Monday, February 22, 2010

Friendship Values

Years ago I experienced a painful "break up" with a friend.  If you haven't experienced it, you're lucky.  A break up with a friend can be just as upsetting and unsettling as a break up with a boyfriend or signficant other.  The thing about friend break ups, is that they aren't always as clear cut and easy to figure out.  When I experienced my break up, I was pretty bummed and dumbfounded.    We had been friends for years, closer than close, and did everything together.  When we lived together, it wasn't uncommon for us to get mail addressed to the two of us as if we were a couple.

About nine years ago, this friend cut me off cold turkey.  I was devastated.  After a number of phone calls went unanswered, I sent her a marathon email apologizing for anything I could have possibly done to upset her.  I never got a response.  I just couldn't understand how someone I had been so close to couldn't take the time to even respond to me to let me know what I had done and why our relationship was over. 

A friend who knows both of us was very helpful in assisting me to get over the end of this important relationship.  She comforted me by telling me that perhaps our friendship values were just different.  I was intrigued by this concept.  She went on to say that maybe for my former friend, her expectations of friendship and what she needed out of a friend were different than mine.  Some people only want friends who will tell them what they want them to hear and others don't.  Some people need friends who are around 24-7 and others see great value in their friends, even if they only speak to them or see them a couple of times per year.  She went on to explain that people need and expect different support and interactions from their friends.  She suspected that our mutual friend perhaps didn't internalize friendships as deeply as I did and perhaps needed something I couldn't provide her.

I'm so grateful for this life lesson.  Up until that point, it had never dawned on me that everyone I knew didn't have the same wants and needs when it came to friendships.  As for me, I grew up without a sister and always had lots of friends who as coincidence would have it, moved away.  For me, when I have a friend, I am very excepting of the time apart and thankful for the time together.  I appreciate my friends' honesty, supportive criticism, and encouragement--no matter the dosage.  I have learned that I might not agree with everything my friends say or do, but they are still my friends and I accept them for who they are.  Perhaps even more importantly, I have learned that when a friendship's negative or nonbeneficial interactions and attributes out weight the positive, it's time to terminate the relationship, and that's ok.  All friendships are not meant to last forever.  Some are meant to benefit us for a short amount of time and some friendships are relationships that we will engage in at only certain times in our lives.

Taking a close look at my friendship values has been one of my most important life lessons.  When you have some free time (stop laughing--I know that's rare!), think about your own friendship values.  More importantly, think about how your friendship values match up to the friendship values of those in your life.  If you are reading this, you are probably one of my friends and I am very, very thankful to have you in my laugh.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Oh, Maternity Clothes!

Dear Maternity Clothes,

I'd like to start this letter by saying that I understand that you have a very difficult job. You have the task of clinging on and/or around an ever-changing belly, spreading butt, and expanding bust. I understand that you are covering the body of a very over-emotional woman who seems to have lost all sense of ability to not spill food all over herself or be able to hold her pee every time she coughs and sneezes.

Here's the thing, Maternity Clothes. Why do you have to be so damn ugly and unflattering. I mean seriously. Is it so hard to get a properly placed crotch on a pair of jeans? Is it that hard to mimic regular jeans? Are large ruffles necessary? I recently won some "high end" maternity clothes in a blog giveaway. While I'm thankful for the new clothes, the apparel (which is proudly designed by women who have never had children), have giant ruffles on them and one of the "stylish" dresses looks like a horrible bag. Do you know what those ruffles do to a pregnant woman? My big belly simply pushes those ruffles into the faces of oncoming pedestrians. Oh, and the bag dress makes me look like a black and white weather balloon with pockets.

This time around, my last time around, I've opted to wear as many nonmaternity clothes as possible. After having dealt with you in two other pregnancies, Maternity Clothes, I have decided that enough is enough and I'm simply not going to tolerate you. This time around, I purchased very few of you and opted to hunt down regular, nonmaternity clothes that were forgiving. Your ugliness, terrible fit, and poor quality found you out of much of your normal work this time around.

Good riddens,

I you have not been pregnant, you should not be able to design maternity clothes. Women modeling maternity clothes should be pregnant--and not just a little pregnant, but REALLY pregnant. And finally, if you are going to design maternity clothes, please try them on pregnant women of all ages and stages before pushing them on the public!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I'm Thankful for Blogging

Yesterday I was down in the dumps and being able to blog saved my sanity. Just typing out my thoughts and feelings made me feel so much better.

I think I was "made to blog." I love to write but could never really stick to the journal thing. And while I don't consider myself an attention whore, I do like the idea of there being some sort of audience for my words. It doesn't have to be big...just enough to get occasional feedback.

I have several book ideas that I have tons of material for, but with the kids, it's hard to discipline myself to get the work done. Blogging satisfies my need to write in small doses. Sometimes I blog more than once a day and sometimes I'll let a a week or so pass before I blog again. Blogging is like my little drug and I love it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

One Big Ball of Hormones

I'm now 32 weeks pregnant and I can honestly say that I am one big ball of very emotional hormones. I feel like I have the worst case of PMS on the planet. My fuse is short. I've been crying all day. I've gotten frustrated by the simplest things. I feel like I'm going to jump out of my skin. (That's a fun one.) You know, as if it's not bad enough that I'm swollen (I'm telling myself I'm swollen even though I know I'm actually just FAT), uncomfortable, and achy from my giant belly, but I have the added bonus of being an emotional wreck as well?! I mean come on!!!!

To all of you out there who just LOVED being pregnant, I just don't get it. I mean...really? You "loved" it? Which parts exactly? You "loved" the food aversions? You adored swollen feet and/or ankles? You thought watching your otherwise flat stomach turn into a veiny beach ball was totally hot? Please tell me which part you loved. I'm dying to hear the great part.

Look, I know that the great part of pregnancy comes at the end when I get to meet my beautiful new baby boy and hold him in my arms (and smell like breastmilk and look like a train wreck for the next 9-12 months), but all that aside, let's be real. God must be a man because a woman would never make another woman go through the agony of pregnancy considering what you have to go through with a newborn in the aftermath.

I'm just sayin'.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

They Came From Far and Wide...

They came from far and wide Saturday to buy our junk. We had a yard sale. Call it what you want: yard sale, tag sale, garage sale. I call it a study in the strange and desperate. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of yard sales--both giving and browsing at--but there's something about the yard sale phenomenon that intrigues me.

My like for yard sales goes back to my college days. My mom and I attended estate sales almost every Friday to find treasure we couldn't live without and those we could sell at a profit at an antique store we rented space at in Orange County. I loved it. By Thursday nights I was craving the adrenaline of pushing past gray haired ladies at Leisure World to grab a great antique French cup and saucer. I could imagine the great pieces of furniture I would stumble upon and put in my apartment. I yearned for the treasured surprises the professional estate sale hosts would set aside for me because they "knew my tastes." The deals were like drugs and the sense of history behind the items we purchase thrilled me to no end.

My fascination with other people's junk/treasures continued when I got married. I maintained the estate sale love but had to give up the store because it decided to focus on "reproductions" instead of the real thing. My husband and I took it up a notch and started frequenting antique auctions and eventually furnished a lot of our home with beautiful things we had purchased together at auction and estate sales.

Once the kids came, we had to give it all up. You can't really take a baby into the tight spaces of an old person's apartment. Strollers to don't fit and small grabbing hands don't mix well with delicate pieces of crystal. Once in a while when we see an estate sale sign, we pull over so that I can do a once over inside and tell my husband if it's worth getting the kids out of the carseats to go in. And, of course, it's not the same. I'm not plotting my estate sale route the night before in the Thomas Guide and scouring the ads for what appears to be the sale with best stuff.Now our searches are passive and happenstance. We stop by yard sales and estate sales because we are in the neighborhood, not as a fun hobby.

And this leads me to having our own yard sales. Like I said, yesterday we had a BIG one that we hosted at our house with two other families. It was the first weekend in some time in which it wasn't raining; it was a gorgeous sunny day. The high hit 80 degrees and yard sale attendees were out in droves. And among those droves, we experienced all sorts of "interesting" people. Here are some of my favorites and not-so-favorites.
  • You always have your bickering people--the people who want to fight with you and tell you your prices are too high. Those are the people you want to shout at and say, "It's my junk and I'll change what I want! You can't walk into Target and tell them you think they change too much for their sheets and you can't tell me that either!"
  • I love the old guys who are clearly just "doing the yard sale circuit" so that they can get away from their wives for the morning. They are always looking for similar stuff--records, tools, fishing equipment, etc. They are totally pleasant to talk to and just happy to meet up with their buddies who also do the circuit. I love it when they talk about the morning's take and where they are headed next. It cracks me up.
  • The people who pretend they don't speak English. You know 'em. This is how the exchange with them goes.
    • Them: "How much (in a thick accent)?"
    • Me: $1.
    • Them: 50 cent?
    • Me: No. $1.
    • Them: Uhhh... 50 cent? (Accompanied by puzzled look.)
    • Me: No! $1!
    • Them: 50 cent? (Still unsure.)
    • Me: NO! (And giving them my most disapproving teacher look.)
    • Them: Pull out a $5 bill to pay for the $1 item.
  • The people who try on our clothes at the sale and then wear them to their cars. So gross. Even worse...the people who try on our clothes and then leave them.
And then there's the characters who can't be characterized...
  • Our friends were selling one of those whirlpool foot spas. It was brand new (still wrapped) but one side of the box had been opened. The woman looked at it and asked if it worked. I told her that it did (which made her happy) and then told her that it had never been used, in order to sweeten the deal. This comment brought her great disappointment. She was actually bummed that someone else's skill cells weren't clogging the thing up. So gross.
  • The grossest guy of the day was the man who will go down in history at "the poopy Nazi." He walked up the driveway wearing some sort of military hat. He was disabled with a metal cane and a crippled hand. I immediately felt bad for him and thought he was a vet. He walked straight up to me and started to ask if I had any knives, bayonets (oh and I can honestly say this is the first time I've never had to spell the word "bayonets" before), riffles, or guns. I thought he was kidding and told him no. He went on to ask if I had a laundry list of other items that included daggers, shrunken heads (I'm not kidding), or Nazi memorabilia. It was at this point that I realized the smell of poop wafting in my direction. I was feeling as though I might gag. He kept going and talking. He started talking to me about his Nazi artifact collection and the fact that he reads Hitler's teachings. In the meantime, all of our friends stood far away and laughed that I was now the winner of talking with the craziest person of the day. When they took pitty on me and finally walked over, I made a mad dash into the house with an excuse so pathetic I can't remember it.
In the end, the day was a success. We had a blast laughing it up with our friends, enjoyed a day without the boys, and made almost $300!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Celebrity Life

The celebrity set seem to love to be hopitalized for "exhaustion." Now, I'm no dummy. I'm fully aware that "exhaustion" is code word for drug, alcohol, or insert-other-vice addiction. But in the case that exhaustion is really exhaustion, I would like to know if Kaiser covers exhaustion in my private health plan. I'm tired, really tired. I would love the chance to lay in a craft-o-matic adjustable bed, watch television, read, and be served meals (even crappy ones) without having to change diapers, clean the house, or tend to anyone's needs. I want a break from work, the kids, and responsibility. I don't have deep pockets, a personal assistant, nannies, housekeeper, or entrouge to make my life easier. Celebrities have it so much easier than moms like me, so I MUST be more more exhausted than they could ever be.

My name is Lisa and I suffer from exhaustion--the real kind. Contact my publicist for details.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Once a Princess, Always a Princess?

Back when I worked at Disneyland, I amassed quite a bit of Disney artwork, much of which is Snow White- or princess-themed. Until this time, I had found little places and bits of which in our house where I could fit it in without being overtly girly. With little boy number three on his way and the ways we have shifted furniture about and changed the rooms, it's time for it to go. All of it. There's no way I can slyly fit the "girls" into the house any longer. It's hard to say good-bye to my girls for a variety of reasons.

Saying good-bye to the princesses solidifies that there will be no little princess in our house and I will be the lone queen of this castle. It means the pieces I purchased during my college days (with my very limited, hard-earned funds) more than ten years ago need to be packed away, in addition to the hopes and love I may have had for them. I certainly bought each piece because I liked them a lot and I'm just not ready to sell them or give them away.

I know that I sound like one of those people on the show Hoarders. I know that my belongings don't define me. Nonetheless, I just can't part with them. I know that just because I will have three AMAZINGLY sweet and wonderful boys I will not be any less feminine or have to admire Disney princess films any less. The princesses don't make me a girl, but it's still hard to say good-bye to my girls. While the kindest thing I could do would be to give (or sell) them to another princess who will display and enjoy them, I will alas be locking them away (storing them in plastic storage containers) in a tower (the garage) until the day comes when I can part with them or give them to my granddaughters.

Blog Giveaway Round-up

There's lots of great giveaways in the blogosphere. Here's just some of them.

Bright Starts is giving one Two of a Kind Working On a Full House reader the InGenuity™ Automatic Bouncer™!

Family Travel Gear
is giving one Two of a Kind Working on a Full House reader a Kids Car Organizer XL.

Over at The Bragging Mommy, Scholastic is giving away a grand prize and two first prizes. The grand prize includes two pottty training books and potty training bench. First prize winners will get one of the books. One is for princesses learning to go potty and the other is for little pirates. How cute is that?! Want ten more chances to win? Me and My Boys and Baby Loving Moma are both giving away the books (not the potty bench)--5 copies each!

1 lucky reader on The Mommy-Files will win a copy of “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Minnie’s Bow-Tique” on DVD!!!

One lucky reader of the blog Piece of Me will win a custom-made Two-Tier Diaper Cake from Gift the Bambino!

Evenflo is generously giving away an Evenflo Comfort Select Performance Single Auto Cycling Breast Pump to one lucky reader of The Bragging Mommy! I would so love to win this!

D3 Publisher has generously offered To give 5 different Mom Start readers copies of 30 Great Games Winter Fun for Wii.

I would love to win an Ergo Baby for baby #3 and Canadian Natural Mama is giving one away!

Want another chance to win a fabulous Ergo Baby carrier? There's lots of entry possibilities at New Age Mama!!!

And there's yet one more way to win an Ergo Baby carrier. Stop by Organic Girl to win!

One winner will receive both the Jeep Exploration Diaper Bag and the Jeep Shopping Cart Cover on Mommy Mandy.

One winner will receive a cozy sleeping sack from aden + anais on Mommy Mandy. Winner can choose the print/size.


I'm now 30 weeks pregnant with our third baby and over the last four to six weeks, the nesting instinct has taken over my being. I'm not talking a little reorganizing, I'm talking becoming OCD. I've been on a rampage throwing things out, boxing things up, and categorizing toys by function and/or genre. Getting ready for this baby is all I can think about. I make lists. I think about places to put things. I put together timelines. I'm obsessed. A couple of weeks ago it got so intense that I found myself talking so fast about how badly I need a new pack and play that I swear my parents must have thought I was completely insane. Sensing my urgency, they ordered me a pack and play online the same day.

With my other two kids, I didn't feel quite this same urgency. Of course, I know I needed to get things ready and had my visions of how I wanted things to look, etc., but it was nothing like this. Am I the only person who has felt this crazy just from the simple need to nest?