal and we spent a lot of quality, fun, wonderful time together.

But there is, indeed, another side to those perfect looking pictures. Today I am here to talk about THOSE stories. The REAL stories behind the perfect looking pictures.

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1. The Family Photo

We all have posted them- first day of school photo’s, sitting on Santa’s lap photo’s, birthday party photo’s, perfect outfit wearing family photo’s. In these, everyone has smiles on their faces, they are looking at the camera, most likely are showing some sign of affection, and are dressed impeccably.

Our latest was the Easter Sunday photo. Behold, my well dressed angels!

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There are smiles, there are hugs, there are no stains on clothes there are shoes on feet and bows in hair. That lasted a mere 30 seconds as the picture was being taken and threats of no more candy for the rest of the day unless they came over for this picture. Shoes were shed on the car ride to Grammy’s, hair bows were also lost enroute, or were in such disarray it didn’t matter they were in their hair. By days end chocolate ice cream was all down the front of dresses and they are now in heaps in the laundry room. Also, you can put a little girl in a dress, but you can’t make her stop rolling around on the floor to show everyone her My Little Pony underwear.

2. A fan favorite- or a major pet peeve for some- are posts on delicious looking, home cooked meals. Voila!

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Beautiful deviled eggs. One Easter themed egg dish, the other passed down from my grandmother. Tradition AND holiday related! Beat that!

But let me tell you, getting to this point took 24 hours. That’s right, making these eggs took 24 HOURS!!!

Why? Well, I put the eggs in cold water and onto the stove to boil. While waiting, I ran to the bathroom. On my way out,  I looked out the window and remembered that I needed to cut down the bush to make room for our garden fence. I get my garden gear, head out and start chopping down that bush. After around 45 minutes of hard labor, I go inside to reward myself with a beer. I open the front door and think to myself, “gosh, it really smells like egg in here!”. Then I remember and yell “CRAAAAAP!”, run to the stove and find the water all boiled up and exploded eggs in the empty pot. Since I had no eggs left, I had to go to the store. But since I’d been out engaging in hard labor, my nails were all chipped, so I made the executive decision that a trip to the salon was much more important. I eventually got the eggs made, around 20 minutes before we left the house the next day to go to brunch. But they look great, right!?

3. Oh, this is great. So, the weather was wonderful- sunny, partly cloudy, warm. After a seemingly endless winter, we were excited to get out of the house and go do something fun. Like a farm! We’ll go see the cute farm animals. We would have fun, together, as a family. And look:

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Have you ever seen such cute piggy noses? SJ was so excited she was almost squealing louder than they were.

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We happened to be there right when another litter of pigs were being born. They were so cute and pink and wiggly. Mahlie was so excited she was next to me wanting to get a better look. This is a huge deal for a girl that is walking around with her fingers in her nose yelling, “oh my gosh, what is that horrible smell?” every time we entered another barn. So I was really glad she’d forgotten about that. Then one of the farm workers opened the back of the pig pen and, I thought, was going to show us the newborn piggies up close.

No. Not so much. What we saw, up way too close, was the other end of momma pig.

Mahlie: “mommy, what is THAT?!” she practically yells in disbelief.

Me: “well, that is where the baby pigs come out…let’s just watch the farmer get the little piggy” I saw, trying to distract her.

But then, OH BUT THEN…the farmer puts on a BIG, BIG glove and before you could say, “slipperier than a wet pig!” she was all elbow deep in piggy vagina.

Mahlie: “OH MY GOD! I CAN’T SEE THIS ANYMORE! I NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE!” and she runs off.

Yeah,  beat that.

After we retreated from the pig debacle, we decided to go hike down to the creek. It was really nice out now and a good family hike was a great idea. See:

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Floating leavesIt was, definitely, a great day. The girls LOOVED the hike. They loved playing next to the creek, climbing on the rocks, and floating leaves in the water to see if they would go all the way down the small waterfalls. I of course was ready for someone to fall in and get wet, and Mahlie was first to take the plunge. She gets up, arms soaking wet and she’s yelling, “oh my gosh, whatisthatwhatisthatwhatisthat!?!?” pointing to something clinging to her wrist. It was a leaf. Drama, nice to meet you.

I’m thinking, besides the pig vagina and the attack leaf, things are going pretty well.

Famous last words. When it was time to leave, of course SJ wanted to be carried. I like to think of myself as a pretty adventurous nature girl, so I was all confident carrying her across the creek.

Then I hit the slippery moss covered rock. Since I had SJ and a purse in one arm (because don’t all adventurous nature girls take their purse on hikes with them?), I had nothing to balance myself and I went down. Right onto the rocks, knees hitting first. SJ got a bit wet and may have hit her head, but let’s focus on me and my knees. I was in pain, I was soaked to the knees, and my jeans were covered in what I can only describe as “creek poop”. I’m limping my way out of the creek and some guy is standing there saying, “oh, did you fall?” in a deeply concerned voice, and when I start to answer him I realize he’s talking to SJ. Whatever, she was safe in daddy’s arms, getting carried back to the car. For me, it was a struggle. Then my uber concerned husband asked me, “so, do you want to go out to eat or do you want to go home?” I think we can all agree that was a divorce worthy question.

I can barely move today. I am injured. All I wanted to do was create a nice nature loving adventure for my family and I come away possibly with long standing structural knee injuries (this maaaaay be slightly exaggerated). BUT- fortunately for me, I’ve got the instagram worthy photo to show off.

So, my good people, remember this when you are looking at those perfect family photo’s on instagram: on the other side of those perfect pictures very well could be the equivalent of life long pain and suffering and a farmer elbow deep in pig lady parts.

I’d love to hear your “REAL” stories behind the “perfect” photos!

Have a great crazy day!