Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What do they say about opinions?

Oh yes...they're like assholes. Everybody has one. And some people can't keep them to themselves...therefore causing a sensitive soul like myself to take said opinions to the depths of my heart and then dwell on them for days.

If there's anything I've learned since my membership into the Motherhood Club, it's that everyone has their own methods. And you know what, as long as your kid is healthy, happy, growing and thriving...you do whatever works. Co-sleeping? Go for it. Extended breastfeeding? No judging here. Letting your kid eat dirt? Builds the immune system.

Recently, my methods as a mother have been called into question. Mainly that I need to have more patience with my crazy toddler (don't we all) and that me going out on a date once a week and leaving Rowan with his grandparents (who love him and he loves them) is clearly me putting him on the back-burner and not giving him the attention he deserves.

Breaking this down. Patience. I need more of it. Yes, I get frustrated when he dumps a sippy cup of milk on the carpet, throws the dinner I just prepared for him across the room, refuses to wear pants, takes the toilet paper roll and unravels it through the apartment, gets up 75 times a night so I only get one hour of sleep. I get it. I'm working on it. Yelling isn't the best solution and I need to figure out a better one. 

And here's the deal about this single mother business. I'm the sole caretaker of my crazy toddler monkey. Well, not quite. He does go to daycare full time. Would I love to be home with him part of the day? Yes. Is that possible? No. 

Apart from his days at daycare and every other weekend with his father (which is more like a day and a half), I'm it. It's just the two of us. I work full time. I take care of the apartment. Take care of Rowan's needs. Take care of the dog. Pay the bills. Do the grocery shopping. Do daycare drop off and pick up. Cook the meals. Pack the lunches. Kiss the boo-boos. Give baths. Read bedtime stories. Clean up spills. Give snuggles. Worry about paying for college, saving for retirement, whether or not Rowan will need therapy because he has divorced parents.

The weight of it all wears on me sometimes. It's suffocating. So, yes, I enlist the help of my parents, who are more than happy to spend time with their grandson. That is one of the main reasons I moved back to my hometown...for their help. And yes, I do see the man I'm dating once a week and Heaven forbid, sometimes twice. You know why? Obviously because I like him. But secondly because I'm looking towards the future. Not just for myself, but for Rowan. I want to give Rowan a sibling. I want to get married again and show him what a real, loving family looks like. I want a partner in my life to share the burdens and the joy. Am I going to marry this guy? I have no idea. But I won't know unless we establish a relationship where I see him more than twice a month.

Do I have guilt when I leave him in the care of someone else? Always. Every day when I drop him off at daycare. But I've come to accept that I need help...I need a break...it makes me a better mother.

So judge away. Rowan's happy, he's healthy, he's smart and thriving. And most of all, he's the number one man in my life and always will be. I'm just trying to keep my head above water, keep myself happy too and stay sane. I'll do me. You do you. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remember Me?

Oh, hey! Remember me? I used to blog. Like, 2 months ago? I'll go ahead and rattle off the list of excuses like I haven't had time, life got in the way, blah blah blah, you know the drill.

So what's been going on? Well, I'm still going out with Flower Guy and things appear to be going swimmingly, but I'm taking it one day at a time. Our busy schedules make it incredibly hard to see each other regularly, combined with a number of other factors...but I have date #7 tonight, so I'm looking forward to that :)

Rowan is going through a lovely stage of not eating anything ever. Except Goldfish crackers. Because, duh, they're the snack that smiles back. I don't blame him. 

Except, last night, he ate some pesto spaghetti squash and it was such a victory for me. But it'll probably never happen again.

I've also been really ramping up my workouts lately. I've been doing circuit training with weights and body weight exercises (I'm looking at you, burpees) and it's really kept me from getting bored. Plus, I don't have to spend over 30 minutes to get a good calorie burn. Which is good considering I don't even start my workouts these days until 8:30 PM. 

I've found some great websites with circuits (thanks Pinterest.) One of my best friends has also been writing some that we've committed to doing each week and holding each other accountable for. 

My fitness goals? Well, I'd like to lose an additional 5-10 pounds, but more than anything, I'd like to be stronger. More toned with more definition in my arms and abs (which...I don't think I've had since high school.) I did take some before pictures and will take them again in 30 days. But I'm not brave enough to share. Sorry.

Here's an example of a circuit I did this week...set your timer for 30 minutes and do AMRAP (as many rounds as possible):

100 high knees
90 mountain climbers
80 squats (I did mine holding a 10 pound kettlebell)
70 bicycle crunches
60 second plank
50 kettlebell swings
40 curl and press (20 per arm)
30 lunges
20 burpees
10 push ups

I should note that I still have to break some of these down into reps of 25 with a small break in between. I'm hoping that I don't have to do that soon. I can usually get through 2 rounds of this in 30 minutes. And then I feel like dying. And then I feel awesome. And the next day I feel sore. So many feelings.

I promise to blog more. Cross my heart. If anyone's still out there?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Then There's THAT First Date

So, I survived the weekend. Both dates and all. And I have to say, that one in particular went quite well.

Friday night was fine. The guy was nice, but a little on the difficult side to talk to. We met at a pub for a beer and were there for about 2.5 hours. A nice little goodnight hug at the end and we were on our merry way.

But Saturday. Oh, Saturday. I'd been talking to this guy for almost 2 weeks, and I could tell that we likely would really hit it off. The date started at 4 with a friendly competition of mini golf (and by friendly I mean cut-throat, because there's no such thing as a friendly competition.) I lost though and that makes me sad, but I'll just say that my focus wasn't where it should have been.

Then we headed to dinner where we sat and talked until 9, which is about the time the waiter started rolling his eyes. So then we hit up Starbucks until they kicked us out at their 10PM closing time. THEN we headed to Penn State's campus, where there was a little overlook and sat there to talk (and alright, maybe there was a kiss or two) until 12:30. If you're doing the math, that's an 8.5 hour first date.

We texted that night, the following day and made plans for this week. But the kicker? Oh man. About 1:30 PM on Monday at work, I get a call from the front desk. "Heather, you have a package I'm pretty sure you're going to want." Which I literally thought nothing of, since I frequently get packages of non-fun items at work. 

When I headed downstairs, I saw these beautiful flowers. Opened up the card, which said, "Because I know Mondays can be a drag, especially after the weekend we shared. Looking forward to more times with you." 

I mean, really...amazing. I couldn't stop smiling. So maybe some first dates aren't THAT bad. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Online Dating: Back at it!

Ah, yes. The Wonderful World of Dating. I’m back on the horse. And might as well dive in head first, right?

First of all, I went out with the other guy I referenced a while back. The one that I was texting with quite frequently and we were hitting it off. Well, the date went well. Or at least I thought it did? Haven’t really heard from him, so clearly, something went wrong to which I was blissfully unaware.

After a solid week of speculation and paranoia, I moved on from that one. Tinder is fun, but at the end of the day, I don’t think it’s really for serious relationships. I mean, maybe? I don’t know. But I was determined to get serious about this whole dating situation, so I signed myself up for Match.com. Yep. I did it. I sunk a whole $68 worth of my hard-earned money into 3 months worth of Online Dating. With a glass of wine and one of my best friends, we put together my profile and with a click of a button, it was out there. Come and get me, eligible bachelors within a 70 mile radius. As long as you don’t smoke, you want kids and have some kind of higher education.

As expected, I got some realllll winners on there. I mean, I can’t even tell you. One guy just sent me an email that said “Luv u.” Yep. Blocked him. Another? “Hello. Would you like to chat or go out to dinner?” How about you try to strike up a conversation first, buddy? Also...just for your visuals on this gentleman...tshirt with the sleeves cut off, jeans, beer gut, handle-bar mustache. Blocked him too. And for some reason, I’m real attractive to the 49 and over crowd. Really? Because my profile clearly states that I want more kids...and I’m not having them with your geriatric ass.

And Match has this really corny feature where you can wink at people, which I equate to the flirty version of a poke on Facebook. Silly. Didn’t stop me from doing it, but I blame the wine. Anyway, I started talking to a few guys and turns out, I really hit it off with one of them. Really hit it off. We’re headed out Saturday night.

I also have a date tonight with a guy from Tinder that actually went to the same college I did. Go ahead and be like “Play on playa.” I know, I know. But seriously, I had this date scheduled for 2 weeks...then the other guy came along and R is gone for the weekend and well, it just worked out.

Drinks tonight with Tinder Guy. Mini golf and possibly dinner tomorrow night with Match Guy. Yes, mini golf. Yes, I’m 5 years old. And I can’t even believe I agreed to possibly eat on a first date. I might vomit right now at the thought of trying to eat in front of someone of the opposite sex that’s actually attractive and has mating potential.

And on a completely related/unrelated? note...R has regressed in his sleep patterns. I blame it on this one last little bitch of a top two-year molar, but he’s been waking consistently for 2-3 hours every night and in turn, ends up in my bed. Eff. I swore upon all things holy that would not happen. Now here we are. Which leads me to the related part to the dating reference above…

I already have 26 pounds of Wiggle Pug grump in my bed and now I’ve added a 26 pound toddler. What if I want someone else in my bed? I think I’ve really screwed myself here. No pun intended.

This week, we work on sleep training. For the fur kid and the human kid. Send all the coffee. Also all the positive vibes for decent dates.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Story...The Final Chapter

I gave birth to a health baby boy in November 2012 via C-section. I was overjoyed and overwhelmed. The first several weeks of sleeplessness and constant nursing was certainly stressful, but I was so in love with my son that it didn’t matter.

It was clear my husband wasn’t sharing in the joy of our little family. I couldn’t feel a connection between the two of them. And I felt even less of a connection between the two of us. When my son was just 4 weeks old, I decided it was best for me to go stay with my parents for two weeks, while he figured out what he wanted. Surely all he needed was some time apart to realize that we were meant to be together.

Needless to say, the cliche “absence makes the heart grow fonder” did not ring true in our case. Although I was desperate to keep us together, he was not. My worst nightmare came true. He wanted a separation. A legal one. While I was away, he had found a potential roommate to help with the mortgage. This was really happening.

The reality of the situation hit me on the drive home from Home Depot, where I had just picked up several moving boxes. I had to pull over. I couldn’t see through my tears or breath through my sobs. I called my mom and asked her how I could possibly do this. I could literally feel my heart breaking. She assured me I was strong. I had to be strong. My son needed me. This was not the end of my life, just life as I knew it. Time to start again.

I knew I’d never make it as a single mother on my salary and child support where we lived. I had no family around. No one to help me with this tiny newborn for whom I was now responsible. After a LOT of tears, and phone calls and prayers, I found my best option was to move back in with my parents, 2.5 hours north.
I spent a week dividing possessions. Between c-section recovery, sleepless nights and endless nursing sessions, I packed as much as I could. Piece-by-piece, my son’s nursery that I’d spent months perfecting, disappeared into boxes.

My son was five and half weeks old when I left. It was two days before Christmas. I left behind my house. One of my beloved dogs. My job. My friends. My life as I knew it. The weight of what was happening to me was crushing. Suffocating. I drowned myself in my tears. Cried myself to sleep at night.

A glimmer of hope remained that this situation was temporary. Surely, he would miss us. He agreed to marriage counseling at a mid-point every other weekend. After which, we would hang out at the local mall so that he had time with our son. Our arrangement for visitation was every other weekend, but only when he reached 6 months old. I was exclusively breastfeeding on demand and it made no sense to have him stay an entire weekend that young.

The months wore on and it was clear he was becoming more distant. He began dating, which absolutely ripped me apart. Trying to “test the waters” and see “how others compared to me.” Oddly enough, he never dated the girl that came between us. At least not that I know of.

Though there were brief times when I believed we were on track to reunite, it ultimately didn’t end up that way. Our counselor actually told us there was nothing he could do. BOTH of us had to want to do the work and it was clear only one of us was willing to do that. Hurtful, damaging things were said. Words that could never be taken back. Words you don’t say to someone you love. After pouring my heart into trying to fix what had been broken, I realized that the cause was lost. He’d given up a long time ago and I was holding onto dust.

I filed for divorce in March. Some people don’t understand why I didn’t do it sooner, but I had to fight. I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I committed my life to this man and we had a son together. I wanted to be able to tell him when he was old enough that I did everything I could to keep his father and I together. After nearly a year and a half of fighting, however, I was all tapped out.

Luckily, we’re keeping it as civil as possible. There have been some really bad times, but now that I’ve come to accept that it’s over, we’re able to communicate a little more effectively. Seeing him every other weekend is hard on my psyche, but I must get used to it. We’re trying to co-parent as best as we can because my son will always remain my top priority.

The last year and a half has been a journey for me, from the depths of despair, back to a place of joy. It’s taken me as long to accept my new life and find happiness in it. There are desperate times of loneliness and days when delve into the past and try to make sense of what went wrong. I feel like those times will always hang around, but recently my good days have outnumbered the bad.

My (ex) husband has moved on. He has a girlfriend and she’s been around for a while. She spends almost every weekend my son is there with him. It rips me to shreds, but I have to accept it.

I’ve said it before and will say it a thousand more times...I’ve been incredibly blessed with amazing friends, family and coworkers. Honestly, without their support, I’m not certain I would have made it through.

Here’s to a new chapter. New journey. New life.

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Story...Part 1

Fact: Life throws you curveballs. Sometimes they’re fast, monstrous ones. Others just knock you slightly out of balance.

My curveball was fast, powerful and knocked me clean on my ass.

Here’s more of my story...

I had this wonderful marriage. We were a team. We made each other laugh. We had the kind of marriage that made other people envious. He was my best friend. We carved out this great life, things were going as planned. After an all-inclusive vacation to Costa Rica, we were throwing the birth control out, caution to the wind and trying to start our family.

It took longer than I thought it would to conceive. About 8 months...which in the grand scheme of things, really isn’t too long. We were thrilled when we found out. Even more thrilled when we found out it was a little boy. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my husband’s face. We assembled baby gear, decided on a name in early July. Then suddenly, things started to change.

It came on quick and strong. Suddenly, at 7 months pregnant, my husband was out at all hours of the night with a female coworker. Spending ENTIRE Saturdays with her. Just the two of them. He swore it was a friendship and I would never understand. He disregarded my pleas for him to come home and spend time with me, his pregnant wife. He was already traveling much of the time. He told me I only needed one day of his weekend. That was sufficient. You can imagine the hurt I felt. Though I continued to trust him that he wasn’t doing anything physically with this girl, it was more and more apparent that this friendship had grown into more of an emotional affair...which is more hurtful than anything else.

He refused to let me get to know her. Saying that I would make it awkward. After weeks of arguing, nights of me laying in bed crying, pregnant, miserable...I was fed up. He was clearly choosing another woman over me and it was unacceptable. He said he was doing nothing wrong. I was overreacting. Who was this guy?

I left for my parent’s house on Thursday in the middle of July. I couldn’t deal. I needed to get away. I couldn’t eat. Couldn’t sleep. Lost 5 pounds from all the stress...which certainly couldn’t be good for my unborn son. I came back that weekend and that week, he mentioned he wanted a divorce. I was shattered. I was only months away from giving birth. Surely he wanted to be there for him. I pleaded him to go to counseling. To reconsider. Our marriage was worth saving.

To counseling we went. He suddenly started taking me down, telling me everything that was wrong with me. My job wasn’t good enough, I didn’t contribute enough financially, I needed to lose weight, I didn’t want to move overseas for his job (something we both agreed wouldn’t be best), I was too “responsible”, I didn’t have enough fun...and the list goes on. The counselor blamed me. Stating my jealousy of this other woman was driving him away. I needed to let him do what he pleased. So, I took her advice. I stopped getting (outwardly) angry. I didn’t say anything when he was gone all week, then left at 10AM on a Saturday morning and didn’t return until midnight. But clearly, I couldn’t live like this. And our friends saw what was happening too. We had a surprise co-ed baby shower in September. He was an hour late. Why? He was taking said friend to the airport. He missed most of our baby shower.

However, I was still convinced that this was somehow him acting out and being scared about being a dad. I’d heard all kinds of stories of first-time dads being scared of the life change that comes with having a child. I truly thought once our son arrived, he would see how much he loved him and wanted our family to be together forever.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story...

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Sleepless Wonder

Sleep. I like mine. A lot. My kid? Meh...he’s not into it recently.

What started Sunday night as what I thought was a freak one-night thing, has drug out for this entire week. Monday morning, he woke up at 1:30 AM. For the day. He did not go back to sleep until his 12:30 PM nap. I did not go back to sleep until his 12:30 PM nap. I napped because I thought for sure he was sick (he threw up the day before) and therefore decided it best to stay home with him (since I surely could not function on an hour of sleep.)

Fine. Monday night. Round two. Up at 2 AM screaming “MOMMY!!!” and crying so loud I was certain my neighbor on the other side of the wall was going to call the cops. After trying to console him, bringing him milk, rocking him, hugging him, singing songs...I put him in my bed. I know, I know. Mistake of epic proportions. But you know what? He fell asleep around 5:30 and I got in one good hour before work.

Tuesday night. More of the same. Wednesday night. You guessed it.

The one super duper cute moment of the whole thing was when he woke up just before my alarm, poked me in the cheek, smiled and said “Hi, mommy!” Then proceeded to take out his binky and give me two big smooches right on the lips. I mean, how could I be mad?

But I’m tired. Way tired. Like, I’ve had three cups of strong coffee and it’s not making a dent tired. Taking a nap under my desk/on the toilet/in my car looks fabulous tired. And I’ve gotten an awful lot of “You look tired today” comments. Yeah. Thanks. I sure do. Did the bags under my eyes give it away? My yawns? Oh, it was probably me laying on my desk with my eyes shut.

And I gotta tell you, it’s nights like the ones I’ve had this past week, where I’d like to call his father at 3 AM and tell him to get his ass out of bed until I say he can go back to sleep. Then have him try to put a diaper and outfit on the dog, brush her teeth and stick her in the carseat. Although, I’m pretty sure that’s probably easier.

And for those momma’s in the same boat...this article nails it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Things I Like

What a sweet name for a post, right? Well, it's pretty self-explanatory. I like things. And there are things I like currently that I think you should like too. Let's dig right in...

Because I won't ever deny that I like to jump on the band wagon every now and then, in my world of entertainment...

The Fault in Our Stars: I should preface this by saying, I'm only into the occasional novel with the main plot being a romance. But every once in a while, there is a novel, whereby love is a feature, that I enjoy. Not only enjoy, but really provides perspective on life, love and all things deep and philosophical. This...this book is worth your time. And trust me, give yourself 3 days max. No way you're putting this down.

Orange is the New Black: I mean, obviously, right!? I resisted this because the plot didn't sound all that appealing. But then I watched one episode and I was hooked. Worthy of Netflix binge for sure.

Spotify: I know, I know. I'm WAY late to the party on this one. I love it way more than Pandora. If only I could stream it all day every day without using my data...

Speaking of music...looking for some new bands to tickle your eardrums? Allow me to introduce you to The Cinema and The 1975. Kind of Indie, kind of punk, kind of emo, kind of pop. Give it a listen.

In the world of snacks...

Cornbread crackers. Nothing short of addictingly delish in a dangerous way. If you like cornbread, these are for you. If you don't like cornbread...well...you should move along.

And then...there are these. They play with your mind because they're made with veggies and you think you're eating healthy. But then you eat the whole bag. That's not healthy. Or sensible portions for that matter.

In the world of my health...

Pinterest Home Cross-Fit Type Workouts...this being my current fave...

--not for the weight loss, just for the tone

Now, I haven't dropped 10, but it would help if I didn't eat a bag of veggie sticks. Check out my "Don't Be a Fatty" Pinterest board for more like this.

And for more eating, my daily breakfast for the last 6 weeks. And I'm not even tired of it yet. Also, my kid eats it. And there is spinach!!

Sneaky Smoothie

1 cup spinach
1/2 cup almond coconut blend milk
3 tablespoons greek vanilla yogurt (I use Dannon Light and Fit Vanilla)
1 frozen banana 
1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter
Optional - 1 tsp chia seeds

Blend all together. Delish. You can only taste banana and peanut butter.

I like a lot more things, but I think this is pretty good for now. Tell me what other things I should like! 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Mom Next Door

I am beyond excited to be featured on Tabitha's blog today, over at Team Studer. She is doing a great series telling the stories of all different moms and I'm honored to be chosen to participate.

Tab is a momma that I certainly admire and look to for creativity and positive vibes. Head on over her way and check out my story about being a single mom!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


So, I know I have you all just dying to know how my date went. Allow me to update you.

It didn’t go.

Ah, yes. What an entrance back into the dating world. I got ditched. After we discussed a venue/day, I texted to ask about time and he all but fell off the face of the earth. Something I said? I do believe it may have to do with the fact that I have a child.

But you know what? That’s ok. R and I are a package deal, and if you can’t handle it, I can’t handle you. Although, I should say it’s slightly disheartening. I’m a mom and that’s a huge part of my life, but it’s not the only part of me. Take some time to get to know me first before you judge. I think this will be a challenge that I’ll face for sure.

I do think it’s different for guys with a child. My ex has my son every other weekend, at best. Meaning, his schedule allows him the freedom to pick up and go when he pleases, make weeknight dates without worrying about a sitter. And although I’d never want it any other way, it makes his ease of dating just a little easier. He essentially plays house every other weekend and that’s it.

He has a girlfriend. He’s had one since not long after we split. Obviously, it came easy to him and I think that has to do with the fact that he escaped the ordeal unscathed. Not only am I skeptical about getting into another relationship, I’m skeptical of putting my heart back out on the line. Relying on someone else to define my happiness. Because, if we’re being honest, I’m more than a little broken. My heart is barely whole and I’m not certain it can handle being smashed to pieces again.

I’ve been talking to a few other guys. One in particular. We’ll see how far it goes. For now, there’s only one boy with my heart. He likes trains, bugs and hates vegetables, but he sure is cute.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

First Dates

Dating post-divorce is kind of tricky. I mean, dating post-any relationship is tricky I suppose.

My (now ex) husband and I met in college, and you know how dating is in college. You hang out in each other’s dorm rooms, drink beers, play drinking games, eat together in the cafeteria and if you want to get really fancy, go to Applebee’s on a Friday night. First dates weren't filled with awkward small talk. You usually started in a group with no pressure. Pretty easy.

Also, guys were plentiful in college. You knew where to find the single ones. Class. Bar. School events. Clubs. You get the idea.

That all being said, we got together when I was 20. If you do the math (ok, I’ll do it for you,) it’s been 11 years since I’ve been on a first date.

Enter dating post-divorce with a child. Could things get any more complicated? Probably, but this seems complicated enough for now. Lucky for me, there’s the World Wide Internet Webs chock-full of dating websites where people in my situation (and weird people) can meet each other with no pressure. Then decide if you’d like to take it a step further and <<gasp>> meet in person.

After a year and a half of no dates/not even being interested in seeking any kind of relationship short or long term, I guess I finally hit the point where I felt like it was time to have a looksee at what the outside world had to offer. So, being that I get out so much <<eye roll>> I signed up for this SUPER fun and addicting (and free) online dating app (with encouragement from friends and prosecco) called Tinder. If you’re single and ready to mingle, do yourself a favor and sign up, even if it’s just for the sheer entertainment of it all.

In theory, Tinder is ridiculously superficial. Essentially, you pick an age range and location, link to your Facebook account and you’re off. You’re presented with pictures of peeps matching your settings and a mere 400 character description. Swipe right if you like them, left if you don’t. If you both like each other, you get a fun chime and you’re a MATCH. Then you can talk to each other in this really inconvenient chat function. And if you hit it off with someone, you exchange numbers and then maybe you go on a date.

So, yeah. I just finished up the exchange of numbers/getting to know each other text talk and am setting out on my first first date in 11 years this weekend. He’s 28. Just call me Cougar. We’re headed to a winery for a little tasting/tour and to share a glass. A wise friend once told me to not agree to dinner for the first date because if you don’t hit it off, you’re stuck with their company for at least 2 hours. Good advice, I’d say.

Once setting up said date, I got all teenage girl and had a minor meltdown. But what do I wear? What do I do when we meet? Hug? Cheek kiss? Hand shake? Butt slap? Fist bump? Who pays? Do I offer to pay?  Am I overthinking this? Thank goodness this is a first date that involves wine, because I think we can all come to the conclusion I need a glass to relax my nerves. Wish me the best of luck.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Life Lately

It’s been a month since I’ve sat down to write for the ol’ blog. I guess you could say that life got in the way.

First, and most importantly, I moved. As in, moved out of my parent’s house where R and I had been staying for the last year and a half, post-separation. Before I moved back, I was on my own for 8 years. It was a hard transition for a lot of reasons, as you could imagine.

1. I have a toddler. Said toddler can be contained/contented/happy when there’s more than one person attending to his needs. I took down the 3:1 ratio to 1:1. I’m feeling like a need an extra set of hands. If only Wiggles had opposable thumbs…

2. Instead of running every single thing related to R’s health and well-being by my mother, I’ve got to make some snap decisions by myself. Should I give him Tylenol? Does his poop look funny? What’s this red spot on his face? Does he feel warm? Good thing my mom is a phone call and 4 minute drive away. Also, I’m not above texting pictures of my kid’s poop.

3. I have to pay ALL the bills again. Guh. No one likes bills. I’d been lucky to cut my bills in half by cohabitating with the fam. The bills are back. So is a household budget. Boo, boo, double boo to that. I’m slightly nervous about this whole “One income household” gig, but if I did my budgeting right (math isn’t my strong suit), plus the added child support, we should be fine. And there may even be some extra leftover for an economical box o’ wine for me. And chocolate. Definitely chocolate.

4. It’s kinda lonely. R speaks in mostly unintelligible two-word sentences. I’m sure he’s going to be a fine conversationalist in the next few years, but until then my adult conversation after 5:00 PM will be limited to visits from family, phone calls with friends and episodes of trashy reality TV. Unless I find a mate. Which, by the way, I’ve dipped my toe into the world of online dating. More on that later.

5. Oh, and the worst part (get ready for me to sound incredibly spoiled and prissy...go ahead and judge me) I don’t have central air. GASP! Window units are what I’m working with. Which will be fine, once I figure out how to get the place to one decent temperature. Also, electric burners instead of gas. And no garbage disposal.  And wallpaper. And a green and blue toilet. I swear, I’ll post photos.

But the place is mine, all mine. I was able to get my stuff out of storage and opening boxes was like Christmas. I was reminded of things I forgot about, reminded of things I didn’t take (Keurig...stupid decision.)

Time for R and I to make our own memories as a little, teeny family unit. Lucky for us, my sister’s place is literally right down the hill. I mean, I can walk there in 3 minutes. It’s beyond convenient. She and I are dreaming of the days that our boys can play together, while we sit in one place for more than 5 minutes. We’re thinking about digging a tunnel between the two places. Ahhhh.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Parenting Class Graduate

A few weeks ago, I received a lovely letter in the mail from the State of Pennsylvania. It’s contents? Well, simply put, it stated that since I was involved in a custody situation (i.e. from the divorce, seeking shared custody of R), I was required by the court to attend a state-mandated class on co-parenting. For the low, low price of $60 (money order only...who gets a money order?!) I was able to attend a class where there were NO snacks or beverages. What a rip.

Anyway, I got up and made myself look pretty decent, considering I was up most the night with a sick baby. I drove up, 10 minutes early, coffee in hand, ready to perhaps meet my second husband...a single, broken-hearted divorcee with one child, a sparkling smile, witty personality and respectable employment.

Newsflash: I walked into the class and it took me .35 seconds to realize I would NOT be meeting my future second husband there. At risk for sounding incredibly stuck-up and arrogant, I’ll say this with the utmost humility...I was the most respectable person in the room. For a few reasons.

  1. I was the only person there without a mass amount of tattoos. For instance, the gentleman in front of me sporting a ripped t shirt and cut off jorts, had an interesting conglomeration of tats on his leg. I could only see half, but there was a bike chain in the shape of a “B”, nun-chucks and a pair of crutches. I spent most of the class figuring out the story behind them.
  2. I’m hazarding a guess here, but I would go out on a limb to say that I was one of the only attendees without a criminal record.
  3. The teacher introduced himself and stated that he was a therapist at the local maximum security prison.
  4. When bathroom breaks were given, I was one of two people who actually went to the bathroom instead of out the door to suck on a cancer stick.

These four factors left me wondering a few things. Surely, I couldn’t be the only decent person in the county getting divorced. My lawyer told me this class was a necessary evil, but maybe everyone else knew something I didn't?

Now, I’m not completely knocking the class. There was useful information. Most common sense. But most likely, the people that need it most, will not listen. We watched an informative video about the effects of divorce on children. Which then made me have a complex about the rest of R’s life and how I might have ruined him for the future.

But then I realized that, thus far, the ex and I have had a fairly reasonable co-parenting experience, which we can hopefully continue. This was affirmed to me when I heard the lady in back of me pipe up with, “My ex don’t pay me no child support. He ain’t worth nothin’. I don’t need him anyway. I’m an independent woman.”

Get it, girl. Holla at yo ladies.

Don’t worry, I’ve successfully graduated from co-parenting class. I even have a certificate to prove it. Perhaps I’ll frame it and hang it on my wall at the new place.

Nah. I’ll put it in R’s scrapbook.

I finished out my day in the ER with R, as he was diagnosed with RSV and an ear infection. I swear, someday this kid will either be immune to all communicable diseases, or he’s prepping to be an Avenger.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Virtually Familiar

Sometimes a moment throws you into a memory. The note of a familiar song, a certain scent, a phrase mumbled innocently by a passerby.

Today, I got lost so deep in memories that I had to really shake myself back to reality. I had to look something up on Google maps and this location was equipped with ever-convenient and incredibly fascinating street view option. The place I was looking up, happened to be in a Baltimore suburb that I frequented during my 4 years of residence.

For a solid 20 minutes, I virtually navigated from my original destination on the map, down several streets and practically into the neighboring town. I was transported back to a time in my life that I will forever cherish. I could practically smell the scent of my overheated car, rolling down the highway at a blinding 15 miles per hour. Yes, traffic on the Beltway kicked my butt almost daily. One fender bender or tiny rain drop sent the traffic lining up as far as the eye could see. Making my blood pressure rise and my gas gauge fall. Such is city life.

I could smell the Old Bay on hot crabs and could hear the cracking of a cold beer. So many nights were spent with good friends, a bucket of crabs and a cooler of beer.

I felt the carefree feeling I had on a Friday afternoon on my way home to a  weekend full of possibilities with my husband. We’d often fire up the grill, open a bottle of wine and spend a warm spring evening on the deck, watching the dogs chase each other in our sprawling yard until it was so dark, all we could see was the twinkling of lightning bugs.

Weekends were spent taking care of household tasks, seeing friends, eating great food at tiny, family-owned restaurants throughout the two counties we frequented. Sundays were great for naps of unlimited length, loads of laundry and binge-watching the latest TV series we’d discovered on Netflix.

Then the ringing of the phone jolted me back to reality. These are the moments when I cling to the past and long for a former life.

My commute is now one without traffic and typically predictable. My warm spring evenings are spent chasing a laughing little boy around the yard, followed by a 7 PM bath time and a mad dash to get everything together for the following day. My Friday afternoons are spent either in the car for two hours dropping R off with his dad, or figuring out how to get him to eat something other than goldfish crackers for dinner. Visiting with friends is a rare treat and eating out is even rarer. Although, I do continue to watch Netflix, just not in rapid succession. Naps? I wish there were more.

These are the times I must be sure to shake myself from the impending inner emotional outcry and remember that I have a thousand things for which I can be thankful. Dwelling on the past never did much for anyone, I presume. Sometimes, though, these moments come without warning and though you may lose yourself in time travel, you must always find your way back to the present and realize you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Mom Fail

I have every intention of not making this a tried and true “Mom Blog”, but here’s the truth of the matter. I’m a mom. I blog. The two shall converge. Especially because 98.9% of my life is my son. Let’s call son “R” for the sake of this blog and the land of crazy Internets.

As a mom, I try to be a realist. R is a boy through and through. He’s rough, falls a LOT, wants to eat dirt, play with bugs, fart in the bathtub. All those things that are gross and dangerous. I try my best to strike a balance between danger and a “boys will be boys” mentality.

Then you have what I like to call Mom Fails. Situations where motherhood has failed you. Or you have failed motherhood. Or both. Being a single mom I must realize that as much as I try to prevent them, these things happen. With that being said, my first true “Mother of the Year” moment was just this week at daycare.

Daycare is a magical place where R goes to play with his friends, share ridiculous amounts of germs, make poops and throw tantrums for someone other than me.

Daycare also comes with notes, shoved in diaper bags and lunch boxes that get lost in the abyss. Some notes are important like, YOUR SON NEEDS DIAPERS OR HE MUST POOP IN NEWSPAPER. Other notes say things like “Tomorrow is Wear Green Day, World Rat Day, Kiss a Frog Day.” Don’t care.

Well, apparently, I missed the note about the Easter Egg Hunt. Which detailed that each child should bring 6 filled eggs, plus a special basket of treats in order to participate in a super funtastic event.

Guess who didn’t have eggs? Or treats? Or a basket? Yes. My son. Luckily, I was not the only mom who neglected this note. And even more luckily, the teachers had extra eggs so that R wasn’t completely missing out on the fun.

Mom fail.

Most lucky of all, R is still young enough that he can’t form memories. Or know that his mom messed up majorly. I don’t think I have to start the “Things for R to Discuss in Therapy” list until he’s like...3? 4?

But before you start to be all like “Poor R. His mother neglected Easter fun and treats,” I’ll have you know this child is far from neglected. He has already received an Easter basket with many treats including outfits and Elmo paraphernalia, Little Tikes Grill, toy lawnmower and at least 2 Easter baskets on the way. In the grand scheme of things, I think missing the daycare egg hunt is a blip on the radar.

Guess I should read those daycare notes a little more carefully next time, eh?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Four Reasons Toddlers Are Like Tiny Drunks

Shhhh Toddler Sleeping You Wake It (her/him/them) You Take It (her/him/them) - Front Door Sign on Etsy, $8.00

When you sit and think about it, dealing with a toddler is most certainly like dealing with a tiny drunk person. This thought came to my mind last night as I was picking my screaming son off the floor after I wouldn't let him drink the bubbles straight from the bottle. How inconsiderate of me. I mean, they were non-toxic after all.  So, here’s a few likenesses between a toddler and a drunk.

1. Beer tears? Toddler tears? Same diff, I say. You know how you have one too many cranberry vodkas and all of the sudden you’re reminded of all the wrongs in your life? Then, suddenly you’re spraying your tears and blubbering on the shoulder of whoever happens to have the pleasure of standing next to you? No? Just me. Whatevs. Well, my toddler’s teary tantrums bear a slightly eerie resemblance to the irrational episodes of emotional madness I’ve seen at many bars. I cut your banana in chunks instead of slices? How inconsiderate of me, young man. This absolutely calls for you to run your tear ducts dry.

2. Lack of reasoning. Have you ever tried to reason with a drunk? Tried to argue with them? It’s pointless. Any small thing can set them off. You might as well be arguing with my sassy pug, King Wiggles. In one ear, out the other. Once my toddler throws himself into an undeniable tantrum, reasoning with him as to why he should eat his dinner instead of smash it in his hair is moot. Most days, I let him smash his taters into his silky locks and throw him right into the tub post-meal. No shame in that game.

3. Treads on the cusp of danger. When you’ve had too many Miller Lites, sometimes you deem yourself invincible. Things that you would normally never do, seem like the best idea EVER. Like, running around the neighborhood in your underwear. Trying on the dog’s shock collar. Things like that. For a toddler, treading the line between danger and sanity is a daily occurrence. What would it be like to shove a pea up my nose? Jump off this high couch? Touch this hot oven? Eat this bug? Run my head into this wall? You get the idea. I feel like I’m one teensy step ahead of a full-on disaster most days of the week.

4. Physical inability. Then there’s the worst drunk of all. The drunk that goes all flimsy on you. The one that can’t stand up. Can’t sit down. Walking? Nope. A slithery, boneless mass of dead weight that you most certainly need to figure out how to get from Point A (bar) to Point B (home.)  I don’t know about you, but my son goes limp when in full melt-down mode. Like, a slimy wet noodle. Snot, tears, floppy limbs. Trying to pick him up off the floor is virtually impossible, but somehow I make it happen.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my son. When he’s happy, he’s the best. Full of life and love. I could listen to him make kitty cat noises and call for Elmo all day long. But these tantrums? I could do without. However it’s just a phase. This too shall pass. In the meantime, when you hear a tiny child screaming amidst the aisles of your local Target or you’ve agreed to play DD to a gaggle of drunks, think of me.