Jalapenos In My Pants

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I’m trying to organize my life, but it isn’t working because apparently I don’t have that skill set.

I can organize other things. Work things. School things. My pantry. But life things… not so much.

I’m like an idiot savant. (I’m not even kidding.)

Take for example my phone. I have no idea where it is right now and honestly I’m not too worried about it communication wise. I’m just concerned about the pictures on it that I wanted to use for this blog post so that I could pretend like I’m one of those bloggers that actually has their shit together enough to make you hate me a little. When in reality I’m just planning on using those pictures to distract you from my short comings (if that’s what they are) by wowing you with photos of my amazing garden because that is something I used to suck at but have some how mastered this year.

I shouldn’t have told you my scheme because it turns out my phone wasn’t really needed since I had already posted those pictures on facebook. I had posted them on facebook so that I could show everyone what a wonderful mother I am. You know, watering my garden, playing with bubbles, stuffing home grown jalapenos in my pants…

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It’s beautiful.

But don’t let it fool you. If you look in my house you will see that I have maxi pad “stickers” stuck to various pieces of furniture and a bedroom door that is locked from the inside with no one on the other side to unlock it.

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I’m not sweating it though because I have long mastered the art of jimmying every lock in the house open thanks to YouTube… and Penelope’s penchant for locking doors and then shutting them. (Thank you hoohoohoblin, you have been invaluable to me.)

I was so excited to spend time with my kids this summer but now I’m over it. Teens and Toddlers don’t mix. They’re driving me crazy and that might make me a shitty mom for actually saying it out loud. But you know… it is what it is.

On a daily basis I have to endure a mashup of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song and a Spotify Five Seconds of Summer Play list playing in the same room at the same time. All the while both of my kids are talking to me at the same time about two different things (Penelope: “I want milk! Mom, I want milk! Mom, Mom, Mommmmmy! I want milk!” Bridget: “Chemical Romance’s concert tickets are only fifty dollars… I want to get my nose pierced. Izzi said it would be cool…”

Then I will have to tell Penelope that no she can not stick her finger in the pencil sharpener while I pour her milk (too late… shit where are the bandaids?) and Bridget that no she can not wear those shorts to Izzi’s house (because they look like underwear) and both of my children will simultaneously let me know how displeased they are with me in their differing but equally annoying ways (Penelope: “Mommy I don’t like you. Go away.” Bridget: huffy-breathsullen-glance-eye-roll-silence).

I can’t take it anymore.

Honestly, I just want a moment to hang out with me. Just a moment. It could even be in the bathroom… pooping… without someone talking to me through the door crack.  Or maybe even just a conversation… talking in the mirror and enjoying how hilarious we are together, the reflection and I. We’ll ignore the sounds of my children as they waft under the door, toddler whining and teen whining so alike yet so different, and we’ll just spend some time together. Me and I looking into each others eyes and not at the blonde mustache that seems to gleam on my face now that I have a tan. ( I should really get that thing waxed.)

We’ll just. Be.

It’s my dream vacation.

Yet, at the same time I feel so guilty about it. I’m coming to terms with the fact that summer is almost over (teacher standards). I have to pay attention to emails again and plan lessons again and move classrooms again. And I’m really excited about it and yet I feel bad for welcoming it. I have less than a month left before I have to go back to work for good, and a stark realization has hit me…

I haven’t done any of that healthy stuff for me that I had planned on doing over the summer, aside from the occasional vagina killing class spin class, a few sessions of yoga and a salad. Instead, I got lost in the art of taking care of my kids.

Weight loss has not been a priority because honestly I didn’t want it to be. I didn’t want to commit to it. I wanted to just hang out with my kids. I was busy not having a schedule and committed to being non-committal. Then there was also that whole business of me not hating myself enough to create an urgent need for a whole “Overhaul Yourself” Campaign. Because let’s face it, those are usually triggered during times of self-loathing.

Unfortunately, this summer I’ve been pretty okay with myself. Don’t get me wrong, I am seriously flawed but I am TOTALLY okay with that… and that makes it really hard to find the motivation for any kind of self-growth.

I’m not sure that’s a good thing. In fact I’m pretty sure that’s arrested development.

I’m developmentally arrested due to my high self-esteem. 

What the hell does that even mean?  <—- (That’s not a rhetorical question.)

But I guess the time has come, before I know it another school year will be upon me and along with it other stresses. I needed to mentally get to a good place. I’ve done that and now it’s time to get there physically. That requires, organization… which also requires communication… which means, I might need to find my phone.

Where is that damn thing?

That leaves me with the ultimate debate…

Should I get up and look for my phone some more OR I should watch another episode of Girls because it’s too inappropriate to watch with kids around and I’ve finally found myself alone in the house during a time of the day that isn’t meant for sleeping?

You know what they say…

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Yeah, I know! I know that’s not what they meant… but I’ll take what I can get.

Get Your Toes Off Of My Nipple

“Get your toes off of my nipple.”

The weirdest phrase that has ever come out of my mouth… and I have motherhood to thank for it.

Over the weekend Penelope and I have been left completely alone. Bridget was out of town for a Girl Scout event and Brent was at work. This left Penelope and I to our own devices. Which included some much needed bonding since I’ve been working full time.

We snuggled and watched “tarcoons”. We painted pictures and made homemade macaroni and cheese…

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We played at the park.

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We fed the ducks.

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And we made eggnog play dough…

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(Here is a link to the Holiday-Scented Play Dough Recipes I used.)

Then things got weird.

Every where I turned her hazel eyes were trained on me.

When I peed- “What you doing?”

When I showered- “Oh I like your boobies!”

Then things started to escalate… at one point I was sucking on a peppermint when she asked, “What you eating? Can I see?”

I opened my mouth to show it to her which provided her the perfect opportunity to shove her chubby little fingers into my mouth where she retrieved the candy and popped it into her own mouth.

Then that strange moment when lines were crossed.

She insisted I get out of the shower to change her diaper because she was poopie. I was dripping wet and my towel slipped out of its tuck and roll position as I leaned over her to clean her up. The creepy toes that managed to make their way to my breast. Then the clinching of the toes and the pinching of the nipple.

That crossed the line. Even moms have boundaries…

“Get your toes off of my nipple!”

“Ohhh, dat your nipple?”

“Yes, don’t touch it.”

“Ohhh, I like your nipple.”

(Nobody told me motherhood would be this weird.)

It’s now nap time and I’m finally able to sit alone and sip on a nice warm cup of Earl Grey while I make preparations for the week ahead. The previous week was spent working late grading 7th grade personal narratives, photo bombing 7th grade selfies and solving 7th grade riddles left under my classroom door.

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By the time I made my way home in the evenings the sun was sinking behind the mountains.

The lack of sunshine has sent me into hibernation mode. This is the time of year when the most primitive part of my brain says, “You must eat cookies… you need to put your stretchy pants on… don’t move or you’ll burn what needs to be stored for winter.”

This lack of sunshine has led me to the conclusion that I’m just going to have to use that window of time that I have between classes (from 10:00 to 11:30) when I don’t technically get paid to get out and get some fresh air. This is hard for me because I typically use this time to grade papers, plan lessons, answer emails and make copies.

But after reading The Power of Habit, I have learned that habits can form in the blink of an eye. If you don’t create them intentionally they will manifest themselves without your permission. So that’s what I need to do… create a new habit before my old winter habits creep back in.

I’ve done this in several other aspects of my life. My job is less stressful because I wake up at five in the morning and show up an hour ahead of time. It doesn’t feel like more work because it has just become the norm. The house work isn’t has hard because my husband does it for me  because I make a habit of getting it done as quickly as possible. Getting ready in the morning hardly takes any time because I have my routine. Making dinner when I get home isn’t stressful because I just automatically do it. All of these things have made me very efficient.

Making new habits is a step by step process but now the time has come to use this momentum and harness it in my weight loss efforts.

Since this was a sink or swim type of week I didn’t make any conscious effort to lose weight. That being said, I also didn’t go out of my way to buy a “I’m stressed sugar filled latte” or a “feel sorry for me because I work hard hamburger”. I just ate what was planned for dinner and if that dinner didn’t suck I took the left overs for lunch.

It’s a slow, painful process but I’ve noticed that since I’ve started writing this blog I’ve become pickier about what I eat. If I’m going to eat something fattening I make it from scratch because processed stuff gives me the willies.

Since I’ve trained myself to eat cleaner I always think twice before buying that junk. That’s not to say I don’t give in sometimes, but it weighs heavier on my conscience now. This helps when you are an emotional eater because some of the old “feel good” foods don’t feel so good any more.

So now, instead of drinking eggnog as soon as it finds its way into the dairy section of the grocery store, I make a batch of eggnog play dough. You get the same feel good scent without getting fat because it tastes gross…

Don’t ask me how I know that. It just does.

If I want something sweet I have to take the time to make it.

If I want a decadent dinner I have to make that too.

A lot of the time all of that effort will deter me from giving in to my guiltiest cravings. And if it doesn’t it tastes damn good because I put a lot of effort into it 🙂

All of My Flaws Forgotten

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I never had the privilege of experiencing the full effect of the mother/daughter dynamic as a girl…

Before I got a chance to enter puberty and encounter those turbulent years (where I would heave sighs, slam doors and wage wars over what to wear) my mother had died.

I was nine when she passed and was only left with memories that would eventually fade over time. But even after all of these years there are still a few memories that cling to me.

I can still smell the oranges we ate every afternoon while we watched Little House on the Prairie. I remember sitting by the window watching a thunderstorm roll in and being taught to be exhilarated by it instead of scared of it. And I remember the way her body molded to mine and the warmth I felt when she held me.

All of her flaws forgotten.

Now as I enter the years of raising a teenage daughter I’m encountering uncharted territory. I don’t have my own experiences to look back on in terms of dealing with the struggles mothers and daughters encounter once they enter these years. I’m left questioning myself and wondering if I’m good enough.

What does she see when she looks at me?

What will she remember when she looks back on these years?

It was Saturday and motherhood had worn me down this previous week. Brent had been in Breckenridge all but two days during the week. I had worked long hours and still had more school work to complete before the night’s end. All week long I had looked forward to coming home to spend quality time with my girls, to catch up on all that I had missed. Instead of being greeted with smiles and hugs I was greeted with temper tantrums, tears and arguments.

I was drained and exhausted and pushed to the brink. I was ashamed, because in the midst of all of the chaos I had a few temper tantrums myself and the guilt of it all was weighing me down.

I felt guilty for losing my patience. I felt guilty for being so busy during the week. I felt guilty for wanting to lock myself in the bathroom where I could take a long bath, drink a bottle of wine and read a book in an attempt to pretend like I didn’t have kids or responsibilities.

That night as I tucked Penelope, the little one, into bed I started to close the door when I heard a sweet little voice say, “Night night Momma. Love you.”

It was the sweetest thing I had heard all week, I wanted to live in that moment forever.

I closed the door behind me and walked past Bridget’s room where she was engrossed in a conversation on the phone with a friend. She looked so grown up and it made me miss the years that I had with her when she was little too, the times when she actually liked me.

I made my way through the kitchen where a stack of Bridget’s school work from the week sat. I was sorting through it when a paper she had written caught my attention… It was about her role model.

“When most people say their mom is the best role model, they are probably wanting something like an xbox or the latest cell phone. But not me! My mother, Nina Nevada Gwyn Chapman, is the best person to look up to. Although we’re exactly alike-in looks and brains- I sometimes feel the need to be like her even more. Want to know why I think my Mommy qualifies for Best-Mother-of-The-Year? Stick around and you’ll see!

One of the reasons I believe my mom is a good role model is because she is energetic and understanding. My mom has the kind of temper that makes her blunt. Also, she will not let other people step on her, which is one of the best traits she has. My mom doesn’t give in to gossip, and she’s never rude unless you do something to someone she loves. That’s when Momma Bear comes out! Mom is also the funniest person alive, partly because she doesn’t care what other people think. She tells jokes and things to me and my friends that other mom’s usually don’t say. But apart from her spunky side, she is really down-to-earth and very helpful in listening to other people’s problems. I would like to be as understanding as she is. My mother can be very un-predictable in her motives, but it is something I hope to achieve.

Another reason my mom is a good role model is because she loves anybody no matter what. She always makes me smile, as I would like to other people. My mother is always willing to give 2nd and 3rd chances. She believes that no matter what mistakes you make, there is always a seed of hope inside, a light of forgiveness. If others understood this, I think the world would be more peaceful.

Overall, I believe my mom is a great role model for the reasons listed above. She is kind, forgiving, and always makes people feel better, like everyone should. Even though someone has done something wrong, my mom forgives them, and that can make a person feel better. If everyone was like my wonderful mother, perhaps we would live in a better place.”

She walked into the kitchen while I was reading it, my eyes were rimmed with tears threatening to spill over. She looked at me and said, “Momma don’t cry.” She hugged me tight snuggling her head under my chin.

After a while she took in a deep breath and said, “Ahhh, you smell good.”

I was tired and ragged and in need of a shower so this was news to me, “What do I smell like?”

“I don’t know… like mom,” she said as she hugged me tighter.

All of my flaws forgotten.

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