Oh, Turkey Day

So I’ve said on several occasions I adore my friends.

Thanksgiving is a legit day off for me – like, I’m not dipping into my vacation bank, I’m not working from home, I’m not banging in sick, legit. So I was hoping to sleep in.

Starting at 7am my phones rocking with Happy Thanksgiving texts.

Shouldn’t complain, right? It’s endearing that my friends text me in general, more so on the holidays. Especially when I’d rather stay home and eat paste then drive from house to house today.

But c’mon kids. At least give me till 8! Sigh.

What Fresh Hell is This?

Oh. Thanksgiving Week.

First of all, let me just start off by saying that I don’t need a holiday to remind me how lucky I am.  Good family, good job, my sheer brilliance and extraordinary good looks, my humility, great tolerance for the ole sauce, ya know (blah blah blah). 

I DO, however, need a federal holiday to get the day off, so I’ll take it.

As usual, though, the week before Thanksgiving, the shakes start to set in. 

Not the “yay-I-can’t-wait-to-see-my-family-eat-a-lot-of-turkey-and-have-a-great-time” shakes or the “man-i-was-out-late-last-night-and-need-a-bloody-mary” shakes, but the “Jesus-H-Christ-Thanksgiving-is-already-here-I-haven’t-had-a-chance-to-get-a-therapist-up-to-date-of-the-bag-of-crazy-my-family-is” shakes.

Aside from the Gates of Hell opening and Lucifer‘s dog snapping at my heels, another tell tale sign the holidays are approaching is the litttttttle extra touch of neurosis in the conversations I have with my dear Mother, and the littttttttttttle extra grin on my friends face’s when they ask me what I’m doing for the holiday.

Please, don’t get me wrong – I love my family.  And I love spending time with them, but there’s a limit.  There’s only so long I can smile at my extended family before it starts to crack.  In the recent years, there has been some tension between a few family members.  You’d almost think my family was Protestant the way they avoid conflict, so its simply been festering.

This year, is different though.  I’m mandated to go to Second Thanksgiving (yes, I’m being forced, against my will, to eat a second meal, and nope, we’re not Greek, just annoying), but I got the green light from Poppa Bear to behave as I see fit.  I quote:

As far as expressing ourselves and saying what we feel, I see no reason not to espouse your feelings when given the opportunity.

and

So if you feel the need to tell them, please do, whether you filter it or not is up to you.  I personally believe it would not be a bad thing to do, especially  if you feel it would “clear some things up”

And if I don’t follow this advice, he told me to:

lighten up a little – Or Not, Soak a Tampon in Vodka, Insert and Enjoy

(honest to God, this is an excerpt from an actual email my pops sent me this morning. including that last bit)

The way I’m interpreting that is “say whatever you want, you’ll put on a show for us”

Let the games begin!  Perhaps this holiday season will be fun after all.  I mean, I wasn’t planning on boozing this week, but I kind of feel like it is in order.  If anyone would like to volunteer to DD for me, so I can REALLY put it out there, HMU.

By the way, this was my response to my dad:

If the opportunity arises, you can rest assure I’ll be able to convey my feelings towards them and the situation they’ve created as coherently and intelligently as possible, and I’ll try not to use the 25 cent words so they can all follow along as best they can.

Told you I was brilliant.

you can pick your nose

But you can’t pick your family!

Ain’t that the truth.

I got pretty lucky, in the family lottery though. My parents are the elite, my sister and I are close, and I’ve got some cute friggin nephews.

And I’m not just saying that because we’re blood – they’re friggin cute. I’d put pictures up but you creeps might try to steal them, then I’d have to put a boot in everyone’s a$$ – it just wouldn’t end well.

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to diplomatically write about the rift in my extended family without offending anyone or disregarding other people’s point of view, but I think that might be almost impossible. Especially because when you see things one way, it’s nearly impossible to see another person’s point of view. It makes it increasingly difficult to know what’s on someone’s mind when they ignore the proverbial “Elephant in the Room”, and doesn’t talk about their “issues”.

In a nutshell, I don’t like a member of my extended family. Rather than just leaving it alone, other members of my family pressed the issue so much the dislike turned into venom. After that, existing grievances came to light, etc, etc, etc.

In my experience, you have to love your family – but you don’t have to like them. And when you take a “Type A” personality like mine, and try to force me to do something….you’re basically shutting the valve to any reasoning.

If the situation simply stayed between me and the actual parties, there wouldn’t be so much of a problem. God Forbid adults act like adults – that’s just crazy talk (again, I’m not saying I’m the most mature person in the world, but sometimes enough is enough).

Instead, it has festered and gotten bigger, to a point where the only thing I can equate it to is a big, disgusting boil that grows and grows. And you touch it. You know you’re not supposed to, but you do.

One day that boil is going to blow the f-ck up. And who’s going to get covered in the vile pus when it does?

Everyone.

The thing about words is, you can’t take them back. Once I say something mean, even if I apologize – I still said it. And you’re going to remember the day I called you a mean name, or said your dog was ugly or something. Things said out of anger are said with the intention of hurting someone, even if we don’t want to admit that, and the nicest people are cruel when pushed enough.

With family, you know the insecurities that your relatives have. And you know how to hurt them. My father and I have the uncanny ability to see someone’s vulnerability shortly after meeting them, so imagine what years of research can do.

Hopefully no one says or does anything they regret, there’s nothing more tragic than not telling someone you love them, even if they’re being a d!ck, and then not having the opportunity to do so.

My mom said to me the other day that there’s no way I can judge or draw a conclusion on someone else’s relationship because I’m not in the mix (ok, she didn’t say “in the mix”, she’s a little more eloquent than that), I can just draw an opinion. And opinions are like a$$holes, right? We’ve all got one, most stink, yaddi yaddi yada.

Eff that. I’m right. Everyone else is wrong. And if they disagree, they can pound sand (I LOVE that expression. Pound sand. Hilarious)

Life can kick you in the nuts

When you don’t expect it – sort of like a toddler. In the two months since my father passed, I’ve been sad a lot – and I’ve felt terrible for my mother, a lot, but this last week in particular has been harder than usual. I’m not sure why, but i can only assume it’s because Valentine’s Day just passed and it was a hard reminder that my Dad isn’t here.

Even if we hadn’t spoken for a few days, every holiday (hallmark or not) I’d get a message from my Dad. They used to be something like “Hey Shithead (endearing in a way you could only understand if you really knew my father) Happy Valentines Day” to “Happy Valentines Day my love” the last few years. I remember a couple years ago I was surprised by a delivery of chocolate covered strawberries on Valentine’s Day Dan nearly got credit for until i saw the card.

But that was my Dad – showing us he always loved us in a variety of ways.

On Tuesday, I started having a dream right before i woke up – it mirrored the last time I saw my Dad, and he grabbed my head with his bear claw arm, pulled me and and gave me a kiss on the top of my head saying “I love you little one”. Every day, this is what I’ve been falling asleep and waking up to. I can’t tell if it’s comforting or why it’s been hard to sleep all week (or if the 3 year old sleeping on my arm has anything to do with it 🥺).

It was nice yesterday, we took the day off for the most part and just did stuff together. Kind of helped reset the clock. Maybe this will be a better week, who knows. We’re far from #instaperfect but we’re definitely perfect together.

Grief is a four letter word

Ehh close enough. Loss is a four letter word, and it’s just as dirty.

A friend of mine shared a poignant post earlier today: “Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers at the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in the hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.” Jamie Anderson.

I don’t know Jamie Anderson but their words speak volumes.

It’s now the second week my father has been gone, and the loss hasn’t dulled. If anything, it’s heightened in the little things that are missing, such as the random email i would get saying “hey putz what dimensions do you want the bookshelf to be”? (Although in the later years he’s replaced putz with “my love” as he clearly softened with age); or the comments on my photos “so chubby i luv it”; or the text with picture of weird animals he had caught in the yard to be released in the preserve, that i don’t get anymore. It’s heightened when something he would appreciate happens that i can’t tell him about – that love, with no place to go.

There are other outlets for it though. Since my mother has unblocked my phone on her cell (accidentally, something my father would appreciate tremendously) SHE is the recipient of these texts. My poor husband catches it even more, and i squeeze the crap out of my babies – but it doesn’t dull or remove the pain that’s ever present.

We lost another family member this last week. My fathers best friend, Sweetie, passed away. I’m sure the two of them are raising hell in Heaven, smoking doobs (we all knew, Dad) as they are watching over us. There’s little comfort in that too, but maybe one day we’ll feel it.

It’s almost been a week

Since my father passed away. It was abrupt. It came out of left field. We didn’t see it coming, and quite frankly it still doesn’t seem real. My heart aches because he was a good man, and he had so much left to offer. My heart aches for my mother, she should be able to spend the rest of her life with the man she has loved since she was 16. My heart aches because my kids won’t experience the joy he felt when he saw them. Jacob is too young and the memory’s Dalton has of grandpa tickling him and fishing are sure to fade.

I know my father knew i loved him, but i can’t remember the last time i specifically told him. He surprised me when he came by with my mother a few weeks ago, and she was able to take some great pictures of him with the baby but i used the time to clean up and work, not catch up and talk. He would always comment and like on the photos i posted of my boys in our shared albums – and I’ll miss that. Knowing he was always there, peering into our daily lives.

My father was a good man. He was loyal, caring, and he left his mark on the world and anyone who was lucky enough to meet him. His laughter was loud, his wit was fierce. He taught me how to be strong. He was blessed with two daughters, and he raised us to not see any differences in what we can do versus what men can do. He was smart, sarcastic, and on occasion, serious. We always had to warn people when they first met him “he’s big, and he’s kind of scary, but don’t worry”

Don’t worry – his bark is worse than his bite. Don’t worry – he’s just testing you. He was checking to see if you had the mental fortitude to become one of his people; and if you did, you were in for life.

My dad was thoughtful. He took the films from when my mother and him got married and turned them into a beautiful album, giving it to her as an anniversary gift a few years ago. Scrolling through you can see the care he put towards choosing the pictures he felt best portrayed the tremendous love he felt for her.

My dad would refer to his best friend as Sweetie (John callee him Snookums). He made sure my mother knew he loved her every single day. When my husband asked him if he could marry me, my father said “you sure? She’s a real pain in the ass”. If he joked with you, he loved you.

He was the first person to meet Jacob, and waited outside with donuts until he barreled his way into L&D. He wouldn’t leave until he saw us. At the time i was sore, annoyed and exhausted. Looking back, i know he wanted to make sure we were okay.

He always wanted to make sure his family was okay.

The sadness we feel may lessen as time goes by, but it will never go away. We’ll see him in the little things we do every day, and miss him forever. I thought we had at least 20 more years.

If you take nothing away, remind the people you love how you feel. You never know when they may not be around. If the strongest man i knew could be taken; it just proves how fragile and fleeting life is. They may KNOW you love them, but you’ll take comfort in knowing you made sure.

❤ you always, Grand Boobar.

Biiiiiiiiiiiig……Bullies

Its no secret I love trashy television. I don’t know if it’s because some part of me thinks I would be the most interesting reality star, or because watching these people on television helps validate my life choices to not become one – either way, I love it.

I started watching Big Brother again, a friend watches it and the only thing I like more than reality television is discussing it afterwards.

This week of Big Brother really brought out the worst in these people. It was a quintessential display of pack mentality and bullying at its finest. Let’s do a rundown:

Josh – guy, are you kidding me? You could not be more textbook “previously-picked-on-trying-to-be-a-“cool kid”-so-I-will-do-anything-they-tell-me-so-they-like-me”. It’s embarrassing. Like, I’m embarrassed for you and your family. Aside from your goofy exterior, listening to you pick up the catch phrases of your ringleader hurts my ears. “Your boy n”….your boy is a fool. What’s sad about your situation is they ALL know you’re expendable, they ALL know they’re keeping you around as a vote and a distraction but you think they are your friends. I guarantee in a one on one situation you’d be trying to blow Cory and Jessica instead of hollering at them.  You are insufferable

Maven – stop trying so hard to be unique. When you bounce into the room and say “hiiii Julie” do you not realize you sound exactly like Nicole?  Well, you do. The cute little red buns and big shoes are just another desperate attempt to be an individual. If you really had a backbone you wouldn’t be explaining to Jessica and Cory that you are following the crowd behind closed doors then growing a pair of balls when in front of your group.

Mark – I have a feeling you used to be a fat kid and now you’re a meathead. I give you a lot of credit for being so physically strong, and that moment of weakness to explain how you used to be bullied was endearing – it didn’t seem so genuine with the forced tears – but you’re okay. You really do seem like a nice guy.

Paul. The ringleader. I cannot understand the influence you have on these people, but it’s really disappointing that it’s used to encourage such bullying. Harassing, yelling, causing constant discomfort…come on you guys. The only one that seemed uncomfortable with the behavior you were promoting was Matt and Marlena, but they’re both too weak to say anything.

I’m not sure if it’s just how CBS is portraying the people on the show, and I’m not going to spend money for the all access to watch them all the time – I mean,  I like reality tv but not THAT much. This week was just a really disappointing display of humanity. These guys were at their absolute worst, berating and attacking Jessica and Cory because they are clearly the disadvantaged players on the show. It seems like beating them down is Paul’s way of exerting power; and he’s using the members of the group to disengage and defeat the other two.

It would have been really enlightening to see Matt, Mark or Elena stand up for Jessica and Cory. It’s a shame none of them have any backbone. I also find it HILARIOUS that Josh likes to refer to Cory as a coward. Isn’t he a marine? While you’re off selling shampoo, tell us again how someone that served is a coward?  You’re disgusting.

I got sidetracked – my post was originally about big brother but really, I wanted to talk about bullying. It’s such a serious topic that people seem afraid to address, but it’s so prevelant in so many walks of life; and it’s hopeful that people can recognize the behavior in themselves and other people. Big brother is televising obvious and open bullying; and in these situations you would hope that someone would step up for the people being bullied. Josh bullied Megan so much she literally quit the show; and he’s taking that tactic again with these two. They refer to Jessica as a “mean girl” – I assume because she’s thin and pretty – but by ostracizing her they’re using isolation as an attempt to break her will to win.

Id like to say if I was in the situation where I saw this behavior occurring I would do the right thing. I can only hope we are able to teach our son that it isn’t enough NOT to bully people, but you also need to stick up for people WHEN they are being bullied. There is no such thing as an innocent bystander.

Right from the Tap

I didn’t even really think about the different feeding options when we found out we were having a kid.  I was going to breastfeed.  We made that decision because we think that’s the best thing for the baby (I saw we, but my husband – while pro breastfeeding – has said from the beginning we can do whatever I want.  He knows).  I have no opinion on what other mothers choose to do.  I’ve been BFing for the past 7 weeks, and intend to continue for as long as we can. I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t at least give it a shot, but that’s really none of my business (I digress).  The money saving factor didn’t even cross my mind.  It still hasn’t, really, since I have no idea what formula costs – it could be 100 dollars a can or 10 dollars a can, and I wouldn’t know the difference.  In retrospect, realizing we are saving money in that category makes me feel quite justified in the breast feeding support items I’m bought: nursing bras, shirts, nipple cream (its in every room of my house – not an exaggeration), pillows (ladies, the “My Brest Friend” pillow is a game changer), dresses, teas, supplements, cookies – whatever the hell I want.  If I’m going to be carting around a milk bar for the next 6-12 months, you can be damn well sure I’m going to be comfortable while doing it.

I do feel lucky that we are able to breastfeed, though.  I know a lot of people have trouble with it, or can’t actually breastfeed for physical or other reasons.  I think that’s a shame – if they wanted to BF.  If they didn’t want to, or are indifferent about it, that’s a whole separate post.  When I started reading about it, I thought “self, it won’t be that hard, whats all the fuss about?  Its natural!”  and while I didn’t think it would be a walk in the park, but I really didn’t know what to expect when it was time to latch on and get moving.

The first two weeks were NOT easy.  He wasn’t latching well, we were both exhausted and frustrated and he wasn’t gaining weight, so my husband and I were both stressed.  We were talking about pumping and trying a bottle, but I was concerned if he took a bottle he’d NEVER latch properly.  At this point, it would have been so easy to just say “eff this noise” and move onto formula.  Again – this isn’t a bad thing, its just not what I/We wanted to do, so we called a lactation consultant.  Three days and six ounces of weight gain later, she literally saved the day.  And the nipples.

I’m okay with the challenges, setbacks, and sacrifices.  Especially since it started getting easier – everyone said “it sucks in the beginning, but it will get easier!”.  Which is true.  So when we have those rough days, I had to keep reminding myself of that, because man, breastfeeding is work.  And sometimes its painful – like, if your kid isn’t latching properly.  Or if your kid thinks its party time and goes on and off and on and off and on and off the boob, but if you move him or put it away he gets pissed, or if you have a crack in your nipple because your kid didn’t latch properly, because he thought it was play time, and it takes a while to heal (among other things that can happen that I thankfully haven’t experienced – yet).  You also miss out on a lot of things, which is another thing I didn’t think of.  Since you made the decision to be the child’s source of nourishment, you have to be on call for a little drunk midget that occasionally wants to eat every single hour.  You have to prepare ahead of time, and start a stock pile of boob juice in the freezer, so if you want to get your hair cut or have lunch with friends, someone else can give the kid a bottle – and then you have to pump the first chance you get, so you’re not uncomfortable.

By making the decision to exclusively breastfeed (EBF, FYI), we determine what the sacrifices are, and we decide if they are worth the end result.  I’m not going to go through the benefits of BF, that’s all over the internet, so if you’re really interested google it.  Or email me.  If I wasn’t able to BF,  I’d most likely shoot for the pumping route.  Pumping while BFing isn’t the easiest thing, either – there are only so many times a day you can pump.  Between feeding the baby, and then either playing with him or putting him for a nap (aka, waiting for a diaper change and then wearing him, because that’s the easiest/best way he’ll sleep), its hard to get in a good pump…which means here we are, at 345 AM after a night nurse in a hands free pumping bra writing a blog.  Am I mad about that?  Nah, not at all.  Am I tired?   Hell yes!  But the days that are tough are only days, not weeks.  They may feel like an eternity at the time, but #thistooshallpass (I think that’s the new mom mantra?).  Is it easy staying awake to pump while you can hear your husband snoring in the room next to you?  Nah.  Do you want to smother him sometimes when he says he’s tired?  Of course.  Will you?  Nah, probably not.  Why not?

Because it is hard to remember is men don’t really know what goes into breastfeeding (especially when you’re exhausted).  Sure, they can watch, or try and get an idea, but they will never be able to fully understand.  We need to remember that when they say things like: “you seemed pretty cranky before”.  Before clubbing them with the bat you keep next to your bed, remind yourself that they’re most likely feeling helpless because they can’t feed the baby unless you make a bottle for them.  That has to be a difficult thing to do – because they want to help, and they want you to take a break, or get some sleep, but they don’t have the actual tools to do so.  Until science comes up with a way for men to lactate (PLEASE let this happen before our next child), they’re kind of stuck.  And then think of the look on your baby’s face when he’s had a nice, solid meal, plops his head down on your chest and falls asleep – because those moments make the entire journey worth it.  It gives you the opportunity to slow down, and hang out with your baby, sometimes alone (sometimes with with the cat.  Or your husband. Or whoever may be around when you’re nursing), because they aren’t going to be small enough to carry with one arm forever.

 

Crossfit and Child Rearing

The two things don’t seem like they have anything in common, right?

Wrong.

While they are both inherently different – unless you feel like comparing childbirth to the latest WOD (and I wouldn’t suggest doing that to anyone who has recently had a child, because they may tear your head off), there is a direct correlation between “experts” of each topic, and their need to be right.

What I mean is, when talking to someone about a topic on child rearing, if your opinion differs from theirs, you can be just as wrong as you when speaking to someone who does CrossFit and nothing else.  My sister tagged me in this cute little comic the other day that had a baby on it, and it said something like “lets forget the charade and just go to sleep in the same bed now”, making a sweet little gesture to the idea of co-sleeping.  Now, if you have a kid, I’m sure you have your own idea on co-sleeping.  In fact, you may feel very strongly about it.  And you may use your stance to pick online fights with other parents.

Curious how one small picture had so many long threads of comments, I started reading a few.  Rather than comment on the kids cute little curls, or the determined expression on their face, it was comments and comments and comments and comments about co-sleeping vs. non co-sleeping.  What struck me the most was the animosity – parents just fighting with each other over nonsense.  Parents that didn’t believe in co-sleeping would call the parents who did lazy because they didn’t want to have to get up to tend to their child in the middle of the night.  Parents who DID co-sleep would call the parents that didn’t heartless for leaving their little one alone.  No one seemed to have any respect for the other parent’s decision on how to raise their child.

This isn’t something that is only for co-sleeping, either – you see these arguments on breastfeeding vs. not breastfeeding (hey – lets just be glad the kids are eating, regardless of how they get their food, eh?). Cry it out vs. non crying, potty training, sleep training – regardless of what one person may think – there is always going to be someone else to tell them the opposite.  Whatever happened to listening to someone, noting their reason for raising their child however they choose to…and respecting that and moving on?  If I choose to co-sleep with my kid, telling me I’m a lazy mother isn’t going to give me some sort of surprise revelation on how wrong I am.

It reminded me of a conversation I had with a chic about a year ago.  We were in our office and I was carrying my gym bag, when she stopped me.  “Are you going to the gym?”.

Being that I was carrying a gym bag, I thought the answer to be fairly obvious, but this chic isn’t the brightest bulb in the bunch.  We started chatting.  “You really shouldn’t go to the gym, you should go to CrossFit. You know what that is, right?”

Well, I’ve been working out for about 15 years and I’m married to a personal trainer.  But please, enlighten me on what CrossFit is.

“Its so much better than working out at a gym.  I don’t know how you even do that.  I wouldn’t even know where to begin at a gym.  They can make the workouts easier for you, you  know, if you can’t handle the weight they want you to use”

  1. That’s your opinion
  2. Its easy, I put on my sneakers, pick things up that are heavy and put them back down.  Then pick them up again.  Watch a planet fitness commercial, that will clear it up for you
  3. Start at the front door, make your way in.  If you can’t find the front door, remove your head from your behind and try again.
  4. Don’t make me squat you in the middle of this office, ding bat.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some rather controversial conversations to read on FaceBook pertaining to sneaker wearing.  With or without socks.  This is going to be intense.

Babies are A-Holes

And I feel like people already knew this, and didn’t tell you when you were thinking about having a kid.  All these moms I’m friends with (including my own) must have this secret pact not to let you, the prospective mother know so you can go through exactly what they did.

If there are babies out there that don’t have meltdowns, or don’t spend at least one day in the first two weeks incessantly crying for 30 hours straight, I’d like to meet these kids.  They probably belong to those mothers who are doing burpees two days after giving birth and breastfeeding with no hands, while flipping pancakes and wearing one of those 1950’s dresses, donning a full face of makeup and perfectly coiffed hair.  To all of them, I say: beat it.  We don’t have time for that in my house.

In my house, we have a little baby who had gas the other day.  And since neither of us know what the signs are, or how to treat it – this little guy was a miserable little ball of crying and discomfort for a day and a half.  Once we figured out what was wrong with him, and treated it – it was back to being my sweet little baby.

Jekyll and Hyde man, Jekyll and Hyde.  If you were to walk past our house, you may think we were engaging in some form of torture.  Nope, crying newborn!  Yesterday he was a little overstimulated and didn’t nap enough….cue the crying newborn!  The day before that?  I think the dog looked at him funny.  Crying newborn!

So to everyone out there who knew I was going to have a little maniac on my hands, and didn’t tell me before we made him….thank you.  Because now that he’s here, we sure realize that he’s an a-hole, but he’s ours.

And we wouldn’t change it.

But I would love a straight eight hours of sleep.  After a spa day and a nice steak dinner, with a bottle of wine.  I see that in our future.  In about a year.