the kids are alright (we’re ok too) and why it’s important to have girl time…

IMG_2128 every once in a while a few of my friends get together for some much-needed girl time.  we are all moms and sometimes we need to take a  few hours to cut loose without the kids.  once, we made what could have been an ill-fated trip to ikea in portland, but instead it turned into a wonderful day-long road trip with a stop in hood river, great food, beer, conversation and company.  even though things didn’t go as planned, the day turned out better than we could’ve imagined!IMG_2213this weekend we got together at my house on one of the hottest days of the year and we just hung out in my kitchen drinking cucumber freshies, talking about life, sex, kids and having a great time unwinding from life.  we actually all had our kids with us this time and, even though they ranged from 17 months to 15 years, everyone got along splendidly and had a blast playing and watching movies downstairs while we hung out.

the afternoon turned into an impormptu dinner of salmon, rice and corn that my husband cooked for all of us and the kids.  a significant other or two joined us and we had a most lovely evening.IMG_2183when i think about the bond i have with this particular group of women, i realize that the most common factor is that we are all moms.  we are all strong women and our mom-ness doesn’t define us but it is definitely something very important to each of us. it joins us in a kind of unspoken understanding.  it doesn’t phase us that, more often than not, we don’t finish a sentence because someone little interrupts us, or that the conversation can bounce from subject to subject in the blink of an eye with no cohesion.  i love the bond that i have with these women.  we are all so different, but so much the same too.

cheers, girls.  i love you.

e

p.s. i’m working on getting the cucumber freshies recipe posted along with the apricot goat cheese bites.

embracing the mayhem and chaos…

i often hear, when people find out that the boys are twins, “oh, double trouble” or “you must really have your hands full!”  while i’m sure their intentions are good, i can’t help but think, “why are you assuming that my boys are too much to handle?”  why would you think that having twins is anything less than totally awesome?  i’m sure it’s no different than the experiences of anyone else.

it’s true that there is a lot of chaos and mayhem in our home.  i have no idea what it would be like to have just one kid at a time but i don’t assume that our chaos and mayhem is any different than anyone else’s.  our routines are all i know and since we are not having any more kids, i will never know any different.

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i have learned to embrace the chaos and mayhem and love it for what it is.  so what if my house is never all the way clean.  there’s almost always some mess or weird smell.  it’s never totally organized.  so what if they dug a giant hole in the middle of our yard to make themselves a sandbox. i have two little boys who are happy and messy and blissfully unaware that this isn’t the way it is everywhere.

and isn’t that what really matters anyway?

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i guess what i’m saying in a very roundabout way is that we do what works for us and that is the best and only thing we can do.  i recently had a woman at costco ask me if the boys were twins and she happily said that she is expecting twins too.  she asked me if i had any good advice and, without even thinking about it (there was a long line behind us,) i said, “yeah, don’t listen to anyone else’s advice!  do what works for you.”

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i read a lot about different parenting styles and theories on how best to raise children and while there are some really good ideas out there, at the end of the day, i find that christopher and i really just come back to what works for us and the boys.  we don’t have many rules in our house.  we believe strongly that the boys should be able to express themselves freely, whether it’s in their artwork, clothing choices, or in their speech (occasional profanity included.)  i get that this does not work for everyone, but that’s ok.  i don’t need it to.  i just need it to work for us, which right now, it does.

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i say “right now” because we also believe in changing our minds.  christopher and i make sure the boys know that we aren’t perfect and sometimes mommy and daddy make mistakes.  we try to emphasize the importance of respecting others, apologizing when we are wrong and being mindful of the world and others around us.  our goal is to try to raise loving, caring, empathetic boys who care for themselves as well as those around them.

and that’s the best we can do.

and that’s good enough.

have a happy weekend, people!

cheers!

e

 

merry christmas…

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merry christmas and happy holidays from everyone over here at the house of mayhem and chaos.  i hope your day is filled with joy and love and everything on your plates and in your glasses is absolutely delicious.  may you find peace, calm, serenity and love during this crazy-making time of year.

much love,

e

from the top: super buddies | the best damn bloody mary | jamie oliver’s comfort food – best. gift. ever. | mid-afternoon snack

on thanksgiving, family and other s%*t…

i realized that my last post was quite a while ago.  blogging has not been my priority lately.  we have been having some family struggles and we are doing our best to help, comfort and support.  i know i’m being cryptic, but it’s not my story to tell.

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however, i have been thinking a lot about how i interact with people.  a long time ago, i was very much a pleaser.  someone who put my own stuff on the back burner (or pushed it completely off the stove) in favor of other’s needs.  i was super nice.  always happy (actually, not at all) and willing to do whatever was asked of me.  after going through my divorce nearly ten years ago, i realized am realizing that i am much happier with myself if i adjust how i interact with others in my life.

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a couple of the ways i have adjusted my thinking are listed below.  and just to be clear, i am not writing this post to give any instructions because i have it all figured out.  just the opposite; this is more a reflective post for me and maybe to give out a little encouragement during this time of year.

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the worst case scenario: i will win the zombie apocalypse because i have a plan.  i always have a plan for the worst case scenario.  however, i am learning that i can’t continually let my mind travel to the far reaches of all the horrible things that can happen to my kids, my husband and my family or in my work.  instead, i repeat the polish proverb: “not my circus, not my monkeys.”  really, i am learning that there are things outside my control and i neither need to be nor should i worry about being in charge of those things.  it gives me a moment to breathe and say, “is this really my problem?”

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literally: i used to spend a lot of my time thinking that what people said to me was not really what they meant.  i would replay conversations over and over in my head until i was not sleeping, like ever, and i was sure that person totally hated me.  something like “i can’t meet up with you that day” would turn into “i have never ever liked being your friend and i can’t believe you haven’t figured that out yet and i wish you would never speak to me again.”  messed up, right?  finally, i was just too exhausted to deal with that anymore.  during my divorce, i lost most of my friends.  i have one that stuck with me and we are very close.  she is amazing.  but, in making new friends, i have learned to adjust my thinking.  if someone says something to me, i believe them.  maybe that’s naive, but it works for me.  i will not be held hostage by trying to interpret someone else’s thoughts.  and on the flip-side, i say what i mean.  i don’t want anyone to have to guess.  i have a few more really good friends now and there is no bullshit with us.

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the holiday season always brings so much shit along with the cheer and wonder.  families can sometimes be the most cruel because the normal societal rules don’t seem to apply.  we often say the worst to the ones we love.  we often turn our backs because we assume forgiveness will always be there.  we crack and break under the stress of creating a perfect “holiday experience.”  we expect more from others than we are willing to do ourselves.  and, this is just awful, damaging and heartbreaking.  i am certainly guilty of this, but i’m doing my best to change my thoughts, actions, expectations and behaviors.

try kindness

during this holiday season, i challenge you to speak with kindness and intention.  say plainly and clearly what you mean and expect that others will too.  reach out to those who need comfort and compassion.  give someone some help and maybe a break before they lose it.  do not expect the moon without offering the stars.  and remember, sometimes it’s not your circus and these are not your monkeys.

but if they are your monkeys, please ask them to refrain from throwing their shit.

cheers,

e

 

image at top courtesy of the museum of the city of new york

lately…

lately, i’ve been getting into the swing of things with the new job at the taphouse and getting used to a schedule that gets me home way later at night (ok, really, way early in the morning.)  i’ve also been feeling old.  i think it’s just one of those times in my life when, all of a sudden, i realize that i’m not actually 25, like my brain thinks it is.  i found out that i’m the oldest person at my new job and i’m only 36.  plus, i’m running around like a chicken with my head off at the new job and i am totally not used to moving this fast for this long!

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because i’m not one for remaining static or keeping things how they’ve been, i needed a change.  something personal.  something to perk me up.  something a little drastic, so, i chopped all my hair off.  well, i didn’t do it this time.  i had someone else do it. i’ve been growing it out for nearly two years and i had gotten to the point of not wanting to do anything with it.  then i decided i needed some highlights, which i did do myself.  they didn’t exactly turn out as highlights as much as light caramel-colored streaks, but i like them and that’s all that matters.

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i didn’t know how it would turn out, so i didn’t take pictures, but next time, i definitely will.

the boys have been a bit out of sorts lately, too, so we’ve had some lazy days around the house. we’ve had some storms the last couple days and i think the barometric pressure is messing with all of us.  i’ve been playing around with the look of the blog and the boys have been playing around the house, doing art projects, and watching movies.

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monday, when we heard about robin williams passing, we watched jumanji as a family.  i think we will watch hook next.  this has all reminded me how fragile people can be and how we are all fighting battles, and how important it is to be kind to those we meet.  having struggled with depression i know what it feels like to be that low.  i am thankful that i haven’t felt that low in a long time, but i am mindful that it can come back when i least expect it.  so, i keep a close watch on myself and take measures to make sure i stay healthy.

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today i am snuggling with the boys, watching pbs kids, making homemade canned pizza sauce from our home-grown tomatoes and working on my writing.

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next week we are taking a family camping trip to wallow lake in oregon.  just the four of us for four days.  we plan on fishing and hiking and i don’t plan on doing much of anything else.

cheers,

e

a “do-over” day…

do you ever have those days when you feel totally overwhelmed?  today is one of those for me.  long story short: i found out that my insurance never approved the claim for my hysterectomy surgery (that i had nearly 18 months ago) and the bills i’ve been painstakingly paying off each month were just for my dr. and not the hospital.  i had been told that i was being billed and paying on bills from both the hospital and my dr.  now, i am facing another $1000+ bill.  just when i was about to finally have my surgery paid off.

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i keep thinking that this shouldn’t be bothering me.  i am so blessed in my life.  i have a wonderful, sexy, hardworking husband who loves me and our boys to the moon and back; we have a home; the boys are healthy and smart.  but i am feeling the pinch of being laid off and having much less money in the bank account.  and, today, i feel like this new development is insurmountable.

however, i need to change my way of thinking.  there is nothing i can do about this but wait for the new bill and set up payments.  i’m still looking for a new job and i can concentrate on keeping my eyes and ears open for new opportunities.  i can make due and make the best of things.

life has definitely handed me enough lemons for some lemonade.  but, i think i’ll use them for a gin and tonic instead.

cheers,

e

pic is a cute little coaster from the wall sticker company on etsy

a note on friendships…

this post has been banging around in my head for a week now and i think i have my thoughts in order enough to say what i want.  i want to talk a little about friendships.  specifically friendships with other women.  if you know me personally, you probably know i don’t have lots of close girlfriends.  i never have been a woman that surrounds herself with other women; i’ve always felt more comfortable around men.  maybe it is because i was a bit of a tomboy growing up and i feel more comfortable conversing about “guy” things.  whatever it is, i have over the past few years been consciously cultivating friendships with a few women.  soul sisters that understand and accept one another unconditionally.

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these women have been with me and gotten me through some of the hardest and most joyful times in my life: my divorce, marriage, birth of the twins and many jobs come and gone.  they are my rocks and sometimes the reason i roll.  they are never afraid to push me when i need it, hand me a tissue, tell me the truth and laugh at the silly things in life.

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some of my friends have been going through some tough things of their own lately and i have been thinking about how women can succeed in life, especially when they have a village of soul sisters to lift them up.  and how i see a lot of stumbling blocks in our way.

sometimes i see blogs that disparage women for being “pinterest moms” and “overachieving” or “lazy” or “working moms” or “stay-at-home moms.”  see what i’m getting at?  it feels like women are being set up for failure.  maybe this is the reason i’ve never had a lot of girlfriends.  there seems to be a lot of drama being created by the media and these bloggers and, maybe, i bought into that…for a while.

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but not anymore.  i decided a few years ago to really work on my relationships with my lady friends.  and i’m so glad i did.  i still think there is drama out there, but i choose to surround myself with like-minded women, who also don’t buy into the drama and bullshit.  we are women who have busy enough lives that we don’t stir up any extra insanity.  we tell the truth – sometimes painfully. we support one another in our endeavors and our trials.  we are different and talented and love and celebrate those differences and talents.  we lift one another up and encourage instead of tearing one another down.  i am so thankful for the women in my life because they are rare gems.  shining lights who brighten the world with their presence.

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i am endeavoring to be a better friend and it is something i do not take lightly and it is something i work on every day.  they say that a rising tide raises all ships.  i believe this is true and want to be a part of that rising tide for the women in my life.

cheers,

e