My Mothering Motto

I don’t want my children to follow in my footsteps

I want them to take the path next to me and go further than I could have ever dreamt possible.

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I believe this is the source http://instagram.com/p/cP3Mp4SN0z/

I might be wrong, someone will surely let me know.

Anyway I love the way this sums up what my approach to mothering/parenting is.

I’ve never been able to put it so succinctly or gracefully as this but that’s it right there.

Everything I do is with this end goal in mind.

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The beginning of the end for my cable bill

9-19-2013 1-06-07 PMWhen you’re whole life gets turned upside down and you can’t even begin to fathom what is going on around you a funny thing happens. You completely forget about something called television.

This week’s ripple effect how our view of TV has changed.

During the worst of it all, there was no TV. I had no mental capacity or desire. As the dust settled I found I just didn’t care. I read a lot. I was also feeling the need to isolate myself from my local world – no local news no Facebook, –  but spent hard core time each night combing the internet trying to find a world to relate to that had nothing to do with my own. One day or night I saw some random tweet from The Bloggess wondering if she was the only person who cried at every single Dr Who episode or something like that.  I was crying all the time anyway so I figured I give it a try.

I had an Amazon Prime account that had come with my Kindle so I fired it up and sure enough all the previous seasons were there for free. Before I knew it I found myself sneeking off to the bedroom with my kindle at every available moment to devour this show. The girls became curious and I began to let them watch it with me.

I also started to notice that Downton Abby which I had heard a lot about on the internet was there too, so we streamed that. And them something else and something after that.

And then I don’t know how but somewhere along the way we’d replaced TV with streaming. It’s like we were curating new shows and watching from the original seasons forward.  I did a little research and found Amazon and Hulu could both be streamed through the XBox we had. That’s when it really all became a thing.

I started this summer determined to try and not turn on the cable box. And we didn’t.  We watched only thing streamed either though Amazon or Hulu. Old stuff new stuff cool stuff you name it. It never felt like we didn’t have choices of what to watch. In fact the kids have more choices than ever before because practically every family oriented network TV show ever made is at their disposal: The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Seventh Heaven, and Wonder Years are just a few of their “current” favorites.

We have whole libraries of TV available for a fraction of the cost of my monthly cable bill.

I’m this close to canceling it. I’ve already downgraded it once. And there is room to downgrade it one more time before completely getting rid of it. I think for $20 a month or so I can keep just the networks.

It’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of deciding to pull the trigger.

Cable TV is so last year lifetime.

Best of the Internet this week

THIS!!!! This will make you giggle out loud ….

http://lgoogoogaga.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/pottery-barn-lunches/ – Best Line “In the town where I grew up – If I ever opened up a lunch to reveal a tic tac toe game made out of sandwiches, I would get my ass kicked and my new name would be “Tic Tac” until I graduated highschool…..”

And this ..

She’s a kid from where I live, I don’t know her personally but friends have tought her in school, other friends go to church with the family. We all have decided that she’s hung the moon.

Oh and evidently it’s time to start your Christmas List

Cause there is this http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/09/12/well-read-women-samantha-hahn/

Oh and then I learned this because really… who knew?

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WTF Target… turquoise weiner dog edition

I love me some Target, the numbers in my bank account don’t lie. I’m a Red Card devotee.

But sometimes I think the good folks up there in Minneapolis are trying to screw with us (yeah yeah, let’s see who we get to buy this!) or maybe the cold cold winters just screw with their heads a little too much. Either way sometimes you just want to take their purchasing department aside and offer them counseling.

Like with today’s email blast….  Let’s see what we have here, brightly colored plates that are too busy for my taste, dull monotone bowls that are too boring for my taste, standard issue porch rug, curtains from 1952 and oh yes… what looks like a bright orange paper mache deer – who’s had the shit scared out of it.

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Someone with a highly covented job in the Target purchasing department saw this in a catalog or a design center and said “Yeah!! That’s what the fall decor line is missing.. Scared Orange Deer! People will be dying to get those home!”    

(Note to Target HR department: Stop hiring people fresh out of design school! Yes they are cheap but they have absolutely no idea what they are doing – remember all those god awful high end “designer” children’s clothes that cluttered your clearance racks all spring and no actual child wore ever? Stop it!)

But back to the damn deer  ’cause people, you know I had to click on that shit.

 

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That’s right, it’s part of set with a turquoise dachshund and a pink poodle  – that appear to be as big as the deer (no wait sorry the poodle is actually 3 inches taller) . A bright turquoise resin dachshund and a giant pink poodle! Well at least now we know what the hell the damn deer is so afraid of!

“I really wish I could find a bright turquoise dachshund I’ve been looking for one forever!” Said No Person Ever

I’m even leaving the giant red rooster and the woodland hedgehog nightlight along because seriously people they are trying to sell you turquoise weiner dogs!

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Chris Knight, where are you when I need you (or why I’m being forced into a life of fitness whether I like it or not)

9-19-2013 2-20-51 PMReal Genius is one of the most quotable movies to come out the 80s one of my favorite involve’s Professor Jerry Hathaway asking Val Kilmer’s character Chris Knight, “Do you still run?” to which Chris replies, “Only when chased.”

This is my go to answer about anything exercise or fitness related. And I get asked do I run or ride  A LOT. I am surrounded by runners, bikers, and, triathloners. (Also I judge those people of if they get that reference or not – what can I say 80 geek)

But back to the point. I am surrounded by runners. EVERYONE RUNS. Not just runs, the run till they drop. All around me people are injuried and in need of physical therapy and yet they don’t seem to relate this to all that running.

The 26.2 marathon sticker people – those are the wimps. There’s a guy at work who spent a week this summer in the Marathon des Sables which covers 150 miles of Moroccan desert while carrying his food and supplies on this back. For Fun. No one was chasing him! He finished in something like the top 1/3.

If you don’t have a 50 you’re barely cool, it better have been a kick ass trail run through some serious shit and up three mountains. If you want real cred you need the 100. I have a sign over my desk that says “Only When Chased.” It is my mantra – my high ground. If I don’t complete, you cannot win.

If the don’t run they bike, we have bike lanes and this town is ugly with 40 year old men and women with bad knees and Tour De France fantasies. (Florida is flat people!) They all do crazy things like rides that traverse the state and back and forth and take whole weekends or weeks to complete. Railroads are paved over to make rail trails…  Do I ride? Only when chased. I own the t-shirt.

This year my oldest child out of the blue (or not so blue considering all these influences) decided she wanted to try a youth triathlon. Triathlon? She’s never even run a Fun Run? No 5K, nothing. Straight to triathlon? OK. I’m game. Let’s see how long this lasts I think. You are your mother’s daughter I say…

She loved it. She finished and immediately asked for a better bike. For next time. Ughh.

Shit. I’m starting to feel chased.

I get her the better bike (she needed a bigger bike, better just happened because I found a good deal on Craigslist). And her little sister not to be outdone promptly sheds the training wheels she’s been clinging to for 8 years… Mama can I triathlon too now?

Shit. Is that someone breathing down my neck?

Because a middle schooler can be allowed to ride off for 5 or 6 miles or run for a couple  miles and come back as long as I have a notion of the route. I have no problem with that. But an eight year old? My eight year old who’s not that street savy yet? Who I still have to yell at in parking lots to watch for cars…  Even my Free Range senses are tested with that one at least until she gets her wheels under her a little more. Her four mile route on the bike is a little much for me to be okay with by herself or with her sister alone just yet – bad side walks and one very busy major intersection are in play no matter what.

So now I’m biking  – granted it’s 8 year old triathlon training lengths, and I never even have to shift a gear while she pedals like a little mad Chihuahua still but – biking. No one is chasing me.

At least her runs are short enough she can loop the immediate neighborhood and I’m good with that being done alone.

My only consolation is we stay on the side walk and I can still refuse to wear a helmet because we don’t ride that fast. We just look like a family out for a stroll after dinner. I wear mom capris rather than athletic wear on purpose. I will not dress the part.

That little fact is all that is keeping me from a table full of crow at this point.

I’m in denial.

I’m being chased.

Mile Stones: Biking to a friends house after school

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See those two, as we speak they are supposedly doing math homework that “would be so much easier if we worked on it together”….

Yeah, I know, I remember that one too. 🙂 Those were the days.

Truth is today has nothing to do with homework and everything to do with growing up.

Puddin’ strapped on her helmet and rode over to a school friend’s house who doesn’t live that close after she got home on the bus. Out of the neighborhood and across a fairly large and crowded intersection full of impatient minivans driven by distracted moms late for soccer/ballet/football/cheerleading.

This kid regular trains for her races by doing 6-10 miles at a time but this two miles.. probably the significant she’s ever done.

With that two miles, she broke the neighborhood barrier and left to go out on her own to a friend’s house with instructions to start heading back home by 6:30 or when the other family was ready for dinner, which ever came first.

One more taste of precious independence.

She’ll be 12 next month and the way I see it, I’ve 6 years to get her ready to take her passport and walk out that door fully capable of roaming the planet on her own.

I fully intend to get her there on time, one two-mile bike ride at a time.

Are you ready for some football is actually a question again….

images (1)On Mondays I talk about the Ripple Effect the Big Tragic Thing That Happened has had on our lives.

Saturday night I realized what a new one was – I have my fall weekends back. I am no longer forced to schedule every thing I do on Saturday and Sunday based on the NCAA and NFL schedules. If I want to go to the mall at 5:30 on Saturday I can (and did) and no one has to have a fight about it.

Saturday night I posted a FB post about watching a particular TV marathon with the girls. A college buddy immediately chastised me in a comment asking why I wasn’t watching our alumni football game.  The answer is simple – I didn’t have to. I had something else I would rather be doing and I was.

Don’t get me wrong – I still love my school and SEC football and the I’m pulling for the local NFL team but I do not have to actually sit in front of the TV and watch endless hours of the game to feel connected or involved –  Which I never felt was necessary and I always resented. I hated that nothing got done, and you could not make plans and that the whole thing just sort of took over like an illness.

At the time of the mentioned FB post I was in fact keeping up with the score of the game via Google. I knew the team was well ahead, as they should have been, since we were playing an early season non-conference team. But it didn’t require me to wipe out my whole night out watching it. Just like I hadn’t spent most of the afternoon watching every other televised SEC game. I had cleaned house, run errands, went to the grocery store and gone out for dinner.  On a Saturday in September. Unheard of. I was not tethered to the TV.

Football is something I do when I want to now. Last week I went to a friend’s house and we watched games together and it was fun. But it was something I wanted to do, not something I had to do. And I did not do it as the expense of something else. And I enjoyed it that much more.

For years I railed at the fact that everything from noon on Saturday to suppertime on Sunday from September to Christmas was ruled by football. I no longer have that problem.

I have my weekends back. Something that was a cause of stress and been a source of discontentment, for me, for years is gone. Don’t get me wrong, we’d always go back in time and change what happened if we could, but we get through the day to day by looking for the little things, the little silver linings that the ripples sometimes bring us.

For me, control of my weekend is a ripple that I’m riding these days.

Sunday Book Review: Attachments

In my quest to make sure I post something everyday, I’ve decide that Sunday will be book review day. I like to try and keep my weekends free for the girls since they see me sit at the computer all day during the week. Book reviews are something I can do ahead of time and schedule to post. Seems like an excellent and elegant solution and what better way to do it than kick off on Sept 8 International Literacy Day.

I’ve been an avid reader all my life so I have a mountain of books that I love but I’m going to try and select books that seem to have some kind of current tie to my life or else the selection process would seem overwelming.
So here we go:

attachments-199x300Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Part of what I love about the whole e-book/Kindle thing is that I can look back and know exactly when I read or purchased a book. I bought this book on April 21, 2011 at what looks to be the full retail price (You’re welcome Rainbow).

I seem to remember that I read a book review in a magazine or newspaper at the time and decided to buy it based on that. I remember what caught my interest was the premise – the fellow falls for the girl because his IT based job is to read her emails, and that the setting was a bunch of 20 somethings in an IT department during the whole Y2K thing. Since I was a 20 something in an IT department during the whole Y2K thing I felt immediately pulled the story.
I realize looking back that right there based on that point I was either going to love or hate this book based on the author’s ability to get that part right. Clearly she got it right.
In fact Rainbow’s ability (like how I feel on a first name basis with her?) to get time and place right seems to be her talent as an author.
For me to really really love a book it has to be different than something I’ve ever read before. My literary pet peeve is to watch the same old plot hashed out over and over again – especially by the same author but that is another story Ms Anne Rivers Siddons.

Attachments to me was unusual because what appears on the surface to be a chick-lit book gives the lead to the male character, Lincoln. Lincoln job is to monitor red flags caught by the mail filters in a mid-west newspaper publisher’s IT department. Two girls who are friends at the newspaper use email to chat more than they should (who didn’t in 1999 – we didn’t have texting back then – I know life time ago right?) and as a result Jim gets to know them pretty well by vetting their emails and starts to fall for one of the girls, Beth.
From there the story could go a lot of really cliché places but it doesn’t. Rainbow manages to tell a romantic story without falling into any of the traps you fear. She neatly navigates the story in way that makes you fall in love with Lincoln and Beth and makes you kind of depressed that you don’t know them in real life. Lincoln falls for Beth through his voyeuristic view of her via her emails to Jennifer (and somehow it never gets creepy feeling)and Beth notices and develops an office crush on The Cute Guy she notices and starts to mildly stalk at work.
Lincoln is just “that guy” we all hoped to find and mostly overlooked right next to us when we were idiot 25 year olds. If you’ve ever been a fan of Jim and Pam over at The Office- you’ll love Lincoln and Beth.

Since reading this book I’ve also read Rowell’s 2nd book Eleanor and Park – which is again proves that she has a talent for time and place. At first I was mildly disappointed when I heard that her second book was a Young Adult (YA) – it seemed like what I thought was going to turn out to be a new favorite author was just going where the money was. I get that YA is where it’ at – it’s the “Cool Kids Table” of publishing these days. But after reading E&P I was impressed that if she was going to go there, at least she did it her way. She hits her sweet spot by setting the novel in the mid 80’s so she can once again get all the nuances of time and place, as well as the pop culture references, right. She must have kept some awesome journals as a teenager.

After two books I’m starting to feel about Rainbow Rowell books like I feel about John Hughes movies. Each one is different (thank god she isn’t falling for or getting pulled into the trilogy trap) and the one word that comes to mind when I think of her work is Authentic. It just feels real. Real people, real settings, real emotions and no one is perfect but there is always hope that things will work out for the best.
For that reason I’m really excited for her 3rd book which comes out this week: Fangirl. But at the same time I’m feeling a little trepidation – it’s YA again, coming of age and seemingly set in modern day, which takes her out of her own experiences, out of her sweet spot. I had hoped that she’s go back to writing something more grown up. That she would not get caught up in the YA label and market. Yes, the “Fan Girl” experience can be a bit timeless but, for an author that was won me over over with her authenticity… I feel like she is sailing into rocky water. And also, my tolerance for the YA/coming of age stuff is going to run fairly short when I know she can do so much more.
We shall see….if I remain a “Rainbow” fangirl myself after this.

Things I love on the internet this week

Time for the Friday round up of stuff that kept me entertained this week.

Baby Panda! Squeeeeee

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A new baby girl panda was born at the national zoo or Smithsonian Zoo or whatever they are calling it these days. You can watch Panda Cam here http://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/giantpandas/default.cfm

 

Making Fun of Apple Never Gets Old

 

Kids Say The Darnest Things..

Kids interviewed about their thoughts on marriage

http://dailynewsdig.com/how-do-you-decide-who-to-marry-written-by-kids/

My fav..

WHAT WOULD YOU DO ON A FIRST DATE THAT WAS TURNING SOUR?

I’d run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns.
-Craig, age 9

 

 

 

Dear Random Children of the Internet with Blogging Moms:

ImageI’m sorry.

You have been yelled at, threatened, slut shamed, and talked down to  by both your parents and your friends parents ad nauseum on the internet this week.

I’m not sure why, sometimes we just get in a mood. Truth is these letters aren’t about you really. They are about ourselves – or at least about the view of ourselves we want others to have. They have way more to do about the image we are looking to project to our peers than they actually do about any real parenting we’re trying to pull off.

That being said….

I promise to never write an open letter to either my children or their friends expressing my disapproval of whatever pop culture, social media, buzz worthy crap that has me teed off this week.

I realize it will just make me look judgy and kind of ridiculous and would in reality have absolutely nothing to do with actually communicating with or parenting you.

2 Million views would not be worth the inevitable embarrassment these kinds of posts must cause the children of the people involved.

Instead I promise to sit down and talk to you personally about what ever shit is going on. Or even in some cases keep my opinions to myself because  – I kind of give you credit for being pretty awesome people who don’t need to be preached at in person, much less over the internet.

That is all.

Carry On.

Mom

p.s. The cats are still fair game.