A chocolate hangover 

I survived yesterday despite my 6 year old eating an entire GIGANTIC Hershey kiss intended for her teacher who was absent. The whole thing. All of it. 

I am blaming the rest of the day on a chocolate hangover. 

Let’s back up a bit:

Checking your online dating profile in Valentine’s is not a good idea. In fact it’s a very bad idea. What was I thinking?!! Especially considering my track record. I didn’t think my ego could take another hit. Wrong. 

Disclaimer: the following is not nice. I know it’s not nice. 

I was wrong-my ego took some pretty violent hits as I began scrolling. Match.com in its infinite wisdom picked the following as matches for me.

Might be a lovely person but the padlocks around the neck weren’t my style. In fact they scared me a bit (a lot). I wondered what in his profile possibly matched mine. I didnt investigate. I moved on

I am not sure which one the system thought I matched but the one on the right looked suspiciously like padlock dude.  I moved on

I might be judgmental but what kind of grown man over 17 puts a shirtless picture of himself with his tongue sticking out??? What about that screamed “get to know me”? Based in Poor judgment I moved on. 

Again-these might be perfectly nice people. But this is a dating site. This is where you put your best foot forward. A place where you are supposed to sell yourself. A place to highlight the best parts of yourself.

Really??? This is what you use to attract a person of the opposite sex?! This is you putting your best foot forward? What is it with grown men thinking it’s remotely attractive to stick out there tongue?!? 

Match.com isn’t looking very promising. Back to the drawing board. 

The day after

Having survived the atrocities of the night before I expected today to be a piece of cake. 

I was wrong. 

The principal of the elementary school called. It wasn’t to tell me what a fine job I was doing raising my little one. Not by a long shot. The conversation involved “slap””cheek””unprovoked” and “not sorry” immediately followed by “spending her recess for the next few days in my office” and “might want to talk to her”. The  rest of it you can probably piece together. 

In one piece of luck she wasn’t with me tonight. I filled in her dad and asked her to give me her version. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read the re-cap of their conversation. Turns outhe would  not  play with her. Not a good idea. In perfect 6 year old logic she tried to convice him to play by….I still can’t even….she hit him. Smack Dab in the face. You can read the rest:

Oh well. At least I have an idea what next years handmade Valentine’s will look like. I can’t put happy Valentine’s Day on the placard she is holding to her chest on her mug shot. Maybe they’ll let me visit her in prison on Valentine’s Day. Hey, I’ll always have something to do. 

I worked late and missed dinner with friends. Had to work extra to earn future bail money.  

Between raising a 6 year old Rhonda Rousey, only being attractive to men resembling extras from the walking dead and missing my friends to work I was not very confident that the day after was going to end on a high note. 

I was wrong. 

My sweet bigs had left me a prize! 

Better go…I have to hide the chocolate before Rocky gets home. 

What is not to love?

I screech to after school at-no lie-5:56. This was after I apologized to big girls PRINCIPAL who had to hang out with her after track practice today. Seems as if she didn’t think it was a good idea for kinsley to be ALONE at the school. Talk about embarrassing. 

Baby girl is the last kid at daycare. She’s waiting outside. And she’s pissed. Being the last one to be picked up is not her favorite thing. So we already had one strike. 

Big girl and I can’t wait to hear about her say. She was so excited about Valentine’s Day!!!!!! She gets in glowering at is and we, in unison, squeal, “how was it?” She slams then car door, hunches in her seat as sullenly says, “I hate Valentines day.” Uh oh. We probe and prod until we finally get to the source of her discourse. She’s afraid to tell me. With good reason. Note to self: make sure teachers are at school before sending chocolate. Seems as if one of my baby daughters teachers was in a meeting today. Since she wasn’t there to get the chocolate Sadie ate it. All of it. It was one of those HUGE Hershey kisses. She. Ate.It.All. 

Now I am pissed. We both pout. 

We arrive at the grocery store where there isn’t a single spot. Cars were waiting 2 deep on spots. It was like someone forecasted snow!

Making our way into the store made me think of salmon swimming up stream to spawn. Only the ones that were spawning were coming at us. Men of every shape, size and demeanor weee flocking out of the store carrying enormous bouquets. Guess the later you wait the bigger the boquets you buy. These guys were getting a work out just carrying these suckers. Even teen girl commented,”talk about waiting to the last minute. Look at all these flowers!”

Then she gasped and grabbed for her phone. “Mom…I got that sweetest text today. Look Sadie–it’s for you too,” she held up her phone to show me a picture of daffodils my dad had texted her. “I got them too!” I proclaimed. We spent the next few minutes bantering about how sweet it was and what we were doing when we saw them. She was absolutely giddy.

I told her how he used to give my sister and I little treats in Valentine’s day and how special it made me feel. Her smile told me the texted flowers made her feel the same way. I thought to myself…way to raise that bar high dad! Make it hard for any guy to measure up. 

Inside the store we looked over the pilfered shelves looking for the girls beau a treat. We settled on a 4 foot red and pink caterpillar that snuggled good like his hugs. Ugh. And a 2 pound bag of m&ms. I am sucker. 

1/2 way home she squeaked,”Mom…he’s just asked where I was!!! Mom! Do you think he’s at our house?” The 15 minute car ride became frantic. She’d been at track practice so she she stunk (no-she really did). Mom to the rescue. I had spritzer. She panicked that he would think the worm was dumb. I talked her off that ledge. She verbally debated whether to her the worm out when she got it or leave it in the car in case until she assessed the situation. I listened and didn’t roll my eyes…much..

It was high drama-a 14 year old girl on her first Valentine’s Day with her suitor waiting on her front porch. Need I say more?

The whole caterpillar debate was for naught because I hadn’t even gotten the car stopped before she pole vaulted out and launched herself into his arms for a rib crushing hug. 

1/2 dozen roses, a card and a stuffed animal and a hug. There isn’t really anymore that needs to be added. 

The spoils of Young love


After she left she gushed about “how sweet and amazing he was” and how she never understood the mushy-lovey-dovey-stuff until now. On and on and on it went. And on and on and on. And on. Finally she came up for air and said,”oh…sorry mom.” Great. My daughter can’t enjoy her first love for worrying about her loveless mom. I assured her it was fine. So she want back to her giddy recount of the event I had just witnessed.

The younger girl zoned in the corner in a self-induced chocolate coma. 

Big girl finally stopped gushing thanks to the pizza I put in her mouth. I hoped fresh spinach was an antidote to chocolate as I piled it high on my Valentine hating little girls plate. 

The finale of the evening was a bath bomb my fella had given me for Christmas. I’d been saving it for tonight. A luxurious and relaxing bath would be my treat for surviving the day. 

That lasted 2.3 seconds. Here comes baby girl ripping off socks and hiking up pants ready to go just put her feet in.  Right behind her is big girl. I threw the cloth over the bits not covered my the foamy water. I barely got the rag on place before I saw a phone camera zeroing down on me. I shrieked. She laughed. She wanted an artsy picture of the cotton candy bath bomb. 

I didn’t have time to scold her because I was overcome with this smell. This putrid smell that permeated the small room. IT WAS FEET. The stench was my 6 year olds feet that she was lowering into my long anticipated bath!

So. I sat crumpled in the corner of a too small tub while big girl took artsy pictures and little girl soaked her stanky feet, a legs and (shocker) eventually her entire body. On accident of course. 

Now I am in bed. Not alone. Not the Valentine’s Day I’d imagined in my younger days. Not sleeping single in a double bed tonight. No sir! Here I am, a little one smelling of chocolate despite MY bubble bath. She keeps schooching closer until I have one cheek teteering on the edge of the bed. The only thing keeping me on is the dog who has currently cutting off circulation to my feet. 

What’s not to love about a single moms Valentine’s Day? I can’t lie. I love all of it.

Another way of looking at tomorrow 

2012 Valentine’s Day (or lack thereof) story. A reminder that the view from the rear view mirror isn’t as clear and the view from the front. 
2013 Valentine’s story is about asking for and getting what you want. 
2014 I didn’t even bother. 

2015 the year of the brutally honest valentine. The only Valentine’s that includes the phrase “even if you do get on my nerves.”

2016 came and went between a tirade on why I hate Walmart and meeting a hero. 

2017. It is what you make it, right?

This year my goal is to make others feel loved. 

Even though it doesn’t look like what I thought it would-I love so much about my life.

  • I love with all my heart me fella, my sassy one and my hot mess. Every day they give me something to marvel at. Their resiliency and heart teach me something every day. 
  • I love-fiercely-my tribe of friends who make me smarter and stronger then I would ever be in my own. 
  • I love people that barely know me or that used to know me reaching out to say “thinking of you” or “how are you today?”
  • I love bananas. 
  • I love parents that love my fella, my sassy one and my hot mess. I couldn’t do this without them. 
  • I love my small work family. L.o.v.e. 
  • I love the new work family friends I am making. There are some super-cool-super-smart people in my life.
  • I love that the freaks in match.com don’t know my feel name. Wait until you see that blog-with pictures-it is bound to be a doozy. 
  • I love hugs. 
  • I love when my house is clean-at least I think I do-it’s been so long my memory is fuzzy. 
  • I love being a swim mom, a softball mom and  a cheer mom. I love that my kids see humor in my antics and that their teammates-to my face anyway- smile and say that they like the way I loudly love my athletes. 
  • I love making stuff…when it works. When it doesn’t, and that happens often, I hate it.
  • I love that sometimes….things don’t go as planned and that those are sometimes the very best memories.
  • I love this blog. I love to write. I love having a place to write. I love when people comment on my blog because something I wrote spoke to them. 
  • I love little Debbie red velvet snack cakes. And it shows. 
  • I love the little dimples in my baby girls hands that remind me she’s not grown yet. 
  • I love the scent of lavendar. Even more so I love the fact that my son knows this and gave me some for Christmas.
  • I love that my girl wrote me letters for Christmas to open at various times of the year. 
  • I love the ocean. It soothes my soul. 
  • I love the words thistle and pumpkin. It makes my mouth happy yo say them. Try it. You will thank me later. 
  • I love whimsical birds. 
  • I love sliding into clean sheets. 
  • I love that I share my grandmothers names. I love that my son carries my dad’s name and that my little ones middle name was inspired by her grandmothers. 
  • I love when I get off my arse and so something adventurous. Why don’t I do that more??
  • I love that ice you get from sonic.
  • I love that I am loved my uncles and aunts that still support me even though I never see them. 
  • I love that just last week someone reminded me that I changed their life 13 years ago by doing my job as they were thanking me for helping them advance all these years later. I love that I made a positive impact on someone. 
  • I love quilts. 
  • I love parts of my story. I can’t pretend it was all a nightmare. Part of the story that made me who I am is lovely. 
  • I love songs that make me think. And sometimes I love the songs that make me cry. Somtimes a song induced cry is just that the doctor ordered. And I have a few songs in my arsenal that guarantee tears. 
  • I love that my babies have so many wonderful people to help shape their lives. 
  • I love to cuss. I do. 
  • I love a fire in a fireplace.
  • I love samples at Sam’s. You time a shopping trip right in a Sunday afternoon and you don’t even have to buy lunch. 
  • I love glitter. 
  • I love my heart pajama pants even with the holes and the worn spots at the knees. 
  • I love conversations that you slip back into even if the conversation stopped a long while ago. 
  • I love sleeping late. Everyone usually loves me better when I get to sleep late too.
  • I love crisp fall air and the colors of autumn. 
  • I love brown paper packages tied up with sting. 
  • I love how things look under the soft glow of a lamp. 
  • I love when I do things for others that makes them smile. 
  • I love the sound my bell makes. 

I could keep going but I don’t need to. This was an exercise to remind myself of all the things I love instead of dwelling on the ways I am not loved. Especially tonight. 

I almost didn’t…after 14 years of handmade Valentine’s I almost admited defeat, threw in the white flag and spent $2.99 on the Frozen pre-made Valentine’s. 


In the end I didn’t. I always try to finish what I start…unless it’s marriage…so…

It started in kindergarten. The kids and I were 6months into apartment living. Money was time tight. So tight that I decided to use the scrapbooking supplies I already had versus spending any money. I cut and colton decorated. Each child got a cut-out decorated letter…a for Asia, b for Barclay…you get the idea. For each one I made colton tell me something nice about the person. 

It was a good thing we started in plenty of time. Whew! For a few the nicest thing he could come up with was “she smiles sometimes” or “she isn’t mean”. By Valentine number 19 I let it slide. 

I probably still have glitter on me somewheee from that long ago because it got EVERYWHERE. Turns out handmade Valentine’s requiring sentiment and thought don’t pare well with ADD. Who knew. 

Like childbirth, I forgot all the bad and only remembered the good…sitting at the kitchen table my fella and I. So in his first grade year we did it again. 

So handmade Valentine’s were born. And every year we did it again. First my fella, then miss priss…year after year after year. 

This year I almost called it quits. 

But that face…one look at that face and I knew I couldn’t. I wanted her to have the same memories as the bigs. One day it would matter. If I was lucky one day she would make me a valentine like her sister did. Read about that and laugh. The handmade Valentine of miss brutal honesty herself

I almost didn’t…but in the end I did. My bug deserves the same effort as the first two. So she got it.

I am completely stupid. This year I I did not repeat the “say something nice” about everyone debacle. With my bug that could have gotten ugly very quick. I didn’t pull out the glitter and glue because I have finally learned that ADD-glue-glitter should never inhabit the same space. 

White paper, foam heart stickers and a teddy bear. I had visions of quality photographs but that got too complicated quickly. So in the end it was me, my girls and an iPhone. 

Goofing off

Giggling Girl

They had fun. She got her homemade, handmade Valentine and I didn’t quit. We all won. Her sister, who secretly misses making valentines cards even stepped up to help. Without causing drama. It was probably because she wanted the candy but…hey…I’ll take what I can get. 

There will be no roses in this house. No sentimental cards. No jewelry, no romantic dinners with wine or chocolate. But there will be love. And memories. And handmade Valentine’s.

What they didn’t know

“Surprise,” is what I heard though it might have been a different word. I was in the phone handling business when a package plopped on my desk. In a blur the blue sweater clad lad playing delivery boy rushed out of the room. On the phone I heard a laugh. It was a conspiracy!!! The person on the phone was stalling while her partner in crime made the delivery of the most adorable owl bag and a scrumptious, heavenly cupcake. 

I was smiling. My co-worker was smiling, the conspirators were smiling….it was awesome. 

It was thoughtful. It was a surprise. It was fun. It was a 2 minute gesture. 

What they didn’t know was:

  • I’d been going 90 to nothing all day and was feeling the panic of being overwhelmed. 
  • They didn’t know that Friday’s were a struggle for me. Friday’s were my trigger. Friday’s were my nightmare. Friday’s were family night. Friday’s were the start of the weekend. Friday’s were the night you wanted to kick back with an adult beverage and re-cap the week with someone who gave a damn and who knew you well enough to to hear the words but understood what you weren’t saying. Friday’s reminded me that…well…Friday’s were reality. 
  • They didn’t know that-as silly as it seems-the impending holiday of love had me twitchy. They didn’t know this precious valentine was the only one I would get. (Omg that sounds pitiful)
  • They didn’t know that their sneak attack lightened the weight on my chest. 
  • They didn’t know that a cupcake and a decorated owl bag served as justifiacation that I was doing something right and that hard work mattered. 
  • They didn’t know that I am fighting a losing battle with depression. They didn’t know that their gesture kept the sad at bay a few extra minutes and allowed me a chance to breathe and focus on happy versus sad. Which I really, really want to do.
  • They didn’t know that my suprise catapulted me into a attitude of gratitude. 
  • They didn’t know I’d had coversations all day with people who were terrified about their futures and their livelihood. And I ached for each of them. And I silently had similar fears that I kept to myself today. 
  • They didn’t know my son was failing a class.
  • They didn’t know I’d had to be the bad parent and suspend his swimming and not let him to to the first party all year that he’d been invited to. They didn’t know how much that broke my heart. 
  • They didn’t know the school had scheduled another meeting to talk about my young ones struggles. 
  • They didn’t know that I had made the decision that it was time to date.
  • They also didn’t know the idea of going on line, selling myself and hoping someone liked what they saw was as close to hell as I ever hoped to come. But loneliness was worse. They didn’t know I’d decided to put in my big girl panties (not literally) and take a chance. And try not to vomit while doing it. 
  • They didn’t know that the first “like” I had closely resembled an axe murder which has me questioning what I could attract. They didn’t know the second like went straight to “meet for coffee” or that I had serious doubts that I was capable of a date. What the hell do I have to talk about?
  • They didn’t know that I was doing the single-mom-creative-accounting-juggling act to compensate for some late “support”. 
  • They didn’t know I’d worked until 9:30 the night before but was still way behind. 
  • They didn’t know that a good nights sleep had alluded me for…oh months
  • They didn’t know that my pants were a size that left me disgusted with myself. That didn’t stop me from eating the cupcake but….

When they decided to deliver a decadent cupcake in a whimsical owl bag they had no idea what a huge impact it would have on my day. A single act of kindness had me asking myself what I could do for someone else to make them feel as good as they’d made me feel. 
To them it was a cupcake. To me it was so much more. It goes to show that you never know what impact a phone call, a simple note or a kind word has on someone. It was a reminder to me the impact of kindness. Kindness. 

In a world of tension and drama; differing opinions and uncertain futures kindness was something we could all agree on. Kindness doesn’t have to cost a thing. Kindness takes a minute but lasts 100 times longer. 

Never underestimate the power of a cupcake!

It was a cupcake and a funny faced owl bag. What they didn’t know was how much that cupcake and owl bag meant. 

What kindness can you share tonight or tomorrow?

A big night x 3

Ask me who, after making his first final at a state event, ran across the pool deck and into the stands. Ask me who tried to act causal when he got there saying,”I just wanted to thank you for coming,” but then his voice broke, “it means a lot.” My fella—that’s who. 

That hug! Oh that hug and oh the fact that he left celebrating with his friends to find ME! He might have made the finals but he made me feel like a winner by sharing his victory with me. 

4 personal best times…a final with a relay team ans being so thoughtful as to include me in his. If moments…I simply couldn’t ask for more. And I had a friend to share my excitement with. His son had already made finals and had finished swimming. But he stayed. He stayed to watch and cheer Colton on… he was the one that called out “THEY MADE IT!” He was the one that called his wife to tell me Coltons relay was in too. I am grateful for good and supportive swim parent friends. It made the victory so much sweeter by getting to share it with someone. 

My little girl got to be a dancing diva tonight thanks to her grandpa taking her to the dance. My dad said she danced and smiled and had a big time. Her gramsey for her nails done and curled her hair. She felt pampered and special. It was a big night for my girl. 

Big girl knew she was loved even though I couldn’t make her last game as a middle school cheerleader. The goody bags tickled her and her friends abs hopefully distracted from the fact that I wasn’t there. Thanks to some awesome colleagues of mine she knew I was thinking of her. They took the time to hug her and give her a note reminding her how proud I was of her.  I wasn’t there tonight but my friends made sure she knew I wanted to be. 

It takes a village to raise a child and tonight I was lucky enough to have a village to count on. Each child had their own moments. It was a grand, big night and they all got to have their own experiences without feeling slighted. And I got to share their experiences a little thanks to special, special people in my life. 

Tonight by cup runneth over….

An old friend suggested a gratitude journal to keep things in perspective. I don’t have enough words to list all the things I am grateful for today. 

Tonight I am thankful for the big happy smiles all my babies has today. 

I am grateful for a supporting network of people who help me love my babies. 

I am thankful for parents willing to be here to pick me up my slack. 

I am thankful for the kind and sweet hearts of my kiddos. 

I am thankful to have friends I can call to share my news. 

I am thankful for answered prayers. 

I am thankful for these grand experiences I get to share with my babies. 

I am grateful to be their mom and grateful to all the people that Help me to be a good one. 

Tonight I am just grateful.

So I get a text with this picture this morning. First of all can I say that I am tickled pink that my son loves giving me blog ideas!

Remember the old country song, ‘I shaved my legs for this?’ Never thought my son would trigger memories of that particular melody.  I didn’t expect my daughter to yell,”get out of the bathroom! I have a game tomorrow. You aren’t the only one that has to shave their legs a tonight ya know.” Nope. Never imagined that particular fight. 

But today is state. The pinnacle of the high school swim year. My fella met his goal…heck he exceeded his goal with pure heart and determination and is swimming in 4 events–the max allowed. 2 individuals and 2 relays. 

He qualified for the individual events right at the state qualifying time. “Hang on…one more minute….almost there…few more swipes…alllllllmmmmossssstttt..” this was the commentary he gave while finding his name on the psych sheet. It was hilarious and I loved his good natured outlook. By just meeting the qualifying time he’s seeded way down in the bottom. But he’s there. Only top 20 make finals and come back to swim another day. He won’t make that in the fly or the back-but it’s okay. A 40th state ranked swimmer is still a state ranked swimmer. We will have the t-shirt to prove it! His relays have an outside…very outside chance. He believes they will make it to top 20 so I will believe it too. 

Where he’s expected to finish  doesn’t stop my fella. He doubled up on practices a few times this week. He put himself on a water regime. He spent over an hour shaving, yes shaving, his legs. Anything to drop even a millisecond. 

That’s what I so love about this fella of mine. He is still giving 100%. He’s still in the game. He’s still fighting even if it’s to drop a second or move up one notch. He’s a fighter. He’s swimming for persoal pride. He’s swimming to chase away the echoes of “you are too short” and “swimmings not a real sport.”  He swim swim with memories is jeers and taunts chasing him. He will swim with worries he’s not good enoug. But he will swim. He will swim with all he’s got. He will fight all the way to the wall. Because that’s who he is in the water. He will always swim like a champion. 

So yes baby. I will write a blog for you today. I’ll write about your shaved legs. But I’ll also write about how much I learn from you every time I watch you swim. 

I’ll write to dispel your belief that me, your dad, your grandparents…that anyone is disappointed because you are a swimmer and not a football player.  After watching you swim no one would ever want you to be anything other than what you are…you are a swimmer. You are a fighter. You are an underdog. You are a surprise. You are an inspiration. You are the heart of a team. You are poetry in motion in the water. You are an athlete. You are a champion. 

So go and do your do your thing today. Don your new racing suit with your smooth as silk legs. Put on your gold cap. Arm yourself for battle. I’ll be there cheering (and crying) for you. My heart will burst with pride rather you are first or 41st. 

You are a champion! You are my hero.