A proud mother. Why I cried at my daughter’s first triathlon…

My daughter is a cautious person. She needs to warm up to situations, is hesitant to try new things and finds a safe spot crouched next to me with her arms wrapped around my leg.

When with close friends, she transforms into a leader who laughs a bellowing roar and chants, “Girls rule, boys drool.” But when that comfort zone is not around her, she is timid.

This has been challenging for me at times. “Timid” is not a word that I think has ever been used to describe me.

But this has been a year of firsts for my girl that have filled her with a new sense of confidence. This year she moved to lap lane in swimming where she is gearing up for swim team. This year she learned to ride a bike without training wheels.  And this year she completed her first kids triathlon.

On Saturday, with a thunderstorm looming and my son’s birthday party later in the day, we all went out in the dark of the morning for my daughter to participate in her first triathlon. We practiced transitions from swim to bike to run with her, we got all the gear she’d need, and we talked up the race every single day.  But as we waited the two hours for the older kids to finish before her turn, she clung to my leg a little harder and told me she loved me a few too many times. She was nervous but trying to keep it together.

And then it was her turn.

From the second she jumped into the water, my heart soared. My daughter transformed into the most confident human being I have ever seen. She dominated that swim. Crushed that bike ride. And ran to the finish with the biggest smile on her face.

I can honestly say that I never felt so proud of someone in my entire life.

It wasn’t because she did a sport or anything like that. It was because she was afraid of something and conquered that fear with confidence and a fire I hadn’t seen before.

All day I would find myself just looking over at her and smiling. She might be wearing the finalist medal but I feel like I won that day. I won the chance to see my girl shine.

Shine on, sweet baby.

kids tri picture

How to Make A Water Blob That Your Children Will Never Play With

Step 1. Spend 1 hour on Pinterest researching ways to make a large plastic blob of water. Be excited by the joy on the faces of the children in all of the photos.

How to Make A Water Blob

 
Step 2. Drag your own children to two different hardware stores to find 4 mm painters plastic, parchment paper and duct tape. Make sure to bring 7 different snacks because said children will ask for one every 15 minutes.

Step 3. Return home to where your children will “help” you by asking every 3 seconds if the blob is done. Note: The blob will not be done for another 2 hours.

Step 4. Use parchment paper to seal the two pieces of plastic together with an iron. Make sure you burn yourself and proceed to curse loudly in front of Christian neighbors at least 4 times to reach full pissed-off capacity.

Step 5. Leave slight hole in the plastic to put hose inside. However, be sure not to be a dumb-ass and turn the hose on before putting into hole. (cough cough)

Step 6. Be horrified at the ridiculous amount of water you are wasting to fill this thing for the next hour. But not horrified enough to stop.

Step 7. Seal hole with duct tape. Make sure you use your teeth to rip the tape so you can spend your child’s future college fund on dental work.

Step 8. Spray water on the blob to make it slippery in hopes that you can laugh at your children when they fall.

Step 9. Call excitedly to your children to come immediately outside and play for hours on this amazingly beautiful blob of water while you check email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram while in air-conditioning.

Step 10. Curse profusely at Pinterest when after 3 minutes your daughter yells to you, “So what are we supposed to do on it besides lay down?”

Step 11. Dream about letting all the water out of the blob, filling it with wine, poking a hole in it and using it as an adult-size Capri Sun. (Idea from my awesome friend Molly of Crazed in the Kitchen)

Step 12. Throw out water blob and just go to a pool.

Manic Mondays Begin! Our First Guest: Hairpin Turns Ahead

hairpin-turns-aheadI truly believe the key to blogging is to be part of a community. Last year I took that idea and created Inside the Blogger’s Studio which featured humorous interview sessions with different bloggers each month. I loved doing the series because it was such a great opportunity to get to know fellow bloggers in a whole new way. You can check those out by typing “Inside The Blogger’s Studio” in the search for posts bar over there on the right side of the blog.

Now, it’s a new year and time to try something new.

With that in mind, I created “Manic Mondays” – it’s a simple concept. Bloggers share their funniest parenting stories. We’re not looking for serious, warm your heart kind of moments. We are talking moments that will make us snort liquid out of our nose from laughing so hard.

So it was perfect when Liesl Testwuide, from Hairpin Turns Ahead, submitted her story. After reading it, you’ll want to follow her on Facebook and Twitter – she’s that funny. Her post will definitely make me reconsider sending my son to sleep-away camp…

LETTERS FROM CAMP – by Liesl Testwuide

Like kids all over America this summer, my youngest son is spending a week away at camp. It’s the first time he has been away without his brothers. It’s been terribly quiet around here. I’ve been thinking about him constantly and crossed my fingers that he’d send me at least one letter. I missed him so much, I began to imagine what he might write to me. I fantasized that I might receive something like this:

Dear Mom,

Thank you so much for letting me go to camp. I have learned so many cool things, like how to take a fish off the hook, tie sailing knots, and even how to groom a horse. Thanks for packing the sun screen. I’ve been out on the lake a lot, so it has really come in handy. You sure think of everything! Since it’s been so hot, I’ve been drinking tons of water! See? I really listen to all your good advice.

The other boys here are really smart and nice. I’m making some lifelong friends I will cherish forever. We’ve had fun learning camp songs, playing cards, and catching frogs in our free time. During quiet time, I read the book you sent along. What a great selection! And just because you’re my mom, I made a special gift for you in arts and crafts!

I’m trying a lot of new foods, just like you suggested. You were right, the oatmeal at breakfast really isn’t bad when I add raisins. And don’t worry, Mom, I’ve been using all the manners you’ve taught me over the years.

We are camping under the stars tonight. I am hoping to see some fireflies.

I love you,

W

xxoo

P.S. Tell my brothers I miss them!

Yesterday I received a letter from him! It’s just slightly different from what I imagined:

Playing a game with the girls from Science of Parenthood

One of my favorite things about BlogHer this year was the really awesome folks I had a chance to meet. Two especially are near and dear to my heart – Norine Dworkin-McDaniel and Jessica Ziegler, the duo behind the illustrated humor blog Science of Parenthood.

science-of-parenthoodWe spent many hours talking and sharing what we have learned not just about blogging, but about parenthood, life and all the crap that makes liquid snort out of my nose when I laugh. I truly appreciated having them at the conference and feel like I met kindred spirits when we first talked.

Now, they are celebrating this blog’s 1 year anniversary! They are having an awesome giveaway too of some top blogger books and some pretty fun swag – so head over there and check that out.

However, I couldn’t just sing happy birthday off key to them to celebrate. I asked them if they wanted to play a little game with me. So I came up with 10 words and they had to take turns saying the first thing that came to their head about that word.

Here we go!

Dessert: Mmmm …. I love free-association word games like this. Reminds me of therapy. Okay, so you say dessert and I say … chocolate. I L-O-V-E chocolate. If there’s chocolate anything on the menu, that’s what I’m ordering. Unless there’s bread pudding. Then I’m having that. If I had chocolate bread pudding, I’d think I’d died and gone to heaven. Which I don’t really believe in, but I do believe in chocolate. Especially Godiva. — Norine

Parenthood: “Parenthood” sounds so serious. I don’t feel that what I am participating in warrants such a heavy title. Floopy-Flailings?  Wingin’it-hood? Those sound a little more like it.— Jessica

Alcohol: Martinis. Jessica’s husband, Greg, makes a superb martini. Unfortunately, I loved martinis a little too much … to the point where I was drinking three a night … and now I’m in 12-step recovery program. I’m doing well, thank you. Sober for two-and-a-half years. I don’t actually miss the booze. But every once in a while, I think, Yeah, it’d be nice to have one of Greg’s martinis.  — Norine

Spouse: Long-term. My husband and I will have been married for twenty years this coming September. I know. It’s ridiculous. I suppose I should have said something like “soul mate” or “partner”, instead I’ve used a word typicalyl paired with “investment” or “prison sentence”. Let’s not examine that one too closely, m’kay? — Jessica

Birth: Well … I gave birth. I have a son, who’s nearly 8. But while most moms have these great, dramatic And then my water broke in the cab … stories, I have the lamest birth story, ever. My OB wanted to induce me, so I went into the hospital at 8 pm; they shot me full of pitocin and … nada. I didn’t feel one contraction. In the morning they said, Well, this isn’t working, let’s do a C-section. Forty-five minutes later, I had my baby. Barely felt a thing. I feel kind of cheated, actually. — Norine

Minivan: Being sixteen. When I was sixteen and first had my driver’s licence one of our family cars was a big ‘ol minivan. As you can imagine, it was every Cure-listening, Daria-watching girl’s dream car. I haven’t driven one since. Not that there’s anything wrong with minivans, but I only have one kiddo. Seriously, if you have two or more kids and they have any friends at all, you need a third row! — Jessica

Boobs:  I’m gonna risk pissing off a lot of women, moms, and confess that I … like my boobs. I do. Please don’t slap me. I would swap thighs with Kate Moss any day. But my boobs, they’re okay. I’m typically a B-cup, but when I was pregnant, I ballooned up to a D. That was fun for a while. But now I know I’m quite content with what nature endowed. — Norine

Youth: Fleeting. I had big plans to be super cool about getting older; now that it’s actually starting to happen, I’m not loving it. There are many, many things I appreciate about getting older: knowing more, being more confident, yada yada … I know they only come with age and experience. But the stiff neck and wayward chin hairs? Those I could do without. — Jessica

Embarrassment: Here’s the lovely thing about getting older — I’ll be 48 next birthday — I no longer embarrass easily. Stuff that would have made me want to disappear into the floor a decade ago — like the time my mom chose the sushi bar where we were sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with other diners to ask me, loudly, if I was “really into sex toys” — that stuff just rolls off me now. I’ve discovered that 99 percent of the time, people aren’t looking at you, they’re worrying about their own shit. Unless you’ve got toilet paper stuck to your shoe. Then people probably are looking at you. Hopefully some kind soul will tell you. — Norine

Mistake: I was all ready to say, “There are no mistakes. Life is a journey, my little snowflakes!” But then I remembered this one haircut I got in 8th grade. Oh my god, it was such a mistake. This was back when everyone wanted feathered hair. My hair was stick straight and thin. There was not enough Aquanet in the world to get this mop to feather. Sooo, I figured I’d just have them cut-in the layers. I didn’t learn the term “mullet” for another fifteen years, but that is exactly what I’d requested. – Jessica

Happy 1 Year Anniversary girls! I’m toasting my martini glass to you!

Check out Science of Parenthood at http://scienceofparenthood.com

If You Give A Mom A Cocktail…

You know that book “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie?

I was challenged by a friend to come up with my own version. Mine is called, “If You Give A Mom A Cocktail

I’m not a children’s book author or anything, but I think I might be on to something here…

IF YOU GIVE A MOM A COCKTAIL

If you give a mom a cocktail, she’s going to want crackers to go with it.

If you give her crackers, she is going to want cheese on top of them.

If you give her cheese, she’s going to want chocolate to compliment it.

If you give her chocolate, she’s going to want to watch reality tv.

If you give her reality tv, she’s going to want a blanket.

If you give her a blanket, she’s going to want a pillow.

If you give her a pillow, she’s going to want a bedtime snack.

And if you give her a bedtime snack, chances are she’ll want a cocktail to drink with it.

Thanksgiving Crafts I’m Not Smart Enough To Make

If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile, you know that I start to twitch and back away slowly at the sight of crafts. I can do some basic things like make a snail out of Play Doh (hey, that took me two hours to figure out), but beyond that, I’m craft-intolerant. So Pinterest to me is like a bad reminder of all the things I’m not smart enough to make.

With that in mind, I thought I would share a few Thanksgiving crafts I found that made me say, “How the heck would I actually make that?”

1. “Simple Thanksgiving Wreath” by Adorable You

In order to make this, I’d first have to get a subscription to a newspaper.

Second, I’d have to find time to actually read that newspaper and figure out what stories would make good wreath material.

Then, I’d have to buy an old fashioned bag of potatoes to get that burlap bow.

On top of that, where’s the strands of the bow? How did they magically disappear?

And last, I don’t think I could write the letters that neatly even if I was back in school with that gray lined paper we all used.

However, I feel very confident that I could glue all of the letters to the wreath. Except if I used a glue gun. Nothing good comes from a glue gun and my fingers.

2. “Light Bulb Turkey” – Crafts by Amanda

Uh, this one just looks painful to me. First, I’d have to capture two birds. One with red feather and one with orange. Considering that most birds have migrated to Florida for the winter, this is going to be really tricky.

Second, I’d have to figure out how to take out the energy efficient light bulbs out of the lamp. I always forget to let them cool before taking them out so I’m pretty sure I would burn my fingers.

Next, I would have to cut out two hearts for the feet. Ever since elementary school I’ve been inefficient at cutting out hearts. One side is always larger than the other and they end up looking like two mismatched boobs – which is a sensitive topic for me. (insert awkward grabbing of my boobs here)

And finally, I’d have to paint the lightbulb poop brown. Is that an actual color or do I just ask for brown at the paint store? Additionally, where would one get a miniature hat that fits a lightbulb turkey? Is there a store for that? I hear that crazy Tuesday Morning store has everything a human being could ask for and more…

3. “Lollipop Turkey” – Crafts n’ Coffee

Ok, now how long do you think a centerpiece like this would last on our dining room table? I’d go to sleep on the first night and find my 2 year old son under the table in the morning surrounded by lollipop sticks and stuck to the floor from all the juice that leaked from his mouth.

Second, I’d have to go to a scrap booking store to get all those different papers. I have a death fear of scrap booking stores. It’s not that I have anything against folks who scrapbook, not at all. I am simply scared of a store that is so damn organized. There is not a single piece of ripped paper and every pen has the top on. It just makes me feel like I can go nuts at any moment and start inappropriately folding and bending paper. I also have a fantasy of running around the store saying, “I’m running with scissors!!!”

Last, I can’t stop thinking that the turkey is wearing a tie. Perhaps he is dressing up for the holidays or perhaps it is supposed to be his waddle. Either way – I’m impressed with his ability to show personal flair and style right before his death.

 

So there you have it. Three crafts that I’m not smart enough to make. I think for Thanksgiving I’m going to just try to make a little black pilgrim hat for my Play Doh snail. I mean, I’m sure snails were aboard The Mayflower, right?