My Selfish Heart

Last week my husband had me convinced we would be moving to San Diego. He had applied for a job and had been contacted about coming down to take a test to be moved along to the interview stage. He booked plane tickets. He made a list of what to pack. He started looking at apartments on Craigslist. I woke up with my teeth clenched together so hard that my jaw still aches.

When we moved to Maine 6 years ago, the deal was that if, after 2 years, Mike didn’t like it, I would be open to moving somewhere else. Mike is from San Diego and has been pretty homesick lately. His mom came to visit and suddenly he was reminiscing about the good old days and he wanted to move. I really don’t want to leave Maine. But a deal’s a deal. I’ll do it. I won’t like it, but I’ll go.

My reasons to stay in Maine are purely selfish. I grew up on the east coast. I like the change of the seasons. I like being able to drive through multiple states in a few hours if I feel like it. I love my house, my yard, being able to stay home with my kids, living somewhere that is so uncrowded that I can drive around, even at rush hour, and never get frustrated. I like having the privacy of living in a house. I like having a washer and dryer. I like that we live in a semi-small community where people know each other. If I move to California, we’ll have to live in an apartment. I’ll have to go to the laundromat to wash our clothes. Chase will go into daycare because I’ll have to work outside the home to keep up with the huge cost of living increase. Like I said, all selfish reasons. I kept my mouth shut when Mike gushed about how excited he was. I was prepared to move.

I didn’t sleep that night. I tossed and turned all night thinking of all the work involved in moving, especially now that we own a home. The next day I was cranky from no sleep and an overworked brain. Mike called me from work. He had cancelled the plane tickets. He wasn’t going to go for the job. I swear, I said a silent prayer of thanks in my selfish, selfish heart. He too lay awake all night thinking about moving. He realized how much he likes our life here and that the only real pull for him was living near his family. I can’t even tell you how happy I am that he came to that realization and that he came to it on his own.

Now my selfish heart and I can sit back and enjoy Autumn in Maine. While I drink my Pumpkin Spice coffee from Dunkies and listen to my washer and dryer do their thang.

A Thousand Words for Love

I think husbands and fathers don’t get enough credit sometimes. Oh, I hear a ton of stories from women’s mouths about all the things their husbands aren’t doing right or just aren’t doing. (Aren’t is such a weird word… aren’t.) But I feel like there aren’t (there it is again!) enough stories about what husbands and fathers are doing right. I could never be the mother I am or even the woman I am without my husband. So I want to share all the “right” things that my husband does.

litebarI saw this photo and “quote” on Pinterest a while ago. I pinned it because it’s so true. I wish I did have a thousand words of love to say to Mike when he is doing everything right (which is most of the time) because he deserves to hear them.

But then I realized that there are a thousand words for love. Love means different things to different people. And I’m going to share all my love words for my husband with you.

Mike,

  • You listen when I need to talk
  • You laugh with me when I’m happy
  • You’re quiet when I need to cry
  • You hold me when I need it and you hold me when I don’t know I need to be held
  • You understand my sense of humor, my crazy emotions, my moods and thought process, my needs and wants – you understand everything that makes me me
  • You take the kids somewhere just so I can be alone in the quiet and think
  • You support me, provide for me and pay the bills so I won’t get stressed out about money
  • You like my cooking and praise me for it constantly
  • You thank me when I do something as mundane as the laundry, or running the dishwasher
  • You are always smiling and have a positive outlook about everything in your life and in our life together
  • You are courageous
  • You are strong in both body and mind
  • You work hard
  • You are trustworthy and trusting
  • You are my best friend, my lover, my confidant
  • You are respectful, thoughtful, considerate and kind
  • You are always there when I need you
  • You do the dishes because you know that I hate doing them
  • You treat me with respect – always
  • You have never, ever said something horrible to me when we argue or made me feel badly about myself when I’ve made a mistake
  • You admit when you’re wrong
  • You are passionate in all aspects of your life
  • You let me sleep in on the weekends
  • You never give up
  • You are decisive, successful and open-minded
  • You make me feel appreciated, heard, understood, cherished, beautiful, secure and honored
  • You encourage me to do the things I love and celebrate all my accomplishments with me
  • You steal my pillow because you like the way it smells
  • You are an amazing father
  • You have patience when I don’t
  • You are affectionate, caring and loving with me and our children
  • You watched our children being born without batting an eyelash
  • You are manly without being condescending or too macho
  • You never said so, but I could sense your discomfort as you watched me labor in pain during my births – I knew you would gladly have taken the pain on yourself
  • You are always gentle with our children
  • You always make time to pay complete attention to our children when they speak to you, even when they’re telling you something ridiculous
  • You never brush me off
  • You are a dreamer and share your dreams with me
  • When something random reminds me of a song and I just start singing it, you sing along with gusto
  • Your love of horror movies is both cute and (for me) horrifying
  • You have never judged me
  • You always make me feel special, important and intelligent
  • You never make a mess and leave it for me to clean up
  • You wrote me love letters when you were deployed in the Army
  • You’ve saved every letter I wrote to you when we were apart (and then hid them in your dresser drawer so I know they actually mean something to you)
  • You call me from work sometimes just to hear my voice and you freely admit that you miss me when we’ve only been apart for a few hours
  • You have made all of my memories of the last decade good ones
  • You call your mother every weekend
  • You are my hero, my rock, my protector
  • You let me switch sides of the bed when we moved so I didn’t have to sleep closest to the door
  • You always ask me if I need help with anything
  • You make me a better person
  • You ask my advice and actually listen
  • You talk to me about everything and I love feeling like I always know what’s going on in your head
  • You make me feel safe physically, emotionally and mentally
  • You are the best thing that has ever happened to me
  • You make everything better and brighter in my life
  • You still take my breath away
  • You are the best gift I have ever gotten
  • I can’t imagine my life without you in it
  • I wish that I could have more kids just to have more of you alive in this world
  • I will always feel so lucky that you’re mine
  • I will always forgive you when we argue
  • I am proud of you and proud to be with you
  • I admire your confidence
  • I respect your character and integrity
  • I feel like my life with you is a journey that keeps getting better and better the longer we walk side by side
  • I wish that I had met you sooner so that I could have loved you even longer
  • I will never stop looking for more words to tell you how wonderful you are
  • I will love you for the rest of my life
  • A thousand words of love will never be enough to describe all the things you do right and how much I feel for you

7 Reasons I Could Survive a Horror Movie

My husband has a thing for horror movies. I don’t. But love will make you do weird things. Like watch Killer Clowns From Outer Space. (Although, not even love could get me to watch it a second time. Which he’s tried.) Over the last week, I have caved twice to the “do you want to watch a scary movie?” question. So we watched House At The End of the Street (Which I didn’t get the title of because it was about the house next door. And that’s a different movie altogether.) and 6 Souls. They were pretty good. Nothing that would wow my husband per se, but enough to freak me out just a little. There is something freaky about people who are both violent and aren’t in their right minds. Not as freaky as creepy little kids in horror movies, but still freaky.

These movies got me to thinking though. I could survive a horror movie plot.

Here’s how I came to that conclusion:

1. I can’t scream and run at the same time. Running and screaming seem to go together like peas and carrots in horror movies. It only makes sense, therefore, that since I can’t do this, I will survive. Without making more noise than the huff-huff of my breath, I might be able to successfully run away from whatever scary person/thing that is chasing me. If he/she/it is slow.

2. I have an irrational fear of basements. I refuse to go down into one. I don’t care if the basement is the only part of the house that seems remotely safe; I will not descend into that creepy mildewed chamber. This will save my life one day. I know it.

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3. Hiding somewhere for more than 2 minutes fills me with the irresistible urge to pee. This would prompt me to go on the offensive, taking out the threat, so I could peaceably relieve my bladder.

4. Camping in the dark, dark woods does not turn me on. You will never catch me bare-assed and frolicking anywhere outside in the dark. Especially when people are mysteriously disappearing from their cabins/tents/RVs, etc. This too will save my life.

5. I don’t collect dolls. No freaky porcelain-headed glassy-eyed creep shows for me, thanks. Also, no ventriloquist dolls, puppets, or killer clown dolls to pull me under my bed.

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6. I have never felt the urge to take a midnight stroll through a cemetery. Even if I felt the need to go walking in the dark, nothing could possibly tempt me to pass through the wrought iron gates of a cemetery.

7. In a homage to Stephen King, I will never: bury a dead animal in a cursed cemetery, go swimming in a lake with a mysterious oil slick, touch a green-glowing meteorite, follow a clown with a british accent down a sewer, house-sit an empty haunted hotel in Colorado, or hang out in a town full of creepy kids who worship corn. (The name Malachi still gives me the creeps.)

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What horror movie freaked you out the most?

How Facebook Would Describe My Weekend

There’s nothing funnier than finding the perfect cartoon or ecard to describe what’s going on in your life at the moment. Nothing funnier on Facebook, anyway. I’m guessing there are much more funny things out there than ecards and the like. I, however, have found that photos found on Facebook are able to sum up my weekend in a nutshell.

I read a book.

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I tried to negotiate with my kids.

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They didn’t care.

I grumped around, yelled at everyone and basically made no one want to be near me. When glared at by my husband, I apologized for the fact that mother nature wasn’t keen on giving him a uterus and a “crimson landslide” each month. He gave me some alone time.

Then we took the kids to a local lake to swim and have fun. I had been hoping for the “Without Kids” version, but basically got a version somewhere in between:

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Then I got a phone call from my old college roommate. Which made me dream about being back in college.

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There you go! Facebook funnies have successfully described my entire weekend!

What did you do this weekend?

I need a vacation (from my vacation)

It’s already been a week since I posted last? Man, time got away from me this week. I’ve done a ton of things since I wrote last what with the hubs being on vacation and then my parents coming to town for a 4 day weekend.

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I’m relieved that our “vacation” is over. I’m wiped out. It’s fun to have extra time to spend together as a family, especially when we have the kind of nice weather we were graced with this past week. I have had 10 days of family fun and togetherness (would have been 11, but I snuck across state lines for 24 hours) and I’m ready to have my nice boring days of lunch making, laundry folding and sibling refereeing back. Just so I can clear my head, catch up on basic housework and get to the point where I don’t want to strangle certain family members.

It’s not like I didn’t already know how exhausting having fun is. It’s just that I keep forgetting that I can’t recover as quickly as I did when I was younger. When I think about college and all the things I was able to do in one day, I find it mind-boggling. My senior year, I took 18 credits a semester, worked part-time, interned in NYC 2 full days a week, sat on Student Government, was Editor of the campus literary magazine and still, somehow, found time to hang out with my friends, go to the occasional concert in the city, do homework and sleep. Now? I can barely recover from a Saturday morning buying bathing suits, an afternoon at the beach with the kids and a laid-back dinner with the extended family that I didn’t have to cook or clean up.

Today I watched my kids play outside, folded laundry (it’s a Tuesday thing) and hung out at my brother’s house for a bit. It was a relaxing day, but I still feel like I need a vacation from my vacation. I haven’t spent a single second alone in 10 days, with the exception of me leaving the kids with my dad this afternoon while I drove to the supermarket to buy stuff for lunch.

I feel a little pathetic that I’m looking forward to tomorrow night. Because Wednesday night is when I go grocery shopping. Alone.

To any parents reading this: how do you find time for yourself?

Laundry Saved My Day?

My husband is on vacation this week. It’s Tuesday and I’m already exhausted! I’ve always wondered if Mike thinks that because I stay home with the kids that I’m just hanging out enjoying a day full of free time. Well, this morning confirmed that yes, sometimes he does.

Yesterday was the first sunny day we had in southern Maine in about 8 days. This had us up and out of the house early, just soaking up the vitamin D. Add to that the fact that our town has an annual Memorial Day parade that my daughter’s school (complete with parents) marches in every year and we spent the entire morning outside in the sun. Sunshine apparently supercharged Mike’s batteries because he was a whirlwind of energy, ideas and activities. All day long.

This morning I woke up ready for a semi-normal day at home with the kids. I had to drop my car off to get the brakes done and as we were leaving the house, Mike suggested that we all drive over and spend the day at MacWorth Island since its so beautiful outside. “Okay, that sounds good, if you can help me with the 4 loads of laundry I also have to do today before we leave.” Mike’s answer was a sort of deflated “oh.”

Hey, I’m all for having fun. But this mama here is the one that still has to do all the housework once the fun is done and the kids are exhausted and hungry and don’t have clean underwear.

Mike took the kids out for a hike somewhere. I stayed home and did 4 loads of laundry. And finished reading my library book. And drank two cups of coffee while they were still hot.

Who said housework’s all bad?

100 +3 Things About Me

I love lists! Others may not, but I’m following some guidelines here. One of them says you should have a list of 100 things about yourself. Really? Do people really want to know 100 random things about me? I guess so. Since you want to know me so badly, I wrote 103 things. So there.

  1. I don’t like to be told what to do.
  2. I like folk music.
  3. I also like mainstream pop music no matter how hard my “music” friends try to get me to listen to cool stuff.
  4. I had to switch to listening to a Christian Rock radio station because my daughter started making up songs about taking her clothes off.
  5. I’m addicted to Cape Cod Sweet and Spicy Jalapeño chips.
  6. I have 2 tattoos.
  7. I want another one. A BIG one on my upper arm.
  8. I don’t think I have the courage to get a big tattoo where people can see it.
  9. My favorite color is green.
  10. I want to learn to sew.
  11. I got married in Arizona, even though I’ve never lived there.
  12. I’ve lived in MD, PA, RI, MI, OH, ME, NY, IL (for 10+ weeks), CA and CO.
  13. The 10+ weeks in IL were when I was in boot camp.
  14. I was in the Navy.
  15. I got out of the Navy earlier than my initial commitment.
  16. Not fulfilling my Naval contract is one of the only things I truly regret in my life.
  17. I love to sing really really loud in my car.
  18. I grew up always having a cat for a pet.
  19. My husband hates cats so I may never have another.
  20. My parents named me Tamara so that they could call me Tammy.
  21. I chose the pronunciation of my first name when I was 2.
  22. It’s pronounced Tam-ah-rah.
  23. I hate it when people call me Tam-air-ah.
  24. I studied Russian in an immersion program in the Navy.
  25. My Russian name was Tam-R-ah (without the hyphens. Or the “h”).
  26. I don’t always notice when people call me Tam-R-ah since that’s all anyone called me for almost 2 years.
  27. I went by the name Tammy until I was 21 and I met another girl named Tammy who I didn’t want to be confused with.
  28. I’ve been using my full name ever since.
  29. You can tell how long a person has known me by what name they call me by.
  30. My eyes look blue in pictures, but they are really a blue-green hazel color.
  31. I say my eyes are blue on my driver’s license. Or any other form that asks my eye color.
  32. My husband’s eyes are brown, so I thought I would have brown eyed brunettes when I had kids.
  33. I didn’t. I had one blue eyed blonde and one hazel eyed brunette.
  34. I grew up always wanting 2 kids.
  35. Then when I was about 24, I decided I was too selfish for kids.
  36. I watched my friend give birth when I was 26 and decided maybe I did want kids after all.
  37. I had my first baby at the age of 32.
  38. I had my second baby at the age of 34.
  39. After my second baby, I wanted more kids. Maybe 2 more.
  40. I tried for almost 2 years to have my third baby.
  41. I had 4 miscarriages in a row.
  42. After that I decided that I was going to stop trying.
  43. After being checked by a fertility specialist to make sure I didn’t have any underlying health problems (I didn’t) he told me his theory was that my eggs were deteriorating.
  44. I’m 37 and my eggs are bad.
  45. This makes me simultaneously defensive (of my poor eggs) and sad (my poor eggs!).
  46. I met my husband in my Russian class when I was in the Navy. (He was Army.)
  47. No one in our class of 40 knew we were dating for almost 2 months.
  48. I dated my husband for 6 months before he asked me to marry him.
  49. We got married 5 months later.
  50. I have been married for 8 years.
  51. My husband, Mike, is my best friend.
  52. He is also still smoking hot and has the best butt I’ve seen yet.
  53. I used to work as a graphic designer.
  54. I drove the people I worked with crazy by making them play 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon with me while we designed ads.
  55. I get bored pretty easily.
  56. I’m a natural strawberry blonde.
  57. I’m 5’9″ and wish I were about 5’5″.
  58. I hope my daughter doesn’t grow to be as tall as me.
  59. My first job was having a paper route when I was 12.
  60. Then I bussed tables at a Country Buffet Restaurant when I was 16.
  61. Then worked at Wendy’s, Arby’s and a movie theater’s concession stand. In that order.
  62. I went to Hofstra University.
  63. I am still in touch with a lot of the friends I made in college.
  64. I met most of them my freshman year.
  65. I truly love my friends and would do anything for them.
  66. I studied Publishing so I could become a Book Editor and read books all day for a living.
  67. I discovered its a lot harder than that and it’s kind of boring.
  68. Instead, I went into the Publishing Industry working in Print Production.
  69. I interned at US Weekly when they were still just US Magazine.
  70. It wasn’t very cool.
  71. It taught me how to fix copy machines.
  72. One of my favorite books growing up was A Wrinkle In Time.
  73. I read so much now that I don’t know if I could pick a favorite book.
  74. I mostly read Science Fiction and Fantasy Young Adult Fiction. And Romance. Occasionally, I’ll throw a classic or serious literary fiction into the mix.
  75. I’m writing a novel – YA Fiction. I’m planning a trilogy.
  76. I daydream about becoming the next Stephenie Meyer (There are no vampires in my books, btw).
  77. I’ve already Pinned pictures of the house I’m going to build when I’m a zillionaire.
  78. I’m addicted to Pinterest.
  79. I tried to teach myself how to play the acoustic guitar, but it took too long for my fingers to callus and I got bored with it.
  80. I played the flute for 6 years.
  81. I downloaded Peter, Paul and Mary’s Greatest Hits to burn a copy for my mom for Christmas, but I really did it so I could listen to it. (Shhhh… don’t tell anyone!)
  82. My favorite Billy Joel song is in french and I still don’t know what the hell he’s saying.
  83. I used to play the song over and over again on my mom’s record player when I was a tween.
  84. Yes, I remember record players. And Eight Tracks.
  85. I cry very easily.
  86. I hate trying on clothes because I’m not a fan of my body.
  87. I’m overweight.
  88. If I had a wish from a genie, it would be to make me love to exercise and eat vegetables.
  89. I don’t like to exercise or eat vegetables.
  90. I hate sweating or being too hot.
  91. I force myself to eat vegetables.
  92. I’m gifted with the ability of spatial recognition. So if I’m at a store and I’m looking for a piece of furniture, I can eyeball it and know whether it will fit in the space I want to put it in.
  93. I like puzzles.
  94. I suffer from depression and anxiety.
  95. Sometimes my anxiety makes me uncomfortable leaving my house.
  96. I love Xanax.
  97. I need alone time to recharge.
  98. My favorite season is autumn.
  99. I always sleep best when its raining.
  100. I hate big government.
  101. I can easily pass up desserts like donuts, cake, brownies or ice cream, but chocolate candy? Never!
  102. I bite and pick at my nails. (It drives my husband crazy.)
  103. I’ve written 103 things about myself, but still feel like you couldn’t possibly know me just from reading this.