Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Princess Post


I grew up in a world of Princesses waiting for their Prince Charmings to save them. A land of mystery and make-believe. I didn't see these princesses on tv (as my kids do today), but rather through words.  I devoured books like chocolate, constantly reading (and re-reading) a never-ending supply of books from home and the local library.  No one told me I couldn't, no where was it stated that in my land of make-believe, with princesses and horses and murder and secret clocks, my life would be outwardly affected.  You know, the way it is today.  As quickly as Disney creates a new princess movie, the media and people around me complain about how we need to stop the princess syndrome, we need to teach our little girls independence, we need to show them that it's not necessary to wait for Prince Charming to ride up on a white horse and slay that dragon.

Now I hear about how inappropriate Barbies are because they create a false sense of body image, that girls are too into their fantasy worlds with princesses and queens (but apparently Hogwarts are ok), that we need to protect our girls from society and their extreme images of beauty.  I get that. I totally agree.  We need to do more to get our girls into STEM programs.  We need to have a woman president. We need to have more securities in place so that mothers can have babies and work full time, without the constant pressure I feel every day to be perfect. We need to not force our mothers to go back to work when their babies are less than three months old and pump behind closed doors, rushing home at night to feed their kids dinner, get them to sports, and help with homework, all while trying to clean the house, do the laundry, exercise, and all the other million of things every mother does every day.

So yes, while I am pro-women, I am also pro-princess.  I can't imagine living the chaotic life I live without fantasy.  Without imagination.  Without the ability to lock myself up for a few minutes every day and pretend.  I read books when I can, mostly paranormal mysteries with fairies and vampires and witches. I watch movies, immersing myself for a couple hours in worlds with hot guys and explosions and cars that morph into transformers. I secretly write stories of magic and mystery in my head and sometimes on paper.  I couldn't have done any of this without that magical (and now controversial) world of princesses that I grew up with.

And you know what? All those years of playing with perfectly proportioned dolls and tiaras and wishing for a prince to come save me have made me who I am today. And I'm a pretty damn fine person.  I am a mother of three wonderfully obnoxious children who assert themselves quite often. I work full-time in higher education, coordinating graduation and transfer for 800 students (and that was just in May and June).  I have my own prince - a hot, tattooed athlete who does Ironmans. I'm on the board for my twins club, home and school association, and a professional academic association.  Sometimes I run, sometimes I read books. Either way, today I know I look really good in this skirt and heels I'm wearing.

Confidence is what ours girls need, and I feel that I'm confidently showing my daughter - and my two sons - about how to grow up with a balance of fun and hard work, love and chaos, and reality and fantasy. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The time Meijer stole an idea from me

Recently Keith was at Meijer (sadly, his favorite store), and he found this:

Please note, I already have one... and it didn't cost $40. In fact, we found it in a garage. Check it out on my other blog, Under A Gypsy Moon.

I love a great deal!!!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Enter to Win Dial Deep Cleansing Hand Soap: Review & Giveaway

One of the things I enjoy about blogging is sharing my thoughts.  I know this page doesn't get a lot of traffic or comments, but I still enjoy doing giveaways for my faithful readers.

Dial® soap has recently come out with a new soap, and I was lucky enough to receive two free bottles to try out at home.  I had my choice of two great scents, but went with the Coconut Lime Verbana, because that's always been a favorite of mine. 

The NEW Dial® Deep Cleansing Hand Soap is the latest Dial® Brand hand soap bringing luxury to your hand washing experience.  This premium soap captures the fragrant essence of freshness, with an exhilarating blend of lime, coconut and verbena. With gentle micro scrubbers, it cleans and moisturizes deeply, for hands that feel sparkling clean.

The kids were excited to try them...

Keira loved that it felt like sand in her hand (the gentle micro-scrubbers!), and the boys liked that the soap was green. After drying their hands, Colin asked what that "yummy" smell was! I could answer that it was the soap.  He sniffed his hands again, then asked if they'd always smell like this.  As long as we use Dial, they will! ;)

The bright colors were a nice touch since it's been a really long and snowy winter.  The green and yellow of the soaps are a nice reminder that spring truly is on her way (despite the impromptu snowstorm we had this morning here in the Midwest)!

The new Dial Deep Cleansing Hand Soap comes in three scents: Coconut Lime Verbana, Yellow Raspberry and Black Sugar, and Water Blossom! Check them out!

Want a Chance to try them for yourself?? Enter the giveaway using the form below for a chance to win a FREE Dial Hand Soap Product coupon!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

When I Grow Up

When I was a little girl and asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would answer with one of these three occupations: teacher, cheerleader, writer.

The teacher thing didn't work out as I had expected; while I have a Master of Arts in History, I tried teaching college and found it wasn't for me. Instead, I work with students on a different level, and help them transfer to four-year universities to achieve their dreams.

I never was a cheerleader in high school - pom/dance try-outs were the week before cheer and I made the pom squad. I was lucky - even winning a chance to go to London and dance in the New Year's Day parade!

Writer. Well in my head, I am one. I have a blog. I have my notebook at home. I have about 100 notebooks, journals, and tablets of stories and poems in boxes under the bed and in the crawl space:
  • my first book of haikus in a yellow notebook, told from the viewpoint of a 5th grader
  • my favorite book of poems filled with teen-aged angst and rebellion
  • my black and white notebook with my first vampire story
And many more, too many to list.

Sometimes I wonder what I am doing with my life. I have a career, but it is not the one I imagined.  Or is it?

Teacher - Who shows my children right from wrong? How to tie their shoes? Or make their beds? I teach the harder things too - what to do when a classmate is mean, how to act when a driver cuts me off, what was slavery and why did we do it?

Cheerleader - I am my children's biggest cheerleader! When they do well in school or help out at home, I give them praise (despite what some parenting blogs may say!). When my husband runs his races, I cheer from the sidelines and wait at the finish line. When a student calls me with a problem, I go out of my way to help him or her to get what is needed.

Writer - I write here. Some people read it. Is that what it takes to be a writer? Someone to read your words? Or is it just the ability to put pen to paper (because in the long run, I'm pretty old fashioned)? Does what I write matter? Is it any good? Can I be a writer if no one sees it?

I've been thinking lately of plans. Yesterday's post talked of life being short. Today I wonder if I'm making a difference. Did I grow up to be what I set out to be? Or did I just grow up to be ME?

Monday, March 3, 2014


"Today is a new day."

"Keep moving forward."

"Just keep swimming."

Oddly enough, my mantras last week all stem from Disney movies. It was a stressful, emotional, and long week to get through.  Mostly work related, however we had some child vomiting through the night which meant no sleep for me. Also on Saturday, there was news of the passing of a friend I had met around the time Connor was born. Her children are around the same age as mine. She died in her sleep, although some say it was an aneurysm.  We were not especially close, but that doesn't mean I do not mourn her passing. She was my age. Her children are the same age as mine. I cannot even fathom the pain they must feel knowing that mommy is never coming back.

I was looking forward to today as being the start of a new day. My co-worker (and friend) retired on Friday, and I am stepping up to take over her role while we wait for her replacement. Some of her duties will stay mine.  I have some big shoes to fill.  All was good until I opened my email this morning and saw that she had sent me a note. My eyes filled with tears with her words to me.  She had had her last day planned out, right down to her last minutes at work, where we walk out together, hug and say see you later.  Ah, the best laid plans... it was hectic and her planned goodbye didn't happen.  We did hug, but it was rushed as she was hurrying out the door. There was a crowd of people, all hoping to get in their last goodbye. I walked out alone.

Life is short. I have my planner and to do list and the idea of starting a business swimming in my head. But there are no guarantees that I will be here tomorrow to cross things off and buy supplies. No matter how I *think* things are going to happen, in a blink of an eye, it all can change. I can bide my time, worrying about tomorrow, analyzing every detail, spending hours scrolling through Facebook... or I can live.  I can be present in my life - for my husband, for my children, for myself.  We get one chance with that, and God only knows how long that chance will last. So live while you can. Love while you can. And be thankful for every blessed day that comes your way.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Finally Friday...

I haven't posted all week! I hate when life gets so busy that I don't have time to do the relaxing things I love to do. Although this was a crazy week, there were some highlights:

I ordered new make-up! I switched to Bare Essentials over the summer.  It's pricy, but I love how it makes my skin feel.  I was running low on eyeshadow, so I went back to my old kind.  Within two days, I had developed an eye twitch. Now it could have been stress, because I do have a lot of that. But when I went back to B.E..... no more twitching!  This is what I bought:

9 brand new eye shadows!
Keith was gone one night for dinner, so I decided to make it special for me and the kids:

Oh and there was (another) snow day, so we had a fun afternoon playing games and generally wreaking havoc on my living room:

How was your week?

Friday, February 7, 2014

And the balls came crashing to the floor...

I had a temper tantrum today.

It was much like the one my daughter was throwing at the same time. I, however, kept my pants on.  We were almost ready to walk out the door for school and work.  They had been less than stellar this morning - fighting with each other, crawling up the stairs because they couldn't walk up them, one was walking around with just one boot on because he didn't want to wear the other one.  The kitchen table was still full of crumbs from breakfast, my work bag was tipped over (and I was picturing my tomato soup spilling all over the inside...), and although she was dressed in her hat and coat, my daughter suddenly decided she didn't like the pants she had on.  They didn't fit right.  Of course, I told her, that is what I said 45 minutes earlier when she put them on. I told her then they didn't fit and she shouldn't wear them. And in her usual, independent way, she put her hands on her hips and told me I was wrong.  Who am I to argue with a 5 year old who obviously knows better than me?

So now it's time to go, and she's upset that her pants don't fit right. She kicks off her boots, lays down and starts to remove her pants... all the while screaming about it. (Side note - the twins had food dye yesterday at school for a special event.  This very behavior is why we don't allow food dye, but she told me they "had" to eat the gummy bears and fruit loops because they were there.)  Anyway, at that point, I lost it. I had my own tantrum (pants stayed on). I yelled. I cried.  I may have thrown the boot I was about to put on my own foot. 

Life's a juggling act. Some days more than others.  Today, when all my balls were in the air, they came crashing down with no one to catch them.  It's been a long week. I'm tired.  More so than other days, but I know why. Trekking into Chicago every day for jury duty. Deciding the fate of 10 men. Coming home late to a chaotic household. Dealing with my little mouse, hopped up on food dye last night (he came in the door screaming and went to bed that way). Arguing with my husband over what to get for dinner. Arguing with my oldest and trying to get him to study for two tests. That never-ending pile of junk sitting on my living room floor. The to-do pile at work growing larger each day with no time to finish anything. I could go on.

I wonder why I write these raw feelings, these private moments that all moms hide from others. No one wants to be the mom who yells, the mom who screams, the mom who can't keep it all together.  Maybe I shouldn't share these things with the world. Maybe, I'm sharing them with the hopes I'll get a hug from a friend. Or my husband will read this, and say "hey, instead of going out for a run, I should ask my wife if I can help around the house in some way."  And maybe another mom who had a temper tantrum will read this and feel just a little less alone, a little less ashamed, a little less sad.

Today was a bad morning, but that doesn't mean it has to be a bad day. Keira put her pants and boots back on. We all had a group hug (or a "sandwich hug" as Colin called it). We laughed on the way to school, and I gave extra hugs and kisses before they ran into the building. I checked my work bag, and my soup had not spilled. I was only two minutes late to work. It will be a good day, and a good weekend.