Category Archives: Holiday

New Years Non-Resolutions

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Yeah, I know the New Years Resolution Bus has passed.  However, due to the fact that my Christmas Cards invariably hit the ground running about mid-January, I decided to claim end of the year procrastination as a “tradition” and forge ahead.  Besides I was occupied between Christmas and New Years combating a bunch of kids for a patch of mountain on which to ride my board (hey, I only took out a few…that I know of) -man-made snow, quite the hot commodity.

Anyway, I will make this easy.  I do NOT make New Years Resolutions.  Not since, after occupying Los Angeles for 10 years, I Resolved to give up using the F bomb – which has led me to a lifelong, frustrating and futile search for its replacement equal.

Therefore, here are my 6 New Years NON-Resolutions:

I will NOT drink more water.  Let’s face it, at a certain age the Pee Pee dance is no longer cute and becomes potentially hazardous. (If you are not getting a mental picture here, just give it a few years).

I WILL add to my embarrassingly large, spilling out of the closet, “yes, honey, I swear I got that for a good price” denim collection. However, as an attached rider, I renew my vow to shun all things bearing the name “Jegging” and I will pass on the new “Ass-Cam” now being installed in select designer denim fitting rooms.

I WILL eat sugar in my coffee, in my soda, in my desserts, in my snacks; Even if it means the possible acquisition of a JLo Butt (wait, maybe I should re-think that Ass-Cam…?).  “I’ll have boobs to go with that butt please.”

I will NOT give up the right to throw things when the situation demands.  For example, kids’ shoes I have tripped over a cajillion times, malfunctioning machines (full confession coming soon), cat that lies right in the middle of the room (jk – of course I would not throw my cat…she’s too fat.)

I WILL cook way more pasta then anyone wants to eat.  Furthermore, I WILL, in a fit of thinking I am the next Pioneer Woman, mangle some poor unsuspecting piece of beef, force my family to eat it, and expect them to give me praise.
Lastly, I WILL, in my totally un-cool Soccer Mom van, peel out when local teens make fun, bump into curbs, back into low concrete walls and drive over the grass on the side of our new driveway that hubby is desperately trying to grow.  Because, well, that’s how I roll.

Happy 2012.  May all of your New Years Non-Resolutions be a success!

When All Else Fails…Cry

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What is worse than baby screaming lungs out on airplane?  Being the parent of baby screaming lungs out on airplane.  Wait, no, it wasn’t me. I mean, aside from the possible ramifications of confiscating ipods that could produce hysteria to rival any 6 month old, my kids at 10 and 12 after much experience, have grown into seasoned travelers.

No, on my recent trip, the unlucky parents of 6 month old travel baby happened to be sitting across the aisle from me. Clearly, the parents were newbies to the joys of Airplane Travel with Baby. How do I know this?  Well, when baby began to holler like a horror movie scream queen not long into the 3 1/2 hour flight, the look of terror in the parents eyes told all.  They began to all but dumpster dive into their “appropriately” sized bag for items of distraction:  teething toy, bottle, cuddlys, electronics,  Mom boob (ok, well, that was not in the bag) – all to no avail.

And as their desperation rose, I began to feel anxious for them. I wanted to share with them some of my experiences.  Comfort them so they would know it was fairly unlikely the flight attendant was on her way to escort them to seats on the wing, designated for disturbers of the peace. To assure them they were not alone.

For example, the first time I flew with my, then 4 month old, son, and he screamed all the way to the coast, body stretched in ridged stress, like stick man shrieking out his dying breath. I was sure I was headed to that seat in the wing (at least I hoped anyway).

Or, the time my, then 18 month old, son decided everyone sitting behind us (which was basically the entire plane) was fascinating and proceeded to over and over again force his way off my lap into the coveted standing position in order to socialize over the seat. Which honestly, I could have handled had it not been for the unsympathetic flight attendant who continually demanded I restrain him to sit on my lap (right!). Finally in exasperation I suggested that if she had any constructive ideas as to how to accomplish this, I was very open to suggestions.  She had none to offer, but I swear I saw a flash of something involving ropes, a gag, and horse sized sleeping pill flash across her face.  We did not get our Chocolate Chip cookies that time.

And then there was the time when, due to overbooking, we were all seated individually – scattered throughout the plane.  After gallant efforts by desk attendant, we were finally told we would have to board, sit in scattered seats, and see what could be done.  There we were, on the plane, standing ambiguously in the aisle when it suddenly dawned on my, then 5 year old, son the grim possibilities of having to sit next to a stranger (AKA: one who must be an undesirable ‘cause I don’t know you and might smell funny).  No sooner was this realization reached did big fat tears began to roll down his face accompanied by soft puppy like whimpers.  In an instant, the plane was filled with Jack-in-the-Boxes on crack as people popped up in order to give us seats together and rescue traumatized child. Thus, the birth of travel motto:  When all else fails, Cry.

I wanted to warn them against attempting to change a diaper in the plane bathroom; to tell them to never allow accidental upgrade to first class when travelling with a lap baby; to advise them to always bring an “inappropriately” sized bag for that unexpected 7 hour delay; to always know where the barf bag is; and to inform them that when their child begins to read, explain that “cocktail” on the plane menu is NOT Shrimp Cocktail to be ordered from Flight Attendant during beverage service.

I wanted them to know that not every flight attendant will treat you like Rosemary and her baby, and some will even be kind.

But, in the end, at the flight’s conclusion, I just gave them thumbs up, told them they did a good job and promised it would get better.

Judging by the not-as-defeated smile the Mom gave me, and the I-needed-to-hear-that look the Dad imparted (don’t you know he was contemplating their possible 17 ½ year ban from flying), I am thinking…It was enough.

For more Sweet Spot Travels: Go Here!

I Am Thankful for Bad Spelling

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Yesterday, I had an epiphany – a revelation.  You know, one of those moments when everything becomes clear.  The Catalyst?   – My Grocery List.

Now, I recognize that having an epiphany over a grocery list is not, well, the norm.  But, in the moment I looked at my list that day while standing in front of the grocery store, I happened to be thinking about my son’s struggle at school with the neatness of his work.  And, when I looked down at my confusing, messy, helter-skelter list, it suddenly dawned on me – Genetics can be so very cruel.

The thought instantly led me to begin a mental check list through all the ways in which Mother Nature had potentially failed my sons.

I thought about:

Every time one of my sons comes home, yet again, lacking the needed details that were clearly discussed but not absorbed by him, and I can hear my successive childhood “I don’t know”s to my Mom in her quest to discover times, details or specifics.

Every time my son struggles with spelling and I have to run for the spelling dictionary I was sent off to college with oh so many years ago.

Every time one of them finds themselves separated from classmates due to excessive in-class socializing and I get a mental flashback of the solitary desk in the corner where I spent a good part of the 6th grade.

Every time their obsessive love for a particular activity keeps me on permanent chauffer status and I realize how well and for how long my own Mom had to wear that hat.

And as all of these things quickly ran through my mind, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of…Thankfulness.

Yes, thankfulness.  Because, as I stood there, poised at the automatic glass doors, grinning like a dork in front of the Boy Scouts and  the all too premature ringing Santa, I felt:

Thankful for all the imperfections I have shared with them.

Thankful for all the struggles I get to go through with them.

Thankful that no-one else in the world is quite like them.

Thankful because the proof that they are part of me is never so apparent as in our shared imperfections.

Thankful that they are wonderfully, beautifully, magnificently,  perfect…in every single way.

Happy Thanksgiving

Come Home Proud

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Tomorrow’s Veterans.

Recently, I was given the privilege of showing my appreciation to the Men and Women serving our country overseas.  This honor was made possible by my young cousin Megan as she compiled letters of thanks to send to her fiance marine, Jared, and his Brothers in Arms – spending the holidays far from home on a final tour in Afghanistan.

To recognize all on this day, Veterans of the past, present and future, I wanted to share my letter.

Dear Jared and Brothers,

My day today was typical, uneventful – routine even.

I woke up, took a shower, made breakfast, forgot to make lunches, sent my boys off to school, went to work, drove to the store, left my grocery bags in the car, watched my son ride his bike around the block, went to the post office and bank, helped with homework, took out trash, wished husband was taking out trash, drove kids to soccer practice, waited, talked on the phone, cooked dinner, watched the Cardinals get beat by the Rangers…again, read my book, prepared for the next day…

But, here’s the thing.  Today was also the most extraordinary and amazing day ever. Today, I got to do all those things feeling safe, protected and free.  Today, I got to enjoy all those mundane, wonderful things because;

There is nothing typical about your dedication to my protection.

There is nothing uneventful about the personal risk you take to secure my safety.

There is nothing routine about the distance you have to spend away from your loved ones so that I can watch my son freely ride his bike around the block.

Not even by a long shot.

So in these closing moments of my typical, uneventful – routine even day, let me say thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for every moment of your phenomenal day that enables me to rejoice in my typical day.  It means more to me than you can ever know.

Come home soon.

Come home safe.

Come home proud.

Love,

Paula

To Spider With Love

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Dear Spider,

I know  today’s holiday – Halloween – is your shining moment.  Nonetheless, I find it necessary, in light of recent events (I think you know of what I speak, spider who dangled in front of my face when I opened the front door!), to take this time to review our long-standing contract.

As you may recall:

You, may spin your lair-ish web, creep your skulking crawl, vibe your eerie vibe, trap your unsuspecting prey, and basically do your whole spider thing. And I, promise to leave you alone, free and unfettered, turn a blind eye, mind my own business.  That is, of course, under the condition that you carry out all said activities in the great out-of-doors.  However, the minute you bring your wily ways into my house, garage, car, on my person or anywhere within my personal space, I reserve the right to squash you, vacuum you up, sick the dog on you, beat you with a broom, and/or spray you with Windex/perfume/anything handy that sprays.

Now I know we had a brief respite from this arrangement in the wake of my 10 year old obsession with the book, Charlotte’s Web.  But, that was a long, long, looong time ago and it has been business as usual ever since that passed phase. I wish I could say there would be a return to that kinder, gentler time, but I fear it is not to be.

So you see, I am reminding you of the arrangement for your own good.  I feel we must maintain the observance of these rules in order to peacefully co-exist.

Thank you for your understanding in this matter.

Oh, and Happy Halloween

Sincerely Yours,

Paula

P.S. I feel obligated to add:  In the event of PMS or sudden attack of ‘creeped-outedness’, this agreement is null and void. In other words – run scurry for your life.