Rules and Regulations

There is a new rule in my house: if an article of clothing makes me feel uncomfortable, unattractive, or itchy it does not reenter the closet. I hold on to clothes thinking that eventually they will fit better and I know I am not in the minority. By Christmas, that sweater will fit better and won’t make me look pregnant. Before summer, those pants will not be compressing my organs and bulging my back fat out of my shirt. This bra works well with that shirt, I can live with the wire poking me every once in a while.

Stop the madness! If I am constantly pulling a sweater out or down, why I am wearing it? If I can’t wait to unbutton my pants, I definitely should not be wearing them. And an undergarment that hurts me? What the hell am I doing to myself?

Sure, I could keep them as motivation to work out and restrict my portion sizes but if I ever get rid of my Drew tummy, I want to reward myself with new clothes rather than my old clothes and their negative energy and stretched out fabric.

As part of my new regulations, I would like to put in a request to Santa Claus, if he is reading this. I need a new Dallas Cowboys hooded sweatshirt because the one I currently wear, and love, I also consistently wore and loved while pregnant with two of my children. The fabric has retained the pregnant belly shape and makes me feel supremely fat and grody yet I continue to wear it because it is so comfortable and perfect in every other way. Well, perfect if you disregard the green paint on the sleeve and phantom pregnant tummy.

Getting ready for bed each night, I take a moment to evaluate the clothes I am taking off and decide if they made me feel good about myself or somewhat uncomfortable. Either way, they go in the laundry basket (unless they are jeans because I believe in wearing jeans until they can hold themselves up while I slip my legs in) but I make a mental note about the future home of each piece. As I transition to winter clothes, I am making quite a pile for Goodwill, the women’s shelter, and Stuff, Etc. If I’m not careful, I’ll have to buy some new clothes…shoot.

In the same vein, I am trying to apply the same rules to my life in general. I don’t need people or activities that make me uncomfortable or cause me pain. Granted, it is much more difficult to get rid of friends or family that are not good for you but I can at least limit my contact and prepare myself for those encounters with clothes that make me feel strong, secure and comfortable.

Just as I might need some new clothes that compliment my current wardrobe staples, I am in the market for activities and people that compliment my current activities and people staples. Volunteer opportunities, more friends, freelance jobs….any ideas?

Advertisements

The Joy of No Girls or Boys

We took a much-needed and highly-anticipated mini-vacation last weekend. (Please read this in a deep, horror movie announcer voice) Four couples at a house in the woods (cue scary music)…what could go wrong?

Blessedly, absolutely nothing. Well, there are a couple of images I would like to have erased from my memory but I did learn a few valuable lessons.

  1. Never underestimate the power of peace and quiet. Exhibit A: 4 moms dozing on various couches and recliners, books and magazines forgotten on their laps.
  2. When you rarely vacation, you should be prepared for your husband to go a little crazy and be very excited about lots of things.
  3. Be smart and stay up late and get stupid on the first night so you aren’t in agony when you pick up your kids. Amazingly, we all accomplished this mission, yay us!
  4. It is not necessarily the farm’s fault that I spend my life waiting for Blair; it’s just the way he operates.
  5. Pronouncements made late in the evening of Day One do not need to be respected on Day Two. Additionally, undergarments are almost always a good idea.
  6. When you put 8 people in a large house, you will almost always find all of them in the same room.
  7. There is joy to be found when surveying a valley of trees, watching a gently flowing river, and not hearing, “Hey Mom?” every 10 seconds.
  8. Big boys wrestle less often than little boys but still have a tendency to intentionally hurt each other when crossing paths.
  9. Did I mention the quiet? It was a beautiful thing. Along with the impromptu naps that were not accompanied by Wii background music or the fear-inducing sounds of “Whoops. I’ll clean it up, don’t tell Mom.”
  10. It is not possible to pack too much food for a weekend getaway but we got perilously close.

A vacation is supposed to leave you feeling rested and recharged, right? I’m not sure I accomplished that but I do have a renewed sense of how valuable and funny my friends are, how much I appreciate and need help from my extended family, and how much fun it is to hang out with my husband for long periods of time. I also realized how closely my life revolves around my children as I had little else to talk about…and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Looking forward to another baycation (Bridget) soon, maybe even one with the kids…and earplugs.

Halloweenies

I miss Halloween. No, I’m not pining for last night when I was freezing my butt off while handing out candy while simultaneously trying to monitor the candy intake of 3 sneaky kids. I miss the Halloween of my youth, you know, the Good Ole’ Days. Good golly, I didn’t think I was old enough to think this way but apparently I am.

Remember when you were in, say, 3rd grade? The weeks leading up to Halloween were filled with conversations about costumes, trick-or-treat routes and deciding who you would be running around with. My rules were that Kari and I had to stay together, we could only go to houses that we knew, had to watch for cars, and be home at whatever time (I don’t remember what time, sorry).  There would typically be 6-8 girls running around town together, at least one of us would know almost every house on every block, we were scared out of our wits and having a blast! Then we would all either have a sleepover and make one unlucky set of parents crazy or all go home and dump out our candy and proceed to get violently ill. It was great!

By middle school, the costumes started to be coordinated a little better. I remember one year specifically in which a wedding theme was planned, complete with bride, groom, attendants and flower girls. I was not a part of that group but it was very fun to listen to the ever-changing plans. In fact, I don’t know if the plan was ever carried out but the discussions are part of my Halloween memories! Middle school Halloween didn’t always include trick-or-treating but centered more around scary movies and the even scarier possibility of holding hands with a boy during the movie. Parents were always present but mostly silent and invisible, the way good parents should be….I’ll have to work on that.

I can’t speak for the current middle school set but for elementary kids, Halloween bears little resemblance to my memories. Back then, costumes were typically homemade and, at least in our house, thrown together shortly before trick-or-treating started. Store-bought costumes were the exception, not the rule.  I was generally a punk rocker with a side pony, bright pink hair, and crazy neon clothes. One year, we wore white sweat pants, my mom painted our faces blue, and we were Smurfs…ta da! I’m saddened by the lack of creativity in costumes today but at the same time, I don’t want my kids to be the weird ones with the crazy homemade costumes. Although, take a look at Sam’s costume this year…he was definitely the weird one… by his choice. He put it together with the random pieces I keep in our costume box and was very proud. Hilarious.

Trick-or-treating is now a parent’s worst nightmare as they stroll the streets with their kids, reminding them to say “thank you” and trying to avoid getting side-swiped by a car. Because let me tell you, there are many more people driving than walking. Many more. I know tons of parents who prefer to drive their children to friend’s houses, let them go up and knock on the door, get some candy, then run back to the car to head to the next house. I’m not necessarily criticizing because I understand it – you want your friends to see your adorable kids, neighborhoods are spread out, it’s cold, and it’s typically a school night so you want to get it all over with quickly. But I think Halloween loses some of the fun if you’re just running from door to car all night.

I realize that the world is a scary place but I want my kids to have the joy of trick-or-treating:  feeling a tiny bit panicky when a car full of scary high school boys drives by, wondering if the next house will have a live scarecrow jumping out at them or a full-size candy bar, running from house to house because you’re cold not because you’re scared of the dark places between porch lights.

I don’t know if we can get back to that time but in my quest to give my kids some of those memories, I let them walk down to the end of the block and back by themselves last night. When it was still light out and while 5 of my co-parents were about a house behind them.  Ok, so I also met them at the end of the block and walked back with them then made them stay home and hand out candy. Maybe next year we’ll all be a little braver!