Saturday, April 28, 2012

Life Well Lived--Getting Happy

As part of their Life Well Lived series, BlogHer posed a really fun question: How does blogging, journaling, writing, and connecting online help to increase your happiness? When people find out I blog, they typically ask, "Why do you do it? Do you make good money?" This question always causes me to laugh! I initially went into blogging because I was hoping to find a way to make money while being a stay-at-home-mom. The money never materialized. I'm also no longer a stay-at-home-mom. I work at a pretty big internet company that keeps me pretty busy. Yet I still blog. Granted, I don't blog as much as I used to, but I still plug away.

The reason why I still do it is because I enjoy it. I find blogging to be therapeutic. When I have a horrific day, purging my thoughts onto the screen and hitting the "Publish" button makes me feel so much better. It often helps me to put things in perspective too.

What also surprised me the most about blogging was how social an activity is it. When I started, I pictured myself sitting at my computer and typing away while becoming very isolated. But blogging is actually not an isolating experience. You find other bloggers in your niche that go through the same things you do. You become each others support group. When I have met up with other bloggers in person, I'm always amazed at how close I feel to these women. I guess reading each others posts, which can be very personal and intimate can bring people together! As I'm writing this, I had just returned from a dinner with a group of about 20 Southern California bloggers. We had a blast talking about our blogs and our families. It was really fun!

Would I say blogging has increased my happiness? Hell ya! It hasn't increased my wallet size, but it definitely has been very fun to do. Please join me here to comment on what BlogHer's feature blogger has to say about how blogging has increased her happiness. Then, click over here to participate in the Life Well Lived Sweepstakes.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wake-Up Call

It's time to link up to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. This week, the letter is "W." W is for Wake-Up Call. The other day, I ran into my neighbor. I hadn't seen her in months! We were both catching up on our lives. She looked at me for a minute, then said, "Congratulations!" Huh? What was she congratulating me for? It then became painfully obvious that she was congratulating me on my pregnancy. Only...I'm not pregnant. She realized her mistake, then chided me for holding my hand on my belly. She said that if I don't want people to think I'm pregnant, then I shouldn't stand like that. Oh, and my big breasts didn't help the situation, she quickly added. I have to be honest. I don't think she thought I was pregnant because of where my hand was or because my (ahem) twins are on the large size. She though I was pregnant because I've gained some weight. Pure and simple. I know I need to eat better and get some form of exercise. Between my crazy work schedule and taking care of my daughter, I honestly don't have time to fit in any exercise. As it is, my day is pretty nonstop from 5:30 in the morning until 9:00 at night. My work offers a pilates class twice a week, which is a nice perk, but I really can't afford taking the tine to go to the class. I really have no other time to make up the lost hour. But I don't like people thinking I'm pregnant. As someone who has spent most of their life with the skinny gene, it's weird to no longer be that skinny girl anymore. While Target does have cute maternity clothes, I don't want to resort to having to wear them!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sometimes I Feel Like I Suck at Motherhood

Let me start of this post by saying that I know I'm a good mother. My daughter loves me and is proud that I'm her mommy. I know this. And I'm proud to be her mommy.

But sometimes I can't help but feel my daughter has drawn the short straw when she landed me as her mom. I'm just not one of those women that love doing mothering-type things. I don't know how to sew. I get bored playing games or doing other activities. I hate watching her do art sometimes because of the mess it makes. I don't pack lunches for her in the morning when other venues of food are possible.

There's probably many other areas I fall short in that are just not coming to me at this moment.

Is my daughter happy? Yes! Does she love her family? Yes! Is she well-loved? Of course! She she well-cared for? Absolutely!

But I always feel like I should be doing more. I fall way short of perfect in this area.

I imagine (or maybe just hope) that I'm not the only mother that feels this way. Please tell me that the rest of you feel like this at one time or another.

Do you ever feel you sometimes suck at motherhood?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Very Bad Words

It's time to link up to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. This week, it's all about the letter "V." V is for Very Bad Words.

My daughter is now 8. I kind of figured that she knew all the main bad words that are out there. I knew them all when I was 6. Of course, I hung out with a bad sort of kid. You know the type. The ones that have older siblings.

The other day I asked my daughter if she knew what dirty words were. She blushed and admitted that she knew the F-word, the S-word, and the H-word. I was shocked! I didn't even know what the H-word was. Did my daughter know curse words that I didn't? Am I so old that I'm not hip to what's bad?

I asked my daughter what the H-word was. "It's really bad," she responded. It's "hate." So what's the F and S words? It turns out they're fart and stupid! She apparently still doesn't know what curse words are yet. And she still believes in the tooth fairy. Go figure.

Then she told me that she wanted to sing Cee Lo Green's song for the school talent show audition. But she said that every version is looked for is loaded with bad words.

My heart stopped. Did she stumble upon the real lyrics to the song? It turns out she's talking about the cleaned-up radio version. Apparently it has "hate" throughout it.

I guess I can breath again!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Unshod--One Day without Shoes

It's time to link up to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. The letter this week is "U." U is for unshod.

Yesterday, my daughter's school observed One Day Without Shoes. It's a movement encouraging people to spend one day (April 10th) without shoes so they can empathize how horrible it must be to live in a poor country and go barefoot. Going barefoot can cause heath issues such as jiggers in addition to physically hurting your feet on debris. In addition, not having shoes can be a barrier to going to school, making education difficult to achieve.

TOMS Shoes is behind this cause. With every shoe purchased, TOMS Shoes donates a pair to a child in need of a new pair of shoes. As of two years ago, TOMS has given over 600,000 pairs of shoes. Considering the rise in their popularity over the last couple of years, I'm sure that number is much higher today!

My daughter's teacher is the person responsible for bringing One Day without Shoes to my daughter's school. Because of this, my daughter and her class had to "play tour guides" for the school to help them experience One Day without Shoes. I'm not sure they executed it exactly as the program was intended because you can't have kids go barefoot for the entire day. But the kids did take their shoes off and go through different areas of the playground where they had to walk on different surfaces to feel some level of discomfort.

The kids walked through mushed bananas, very wet mud, ice, sandpaper, and marbles. My daughter wasn't fond of the marbles. She was too scared she'd fall, so she didn't spend much time there. She did spend extra time in the other stations though. She said she wanted to really experience what poor people have to live through in other countries.

I wonder if she kind of enjoyed the sensory experience. She claimed she didn't (but I wonder).

It was a wonderful experience for the kids, and it hopefully showed them that they have it pretty good here. I'm all for any exercise that helps develop empathy.

TOMS Shoes did not reimburse me for this post. They don't know my blog or anything about me. I just think their company mission is cool and wanted to share about this project, which I also think is cool!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Talking on the Telephone

My daughter never had much interest with talking on the telephone until recently. A friend of hers from school started calling, and now my daughter is talking away like an old pro. Well, maybe not entirely like an old pro. She still hasn't really figured out how to handle call waiting. My husband was trying to call during one of her marathon phone sessions. He said he let the phone ring about 12 times, but our daughter wasn't answering. When I asked her why, she said she didn't recognize the number, so she didn't want to answer it.

The other habit she's started doing is putting her friend (or her daddy) on speaker phone. I guess she gets tired of keeping the phone by her ear and finds this more comfortable. It can have some interesting side effects. One time, I refused to let my daughter play a particular game on the internet. Shortly thereafter, she was on the phone with her friend, I heard her friend say, "Don't worry. When you sleep over here you can play on that site!" Ahem. Maybe when hell freezes over she'll be allowed to sleep at her friend's house.

The other thing I'm going to have to work on with my daughter is to help her focus on the conversation. She has a hard time doing this. She seems to be full of nervous energy and has to pace around nonstop or look through the newspaper or keep herself occupied any number of ways.

She's beginning to spend a good hour or two on the phone each day. I hate to see what the teen years are going to be like!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Life Well Lived--Defining Your Personal Style

BlogHer posed this question:

How do you find your fashion voice and cultivate your personal style?

I wish I could say that I have a fashion style. People do not come to my blog for fashion advice for good reason. My sense of style is wearing something that feels comfortable. I honestly expect Clint and Stacy from What not to Wear to show up at my doorstep at any moment! I could just see myself on that show saying, "But I can't buy that dress--it's not on sale!"

So my fashion style boils down to two words: sale and Target.

Do you want to get hip to someone who knows a lot about style? Then click here at BlogHer to find out what an expert has to say!

Also, be sure to enter the next Life Well Lived sweepstakes here. I'm heading over there right now!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tempting Treats

It's time to link up to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. The letter this week is "T." T is for tempting treats.

Since I've started working about a year ago, I've noticed my weight creeping up little by little. For one thing, I have absolutely no time to exercise. I used to love to walk in my very hilly neighborhood. It was really fun and a great workout. Nowadays, I have absolutely no time to indulge in this hobby.

The other problem is that work has a completely stocked kitchen that employees can help themselves to. There's muffins, cookies, crackers, potato chips, candy, chocolate, and other goodies. In addition, someone always seems to bring in treats. Yesterday, for example, my boss brought in a decadent chocolate cheesecake that was to-die-for good. I cannot resist temptation. I did split my very large cheesecake slice with a colleague so that I could still enjoy the treat but not overindulge.

Nevertheless, the lack of exercise and my sweet tooth are not a good combination.

What do you do to keep your weight in check?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Was It World Autism Awareness Day?

I can't believe I let World Autism Awareness Day pass by me like that! The truth is, autism is something that I'm pretty aware about. The other truth is that I hope my blog (and many others out there) try to increase autism awareness year-round. The latest statistics the CDC issued is that 1 in 88 children are diagnosed with autism. As I look around the playgrounds and schoolyards that statistic does not surprise me at all. In fact, it's still probably on the low side. I can't help but feel that most people are in close contact with somebody who is on the autism spectrum whether they're aware of it or not.

My beef lately isn't so much about the general public's awareness or lack of awareness regarding autism. It's with the autism "community" itself. I put quotes around the word community because that is exactly what this community lacks--a sense of community.

First, you have the parents of children with autism fighting amongst themselves on what the cause of autism is and how best to approach treatments. If one group doesn't agree with another group, instead of respectfully agreeing to disagree, everyone puts up battle zones and argues their point. This often occurs in a disrespectful manner.

Then, you have infighting among the parents regarding what the goal is. One group wants a cure for autism, the other group wants society to accept their children with autism.

There's a similar battle between the parents of children with autism who are looking for a cure and people with autism who are offended by the notion that they need to be fixed.

Personally, I think the mission of increasing autism awareness would work a lot better if the autism community worked as a community.

The first step would be to acknowledge that the goals of a subgroup does not (and should not) reflect the goals for the whole group. People with high-functioning autism and/or Aspergers (and their parents) have very different goals than parents of very low-functioning children have. I think the community needs to have sensitivity to the different needs of the different members of its community.

Further, I think the community needs to be respectful of each other when they do not agree. Instead of belittling the other's opinions, try to understand what is fueling them.

Maybe with some patience and understanding, the autism community can come together to fully educate the general public on the complex range of issues--good and bad--that accompany autism.