The one where I procrastinate

Hey internets.

It’s 9:45 on Tuesday night and I’m very tired.  Very, very tired indeed.  And yet, here I am, rapping away on my trusty keyboard.  Why? You ask.

Because I’m procrastinating.  I’m putting off.  I’m waiting until tomorrow.  Only tomorrow is today, but I’m reminding myself that no, today is today and tomorrow is tomorrow and tomorrow I’ll get it done.  Except I should have gotten it done yesterday.

Confused yet?

I pitched an article idea about a month ago and it was accepted.  I don’t want to say what it’s about yet, because I just really need to write it first.  But I’m overwhelmed.  And I can’t seem to figure out how to get it started so I keep putting it off and I need to stop putting it off and just get it done. 

I keep thinking that by some miracle of the heavens I’ll have an abundance of free time in which to process thoughts and delve into the aformentioned subject matter.  Then I wake up and remember I have three kids 6 and under and free time is a commodity of which I am sorely lacking these days.

You see, there are no free moments in my day.  Two of my three still nap, a gift for which I am immensly grateful.  And the oldest does “rest” in his room.  But his “rest” usually includes several ventures out to show me the awesome, totally cool, really sweet LEGO ships he’s constructed.  Or the lineup of Transformers he’s laid out.  There are also the frequent bathroom breaks, the much needed drinks and of course the obligatory questions of how much time he has left.

In short – there is little time to complete a significant train of thought.  Which, in general, is not a big deal as I tend to give myself a sweet break during “rest” time in which to read blogs, answer emails and otherwise have guilt free computer time.

Only, I really have some things I need to get done these days.  But I never seem to find the right time to do them. 

Which is why I am now sitting on my couch, rambling on to you poor souls instead of making my brain kick it into hyperdrive and tackle this project. 

And so I have a question for you all.  How do you carve out quiet moments in your day?  When do you find time to sit in the stillness and process thoughts?  How do you get yourself moving on those days when all you want to do is sit and breathe?  Do share.  Perhaps we can learn from one another.

Now, I’m off to sleep.  Maybe I’ll get up early to write in the morning.  Or, maybe I won’t.  I’ve gotten in bed with procrastination, friends.  And she is a persistent bed-fellow…

Hail Mommy

In January 2007, St. Louis had a massive ice storm.  Lee was out of town that weekend (naturally – don’t crazy things always happen when your husband is out of town?) and I was alone with a then 3 year old Sloan and 11 month old Tia.

In the dead of night, ice fell from the sky in frigid sheets, layering already weak trees (as it was the second big ice storm of the season) with several pounds of frost.  About 4:00 that morning, I awoke to realize that the power was out and the house was very cold.  Outside my window, I heard a pop and saw a flash of blue and realized a transformer had just blown.

And then I heard the sickening crunch of a tree branch slicing through our roof (it didn’t come into the house, thankfully, but went through the over hang barely a foot from where my bed lay).

It was then that Sloan woke up and raced out of his room exclaiming – “Mommy, blue monsters are throwing ice at our house!”

Then we looked out the window to see a crazy mess with downed trees and branches all over our yard, driveway and roof.  

And from then on, my child was altered forever more.  He became terrified of storms.  The tiniest flash of lightening sends him into a frenzy and with  a rumble of thunder he begins nervously talking a mile a minute, his panicked voice reaching ear piercing decibles.

He is equally obsessed with the weather.  I assume it’s because he is trying to keep his enemy close, but he loves to read books about tornadoes and hurricanes, tsunamis and floods.  I’ve caught him on more than one occasion watching the weather channel and he frequently gives me updates on the weather in different parts of the country.

“Hey mom, did you know Florida is having a tropical storm?  That’s like a hurricane only it’s not really a hurricane.  Good thing we’re not there, huh?”

So, it was with great terror that we got caught in a doozy of a storm on Saturday.  I had taken the kids to buy Halloween costumes (another story for another day but seriously – costumes are ridiculously overpriced.  Why have I never learned to sew!?!)  and we were on our way home when literally out of nowhere the heavens opened and released with great fury, directly over my (hot) minivan.

As a bolt of lightening streaked across the sky, Sloan yelped from the backseat, “Mom! Lightening.  We gotta get home now!”

“I know, honey, I’m trying,” was my reply.  To which I heard, “Hey mom.  I’m pretty sure a tornado is coming so if you see it, you have to turn the car around and rive away from it.”

Me: “Okay, babe, I got it.”

Sloan: “Mom.  In case a tornado does come and we get sucked up, cover your head with your hands to protect it.”

Me: “We’re not going to get sucked up, Sloan.”

Sloan: “But we might-”

It was then that the hail started.  Large balls of ice began pelting my car along with alligator size raindrops reducing my visibility to almost 0.  It was loud and ferocious and I found myself lamenting the fact that for years I’ve been praying that a hail storm would center itself over my house so insurance would cover a new roof and instead it was centered over my defenseless (but hot) minivan. 

And over the racket of the storm this is what I heard in the backseat:

Tia (with her hands squeezed over her ears): I’n stewrd mommy!  I’n woody stewrd.”

Landon (looking around with furrowed brow): “Woooowww!”

Sloan (eyes so wide they threaten to swallow his face): “HAIL MOMMY. HAIL MOMMY!  HAIL! MOMMY! WE’VE GOT HAIL!”

Me: “It’s okay, it’ll be over soon.”

Sloan: “JUST PRAY TO GOD MOM! PRAY. TO. GOD!!!”

Me: “You pray, I’ve got to drive.” (Mind you we’re shouting at one another because the noise is deafening)

And in the rearview mirror I watch my 6 year old fold his hands and press them to his forehead beseeching God to rescue us from what he sees to be imminent death by thunderstorm.

And the whole situation strikes me as so funny that I start cracking up, as I sometimes tend to do when I’m nervous or upset, whilst all along keeping my eyes firmly glued to the barely visible red tail lights of the car in front of me.

Then, two miles up the road, the clouds in the sky parted, giving way to nothing more than a light drizzle.  I look back in the mirror at my shell shocked crew and find Tia still has her ears covered and eyes closed, Landon is grinning from ear to ear and Sloan looks utterly amazed.

When he catches my eye, Sloan slowly grins, then pumps his fist in the air.  “That was awesome!” he exclaimed.  “That was the big one and I wasn’t scared at all.”

Uh-huh. Right. 

And that, my friends is the story of the day we survived the ‘big one’.  All it took was a few “Hail Mommy’s” and a prayer.

St. Louis Interactive Festival

On October 17, the St. Louis Bloggers Guild is hosting our second annual St. Louis Interactive Festival and I want some of my readers to come! 

The St. Louis Interactive Festival is a day long conference bringing together some of the finest minds in social media.  We will be holding numerous breakout sessions geared toward everyone from the beginning blogger to the professional.  There will be a Keynote address at the beginning of the day, with a catered breakfast and a catered lunch mid-day.  We’ve also built in an ample amount of time for mingling and networking.

The topics to be covered are:
-Building a Blogging Site (this will be a highly interactive session geared toward helping you build your own website)
-The Importance of Usability and Visual Design
-You Have a Website, So Now What? (This is the panel that I will be moderating)
-Applying Your New Media Skill Set to the Workforce
-The Basics of Using Video and Audio on Your Site
-Technology in Space and Beyond…
-Photography for the Hobbyist
-Social Media for Small Business and Non-Profits
-Intellectual Property and Ethics and Privacy Online

This year’s Interactive is being hosted by the fabulous Shock City Studios and promises to be a great day of meeting new people and learning new information in the ever-evolving world of social technology. It’s free to attend, but tickets are limited, so if you’re interested in attending you need to sign up today!

That’s all for today. I hope you have a great weekend!

Happy Birthday to the Hottest 35 Year Old I Know

Ten years ago today, Lee and I were in the beginning days of our courtship.  As we picked up a cake to take to the K-Life house where he lived and worked, I boldly proclaimed, “Wow! You’re half a decade old today!”

I was a Professional Writing major folks…a Writing major.   

Despite my horrible blonde blunder, Lee still married me.  And I’m so glad he did.  I’m so glad we’re growing older together.  I know, I know…35 isn’t old.  But it is older

I love you, Lee.  And yes, you absolutely looked wiser upon waking this morning.  35 looks good on you!

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Balancing Act

I’ve noticed recently that I have quite a few more readers following my blog on a daily basis than I realized.  I mean, I’m not experiencing mutliple thousands of hits per day, but my readership has increased significantly in the last few months. 

While I’m grateful for this fact, as I’d always hoped to turn this more into a creative outlet for my writing and less of a family journal, I also feel a lot more pressure on a day to day basis because of it.  I find myself thinking of things to write and then talking myself out of it because I’m not really sure if anyone would actually want to read about said topic or it seems funny in my head, but translating it onto cyber-paper loses the effect.

Whatever the case, I do find myself thinking a lot more about my words, how I write and how much I really want to share with the world.

I enjoy writing about my kids more than anything, because…well, because they’re funny.  For example, yesterday Sloan came home and told us that the girl from iCarly is hot.  When Lee asked him what that meant he replied, “Uh, you know it means she’s, like, really awful…Really, I just like to say that she’s hot!”  

Six year olds say funny things and I love to capture those things so that someday, when he’s all grown up and we are at his rehearsal dinner the night before his wedding, I’ll be able to read some of the funny things he said and reminisce about the boy that he once was.

But there is a balance on how much I share about my kids.  I try to think clearly through how they might feel about what I wrote for the world to read when they get older.  I want them to laugh at these stories – I don’t want them to be embarrassed. 

So, sometimes, I keep things to myself.  Even if they’re funny.  There have been a couple of times when I’ve contemplated writing about a particular struggle or disciplinary issue, in the hopes of getting some insight or wisdom or understanding from other parents, but have refrained eventually because I don’t want my kids to look back and be ashamed or humiliated by my words.

This is a balancing act.

I also enjoy writing about motherhood issues because that’s where I am right now.  I’m in the thick of this thing called motherhood and it’s so nice to know that I’m not the only one who sometimes feels isolated.  Blogging has become my lifeline to a world outside the walls of my home.  There are some days when I get so discouraged as I look at the caller ID on my phone and realize no one’s called my house in two days.  But then I see that I have several comments on my blog and my spirits are lifted, because, while it’s not as personal, it’s still a connection.

Motherhood can be lonely sometimes, yes?

My conundrum with writing about all things motherhood, however, is that I often feel like I don’t have that much to say.  I don’t have any innovative child rearing tactics.  I’m thankful each evening when I tuck them in to bed that they’re all still alive!  I do aim to mother with purpose, but I don’t feel like I’m a good cheerleader on the sidelines of the motherhood game. 

I’m more like the pimple faced, uncoordinated kid who stumbles around the field and every once in awhile bounces the ball off her foot and falls into the end zone. 

What I mean is – I have a plan in my parenting, but I don’t have an excellent plan book so sharing mothering advice seems daunting to me.  I don’t have great discipline techniques or fun, crafty ideas, or cute recipes.  I don’t have great advice for getting your kids to clean up their rooms or how to make them eat broccoli without bitter weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

I can, however, write about each of these issues in such a way that we can all chuckle together at the hilarity of parenting.  For example, while I can’t give you point by point advice on how to get your child to obey you immediately, I can tell you that yesterday, when I told Landon to give me the penny that he found and was playing with, he promptly shoved it in his mouth and swallowed it.  Um – a little dangerous? Yes.  A little funny?  Uh-huh.  Because I’m now on poop patrol to make sure that the penny passes. 

I find that funny. 

Moving on…I love to blog about the fun things that happen in our lives.  Lee and I are so blessed – were blessed far beyond what I ever imagined we would be.  We are not rich…but we are not poor.  We have three healthy, beautiful, hilarious kids, a house that meets our needs, faithful and wise friends and we laugh every. single. day.  Our life is wonderful.

And so I blog about it.  I try to keep the blog light and fun, but OY! There’s pressure even in that.  I find myself sitting at the computer, staring at a blank screen, begging myself to think of something funny to say.  And sometimes I come up dry.  So somedays I’m just not going to be funny.  Somedays I don’t feel funny.  Like today.  Sorry.

There are other things I like to write about like, for example, politics.  But we all saw how that went for me the last time I did it, so I try to keep my political ramblings to a minimum because I want my blog to be a happy place.  There will be times when I share my views because, ahem, this is my blog.  But, in general, I try not to go overboard with the politics.

Blogging is great.  It’s fun, it gives me some sense that I’m pursuing my passion, I’m making a little money, I’m keeping a record of my children’s lives and I’m working out some of the kinks in my head.  But I am also balancing the act of sharing the right amount of information.  It is a delicate balance, but, so far, I think it’s going alright.

So what about you?  How do you balance the art of sharing your lives without sharing too much?

Striking a Deal

There’s a cricket in my basement.  Thankfully it’s not a cave cricket, my fear of which I detailed here.  No – this is just your run of the mill, average, every day black cricket, although I’m fairly certain this one is mutated as it’s quite large.  It’s like the Arnold Schwarzeneggar of crickets.  So I’ve named him Arnie…

I saw Arnie yesterday when I took the laundry downstairs.  Upon meeting we both froze, my arms full of smelly clothes, his antenna cockeyed in a defensive stance.  And through the open air that suddenly thickened between us, we communicated.

That’s right…I struck a deal with the cricket.  He agreed not to crawl under the clothes piled in the basement and jump out at me with a Bonzai when I went to load them in the washer, burrowing himself into my brain through my ear canal and wreaking all sorts of havoc…ahem, and I agreed not to crunch him mercilessly beneath my foot.

(I’m not exactly sure why, but for some reason, I imagine all crickets as Japanese, weilding samarai swords and screeching Bonzai as they leap after their prey…)

And so I left Arnie alone and he reciprocated.  Later yesterday afternoon, he and I nodded curteously, albeit with some tension, as I checked  on the laundry.  He had moved several feet across the room, but true to his word, he was not burrowing in my laundry.

But let’s be honest here.  I’m totally going to renig on my end of the deal.  When I see Arnie later today, I will be sending my husband, my hero, down to take care of our little “tenant.”

I. don’t. like. crickets.

Check it out!

*Seriously – You’ve got to check out their blog today.  When docked at the marina last night, my mom and aunt got to swim with a couple of manatees!  So cool…

My parents are on an adventure this week, taking their boat from Orlando, down the Atlantic coast of Florida and around the Keys, then back up the Gulf of Mexico to Clearwater.  They’ve had a fun-filled first three days and you can keep up with their progress here.  Check it out and leave them some words of encouragement!

Salsa – Chips Optional

Saturday night Lee and I hit the town for a rare and necessary date night.  We hired a babysitter like big kids, got all dolled up (little black dress, rockin’ red high heels and a smokey eye completed my ensemble – I felt like a rock star!) and headed to the Central West End, where we reminded ourselves once again just how far removed we are from college.

After a quick dinner, we headed to the basement dance club, Club Viva! where we took an hour long Salsa lesson before they opened up the floor.  It was nothing short of a blast.

I should preface this by telling you that I love to go dancing.  It was one of my very favorite things to do in college and I would go dancing every weekend if we could.  Lee, however, over the years has decided that he’s not crazy about going to dance clubs anymore.  I’ve had to practically beg him to take me, and somehow, since we’ve been married, we’ve only made it out dancing twice.

And both experiences were, uh, not great.  The first, when I was roughly 18 months pregnant with Sloan and I thought a little dancing might be good to get things kick-started, left Lee worried I’d have a baby on the dance floor, so he refused to dance with me and I spent an hour dancing with an adorable mentally challenged boy who kept trying to kiss me – I swear, I couldn’t make this stuff up. 

 The second time was spring break in Florida right after I found out I was pregnant with Tia.  When the girls started licking shots off of one another’s bodies on stage, Lee and I quickly realized we were out of our league and left.

Thus, when he said he wanted to take me dancing – I was thrilled…and a little nervous.

So, we found ourselves in a line with a few other brave souls where a little Columbian man show us how to shimmy and shake our hips.  And, I gotta say, Lee and I weren’t half bad.  I mean, I’m no Shakira, but I got my hips swinging back and forth without completely falling all over myself – and considering I was in 3 inch heels, I’d say I deserve a medal.

At one point I did look over and see Lee doing the Electric Slide, which caused me to keel over in a peal of laughter, but otherwise, we were rockin’ the joint.

1, 2, 3 (pause) 5, 6, 7 (pause) These are the counts for the salsa.  Apparently the numbers 4 and 8 are taboo – you just skip them.  Now, stand up and step forward 1 on your left foot, then step back 2, on your right foot, then step back 3 on your left?  Got it?  Did you swing your hips?  You’re set then!

After the lesson, the dance floor was opened up and the real dancers came out.  Those girls knew how to swing their hips!  Lee and I got out on the floor and with our limited knowledge let loose with the meanest beginner salsa you’ve ever seen.  It was awe-inspiring.

Upon taking a break and letting my screaming feet rest, a young, adorable latin dancer named Vinnie asked me to dance.  Lee laughed and pushed me toward the danced floor while I stammered, “Uh…I’m not…ya know…very good.”

“S’Ok,” Vinne shrugged, then started girating his hips back and forth and spinning me around.  I felt like Baby in Dirty Dancing (“I carried a watermelon”).  My arms flailed about,  my feet tapped danced more than salsa’ed and, at one point, I threw in a rather impressive arabesque.  But, through it all, my hips shook like a professional.

I think Vinnie liked it as he asked me to dance two more times.  Either that or he felt sorry for me and was hoping to give me some pointers to keep me from making a total fool of myself.  Actually, it’s been a long time since I danced with a strange college boy and I kept trying to tuck my hand into Lee’s arm to show that I was taken, but my darling husband refused to let me turn down an offer to dance.

Punk.

He stood on the sidelines and laughed as I danced with not only Vinnie, but the tiniest little Columbian man I’ve ever seen.  He was adorable, sweet and about 65 years old.  At one point, he grabbed my hips and moved them back and forth to the rhythm.

Aaaaaaawkwaaaard.

But so much fun.  Lee and I partied like rock stars until we looked at his watch and realized it was going to cost a a small fortune to pay the babysitter for our night out.  

And so, like the thirty-somethings that we are, we hobbled out of Club Viva!  But, we both vowed that we would return, because it really was one of the most enjoyable evenings we’ve had in a long time.

And my hips don’t lie…

Some Linky Love

I don’t have much to say today.  Well, okay that’s not true…I have TONS to say, but I’m not really sure that any of you would really be interested in hearing me talk about my dirty kitchen, the organic macaroni and cheese I fed my kids today that tasted like smelly gym socks or my indignant objection to this recently announced new policy.

Nope – I really don’t have a lot to say today.  So instead, I’ll let you read a few of the posts that have made me laugh out loud in recent days.  I gotta tell ya – there are some funny, talented people out there.  One of them is BooMama.  Just read this post and you’ll see what I mean. 

Then there’s Shannon from Rocks in My Dryer.  This post about her daughter’s imaginery friend cracked me up, especially given the fact that I’ve had to scold Sloan’s transient imaginary pal, Cody, on occasion for his blatent disregard for the rules of our home.

This is an older post by Dana, but every time I think about it, I giggle again.

Those are but a few of the things that have made me laugh in recent days.  And what am I laughing about right now, you ask?  Wait, what?  You actually didn’t ask anything?  Oh…well, do you want to know what’s making me laugh anyway?  Oh good!

Sloan has a little buddy over this afternoon.  “C” got off the bus with him and they’ve been having a good old time acting like macho little men, high fiving, calling each other dude and playing war.  Right now, they’re on the swingset and since it’s a gorgeous day, I’ve got the windows open and I can hear them playing.  A few snippets:

“Dude! You are, like, so awesome at swinging.”

“I know, dude.”

“Dude, let’s play pirate – I’ll be the bad guy.”

“Okay! I’m the scallywag.”

“What’s a scallywag?”

“I dunno. It’s like a dirty, piratey kind of dude.”

“Huh. Dude!”

So I’m off to put in the oh-so-macho Star Wars whilst the scallywags nosh on brownies and I attempt to figure out why on earth my house smells like cigarette smoke – I’m attributing it to the open windows, but you know – it’s still a little perplexing.

Happy Weekend!

Why do I do this to myself?

I’m tired.  Not, gee-I-wish-I-could-catch-a-break-tired, since I, ahem, just had a break; but, I’m tired in a why-on-earth-do-I-not-get-my-duff-in-bed-earlier sort of way.  In short, I’m fatigued.

In addition to going to bed way too late, about 4 nights per week, my sleep is interrupted by someone not feeling well, needing to go the bathroom, having a bad dream or any other sort of ailment you can imagine.  And while I know this will happen, I still don’t manage to get myself to bed before 11:00 most nights.

Why do I do this to myself?

Part of the reason is that I’m just so happy to have alone, quiet time at nights that I relish in the quiet aloneness for much too long.  Going to bed almost feels like defeat, like I’m surrendering.  So instead, I power through, proving to whom, I’m not exactly sure, that I still have the independence to do what I want for how long I want.

Brilliant, I know.

On top of that, I’ve got a lot of work to do and I just can’t seem to get it done during the day – thus leaving the evenings.  And I hate working in the evenings so it takes me twice as long to get anything done.  My brain after 8:00 is like the egg in a frying pan – only I don’t need drugs to get there, just a prolonged period of short, interrupted sleep.

Then there’s the fact that I cannot sleep unless I’ve read for a little while.  But again, I don’t get myself in bed until 10:00 or 10:30, which means the reading time pushes the sleep time back a little further (or a lot depending on the book).

So that leaves me in a jumbled mess of blah with circles under my eyes.  Boo!  Am I the only one who does this?  Am I the only one who pushes herself to the limit simply because it’s the only time I really, truly have to myself in a day?

Tell me I’m not alone…