Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I have a confession:  I don't get bunting.  (aka banners or penants)

Imagine my Jerry Seinfeld impression: "What is the deal with bunting?"

Bunting, bunting, bunting.  It's EVERYWHERE!  It has invaded Pinterest.  There is bunting spackled all over my favorite crafting blogs.

Especially burlap bunting.  God, people LOVE their burlap bunting.

Sometimes literally.

But I just don't get them.

I mean, sure.... they are cute, or pretty, whatever.  But they just hang there.  And they are almost always temporary decoration.

People make birthday bunting.
Christmas bunting.
Halloween bunting.
Thanksgiving bunting.
Easter bunting.
New baby bunting.
Just-for-the-helluv-it bunting.
If there is a life event, like say today being a Tuesday, bunting enthusiasts can find a reason to whip up a strip of bunting.  (Although, I did search "bowel movement bunting" on google images and came up with bupkis.  So, apparently there are some limits.  That haven't been reached, yet.)

And just where do they put all of this freaking bunting?  You can't convince me everyone in the world but me has a mantle to hang them on!

And then what do they do with it after.  You know, after the holiday is over...  I KNOW they don't keep the bunting to reuse it next year.  Because next year they are going to make NEW BUNTING.

In my mind these people have a room in their house just for displaying their old bunting.

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate bunting.  All of these pics I linked to are pics of awesomely done bunting.  But it's like this: I like to quilt, but my house only needs so many quilts.  So instead of making a new quilt after new quilt just because it's pretty and I like to do it, I don't.  And I just work on other, different, projects until the need to make a quilt (birthday, new baby, etc) arrises again.

I guess the difference is that bunting is small, so stores easier (but like I mentioned above, I highly doubt these bunting addicts are rehanging year after year), and also it is very decorational, but still....I can just not wrap my mind around the craft world's new obsession with this cute, but seeming useless craft.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Jinya Beach

When Thing 1 and Thing 2 were just little bean sprouts in my belly, Superman and I had to decide where we were going to raise these little beings.  At the time, we were living in Buckeye Country, not anywhere near either of our families, and we knew that we didn't want to stay there.  But the question was, would we go back to the Hoosier state to be closer to his family, or back to the Old Dominion to be near mine?

I was raised a military brat, so I never lived near any of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins.  In fact, being that my dad was in the Navy (meaning we were always stationed in a coastal city), and my parents were both born and raised in the midwest, we were lucky when we got to see those relatives more than once a year.  We usually did a summer trip out, and occasionally got to go during the winter holidays.  Growing up, I desperately envied my friends who were close (geographically and emotionally) with their extended relatives, and that is always something I wanted for my kids.

So, in the end, we decided to move back to the Hoosier state for a few reasons:
  • Superman's parents are retired.  Mine still work full time
  • Superman has a huge extended family (his dad is one of 9 and his mom is one of 8), with lots of cousins.  And his two brothers, who both have kids around Thing 1 and Thing 2's age, also live here.  My sister has two kids, but they are in their late teens (and she lives 600 miles from my parents anyway) and my brother doesn't have any kids (or is even married yet).  And obviously I have no cousins or extended family there.
  • Where he is from in the midwest is MUCH cheaper to live than where I'm from on the east coast.  We were able to buy a 4 bedroom house with a full basement for what we would have gotten a two bedroom condo for where I grew up.
But, life isn't black and white, and our choice is still sometimes hard to deal with.

I miss my friends and their kids terribly.  And they are all so close in age to my boys...they'd be perfect to grow up with.  Their un-cousins.  Superman only has one friend here that even has kids.

Their first year we made it home four times.  But since then, we are finding ourselves only able to visit about twice a year, because of time, work, money, etc.  My kids started referring to my parents as the "other grandma" and the "other grandpa".

This past Thanksgiving, after an 11 month absence, we were able to take a short visit back and see the other grandparents, my brother, my sister and her family, and most of my friends and their kids.  But the visit, like always, felt so rushed.  I felt like I had 100 people to visit in 72 hours.  I felt pulled in so many different directions, and felt like I was disappointing everyone and wasn't spending quality time with anyone.

After being guilted by one of my good friends, who bless her heart just wanted some time with me, I turned to Superman in tears and told him that I hated the emotional blackmail part of the trip so much that it makes me never want to come back for visits.  Since I know I'm invariable going to let someone (often multiple someones) down by not giving them the time they feel they deserve.  I left that trip relieved to be heading home and seriously dreading going back.

But Thing 1 and Thing 2 don't know about all of that.  They just knew that they loved being with their other grandma and grandpa, and taking their pack of dogs on long walks.  They loved playing with their aunt and uncles and cousins.  And loved playing with mommy's friends' kids.  They loved going to the beach.  Almost weekly since Thanksgiving, they have asked when we were going to "go far away again to Jinya Beach."  They have stopped calling my parents the other grandma and grandpa.  And I often overhear them playing with stuffed doggies, calling them my parents' dogs names.

On Sunday, I decided to surprise the boys by taking them to visit the dog shelter.  When they asked where we were going and I said it was a surprise, they asked "Are we going far away to Jinya Beach?"  When I said no, Thing 2 bursted into tears asking me why we couldn't go.  And it reminded me of those times as a child when I would literally cry from missing my midwest grandparents so much.  And it was almost as if I could feel all of those bitter and anxious feelings melting away from Thanksgiving, as I comforted my little boy and heard myself saying that maybe we can plan a trip to Jinya Beach for Spring Break.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Motorcycles & vaginas

I would never give anyone motorcyle advice.

I don't own a motorcycle, nor have I ever driven one.  I have, however, ridden on a few.

But having ridden shotgun (does this apply to riding passenger on motorcyles too?) a time or two does not make me an expert.   If I started spouting out my opinion on how to take care of your motorcycle, you would tell me to shut-the-front-door.  And you'd have every right, because unless I owned a motorcycle myself, I really can't know what I'm talking about.

So, to all the men out there, please keep your opinions on child birth to yourself.  You do not have a vagina.  Sure, you may have ridden one a time or two, but until you actually have one, you really have no idea.

A man I know posted a link to an article about the pros and cons of using epidurals during child birth.  He's a nice guy, and I know his intentions weren't malicious (his wife is pregnant).  But I just couldn't help myself to reply "So I take it when you get pregnant, you will not use an epidural."  Because c'mon guy, how can you truly have an opinion on natural child birth vs. medicated child birth if you NEVER HAVE TO GO THROUGH CHILD BIRTH!

Heck, I know quite a few women who have said they wouldn't use drugs when they gave birth, but once they were a few centimeters dilated and the waves of contractions were coming right on top of each other after hours and hours of labor, they changed their tune.  I just don't think anyone, man or woman, knows what they'll do until they get there.

And honestly, I don't even have much opinion on the subject myself.  Yes, I have a vagina, but I had one pregnancy and my doctor started preparing me for my planned c-section right about the same time I found out I was having twins.  To me, my opinion is: You know your pain threshold.  You know whether you like to tough out sicknesses or take the meds.  You know YOUR body.  If you want the epidural, get the freaking epidural.  If you'd rather go au natural, then bonne chance ma soeur. À chacun son goût.

But remember this, you don't get a medal for not using drugs.  At the end of it all, you just get a baby, just like every other women...vaginal or c-section, epidural or sans epidural...the result is the same.  Do what you need to do to get that baby out safely and into your arms.  And let other mothers worry about their own vaginas.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Shut up!

I'm a talker.  Always have been.

All of the stories of me as a child are about me talking too much and not knowing when to shut up.

My elementary school report cards are littered with As and Bs and comments of "She talks too much".  Every detention I ever got was for talking.  Wait, that's a lie, there was the one for cussing...but that is a LONG story.

I was voted Most Talkative of my senior class, a class of about 600 students.

My best friend in college bought me a coffee mug that said "If I'm not talking, check my pulse."

I have the gift of gab.

Sometimes it's good because it helps me meet people and fit into a new situation more easily.  People who don't like awkward silences tend to love me.

But sometimes I put my foot in my mouth because I talk without thinking or just don't know when to shut the heck up!  Sometimes my brain is saying "Shut up woman" but my mouth is still moving.

It also means that I can be an awful shoulder to cry on/sympathetic listener, because I am too quick to give advice, or my opinion.  Sometimes I just need to learn to shut up and listen...  And remember that other people can solve their own problems (even if it is not how I would do it), and that if they want my advice, they'll ask for it.

It's hard.

But I am trying.  I do have little conversations in my head trying to censor myself.  Bare with me people. The first step is admitting you have a problem.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A dog owner for a day

Nothing like playing dog owner for a day to realize how not ready we are for a dog.

A few months back, Superman and I were strolling the neighborhood and happened upon a lost dog. He didn't have on a collar, but was obviously a well taken care of pet. The dog lover I am, I instantly was ready to take him home and start making "Found Dog" flyers.  Superman was not so motivated.  But the dog followed us home, literally into our backyard.  So it was settled.

I called the local animal shelter and left a detailed description, then made up a few flyers to post around the neighborhood.  Then, we borrowed a leash from a neighbor and took our new buddy for a walk around the surrounding blocks, posting his picture as we went.

Then it was time to drive down to pick up Thing 1 and Thing 2 who had stayed the night with grandma and grandpa.  While we were gone, a man called because the animal shelter had told him we'd found his dog, Stu. I let him know that Stu was in our backyard, gave him directions to the house, and figured I'd never see this sweet dog again.

Fast forward two months, and I get a call at work from Superman. He has just arrived home to find Stu sitting on the front steps.  It's cold and rainy, so he brings him in.  I call the shelter again, this time I'm able to give them both the dog's name and the owner's name.  I figure it will be just a short matter of time before the owner comes to claim him.

A few hours later, we still haven't heard from the owner, so I go online and look up my own phone records to find the guy's number.  I call his phone "Hi, you've reached Steve's phone," yup, it's the right number.  And I leave a message "Hey, we have your dog again.  Please come get him."

As night time rolls around, the owner still hasn't called or come to get his dog.

Now I will say...I grew up with dogs.  I can't remember a time in my life when we didn't have a dog.  Not big dogs like Stu (who I think is some kind of lab/retriever mix), but we had a cocker spaniel (25 lb-ish), then a lhasa-poo (20 lb-ish), and then I had two shih tzus (each about 15 lbs) when Superman and I first got married (they now happily live with my parents in a non-children household).  And I never in my life imagined that I'd be dog-less for so long (going on five years now).  And ever since we relinquished my dogs to my parents when I was on admitted to the hospital when I was pregnant I've been looking forward to the day we would be able to add to our family by adopting our own dog.

But now, now that I had this 100+ lb sweetheart jumping on my bed, grabbing Thing 1 and Thing 2's toys and stuffed animals, constantly asking to be let out and then let back in, scrapping with the cat...the list goes on.  I thought "man, get this dog out of here!"  I called his owner again first thing in the morning and said "Dude, Stu is going to be in my backyard, if I get home from work and he's still there, I'm taking him to the shelter."  Superman was stunned.  He thought for sure that I would be using the delinquent owner as an excuse to try and proclaim Stu for our own.  He was amazed that I was actually more anxious than him to get rid of it.

I'm still a dog lover, and I still want a dog.  And I actually kind of missed Stu when I got home from work that afternoon to find him gone.  But for right now, 14 hours with a dog was enough to let me know that we still aren't ready for such a big responsibility and commitment.  And in a way, I'm thankful to Stu's owner for letting me see that.