Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Top 10 Dr. Seuss Quotes

The National Education Society's Read Across America is coming up in a few days on March 2nd, which is also the birthday of the amazing Dr. Seuss.  So I thought I'd pull one of my old top 10 lists out of the archives to celebrate one of my favorite authors.
Image Credit: Google Images

As a parent trying to instill a love of books in my young children, as a kindergarten teacher trying to find fun ways to teach beginning readers, and as a writer who has written a (yet unpublished) children's book, I think Dr. Seuss was a GENIUS.

Dr. Seuss had this amazing ability to teach lessons surreptitiously. Kids listen to his books and think they’re all about silly rhymes and nonsensical words. Sure, some of them are simply unadulterated silliness. But so many Dr. Seuss books have hidden messages that kids can relate to and continue to process long after the rhymes are forgotten.

My top 10 list was originally going to be my favorite excerpts from Dr. Seuss books. However, when I did a little Googling, I discovered that Dr. Seuss shared lots of other tidbits of wisdom outside of his famous children's books. (I also discovered that "Yertle the Turtle" was about Hitler!)

Here are my...
Top 10 Dr. Seuss Quotes

10) "They say I'm old-fashioned, and live in the past, but sometimes I think progress progresses too fast!"

9) "Adults are just obsolete children and the hell with them."

8) "You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams."

7) "In my world, everyone's a pony and they all eat rainbows and poop butterflies!"

6) "Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple."

5) “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities.”

4) "We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love."

3) "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."

2) "So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads."

1) "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."

What is your favorite Dr. Seuss-ism?


Monday, February 27, 2012

Happy 8th Birthday Big C (a day early)

Tomorrow is my baby boy's birthday.  But I can't exactly call him my baby boy anymore because he's turning 8 years old.  I know we all say this as moms, but really, where did the time go?!

I remember the 24 hours leading up to Big C's birth like it was just a few days ago....

...The unexpected doctor's visit that revealed I was 1 cm dilated even though my due date was 3 and a half weeks away 

...My husband's phone call from an airport 2,000 miles away as he frantically told me to put the doctor on the phone

...The mini baby shower my parents threw for me after I returned from the hospital and told them everything was fine, that I wasn't in labor 

...Picking up my husband from the airport and going immediately to the carbo-loading dinner for my father who was running a marathon the next morning

...Telling myself I was having Braxton-Hicks contractions and not real contractions as I stuffed my face with pizza, spaghetti, and cheesecake

...Feeling weird at home and pulling out the "Signs You're in Labor" checklist from our birthing class.  Check.  Check.  Check.  Uh oh.

..."Honey, I think I'm in labor."

..."You're not in labor."

..."Oh my gosh, I think my water just broke!"

...Calling the hospital ("I'm only 36 weeks!") and tossing items into a duffel bag in between contractions that were suddenly 7 minutes apart while my husband put on a pot of coffee, let the dog out, and attempted to put the car seat in the car

...Somewhere around 11:00 PM, speeding to the hospital with flashers on while the dad-to-be makes phone calls to the grandparents-to-be

...Checking into a room and exchanging my clothes for a gown.  Contractions 4 minutes apart. 

..."No epidural!"

...Husband retreating to a chair in the corner after I pull his hair and scream at him to get his coffee breath out of my face

...Stuck at 7 cm for HOURS.  Doctors finally convince me to get an epidural.  Within an hour I was pushing.

...Big C was born at 5:45 AM.  Despite the fact that he was nearly a month early, he weighed an even 7 lbs.  He was also about 18 hours away from being a leap year baby. 

I was so grateful that my husband made it home in time so we could share the joy of meeting our son and that my parents happened to be in town thanks to a very timely marathon (and, yes, my dad still ran the marathon, all juiced up on the adrenaline from becoming a grandpa).  The whole experience was absolutely crazy.  In a perfect sort of way.

Tomorrow is that baby boy's 8th birthday and my 8th anniversary of being a mother.  Time flies when you're having fun.

Friday, February 24, 2012

To Be or Not To Be...Anonymous

The other day my friend Ann Marie over at Household 6 Diva mentioned on Facebook that she was hanging out at the mall when a woman she didn't know approached her to ask if she wrote a blog.  Ann Marie was so excited to meet one of her readers, and I'm sure the woman was just as excited to meet her.  It got me thinking about how much I would love to randomly run into my readers in real life.

But in the two plus years that I've been blogging, I've never run into one of my readers.  Or at least, I don't think I have.

Because I blog anonymously, most of my readers have no idea what I look like or where I live.  I've often shopped at the commissary or sat in the waiting room at the clinic on base and wondered if I walked right by someone who reads my blog.  It's very possible.  And for now, I think the fact that no one recognizes me is a good thing.

On one hand, I think I might enjoy having people recognize me.  I'd love to sit down and chit chat with other mil spouses who read my blog and pick their brains for input.  On the other hand, there are reasons I've chosen to remain anonymous.  Privacy is one of them.  I know, I know, there's no such thing as privacy when you put your life out there on a blog for anyone to read.  But by writing under a silly name and not sharing pictures of myself or my family, I feel that I can maintain a comfortable balance between sharing my life with strangers and protecting my privacy.  Plus, anonymity gives me a little more freedom with my topics of discussion.  I highly doubt I'd share certain details about my job if my boss knew I was a blogger.

Friends have asked me if and when I'm going to "out" myself, when I'm going to shed my anonymity and let it all hang out.  I usually respond jokingly that I'll reveal my identity when I publish a book and need publicity.  But in all seriousness, I don't know if or when I'll ever blog as someone other than Wife on the Roller Coaster.  I'd like to think that my name doesn't really matter, that people read my blog because they feel they can relate to me and because they find my posts funny, touching, useful, or just simply entertaining.  And even though it means I won't be running into any of my readers at the mall and chit chatting at the food court, I think I'm going to hold on to my anonymity for awhile.

At least until I publish a book and I need the publicity.  :)

Do you blog anonymously?  If you don't, do you wish you did?  Do you relate more to bloggers who share personal details like their names or doesn't it matter?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Top 10 Things To Remember When Your Husband Is NOT Deployed

My husband is home.  I don't just mean he's in the other room watching The History Channel. I mean he's home as in he's not "on a trip."  In fact, he's been home a lot since his last deployment, way more than I've become accustomed to in our nearly 12-year marriage.  And as strange as it sounds, I have to admit that sometimes having him home is almost as much of an adjustment as having him gone.

As military spouses, we read a lot of tips about how to cope during deployments.  But what about tips for when your husband is NOT deployed and when he's been home for 6 or 8 or 10 solid months, a span of time that many military spouses have never shared with their husbands?

I'm not a marriage counselor, and I'm certainly no expert on the subject, but with the amount of time my own husband has been spending at home, I've gathered a few little tidbits of knowledge through experience.  I can't claim to follow them all, but I do recognize the value in them and hope I can, at some point in the near future, follow my own advice.

Here are my...

Top 10 Things to Remember When Your Husband is NOT Deployed

10) Take deep breaths.
He's never going to do everything exactly the way you do it.  He's not going to load the dishwasher the way you do.  He's not going to make the bed the way you do.  He's not going to put the kids to bed the way you do.  He's not going to remember where you keep the extra rolls of toilet paper.  And that's ok.  Take a deep breath, let it go, and move on.  And who knows, maybe you'll discover that you like HIS way better than yours.

9)  Give each other space.  But not too much space.
I'm the kind of person who needs my alone time.  I need some distance from the rest of the world so I can process my thoughts, even if that distance is simply an extra 5 minutes in the shower.  But when my husband is home, I no longer get the alone time I had when he was gone.  So we compromise by giving each other the space that we need, but making sure to meet up again before that space between us becomes too great.  A little personal space is good.  Too much space is not.

8)  He's your husband, not an out-of-town guest.
My husband used to be gone so frequently that when he came home I treated him like an out-of-town guest.  And while I'm sure he enjoyed being doted on for the first couple of weeks he was home, with fresh smelling towels and his favorite home-cooked meals, I'm also sure that he soon longed to become a part of his family's daily routine.  After all, he IS a part of our family, not just a visitor.

7)  Get to know each other again.
Deployments change marriages.  He's changed.  You've changed.  You're not the same people you were when he left.  And that's normal.  Just make sure you introduce your new selves to each other.  Isn't fun to fall in love all over again?

6)  Share.
Share your thoughts.  Share your bed.  Share your chores.  Share your kids.  Share your ice cream.  Share your time.  Share the remote control.  I know you're used to doing everything on your own in your own way.  But when your husband is home, you have to get used to sharing your life with him again, even if that means you have to trade in Grey's Anatomy for the History Channel. 

5) Schedule girls' nights out.
Your girlfriends got you through those deployments, so don't forget about them during the times of non-deployments. For the first couple of weeks after my husband returned from deployment, I fell off the face of the earth, abandoning my friends who were my lifeline while my husband was gone. But the longer my husband was home, the more I realized how much I needed that girl time. We need to nurture those friendships. Friendships are like marriages: for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.

4)  Schedule date nights.
I know baby-sitters are expensive.  I know work schedules are unpredictable.  But find a way to schedule time for just the two of you, even if that means putting the kids to bed early on a Friday night and sharing stories about your day for 10 minutes before popping open a bottle of wine and clearing out your DVR.  You both need that time as a couple, whether you're using date night to get to know each other again or to remind each other why you fell in love to begin with. 

3) Don't forget the person you've become as a result of those times he WAS deployed. 
You're more independent. You've pursued hobbies and chased personal goals. Don't give all that up just because you no longer HAVE to be independent.  And try to include your husband in those new hobbies or personal goals.  (And if that's not possible, at the very least, have him watch the kids while you do your thing!)

2)  Communicate.
When your husband is gone more than he's home, communication is limited to cryptic emails, late night phone calls that you vaguely remember, and/or short Skype sessions that you spend begging the kids to either speak (on the days that they're uncharacteristically shy) or stop arguing (on the days that they're acting completely normal and fighting for the spotlight).  Suddenly he's home, and oh my gosh I actually have to talk to my husband face-to-face!  Just remember that communication involves both speaking AND listening.  Whether he wants to discuss his deployment experiences or you want to discuss your newly discovered successful methods of disciplining the children, remember what you learned in kindergarten: use your words and wear your listening ears.

1)  Remind yourself to live each day like he deploys tomorrow. 
I am so guilty of not following this advice.  It's too easy to take someone's presence for granted until he's gone and you're left alone wondering why in the world you didn't take advantage of every day you had together.  I have no idea if or when my husband will deploy again.  So in the meantime, I need to make sure we're living like he deploys tomorrow.  Because who knows...maybe he will.

What are some of your tips to remember when your husband is NOT deployed?

Monday, February 20, 2012

2nd Place Winner in the MilitaryBases.com You're the Expert Writing Contest!!!

You ever wonder what it's like to PCS to Japan?   Then check out my post at Militarybases.com called "An American in Japan." (And if you're feeling chatty I'd love some comment love!)  I entered this post in their You're the Expert Writing Contest, and it turns out I won 2nd place.  Very exciting!

Arigato gozaimasu.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Top 10 Reverse Bucket List

If you're anything like me, you've probably created a bucket list of all the grand accomplishments you'd like to fulfill in your lifetime.  My own bucket list isn't particularly unique.  It includes sky diving, running a marathon, climbing Mt. Fuji, and writing and publishing a novel worthy of the New York Times best-sellers list.  I've always thought it was a pretty respectable bucket list.  But the more awe-inspiring bucket lists I read, the more boring mine becomes.

So today I'm creating a new list: my REVERSE bucket list.  Instead of coming up with new exciting things I want to do, I now have a list of things I NEVER want to do.  Here is my...

Top 10 Reverse Bucket List

10)  Drive a mini van

9)  Run for public office

8)  Eat raw horse meat

7)  Get a body piercing in a location other than my ears or belly button

6)  Learn how to sew, knit, crochet or any other brand of craftiness that would cause me to open an Etsy shop

5)  Participate in a polar plunge

4) Learn to speak Mandarin Chinese

3)  Audition for American Idol, Survivor, or any other silly reality show  

2)  Attempt to live vicariously through my children in a pathetic attempt to grasp my unfulfilled childhood dreams

1)  Join the military  {Washing my husband's uniforms is about as close as I'm ever going to get to wearing one.  Nothing against the military, I'm just not cut out for it.}

What's on your reverse bucket list? 

This post was inspired by the writing prompt goddess Mama Kat and her famous Writer's Workshop.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Need some inspiration?  Head on over and pick a prompt.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine Scrooge

{I was planning on writing an original post for Valentine's Day, but as I read over my post that I shared over at Mrs. P's for my Valentine Blog Swap last year, I realized that the only thing that has changed since then is that my kids are a year older.  So here's one from the archives...}

Valentine Scrooge

I’m not quite sure why I’m anti-Valentine’s Day.  I’ve never had a boyfriend dump me on Valentine’s Day.  I’ve never had an embarrassing lingerie incident.  I harbor no irrational aversions to pink or red hearts.  I just don’t like Valentine’s Day.  I admit it, I’m a Valentine Scrooge.

The last time I remember getting excited about Valentine’s Day was in Mrs. Barshatky’s second grade class.  I watched all the boys I had crushes on stuff little cards into my homemade mailbox, and I rushed home from school to read them all, tossing aside those from the girls and drooling over those from Todd and Doug and Kevin and Rory.  Life is simple when you’re a kid.  Romance comes in the form of a heart-shaped candy that says “Be Mine” and a card the size of a Post-It note.  And if a gal is really lucky, her name is even written on the card by the suitor himself and not his mother.

But the farther away I got from second grade, the more unimpressed I was by V-day.  By the time I hit my mid-20’s, I was completely disillusioned and saw Valentine’s Day as an overblown Hallmark holiday that makes couples feel like they have to live up to some strict set of ├╝ber romantic expectations and makes single people lament their relationship status. 

My husband and I usually treat Valentine’s Day like any other day on the calendar.  To his credit though, he used to make attempts to woo me every February 14, probably because he thought that’s what he was supposed to do.  But after 12 years of failing to turn me into a romantic, he has given up and crossed over to the dark side.  I think he’s more of a Valentine Scrooge than I am now. 

I have to admit that my Valentine Scrooge tendencies are gradually fading thanks to my children.  Just as I’m able to live vicariously through their excitement over Santa and the Easter bunny, I’m reliving my second grade Valentine’s memories through them.  The other day, as I helped my 3-year-old daughter choose the prettiest girly cards and my 7-year-old son the most manly cards, I remembered how special that exchange of cheap Valentines in decorated paper bags was to me at their age.  I couldn’t help but smile and wish I could switch places with them for the day.

Yes, life is simple when you’re a kid.  When I asked my son what Valentine’s Day means to him, he said, “We get cards and people like each other.”  How profoundly simple: the day is about people liking each other.  Of course!  And as I momentarily looked at the holiday through the eyes of a child, I realized I might actually enjoy Valentine’s Day again if I could overlook all the commercialism and think of it as a celebration of love.

After that aha moment, I wondered if maybe this year I would be visited by 3 Cupids in my sleep who would change my Valentine Scrooge-like ways.  I wondered if I would wake up this Valentine’s morning overcome with a renewed sense of romanticism and a newfound appreciation for flowers and candy.  And as I opened my eyes this morning, I thought…

Um, nope.  Still a Valentine Scrooge.  Bah humbug.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Stirring the Pot in the Other Direction

I'm a very non-confrontational person.  That being said, I'm often surprised by how easily I could abandon my inability to confront people when I'm hiding behind a computer screen reading blogs and Facebook status updates.  There have been many occasions when I've read something online and instantly felt the need to insert my own opinion, sometimes in a not-so-kind, knee-jerk reaction sort of way.  In other words, something I read really pissed me off and I had a few choice words to share with the world.

But as I wrote in a post last month, I've learned the art of shutting up.  I've learned how to take a step back before responding.  I've learned that status updates on Facebook and comments on blogs can go viral in the blink of an eye.  Anger snowballs until such drama has been created that feelings are hurt, respect is lost, and the bigger picture is forgotten or ignored.  I've seen it happen before, and sadly it happened again last week.  Drama reared its ugly head, and I'm sad to say that we mil spouses didn't step up to prevent it.  In fact, we created it.

I promised myself I wasn't going to get involved in this particular drama, that I was going to stay out of it and wait for it to pass.  But I can't seem to get this episode of Mil Spouses Behaving Badly out of my head.

If you're a mil spouse blogger, you probably already know about the "Stirring the Pot" post.  If you don't know about it, honestly it's not worth repeating.  Let's just say that a young, newly married mil spouse wrote something that, well, stirred the pot.  Did I strongly disagree with the post?  Yes, I did.  Did I have an instant negative reaction to it?  Yes, I did.  Did I think her opinions were naive and thoughtless and unkind and offensive and better left unsaid?  Yes, I did. 

But as much as I was bothered by this mil spouse's post, I was equally as bothered by the drama that unfolded over the next couple of days.  I read nasty status updates and even nastier comments on the blog itself that seemed to get progressively hateful with each comment posted.  The more people talked about their outrage, the more other people shared their anger, and it was all mil spouses could talk about.  I did read a handful of toned down responses that refrained from using accusatory language, but for the most part, the reactions were harsh.

Because of this drama, within 24 hours the blog was shut down, the blogger's husband was given "a face-to-face counseling session" (presumably as a result of his own comment in defense of his wife's post), and his unit issued a formal apology.  All.  Because.  Of.  Drama. 

A similar incident happened about a year ago.  A young mil spouse blogger wrote a post declaring that she refused to follow OPSEC (Operations Security).  She didn't actually violate OPSEC, she simply said she wasn't planning on following it.  Oh the drama that ensued!  Just like this time, fellow mil spouses lashed out with mean status updates and comments on her blog.  How did we not learn from that and behave better this time around?  I didn't understand it then, and I don't understand it now.

We mil spouses are all on the same team.  Or at least we should be.  That feeling of membership, commaraderie, encouragement, support, friendship, and unity is one of the reasons I love blogging so much.  We're all going through the same emotional roller coaster being married to a service member.  We need to know we can lean on each other, offer advice, and ask for help.  We're all in this together. 

So my question is: Why did we attack a fellow member of our team instead of trying to educate her? 

Instead of lashing out at her, we should have reached out to her and offered advice.  She's been a mil spouse for all of 6 months.  6 months!!!  When my marriage to the military was only 6 months old, I knew NOTHING about military life or how to be a military spouse.  But we didn't reach out to her.  We attacked her because we thought she should know better.  Well, maybe she doesn't know better.  Maybe one of our jobs as experienced mil spouses is to give new mil spouses that knowledge.  And if we provide advice and she chooses to ignore it, we should just let it go, move on, and not allow the opinion of ONE person to bring out the worst in us.  She's certainly not the first mil spouse to feel superior because of her husband's branch or rank.  And she's not the first person to disparage the military.  So why did HER words anger us so much?  Why did SHE cause so much drama.

The drama started with one little blog post called Stirring the Pot.  And stir the pot this blogger did.  However, we the readers stirred the pot too, only in the opposite direction.  But instead of stirring, maybe we should have just added some mild seasonings and let it simmer on its own.  Because in the end, that pot was stirred so much that whatever was in it exploded in our faces.

I only hope that the next time this happens, and I'm certain that it will eventually happen again, that we can learn from this, that we stop and think before creating unnecessary drama and blow something completely out of proportion.  I hope that we mil spouses can redeem ourselves and prove that we truly are the amazing group of women that I know we are.  From now on, let's leave the drama for the Academy Awards.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pinterest: Yet Another Social Networking Time Suck?

Well folks, I have crossed over to the social networking dark side once again.  It was bad enough when I opened a Facebook page, which was quickly followed by a Twitter account.  But now here I am jumping into the latest social networking craze.  Yes friends, I am now on ...

My pinner name is WifeontheRC (I know, it stinks, but RollerCoaster was taken and WifeontheRollerCoaster was too long).  So come visit me!

Are you on Pinterest?  What are your thoughts...total time suck or do you think it's the best social networking site of all? 

If you're a pinner, please leave a comment and share your link so I can follow you!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Top 10 Things I Feel Guilty About

Yesterday I wrote about feeling guilty for lounging on the couch and reading a magazine instead of using my unexpected free time more wisely and productively.  It got me thinking about all the other guilt trips I put on myself. 

So here are my...

Top 10 Things I Feel Guilty About

10)  I feel guilty that I don't iron.  At all.  Anything.  I HATE to iron.  I'd rather have wrinkled clothes than iron.  I'd rather pay to have my entire wardrobe dry cleaned than iron.  I used to iron Mr. RC's uniforms, but when I went back to work, I told him I was done.  We both work.  If he wants his uniform free of wrinkles, it's up to him.  And Downy Wrinkle Releaser.

9)  I feel guilty that I'm a terrible housekeeper and that I'm considering dishing out a portion of my paycheck to hire a housekeeper.  I don't mind grocery shopping, cooking, washing and folding laundry, cleaning up dog poop, taking out the trash, or washing dishes.  But dusting, vacuuming, mopping, and oh gross, cleaning in and around toilets, not my thing. 

8)  I feel guilty for allowing my daughter to watch television shows that are probably inappropriate for her.  When Big C was younger, I was VERY strict about his television viewing.  But he didn't have an older sibling watching shows for older children like Little C does.  During the week, my kids watch 2 DVR'ed shows per day, that's it.  One show is Big C's choice, the other is Little C's choice.  What am I supposed to do, make Little C go to her room while Big C watches Star Wars?  Good luck with that. 

     (One of my kindergarten students exacerbated my guilt the other day when I asked her if she wanted a SpongeBob sticker.  "My mom doesn't let me watch SpongeBob," replied the 6-year-old.  I chose not to tell her that SpongeBob is my 4-year-old's favorite show.)

7)  I feel guilty for not forcing my children to eat healthier.  Well, I mainly mean my 7-year-old son.  (I don't really have to worry about my daughter.  Her favorite foods are broccoli, salmon, and avocados.).  My son?  I can't remember the last time he ate a green vegetable. 

6)  I feel guilty for leaving my 9 month old black lab puppy in the crate all day.  We purposely bought a puppy over the summer so I would be home with him.  But after a summer of puppy spoiling, I cringe whenever I think of him being cooped up in that box until I get home from work.  I keep trying to explain to him that if he would just stop chewing everything in sight, he wouldn't have to go in the crate, but he's not really getting it.

5)  I feel guilty for taking super long showers. I'd like to say the guilt is over wasting water or scorching my skin, but it's not. My guilt is over the fact that my showers are long simply because sometimes that's the only alone time I get all day.

4)  I feel guilty for the hours I spend working out.  I know that working out improves my health (and my sanity), but I feel like it takes away from time I could be spending with my family or doing chores around the house.  I feel guilty for taking that time to nurture myself.

3)  I feel guilty for putting my children to bed early when I'm tired.

2)  I feel guilty for being a working mom. When I get home from work, I need down time, but I also know I have very limited quality time with my kids in between homework, cooking dinner, and going to the gym (see #4). By the end of my work day, I sometimes feel I have nothing left to give and my patience is nonexistent. I often worry about how my status as a working mom affects my kids, especially my son, who had me as a full time mom for most of his life. And the "Mommy, why can't you come on my field trip?" makes me want to cry.

1)  I feel guilty that I spend more time with other people's children than I do with my own.  I often wonder if I know my students better than their own parents do.  Which makes me wonder if my children's teachers know them better than I do.

Now that I got that off my chest...what are you feeling guilty about these days?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Learning To Enjoy Guilt-Free Nothingness

My neighbor called me yesterday afternoon to see if I was planning to attend another neighbor's Superbowl party.  "Nope," I told her.  "My sinuses are about to explode, my kids are exhausted, and it's a school night.  Are you going?"

"Yeah," she groaned.  "But I have a migraine, and I really don't feel like going."

"Then don't go," I said.  "Send your husband with the kids so you can stay home and take advantage of a quiet house."

"I don't know.  I would feel bad if I didn't go."

And there it was: the guilt.  The guilt that we busy women pile on ourselves for not doing things we think we SHOULD be doing.   My friend was going to make herself attend a silly Superbowl party with a migraine simply because she felt she needed to show her face, because she would have felt guilty had she stayed home and parked herself on the couch to enjoy the silence.

I'm guilty of the self-induced guilt myself.  Yesterday morning I woke up with those yucky first throat tickles and sniffles of a cold.  For the first 2 hours of my day, I sat on the couch with a heating pad on my neck and a magazine in hand.  Big C was at a sleepover and Little C was either watching tv or playing on the computer.  It was the perfect opportunity to allow my body to rest, to catch up on the stack of magazines I've been neglecting, to enjoy a relaxing day of nothingness. 

But I couldn't enjoy the nothingness.  And I couldn't focus on the magazine I was reading because my mind was racing with all the things I SHOULD be doing.  I should be vacuuming.  I should be writing.  I should be giving the dog a bath.  I should be getting my car washed.  I should be playing Candy Land with Little C.  I should be returning emails.  I should be getting ahead on lesson plans.  I should be doing something productive instead of doing nothing.

So I made myself do something productive.  I went for an 8 mile run.  (I never claimed moderation to be one of my strengths.)  When I got home, you guessed it, I felt even worse than I did before the run.  But I guilted myself into my running shoes because I'm so unaccustomed to doing nothing.  And the nothingness just felt wrong.

Most of my days are GO GO GO.  I have to squeeze everything into a tight schedule.  (For instance, I have exactly 43 minutes to compose this blog post or else I'll have to push it back several hours.)  Even then, most things on my to-do list simply don't get done because I'm out of either time or energy.  I don't typically have the luxury of doing nothing.  But on days like yesterday when I actually do find the time for nothingness, I guess I need to take full advantage of it without feeling guilty.

After I got off the phone with my friend, I realized I should take my own advice.  So I put the kids to bed super early, snuggled back onto the couch with my heating pad and a fuzzy blanket, turned the Superbowl on just to see what all the fuss was about, and let myself enjoy a couple hours of nothingness. 

And it was awesome.

Do you ever just sit and enjoy the nothingness?  Do you ever feel guilty for taking some time out to do absolutely nothing?


Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Great Mamma Mia Debate

There always seems to be a debate in my house.  I guess that's par for the course when you have a 4-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy.  Those kids are ALWAYS fighting over something, always duking it out to prove who has the coolest toy/biggest muscles/smartest brain.  You name it, they debate it.  Every day it seems to be something new.  Winner in a battle: Littlest Pet Shops vs. Star Wars figures.  Best Television Show: Spongebob vs Star Wars.  Best Book: Max and Ruby vs Star Wars.  (Hmmm, I guess you can pretty much insert "Star Wars" into ANY debate when it comes to Big C.)

I'd like to call today's argument The Great Mamma Mia Debate.  It all started with pre-dinner music requests.  You see, if Big C is finished with his homework by the time I'm cooking dinner, I'll blast some music and get everyone groovin'.  Typical Big C requests are Sheryl Crow or the Beatles (or country, which, unless Mr. Roller Coaster is home, is NEVER allowed).  Typical Little C requests are Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and P!nk (which I definitely need to discourage once she starts asking me about the meaning of lyrics).  But today, Little C requested Mamma Mia. 

"Awesome choice!" I exclaimed and pulled up the Mamma Mia movie soundtrack on iTunes.  (Make fun of me all you want, but I've seen that movie a dozen times, and I plan to see it a dozen more!)

I clicked on "Mamma Mia," and Little C and I immediately hit the dance floor. 

"No, no, no!" yelled Big C.  "Put on the OTHER Mamma Mia!"

"What other Mamma Mia?"  I asked, because in my mind, there is only ONE Mamma Mia. 

"You know," Big C explained.  "The one where the guy sings, 'Mama mia, mama mia.  Mama mia let me go!"

Ahhh, "Bohemian Rhapsody."  My son had just opened another awesome debate.



(the mama mia part is at about the 3:50 mark)

Who would YOU vote for in the Great Mamma Mia debate?

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