Giving Up

I finally found that stupid little cord that connects my Droid to my speaker dock thing.  It only took me a year or so.  Around that time, I dropped my iPhone in the toilet and decided to go with a Droid as a replacement.  I realized I had misplaced the cords the first time I tried to turn on a bedtime story podcast for my children.  Apparently, I had tossed the additional connectors….somewhere.


Fast forward a year, and there it sat with dust covering every inch of it.  I found the chords in a grandmother basket sitting about two inches away from the dock.


I happily blew dust off of the speakers and plugged everything in.  Beautiful music filled our upstairs.  Beautiful free music from my Pandora station.  I want to pay for music.  I also want to buy groceries.  Food always wins.

Music is the perfect accompaniment to bathing, dressing and organizing children for the next day.  We love our Norah Jones station.  Jack Johnson sings us into our jammies and Norah allows me to sing duets with her to Vito.  Listening to yawning, settling children while rocking a sleepy almost non-toddler to bed just under the sounds of lullabies is heaven to me.

When my husband climbed the stairs, I was still humming while tossing dirty laundry into baskets finally empty of clean clothes.

He smiled and gave me a warm hug.

“I love that you’re humming.”

I smiled.  He ventured into a messy six-year old’s closet to sort pants that fit and those that do not.  I continued my humming as I chased Vito around a corner and into his bed.

Just then, the song started playing.

I stopped.  I told Vito to stay in his bed with his bedtime snack.

Even though he had just started working out the pants situation with Isaac, I stopped Paul too.

He met me in the hallway and we danced.  I shooed away children, sent them to their beds.

“I am having a moment with your father.”

This song is for people who have dishes piled sky-high in their sinks.  It is for mommies and daddies with paint chipping off of the walls and bills piled on their desks.  It sings to the soul of my love of the messy realities of relationships.  Listen. Dance. Give up.

Our lives don’t always split open to find romance running through it.  It’s usually the opposite.  When a moment arrives that makes your heart stutter to a happy skip, you must stop.  The children will enjoy peeking around the corner at you.  They will push their hands into the small space between you and try to find a place for themselves.

You will reach down to find love in small hands in your pockets, pulled tight around your waist and wrapped around your shoulders.

The house will be a little dirtier.  There will be a pause in practicality and function.  You will feel a little idealistic and foolish.

A little romance never killed anyone.*

A lightly dancing and humming,


PS – “Like” my Facebook page! 

*Except maybe Romeo, Juliet, and the couple from the Titanic movie…but that’s it. ;)

Mother’s Day: Part Deux

I know.  Mother’s Day is over.

You have had your day to sleep in.  Your breakfast in bed, no matter how questionable, has been eaten.  You have gotten your handmade gifts, adulations and praise.  It is back to real life now, baby.

Who’s excited?!  Can I see a show of hands?


Something has been bothering me.  There’s just a little monkey on my back.

My Mother’s Day was lovely but some of you got a whole lotta nothin’ for Mother’s Day.  You woke up to the same roles and responsibilities.  Laundry loads went in and dishes were stacked up with your invisible name all over them.

Some of you could care less about holidays.  You don’t celebrate birthdays, Christmas or even, Halloween.  There are people who don’t celebrate everything in a big way.

 I am not friends with any of those people because they won’t come to my parties.

Everyone is different.

What about you?  What did you want?

Take a moment.  Breathe.  What did you want.

Don’t get upset if the day was a total shit show.  Don’t get mad if your husband looked at you like, “what” when you reminded him that it was Mother’s Day.  Maybe it’s not totally his fault.  Maybe you were not clear with your expectations.  We tend to do that as women.

You know, the martyr thing.

Maybe you’re a single mommy and there simply wasn’t anyone around to do anything for you.

You don’t need to panic.  You don’t need to get mad.  You simply need a redo.

Have you ever had your child give you a smart alleck response and you offered him a chance to try again before you took away his entire universe of toys?  Your husband may need the same opportunity.

This time, mince no words.  Practice with me.

  1. I want to sleep in.
  2. I want a hot shower to myself. (If a child so much as leans into the bathroom door, so help me…)
  3. I want to have tea with my sisters.
  4. I wanna dance with somebody.

If you have to, call a girlfriend who loves you and tell her you intend to celebrate the love of your single motherhood life with some quiet time recharging for another year of raising a wild animal into a genteel adult of perfect character.  I’ll bet you, she will cover you.  She knows how hard your job is and she respects you for all the sacrifices you make every day.

Motherhood is the hardest job in the world.  It is not the pretend hardest job in the world.  It is the real deal.  In one day, you deal in so many kinds of crap, you should be handing out enemas and sometimes it feels like you are.

Single mommies, give yourself a do over.  You are a valuable woman doing a valuable job.  Honor yourself.

Mommies with a slacker or miseducated husband, schedule another date for Mother’s Day.  Let him know that, just like a sloppy child working on his handwriting, he will have as many opportunities to correct his mistake as he needs.

Finish it off with this statement:

“I get one day a year.  Don’t eff it up.”

It doesn’t have to be much.  Sometimes a letter like the one Scott Nagele wrote for his wife on his blog called Snoozing on the Sofa: Fatherhood’s Finest Hour will totally fit the bill!

*kleenex alert*

And in the end, if it still doesn’t happen for you.  If the world looks down on you with your screaming toddler, empty potluck hands and jacked up pedicure, know that I am right here with you.  Laughing in the face of perfection and waving the flag of mediocrity every single day.  Solidarity, sisters.

Happy Mother’s Day, ladies.

From the trenches,


PS – for the record, my husband has gotten progressively better at celebrations since he met me.  Therefore, I am a behavioral therapist specializing in all manner of hoopla and shenanigans related to festivities.  I will have to add that to my business cards.

We May Have A Tie


So yesterday, I reported to all of you that I won Christmas.

While this is mostly true from my perspective, there is definitely more to the story.  As I said before, Paul is the undefeated champion of all gift bearing holidays.  He was not going to go down with out a fight.  And fight he did.

He used that spreadsheet, counted stars and came up with some crazy good gifts.  He told me in advance that one was sure to make me cry.  I started to doubt him when he admitted he forgot to get me any stocking stuffers.

What?  No chocolate?  No Biggby giftcard?  No winter socks?  I have come to expect certain stocking privileges.

In response to my obvious disenchantment with an empty stocking, he changed his tune and put one of my gifts in there along with a school gift from Isaac.

One gift was beautifully wrapped.  It could have been a tiara.  I tried to shake it.  Paul wouldn’t let me.


I had to wait.  I tried to wait.  To prolong the inevitable goodness.  I love gifts and I love surprises.

Christmas is my day.

Well, actually it’s Jesus’s day but let’s try to focus on my story, shall we?

I was certain the pretty box was going to be the winner.  Nope.  It was a tea kettle for my latest addiction to tea.

Really.  According to a friend,

“Tea is a gift to your body.”

I am a new part-time convert.  I still love my coffee. It is brewing now.

Anywho, the kids all hand painted the sweetest pottery.  A heart-shaped platter made complete with a face complimented by wild Emo hair.  It made me giggle.  I have been drinking and eating out of a cup hand painted by my Vito every day since Christmas.  Isaiah painted a snowman that is sitting on my kitchen counter that I imagine will be brought with the Christmas decorations every year.

The boys picked out purple slippers in the UGGs Style.

Do you see what I am doing here?  So much suspense!!  I nearly died.

Wait for it though.  This is gonna be worth it.

Finally, I opened the big box.  I waited as long as I could but finally the boys forced it upon me.

It’s just an amazing Zuca bag.  The bag of all skate bags for my derby.  I immediately  packed it.  Practice is only one week away.  I need to be prepared.

Okay.  Are you ready?

I was allowed to get my stocking before nap time.  Mostly because I am a grown up and mostly because I was dying to know what was going to make me cry more than my beautiful Zuca bag.

Yes, this 31-year-old woman has been stating that she might want to go back to school eventually.  There was never a concrete plan, enough time, enough energy or enough money.  So far, eventualities seem to be failing me.  Apparently, someone wanted to put his money where my mouth was.

Nice move. *sob*

We may have a tie.



PS – Don’t forget to “like” The Mother Flippin Fan Page!  I will be posting pics of my handmade pottery there.  I am a lucky momma. :)

All Because Two People Fell In Love

First, a disclaimer: I should have named this post Projectile or An Ash Wednesday Exorcism.  If you can’t read about vomit, turn away now.  You can read about me Keepin’ It Classy instead…
Today my little Levi finally succumbed to the virus that has been going around in our circle of friends.  I can see that sneaky little bastard standing in the bushes in my backyard all smug.  He just said under his breath, “You Toroks can lysol, but you cannot hide.” *snicker*
What a douche canoe.
My little guy has had horrible diarrhea and lethargy.  The lethargy is always what gives a way an oncoming decline in health.  My children were built for speed.  I stayed home from work and transitioned between holding him warm on my chest and reaching over his sleeping body to get to my laptop so that my workload wouldn’t get out of control.  
We made it through the day and he seemed to be getting a bit better.  He had asked for food, eaten and held it down. We were on our way to the healthy column.  We all gathered at the end of our day to eat a Lenten kick off dinner of cod, french fries and corn.  
My husband is the king of starchy meals but he also cooks.  I will take my corn with a side of french fries, please and thank you.
As my little Levi tells us he is full and starts tossing bits of fish and fries off of his tray…he urps.  
Yep.  Not a lot.  A little puddle of vomit.  Daddy grabs a cloth.  I pull the tray away and stand him on the table.  I’m talking to him and unbuttoning his soiled pajama top.  Poor baby.
And then again.  I stand back just in time for him to miss most of my top half but my leggings and socks are covered.  Nice.  Now he is crying.  Vomit always surprises babies.  They are almost certainly asking, “What the hell was that?” I start consoling and telling him it’s okay as Daddy tries again to clean up mess numero dos.
You guessed it.  Again.  This time he caught more of the front of me.  This is the moment my oldest starts to dry heave.
Paul and I start to laugh at him and I gather the baby in my arms.  We need a bath.  
Yep.  Down my back.  WTH!  Seriously.
Now between the dry heaves of my eldest and my now vomit encased body I start to get mouthy.
“Oh, Levi.  Is that all?  You didn’t get my side.”
I look up and my eldest turns around and throws up…twice.  The baby now vomits down my arm.  He got my side.
Paul and I are now deliriously laughing. Tears are streaming. I am standing in a puddle of vomit and I cannot stop laughing.  Paul is trying to wipe it up and he is shaking laughing.  He gently pulls my splattered socks off of my feet so that I could retreat with the littlest to get us all cleaned up in the bathroom.
As I lay in my porcelain tub surrounded in tile, holding a child who is clearly feeling better after his vomitus eruptus, all I can think about is the sign hanging in our foyer.
Nuff said.

Good Lies

My husband is a liar.  A teller of tall tales. A silver tongued snake!
I have never been able to trust him.
Just before the holidays, he kept saying that me and the kids should get out, visit friends and tour the town.
While we were gone, he was doing this!
This morning, he said he was going to work.  He wasn’t.  He was stopping by the closest Biggby to get his insomnia ridden, sleep deprived wife a skinny, skinny white lightening.  His wife who was thinking of swearing off caffeine so that maybe, God willing she could sleep tonight.  The same wife who knows that after a night of insomnia, she would literally DIE without caffeine.  Her children would be hiding from her in the closet by noon, the exact time her withdrawal symptoms would hit the fan.
I could have made my own coffee.  He didn’t have to deceive me.  He didn’t have to climb the stairs quietly, sneak into the bathroom and place it in the hand not holding my flat iron.  
But he did and I am so grateful.

Someday my children will pose the question,

“Is there such thing as a good lie?”

I will say yes.  I will point to the office my husband conceived and built for me.   I will tell them of the flowers sitting in random spots, conspicuously bursting with my husband’s love.  I will tell them about all of the times I could tell by the bank statement that something was coming but I lied by omission, keeping my husbands secrets.
I love when he lies to me. I hope someday they lie to their wives in just the same way.

Thoughtfully Considered

I am a sucker for a great gift.  It’s my love language.  I don’t need extravagant or costly.  I just need to be thought of.  I think it stems from my love of surprises.  When something unexpected and good falls into my hands I am delighted.  Whether it be an extra cup of coffee purchased for me by a friend or my son sweetly bringing me my coat in the morning, I love to know I’ve been considered.

My husband has been up to something for a few months.  I knew it.  My son actually wrote me a note that said roughly..

“Mom, dad is finishing the attic for you. Just thought you should know. Love, Isaiah”

This coming from a seven year old, I just pretended not to hear.  Consider the source.  This is the same kid that tells me he never sleeps at night.  He just closes his eyes.  I didn’t get my hopes up based on his testimony.  However when my husband told me he had a gift in the attic for me that he had to keep warm, I became suspicious that my son had turned narc on his father.

I began to jokingly ask Paul if he had fed my puppy yet today.  Is the maid you hired cold tonight?  You may want to get her an extra blanket.  Is it a fish tank and you don’t want the fish to freeze? 

On Christmas day my husband gave me a new guitar book, picks, a capo and 5 guitar lessons at the local music store.  He bought me a iTunes gift card (as if I wouldn’t have spent money on that myself) and a beautiful glass mosaic mirror.  Once all of our gifts were open and the children were quietly playing with their new booty, he grabbed my hand and guided me to my last surprise.

He had indeed finished the attic so that I would have my own quiet place to write….

It’s not completely done.  He sweetly admitted that he ran out of money before he could finish it.  We are headed out to look for carpet and paint today.  The window faces the beautiful purple tree I love so much and I think that area will be lovely in the summer.

My husband gave me a gift that honored my ambitions.  He sees who I am, who I wish to become and what would bless me the most.  A quiet room where I can get away from the world and write. 

I was thoughtfully considered and now I get to spend this year decorating my office. 



What was the most thoughtful gift you received this Christmas? What made the gift so touching?
What was the most thoughtful gift you gave to someone you loved?
Check out the wonderful gift my husband gave me

The Rock and the Balloon

Paul and I have been married for 6 years.  We have been to marraige counseling 3 times.  Once for each child.  Every two years something shifts and we go back.  This is not a rule, it’s just our trend thus far. We are not ashamed of it.  In our determination to work through the worst of times, we are not blind to the observation that we are not handling our problems well.

Eventually, we stand before each other with shoulders shrugged and hands held out like a man emptying his pockets during a search.  We have nothing else to add.  All of the emotions, arguments, talking and date nights have been had and the issues are still not resolved.  We both agree to call in the big guns, the marriage counselor and play therapist.

We need that second part because we can be very immature. :)

I recognize for many people this is an admission of failure.  We can’t work through it ourselves.  Why would anyone go and share all of those personal details with a stranger?  There are also people who are just too proud to take the chance that a part of the problem may lie in them alone.  Relationships are complicated but rarely is an issue one sided.

I am an epic failure.  However, I am also allergic to defeat.  Paul must be too because he’s still here fighting for our sweet spot.

I have heard people say that getting a divorce is the easy way out.  I’m not sure.  I have never been on that side of the coin and I am trying not to flip it over.  I do know that being vulnerable enough to recognize your faults is painful.  I also believe that vulnerability and self discovery is a part of the marital journey.

Paul and I have loved each other fiercely and on the other hand I have never wanted to punch somebody more.  I feel the same way about all of my siblings, except my baby sister who is perfect in every way, and my parents.

I take that back.  I have never wanted to punch my parents.  I would never admit it if I did.

The point is that Paul is my family now and he gets no special treatment.  Except for one thing.  I chose him to become a part of my family.  Ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind.  My sources are legit on this one. (Lilo and Stitch).

Sometimes I feel like Mary and Martha.  When I read those names for the first time on the cover of the book, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, I thought they were referring to Mary, the Mother of God and Martha Stewart.  This Sunday, their story was a part of the reading and I immediately was struck by these words.

“Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” ~Luke 10:38-42

I am not a Bible scholar but my heart prayed that when we require more of each other in our marraiges, that it will not be taken from us. When we are willing to change ourselves for the better to serve our family, it will not be taken from us.

Marriage is more than what I was taught.  Maybe it’s more than what I chose to believe.  I don’t believe that my role in this marriage is subservience.  I don’t believe my husband’s only role is to support and protect us.  Our roles are to be defined by consideration and growth.  The whole, wives submit to your husbands and husbands love your wives, has grown to have way too many intricacies to be quoted here.  We will have to tackle that later.  There is a balance to be struck.

Paul is unquestionably the rock my balloon is tied too.  He is my safety and my ground zero.  He keeps my dreamy, idealistic ways from letting me float off into oblivion.  It is my ways that keep him from sinking to the bottom.  Reality can be very heavy.  When I feel like he is pulling me down too far and he feels like I am yanking him off the surface our balance needs to be corrected.

Marraige counseling helps to remind us that we are family.  It reminds us that when we are able to realign our balance, we are a perfect fit.


The Balloon

P.S. If you want more information about the counseling services we use email me. I’d be happy to throw you a rope! :)