Thursday, December 23, 2010

Imperfect Christmas Wishes

The most wonderful time of the year started with me having an intestinal bug so severe My Beloved stayed home from work to care for Baby Henry because I was too sick to get out of bed. Today, with all the kids home and so full of mischief (as a euphemism for the words I'd like to use) even threats of calling Santa, the naughty list, or No Christmas celebration at all, have fallen on, pardon the pun, deaf ears.
I instituted a mandatory nap time, so everyone is currently taking some time out in their rooms, and I began to clean out the microwave (I suspect my parents notice my sometimes icky microwave, so I clean it before they come). I suddenly had thoughts of the most perfect mother, Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus. How "perfect" was she feeling 9 months pregnant all those years ago? I know that Christmas tests my marriage, can you imagine the position she was in and the strain on their relationship? Remember, God chose for his son to be born to real people, she must have had a little heartburn or a few cravings, and we know Joseph had some doubts about his gal too, it's even in the bible.
So in my imaginings, Mary was a little stressed, and maybe even a little snippy with old Joseph, and I am going to give myself a break. Sweet, flour-covered, apron wearing mothers are rarely just that, and if they are, they are trying to sell me something in 60 seconds, I'm on to you Betty Crocker.
I am going to try to give up worry about the perfect outfit to wear to my in-laws, or if I have some new recipe to dazzle my dad, or the absolute ideal of a gift to present to my mother. I am going to let go of my need to have all the presents wrapped and the glass surfaces of my home fingerprint free before my sisters newest beau comes over. Will he remember me for my clean glass surfaces? Unlikely.
I am going to look to someone else this Christmas season for inspiration, instead of combing through Martha Stewart magazines for a recipe, I'm going to take a minute to be thankful to the ultimate mom and remember, whether it's the cleanest house or a manger made of hay, Christ's birth is coming and people are coming to visit and I should be thankful I have a partner to help with the small talk.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Somebody Has To Do It

"If it is to be it's up to me." - William Johnson

Tonight I worked hard to fulfill My Beloveds fantasies, I helped him with yard work. While I was trudging back and forth across the yard with heavy shovelfuls of dirt to fill holes in various parts of the lawn, I began thinking of that quote. I am sure, when I originally heard it I thought it was brilliant and so inspirational (I must have been in high school). Now I realize it as the bittersweet truth that comes with motherhood and wifedom. If it is to be, I darn well better do it, or else it probably won't get done.*
The wet load of laundry forgotten in the washing machine on Sunday night, still there because no one is missing the clothing that are currently mildewing. The bag that needs to be packed before we go to the water park tomorrow, fall soccer sign up, booking a rental car for our trip to Maine, how about finding a load of wood chips for the front landscaping? A dump truck load should be fine!
I am not complaining so much as I am in awe over the sheer amount of responsibility I have. I can't just decide not to buy milk, or soap, or dog food. Someone has to run the dishwasher, someone has to get school supplies for the kids. The moment I got married I was agreeing to take care of someone for the rest of my life. The instant I became pregnant with Little Monica I was essentially begging for MORE responsibility, and then again with Norah, and why not a third time with Baby Henry?
Fortunately for me I made a good choice in life partner, My Beloved occasionally remembers to start the dishwasher, and takes full responsibility for the trash, recycling, and most of the lawn maintenance (except for nights like tonight), as well as sharing the parenting of our little posse.
Somedays I want to run away, but most times I love the job security, and most times I am thankful to have My Beloved.
Although I am considering devoting a day a year to "If it is to be, it's up to someone else." That day you will find me at the spa.

*No husband blame intended

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Making Life a Little Sweeter

It's amazing what a little time away will give a girl in terms of perspective. Yesterday I helped my parent's out with a wedding they were photographing, check them out here. I make some extra cash, they get some extra help. Everyone wins.
I came home to My Beloved reading How The Grinch Stole Christmas (we celebrate all year) to 3 happy, pajama'd children. So what if it was an hour or more past bedtime. Not sure if they were just glad that the day with dad was over or they were really happy to see me, but I'll take what I can get.
I kissed Norah goodnight, made promises that I would help her organize her jewelry in the morning (better get on that!), sang Baby Henry a few of my greatest hits, then listened patiently as Monica gave me a laundry list of all the things Daddy had done (or more specifically NOT done) while I was gone. Including not feeding them lunch until almost 3pm, and he took them to Burger King, when I had specifically said to eat at home! He also made them work all day in the yard and by the way did I want her to tell me what he got me as a birthday present?
I came downstairs to a handsome husband preparing a plate of crackers and Kaukana spreadable cheese (my favorite), a cool glass of generic Crystal Light with ice, but first I had to come outside and tour the yard to see all the hard work he and the kids had done all day, including pulling out several of the bushes I'd been complaining about. I guess my approval is stronger currency than I'd realized!
Life is Good. Today.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


So I am in a great mood today. Let me tell you. It is the height of summer, the weather is grand and I am ready to run. AWAY. Seriously. I've stayed away from blogging when I've been in a bad mood for fear of scaring you all, but today I've just had enough. I am ready to explode. Rather than let My Beloved have it (on his birthday, no less) I've opted to spew my dissatisfaction with the blogosphere.
I know I should be grateful for this stay at home mom gig I've got going, but while I love my kids, patience is not a virtue I possess in great quantities. I attempt to do things that seem fun and motherly, but those things generally end up with one or more children getting an angry look at least, and sternly talked to or arm squeezed at most. Luckily for them, I'm generally against spanking.
I've read the parenting books, I've tried to categorize my children so I can best parent them, to no avail, I've yet to read a book to give me advice on how to respond to a child who is stabbing her brother with the sharp end of a cucumber at the farmer's market (yes, cucumber's have a sharp end). I guess I should be thankful we weren't at a cutlery store! I'm trying people, really I am.
One of my dearest friends, the mother of 5 (with one more on the way) regularly takes her kids out in public to Trader Joe's and the like, and doesn't even break a sweat. I've seen her, she's that smooth.
I just don't get it. I take the kids to Target to buy a birthday cake for their dad, I even spring for frosting in a can, and Baby Henry bites into the box of cake mix so we had to have a super friendly (in a mocking, childless person sort of way) Target person get us a new box as we held up the line for everyone behind us, not to mention he was covered in cake mix. I know I shouldn't care, right? But I do, and I feel tremendous guilt.
Why when I take the kids to the pool do 2/3 of them refuse to swim? Norah marches over to a lawn chair lays out a towel and proceeds to spray sunscreen all over, it's only a matter of time before she realizes it's not sunscreen she wants. Baby Henry is content to sit on my lap in the hot sun, arms wrapped tightly around my neck as though the water might touch him. Meanwhile, my friends children are cannonballing off the sides of the pool, periodically needing their goggles adjusted and leaving their mothers in peace to gossip by the side of the pool. I could be so lucky.
What gives? It's hard to be happy and cheerful when I'm the one that waits all day for My Beloved to come home for some adult conversation and he tells me he can't wait to go to bed, to SLEEP! It's hard not to wonder what I'm doing wrong when other people seem happy and relaxed at the pool and I can barely remember swim diapers, let alone water bottles!
Someday I know the kids will be older and won't need me as much, I will miss my Baby Henry as an accessory, Norah's quirkiness will be part of her signature style and Monica will be my cautious adventurer. Someday My Beloved and I will have all the time in the world to talk and pursue our own interests...but until then, I just needed to bitch a little. Thanks.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father of The Year

As much as I sometimes want to devote entire blog posts extolling the virtues of My Beloved, I generally refrain, as my love and adoration for some of his virtues ebbs and flows (Sometimes I love his biting wit, other times, not so much). Today though, in honor of Father's Day I will share a few things that I love about My Beloved and why he's a such a great dad.
When you get married, before you have children you only have an inkling of the commitment required to be a parent. Before the blessing of babies, you have no idea just how consumptive they are of all things, big and small.
Yesterday, after a long day of work and running our garage sale we decided to go out to eat to a family restaurant. We divided up sides of the booth, 3 on one side, 2 on the other. Just as My Beloved began to take a bite of his juicy, much longed for cheeseburger he felt a tug on his arm, and he looked down to see Baby Henry smiling as he happily pulled a scab off of My Beloveds arm (from an earlier landscaping injury). Instead of getting angry, My Beloved looked across the table into my eyes, smiled and said "We've reached a new low, even scabs aren't sacred." Strangely my eyes filled with tears at the love I share with someone who is so deeply entrenched in parenting that even really gross things are some how meaningful.
Did I ever imagine 12+ years ago that the highlight of our days would be a successfully executed bedtime routine, when we operate like a well-oiled machine transforming wild, grubby, noisy children into sleeping angels, incapable of nothing but sweetness (note I said sleeping!) until morning? No, I somehow thought it would be more exciting and glamorous, or at least I would be more fashionably dressed, and significantly thinner in my imaginings.
Nevertheless, My Beloved does not disappoint in the fatherhood area, is he always perfect, NO WAY. Does he sometimes yell? Yes. Does he occasionally swear in front of the kids? Yup. Do they often repeat these swear words? Of course, but only when it's really embarrassing for me. For the big stuff though, the man I married is Father of the Year. He works incredibly hard for our family, both at the office and at home. He tries hard to teach our kids lessons in everything he does. This summer he and the kids designed and planted a garden in the backyard, which was somewhat bigger and more work than he bargained for, I think. So far so good, although I'll be interested to see how some of the more exotic things turn out (planting our own cantaloupe for instance). This endeavor has been enriched by our family foray into composting, and everyone is into that. The kids now beg to see how the food scraps are rotting in the backyard compost bin, can you say EXCITING?
So while this life of rotting compost and scabs was not what I imagined when I met my husband, I would choose it again in a heartbeat, scabs and all.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Man In Motion

This week has been a big week for our family. Little Monica is completing 2nd grade and moving up a group in gymnastics, Norah is graduating from pre-school, and Henry is completing his first full week in a big boy bed. We have been busy!
We have also completed a journey that at times I truly believed would never end. Rory, my Beloved, completed and presented his thesis today. Six years ago when he began this journey we were a happily married couple with one child living in the first home we'd ever purchased, and did we have a lot to learn.
Sometimes I think that movies portray these life journeys in a montage set to a tune (I'm hearing the St. Elmo's Fire theme here). The road is hard, the mountain is steep and the protagonist ultimately makes it to the end of his journey victorious, with a sweat soaked brow and a hot babe waiting at the finish line.
That was not the journey we have been on for the past 6 years. Our road has been mostly gravel, with a lot of stumbling, bruises, skinned knees and hands, and at the end of Rory's journey he did have sweat soaked brow and was victorious, and the hot babe at the end was not a busty blond, but me.
While completing graduate school will give My Beloved 3 new initials after his name (M.P.H.) and a nice diploma, ultimately completing this degree is a sign of the true strength within the man I married. He is certainly not the "dumb jock" I thought he might be the first time we met, but rather he is the smart, sensitive guy who finishes what he started, despite the adversity he may face.
By completing this degree he serves as an example to our children of perseverance and tenacity. With time they should forget the part about MAJOR procrastination and Coca-Cola consumption.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

At Long Last

If you don't have anything nice to say...take a break from blogging. Alas that's been the reason for my hiatus from blogging. I've been pretty stressed and overwhelmed for the past few months and opted out of offending my readers by turning my blog into a bitch fest. Trust me, you should be thanking me.
That said, I am back and cracking under the pressure to offer some tidbit of something that intrigues you enough to keep reading. So I think I'm going to keep this one short, and it might be lame. You were warned.
Summer vacation is banging down the door, and while I remember it fondly from my younger years, as a mother I am filled with both anticipation and dread. 3 months with my children 24/7. My Beloved and I sat down mid-May and tried to sketch out the summer plans, we didn't want our kids to be over scheduled, and we wanted to spend time enjoying our new home. We also wanted to head East to Maine. After careful planning on our part we penciled in plans for various activities, and times we'd head to WI to see family. One week to go and we've already blown our carefully laid June plans to pieces.
I won't lie to you though, I am nervous about being home with the kids, not because I don't adore them, I do, just separately. As a group I would say it's about 90% arguing, fighting, shouting, nagging, whining, and 10% wonder, joy, smiles, happiness and butterflies. Strangely that 10% is usually worth it.
As I've mentioned before, we are working hard to be debt free so that somewhat limits what the kids and I can do. Unfortunately, Jimmy John cannot make lunch for us everyday, we simply can't afford it. My kids are 8, 5, and 2, so they aren't exactly interested in the same things, we've signed up for a few things but are planning on using our YMCA membership to it's fullest. Outdoor pool here we come.
I am going to try to offer healthy snack choices and we are enforcing some rules and chores. I am going to try not to be resentful of My Beloved when he comes home and wants more family time (at this point I usually want to run out the door.) I am going to try to keep my yelling to a minimum. I am going to play with my kids and stay away from Facebook. If I succeed even halfway at this I will consider our summer a success. If not, well, there's always next summer.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Opening Up

Last night was kindergarten registration. We took Norah, who is almost 5 and she was so excited. I was excited, but mostly scared. Scared because I can't control the future, the world, the noises around her, I can't make her hear everything that I hear.
Norah was diagnosed as hard of hearing at 3 1/2 years old. Norah wears hearing aids.
Some of you may be wondering how we could have missed something so important as hearing, but we were so focused on Norah's brain development, Norah's milestones declaring her normal, her tone, and being seizure free and off seizure medication. The fact that she talked less than her sister and was naughtier than most seemed like little things in the trade off.
Norah was a VBAC gone terribly wrong. If you don't know that term I'll let you look it up yourself. My pregnancy was uneventful, my prenatal care was 2nd to none, and we were financially ready for an addition to our family. What we didn't count on was poorly managed labor and delivery and a helicopter ride to the Mayo Clinic for a baby with Apgar scores of 1. We certainly didn't plan for the seizures that followed an the scary diagnosis of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. Statistically Norah is a miracle that she is alive. More miraculous is that she is not severely disabled.
When Norah was 3 we were told our naughty girl was by all pediatric neurologists criteria beautifully, perfectly normal and she had passed her newborn hearing screening. Why would we suspect anything?
When we went to the MN mandated preschool screening Norah did exceptionally on all the academic testing. Then came the hearing tests, she raised her hand for some of the beeps but after awhile decided she was bored and started misbehaving. I sat lamely next to her trying to coax her to raise her hand when I (without headphones on) could hear the beeps. Why was she being such a brat? The person performing the test suggested we come back in 6 months and retest her when she was more mature.
At this point I took matters into my own hands, I wasn't waiting 6 months for my miracle child to pass a hearing test. The first pediatrician told me she must have fluid on her ears. We should give her an antihistamine. We tried that for a week and I came back. Still Norah was awful after the first few beeps. The pediatrician said we should take her to an audiologist, so I made an appointment. When I went to the appointment I was fully educated on ear tubes. I was completely blindsided when the audiologist very flatly told me "Your daughter has severe high-frequency hearing loss and will need hearing aids." Then she told me to make a follow up appointment and sent me on my way.
After some stops and starts we finally found our way to Dr. Jennifer at the U of MN. She changed our worlds from Norah on up. Pediatric audiology is a specialty I never knew existed, but am thankful for everyday.
The day Norah began wearing hearing aids was the worst day of my life. She was getting a lot of new information that she wasn't sure she wanted. She must have pulled them out 500 times and I put them in 501. I was crying she was crying. The next day we were down to 200 times, then 50, and on the fourth day she told us "I think I love my hearing aids." They have been in ever since except bedtime.
Sometimes at bedtime, when Norah is asleep I go into her bedroom and hold her. I look at her little perfectly formed ears without their hearing aids and I feel sad. I feel sad for her, I feel sad for me. I feel afraid for the future and I feel angry. Angry that her hearing loss was preventable. The 15 minutes after her birth where she wasn't breathing damaged her ears and I didn't know and I couldn't stop it.

Note to readers: Thank you for letting me share this with you. It is hard for me to write, but I am hopeful for Norah's future and need to get this stuff out of my system for my own future.
We have a wonderful family and support system. Norah has amazing teachers and a world class audiologist. Thank you for reading.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Yeas and Nays

Another installment of Yeas and Nays! Feel free to add your own.

  • Yea to finding the "perfect" First Communion dress for Little Monica.
  • Yea to sunshine. Finally.
  • Yea to reconnecting with old friends.
  • Yea to a wonderful weekend.
  • Yea to the Olympics being over. Too much must see TV.
  • Yea to new babies.
  • Yea to my husband leaving me the last Diet Coke.
  • Yea to hope and hopefulness.
  • Yea to buying a new house.


  • Nay to guilt trips.
  • Nay to potholes.
  • Nay to whiny kids who make annoying noises.
  • Nay to having to repeat myself over and over and over.
  • Nay to all the paperwork involved in buying a house.
  • Nay to all the scary things happening in the world.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Girl Power!

Last night My Beloved saw a mouse. As the kids and I were out of town he went to the hardware store down the block and bought everything they had, no mouse was going to share an address with the Malloy family!
No school today for Little Monica, so we ran some errands, Costco, the library then home. Walking into the kitchen with an armload of goods I heard a SNAP! I thought for sure one of the 10 mousetraps set by My Beloved had gone off mistakenly. So I look under the sink and it was not a mistake. I quickly slammed the cupboard door and started to quietly whimper, when I realized I had no audience for the squeamish damsel in distress act I felt a little stupid and stopped whimpering. My decision was made, I would leave the dead mouse in the trap for My Beloved to deal with when he got home.
I began to move on with my day when my mom called, I told her the plan with the mouse and instead of supportive and understanding she said "Isn't Little Monica home with you today?" I said she was, which unleashed in my mother all the girl power opinions I've never heard from her before. Her primary concern had nothing to do with the dead mouse under my kitchen sink, it was the lessons I had clearly missed growing up. What kind of an example was I being for my daughter? Hadn't she taught me independence, self-reliance? That girls can do anything boys can? That women don't need to wait for a man to handle the dirty work? (For the record I am ok with waiting!)
After realizing the importance of the lesson for Little Monica and that this was somehow reflective on my mother's parenting of me, and knowing I was made of tougher stuff, I knew what the right answer was. I was going to have to clean up the icky mouse myself and look like a brave, strong woman doing it. Yeah.
So I made Little Monica get me some rubber gloves from the toy doctor kit and hold the bag open for me to put the mouse carcass in. I proceeded to find the grill tongs, now largely labeled "MOUSE TONGS" on one side and "NOT FOR FOOD" on the other. I was not touching that mouse or mouse trap. No way. I pulled my hair back, put on the itty bitty rubber gloves all the while wishing I had a clean suit (you know, full body suit with helmet and a clear, little square to look out of), covered my face with a paper towel and reached into the cupboard with the long arm of the tong and picked up the mousetrap with mouse attached and gently placed it in the bag my daughter was holding open. We then put it into a larger garage bag, and put it outside in the garbage. After allowing Little M to put the mouse carcass into the garbage, she came back in the house and proudly said
"We sure took care of that Mom! Girls Rule!"
Not sure who learned the bigger lesson today. Probably me.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

This Is It?

Lately we've been in negotiations regarding our future. I've been stressed, my Beloved has been stressed, every conversation has been regarding the upcoming months and what the best decision is for our family. While both of our families have weighed in, ultimately the decision is up to us. The past 5 years have been so many changes, in no particular order; a cross country move, then back, a new baby, new jobs, a period of unemployment, the loss of a dear grandparent, discovering our sweet Norah is hard of hearing, a rental home or two, and the lowest point our marriage has ever experienced, and the recovery from that.
Finally we are leveling off, we are reaching a point where we are feeling comfortable, and dare I say, settled. It's a new place for me and while some days I love it, other days I look around and think "This Is It?" I wonder is this what all the fuss is about? Is everyone else having a meaningful life, making daily contributions to the world, and the highlight of my day is a perfect spelling test? Truly, is this it?
Don't get me wrong, I adore my children, think my Beloved was a pretty great catch, but now as we close in on the purchase of a home that we hope to live in for the next ten years and beyond, I find myself thinking about the next step. In your ordinary checklist of life, if there is one, I am struggling to figure out what the next thing to work towards will be.
I know there are thousands of books, websites, refrigerator magnets, pod casts, etc. encouraging me to live the simple life, and enjoy the small things, and most days I do. OK, some days I do, but on the other days, like today, I look at the toys Baby Henry has scattered around, or the kitchen needing cleaning, the to do list that can be done tomorrow and think, "Wow, is this boring."
These may sound like and may be the lonely ramblings of a stay at home mom in a snowstorm deep in the heart of the Midwest in February, and you may suggest taking a vacation (please send money), seeing a counselor (please provide childcare for appointments), or even anti-depressants (no thanks), but those are things I've considered and discarded, because this is my life, good or bad, this is it. Tomorrow will be a better day or at least different, and I think I might try a Vitamin D supplement.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Old Boyfriends

So lately I've been thinking about old boyfriends. As I am a frequent user of Facebook, the idea of getting a look into the lives of those who might have been is just too tempting for this gal! Thus I have become friends with a few (OK, more than a few) old boyfriends.
My definition of boyfriends is pretty loose, pretty much defined as any one I have kissed (and I really just mean kissed) in a non-platonic way more than once in my 31 years. Considering I've only been kissing my Beloved since October 31, 1998, let's just say a few of these former flames have sent me friend requests, and I'll admit, I've searched and friended a few. My curiosity overwhelms me and I just have to know! What do they look like? What kind of jobs do they have? Do they still love the Beastie Boys? Are they bald? Fat? Into NASCAR? Did they marry ugly women? Did their kids inherit their short, stubby fingers and small, squinty eyes?
After having my curiosity quenched I inevitably feel thankful. You read that correctly, thankful. Different qualities from all these previous heartaches (whether mine or theirs) have been thread into the quilt that is who I am. More impressed upon my memories is the likes and dislikes I learned about myself through these relationships. Knowing and unknowing these old boyfriends brought me to the day I met my husband and all the days ever since.
Because of these old boyfriends, I can watch my child play soccer with some expertise, after 2 semesters dating a soccer player, a girl learns a thing or two about the game. I know and love theatre to this day because of some ill-fated forays into dating theatre majors. I would have never learned to Rollerblade or that I really don't like rollerblading had I not fibbed about my rollerblading prowess with a handsome allergy prone fella in high school. The smell of hockey still brings me back to the hot, hairy Italian from my freshman year in college. Sports expertise, theatre knowledge, even some brief kisses from some Ivy Leaguers, don't compare to the first and subsequent kisses from my Beloved.
So yes, I'm thankful for the tears shed, anger felt, cassette tapes recorded in memory of, all the different personality traits I was able to try on throughout the years because the one that fit me best was a hunky football star with a penchant for the country music and I couldn't be happier. Most days.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Drastic Measures

I am about to do something drastic. I'm not sure what, but I have begun making grand statements to my Beloved and contemplating even more impossible things in my own mind. Fortunately for both he and I, I do not have the funding available at this time, nor do I have a very focused idea what drastic measures I am going to take.

Some of my thoughts have been, in no particular order:

- I'm going to take the GRE
- I am going to dye my hair
- I think I should go on a week long retreat at someplace that has a vow of silence
- I might look cute if I got my nose pierced
- I should run for a city office
- It might be fun to be on a game show
- I am going to go to law school, in which case I should take the LSAT, not the GRE
- I am going to take the LSAT
- I've always wanted to learn to knit
- I've always thought being a dental hygienist would be neat, and I bet I could get my teeth all capped at a serious discount

When I have shared some of these with my Beloved he does something so irritating I genuinely want to punch him in the nose. He is supportive, sweet, and understanding. He begins telling me things like, "You should go to grad school honey! The GRE is a great idea." or "You have some definite leadership skills, what kind of city office?" Sometimes he proceeds to talk about costs and ways we could pay for tuition, or really practical things, like "If you went on a retreat I'm sure we could figure out something with the kids, if you want to do it, we'll figure it out!" Who is this guy?

For some reason his support and love regarding my crazy fantasies really takes the wind out of my sails and I get ticked off. At some point, usually after his offer to make a spreadsheet or do a cost/benefit analysis of going back to school I walk away and decide to do nothing.

I choose to stay home, with some serious gray hair sticking out, I don't go on a retreat and take a vow of silence, I don't audition for a game show, I don't get my nose pierced, I don't even make an effort to learn to knit and the worst part is that it's my own lack of inertia that keeps me fantasizing about these things, not doing them. It's certainly not for lack of support.

So I'm not going to do something drastic I guess, at least not today.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

That's It!

When I was in high school the school began requiring notes from the doctor or dentist when a student was going to be out of school for an appointment. I would never describe my mom as someone who is a rule breaker, but the idea that the school didn't trust a note from her, and required documentation from a doctor really ticked her off. I recall a note she wrote to the school saying I would be leaving school midday for a dental appointment and the note went something like this:

"Sheridan will be leaving school at 11am today for a dental appointment and THAT'S IT!"

At the time I thought little of it, but somehow the "THAT'S IT!" part of the note really strikes a chord with me today. It's a simple way to say, I don't want your opinion on the topic, I have made the final ruling, there will be no further discussion.

Dinner tonight is chicken pot pie, and THAT'S IT!
If your laundry isn't in the laundry basket it won't get washed, THAT'S IT!
Bedtime is 7:30, THAT'S IT!
No, I don't feel like cuddling tonight and THAT'S IT!
Yes, you need to pick up (insert child name) from (insert activity) and THAT'S IT!

Today I used these magical word when calling our health insurance company regarding hearing aid coverage for children, which no one seems to know about. When the nice lady offered to look into it and "get back to me real soon," I responded sweetly "That would be great, I expect to hear from you today though, and THAT'S IT!" It worked, she called me back 30 minutes later with loads of information. I firmly believe my "THAT'S IT!" made all the difference.

I recommend you practice different tones when you say these power packed words, play a little with volume and force and even tone, and be careful not to abuse them thus diminishing their effectiveness.

If you have some "magic" words that work for you, post comments and tell me what they are.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Neglectful blogger

It was a long December and there is reason to believe this year will be better than the last. (Can you name the song?) I have made only one serious New Year's resolution. Here it is:

If I have an instinct to bury my head or hide in my bedroom, or just stay locked in my house, I will turn my back on that feeling and walk forward, head up, shoulder's back into whatever I am socially avoiding.

I also wanted to share something my college roommate, Lisa, gave me my sophomore year in college. The year I fell into my first deep depression. It is not something of great monetary value and I don't know what her motivation was in cutting out an Ann Landers column from the newspaper. I did NOT see the wisdom or guidance in it then, but now I refer back to this yellowed, corner worn scrap of newspaper cut in Lisa's precise teacher's hand. It has moved many times since she gave it to me, from Winona, to St. Paul, our 1st home in Waseca, our 2nd home in Waseca, Maine, back to Waseca, Stillwater, and now to Roseville. I look at it almost everyday, I thought you might want to read it too.

The following letter was written in Ann Landers column, I don't know the original publication date.

DEAR READERS:If some lines in today's column sound vaguely familiar, you have a good memory. They appeared in this space last year. Not much about New Year's Day has changed, so thank you for allowing me to loaf a little.

Let this coming year be better than all the others. Vow to do some of the things you've always wanted to do but couldn't find the time.

Call up a forgotten friend. Drop an old grudge, and replace it with some pleasant memories. Share a funny story with someone whose spirits are dragging. A good laugh can be very good medicine.

Vow not to make a promise you don't think you can keep. Pay a debt. Give a soft answer. Free yourself of envy and malice. Encourage some youth to do his or her best. Share your experiences and offer support. Young people need role models.

Make a genuine effort to stay in closer touch with family and good friends. Resolve to stop magnifying small problems and shooting from the lip. Words you have to eat can be hard to digest.

Find time to be kind and thoughtful. All of us have the same allotment: 24 hours a day. Give a compliment. It might give someone a badly needed lift.

Think things through. Forgive an injustice. Listen more. Be kind.

Apologize when you realize you are wrong. An apology never diminishes a person. It elevates him. Don't blow your own horn. If you've done something praiseworthy, someone will notice eventually.

Try to understand a point of view that is different from your own. Few things are 100 percent one way or another. Examine the demands you make on others.

Lighten up. When you feel like blowing your top, ask yourself, "Will it matter a week from today?" Laugh the loudest when the joke is on you.

The sure way to have a friend is to be one. We are all connected by our humanity, and we need each other. Avoid malcontents and pessimists. They drag you down and contribute nothing.

Don't discourage a beginner from trying something risky. Nothing ventured means nothing gained. Be optimistic. The can-do spirit is the fuel that makes things go.

Go to war against animosity and complacency. Express your gratitude. Give credit when it's due -- and even when it isn't. It will make you look good.

Read something uplifting. Deep-six the trash. You wouldn't eat garbage. Why put it in your head? Don't abandon your old-fashioned principles. They never go out of style. When courage is needed, ask yourself, "If not me, who? If not now, when?"

Take better care of yourself. Pass up that second helping. You really don't need it. Vow to eat more sensibly. You'll feel better and look better, too. And you'll weigh less, and wouldn't that be nice?

Don't put up with secondhand smoke. Nobody has the right to pollute your air or give you cancer. If someone says, "This is a free country," remind him or her that the country may be free, but no person is free if he has a habit he can't control.

Return those books you borrowed. Reschedule that missed dental appointment. Clean out your closet. Take those photos out of the drawer, and put them in an album. If you see litter on the sidewalk, pick it up instead of walking over it.

Give yourself a reality check. Phoniness is transparent and tiresome. Take pleasure in the beauty and the wonders of nature. A flower is God's miracle.

Hope you see the beauty and wisdom in it like I do, everyday. Thank you dear roomie.