Connect Four and My Marriage

A few weeks ago, Mr. Lindstrom and I were at an awesome local restaurant that provides board games. While we were waiting for our food, we decided to play Connect Four. Mr. Lindstrom and I are more of a Yahtzee couple. In fact, if you hang around with us long enough, we'll suck you into a major smack talking round of Yahtzee. I get irritated with how long Mr. Lindstrom shakes his dice, and he gets irritated with the fact that I just toss them in the cup and throw them on the table. We have our methods.

In the 11 years that we've been together, we had not yet played Connect Four together. We started the game and Mr. Lindstrom methodically plotted each move. Taking at least 30 seconds to drop his little checker piece into the contraption. I find that the more I think, the less effective I am as a player. So, each time we played "his way"... I lost.

So we tried it "my way." Go with your gut, move on a whim, don't pause to think. Go Go Go. Guess what? I won EVERY TIME.

We realized (after enjoying a couple of adult beverages) that this is a metaphor for our marriage. Mr. Lindstrom is the thinker, the stewer, the noodler. He pours over all the conceivable options and their counter plays before he makes a move. He is methodical.

I am a gut girl. I am ruled by my heart. I ask myself how does this feel? Does this feel natural?

When Mr. Lindstrom does it his way... he wins, and when I do it my way... I win. When we allow each other the time and space to do it our own way... we both win.

Who knew Connect Four would be like therapy for the Lindstroms... but I'll take it. Insurance doesn't cover it, but damn if it's not cheap!


Wordless Wednesday: Free? Seriously? AWESOME!!

And now that you've called that number (okay, seriously... please don't call that number) head over to It's My Baby Blog to read my post today on the one type of compliment that I cannot accept.


The Vent

I happen to be of the opinion that everyone is entitled to a little venting. Venting can be a good thing if it allows you to dump all the feelings out and move on. There is a place for venting. I was just thinking that sometimes you need a good old vent, and a place to do it. It's okay to vent on facebook, but then, what if that one person sees it... or you may want to vent on twitter, but then you only get to do it in 140 characters...

What if I gave up my comment section here for you to vent... just vent away? What's on your mind? What's making you pull your hair out today? Throw it all down below...

Before you do it, take this pledge: I ____ vow to vent in the comment section of Keeping Her Cool today and then to move onward and upward from this issue. I will not dwell on it, I will not call my girlfriend about it, I will not burden my significant other with my vent, I will not put it on facebook, or try to condense it to 140 characters on twitter, because it is in the comment section of Keeping Her Cool and I have gotten it off my chest.

What do you think? Should we give this a shot?

P.S. Feel free to change your name and those of other's to protect your anonymity...


Manic Monday Blogarrhea: The Travel Edition

The Lindstrom Family Circus has landed back in the land of reality, where snow covers the ground, and I drive a dirty car that smells like sour milk. However, on our travels, I picked up some observations that I'd like to Blogarrhea about here:

Remember the olden days when real people worked at desks and checked you in for your flight, took your baggage, and made nice with you at the airport? I haven't flown in a while, but apparently people have been replaced by computers, and now you have to check yourself in. WHAT????? This leads to a greater rant in future days about technology and how I think it actually divides us rather than unites us, but that's another blog for another day. For now, I just want to point out that humans are becoming obsolete and we should be afraid that computers are going to rule the world. In fact, I think we should be afraid that our children will evolve into computers.

kkkkmmm (What the heck does that mean? I decided to leave that there and tell you that I just dropped some kernels of rice on my keyboard and they were stuck between the k and the m key... moving on...)

When you are flying with three children under four years of age, people give you lots of looks. I want to think that they are impressed looks, but I think that the truth is that the looks are saying, "dear God, please don't seat me anywhere near that family!" We get the same looks at church and restaurants. I am used to it. This is strange to me, though: At the culmination of the flight, many people said to us, "what good babies you have. Are they always this good?" I find this to be the strangest question, "is s/he a good baby?" What does that even mean? Like is the baby a philanthropist? Do they give selflessly? Are they really asking if the baby cries a lot? Is there such a thing as a "bad" baby? And if I said, "no, they are actually usually really bad," what would the person who asked the question think of me? (For the record, I would like to say that I feel very lucky to have very easy going children, I would NEVER classify them as "bad.")

I want to make an airline a whole lot of money, by giving them this idea: There needs to be an airline that caters specifically to families. It's a win win. The families would be happy because the airline would cater to their unique needs, and business travelers would be happy that they didn't have to fly that airline. Bonus points for this airline if they are able to put an indoor playground in the terminal for children to get all their energy out in the airport.

I got a lot out of this vacation. An opportunity to spend some time in warm weather with my family, the time to be with very very good friends whom we see too infrequently, and a little natural vitamin D and pool time. The most life changing thing that happened during this vacation came as quite a surprise to me. I learned that I covet a mini-van like a retired man covets a Jaguar convertible. Between this realization and my pajama jeans, it has come to my attention that I am doing the exact opposite of "keeping my cool." Oh well... when in Rome...


First Days With Brady

My friends at Welcome Baby Care's new blog It's My Baby (and I'll ___ if I want to) dreamed up this idea to host a blog hop asking moms to share the early days with their babies. I believe that it's important to share these stories so that woman are aware of the broad range of "normal" during these days. Also, I just love supporting women in telling this story of transition, I think we learn so much about ourselves in this process. So, deep cleansing breaths... here goes:

I am pushing myself to be honest here. Really honest. This is a difficult place for me to go. I am thinking of my firstborn and how our first days together were, and this is painful because she died accidentally three and a half months after she was born. She was placed on her tummy for her nap at daycare, and she suffocated. This is a firm reminder: BACK TO SLEEP, TUMMY TO PLAY. Because her life was so short, I want to share with you a happy story about a blissful time, but I cannot tell you that story. The truth is, the earliest days of my daughter's life were a blur. A mixed bag of tears, fears, and disconnection.

I had a fairly normal delivery in a hospital, and came home after the allowed 48 hours. The first clue that settling into motherhood was going to be a challenge should have been the fact that while my husband had one foot out the door before the discharge nurse had paid us a visit, it seemed that I would do anything to stay there just for the help from the nurses who seemed to have a better idea of how to take care of this wiggly little bundle than I did. The dark, secret truth is that I wasn't sure I could pull off this "mothering" thing. While I had desperately wanted this child and anticipated this status of "family-dome," I was not feeling like a natural from the get go, as I had imagined I would.

All the book reading, all the storytelling, all the daydreaming in the Universe cannot prepare you for the experience of becoming a mother. The first time I held my baby girl, I was unprepared for the feeling of holding a complete stranger and being told she was mine. It's a big moment, and I've always been sad that it wasn't how I pictured it. It was more confusing than beautiful. Even as my memory has infused the life experience that followed that moment into the story, I would have to really put lipstick on it to make it sound even remotely beautiful.

But SHE was beautiful. I could see that from the start.

The early days were marked by so many changes in my experience, my atmosphere, and my body. A girlfriend told me that when she saw me the day after giving birth, she became terrified of ever going through the process herself. That was the part that I couldn't keep secret, that I looked like a wreck on the outside, but I was feeling like a wreck on the inside, and I was determined to keep that to myself -- because I knew that feeling that way was not how it was "supposed to be."

Once we were home, I fell more deeply in love with my husband. This was an amazing gift that this experience brought me. He shouldered the burden of being the attentive daddy and the house manager. One day he left me at home alone while he took our daughter for a walk. I was supposed to be writing Thank You notes. While he is reading this post - he is finding out for the first time that I cried the entire time they were gone. Both from fear of what could happen to them while they were gone, and for fear of having to be a mom again when they returned. I have kept that a secret for six years.

Later in the week, I was sitting on the front steps of our house holding my slightly jaundice baby in the sunlight (as I had been told to do - I was excellent at following the instructions) when a girlfriend who had a four-month-old pulled up to my house for a quick drop-by. I wasn't expecting her. I was wearing sunglasses, and had been crying for at least an hour. She came bouncing out of her car, looking rested, happy, and in shape. She couldn't have been more excited to hold my baby. I felt tired, sad, and out of my body - and was hoping she would hold my baby and give me a break, and that she wouldn't notice me in the process. I spent a lot of time in those early days hoping nobody would notice me. She did notice me. She said, "It looks like you're having one of those days." I was simultaneously filled with relief and horror. Relief because it sounded like she knew what I was feeling. Horrified because she had never told me this might happen. I felt as though the sisterhood had failed me. Was this the way they all had felt in the beginning? Why didn't they tell me? And why hadn't they asked me if I was feeling that way, too? I got myself together enough to ask her that last question and she told me that I was making it look easy so nobody thought anything was wrong.

This is why I am reluctant to believe new mothers when they tell me that everything, everything is blissful and beautiful. There is so much guilt when it isn't that way. We all want these babies and love them so much, that to admit that it's difficult and we don't always feel like a natural at it makes us feel like we are failing. And from where we sit, it looks as though everyone else is making mothering a cinch. We know that "this sucks" is the wrong answer when someone asks how motherhood is agreeing with you. The awesome news is that I settled into the role quite nicely. After a few weeks, the amazing moments FAR outweighed the hopeless moments. These experiences didn't repeat with my subsequent births. I credit experience, honesty, and in my case - the help of antidepressants. By the time I had my other children, I knew how to ask for support and I knew what I needed.

So, that's it, the good, the bad, and the ugly. It's my story, but everyone's is different. Take a look for yourself by checking out some of the blogs linked below. If you have a blog, and want to share your story, please LINK UP! Thanks for visiting!


Manic Monday Blogarrhea

I love Spring, except for just one thing. I don't like to be a big complainy complainer, but we are in the part of Spring that I don't love. The dirty part. The part where you walk outside your house and find everything you've ever been looking for all winter in a soupy mess of mud and frozen ground. Everyone looks like a slob in this part of Spring. Yesterday, my neighbor tried to pick up a paper bag that had blown over and landed in our yard sometime in the late Fall, and it was still frozen to the ground. The happy part of this is that the 100 whiffle balls that landed in our lilies last summer are just sitting on top of the matted down dead lillies. It's going to be like Christmas in March when I let the four-year-old loose on that.

Speaking of the four-year-old, he has been experimenting with his moodiness a little bit lately. His favorite thing to do when he's tired or crabby is tell me not to do something like smile, talk, eat, drink water, drive, etc. Yesterday, Mr. Lindstrom and I could not stop laughing when he told me not to talk, and for the next couple minutes (while I was obeying him), he was calling from the back seat of the car, "Mom, mom, mom, moooooom, MOM!" When I finally said, "Yes?" He said, "I told you not to talk." Mr. and I laughing probably didn't help matters, but really... kids are funniest when they are trying not to be.

One thought about airplane travel with little ones, and I'll likely blog a little more about the vacation that we are currently enjoying later: If you happen to be without kids and near a screaming child on an airplane, think about this: No matter how annoying or disruptive you think it is, I guarantee that the parent with the child is at least 10 times (if not more) annoyed.

Oh, wait -- one more thing: Having infant twins adds an entirely new element to travel. It makes it really difficult for either parent to go to the bathroom. I managed, though, I peed twice with Thing 1 on my back in the Ergo carrier. I may have ruined her for life, but I can't be the only mom who has ever done that! (Speak up, other moms, please!) And I am not being paid a penny to say this, but the Ergo Carrier is the greatest invention in the history of the universe. That is no small statement.


Happy Birthday, Brady Judith

Brady Judith Lindstrom
3/19/2005 - 7/5/2005

You Are My Sunshine
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You'll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don't take my sunshine away

The other night, dear,
As I lay sleeping
I dreamed I held you in my arms.
When I awoke, dear,
I was mistaken
And I hung my head and cried.

You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
You'll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don't take my sunshine away.


Food For Thought Friday: What's For Dinner?

We screwed up big time with the four-year-old. I got stuck in a trap, and have been trying to get out of it for... 3 years? It's the baby food trap. Let me be clear on the front end here, I generally don't have an issue with purchased baby food for convenience. My beef with baby food (the kind that lines the shelves at your local grocery store) is that it gives you the impression that it is what you NEED to feed your baby.

I was about 3 weeks into feeding the four-year-old baby food (not when he was four... when he was a baby) when I realized that the bananas that I was buying from the store, were nothing more than mashed up bananas. I was eating a banana when I realized it. I took a fork, mashed the banana, and voila -- mashed bananas. That was the end of the purchasing of banana baby food. About a week later, I realized that the applesauce I was feeding him out of the little jar, was the same as the applesauce I eat out of a big jar. So, I only bought big jars from then on. Only for some reason, I was never able to translate that to his other foods. Sure, at some point, we transitioned out of giving him the pureed food in a jar, and transitioned him into finger foods, and more of what we were eating... sort of. I have to say, though, the jarred food had really messed with my mind. Even though I had always planned on making our own food for him... I grew to depend on this food in a jar for the convenience, and then I was stuck in a box... okay, a jar. In any case, we ruined the four-year-old something awful. Here's where it's particularly heartbreaking... Mr. Lindstrom and I are foodies. We LOOOOOOOVE food. Lots of food and lots of different kinds of food. The four-year-old... not so much.

So, when the Twinstroms were ready to start eating solid food (which Mr. Lindstrom often called "people food." Which still makes me kind of laugh... for obvious reasons) we were going to take a whole different approach. Partly out of necessity, and partly out of and urgent need to not fall into the same rut we did with the four-year-old, we began offering them some version of whatever we were eating during our meals. Save for those high allergen foods (peanuts, tree nuts, strawberries, egg whites, the like) we made good use of our food mill, immersion blender, and Magic Bullet to puree our dinner within an inch of it's life and hand it over to those sweet little growing babies. I never once have worried about what they were going to eat for dinner, they will (for the most part) eat whatever I put in front of them, and I feel like, with these two, we are well on our way to raising adventurous eaters. Now, don't think that we didn't feed them some prepared foods in a jar -- we TOTALLY did when it was convenient, but for the most part, we have given them what we are eating. As for the four-year-old, we are still undoing a lot of the damage we accidentally did with him. I say he is a picky eater, but the truth is... I sort of made him that way by not giving him the full range of options that were available to him from the get go. Every time I have a showdown at the dinner table with him about trying something ("Just one bite. Seriously, just one. You don't know if you don't like it. You haven't tried it yet...") I think to myself, "you created this monster, deal with it."

Really, all you need to make your own baby food is some sort of blending apparatus, and some ice cube trays. There's not much more to it. Plenty of companies are marketing their baby food apparati, and they are probably all just fine, but it complicates what should be the simplest action - eating. As long as you're paying attention to keeping the allergens OUT of the food you're feeding and being particularly mindful of potential cross contamination, there is nothing difficult about making your own baby food. I tell you this because if you're on the fence, or you'd like to do things a little different than you did before, I want you to know that it takesno extra time to cook for your babies, especially if you maintain a healthy diet. They are just fine eating a version of what you are and you won't waste a whole lot of money on a pureed version of what you could make yourself.

If you want some resources for homemade food for your bambinos, we've put it all in one place for you! Head on over to the brand spankin' new Welcome Baby Care Blog, It's My Baby (and I'll ___ if I want to )!

Food For Thought Friday is brought to you by the amazing folks at Welcome Baby Care. They are THE postpartum and newborn experts. Check out their website, and don’t forget to “like” them on Facebook to take advantage of all their knowledge. Also, be sure
to follow babycaretweets on Twitter to receive news and ideas on newborn care and thoughts about parenting!

More EXCITING news from Welcome Baby Care! A brand new BLOG, It's My Baby (and I'll ___ if I want to) featuring a weekly dose of insight (and humor?) from yours truly. Check it out!


Be Gentle...

If you see me today walking around Target, dutifully placing my listed items in my big ol' red cart (and possibly tossing a couple extra things in, just to maintain my reputation as an impulse buyer), you won't know.

If you see me stopped at a stop light and I'm belting out a show tune at performance level assuming that nobody is looking (especially you), you won't know.

If you see me making small talk at the hair salon about last night's (amazing) Glee episode, you won't know.

If you run into me grabbing my Sugar Free Hazelnut Skim Latte with no froth (and of course being self deprecating about the fact that I can't possibly put on a full face of makeup, but I have the most high maintenance drink ever made) at a coffee shop in the neighborhood, you won't know.

If you spot me awkwardly juggling the three kids of mine that you can see (and praying to God, perhaps loudly that I don't drop one of the two that can't walk), you won't know.

Unless you read this blog, you won't know, that my biggest is not my oldest, he's not my first. You won't know that today is the beginning of a whole lot of emotional and pain filled days. Six years ago today, I had hung all my hopes on a little girl who was growing inside of me. My first, my "oldest - who never got to grow old", a little girl who we were expecting any day now because just 32 weeks prior, the Doctor told us that March 16 was the estimated date of her arrival. Six years ago today, I was crawling out of my skin wanting to hold this little baby in my arms, and never knowing that I would only get to hold her for 109 days. Her birthday is now three days away, but I can recite for you almost every moment of the three days leading up to her birth...

So, now that you've read this blog, and you know, please be gentle. My heart is tender with this memory that is six years old, but is still so fresh.

That's part of my story. But everyone is walking around with something every moment that makes them a little fragile. Even if you don't know their story... be gentle with each other.


Manic Monday Blogarrhea

My kid looooooves the Berenstain Bears books. I have a love/hate relationship with them. I love them because a) they are books and b) they often revolve around a topic that may be a particular focus of our family at any given time (Go to the Dentist, Go to the Doctor, Go to Sunday School, Messy Room, Get the Gimmes, Too Much TV, etc. etc.). I have to note a couple of things, though. First of all, if you EVER catch me talking like Mama Bear, especially the way she talks to Papa Bear you have my permission to punish me in any way you see fit. Speaking of Papa Bear, he is kind of an idiot, but I don't think he deserves the level of emasculation that Mama doles out. When Brother bear was born, did they give any thought to what they might name their next child, should it have been a boy? I mean, sure they lack creativity, but clearly they also lack forethought. Luckily their next baby was a girl, so Sister Bear was the logical name. Then, when they got frisky again, and ended up with another baby, the best they could come up with was the name of their favorite food. By that logic, I should have named one of my children Sushi. Sushi Lindstrom does not have a great ring to it.

The number of people I know who have dropped their iPhones in the toilet is so staggering. It has me wondering; what is it about the iPhone that has us waving it over toilets so frequently? In my mind, this is an argument against the iPhone. It seems to be attracted to water. Specifically toilet water. Anyone dropped another brand of cell phone into the toilet? I didn't think so.

I am the proud new owner and wearer of Pajama Jeans. All I am going to tell you about them is this (and this should tell you everything you need to know): if Pajama Jeans are wrong, I don't want to be right. And as for you, person who thinks they are stupid and can't imagine why someone would buy a pair, don't knock 'em 'til you rock 'em.

I am having a personal crisis. I have many personal policies about what lengths I will go to to adjust and support my appearance. Examples: I am not opposed to injectables and I am all for reconstructive or plastic surgery to the degree that it fixes a problem that inhibits me from conducting my life "normally" (I am totally getting a tummy tuck someday - when I have less of a tummy - remember that I have had 2 short pregnancies, and 3 full-term pregnancies, the last of which yielded 2 babies. I don't feel like I need to say more). Here comes the crisis, I have never developed a policy on the covering of grey hairs... and guess what - THIS POLICY IS NEEDED, IMMEDIATELY IF NOT SOONER. I have been finding grey hair right and left and I don't know what to do?!??!??! Dye it? Highlight it? Let it go? WHAT? Any help or guidance is much appreciated, I was unprepared for this stage of life. As an aside, what is the difference between grey hair and gray hair?

I am also jumping on the trend bandwagon and having a Keratin blowout this week. You know what? When I do, I'm probably going to wear my pajama jeans. Deal with it. To save time, I have been telling people that I'm getting a Brazilian Blowout (it seems more people are familiar with that term). Problem: Frequently people are already reacting to the fact that I said Brazilian, and think I'm having an entirely different experience. Really, friends... you know me. I don't know that I'd casually drop that into conversation. What I've learned is that it's important to say it really fast, and make the second part louder (so they can hear you over their gasp.)

Hey, if you're reading this, and you like it... let's make it official! You can hang with me over at my facebook page too. And would you do me a favor and click that little "like" button? It's good for my self esteem.


Food For Thought Friday: The Kind of Mom I Want to Be

Food For Thought Friday is brought to you by the amazing folks at Welcome Baby Care. They are THE postpartum and newborn care experts. Check out their website, and don’t forget to “like” them on Facebook to take advantage of all their knowledge. Also, be sure to follow babycaretweets on Twitter to receive news and ideas on newborn care and thoughts about parenting! Also, keep your ear to the ground, because pretty soon, Welcome Baby Care will be announcing a brand new blog, featuring musings of many professionals in the field of parenting (read: PARENTS!), including yours truly!

I want to tell you a story about my mom, both because I think she's awesome, and because this very moment told me everything I needed to know about the kind of mother I want to be. My first child was wanted, much anticipated, and deeply, deeply loved. However, her first few days in this world were nothing short of exhausting, confusing, and downright difficult. Later, I would know that the feelings I had in those early days probably went a little deeper than the baby blues, and after her death 3 1/2 months later, I sunk deeper still into a depression, but in the early days, the lack of sleep and general confusion about who this person was and what she wanted from me were painful and terrifying. One evening, it seems to me she had been crying, inconsolable for at least 20 minutes when I felt like I was falling apart. I called my mom and probably screamed into the receiver, "Mom, I don't know what to do. She's crying, and she won't stop. I don't think she likes me." My mom told me to hang tight, hung up the phone, and came directly to my house.

When she walked in the door, I said to her, "do something to make her stop. Do something 'mothery'." But the 'mothery' thing she did was to take the screaming baby from my arms, hand the screaming baby to my husband, take me on her lap, and rock me. Her baby. She may have had the urge in that moment to tell me what to do, to show me what kinds of things I might try to make the baby stop screaming, she may have even thought to send me to my bedroom and take care of her screaming grandchild herself. But she knew that all I needed was to be loved, and held, and told that it was going to be okay. Not only all that, but I needed to be reminded that I was a good mother, even and especially when I had an inconsolable baby, and that I was going to make it through.

When that beautiful baby died, after I had held her lifeless body in my arms. After my mom had held her first grandchild's still body in her arms. My mom held me, her baby, in her arms, and reminded me that I was a good mom, even and especially when my baby was silent and that I was going to make it through.

She never told me how. She never told me when. She never told me what to do or how to do it. She reminded me that I was loved, and that I was strong.

That is the kind of mother I want to be to my own children. The kind of mother who allows them to be fully who they are, and celebrates that person, even when it's difficult or painful (for them or for me), and reminds them that they are loved. Thanks, mom.

What kind of moments in your life have informed you about the type of mother you want to be? How do you remind yourself of those moments when you're in the midst of a parenting crisis and you seem to forget? Who is the best example in your life of a great mom?


Mom Math


Mom + 8 hours of restful, uninterrupted sleep = sanity and happiness

The following problems yield the same answer:
Mom + a long, hot, uninterrupted shower
Mom + a pedicure
Mom + a clean house (preferably one that she did not have to clean herself)
Mom + peace and quiet
Mom + occasional martini


Mom - coffee = full blown insanity


Kid tantrums X 3 = Visualizing a permanent vacation on an island with fruity drinks and a shirtless manservant

I think we're ready for some word problems:

  1. If a 24 pound child is about to tumble from a 1.75 foot height and the child's mom is standing 8 feet away holding a cup of coffee. When the mom proceeds toward the child at a pace of 6 miles per hour, will she spill her coffee?
  2. If a child throws a pea from a four foot height toward the floor at a 45 degree angle at a speed of 95 mph, how long will it take the mom to get around to sweeping it up?
  3. If a child has 100 6 inch X 6 inch blocks in a 5 foot X 5 foot space, how many blocks would need to be on the floor before mom would run screaming from the room?
  4. If a child requests 3 Berenstain Bear books in a 20 minute span of time, how long will it take mom to fall asleep?
  5. If child A has gone to bed hungry because he did not finish his dinner, child B has a fever, and child C is teething, how much of Glee will mom be able to watch?
  6. If a mom has just vacuumed, how long will it take child A, B, or C to find a cracker in his or her underwear or diaper, and grind it into the carpet?
  7. If mom changes diapers at a rate of 30 seconds per diaper, and she changes 2 diapers every 2 hours, how many times will she curse and subsequently pray that the children whom's diapers she is changing will take to potty training faster and more efficiently than their older brother?
Work on those, and then get back to me... wouldja? Show your work, please. Answers are NOT in the back of the book. In fact, the answers are not even written in the book. In fact, screw the book, there isn't one. But in case you're wondering if your answers are correct:

˙spuoɔǝs ʎʇɹıɥʇ ˙ㄥ ˙qoɾ ǝɥʇ pǝɥsıuıɟ sɐɥ ǝɥs ǝɹoɟǝq ˙9 ˙sʇıpǝɹɔ ƃuıuǝdo ˙ގ ˙ǝǝɹɥʇ :sǝƃɐd ɟo ɹǝqɯnu ɐ pɐǝʇsuı ʇnq `ǝɯıʇ ɟo ʇunoɯɐ uɐ ʇou sı ɹǝʍsuɐ ǝɥʇ sɐ `uoıʇsǝnb ʞɔıɹʇ ɐ sı sıɥʇ ˙ㄣ ˙ɯǝɥʇ ɟo ǝuo uo pǝddǝʇs sɐɥ ǝɥs ɟı oʍʇ `ɹnoɟ ʇnoqɐ ʎlqɐqoɹd ˙ᄐ ˙ʇı op oʇ ɹǝʇʇısʎqɐq ǝɥʇ ɹo pɐp ɹoɟ ʇıɐʍ llıʍ ǝɥs ˙ᄅ ˙ǝʇıɥʍ ƃuıɥʇǝɯos ɹǝʌo llɐ ʎlqɐqoɹd puɐ ˙sǝʎ ˙⇂


Manic Monday Blogarrhea

- If I ever give the impression over this blog (or anywhere else for that matter) that I have parenting figured out, you will know that my account has been hacked. Please report the matter immediately. While I am simultaneously trying to figure out my kids needs for their age, stage, and potential rage, I am also looking ahead to the things that I am already dreading...

- Like talking to my daughter about getting her period, or counseling her on foundation garments, or explaining erections to my sons, so yes, all those puberty conversations. Also, I think dealing with stage parents/sideline coach parents is right up at the top of the list. (You may derive from this that girl Twinstrom will not be joining the pageant circuit any time soon a la Toddlers and Tiaras.)

- What kind of person thinks taking an 11-year-old, an 8-year-old, and a 4-year-old to the amusement park at the Mall of America on a Saturday night is an acceptable thing to do?Apparently this person. And BOY was I wrong.

- After one commits such an act, it is permissible (in my opinion) to load them up with unhealthy fast food. Which leads me to this conclusions, Fast Food restaurants (which shall remain nameless, but you know who you are) really need to step up their kids meal toy A-games.

- I like to give away ideas. If I think I have a good enough idea, but know (as I do with all my ideas) that I don't have the time, gumption, or desire to carry it out, I give it away so that someone else can bring it to life. Past ideas have included refrigerated lockers (for use at movie theaters, so that you may refrigerate your dinner leftovers), and laundromats that are also coffee shops by day (and a bar by night). So, as you can tell, these ideas are nothing short of earth shattering (please read with tone of sarcasm). As we were watching the new show, "America's Next Best Restaurant" on NBC where budding restauranteurs share their concepts hoping to open a restaurant - I came up with the idea for a Pho restaurant called, "What the Pho!" If you don't think that's funny, it's either because it's not, OR because you (like I did until about a year ago) are reading the word as though it's pronounced Ph-O, when in reality it's pronounced Ph-u, as though you are saying Fu'. Get it?


Food For Thought Friday: Mama's Day Off

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My husband has done the most amazing thing. For Valentine's Day he scheduled a "day off" for me. A day to myself. He bought me gift certificates to stores, scheduled appointments for me, made lunch reservations, and even topped the day off with a babysitter (for the kids) and a night on the town (for us). Wow.

Then, I went and wrecked it.

The lunch reservations were at a place I'd never been to alone, and I'm really more comfortable at another restaurant, but I may just skip lunch because there are so many things I need to do in the morning that I may not have time, and I want the pedicure he scheduled, but I don't feel like I really want or need a manicure as much as I should have a make-up lesson (some friends recently had an accidental intervention with me), and there are errands I need to run without the kids in tow - and now that I have an entire morning free... and on and on and on. I filled up the day with the things I feel like I NEED to do, rather than the things I WANT to do. I did check with him before I started rearranging, but what I didn't do (shame on me) is maintain the goal of the day which is to reeeeeeeellllllaaaaaaaaaaaaax.

What is wrong with me? I am a control freak. I don't think I was this way before we were married, or even right after. I bet I know what changed me... I BECAME A MOM! I don't know that control freak and mom go hand in hand, but I do know this, before I had kids I was far more reeeeeeeeeellllllllllaaaaaaaaaaaaaaxed.

A friend of ours told us the other day that is wife mentioned that she would really like a month off from parenting... he joked, "I don't really think she sees me in that picture." we laughed, but I totally got it. For many moms, we are the keeper of the family schedule. We arrange the doctor appointments, the school conferences, the carpool schedule, the play dates, the babysitters, the weekly menu, and what date we are responsible for bringing snacks to [fill in the blank with an activity]. When given the opportunity to relinquish control, in my case, I am unable (or unwilling) to release the tiniest responsibility from my grip lest a ball gets dropped and it reflects on my ability to parent competently. Admitting it makes me want to puke (not to mention embarrasses me to no end). I am so enmeshed in the family identity that to give up one thing makes me believe that I am giving it all up. I am hyper-focused on everyone else's needs, perhaps to a fault.

So, when my husband gives me a day off, instead of seeing it as an opportunity to do more for the family (and meet their needs -- like buying new clothes for the four year-old that actually fit, instead of making him look like he is dressing up like the Incredible Hulk - hold the green), why can't I see it as an opportunity to get back to mySELF? As you are reading this, I am having my day off, but as I am writing this, I am trying to figure out how to take the need out and inject some more of the want. Here's where I'm going to start. I am going to Coco Chanel my morning. No, I'm not going to spend money I don't have on designer items... Coco Chanel famously once said, "When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on." So, instead of squeezing that one more thing into my morning that I couldn't possibly delegate to someone else, I'm just not gonna do it. Then, I'm going to take an extra half hour for my lunch and read a book that I've been dying to dig into, and get in the mood for some serious pampering thanks to Mr. Lindstrom (who really is a better partner than I could have ever imagined, and certainly at least 3 million times more amazing than I ever give him credit for.)

If you are a mom, do you give yourself vacations? Can you relate to the notion that motherhood turned you into a control freak? If not, what is your advice for relinquishing some control? What would a "day off" look like for you?


On the Soapbox: Read At Your Own Risk!

I am seriously troubled. By so many things: The fact that my children have declared a moratorium on naps, despite my best wishes and hardcore fandom - the show My So Called Life will never return, restaurants continue to miss the memo that bread to cheese or dip ratio that they serve is severely off, but mostly I am troubled by Charlie Sheen. Not Charlie Sheen exactly, but the public's reaction to Charlie Sheen.

It's as if everyone is amazed and amused at his brain droppings. Here's the deal; he is sick. He has a disease. One that we know of: Addiction, and we can logically assume that Addiction has probably brought along some friends from the mental illness party (they like to travel in packs). We cannot apply rational thinking to his words and actions, because his words and actions are not rational. The public's reaction has done one thing, in my opinion, put a big fat neon exclamation point on the fact that addiction and mental illness are so misunderstood and stigmatized in our culture. It is not entertaining, it is sad. It is horribly and completely sad.

For those of us who have struggled with loved ones and family members with addiction and mental illness, who have had it rattle the foundation of our families like an earthquake, who have lost chapters of our lives to these diseases, Charlie Sheen is not entertaining. The "senseless" and "hilarious" things he is saying, the narcissistic and self righteous thoughts he is putting words to are indicative of a disease, and if it were cancer making him behave this way - we wouldn't be paying the same kind of attention to it. Because we don't believe that people give themselves cancer, but the stigma of addiction and mental illness is that it is the fault of the sick person.

I am not saying that Charlie Sheen hasn't made bad choices. I am saying that Charlie Sheen is sick with a disease, and that his bad choices opened a revolving door of choices feeding disease feeding choices feeding disease... And we are having a difficult time as a culture understanding how that works because we don't understand the disease. Instead of trying to understand the disease, everyone's huddled around the water cooler, or the dinner table, or in the gym locker room, or around the glow of their television hungry for the very last "crazy" thing that "crazy" Charlie Sheen said.

I'm afraid that we are missing a huge opportunity here. An opportunity to be educated about the disease of addiction, and the effect it has on the people whom it afflicts as well as the people in relationship with them. In my experience, one reason people don't make the attempt to understand addiction is because it forces each of us to confront the possibility that we too may have addictions; drugs, alcohol, food, attention, collecting, hoarding, etc. Whether Charlie Sheen decides to do the hard work of recovery and treatment, or continues to go down a path of destruction driven by the disease is not my business, and I find it in no way entertaining or hilarious when I hear the disease speaking through him. I am not amazed or fascinated by it. I am just plain sad.

So, I'm opting out of the conversation. Shutting off my TV when Charlie Sheen's "actions" make headline news. Changing the subject when someone tries to engage me with the latest Sheen-ism. I am making a choice - and I'd love for you to join me... if you feel it too...

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