Thursday, June 28, 2012

Spaghetti Strip

brought to you by the self-feeding experts, Chubbs and Carter

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I promise I am the Mom

The house was messier than usual.

Toys were scattered across the floor. Cheerios hid in every crevice. The wood floor was coated with some unknown sticky substance. The Dining Room table was stacked with papers, obviously a work in progress.

Addison was in the back of the kitchen doing who knows what. Carter was crawling to freedom the opposite way clutching whatever toy he had stolen from Addison.

I was scooping up a wiggling Carter and attempting to locate a giggling Addison when I heard it.

A knock at the door.

I went to the door, sheepish about the fact that Carter was still in a questionable smelling sleeper and the only clothes I could find to wear had liberal yogurt splotches decorating the simple tshirt and jean capris.

Who was at the door? Not only the nutritionalist, but she brought a student who was following her around, hoping to learn how it was done. I love how extra people show up for these appointments right when I'm the least prepared for them. *sarcasm alert*

Both of these women had carefully straightened hair; flawlessly done makeup; beautifully put together outfits.

They were holding clipboards and staring at me warily.

I tried to remember if I brushed my hair.

Pretending to not feel self conscious at my lack of having the appearance of "being together" for this early morning visit, I launched right into my brilliant idea for Addison's nutrition.

Because it's always a good idea when you are uncomfortable to immediately jump your word count per minute by a couple hundred. Just turn the facet on high and let whatever words are the freest just pour our and fill the silence. *more of that sarcasm thing*

"It might be crazy." I was saying. "I wanted to run it by you to make sure I wasn't poisoning her by giving her too much of a good thing"
Luna Bars (they are dipped in chocolate)

I went on to outline Addison's entire diet and stress how much she continues to want so much chocolate, so I was trying to substitute the m&m consumption with something more profitable.

The nutritionalist and friend just stared at me, each with one finely shaped eyebrow arched toward the sky while sitting on the white couch patterned in tiny peanut butter handprints. (When did that happen???)

Seriously we talked for a long while (mostly me catching the nutritionalist up on Addison's latest diet changes). Finally we returned to my chocolate question when she looked through her notes and said with inspiration

"The mom says that Addison took her first steps for chocolate?"

Why was she referring to me in third person?

"What?" I asked.

"She told me in our last visit that she used chocolate to get Addison to take her first steps. The mom did."

"Um, I'm the mom." I said.


She flushed and said, "Oh wow I thought you were way to young looking to be the mom. You looked more like the PCA."

-Note: we have met before-

She continued, "I was so confused how a caregiver knew so much about Addison's diet. I guess that makes more sense now."

I figured either:
1. I had lost so much weight since the last time she saw me, she couldn't believe it was the same person (this one isn't likely, but I like to dream)
2. I look like a 12 year old when I don't wear makeup and brush my hair (and sometimes even when I do)
3. The nutritionalist hated me because I came up with such a genius chocolate substitution solution for Addison that she didn't think of.
4. I have a very forgettable face. (if only I could lead with wit instead of this button nose and innocent looking eyes)
5. She thought only an inexperienced babysitter could let the house look that bad by 9:00am.
6. I'm completely out of reasons, but it was nice how much she flushed when she realized that she immediate judged me to be the "teenage" sitter (in front of her protégée)

Sigh. Perhaps if I HAD been the sitter, I would have at least had time to eat breakfast before having to endure that appointment.

Check out my guest post over at one of my favorite blogs. Pretty please show me some comment love?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I forget

When someone stares a moment too long at my daughter with a scowling face, I crossly wonder-why?

When fellow shoppers do a double take into the passenger section of my grocery cart I can't imagine what has caught their eye other than the one article of junk food that I tried to hide under all the veggies.

When a well meaning friend exclaims "EVEN Addison should be able to do this/understand this/behave like this"- I wonder why they feel the need to differentiate her in such a way.

When we're at the doctor and they give me an extra set of risks and warnings for my daughter that I don't get for my son, it catches me off guard.

Because the truth is- I forget.
I forget that I'm supposed to be mourning a defect in the eyes of society because I am too busy loving the busy little girl in my care.

I forget that I was seemingly judged with a mistake because I'm too busy marveling in the beauty and perfection of her every chromosome.

I forget that people feel sorry for me because I'm too busy living the life of mommy that is far more wonderful than I ever dreamed.

I forget that the "different" is supposed to be uncomfortable and sad because the different in my life is the encore of happiness in being a mother.

The truth is- I don't care that my daughter has Down syndrome. I don't care if you think that that is something horrible and pathetic. I don't care if you secretly mock the concept of being "slow". I don't care that you are thankful every day that your child isn't cursed with a "problem".

Because I know better.
I know that the plucky little girl with the waterspout blonde ponytail is amazing. I know that the personality that we're discovering in her layer by layer is much like a thinly layered chocolate cake that ends with a creamy fudge of goodness. I know that those almond eyes are exactly the same color as her daddy's and her brother's even though the shape is different. I know that her tiny hands have our large and awkward hands wrapped around her tiniest of fingers. I know that her legs in braces are strong enough to take her wherever she wants to go.
When her head tilts down and a shy smile breaks out over her face, I can see her feeling emotions just like I do. When she silently stares, studying her surroundings curiously, I can see her processing the world in her own way- just like any little girl. When I hear her unique bubble of laughter gleefully explode in response to whatever catches her fancy, I can observe her enjoying life- just like any two year old.
For a minute yesterday a memory of the fear surprised me. This fear used to be the only thing I saw when I looked at her. Now it appears from time to time whenever I find myself frustrated by how long she makes me wait before she responds. Will she have friends? If her peers are mean to her will she be aware? How much will she grow up? Will she live to be an adult? Will she have a happy life?
Wait, where did this come from? I forget why I'm supposed to worry about this.

I was standing next to the bathtub, encouraging her to come for her already drawn bath, and she stood in the hallway, mutely observing my sign of "bath" and my motions for her to come.

"Addison come take your bath"

No response. Is she just being stubborn, or does she not understand?

"Please Addison. It's all ready."

It's when I begin to doubt that she brings out the big guns. Exuberant smile, overflowing laughter, waving hands held out in response to mine, and running- RUNNING across the long hallway to throw herself into my arms. She looks up to me and signs "bath".

My hold tightens around her and I breathe in her very essence. She tucks her head up under my chin and nestles her body tightly close to mine. She relaxes with the trust and assurance that I will take care of her. 

Addison has all the typical little girl tricks up her sleeve. She pretends not to understand something or waits extra long whenever it's something she's not interested in. Don't be fooled (like I still am occasionally). If you mention the word chocolate, her response time is cut in half.
So yes, I might occasionally see a flicker of past doubts (mostly when Addison is trying to pull a fast one), but it's still not enough to make me remember why I should be sad. That flicker dies faster than a single lit match in a July thunderstorm in the middle of the ocean.

Because I'm way too busy holding that warm body full of life and love, praising her for her many accomplishments, and sending up prayers of thankfulness that she is mine.

If my worst complaint as a parent that I need to work on my patience (and discernment), well then I'd say I'm pretty blessed.
 A label can be overwhelming- a diagnosis can be scary. But if you look around you with an open heart, you will see beauty all around you. Even in those who are different than you.
Because at the end of the day?
That person is just that,

a person.

And just maybe, you can forget about all that other stuff too.

Monday, June 25, 2012

valuable life lesson

(Check out Facebook for more hilarious captions for the first picture. Thank you to all of you who shared your wittiness with us. (-: )

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Being a parent is inconvenient.

No matter which angle of the layered cake you slice it from, you end up with a plateful of having to put someone before yourself at the most inopportune of times.

You're right in the middle of pursuing your dreams. You're so close you are already visualizing yourself on the other side. THAT MOMENT is when your child will need you to set it aside for them.


I think the reason so many people are scared of having a child with special needs is because it is even MORE inconvenient than normal parenting.

One of my earliest fears after getting Addison's diagnosis was "But she'll never move out of our house. She'll live with us forever." Inconvenient. Therapies? Inconvenient. Having to work extra hard for acceptance and a future for my child with delays? Inconvenient.

What about what I want to do with my life? What about my big hopes and dreams?

The truth is, because I am now a parent all of that has to come second to the little people entrusted to me no matter what they need. Sometimes it feels easier than others. Sometimes it feels just plain wrong and unfair. But that doesn't change what my children need from me- to be put before everything else in my life- career included. Isn't that what we want from our own parents?

These past few months as I was getting closer to my dream, I wondered what my response would be if Addison's monthly blood work suddenly came back positive with leukemia.

Without fail, the thought always brought with it a healthy dose of annoyance that it would happen now. And then I was flooded with shame that I would be annoyed by her needing me at such a vulnerable time even though it meant putting my own plans on hold.

Who am I to decide that something is more important than my child?

I am a mother first. Writer second.

As I continued to ponder this, I thought of ways that I subconsciously placed my kids into the "inconvenient" category even on a daily basis.

Whining about how hard it is to go anywhere with two babies/basically telling them that they're ruining my social life because they are an inconvenience to me.


Sitting down at my computer to work for a minute while they're playing and not wanting to acknowledge the pudgy hands on my leg, the pouty face resting against my hip, the "play with me mommy" whine because I was busy.


Recently I was stung by someone making me feel like an inconvenience, so and it made me think that perhaps I was doing the same thing to my children. The answer was not pretty. It all comes down to selfishness and wanting to put me in front of them.

And that's not right.

I never want my children to think that something is more important to me than them. It's not easy. I don't always like it, and sometimes honestly it hurts. But it's something that I'm working on because it is important.

Parenting involves a lot of dying to myself and adapting to entirely new priorities. No matter what stage my children are in- this doesn't change. I don't want to have to apologize to my children for an entire childhood of inconvenience and hurt twenty years from now. Every day I want them to feel integral in my life- important, necessary, wanted.

When they look back over their childhood, I want them to remember that yes, Mommy and Daddy did have times that they had to work, so other people watched them from time to time. But the overall memories will include the knowledge that if they needed us- we were there. If they worked toward something big- we supported them. If they struggled- we were there to counsel and encourage them.

I want them to remember a childhood infused with love and happiness because their parents sacrificed everything for them

even when it was inconvenient.

That's my new hope and dream.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

If Children Were Computers

1. The day can start when you're ready to start the day instead of the early hours of the morning when  certain little ones have tired of this sleeping bit. Nights would be uninterrupted

2. When you get super overwhelmed, you can "go unplugged" for a day and get a break.

3. Dirty diapers, spit up, and stubborn eaters at meal time are a simple matter of reprogramming.

4. Labor, water weight, and stretch marks would be nonexistent. You put in your order and wait for someone else to do all of the work.

5. You can hit the mute button when the whining simply won't stop.

6. You can delete the word "NO"

7. If you want to go out for the night, no need to find a sitter, simply put them "to sleep".

8. Facebook time would mean that you're spending time with your kids

9. Your keyboard won't lose keys because your children will have a vested interest in keeping them unbroken.

10. If our parenting expectations aren't met? We can exchange for a more compatible machine.


1. Hugging wouldn't be as cuddly

2. Kissing a computer screen is just weird

3. Where's the fun in never being surprised?

4. If we could change challenges to "easy" with a few typed lines, we would never grow.

5. We would complain that our computers aren't robots- doing household chores and such.

6. When Facebook changes yet again, we will be attempted to abandon our children along with the fickle program.

7. The thought of a computer coming to visit us in a nursing home someday is sad.

8. You won't learn more about yourself through trying to teach this "obedience" thing to the strong willed tiny people.

9. A computer can't smile at you and genuinely laugh.

10. Computers with defects are discarded. A human who is different is a gift.

This is what happens when I have a half hour left of writing time and JUST CAN'T CONCENTRATE! It's time to go home early and trade in this machine for my two little monkeys.
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

It's Just Too Much

Lately I've felt beaten down by life.

Someone made a comment a while back about how I unrealistically expect too much out of myself and as the comment was said in love and truth, I have pondered it a lot.

I have always struggled with wanting to do things perfectly and now that I'm on the mommy train it seems that I am constantly failing my ideology.

I post about what a horrible housewife I am, cry about what a miserable excuse for a mother I am, and feel general guilt about all of the other things in life that are sliding without me being able to keep up.

Last night on Master Chef, the blind contestant had to make an apple pie in one hour and fifteen minutes. She was sobbing- saying how horrible it was and how she was going to be sent home. And then the camera zoomed in on her pie, and it was BEAUTIFUL. The judges loved it and the other contestants cheered and clapped. They told her that she needed to stop being so hard on herself and believe that that she's doing a good job even though she can't see it herself.

I seriously bawled. I know it's a TV show and all, but that is so my life right now. I am working, working, working. But I can't see what I'm doing, and I've convinced myself that it is the worst job ever done by anybody.

Motherhood and writing a novel have a lot in common. I focus on the little details and each little description/diaper change/character/meal and when my two year old smacks down my nine month old or I can't quite get a scene right- I feel as though my entire world is falling apart.

But the truth is, when I'm in despair about something so small- life is good.

When my biggest worry is that I haven't folded laundry in a week and there are piles in the basement waiting for some sort of goddess to take over- I am BLESSED.

When the therapist comes and the house is a disaster because my kids have strewn toys every which way, I am THANKFUL that my kids have the toys, space, and health with which to inflict such damage.
(I had the therapist hold up the magazine that was on the couch to prove the irony of my life)

When I'm working in frustration with my head in my hands because I can't get a chapter JUST RIGHT, I am overwhelmed with gratitude at how far my book has already come from two years ago when I told my friend "Hey, I have this crazy idea...."

When I ponder stress in certain relationships, I look at all of those around me who are going out of their way to make sure I feel loved and supported, and I am in awe of the amazing people in my life.

When I'm muddling through a day where everything seems to go wrong, I stop and think about WHAT is happy in that moment- and without fail I can find something:

the neatness of a made bed
cold sweet tea from McDonalds
a really great description that pops off the page
a blueberry cobbler straight out of the oven
a smile from my kids
a snazzy mom-mobile to light up even the most boring of errands
a friend stopping by for coffee
a really green lawn
a vacuumed floor
a sweet Facebook message
a good workout
(thank you to all of you who shared your "happy moments" with me on my Facebook wall)

Sometimes I need to back up and stare at my life through a different set of eyes to really see what's going on. Sometimes I just need to take a chill pill when I feel the fingers of defeat start to curl around my throat because the kitchen counters haven't been wiped down in two days.

Sometimes I need to just tell myself that I am doing my very best and that IS PERFECT.

To the commenter who told me that I unrealistically expect too much out of myself- you were right.

I will keep working hard to get everything done, but when I don't?

It will still be an awesomely wonderful day.

Thank you.

Monday, June 18, 2012

oh glorious day

(yes, I know Carter was half unbuckled. It was safety appropriate- I promise)
 Sometimes it's just about finding the right vice coping mechanism.
Happy Monday from:
(I was struck with how much they look alike in these pictures. I mean, really? They could seriously pass for twins)

Make sure you didn't miss the rarely done weekend post!
OK, my computer tried to auto correct that to "weekend pot" not THAT kind of vice....I promise...although I can't speak for my computer...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Close Those Big Blue Eyes

This is a little bonus weekend post to thank you for being so awesome with your response to my last post. Thank you!


She calls out to me wistfully, leaning into the sides of her crib as if willing them to disappear.

"Mama!" A more urgent call arises from the same girlish voice.

I walk the rest of the way into her pink nursery, loving the shy smile that she assumes when she sees me appear, wondering when she graduated from "meme" to "mama".

"Yes? Did you need something?" I ask her.

She answers me with another smile. I can see that she's tired but refusing to settle down, so I once again perform our nightly ritual.

I lift her frame, too slight to be a believable two and a half year old. I gently settle her down onto her pillow, brush stray blonde wisps out of her eyes, and tuck her quilted blanket carefully up under her chin.

She wiggles to bring her arms free of the constrains of the blanket and then waits for the song she knows is coming.

Go to sleep Addison
Close those big blue eyes
Go to sleep Addison
We'll play some more in the morning

My low alto tremors slightly in response to the huge smile that breaks over her face.

Addison, Carter, and Mommy too
Play some more tomorrow

She then begins to laugh. A low belly laugh shakes the blanket- the curls once again settle into her eyes, so I gently tuck them behind her pierced ears that are smaller than you might expect.

Go to sleep Addison 
Close those big blue eyes
Go to sleep Addison
We'll play some more in the morning

My voice is almost a whisper as I watch her unhindered delight. Happiness flings itself from her smile and settles firmly in my heart. Joy flicks like sparks from her eyes and sets afire my love for her.

In that moment she is my baby- perfect and whole. I don't think about her heart surgeries or her therapies or the orthotics resting on her dresser a few paces away. Her extra chromosome is simply an integral part of that moment as well as our lives- perfect, serene, divine.

It occurs to me while staring into her bright blue eyes that parenting doesn't involve worry for tomorrow or ten years from now. Parenting doesn't cause the words Down syndrome to decide the future for my Addison. Being a mother doesn't give me license to look into the glass ball of the next hour and decide how I'll respond then.

Being a parent means choosing my response for the now. Loving, accepting, relishing. There will be hard moments. There will be moments that make me want to give up and go into a profession that gives time off and bonuses. But it's OK because I only have to handle them one at a time. Each single pearl strung on the slight gold string should be counted and enjoyed- even the oddly shaped ones with defects because they are responsible for making the necklace that much more rare and unique.

While staring at the beautiful face of my daughter during bedtime, I know that this is one of the moments that will fuel me on through another day of collecting motherhood treasures no matter how difficult.

The next phase is coming too quickly- preschools, therapy transitions, peer acceptance issues, learning important life lessons. Why wish them closer by worry and fear?

No, this moment is all I need. One at a time with my little Addison. The next one will be here before I know it.

I shut out her light and tiptoe from her room.

I hear her sigh in content as the one thing that she wanted most in the world just happened for her. She responds to a good night song repeat performance as one might respond to winning the lottery. The small sigh quickly transforms into a slight snore as she closes those big blue eyes in preparation for another day of play.

I stand in the hallway, memorizing the timbre of each snore, promising myself that I'll tell her again tomorrow how much I love her, and praying that she'll have many more mornings to "play some more".

Because some strands of pearls are more delicate than others and should be treasured even that much more.

Friday, June 15, 2012

My Big News

NO, I AM NOT PREGNANT (I felt like I should lead with that)

This is some book news- well, sort of. I have been sitting on this news for well over a month, but I have been scared to say it out loud because I didn't want to jinx the opportunity away (yeah, I'm super spiritual like that)

For the last two years I have been taking baby steps in the way of writing an actual work of fiction. In exactly one month, I will be taking the biggest step yet- attending my first week-long Writer's Conference... New Mexico.

Many have asked me if this is my ebook- NO! My ebook was put together as a way for me to say goodbye to the phase in my life where I erroneously thought Down syndrome was the worst thing that could happen to a person. I compiled my thoughts from the journey with the hope that by sharing them I could help someone else in the same place because it is not easy.

The ebook is NOT an official memoir. It is simply an expression that I needed to make in a therapeutic way.

Because of the growth I have made in the last year in writing style, the editing help I've received, and agent meetings coming up- the ebook will only be available for another month. July 15th I will be removing it from Amazon with hopes that someday I can go back to it and make it into an official memoir. But I'm not there yet, so it's going to sit silent while I work on the next stage of my novel.

To sum up? NOVEL and EBOOK - two separate things.

My big news pertains to the NOVEL.

This blog has definitely been getting my second best the last month or so while I revise my book in preparation for the conference. I spend hours every day shaping characters and scenes and plot lines. By the time I'm able to post here, I'm afraid my words stumble more than usual. But I'm not going anywhere. I promise.

I'm beyond excited about my opportunity in New Mexico to learn more about writing as well as to do a bit of in person agent shopping. And yet- I'm terrified. I'm afraid to hope and dream, and yet I've worked so hard to get to this point that I can't do anything else.

Many times over the past two years I've wanted to quit and focus only on my full time career of mothering. And yet each time something happened to nudge me forward to that next baby step- giving me the opportunity to both mother and write. I am beyond thankful.

Also, I can't tell you how many times I have thought about shutting down this blog and enjoying my children's pictures and stories a bit more privately. But because my book work was progressing, I felt that my blog work needed to continue as well in order to build an audience that would make my book publishable.

So I am still here. And I still have a lot to say.

Because of the agent/publisher side of things, I will probably be doing some promotional giveaway/competition sort of things in the next months. And if you were to share a post here and there? I would no doubt love you forever. Self-promotion sounds like an ugly thing, and yet it's the thing to get you to the place where your words make a difference. The novel that I have written is on the topic of life worth, deserving love, perfection and disability. So yes, I am working my fingers into a daily cramp with the hopes of getting this mama's perspective into the right hands via this novel.

And if you read this blog regularly but don't follow? Now would be an awesome time for you to do that. Hint: if you are a fb follower, you get sneak peeks of awesome pictures.
like this one:
And if you have an aunt or a grandma or a best friend or an online acquaintance or a pet gorilla or ANYBODY who isn't a follower- I would also love you forever if you suggested they head over this way to show a bit of follow love. (See, I never do this because I HATE IT....but faith in the difference my book could make is enough to stick my neck here I am)

I would love whatever you can spare as far as good thoughts, prayers for concentration ability (as I have a lot of revision work left to do on my manuscript between now and then), and well wishes on making the right connections once I arrive at the conference (July 15).

Falling off this cliff is frightening and there isn't a trampoline at the bottom to catch me like there is in the cartoons. What's with that????

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Mom-mobile


That could mean a million different things.

Some interpret it as any car that is safe. Some say it's any car with four doors to easily to get the babies buckled into their backseat thrones. Some just want something that is reliable and will get up and zoom when you turn the key of magic.

Some immediately jump to the concept of a mini van with seats for many kids, a dvd player, room to store snacks and gear, and an extra set of arms that does whatever you need.

I am not such a person.  If you are a mini van person- great. There is nothing wrong with a mini van. I especially understand that with a certain number of children your options are limited (and no doubt eventually I will get there too, just not now) Truth be told, I am not a good enough driver to immediately upgrade to something as large as a mini van...we'll just leave it at that. ahem

With two kids, I wanted something

-with more room to haul strollers and such (but small enough for me to be able to drive comfortably)
-higher off the ground so I didn't have to bend over so far to get the kids into their car seats (the curse of being tall)
-a little bit newer than what I had (because everything was starting to fail, and to me that screamed unreliable)

Let's put it this way, in the car that I was driving- when I went to the grocery store, I had to carry groceries on my lap to get the kids plus the food home (because with two babies, you ALWAYS need a stroller in the trunk just in case you have to get out and walk somewhere and if you put the bags between the two carseats, someone IS going to eat a plastic bag). Also the exhaust kept going out. The other day I passed by a group of 10 motorcyclists, and my car was louder. Oh, and I also got pulled over once (when the exhaust was out again) BECAUSE of my car's misfit vibe (well sort of)

A mom-mobile was due.

Now, in the (almost) 6 years that we've been married, we've paid for 2 graduate level degrees, a move across the country, a house, and a baby with very expensive medical needs. (as well as taken a small part-time business into a full time our-only-income).

A car was very much last on our list as long as it kept running.

So you can imagine my delight when this past week we upgraded from this: (I'm deliberately not posting pics of the bumper. trust me, it's embarrassing.)
to this:
 kid approved.
(It's a Chevy Equinox)
At first I felt silly posting about this because it made me feel like a 16 year old girl. But then I realized it wouldn't be true to myself or my claim to honest posting to NOT say something.

I'm pretty excited.

It's amazing how much more fun it is to take two babies places when it's EASIER to load up all their gear and settle in for a more comfortable ride- thus the babies are happy and quiet. Plus I feel more myself in my "dream car" rather than frustrated with the same car that I bought in college and drove into the ground with many, many many many many adventures. One level of my stress lifts every time I slide behind the wheel of that bad boy. (Should I name him???)

I have a feeling that with my new ability to get out with the kids, some of the stir crazy that I've been posting about will turn to posts about exciting outings and such. (I hope!)

To the old car: It's been real. Thank you for many, many good years of faithful service.

To Morrisville Used Auto: You completely rock. Thank you for the awesome new vehicle that is my new best friend favorite car.

To the new car: Let's be friends.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Contestant Who Is Blind

Is anyone else watching Master Chef?

American Idol for amateur chefs- it is one of the few reality TV shows that I follow.

Last night I finally had a chance to watch the first episode on Hulu where one hundred contestants have a chance to impress the judges with ONE dish. I love to cook, and while I am definitely not the calibre of Master Chef, it is amazing to watch those who truly are passionate about cooking and are sacrificing everything to pursue their dream.

The three judges on this show are world famous experts, so it only makes sense that they are extremely harsh in their criticisms. It only makes sense that they lady who made fried frog legs covered in some sort of beige gravy be told that her dish is the worst dish they have ever seen on the show.

They mince no words. They serve their opinion exactly how it is even though at times perhaps their words could use a dash of kindness. (like what I did there? hehe)

So last night when the very last contestant was operating entirely without the use of her eyes, I was floored.

They accepted a contestant who is blind.

I am torn about this.

In one sense, I think it is awesome that they are showcasing how a disability doesn't hold you back; how you can still pursue your dreams right along side those who aren't fighting against such obvious struggles. (Even though I wonder if they put her in just to say that their show is disability friendly. Is this a marketing strategy?)

But then I thought about how much longer it takes her to finish simple tasks because she is down one sense. Is it fair to hold her to the same time constraints? Is it fair to yell at her in the same way they do the other contestants when her dish isn't perfect? (she's still doing it far better than I ever could.)

Should she be given special accommodations? Should she be allowed to compete on the same level as the other contestants when her disability might very well get her disqualified because she can't work fast enough? Pretty much every level of the competition is timed.

In school, such a student would be given extra time to complete tests- be given extra accommodations to insure success. But this is real life. Success doesn't come in a neatly wrapped package of extra help, individualized and fought over by a team of teachers. Especially on a competitive TV show. It's cook eat cook in a rather unsupportive environment.

I am torn.

I am excited that she is on the show, being given a chance to fight for her dream.

But I am terrified of how they're going to treat her because they are famous for their insensitive judgments and throwing dishes straight in the trash screaming how horrible it is while the contestant stands trembling in front of them.

I cried when she was accepted after they tasted her awesome cooking because I was so proud of her success. I'm sure I will BAWL if she's disqualified because she couldn't finish the mystery box challenge in 90 minutes because it took her too long just to figure out what was under the box and then where to find the extra ingredients.

They are NOT nice about how they disqualify people. She is so brave to put herself out there like that.

To Joe she says

"I hear you give mean looks. It's a good thing I can't see them."

while he was tasting the dish she prepared.

I guess I keep thinking of Addison and how I would want her treated in such a situation. I know that the disability of blindness is different than a mental disability. But part of me just wants to wrap her in a giant hug and not allow her to get hurt even though the very definition of "putting yourself out there" means that you will probably get hurt.

So yes, I am torn. I will be watching with great anticipation to see how she is treated on this show.

I am prepared to cry great tears of sorrow if they are jerks to her.

I hope not.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

confess the truth

Social media makes it really easy to lie.

To make our lives look perfect when our status or pictures are really just reflecting a split second before the madness takes over.

It's easy to crop out the mess behind you in pictures. It's easy to take the ONE smiling kids picture out of the two hundred the you took and pretend that toddler-screaming-contest picnic was all sunshine and rainbows. It's easy to spin stories to make your life sound awesome when you're wondering how you're going to make it through another day.

In honor of trying to keep it real and completely honest, I am posting the following picture.

I have been working very hard on Jillian Michaels 30 shred and was thinking about doing a post about my hard work and snarky comments about her snarky comments blah blah blah.

But instead of a total lie and fake "I have it all together" post, I present to you post-work-out me without cropping out what's really going on at my house (and yes, Carter did plant a little blessing on my tank top seconds after my workout was finished):
Oh, and it's not focused because the auto focus is acting up and I haven't had time to take it somewhere.

In all honesty I am really stressed about some stuff lately and I do the exercise to keep my mind from exploding, not because I'm any type of exercising super woman.

In all honesty I wonder how I am going to make it through this summer.

In all honesty I wonder how I'm going to make it through what I need to get done today.

In all honesty I am incredibly lonely because my two best friends recently moved to Seattle and South Carolina and I am going out of my mind without having them here.

In all honesty I blog because working out my emotions into words takes the weight off of me, but after I publish it I stress because it doesn't sound like it was written by someone who wants to be a published author.

In all honesty, I promote my blog because I am meeting with an agent in a month and need to say X number of people read my blog even when it seems so shallow and silly to try to get more "followers" when I'm clearly not putting on the best show around here. I mean there are some awesome blogs out there....

I think we all try so hard to appear perfect that someones we forget to just be ourselves, reveling in the hard times as well as the good times because there's something to be learned both places. Why are we pretending? What's the point? The people who matter most already know the truth anyway....

This a real person writing this blog who is trying to work off the huge weight gain from two pregnancies. She has throw up on her tank top and a messy house behind her with ants crawling over her tennis shoes.  The truth. (OK fine, the ants couldn't make it all the way over my shoes. The ants in my house aren't exactly over achievers)

Anyone have any confessions to share? If you feel brave enough to post a Truth picture on your blog, leave the link in a comment so we can check it out. 

Honesty can be liberating. Truly.

Monday, June 4, 2012

welcome to my crazy

Some of you wonderful mothers who I look up to and aspire to be like DO have children my kids' ages, so we're going through a lot of the same things....BUT a lot of you also have older kids. You know, human beings who talk to you?

I have complained to some of you about my dilemma, and I hear that the repetitive questions "why why WHY" get very old and that sometimes you long for the days of silence back again. I realize that there are new challenges in that next phase when you have offspring who actually verbalize their thoughts and opinions to you.

But right now, I spend my days with two human complete SILENCE except for occasional "DOG!" and "MEME!" and smacks on the palm from "CHOCOLATE" being signed so vigorously.

And honestly, sometimes the silence makes me go a little bit CRAZY. OK, not a little bit at all. A LOT crazy.

A girl's gotta do what keeps her sane, so sometimes I deliberately shake things up.

Sometimes I read books in a super thick southern accent that sounds a little bit Jamaican. (usually for the 2nd or 3rd reading...Addison LOVES book time.)

Sometimes I play dead in the middle of the floor to see what they'll do. Will they fling themselves out the front door screaming for help? Will they cry great tears of anguish? Usually Addison climbs on my stomach and signs "horse" while giggling.

Sometimes I take a word out of the (one sided) conversation and howl it over and over again like I am a wild animal until my throat gets sore and I feel that it's time to go make another pot of coffee.

Sometimes I spend hours speaking only in rap (utilizing the word "Mommy", of course). And when I run out of original material, Dr. Seuss books make fabulous raps. This white momma may not have the moves....but she has rhythm. Well, enough to dissolve two certain children into piles of laughter anyway. (this falls under the category of things I WILL NEVER DO IN PUBLIC)

Sometimes I make up fake conversations out loud while feeding them.

"And Carter here are some carrots for you."
"FOR ME??? You shouldn't have. You're the best mommy EVER."
"I try."
"No seriously, the best."
"Stop it, Carter. I'm blushing."
"Well excellence like yours should be acknowledged. I love you. And I'll never leave you."
"I knew you wouldn't. I look forward to growing old with you here to take care of me."
"Anything for my mommy. Have I told you how skinny you're looking lately?"

Usually while I'm narrating, he stares at me with wide blue eyes with a hint of a smile. I'm sure the words that I put in his mouth are exactly what he meant to say.

Sometimes we do long and wild dances around the living room to Glee selections on Disney Pandora while singing lustily along and pretending that we know the words. Addison especially loves to be dipped so low that she thinks that she's going to fall headfirst onto the floor. Carter is a more conservative dancer preferring to have his head upright at all times.

Sometimes I strip both kids down, give them each a wet sponge and place them at their picnic table. While they happily scrub away hardened bits of yogurt I put my feet up and pretend that I'm giving instructions to an invisible housekeeper. This lasts as long as it takes one of the kids to start eating the usually about 23 seconds. I've learned to pretend fast.

I take my job teaching two little people that CRAZY=NORMAL very seriously, and this particular version of crazy helps fill the long silences. I plan to continue until I hear some verbalized complaints (hehe).

No doubt those will be Carter's first words

"crazy mommy. stop."

said in his own version of a rap with a touch of a southern accent....of course.

Friday, June 1, 2012