Monday, April 30, 2012

I've Got it Pretty Good: Ten Things I'm Thankful For

Over here in the Real Household, things have been rather tumultuous. It’s been a whirlwind of emotions and changes that have left us holding on to angst and worry. Not fun right?
I decided to take on You Know It Happens at Your House Too’s challenge of finding ten things I’m grateful for in an effort to rein in some perspective. After all, the problems we’ve been facing are Class A First World Problems (Like, oh my God, my water bill is soooo high!).
I hope all of you reading will think of a few things you are grateful for. After all, you don’t want to seem like an ungrateful bastard. Here goes nothing:
1.       First and foremost, in an effort not to seem like a jerk, I’m thankful for my husband and children. I am very lucky to have such a devoted husband. He’s pretty remarkable even when he’s acting like an a-hole. I know he thinks I don’t recognize all he does, but I do. If it weren’t for him, I may have lost it years ago. The kids bring so much joy to my life. There are times when I am overwhelmed and I don’t know why I chose to reproduce. Then, Real Boy or Real Girl does something that takes my breath away and I’m brought to tears. Truly grateful.
2.       My mother. She’s truly a brilliant woman. At times, I feel like her. When I’m doing things with the kids, I often think, “This is how mom must’ve felt raising us.” It’s a cool feeling and I’m happy to have had such a great role model. She’s funny, smart, crazy, and beautiful. Besides, she can dance her ass off! Who wouldn’t be thankful for a mother like that?
3.       My home. Not everyone has the opportunity to have a place to call home. I am thankful I get to go home everyday to a beautiful house surrounded by wonderful neighbors. It’s no luxurious McMansion, but it is mine and I couldn’t be happier.
4.       Running water. Seriously, I am so happy each time I turn on the faucet and I have clean, running water. When I was 17, I went on a trip to Haiti. They bathe, drink and cook in the same water, from the same river, shared by thousands of people. How glorious is it we are able to have so much water that people are able to waste it daily.
5.       Food. Again, I am able to walk to the nearest grocery store and purchase food. Good food. It amazes me when I think about how lucky I am to be able to provide food to my family by simply going to a store and swiping my debit card. We are never hungry, and for this, I am eternally grateful.
6.       My job.  Let’s face it. Money is important. Without it, I wouldn’t have that house, food or water. Honestly, I am lucky to have found this job. Furthermore, I’m lucky they hired me. I was a mess in the interview and it was in the deep recesses of the economy. I’m thankful to have a great job with awesome benefits and a grand retirement plan. Yeah!
7.       My blog. Silly, I know, but it has truly been fun writing a few things here and there. Plus, it finally gave me a hobby. For years, I’ve struggled with finding something to do in my spare time that didn’t cost an arm and a leg and didn’t take away time from the rugrats (damn mommy guilt). This costs nothing (except your souls) and I don’t have to leave the house.  Problem solved.
8.       My friends. I am so blessed to have met so many awesome friends throughout the years. Seriously, I may not even be where I am today without them. Their support and guidance has helped me more than they may realize. Most importantly, they all make wonderful drinking partners. Cheers!
9.       My health. I guess I’m healthy. At least that’s what my blood work says annually. I am extremely paranoid about getting cancer. I don’t know why, but I am. The thought always lingers in the back of my mind. That’s why I’m trying to kick a few bad habits and replace them with healthy ones. I want to maintain the good health I’m lucky to have considering I smoke like a chimney.
10.   All you people reading this. I may not be some major blogger, but you all make this endeavor even more worth my time. I like to know at least five people out there have read my blog. I am pretty stoked when I log in and see my page views slowly climbing. I admit it. I’m a little bit of a narcissist, borderline megalomaniac. And my condition is exacerbated significantly all thanks to you guys!
There you have it. Ten things I’m grateful for. Suprisingly, this went easy since I’m a bit of a pessimist realist. I’m sure I left something out, but I think I covered the ten things that make smile. I challenge all of you to do the same. I love to see you smile.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Someone told me there is a war. Where do I sign up?

Since that whole Ann Romney, Hilary Rosen bullshit, the "mommy wars" are back in the pages of newspapers and online magazines. Television media has launched stories about the “mommy wars” that portray women as feral cats on the prowl, clawing out the eyes of every other mother kitty they come across.
Recently, CNN ran an opinion piece where the author claimed the mommy wars do not in fact exist. Apparently, this bitch has not been a mother in recent years. Mommy wars do exist.  It may not be an all out war, but it is definitely a skirmish.
Honestly, this article is great. It deals with true social issues in our country that involve family values and work/life balance. The fact we have mommy wars can be blamed on society as a whole. (If I somehow become smart and eloquent in the next few days, I’ll write more in-depth about how fucked up society is when it comes to family roles.) That aside, these mommy skirmishes are often found more online than in real life. I believe there is an elite mommy militia with specialized training in back-handed compliments that lead these wars.  I mean seriously, there is no other explanation.

Isn't this what we all want?
I’ll focus on working mothers since I am one. There have been many times when I’ve had people ask me who is watching my children when I’m at work. When they were infants, I said they were in XYZ daycare. They often reply with, “Awww, I bet they miss their mom.” That’s it. Simple, not offensive and possibly true (I’m quite certain my kids never miss me).
Online, this conversation would have gone something like this:
Online Asshat: “Oh you work?”
Me: “Yup.”
Online Douche Biscuit: “I can’t believe you can just leave your kids with strangers. Being a mother is the best job in the world. Kids who stay home with their mothers are more apt to become successful later in life. Working mothers become detached from their children and don't form the same bond as a stay-at-home mom does. I bet you could stay home if you cut back a little. Also, I read this story where a kid was killed at a daycare center. You can never trust people. That’s why babies belong at home with their mother. I haven’t left my child with anyone. Ever. Oh and he’s five. Little Aiyedein really loves me and knows I love him because I stayed home. ”
Me: *Utter silence*
There is no point in responding to people making up stupid shit on the Internet. I just push forward because I’m pretty sure those people will somehow be fucked in the future.
In real life, these conversations do not happen so freely. It is more passive aggressive. It goes a little something like this:
Real Life Asshat: “Oh, you work?”
Me:  *With the inner eye roll because I know where this is going. “Yeah, somebody’s gotta pay the bills.”
Real Life Douche Biscuit: *Sympathetic look* “I know that is hard. I just saved our family $80 when I bought 100 bottles of shampoo with coupons.”
Me: “What? What the fuck does that have to do with anything? Do they have coupons for mortgages? 'Cause if so, I fuckin’ need one.”
Okay, so I made some of that up, but you get the idea.
People often don’t realize the sacrifices each mother makes to take care of her family. No family is the same. They all have different needs and wants that must be fulfilled in some way or another.  That is why it is so difficult to understand this whole thing.
I hope we can collectively realize each parent plays a valuable role in their child's life. More importantly, I hope those Judgy McJudgersons who lead this mommy skirmish will eventually realize most mothers are trying their best to raise good children regardless of their parenting choices.
This video, while an extreme act of emotional terrorism,
captures the true essence of mommyhood.

Until you judge me, I don’t give a rip what you do. Start the judging, and I’m gonna judge the ever-livin’ shit out of you. So much so, I may just end up punching you in your gunt (If you don’t know what that is, Google it).
 The point is, just mother your children (who will never be as good as mine anyway) and stay the hell out of my business. I may just stay out of yours.
In the meantime, read this. It says every thing my feeble brain can't: End the Mom War.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

When your kid is the bully

Last Friday, I received a phone call from the Vice Principal of Real Boy's school. While he has had issues in class for his inability to keep still or quiet (he is after all my child), he rarely gets in enough trouble to go to the Principal's office. This time, his offense warranted a trip to the office. If they still allowed paddling in school, I'm sure I would've consented to good ol' fashioned ass whoopin' as well.

The Vice Principal informed me my son teamed up with another kid and teased a classmate. She told me he and the other boy called their classmate fat. I was very taken aback when she told me this. Real Boy is very caring. He plays big brother to the younger kids in the neighborhood and won't even kill a bug. He's sweet and kind, so this behavior was completely out of character for him.

I mean seriously, he's a good-hearted kid

Initially, I mulled it over in my head. What do I do? What is the punishment for this offense? Why would he do this? Then, in an instant it all turned to rage.

I walked to the school and picked him up. I didn't say anything at first. He was crying and looked ashamed. We walked for about a minute in silence. Finally, I stopped and asked him what would make him tease a classmate.

I told him calling another kid fat or any other name is hurtful. Then my tears came. They were angry tears. I thought about the other boy and how hurt he must've been. How sad he felt at being called fat. These are the types of memories people carry with them their entire lives, unable to escape how helpless they felt from bullying.

Name calling and other bully behavior is the biggest no-no in my house. There is never an excuse.

Real Boy maintained his innocence claiming he only said his classmate was only "a little bit big." I retorted that it doesn't matter. Even if he was merely a witness, he is still to blame for not standing up for a kid who is being bullied.

He came home and wrote a letter to everyone involved. He cried a lot and said he felt bad for what he did. I hope he did because it is never acceptable behavior to allow bullying or be a bully.

I was never bullied as a child. I never called anyone a name or teased them. Ever. Not once. Why? Because I knew I could never hurt anyone. I didn't want to be hurt by others, so why would I do the same? I distinctly remember in second grade a kid was teased relentlessly for wetting his pants. He did this often. I was the only one who stood up to the other kids and told them to leave him alone. I could not be party to hurting his feelings.

My mother taught me well. For this I am thankful. I hope I can pass this on to my children. Furthermore, I hope this was an instant of poor judgement and peer pressure on Real Boy's behalf. I will not be the mother of a bully.

Has your kid bullied someone? What did you do?

Friday, April 20, 2012

'I only have guy friends' Why?

"I don't like being friends with women. Women are so catty and mean. Guys are much easier to hang out with," so says the girl who only desires friendship with guys.

I'm sure everyone has met a woman like this. She constantly brags about how great she gets along with the boys. How, regardless of how hard she tries, she cannot be friends with other women. She often claims women are so gossipy and only talk about hair and makeup.

I call bullshit. First off, who the hell do you talk to about the monthly occurrence that is your menses? When you want to know whether or not to get a Brazilian wax, who do you turn to? When you want to talk about your sex life, who do you discuss this with? If you and your significant other are having problems, who do you consult?

Surely not a man. And if you are talking to a man about this, he secretly wants to screw you in all kinds of ways. The only exception to this rule are (most of the time) priests and doctors. Possibly your lawyer if these types of questions may be asked in your upcoming court appearance.


In my experience, there is only one type of woman who does not get along with other women. They are the attention seekers. They are the ones who thinks everyone hates them because they are jealous.

Please ladies. Let's move past this and just be friends.


They love the attention they receive from the men in their group of friends. These women enjoy being the girl that just totally (use your best valley girl voice) gets guy stuff. She secretly likes that Steve asks her for relationship advice. Yet, unbeknownst to her, Steve just wants to get in her pants. With most men, this thought constantly swims around in their subconscious. And if you don't believe this, you're fooling yourself.

Just because someone has a vagina, does not make them some backstabbing bitch who's jealous of you for whatever reason you've conjured up in your delusional mind.

I think I've resigned myself to thinking these women have got to be nuts. I don't understand any of the reasons they give to defend their views of other women. Not only are they nuts, they set back the women's movement by at least a decade each time they refuse to support and revere other women.

Now, I'm not saying that men and women cannot have a friendship. I have friends of the male persuasion. However, I don't talk smack about how "catty" women are and how girls just don't "get me."

The friendships I have with my girlfriends are probably one of the only things that have gotten me through many tough times in my life. I can confide in them and know I will not be judged. Trust me. I've done many things in my life that I should have probably taken to my grave. Instead, I share it over coffee with a friend or two.

So ladies out there, grab a friend with ovaries and celebrate what we as women have to offer. Dudes, are so last season.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Liebster Award

I finally got around to writing my acceptance blog for getting the Liebster Blog Award from Katie over at Somewhat Sane Mom. I've been super busy with out-of-town visitors and our kitchen remodel, my brain said, "Screw it. It can wait." Nonetheless, my procrastination finally abated and here it is.

Liebster means favorite in German. This means, Katie holds me as a favorite blogger. I'd say she's one of mine too!


She's one rad lady who knows that being a mom can take away your sanity, but leave you insanely happy. I am so thankful to have found Katie and other lady bloggers who encourage me and other moms to write. (What they don't know is I have a HUGE ego and awards like this highly exacerbate my condition.)

Thank you so much Katie for helping me! I can't say enough how much it means to know someone (other than my mom) reads my blog. So Katie, thank you ten times over. Now, all you reading right now, get your booties over to Somewhat Sane Mom and tell her I said, "What's up!"

 

How the Liebster Blog Award works:

  1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
  2. Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.
  3. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.
  4. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 lesser-known blogs who you feel deserve to be noticed & give a little blurb about why you chose each blog.
  5. Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog.
FireandRabbits: Cassandra is wonderful woman with lots of quirks that make for some entertaining reading. Sometimes serious, other times insane, all the time awesome. Check her out.

Tripping Tuesdays: Cricket rocks! She's a newer blogger who has some interesting topics she discusses. She's a mom with a cool view on things. Besides, she reads my blog and even leaves comments. Who wouldn't love that?

Attracted to Shiny Things: The name is enough. If you ever need to read the most random of thoughts, visit Yvonne's blog. Amazing things happen over there.

Overworked Supermom: Mom? Check. Recipes? Check. Real? Check. I'm pretty sure she already received this award, but what the heck? She's gettin' again. I really do love her blog a super lot.

Because Motherhood Sucks: Right? Selena is an honest lady. Motherhood isn't all fairy dust and unicorn farts. It's tough.

So, there you have it ladies and gentleman. Five bloggers who I dig. Thanks again Katie-Katie-Bo-Batie. I look forward to more new blogs and more (ego) adoration!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How My Cancer Helped Me See the Richness of My Life

The following is a guest post from Heather Von St James. She asked to write a guest post on The Real Housewife of Santee a few weeks ago. I was very surprised when asked to do so because who are we kidding here? I'm just a little ol' blog amidst a sea of amazing lady bloggers. Regardless of the reason, her story couldn't have come at a better time as Real Husband and I have had a few recent health scares. I hope this post helps you remember what you have and how to embrace and overcome what life hands you. Enjoy the tale of a brave mother and her new found view on life.

The first time I watched the movie Auntie Mame, I was particularly struck with one line. "Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death..." The more I thought about it, the more I loved it. I soon adopted it as my motto, since I felt it reflected who I am, funny, but deep, too.

On November 21, 2005, it took on new meaning when I was diagnosed with a malignant pleural mesothelioma, a deadly cancer. I was distraught, terrified. Life had been going so good, with my first baby just three-and-a-half months old and the Christmas season coming. It was a very difficult time, but it opened my eyes, too. My greatest fear had come, but I found I could face it. I discovered that I was stronger than I ever imagined.

I was referred to Dr. David Sugarbaker, at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s clinic. As one of the world's leading mesothelioma doctors, he told me that the statistics on mesothelioma are grim, with only 2% living beyond five years after diagnosis, but he gave me hope, too. I knew that someone had to be that 2%, so I decided my daughter's mother would be that person.

The next year took everything I had to fight the cancer. I traveled 1,900 miles from my home to Boston to have the surgery that removed my left lung and the lining around it where the tumor was. It was difficult for me to leave my daughter behind with my parents, just beginning so many new adventures in her life at six months, but I knew I had to do it so that I could be with her for the rest of her new discoveries. Friends and family supported me during the next months while I underwent chemo and radiation therapy. They enabled me to spend that year close to my daughter and give everything I needed to overcome my battle. By my daughter's first birthday, we were able to throw a celebration, not only for her life, but also because my battle was coming to and end.

My last radiation treatment was just one month from the anniversary of my diagnosis. I vowed for my daughter to stay cancer free. I vowed for all of the people I met through mesothelioma, the fellow cancer fighters, many of whom didn't make it, the families that watched them suffer, the caretakers who helped us, that I would fight to help create awareness and find the cure.


Heather and her happy, healthy family

My cancer gave me a new perspective on life. I know I can't take anything for granted, can't let it slip by without appreciating it. I am determined to savor every morsel of my beautiful life. Even on tough days, I know there are many things to be grateful for. Cancer opened my eyes to this, and I promise never to close them.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Dance Party

This was an impromtu video with my mom when she was down visiting last week. Now, Real Boy was the videographer, so forgive the shakiness of it. If you can stomach it all, enjoy!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Irrational fears of the strange kind

A few mornings ago, I awoke to a child standing by my bed. (If you don't know how I feel about this read this.) It was Real Girl. She was crying. It was an all out dramatic cry. Hands pressed to her mouth, tears rolling down her beautiful cheeks, can't catch her breath kind of cry.

I turned over. First, angrily, but when I saw her sad little face I asked her what was wrong. Here is where shit started to go wrong.

Me: "What's wrong sweetie?"

Real Girl: "I'm scared. *Sob*"

Me: "What are you scared of?"

Real Girl: "I'm scared of the Muppet."

*Crickets*

I seriously didn't know what to say. I mean, what do you say to that? Inside, I was laughing my ass off imagining Kermit the Frog sitting by her bed just hanging out.

Who on God's green Earth wakes up their mother at 5:22 a.m. because they're scared of a Muppet. A freakin' Muppet. Those damn puppets are the nicest fuckers I've ever seen. They sing catchy tunes for cryin' out loud.

Finally, I relented and let her crawl into bed with us.

Up until that morning, she loved the Muppets. Real Boy and Real Girl went around singing the music from the latest Muppet movie. I mean these kids were enamored with it. I'm not sure what went wrong.

Turns out, she said it was Animal she was afraid of. I guess if you're going to be scared of a Muppet, Animal is the most logical choice. He doesn't talk, he wears a collar and chain, he growls, he goes ape shit out of the blue, so I get it. Still, Animal is bad ass drummer. Why would you be scared of that?

He wears sunglasses. He is the coolest Muppet.


The next two nights after the Muppet awakening, she would sit in her bed screaming, crying, pleading not to leave her alone with the Muppet. She clutched her tiny little hands around my neck in a death grip because she didn't want Animal to come ask her, "Do you have any friends?"

Seriously, that's what she said he told her. She also said he talks all night long. Not only is Animal keeping her up at night, he's trying to see if she has any available friends?  If I see that asshole, I'm going to junk punch him and turn him in for being a pervert. He's got to be at least 50.

All that aside, I hope this is just a phase. I cannot go through Real Girl's newest night-time-keep-waking-up-mom-and-dad bit any longer.

Thanks to Real Girl, I've been real tired. And now, I hate the Muppets. Kids really have a way of ruining everything.

Friday, April 6, 2012

MILTMLT: Men I'd Like to Make Love To

Okay, so there is no vulgarity in the title of this post. Mostly because my moms reads this and I'd hate for her to know I actually do the nasty. Moreover, she really hates it when I say the fuck "F" word.

Recently, I've noticed many lady bloggers like to post pictures of hunky (who the hell still says hunky?) men on their Facebook feeds. I love it. It makes me pine for the days when I was single and looking to mingle. (Seriously, I need some new, up-to-date words to describe stuff.)

I have always heard of lists people make of men or women they'd like to shag. I've never officially made one, so I'm doing it here for the first time. In no particular order, here's a list of MILTMLT.

1. Gerard Butler: Holy shit is this guy smokin' hot. He's Scottish, he has dark hair, blue eyes and looks like he knows how to party. Besides, he played King Leonidas in 300. What could be better than that?



2. Johnny Depp: I've been in love with him for the last 20 years or so. He's dirty and beautiful. He's weird, so mainly I want to do him just to see what a freak show he is. Bring it on Johnny.



3. Brad Pitt: What can I say? I'm a child of the 90s.  I don't normally go for blondes, but this man is amazingly gorgeous. And he's had sex with Angelina Jolie, so I'm pretty sure she's taught him a few good tricks Jennifer Aniston didn't even know existed.



4. Zac Efron: Okay, I know he is young, but that is the point. Geez, I need to get some cougar action goin' on up in here. Again, dark hair, blue eyes. I bet we could put on a new show. High School Musical: The Slut Years.



5. Idris Elba: Every girl needs a little mystery in her life. This man is quite possibly the most perfect creature to walk the planet. He doesn't even have to buy me dinner or talk. Ever.



6. Mark Wahlberg: I would let him punch me. This is how much I love him.



7. T.I.: He's got more swag than a lot of guys. Sure he's short, but I bet he knows how to put it down. Plus, I really love his voice. Southern smooth.



8. Travie McCoy: Okay, I admit this is a strange one. I think it's his tattoos and the fact that he seems like he'd be a lot of fun to hang out with. Meh, I'd hit it.



So there you go. My short list of MILTMLT. Who's on your list?