Monday, April 19, 2010

Bahama Mamma

It's been a great trip so far. I arrived at the hotel at about 7:45 on Saturday. I checked into the Cove, picked up my messages and was given instructions as to where I should meed my friends. I changed clothes and left immediately to meet them at the Bahamian Club. We then went to the Kris Allen concert. He was terrific. He was funny, talented and very entertaining. It was a pleasant surprise.

After the show a few of us went to Nobu for a drink....yadda yadda yadda, it was 3 in the morning. The whole time we were our I kept asking for food. I hadn't eaten since 2 in the afternoon in Atlanta. When we got back to the room I ordered room service. It took a while and at one point I thought there was someone knocking so I peeked out the door. I didn't see anyone so I leaned out into the hall. The door is recessed about 3 1/2 feet from the hall. As I leaned out (in underwear and a T-shirt) I heard the door close behind me....Holy Crap! What an armature move. I had to go down the hall to call the front desk and then wait. The same recessed door that caused this problem came in quite handy while hiding and waiting. I felt like such a dork but even I laughed. I mean come on, that is funny. And the fact that I used to be a hotel manager makes it even funnier.

I was still tired yesterday...2 nights of not much sleep and being out till 3 does not help. I slept in. Then we went to the Fish Fry. It's an areas just west of here where you can get real Bahamian food. The Conch Salad is terrific. We also had Conch Fritters. Those are not so healthy but they are YUMMY! We all came back to the hotel and rested, napped, played on the computer and got ready for dinner at Nobu.

OMG!!!! Nobu is incredible. We were seated in the back in the Saki Room. It's a round room with a table that seats about 10 or at least last night it was 10. There are shelves that are lit up with Saki on them. Tre' cool. George ordered for us all, who knows the menu better? The food was amazing, honestly it was probably the best meal I have ever had. The sashimi, sushi, the chicken....all just amazing. The yellow fin tuna, yum, salmon terrific but the best thing of all for me was the crispy rice. It was rice formed into a cube and then fried on the outside, topped with yellow fin tuna and then the sauce....oh the sauce. I'm tellin you I am still thinking of that. I will have to have it again before I go. We wound it up fairly early and all went back to our beds / homes. I was only up until about midnight.

I slept in today, slept in until 10 or so. I hung out until about noon and then went to the pool. All I did was read and float. It was nice. Then tonight I had dinner with George, Sarah and Michael here at the Cove at Mosaic. The buffet was crazy big and good. It was low key and nice. And now here I am....blogging.

Tomorrow I get my hair cut! It's driving me crazy so I am thrilled to get it cut. Then lunch with Sarah. Later I come back to the hotel, pack my stuff and go to the Markantonis' for the remainder of my stay. I am looking forward to reading, chatting and just generally having a nice time. We will BBQ on Wednesday with friends and I am really looking forward to that.

BTW, I tried to load some pictures but they wouldn't load. They're on Facebook if you want to see 'em. I'll try to keep you all posted on my exploits. Until then....hang loose.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Trav'lin Mom......

I am here to tell ya that 3 ½ hours of sleep is NOT enough. I had a couple bottles of invincibility juice (beer) between 7 and midnight which did not help the going to bed process. Sitting here now think I was acting like my kids when they don’t want to go to bed. Grown up me knew that I should at least TRY to go to bed around 10 but good time me wanted to stay up with Bob. Besides, I wasn’t tired….or so I thought.

I had a couple beers, while I was packing. Anyway….. I was cold at about 11:30 so I took a bath both to warm up and relax. I was pretty excited as I was leaving for Nassau in the morning and was worried I wouldn’t be able to sleep at all. When I finally crawled into bed I watched TV for about 20 minutes and finally fell asleep.

My alarm went off at 4 am and my cab was to show up at 4:45. I jumped out of bed….no not really but I did get up. Showered and was off at 4:40.

The nice thing about travelling to the Bahamas is that you get to ship 2 bags free of charge. What has flying come to? I had one full of my stuff and the other full of gifts and SCUBA gear. I have to bring home some stuff for my peeps. The greater village is watching my small people while I am away.

Check-in, security, coffee and boarding all went smoothly. You know this is easier without kids! As the plane was boarding I noticed the woman in front of me was in the military. Then a man came up the isle from first class and said, “Sergeant, don’t get comfortable.” And he insisted that she go sit in first class. Then she said, “Sir, there is another soldier in the back. He should have the seat.” Apparently she out ranked the man in the back and wanted him to take the first class seat. She said that she would have a decent seat on their next leg which was to Kuwait but the private wouldn’t. He should take it and be comfortable for now. The man from first class said thank you and he went to the back of the plane and took the privates middle seat. I was very impressed.

The flight was long but uneventful. Just how you want them. As people departed I noticed them thanking the 2 service members for their service to our country. It was nice to see.

I am presently in Atlanta waiting for my next flight. I tried to switch to an earlier flight and the guy at the Delta desk was less than accommodating saying something like, “Ah, No! International flight, customs, lost luggage……we just can’t do that.” And I watched the plane depart. Damn that would have been nice.

I get in at about 7:30 and go straight to a concert, Kris Allen. I know I will have fun tonight and every night on my trip. So far I have the concert tonight, a celebration dinner tomorrow for some friends of George and Sarah’s, a big whoopty doo dinner with some PGA guys on Monday and another BBQ on Wednesday. In between all that I’ll be floating, reading and just hanging out. Stay posted and I’ll keep you up to date.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What is My Purpose?

I was at the book store yesterday and was flipping through a few books. One of the books was talking about following your dreams and moving through life with purpose. The woman who wrote the book meditates daily, focuses on her goals and re-evaluates often. Good for her.....

I often think about what I want to be when I grow up. I'd love to go on a trip to help children in need. I could do a lot I am sure. But there are so many in need here. Or maybe I could start a business. I could run a non-profit. Or I could go back to work and save money for my kids future education.

But when I look at all those things I come back to now and the joy I feel on a daily basis. I'm not so sure that I need other things right now. My kids are so very precious to me. My husband is wonderful and our life is really nice. It's not fancy, it's certainly not glamorous, it's not exciting by most standards but it is really wonderful.

I was laying in bed laughing and talking to Sophia last night. As it was all going on I was thinking what could give me more joy then that time together? Climbing a mountain? No. Helping some other kids? No, though I am sure it's fulfilling in another way. A vacation to paradise? No, but I am really looking forward to mine. Learning to fly? No. Being debt free? No, but that would be really nice. So what then? What is my greater purpose?

Is my greater purpose raising 3 well balanced, healthy, smart kids? Maybe. I can raise compassionate people that will benefit the world in their own way. I can give them courage to follow their dreams, the smarts to figure out what they want to do and the tools to be successful.

I feel like my mom learned a lot from her mom. My grandmother was quite amazing especially given the time that she lived in. Both she and her sister left home at the age of 21 and moved across the country in different directions and supported them selves. That was not something that many women did in the 20's. Then my grandparents moved all over the world to advance my grandfather's career. My mother married my dad and they moved all over this country going to med school and being in the Army. Mom supported our family while my dad worked hard in med school. Mom worked hard and helped make dad's career for the benefit of our family. While the moving part may be more common place now it was a lot for a 21 year old in the 60's. And her example of supporting our family has made me who I am. Their work together to have successful careers was a good example for me.

I come from a long line of independent and strong women. Ask me about my great-great grandma in the circus sometime. It's an amazing story and explains a lot about the nature of the women in our family.

As an adult I too was independent. I met Bob when I was 30. When we were new I was the primary bread winner. We worked together to get where we are. As time went on we had honest discussions about who should take the lead. The conversation went something like this.... Hotel guy or computer guy? I say computer guy.... Computer guy took over the primary bread winner slot. We made the right decision. Now I stay home with the small people but it's a total partnership that we have decided on together at each step of the way.

I hope that our example to our children gives them strength, courage and wisdom. The same way that my parents, grandparents and great greats did for me. Maybe they will save the world. Or maybe they'll have an existence similar to ours. I don't know what they will do. If they want to join the Peace Corps then I will help them do that, if they want to be doctors, I will help them do that, if they want to be a stay at home parent I will help with that too. I guess the best measure of success in this arena is if they are happy. If they have a happy and joyous life then I have succeeded in my goal.

I think if we recognize the ordinary things and see the extraordinary in them we can find our joy there. The fact that we have a nice home, in a great neighborhood, with decent schools, wonderful friends, happy times together and a loving family with a good income is outstanding. And I see all that as extraordinary. How could I not be happy?

So it brings me back to the original question? What is my goal? What is my grander purpose? I think it's like seeing the forest through the trees.... Maybe I am in the forest and I am living my purpose and I just can't see the bigger picture. I don't want for much nor feel the urge to redirect my life. That may all change as my kids get older but for now I think I am exactly where I should be. I don't think I will search much more for now. I have thought about this a lot and have wondered if there was something wrong with me for not having bigger goals. Or maybe I was lazy and didn't want to work harder. Though I have never considered my self lazy.

So for now I will be content to concentrate my energy on my family. I want to keep peace and happiness in my home, at our schools and in our neighborhood. Maybe someday I will have a "bigger" goal or find my purpose. In the meantime I will save the world another day and savor my world today.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Over Head at My House

I continually catch myself saying things that really shouldn't have to be said. Today I said, "Do NOT put your feet in your brothers mouth."

I was talking to Coulter about my impending trip. In the middle of our talk he said that he was frustrated that I kept giving him bananas in his lunch because he told me that he did NOT like bananas when he was in preschool (last year). I asked him if he was frustrated enough that I should stay in the Bahamas. He said, "Yeah, for like 2 years." I told him he should be careful what he wishes for. I then asked, "Who would make you dinner?" He said, "Daddy." Alright....then I said, "Who would pick you up after school?" He was not concerned at all and said, "I'll go to CAMP FIRE!" I said, "Well you just have it all figured out don't you." He said, "Yep" and then just laughed and laughed. I don't care what he says I think he'd miss me.

The kids were trying to figure out a) what month it was b) what the next month was and c) when school gets out. They know school gets out in June. They all put in their guesses at to what the next month was... Sophia - June, No. Coulter - June, No. Kees - June-anita...not in this country. Funny boy.

Kees was going to bed when I looked at his little face...covered in chocolate and dirt. I told him he'd have to get up in the morning and take a bath. He said, "Why?" I told him because his hands and face were filthy. I said that Coulter could take a bath with him and then he asked me why...I said, "Because his butt is filthy." Kees laughed and said, "Cohter, your butt is fithley."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Date Night

Bob and I went out on a date last night. It was a really good one. We went to Wild Abandon on Belmont. We even had a coupon out of the Chinook Book so we saved $25! Next we went to a wine bar here in the neighborhood and finished off at Chameleon. That was great. The funniest part was, Bob moved the car while I paid the bill at the wine bar. I told him I'd just meet him at Chameleon which was only a block away. When I arrived I pretended that I didn't know him. I walked up, extended my hand and said, "Hi, I'm Heather" and he responded in kind with his name and such. He tells me later that he told the bartender that he was meeting a blind date there. It was like we had one mind. It was funny....we kept it going the whole time there.

This morning to Bob let me sleep in. To me that is the greatest thing, I LOVE sleeping in. He got up and took Coulter to his soccer game. I was in bed so long that the neighbor (who always makes too much food on a Saturday morning) made breakfast for Sophia and Kees and then brought me breakfast in bed at 10am. How great is that? Yes, she just came in the front door, up the stairs and into my room. That is a great neighbor and good friend. I loved it.

The day was a good one. Sophia had a soccer game. Kees came and played on the play structure while I chatted. Sophia scored a goal. Coulter went to a birthday party. We all had a nice day.

One of the things that Bob and I talked about last night is that we wanted to implement Family Date Night (FDN). This night would incorporate our family, fun and civility. We decided that FDN could only be our family, no buddies, and would be at most once a month....probably once ever other month. Good.

This afternoon we sat the kids down and talked about FDN. We said this would be a fun thing that could only be with our family, that it would be fun and there would be NO whining. If people mis-behaved, whined or complained FDN would cease immediately and we would go home. We all needed to do this together to make it a success and to make it fun. Everyone agreed to the rules.

Next we told the kids what we wanted our first date night to be....BIG AL'S. Blanks stares....... We explained that first we would bowl, we would have food somewhere along the way and that we would play video games too. Everyone was on board. Hooray!!!!! As we were getting ready to walk out the door Sophia got a call from a buddy for a sleep over. Ordinarily she would have freaked out and wanted to go. This time (and I had picked up the phone and was just listening in) she said, "Thanks, but I can't tonight." That is a big deal when most of the time she would have dumped us in a flash. She didn't ask me, didn't want to go didn't even flinch. WOW....we have struck gold. I was thrilled.

We left the house about 5 and went straight over to Big Al's. We played 2 games with just the 5 of us. We ordered a pitcher of root beer, a pitcher of beer, onion rings, a HUGE hot dog, a quesadilla, and a soft pretzel. I was not going to ruin it by making sure they ate well. I didn't care and let them eat what they wanted. They were so happy! The bowling was great.

The kids all had bumpers....Kees and Coulter tied. Sophia "beat" me....I let her win and Bob accidentally won. Really! He bowled between his legs and got a strike! Go figure. The best part of it all was watching the boys. Coulter would throw the ball....really threw it. No matter how many pins went down he would throw his hands up in the air and yell...."Yeah!" and smile from ear to ear. He was just happy the ball reached the end! It was so cute. Wouldn't we all be better to have his positive attitude? Everything is "alright" in Coulter's World. Kees would throw the ball and then sit on his knees while the ball bounced back and forth on the bumpers. Too cute. Sophia became competitive.....oh development! But we all smiled and laughed a lot and really just enjoyed each others company. It was bliss....I don't know how else to explain it...just bliss. I tickled the kids between frames. We drank TONS of root beer and laughed a lot. Now THAT is a good night.

Next video games..... I got each of the kids a d $5.00 card and Bob a $10.00 card. Why skimp on the little stuff? We blew about $30 on video games. So fun.... We all played to our hearts content and then were ready to go... We left at almost 9. Kees melted down because he wanted a prize he couldn't have but it was 9.....after a really full day.....He was tired! Sophia and Coulter were great.

So we had a great FDN.... We'll be doing it again. A few we have involve dinner and ballet, dinner and a movie, and camping. We'll continue FDN as long as everyone cooperates. I am looking forward to it...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Over Head at My House

Coulter while snapping his fingers....which he does a lot. "Mom, every time I snap my fingers I'm getting better at snapping my fingers. Isn't that cool?"

After yesterday's post I asked Sophia, "If someone asked you about your mom how would you describe me?" She said....."Normal" Man was that a let down....I just laughed. What can you expect from a 9 year old?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What Kind of Mom?

There are many kinds of mom's. Some are the kind that play on the floor. You know doing puzzles, building with blocks, playing dinosaurs. I am not that kind of mom. Some moms work and are the superhero at pick up. They spend all day working and then come home and continue with work there. I am not that kind of mom. Some moms never wanted kids and don't pay much attention to them. I am not that kind of mom. Some moms work out, clean the house, have perfect dinners and lunches with friends. I am not that mom, except for the lunches with friends. And still others volunteer at school, bake cookies, work on school projects. Maybe I am a bit of that mom.

So what kind of mom did I think I would be? Before I had kids I was going to be WONDER MOM. Weren't we all? I was going to have my perfectly behaved kids occupied while I made wonderful, delicious yet healthy meals for my family. I would take care of myself by working out and taking care of the house and yard. Laundry would be done. (These were things I really had time for even before kids!?) I would wear make up every day and dress casually but fashionably. My car would be clean. I was going to take the kids to the park all the time and to play dates where the other moms and I could drink coffee and catch up on important things. Yes, I was going to be the mom of any kid's dreams.

Now what kind of mom am I? I am the kind of mom that wakes up at 7 and drags out of bed. I LOVE sleeping. I have to get up and wake up the 3 small people who only wake up at 7 on weekends. I get frustrated and sometimes yell. My "uniform" is often times sweats or capris but it is ALWAYS comfortable. Hair, pulled back and make up....don't make me laugh. It is on maybe once every other week. This mom makes meals for my family and I do try and make them healthy but sometimes fun and flavor win out. Just sometimes..... I am blessed, I have a housekeeper once every other week. I firmly believe that this is some of the best money that our family spends. Work outs....they have been few and far between lately but I am feeling it for the spring.

I don't play on the floor or play "pretend." It's just not my thing. The idea of sitting on the floor and pretending to be a dog or a horse makes me crazy. I do read to them, provide play time and space for them and I set up play dates. Their friends can be dogs and horses.

I am honest with my children and try and respect their feelings while staying in control. They are my children, NOT my friends. Let there be no confusion about that. I will keep them safe at all costs even if it is at the expense of them not liking me. Someday they will get it.

I am the mom that used to write fairy notes back and forth with my kids. Sophia no longer believes so we have a notebook that we write back and forth in a few times per week. It's a nice communication tool and a great record to have. The boys still get an occasional fairy note.

I am the mom that occasionally helps in the class room, provides snack, funds things for the class room, and goes on field trips. I like to help and now that they are doing some interesting things (things that can use a bit of my brain). It is infinitely more appealing to me.

I am the mom that yells but doesn't like it. I am constantly working on that one. I like hitting even less but occasionally I do it. It's generally a swat on the leg but it does get their attention. Just last night I got out my Taking Charge book and started studying. It helps me immensely. Today I am a new woman.

I am the mom that likes her kids in bed by 8 so I can have time with my husband. This is so important to me because we are in this together. We need this time to catch up and stay connected. If there isn't at least one other person that knows what you are experiencing and that you are able to connect with it makes this job infinitely more difficult.

I am certainly not the mom that I thought I'd be but I am doing the best I can. I love my children in a way that I couldn't have understood before they were in my life. I would do anything to protect them even if it is from themselves. My attire leaves something to be desired but comfort is key when you are trying to do 10 things at once. My hair....let's just go with it makes me crazy. I have great hair that looks extremely ordinary 95% of the time...again the ease and comfort factor.

I don't care nearly as much as I used to about what people think of me. I have about 5 great friends and they DO like me and that is far more important then the masses. Furthermore those people have my back and I have theirs.

My house is messy. It's not a disaster nor is it dirty. The kitchen floor is another matter. But in general it is messy in my book. I try and keep it neat but I have 3 incredibly talented mess makers working in a very efficient manner on their side of the board. No matter what tactics I take they have a mess that can out do my cleverness any day. I am breaking them down but it is hard work.

My kids are respectful of others, they're smart, very funny and learning some responsibility. They all fold and put away their own laundry. Right now it's a battle but I believe in the long run it's totally worth it. We're also working on making lunches together. We've done some cooking and cleaning together too. They will be independent, competent and strong.

I do make healthy (apparently yucky) dinners for my family. The boys are on a eating strike right now when it comes to dinner. It's never anything too weird or spicy. I think the fact that I make it, makes it yucky. Coulter asked me one day, "Why do we have to eat the yucky stuff you make?" I told him I'd be more than happy to eat the yucky stuff he makes when he starts cooking for the whole family. No response yet....I am waiting. I cook mostly from scratch unless I can verify that all the ingredients are food. What is the USDA feeding the masses these days? It's no wonder more then half our adults are HUGE! But that is for another day.

I pay the bills, I drive a mini van, exercise the dog, wash laundry, keep my kids (relatively) clean, pick up dog poop, drive a car pool, manage our family schedule, sign people up for classes, set up play dates, council friends, get counseled by friends, pick up shoes and coats endlessly, do dishes, plan vacations, exercise when I can, plan parties and obviously blog. And in between all of this and laughter. Lots of love and laughter.

I am the kind of mom that laughs a lot, loves a lot, pays attention when it's important and is responsible for a happy, healthy family. I want to instill a a sense of responsibility, honesty, and integrity in my kids. My most important job is to teach my children these values. My clothes, hair and house mean nothing if we're not happy. So I have made sacrifices of the things that don't matter as much and tried very hard to let them know what does matter...them. I hope that if someone asks, "What's your mom like?" That they can say, "My mom is funny. She loves us very much and helped me turn into the success I am today." That would be the ultimate compliment and prize to me. SO it is it shall be....I pray.

Monday, April 5, 2010


No we are not getting divorced! But I have seen a lot of it over the past couple years and it got me thinking. Why now?

Is it like the 7 year itch? Apparently, some people get in "itch" in or around the 7th year of marriage and decide...."It's not for me." and get out. So is it when the oldest kid hits about 7 when they start thinking, "This isn't working out very well." I'm just curious.

I need to say before addressing this further that getting divorced can be one of the hardest and bravest things you can do for yourself and your children. I am not against divorce. In some instances it is really necessary. Heck, I know people that are divorced who get along much better when they are not living together. They manage their time and lives better and their children feel loved and cared for. So this post isn't a judgement by any stretch it's just something I have been thinking about.

I have one friend who is recently separated. She and her husband swap their time at their family home. The kids stay put and the parents move in and out. The kids have the constant of their home and have a parent at home with them every day. I can't tell you how impressed I am with that. Their kids seem to be as "OK" with the situation as can be. I have spent time with them and they are as stable and happy as any kids. It's still tough but from my point of view it seems very controlled and well thought out. Like they are working together for their kid's benefit.

I have a couple friends who have decided to separate but are living together until the house sells. That seems damn near impossible to me. Maybe they get along well enough but if I were in that situation I'd want out. Once the decision is made I'd want to move on it.

And yet another friend who finally, after 2+ years of battling with her now "X" is divorced. That was a tough one. He couldn't see the problems. He was/is a total control freak, over bearing and apparently, totally blind to his part in the problem. She was very brave and amazingly strong to withstand his attacks. He would write her a love note and then turn around and scream at her in the same day. Talk about mixed messages. I know he was hurting but he didn't handle himself well at all. They are still working on how to best handle their kids. She has custody, thank goodness but the kids still have to move every other weekend to stay with their dad. In this case she could not trust him in her house.

So those are just 3 instances of friends recently divorced or friends that are in the process. And they all seem to have started when their oldest kids were about 7-8. Why is that? Is it a kid 7 year itch? Is that about the amount of time it takes to develop one way or the other?

I will say that life before kids was much different. It was all about what I wanted, what Bob wanted. And we could do it when ever and where ever we wanted. We both worked so financially we were doing pretty well. Heck, the year before we had kids we went on some long weekend vacation every month! A few trips included, Baseball Training Camp in Arizona, Hawaii for 6 days, Blacksmith Camp, and Christmas Shopping in San Francisco....all just because we could.

Now we stay closer to home for the most part. There are WAAAAYYYY more chores. Man kids are messy. They are just getting into soccer and I know that is going to be crazy when they're all playing. School, camps, sports, clubs, extra classes and then laundry and meals all between everything else. It doesn't leave a lot of time for reading, working out, or just sitting down and relaxing. Bob and I are lucky that we get to spend time together every day. After the kids go to bed it's our time. We don't do laundry or clean we just sit and talk or watch TV but we do it together. Yes, it's different but for us it's good. We need to always make time for each other. I think sometimes people forget to do that. That and we need to make time for our selves. I am not very good at that. I always feel like there is something else I should be doing. As I type this I am thinking that maybe my time would be better spent unloading the dishwasher. Maybe in 10 years I'll look back at this and be glad that I didn't unload the dishwasher right now because I will still have a little piece of that 45 year old self.

So what do you think it is? Is it an itch? Not taking time for each other? Are we getting lost? You know, loosing our identity to the house, chores, kids, tasks? I see this happen where some people feel like they are drowning in their marriage and have to get out to save themselves both for them and their children. Have we out grown that other person? Did couples just grow apart? Did our picture of this time look different and now we're disappointed with the situation? Did our ideals change? Do they want something different now? Did some just change their minds? What do you think? What have you experienced?

Let me know what you think because I am really perplexed by all the divorce right now. Again I will say that I am not against divorce. In the 3 situations I described above all are for the best. The parties involved are all better off. It's the timing and reasons that I am curious about.

I am looking forward to your input. In the meantime I think I'll unload that nagging (and always full) dishwasher.