Monthly Archives: December 2013

¡Hasta la Vista 2013!

This post is a look back at some of the wonderful and not so wonderful events of 2013, and also a big “Thank You” to the people in my life who inspire and support me and my family.

The Year 2013

This year I finally stopped just wanting to be a writer and actually started being one. I launched this blog in April, and this is my 44th post. I have 78 Likes on Facebook and 50 Twitter followers. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my writers’ group, especially my friends at Sassy Single Mom, Miss Bookish Girl, and My Migraine Family.

My husband and I took our kids for their first trip to Disneyland, which was a lot of fun, despite the 90 – 100 degree weather. I also went to Nashville for the first time and had a blast. I would definitely like to go back there some time, along with New Orleans.

We’ve only gotten together a few times, but I’m really grateful that my relatives on my father’s side of the family have welcomed me back after years of estrangement.

I celebrated my 40th birthday this year. I got to spend a weekend away with my husband, and we had a wonderful dinner with friends. A friend of mine invited me to celebrate her 40th birthday with a fabulous meal prepared by a professional chef, so I feel like I got to celebrate my birthday twice.

Exercising this year has been a bit spotty. I quit Wushu and Bikram yoga, but I did walk Bloomsday (7.5 mi) and a Rock ‘n’ Roll Mini Marathon (5 mi). I wear my Fitbit religiously all day except while bathing. I’m currently averaging 12k steps per day, and I think I may have lost 3 lbs. over the past few months (it might have been just weighing on different scales, but I’m gonna go with weight loss).

My husband and I finally hung some artwork on the walls, after seven years of lamenting that the walls were bare. It makes our home feel so much more colorful, warm, and lived-in.

I got a beautiful acoustic guitar as a Christmas present, which comes with four free lessons. My husband has already taught me a few chords, and I can play part of one Beatles’ song (All I’ve Gotta Do).

Unfortunately, my Wushu teacher died this year, at the very young age of 50. I think often of his friends and family and wish I could ease their sadness and loss. I will try to follow his example of being passionate, tenacious, encouraging, and funny.

My biggest accomplishment this year was of course taking care of my family. My husband and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. I managed to keep my children alive and even somewhat healthy and happy. That’s no small feat for me.

For next year, I’m looking forward to deepening my relationships with people in real life and online (especially fellow bloggers), striking a balance between following my dreams and taking time to relax, and being more adventurous.

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Telling The Truth About Santa (and It Feels So Good)

I wrote this whole blog post about how I stress out every year perpetuating the Santa myth for my kids. I hate lying, and I feel so much pressure trying to guess what they want and feeling horrible if they’re disappointed.

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So when Zach asked me today if parents actually stay up and put the presents in the stockings, I was ecstatic. I asked him at least three times, “Well, what do you think?” I was trying to give him a chance to keep believing in Santa if that’s what he wanted. He decided he was ready for the truth.

I think he was as relieved as I was. He’s been so stressed out that Santa wouldn’t be able to find us at my in-laws’ house, where we’ll be staying for Christmas.

I was so tempted to tell him earlier, mostly because it was more convenient and comfortable for me, but I’m really glad I waited until he was ready. I feel proud I held out against the temptation and pleased that he felt empowered to make the choice himself.

I feel so grateful to be able to help Zach choose his Christmas gift together without that meddlesome jiggling middleman.

Zach is so sweet. Even though he knows the truth about the Tooth Fairy and Santa, he says he’ll still pretend for Kaylee’s sake.

I thought I might feel sad when Zach stopped believing in Santa Claus because he would have lost some innocence, but I feel only gratitude and a strengthening of our relationship, which are the best gifts I could have imagined.

Do you dread or look forward to your kids learning the truth about Santa?

I Confess: I’ve Used the “N” Word Before

I was going to write a blog post about how I catch myself being extremely negative and thinking I am totally worthless, and in my head, I’ll think, “Nigga, please.” Note: I would NEVER, EVER use this word to refer to another person. I am the person this is directed to, in the privacy of my own home. I use it to snap myself out of feeling anxious or depressed. I take the phrase to mean, “Dude, I love you enough to be honest. You’re being ridiculous and too hard on yourself. You are not a worthless piece of shit, you’re a good person who’s doing the best she can.”

I told my writers’ group I was thinking about blogging about this, and they warned me that this word is still so emotionally charged, people would be upset just knowing I say it in my head. I’ll be honest, their warnings took me by surprise.

The problem with "know thyself" is sometimes you find some pretty ugly stuff in there

I adopt voices and phrases from things I read and hear. When I was in New Orleans for a few days, I came home and said, “My pack” with extra long vowels, just because I’d been hearing that way of speaking for a few days. Even when I read books written by British writers, the voice in my head mimics their rhythm and phrasing.

I’ve heard this phrase mostly on TV shows like “The Wire” and “The Chris Rock Show.” I get that this is only acceptable for one African-American to say to another African-American. But is it really offensive for me to say it to myself? Does saying it mean subconsciously I support racial discrimination and oppression? I don’t think so.

Still, it indicates to me that I’m not being sensitive enough about the discrimination that millions of African-Americans face. This post was originally supposed to be about trying not to be so hard on myself, and instead it’s reminded me to be “impeccable with my word,” even in my thoughts.

Even though I’m aware that some people may still post hateful comments, I’ve made a commitment to be authentic and honest on my blog. Writing this stuff is painful, and I’m not proud of myself for my many sheltered, ignorant thoughts, but I can’t let them go without first becoming aware and being accountable for them.

Combatting My Ignorance About Military Life

I just sent care packages to an Air Force unit and a unit of Marines. The Air Force unit is in Djibouti (which I just now realized is a country in Africa), and the Marines are in Kuwait.

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I’ve been spending hours reading stuff online, reading the beginning of AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America’s Upper Classes from Military Service – and How It Hurts Our Country, and trying to write something that at least scratches the surface of understanding military service in the U.S. and pondering who currently serves vs. who should serve.

I don’t know anyone directly who is currently serving in the military. I’d like to learn more about what it’s like and question my preconceived notions, thus, my reason for looking up service members online. I decided to contact two groups on AnySoldier.com. One group specifically asked for snacks, so I sent them granola bars and cookies. Hopefully they’ll arrive intact. The other group mentioned they’d like feminine hygiene products and laundry detergent. I also included a photo of Zach and Kaylee laughing and my email address in case they’d like to write back.

There are so many things I’d like to know about military service in the U.S.

  • Are there a disproportionate number of soldiers from lower income families?
  • Are they forced to serve longer than a few years?
  • Do they get adequate medical care, particularly mental health care?
  • Do they get adequate financial and social support?
  • Do they feel disconnected from and possibly misunderstood by civilians who have no family members or friends in the service?

I’ve wondered for awhile about how almost no one in my social circle through high school, college, and beyond have even considered joining the military. Is it really such a good idea to have an all-volunteer military? Does that entitle wealthier families to avoid military service while lower income families are forced to join because they have no access to affordable healthcare and education?

Part of me feels like every adult aged 18 and over should serve the country in some way, whether it’s AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, or the Armed Services. We all benefit from the services of these organizations; we should also all contribute. What would this country be like if every person knew that the person next to them had served the country in some way? We’d all be able to greet each other with some form of “Semper Fi.”

I’ve heard friends of mine say they’re fine with any career their child chooses as long as it isn’t a military career. I would support my kids if they chose to join the military, but I’m hesitant to encourage it. Fortunately, they’re only 3 and 6 years old, so it’s not going to come up anytime soon.

I don’t know how much the soldiers I’m sending care packages to will be able to write back, but I hope I may be able to get to know some of the people who are actively serving and at the very least help them in some small way.

Do you have anything to share about military life and service?

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

Blog & website of children's book author Tara Lazar

Honest Mom

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Scary Mommy

A personal blog about parenting while living with anxiety and depression

Honest Mom

A personal blog about parenting while living with anxiety and depression

Illustrated with Crappy Pictures™

A personal blog about parenting while living with anxiety and depression

Miss Bookish Girl

Writer, reader, cook, cat lady. Not always in that order.