He Wants Me To Quit

It’s been 9 months since I first went back to work. After years of being at home, I was able to get up in the morning and have a purpose other than sloppy breakfasts, packing lunches and yelling about where my kids’ shoes are. Being a Mom is priority one but even Moms need an outlet. 

My son has only known “At Home Mom”. Since he started kindergarten, I’ve been right there; to take him to and from school, help with homework, etc. Things are different now and he doesn’t like it. 

He isn’t selfish. He just wants his Mom available for him like she was before. 

I wanted something in my life that doesn’t revolve around my children. 

When my current job was presented to me, I was reluctant. I had never worked in the field of employment that was being offered. I was green from being out of work. My concerns regarding my physical capabilities and my enormous self-doubt swirled in my head every time the position was brought up in conversation. Despite the minimal hours (2 days a week, 8 hour days) and what days my shifts would be (Fridays and Saturdays, which would allow my husband to adjust his schedule one day during the week), I considered declining several times but we needed the extra income and that need trumped any other obstacle that blocked my heart’s decision. 

So, I became an employed person once again. 

When I broke the news to my children, the responses were mixed. The girl was thrilled as only a girl can be about something that sounds like good news.  The boy was instantaneously mopey, hesitant in his reaction and voice.

“A park ranger?  Do you even know how to do that?”

 “Not yet but I’m going to learn.”, I said enthusiastically. 

And that’s what I did. I learned. I trained. I failed and I succeeded. I stuck with it and now I love this job. The days are challenging and sometimes scary. Emotions have to be checked. So do egos. But unlike other occupations I’ve had, I get to leave everything at the door. Work does not follow me home. No phone calls or texts (unless someone needs a shift covered). Once I leave, I leave. At home, my focus returns to my children and that makes my grateful for this job. 

Lately, my two days a week schedule has become more. I’ll pick up a shift here and there. If it works with my husband’s schedule, then getting extra cash in the bank account is always a plus, right? 

Still, my son doesn’t like it. Not after I picked him up in my uniform so he could tell his friends that “my mom’s a ranger with a badge!”. Not after I brought Park Ranger swag like Smokey Bear comic books and friendship bracelets to his class to share. He doesn’t want a mother that is also a park ranger. 

He wants me to quit. 

This is where my “parent” heart splits from my “non-parent” heart. Having the opportunity to work right now is a freaking blessing. It’s a want AND a need. The good outweighs the bad and that bad outweighs the ugly except the ugly in this scenario is my son’s feelings. His heart. His childhood memories and as much as I stand my ground and tell myself that this is part of life, as a parent I make the decisions with my husband and we need jobs to provide for our families and he will understand later on and it doesn’t matter that he is so upset, it does matter. He matters. His feelings matter. Because he is my son. 

It’s time to sit down and talk. 

t.r.m. 

How I Ignored My Husband On Our Anniversary.

I wasn’t trying to ignore him. It just sorta happened. 

My husband and I were at Disneyland creating memories for our 11th wedding anniversary, and by memories, we were standing in line at Splash Mountain trying to remember Matthew McConaughey movie quotes….you know, like all couples do. Alright alright alright.

I looked away for a minute and saw a female Disney employee alone with a cell phone attached to her hip. That’s weird, I thought, nudging my hubby to show him. We casually watched her as the line progressed and others joined her. Our view was blocked from other people walking by but then, I saw why this Disney employee was alone in front of our ride.

She was a private escort for Samira Wiley and Lauren Morelli.

Now, if those names don’t sound familiar, you might not be watching Orange Is The New Black.

pousseylauren

Samira plays the character, Poussey on the show and her partner, Lauren Morelli, is one of the head writers on the show. I was beyond elated!! Poussey was one of my favorites so this was a celebrity sighting worth all my giddiness. I don’t get giddy most of the time over celebrities. Living in Los Angeles most of my life, I have seen my fair share of famous actors. When I managed my Starbucks, it was frequented by a few celebrities as well. Rob Riggle, Virginia Madsen, Jim Caviezel to name a few. But Samira? She’s on one of my favorite shows to date and I was in awe. Girl crush awe.

My husband showed little interest as I rambled omg omg OMG OMG under my breath. I tried my best to stay focused on him but I was giraffe-necking around the area to get one more glimpse of Poussey. 

Once we were at the gate to get on the ride, I saw the Disney lady waiting at the exit “She’s on the ride!” My husband smiled at me as I acted like a 5-year-old meeting Mickey Mouse. I knew it would be a long shot for me to see Samira and her group again so I let it go in my heart but not my head. 

Me: “Why take a chance on going to Disneyland with people like me? I would just ruin their trip with all my sly stares and whispers.”

Hubby: “She probably doesn’t care. She just wants to enjoy herself like us.”

My poor husband. Clearly, my focus was not on him. Happy Anniversary, darling! Pfft. 

We continued on with our day as we had planned. Late lunch at Blue Bayou. Is she here? Is that her? Oh, maybe not. Oooooo, chocolate mousse! Riding California Screamin’ because we don’t have our kids with us. There she is. WALK FASTER! Enjoying cocktails at The Cove Bar next to the waterfront and reminiscing about our last anniversary here. Waiter, if there is an employee walking around with a celebrity at the park, are they paid extra or is it just a special privilege? 

After our drinks, we were getting tired and needed a pick me up before going on the ride, Soarin’. We ordered coffee and I ditched my husband for a restroom break. I was finally refocused on our day and vowed to be a better date to my loyal long-time partner but when I approached the area where he stood, he said:

She just went inside the bathroom

WHAT?!?”

shhhhhhhh….

What?!”

Her escort is right there (pointing 20 feet away). Be COOL!

But if anything, I haven’t been cool all day. I’ve ignored my husband pretty much since I saw my girl crush celeb so it was either SHUT UP OR SHOW UP. 

I watched as they exited the bathroom and as they walked in front of us, I blurted out…

I DON’T WANT TO INTERRUPT  YOUR DAY HERE BUT…

WE ARE NOT STOPPING RIGHT NOW!!!, said the Disney escort lady. 

I paused. 

…BUT I’M A HUGE FAN. I LOVE YOUR SHOW!!!

My heart raced as I thought about what I just did. I stood there feeling stupid and foolish. I should have just stayed quiet.

Suddenly, Samira stepped back from her group, looked at me and with her hands clasped together, she gave me a sweet silence bow and mouthed thank you.

Inside my own body, I passed out. 

Hubby looked at me and said “We good now?” I hugged him tight and told him that it was all worth it. Okay, I shouldn’t have ignored my husband for a celebrity but he’s been with me for over 14 years and married for 11! He knew what he was getting into when we exchanged rings. “For better or for worse, even if the worse means crazy antics over a famous actress.”

So, Samira…where ever you are, thank you. Thank you for indulging in a 44-year-old woman who stopped your day just to tell you that you are amazing. My husband says he likes you too but maybe next time, try not to visit Disneyland on March 17th. He kind of wants it to be our day. And sorry for all the stalking. oxoxo.

P.S. I’ll be impatiently waiting for June 17th.

t.r.m. 

Blogger’s Note: As a writer for NETFLIX, I talk about shows and movies that I think you all would enjoy. As you can see, this post took a different turn from my normal promotional pieces. I hope you enjoyed it just the same. oh, and FYI, celebrities DO pay extra for an escort inside the park. Because you need someone to verbally keep away the crazies…like me. :) IMG_3158.PNG

Brothers and Ballerinas. 

It started with a gift. 
My daughter has been asking for a ballerina outfit for a few years now. A “leo-tUDE and fluffy tutu, please?”, she would beg. Growing up, I also wanted to feel like a graceful swan and twirl around until I lifted into the sky. It didn’t take much inner voice convincing when I saw that pale pink dance costume at Target. 

After school, my girl saw the outfit on the table as she dropped her backpack on the rug. “Is this mine?”, she asked, picking up the tulle skirt with spots of shiny silver. I smiled as her brother encouraged her to put it on. 

5 minutes later…she was covered in bandages, her face streaked with tears.

  
The minutes that past between my daughter putting on her new outfit and when I was soothing her pain on the couch inside were some of the most important of my life. 

Once she had her tutu adjusted, I asked her to come outside so I may take pictures. “Twirl!”, her brother repeated, in which she complied. She posed, spun, and lifted her arms as she had seen many times in movies and shows. “Twirl!!”, he brother kept encouraging and she did. She twirled, lost her footing on the sidewalk and landed face down on the hard cement. 

Her whole body collapsed in sorrow. “I’m not a good dancer!”, she moaned, tears heavy on her cheeks. She had scraped her chin and cheek, both knees and the palms of her hands but it was her heart that was the most damaged. 

My son started crying. 

While tending to my girl with kisses, hydrogen peroxide and words to calm, my son came and hugged my daughter. He told her that he was the reason she fell. She told him that she fell because she wanted to twirl. He apologized and she hugged him saying it was okay and that she loved him. 

I just stood there, trash wrappings of bandages balled in my hand. I watched them be siblings. I watched them care for one another. I watched their dynamic.

I watched and I cried. 

I have 7 siblings. I’ve never felt the emotions toward them as I see in these two children before me.  

My son led his little ballerina sister into the big room. They sat on the couch together and every couple of minutes, he would touch her cheek where the tears fell. He would get up and be silly to make her laugh. He distracted her from her fresh bandages and newly stained leotard. A warm bath and the washing machine can fix the exterior damage but my son was the healer of her heart. She was dancing one minute and falling the next. He told her…

Even big people ballerinas fall. They get hurt too. But they get up. They always get up. 

This was the piece of my childhood I never felt as a little girl. A big brother who was by my side when something that feels so big goes so wrong. The amount of unconditional support my 8 year old showed my 5 year old made my heart ache. I missed this part, living with my older brothers, having them protect me… If it did happen, I don’t remember. I’ve forgotten those days in my kinder years and there isn’t evidence to show otherwise. I’ll live here in this moment, feeling the feels as I watch my children live out my sibling wish. 

My daughter can say, “When I was 5, he was there.” I can only hope this remains a constant. For now, this is etched in my head for eternity. Even if I can’t remember feeling like this with my own siblings, I can live these minutes with my children. Please don’t let these minutes fade. 

After the silly dances had ended, it was just them two. Side-by-side. He had comforted her to slumber and he was adamant to stick by her. So, they fell asleep like this: 

 
Today, I learned….

Ballerinas will fall. Brothers will be there to pick up ballerinas. Ballerinas live to dance another day. Brothers will be there to watch them dance and encourage them to twirl. 

Maybe it’s time to contact my brothers and ask them if they will watch me dance.

t.r.m. 

When a Playdate Goes SO Well That You Don’t Want It To End.

  

Thank you to Walt Disney World for providing our family with items to create the ultimate play date. While I received these items in exchange for a blog post and social media shares, all opinions are my own. 

I think my kids believe that play dates are required activities. The truth is that play dates are a privilege in our house. They are earned, like allowances. They are planned and plotted out. I enjoy making the “date” special for my kids by having activities at ready when their friends arrive (Activities that almost ALWAYS involve baking!)  Playdates are special. 

So, when I was chosen to be one of the lucky few to host a #DisneyKids Preschool Playdate, I was so excited to see how I could make it unique to our way of planning play dates. 
Granted,  Disney sent us so much good stuff that it would be quite difficult to improve on all this awesome. They thought of everything! Games, art and crafts, story time, recipes and goody bags to finish the day. 

  
Once we set up the invites, via texts and Facebook, it was a matter of planning out the day. I wanted to let the kids figure out what they wanted to do first. I put the activities on the chalkboard and the unanimous choice was starting with puppets!

Disney sent us a kit that included a paper bags, cutouts of characters like Sophie the First and Jake from the Neverland Pirates and some glue and glitter to decorate. The girls were super-enthusiastic with the glitter so it took a bit for everything to dry. 

 

#ilovetocreate

  

making Sophia

  

another Sophia fan

  
 While we let our puppets sit, we moved on to the Character Charades game, except we didn’t follow the rules as printed out. We made it similar to “Heads Up” and the kids loved getting the person holding the card to guess the character.  

the charade cards

 

hallie and her guessing skills

 

Afterwards, we took photos with the Photobooth app included in the HP Photo Strips photo package. This was our tester to make sure everything worked before the party. Aren’t we cute? Having the app took place of a photo rental. Genius!

For the party, the girls dressed in DISNEY costumes for their photos. The posing. The flare. The hair. All of it was magic!

Then it was time for treats. I created Buccaneer Brownies using 1 cup of Nutella spread, 3 eggs and 10 tablespoons of flour. Mix and bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes. I also made Princess themed Tiara, Shoe and Talking Balloon (made out of a pumpkin cookie cutter) Sugar cookies for the kids to decorate.   

    

They LOVED the cookie decorating. Some much frosting, so little time!

Finally, they finished their awesome puppets and wanted to finish the day with some free play in my daughter’s room. I know I could’ve encouraged more activities but the party was successful the way it turned out. 

In the end, the kids did want to leave and my daughter wanted to keep the fun going. I felt it was necessary to have a specific time frame to conduct the party. Clearly, it could have run hours longer. If it was up to the children, it would have been an ALL DAY THING! 

  
    
We wrapped the cookies and treats in the new bags by GLAD (set to launch in Spring 2016) and everyone went home with goody bags with posters, tattoos, headbands and other Disney surprises! 
    
 I’m so grateful that we were able to have a super special play date with the help of Walt Disney World and their many sponsors! I’m not sure how we could possibly top this play date. 

t.r.m. 

  
Thank you to Disney for providing our family with items to create the ultimate play date. While I received these items in exchange for a blog post and social media shares, all opinions are my own. 

Don’t Judge That Person You See in Starbucks

As you walk into your local Starbucks, you see her.

Workout clothes that look like they’ve never soaked in sweat.

Her hand holding a huge coffee, probably her second cup.

Her mouth hasn’t stopped moving since she sat down, you’re guessing. 

You eyeball “Ms. Yoga Pants” with her top knot and non-stop word vomit as you wait in line for your caffeine fix. She annoys you because she is sitting there relaxing with a friend while you are heading into work. You have bumper to bumper traffic in your near future while she probably has a two-minute commute home to a couch and cheese curls. You have a presentation this afternoon that you aren’t ready for and you figure she has no obligations except picking up her kids from school. You are no-carbing it and she’s munching on a croissant. What a twat-muffin, you think to yourself. 

After the stupid barista finally hears your order (you don’t care that it’s loud in the shop), you think how great it would be to trade lives. You would love to just sit around and gossip about the latest Real Housewives or Bachelor episode. At one point you overhear Yoga Pants mention someone’s ass and try to listen in but their voices drop in volume. Thoughts run through your mind: She’s probably a stay at home mom, a know-it-all blogger, a trophy wife, a waste of carbon…at least, I’m contributing to society with my job and my paycheck. 

And then you leave because your coffee is finally ready and the traffic is going to suck.

 

I saw you too and when I did, I immediately started assuming things. 

I think you are rushing to get to work since you kept looking at your watch and exhaling loudly. I wondered if it was because you were late, maybe, because of your kids. My kids make me late A LOT. I see you take your frustration out on the barista who, by the way, is not the reason you are late. I think you’re acting like an asshole. For a split second, I thought maybe I’d buy you a coffee but your body language comes off as angry and menacing. I choose not to approach you because you look like you’d bite my head off. You can pay for your own damn coffee. 

I see you glaring at me and my friend as we discussed my mother-in-law and her chemo appointment. I just told my friend that I felt overwhelmed, how I feel like all I can wear in workout clothes because I’m so uncomfortable from my time of the month.  She was telling me a story about how she told a total stranger that “her ass looked good” in her workout clothes and I laughed at the thought of that person’s reaction. I told my friend that I would kiss a total stranger if they told me that my ass looked good. You looked up from your phone and stared at me for a moment. You must have heard the word ass and thought you’d listen in. Too late, I changed the subject after that, you nosy jerk. 

I always tell my kids to look at people through blank eyes. “Don’t judge that person you see in public“, I say and I’m ashamed of myself because, right now, I am.

I am not looking at you through blank eyes. I’m a hypocrite and I’m blaming you for how lousy I feel at this moment. 

I turn my attention back to my friend who I hardly see because of kids, jobs, crazy home lives and family obligations. But your look of judgement has stuck with me. I make assumptions when someone looks at me the way you did. It felt like you believed you were better than me. But you aren’t. I’m not better than you either.

No one is the better person here. We are both human, living different lives but not seeing the whole picture. I don’t know you and if I did, I would know you, understand you and not judge you. 

And we would be friends.

t.r.m.