Got milk?

I’m tall.  It’s taken me many, many years to get comfortable with being tall.  Short women seem to have it easy; they can find pants that are long enough, they can find cute shoes in their size, most men seem tall to them, etc. etc.

But there are times when being tall has it’s advantages and I’m not going to lie, most of them happen in the grocery store.  From the time I was a teen, I’ve learned to recognize that relieved look a shorter person would have when I started down an aisle.  As soon as I was close enough they’d ask me to get an item from the top shelf for them.  Or one close to the top but near the back of the shelf.

It’s been a while though, since I’ve used my height and arms for the good of myself or another in the grocery store.  So it was nice today, when I went shopping and came upon the milk.  All the milks I could see had an expiration date that wouldn’t get them through to the next time I needed to go to the store.  I almost decided to go without milk but then I noticed a rack of milk further back in the refrigerator.  If I stepped in just slightly, I would be able to reach a milk on the top shelf of that second rack.  So I did it! I got a milk with an expiration date that will get me through almost two weeks! I put the milk in my cart, feeling pretty good about my amazonian arms when I noticed an older gentlemen looking at me, it was clear he had just witnessed what I had done.  He asked if the date was better on those and I confirmed they were.  Then he asked if I would get him one too.  No problem!  I got him one and then we talked briefly about why this matters (neither of us use a lot of milk so it’s nice to have it last as long as possible).  I could tell he was awed by my ability and maybe by my refusal to accept the expiration date offered me.

This is my life now – changing diapers, medicating a cat, chasing a toddler, and fighting against the grocery man and his expiration dates…it’s a pretty good life.



Postpartum Body

Something I was not oblivious to with this pregnancy was the fact that your body doesn’t just spring back to the way it was before you got pregnant. I wasn’t necessarily oblivious last pregnancy either but I did think the weight would “melt away”…probably because people TOLD ME IT WOULD. 

A month after Stormy was born, my sweet, young nephew saw my belly and asked, “are you having another baby?”  …you can imagine how that made me feel. 

Sometimes I think it’s a miracle not EVERY woman suffers postpartum depression – the body change alone is enough to send me spiraling into depression, add to that honest children (oh and sleep derivation and adjusting hormones). But I digress. 

This time around, I gained less weight, but I still gained. Last Sunday my niece (who is about eye level with my gut) came into the room, stared at my stomach with wide, excited eyes and then suddenly her face fell a little and she said, “oh, I forgot that’s left over tummy”.  To which I said, “yes it is and I’ll be sure to point yours out to you when you have a kid.”  She’s five…and I have the maturity of a five year old. 

Awkward is my middle name 

I was driving along today and a random thought entered my mind as they are wont to do. It was a memory from a few months ago. Sister Missionaries from church, but a different ward) came by my house looking for people who spoke Spanish. They didn’t know I was a member of the church so I told them and then politely told them I didn’t know anyone in the neighborhood (at all, much less those who speak Spanish). It was hot outside so I offered them water and they asked if I had bottles, which I didn’t. After telling them so there was a long and awkward silence.  I felt bad because they didn’t want my water if it wasn’t in a bottle. They finally said goodbye and went on their way. I’ve thought about this interaction before and how bad I felt and because of them I keep bottled water in my fridge- just in case. However, today a thought occurred to me…that silence might have been where they were still hoping did water, while I assumed they didn’t want any of it wasn’t in a bottle. The awkward pause wasn’t them, it was me. 

Which got me thinking about another awkward situation many moons ago. I was at the movie theater with two friends. A group of teenage boys had taken the seats right next to us, I was the one right next to them. 

If you’ve ever been to a movie theater you know it gets dark. So we’re watching the movie and suddenly a twisler comes into view from my left where the boys are sitting. The twizzler hoovers in front of me until I finally reach my hand up and take it. I don’t remember if I said thank you or not but I don’t like twizzlers so I passed it down the line on my right. 

Several minutes pass and lo and behold another twizzler comes into view. I don’t know what to do, I already accepted the first so I feel I should just take another. This time I’m pretty sure I said thank you as I took it and passed it down again. 

After the movie I kind of avoided eye contact because I felt the whole encounter weird but they just got up and left. 

My friends asked what the deal with the twizzlers was and so I explained the story as you’ve just read it. As I was telling the story the thought occurred to me…what if they weren’t handing me a twizzler? What if the kid just had his arm on the armrest and the twizzler just got of hung in front of me. When I took it he thought how weird that was and so maybe the second one was on purpose to see if I would take it. Which I did. So while I was telling the story of this guy sharing his twizzlers he was telling the story of the awkward girl sitting next to him taking his food. 

Apparently it’s only after an awkward situation that I think maybe I’m the reason it was awkward. 


Adventures in Traveling

This past Saturday, Chewy and I went up to the temple in Maryland.  I drove on the way up and instead of taking I-95 we took 301…which is a bit longer.  If 95 is backed up, 301 is fantastic because ideally in the long run  you would get to your destination faster despite the longer mileage.  I’m not convinced that we achieved that on Saturday but that’s not why I’m posting.

Anyway, lately I’ve been getting these really bad headaches, I mean, want to throw up and die kind of headaches.  I think it’s because when I’m concentrating I clench my jaw and for three hours or so I had been doing that.  So I had the headache when we got to the temple and we were there about 2.5-3 hours.  When we left, Chewy offered to drive and I thought I should take him up on the offer.  But then I seriously felt every turn, every bump, and they all made me feel worse and worse.  I could barely make myself look at the GPS to help navigate.  I held off until we were actually on 301 and then Chewy pulled into a gas station and got me some Tylenol.  We found a place to eat quickly after that, thinking maybe hunger was also causing this.

I immediately went to the bathroom while Chewy ordered but it was one of those bathrooms where it only helps one person out at a time…lame.  The door was locked and I waited a while but felt sick standing.  I went back to sit with Chewy, then tried again.  Either someone was in there a long time or someone else had gone in while I was sitting.  So I went back to Chewy and I tried to eat but even the thought of my beloved french fries made me want to be sick.  I returned one more time.

I tried the handle and pushed…it didn’t budge.  Unbelievable – there weren’t that many people there how could it be that someone was constantly in there?  So I decided to push harder, maybe the door was just really heavy or something.  It worked!  The door opened and there was a woman….sitting on the toilet.

Have you seen The Office?  Season 6 Episode 15 (I googled it since I couldn’t find a clip) Pam and Jim go to visit a daycare -they arrive early so they look around.  Jim notices the cute little door for the bathroom and decides to open it (thinking no one would be in there because all the kids were somewhere else).  There’s a man sitting on the toilet, he waves his hands to ward off Jim entering but it’s too late, he’s been seen.

That was my experience, except change out the skinny white man for a heavier set black woman.  He waved Jim away, she waved me away.  I immediately looked at the floor, said, “sorry”, and closed the door.  I went up to Chewy and without sitting down, leaned in close and said, “someone’s in there, let’s go.”  He said, “okay, let me top off my drink.”  I picked mine up and my uneaten food and said, “I’m going to go outside, meet you at the car.”  I mean, I was the only woman in the place with a skirt on – there’s no way I could hope she wouldn’t recognize me as the woman who walked in on her going to the bathroom.  I waited until we were in the car to tell Chewy the real reason I wanted to rush out of the place…surprisingly, he didn’t really react one way or the other. I had kinda expected something from him.

Lock the doors people – they’re there for a reason.

Just so you know – I forced myself to sleep in the car and that somewhat helped but I remained sick for the rest of the day.  I’m doing fine now, thanks for asking.


On the Prowl

As we were eating dinner Saturday night, the cat (his Christian name is Attila but I usually call him “the cat”) came into the kitchen meowing. Then he gave a long, loud meow that didn’t sound like him it actually caused goosebumps to run up my arms.  I leaned over to see what was wrong and discovered he wasn’t meowing. Chewy and I exchanged looks of alarm, then I warily peeked out the window to see a grey and white cat sitting in front of my car, beckoning to us to either let him in or send our cat out. The meow itself had been creepy, add to it that the sun had already set and the cat was meowing at our side door, the one we use most.

Chewy started to freak out, saying the cat was evil and sinister and under no circumstance should I feed it (because the little girl inside of me wanted to keep the cat, even if it weirded me out a bit). We got Stormy ready for bed and I kept running back to the window to check on our little friend, who at this point looked as though he were dramatically laying across the driveway with a paw at his head.  At some point, Chewy had said his first thought was that a person was outside our house meowing, because it had been so loud and stressed.

I found myself being more scared than usual when I would hear a noise, like a light tapping against our back door, which currently has no steps leading up to it, or when I would look out a window, not certain if I would see the cat closer to the house or right up on the window…or worse, a person.  Chewy’s insane thoughts about the cat being evil and sinister had entered my mind and I realized for the first time that it might be scarier inside his mind than my own…and that’s saying a lot…I freak myself out all the time.  Even as I lay in bed Saturday night I would hear a creak in the hallway and my heart would race with the thought that somehow this cat had gotten into our home.

Sunday, when we returned home from dinner at my parents’ house, the cat was sitting on our side porch, staring at us as though he’d been waiting for our arrival.  Chewy was not happy – I promised I hadn’t fed him.  He “ran away” two feet and then stopped and watched us as we got out of the car.  That’s when I saw a bunny frozen in the grass.  I was torn, the cat was creepy but I needed to buy the bunny time to get away, the last thing I needed was for this cat to murder a bunny in front of Chewy.  Chewy’s main concern was keeping the cat away from us.  So we were at odds with each other, Chewy trying to scare the cat away and me trying to keep his attention on us.  Chewy won and the cat turned to run further into our backyard, the bunny bolted and then the cat went after it.  I made desperate noises trying to get the cat’s attention, and it worked! Though to Chewy’s relief it didn’t work so well that the cat actually came toward us.

When we got inside I ran to our room to look out the back window…just to make sure that cat hadn’t gotten the bunny.  He was sitting on our stage (I think it was supposed to be a gazebo) staring at me.  **Pardon the grass and mess, it’s been raining like crazy here and I hadn’t been able to mow for a long time**

I haven’t seen him today, though I went to the backyard to mow the lawn and I was genuinely scared that he would pop out from beneath the shed, or that I would turn around to find him watching me.  And yet – I’m kind of sad I didn’t see him.


Mommy brain 

Mommy brain was something I’d heard of long before I began to experience it. I figured it was a saying like, “senior moment” that explains away any airhead comment or moment of forgetfulness. And maybe it is just an expression to get away with those moments but I’ll tell you, it certainly feels like a real phenomenon!  

I can completely space on words I’ve never struggled with before, words as simple as “appointment” when I’m in the midst of trying to explain I’d like to schedule one. And then I feel the need to assert my intelligence, as hidden as it may seem to the person I’m communicating with (if they don’t know me- if they do I just let it go). 

Last night I was getting ready to leave the house and wanted Chewy’s opinion on whether or not my pants were getting saggy (good and bad, good because it means I’m losing weight, bad because I don’t want to buy new clothes AGAIN). 

I went into the room and said, “are the pants of my jeans saggy?”  

Chewy sat there with a look on his face but no answer. “What do you mean?”

Frustrated, “the pants of my jeans, are they loose?”

That look again. I was getting annoyed, was this a guy thing? Why did he not understand?

“You’re jeans look fine,” he finally said.  

I sighed, was that so hard? I thanked him and put on my shoes as an echo of our conversation reverberated in my mind…I realized what I had said. I confirmed my miscommunication with Chewy, who seemed relieved that I had caught it myself. 

I’d like to say this is the first or last time I’ve had moments like this but sadly I know there were many more before and many more to come. Probably even tonight or tomorrow. 

What are some of your mommy brain/senior moments? 


The Birds and Bees and Me

Have you ever imagined discussing the birds and the bees with your children? How about other people’s kids?  Well, I haven’t really imagined either scenario.  I’ve had talks with Stormy about how he should always treat the ladies right, especially because the chances are there will be more women fawning over him as he gets older (and I’m not just saying that because I’m his mama).  But at 9 months old, I can’t say I’ve felt the need to have “the talk” with him. I know they say kids are becoming sexually active younger and younger but I am a firm believer that it’s not THAT young.

So I found myself a little unprepared yesterday at church when the topic came up.  I’ve talked to the girls (ages 14 and 15) about chastity, keeping oneself pure and not doing anything with a boy, and I mean ANYTHING.  No dates even.  In our church it’s pretty standard practice that the youth don’t date until they are 16 and even then, they shouldn’t date exclusively and they should go on group dates.  That’s not to say there aren’t teens at church who don’t abide by those standards and guidelines but for the most part it’s the case.

So yesterday our lesson was on, “Why should I treat my body like a temple?”  The teacher started out by asking how we treat our bodies like temples and the first thing I hear from the girls is, “are we going to talk about chastity?” (note to reader this was said in probably the same way they ask their parents if they are going to have to clean because people are coming over for dinner). The teacher said, “a little” and we read the story about Joseph of Egypt and the girls snickered about Potiphar’s wife and how crazy she was.  They questioned if Joseph only had one garment on when Potiphar’s wife grabbed it and therefore he ran out of there naked.  To which I replied, “come on people, it was Egypt, of course he only had one garment.” (note: this is what my friend would say is one of my crazy stereotypes that has no basis).

We moved on from there to other things, other ways to treat our bodies like a temple.  Like what we put in to our bodies, what we do with our bodies (piercings, tattoos, etc.)  I don’t know how it happened because I’m pretty sure we had moved on to how drugs are bad, don’t do them and don’t get tattoos because you get old and wrinkly and that’s gross and the girls were saying what they wanted to do even though they knew they shouldn’t (what types of tattoos or piercings they wanted) and I cried from the corner all the reasons not to (i.e. cartilage piercings always make me think of goats, gauges can’t be undone, etc.) Then one of the girls says something about how she wouldn’t ever want to do it because you’d have to figure it out.  All of us were probably stuck on piercings or drugs and so one of the girls said, “do what?” and the girl made a gesture and said, “you know, it.” to which the second girl said, “are you talking about sex?” and the first girl nodded and the second girl said, “it just goes in, what’s to figure out?” To which I threw my hands in the air in full panic and said, “congratulations! You have officially made me uncomfortable.” Not to mention the teacher and one or two other girls.  Then I told them they don’t have to worry about figuring anything out at this time because they aren’t going to be doing anything…right?

Then the conversation went to transgenders (because one thing we mentioned was not making changes to our bodies because they are a temple and from God) and then on to hermaphrodites (except I seemed to be the only person in the room who knew that was the term). It was presented as, “say there’s a baby and it’s a girl but it also has a weenie.”  …Suffice it to say, I’ve never been happier for the end of class.

But it got me thinking about how unprepared I was.  I patted myself on the back for some of my responses and being able to cite some things for the questions but overall I am way out of my depth here.  I have a 9 month old, I haven’t gone through this with kids before and here I am going through it with other people’s kids.  The only comfort is that we are all the same religion so I know what I am telling them doesn’t go against what their parents believe.  But what we believe is inching further and further away from what the world believes and how the world lives.  Transgender issues are ones I never had to figure out, I never wondered if it was right or wrong and work that out because the world didn’t put people like Bruce Jenner on a pedestal and call him/her brave for what he/she was doing.  These are things these girls have way more contact with so I can understand when they ask a question like, “well what if someone is uncomfortable in the body they have?” and they aren’t talking about feeling fat or hating that they have their grandfather’s nose.  And they are trying to work out what they are told at church, which is obviously transgender sex changes are wrong; and what the world tells them, you’re a closed minded jerk if you believe a transgender shouldn’t have our support in changing the very nature of their body.  I want to point out here that we do teach the kids to “hate the sin and not the sinner” and I may or may not have mentioned that in a previous post.  Christ came for the sinner, not the perfected individual, but at the same time he never said, “it’s okay to sin and to keep doing it, I’m tolerant of you disobeying my law.”  No, he told the sinner to repent but he loved the sinner nonetheless.  So too we try and teach the youth to love everyone, to be a Christian to all but to stand up for what we know is right.

But I digress. I meant to talk about my preparation.   Yesterday was an eye opener for me.  I need to be more prepared to talk to these girls about the issues they’re confused about.  If the girls are anything like I was, they may not be comfortable asking these types of questions to their parents but they seem pretty comfortable talking to their leaders about it (exhibit A = yesterday).  But it was also an eye opener as a parent.  I don’t want my kids 3-4 years away from moving out of the house and not understanding certain things, not understanding what I believe and what I want them to believe.  I don’t want them to be so unprepared for when they venture out into the real world which will only get crazier and crazier than it is today.  I want them to have a foundation, something they can come back to when things get confusing.  Something solid and unchanging in a world that is constantly changing.

And now I find myself on a half soapbox when all I really wanted to do was write about how awkward life was for thirty minutes yesterday.

If you’re a parent or leader, how do you deal with these awkward situations?