Harry Potter Tribute Cakes and POTUS

First? Let’s talk about the cake I made Nikki. I am creative but not crafty so this was the PERFECT Harry Potter tribute for me to pull off.

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Seccond? Let’s talk about my daughter and her BFF…President Obama.

Remember when she first wrote him three years ago? He responded with a letter and some token Bo and Sonny Obama stuff. Well, she wrote him recently again about LGBTQ equality and he wrote her again yesterday!

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This time the letter specifically addressed equality and she was SUPER excited. We’re inviting the Obamas to E’s graduation in May since were totes BFFs now.

That’s all I got today. Wesley was up with leg cramps and I’m still trying to pull off boot camp AND running in the mornings before work.

By the way – thank you for all of you who emailed me to discuss kids/anger as I requested on Monday. I’m about halfway through replying back. I really appreciate you all letting me vent/unload on you. You all are often my salvation in making me feel less alone.

The Future Car Talk Host

Nikki was kinda expecting a phone on her birthday. She knew she’d be getting a flip phone either for her birthday or Christmas as we’re easing into the whole “home alone” phase of our life and we don’t want to start with 30-minute trips to the grocery store until she has proved she can keep a phone charged for emergencies. Because we’ve had to discuss this (and dash her expectations of getting a smart phone) I knew it wouldn’t be much of a surprise, although I was doing my best to still keep saying, “Christmas” when we referenced when it would happen.

Well, I bought her flip phone last week and had it hidden in a bag in the back of the van.

Fast-forward to Tuesday when I was driving around town and heard a weird beep – I THOUGHT – coming from my dashboard. The only thing I could think of was that my service appointment a few days earlier had alerted me to a recall in my dash. I wondered if the two were related and made a mental note to call Toyota at some point.

Later that day I was picking Nikki up from daycare before a soccer game when I heard it again and thought, Weird. That time it sounded like it was coming from the back of the van. But I didn’t think too much about it until it happened again after I had Nikki in the car and then it hit me: THE DAMN PHONE.

“What is that beeping?”
Me…panicking and saying the first thing that popped into my head…
“Yeah…they told me there was a dashboard recall when I had my car serviced, I guess it has something to do with that.”

Now. This is where any normal person would have left it. But now that I knew it was the phone, I was convinced she was going to figure it out. And it had started beeping more often (it felt) and to me it was suddenly SO OBVIOUS that it was a phone. So! I just kept talking about it the entire 40-minute drive to her soccer game.

“Oh, man. That’s annoying. I’ll have to call Toyota tomorrow. It’s weird that the beeping is coming from the back even though it’s about my dashboard. Must be because the spark plugs are back there and the computer sensor needs the spark plugs to work. Maybe I’ll mess around with the spark plugs when we get to your game and see if I can make it stop beeping.”

Now. Imagine this same soliloquoy but elaborated on to a weird degree because I just wanted to KEEP MAKING SURE SHE WAS THINKING IT WAS RELATED TO THE CAR. I told random stories of other times my car has beeped and how I was able to fix those. I told stories about sensors and spark plugs in the back of the van and how I had seen them because my mechanic showed me. I COULD NOT STOP TALKING ABOUT MY FAKE SPARK PLUGS AND BEEPING SENSORS. It was like I was having a weird psychotic breakdown.

We finally made it to the field and I told her I was going to “work on the car” before the game. I dug out the phone and powered it down (it looked like there were activations messages that’s why it was beeping) and went to the game. When we got back in the car later I told her, “I figured out how to turn off the sensor so the beeping won’t keep making us crazy.”

“What sensor?”

SHE HADN’T EVEN BEEN LISTENING TO ME PRATTLE ON ABOUT FAKE CAR STUFF.

The moral of the story is? My daughter is going to be forever confused about cars.

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11.

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11 years ago I found myself live-blogging my labor and delivery which is such a funny thing to me, for some reason. Of course, all hell broke loose and I ended up with a child with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck and an emergency c-section where I spent the whole time sobbing in fear. I also learned about my endometriosis, fibroids, and unusually large uterus that day. This was after a pregnancy so wrought with turmoil that I rented a doppler so I could listen to my baby’s heartbeat whenever I wanted to reassure me that she was fine. So the birth went as the pregnancy went, I guess.

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She’s a cool kid. There’s much more to it than that, of course, but I just can’t seem to condense it in any way that doens’t make me sound like I’m bragging. She’s cool. She’s changed my life. I love being her Mom.

And of course, since it’s the 11th birthday, her owl is coming to visit.

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My Marriage and Trophic Cascades

Do you have minute? Can you watch a video about the Wolves of Yellowstone? There’s an obvious metaphor in there you won’t even need me to spell out for you.

If you don’t have time or can’t watch it (find time later, it’s amazing) the gist of it is that introducing small quantities of wolves back into Yellowstone made huge significant changes – even to the course of the river.

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” – John Muir

I’m 100% certain you don’t need me to spell out the metaphor as these wolves relate to my life. But I’m going to anyway.

My depression and anxiety were taking their toll on my life before I started therapy. There’s no need to detail that here, just know it wasn’t great. But then I started going to therapy and I started working through my grief over losing my Dad which opened the door to a lot of crap that had laid undisturbed for years. I expected therapy to help me with my depression and anxiety, just like the wolves were expected have an impact on the population of the animals they prey upon, like the deer. That was actually the point of re-introducing the wolves, which had been absent for 70 years, just like the point of therapy was to reduce my anxiety and depression.

What I never thought about though, as I was overwhelmed in darkness of anxiety and depression, was the cascade of other changes that would follow. I have become a better Mom, a better friend, and most importantly? It made my marriage better than it’s ever been.

I could break it down easily and just say, “My anxiety and depression were ruining my marriage and so getting help fixed it.”

But that is way too much of an oversimplification. My therapist has helped me work through stuff I’ve come home to discuss with my husband which has helped him work through his own crap. She’s given me tools I’m using in my life and in my marriage which have also proved useful to him. She’s helped me be vulnerable to him instead of always stressed or angry, and he’s reciprocated.

We cuddle now. We haven’t cuddled in years.

My marriage was fine before therapy, it wasn’t really anything I thought I needed to work on. But like the rivers changing flow patterns in Yellowstone, I just had no idea the impact these baby steps in my personal life could have on my marriage. There were ecosystems along the river of our marriage before, it’s not like it was barren. But suddenly things started thriving where we didn’t know they were depleted to begin with. It’s not entirely accidental, we’re being proactive in a lot of these changes. We are making date nights a priority. We take time to hang out after the kids go to bed even though we’re exhausted. (Except on nights like last night when I was SO exhausted I fell asleep tucking Wesley in, and then woke up, went to tuck Nikki in, and fell back asleep with her for the rest of the night. I was tired, yo.) We are sharing quiet hugs and holding hands. We’re recognizing each other’s needs for support or validation. The trophic cascade (ecological process which starts at the top of the food chain and tumbles down) in our life once I sought therapy has been an amazing thing to watch, but especially as it relates to our marriage which I didn’t even set out to improve upon.

I tell you this story because 13 years ago today, I married my best friend. And things are just really great.

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Photos and a Question.

I did a lot this weekend. I failed at a marathon. Took a girl’s trip with Nikki. And celebrated her birthday with some family. Unfortunately I also have my FIRST DAY OF BOOT CAMP TODAY ACCCK! And I want to try to get there early to run a bit first so I have no time to write about my adventures. I’m going to just give you a FEW pictures as a place holder but there are STORIES TO TELL!

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Finally – unrelated. Those of you who have heard me talk about our behavioral challenges with Wesley (anxiety triggering severe anger) can you email me if you had a similarly challenged child? I have a question I want to pose to the audience but at this point I don’t like dumping his stuff on my blog anymore since he’s gotten older. But I could really use some counsel, so those of you who have reached out with great advice in the past – I’d love to ask your advice! (Especially if you’ve made it through the other side of the war.)

WISH ME LUCK.