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Vintage Dreams With A Modern Twist

The Place Where Good Intentions And Crafts Go To Die

As I look around I see the start, and ultimate demise, of so many brilliant but failed ideas (and I’m not just talking about the failed diet regimens that stare at me when I look in the mirror.) I have approximately three craft buckets filled with different crafting accessories including, but not limited to, various colors of paint, papers galore including a folder with specialty paper that has to be purchased individually, googly eyes in assorted sizes that stare at me unused from the shelf and silently shake with judgement as I walk past, ribbons I’m various themes, and so much more. I craft frequently with my two-year- old but we typically stick to paints.

With Father’s Day right around the corner I have been thinking about what craft we can make and gift this year for my incredible husband. Last year he got a large canvas that says my hero wears a badge, I call him daddy. Sitting proudly on the canvas is my son’s smudged hand prints along with a paw print from our 80-pound collie that begrudgingly let me paint his paw while I gave his over-sized fur nose kisses and told him he is perfect. How am I supposed to top that this year?

I racked my brain (aka scoured the Internet) for ideas tonight as my son drifted off to sleep, non the wiser to the crafting plans I have for tomorrow. Then I saw the chalkboard sign in our room that is adorned with hearts and pursed lips and was reminded that my life is the place where craft ideas, seasonal decorations and good intentions go to die.

You’re probably wondering what triggered this thought. I mean, it’s a simple chalkboard right? It might be valentine’s themed but kisses and hearts will be in season year round in my marriage. However, written in the bottom corner, is the number 23 with a heart around it. That was our count down to valentine’s day. 23 days. The was 2015 valentine’s day, not even the one from a few months ago. In full defense of myself and my lax count down upkeep I will say that my husband also wrote a beautiful and heartfelt saying on the chalkboard that I like to look at and smile when I’m having a down day but I never stopped to take note of the failed countdown. My life is basically a real life Pinterest board where you pin hundreds of ideas you swear you will do and somehow they never get done. You spend $25  dollars getting supplies for something you can buy prefabricated for $5 but damn if you aren’t going to look crafty once it is finished!

We are a day and a half from Father’s Day and I’m still looking for something we can make using supplies from the craft buckets. Maybe we will do a hand print shaped like a frog or turtle. Maybe we use the ribbon to make a super-sweet custom streamer for the back of his car. All I know is that with a time crunch and limited budget, we’re going to take everything we have in our arsenal and deploy it into something that can be displayed as a constant reminder that I tried my best and at the end of the day everyone knows it’s from the chicken nugget and I can’t take full blame for something that is controlled by a tot-sized dictator that has mommy and cookies on his mind all day every day.

What are YOUR plans for Father’s day?

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I Have Never Met My Best Friend

She is there for me day in and day out. She knows my secrets, my hopes and fears. She is around to celebrate my achievements and is there to remind me that I will be all right after a crushing defeat. On days where I feel like giving up, she reminds me of everything I have gone through and sends pictures and silly texts to get me through.

She has her own family and life and is busy but is there for me without fail. She is my best friend and she lives on the other side of the country. All of these statements ring true to a few women in my life who are always there for me. They are all further than a twenty-hour drive from me and our friendships exists solely through phone conversations and presents we mail each other.

Dating sites have been popular for as long as I can remember. There are commercials galore, advertisements all over the Internet and that is the first thing that friends suggest lately after a long string of failed attempts at dating. “Sure, Brian was an asshole but have you tried a dating site? Maybe you will find true love there?”

There are horror stories, of course, about online dating but also successes and fairytale stories of how they met, married and are living happily ever after.

I met my best friends, B, E, and M on a Web site that is for expecting mothers and mothers. The site/ app has a message board forum where you can join different groups that you identify with such as your expected due date (moms expecting July 2016 join here!) or groups for women who are trying to conceive.

Random boards are interlaced throughout all of those different subjects. I ended up falling into a “clique” for lack of a better word. We were all close. Everyone on the site knew that we were all close, and anyone that joined figured it out quickly. After months of talking with a few women and knowing them pretty well, I private messaged them and asked if they would like to trade phone numbers.

I deleted my account off of the site after it became more like Mean Girls than it did anything else. What I did bring away from it is having a baby, delivering, and the after math of delivering isn’t easy. Start to finish having a baby is tough and you need someone, in some capacity, to be there for you.

At that point in my life when I was pregnant, I really needed a friend but didn’t have any around me who could relate to being pregnant so I joined the board and found out that I had struck gold. I was not alone. There were others out there like me who was looking for a friend who could relate to their struggles.

This also works out so well for me because of my anxiety. I love having friends but get anxious with all of the planning and keeping up.  Or if I will say something wrong and then they’ll think I just make things awkward and, anyways, let’s stop inviting her.

My friendships take place in different states throughout the country, but I can honestly say they are some of the best friends that I have ever had. So let’s give it up to an unsung hero: the best friend you met online.

If you ever feel lonely, or swamped with a million things to do and you think ‘man I wish I had someone who got this.’ Go out there and find her. Join mom sites that have boards. Join conversations and get in on jokes. Chances are you will be fine and you will find a woman that someday you will realize that you can’t do without her, even if venting over a glass of wine is just complaining and sending a wine emoji, you won’t be alone.

“We Don’t Pee On The Dog….”

I am in desperate need of help. I need thoughts, good vibes, wine, beer and, if some wizard somewhere can pull it off, a truckload of extra patience because I am running low on it.

The time has come: a terrifying and awful time in parenting. Moments where once you proceed there’s no looking back. There are tears, late nights and early mornings. There will be moments of giving up and days where failure becomes the default setting of the day.

My just turned two-year-old son and I have set out on a journey; a journey parents everywhere face at one point or another. A journeyof triumphant magic, but also soul-crushing failure. Where days aren’t spent coloring and playing outside, but rather huddled into one room for what seems like it lasts longer than a lifetime prison sentence.

That’s right: we started potty training.

I went into this like I went into becoming a mother: oodles of optimism, countless hours of research and a preconceived notion of how perfectly it will play out. Its hysterical how I thought those weapons in my arsenal would carry me onwards and upwards through the years of infancy, toddlerdom and so on.

But, forward I marched thinking that because I stay at home all day with him we would tackle potty training head on and have it conquered in less than a week. Sticker charts and rewards systems. A themed potty seat with his four favorite reptiles on it. A themed potty book that has a button that sounds like a toilet flushing. I went into this with more planning and research than some generals put into planning and executing a war.

My plans, much like most plans when it comes to having the outcome be dependent on someone else, have crashed and burned. On the long, slow descent of the plans crashing and burning they passed my optimism, sticker charts, and pointless research.

There are so many ways to potty train that I have seen. You can use a seat that fits on top of your toilet seat. There are free standing potty chairs and seats so you can put them in any room of the house. There are little stools you can have to help them. There are books. There’s even desks where you can hook up tablets so they can watch movies or play games while they try to go poop.

As for how to tackle getting a child used to the concept of when they have to use the potty there is: having them sit after they eat drink, or I have heard to have them sit every (x) amount of minutes or degree of time. Some parents swear by the method of putting them in adorable, scaled-down versions of underwear and letting them wet themselves and once the kid starts freaking out over that, they start using the potty to avoid wet underwear- my college days will tell you that peeing in your underpants sucks. I wouldn’t know first hand, or anything, but a friend of a friend of a friend told me that.

My child was born six weeks early due to preeclampsia, but he is doing remarkably well and is excelling at everything we can set in front of him. We expected potty training to be no exception.

Day one started out with sunshine and flowers and puppies and rainbows and high hopes. We tried the every hour sitting him down. No luck. He would sit for ten, fifteen minutes then tell me, “all done. Wipe.” With nothing in the water to show for the time spent sitting.

He loves to wipe but we aren’t millionaires and toilet paper is expensive so instead of discouraging him from wiping I would sit on the floor and sing songs with him while I took apart two-ply toilet paper. Now, I can all most guarantee ONE of you reading this is thinking, “ha! She’s letting the child rule her instead of ruling the child.”

You’re absolutely right. With potty training I figured if it gets him to sit comfortably and find the experience enjoyable, he can have a factory full of two-ply toilet paper for those little buns.

End of day one I went to bed thinking it was a great start.

Day two, sitting on the potty and nothing. All. Day. Long. The bright spot of the night was after he sat for fifteen minutes, he ran from the bathroom to get his diaper on and stopped right outside of the bathroom to pee on his police ride along car. Accidents happen, and I expected them, so I cleaned it up and we put a diaper on. Go to bed, thinking maybe tomorrow a difference approach.

Day three, I put him in his boxer briefs that look just like his daddy’s. His daddy is his hero- and mine- so I thought he will see himself as a big boy just like daddy. Nope. Every hour on the potty and he peed in my room IN THE SAME EXACT SPOT three times. Scrub, scrub, scrub the floor. My back is breaking from sitting on tile in the bathroom, from cleaning and cooking and now I’m cleaning pee off the rug and doing laundry.

Potty training is awful.  I review all the Web sites I originally looked at to verify I didn’t miss any steps. Fuck the rule books. I’m going rogue tomorrow.

Day four, no more underwear. Back to diapers and sitting on the potty with no results. At this point I have reduced myself to worst mother ever in my mind. I planned and am trying so hard and I haven’t had any results, not even a surprise pee he didn’t know was about to happen.

The moment he wets or poops his diaper he comes and tells me so he understands the concept but it isn’t translating yet to the potty. In the meantime my test subject, aka my child, has decided to forsake clothes and diapers. I try to stay one step ahead with a freshly laundered pile of rompers. He figured out how to reach his arm up through the leg hole, and tug until he rips the diaper off. He pulls it out with reckless abandon and tosses it, much like I do with my bra after a long day.

I switch to onesies. Apparently he must be reading baby hacks because he knew to pull the onesie down and off his shoulders and body.

As a last resort I put him in footy sleepers. He figured out how to unzip them.

The current state of my house: anarchy. You don’t want to wear a onesie? Fine. You don’t want to wear a sleeper? That’s fine. Please please please keep on your diaper. No? Ok, fine. He is in complete control. He smelled my optimism on day one and has knocked me down a few pegs.

Now I just chase him around with clothes. When people call they probably think I have lost my mind because all they can hear is, “I just put pants on you! Where is your diaper? We don’t pee on the dog, that’s not nice!”

It lasted a week and a half with no results. We are taking a few days off from potty training. Maybe he isn’t ready, maybe I’m not ready. My bank account is ready for a break from diapers, but Target is about to take a big hit in sales once I stop buying them, and I’m really not ready to stop supporting my favorite place like that.

He recently turned two so there is time. Until then, I’ll chase and clothe him, and keep reading success stories of how others that have walked this path have succeeded once their children were ready.

But, seriously, send wine, I need it.

The New Bucket List

I just turned 29-years-old and I find myself stuck. I am a paradox. I am too young to be old, but too old to be young. I am mature, but I am so absolutely immature. Some people celebrate birthdays with drinks and cakes, I have taken to using the day for reflecting on myself as a woman, a wife and a mother.

At some point in my youthful college days I sat down with a notebook and pen and thought up as many plans for myself that I could think of at that moment. I made a bucket list. I kept it hanging on my wall proudly and would mark them off when I accomplished them. If it was something large ticked off the list then I allowed myself to celebrate.

As I carefully glided through the years of early 20s, I continued to add items while I marked them off as well. I had the big ones on there that so many people dream of: get a new car, fall in love and be married, become a mother. Then I had ones on there like ‘learn how to pronounce Kids Cusine.’ For some reason I say Quids Casene. I still cannot knock that fucker off the list. It is impossible for me. Maybe someday.

Today I sit here, and think about what happened during my 28th year of life and what I can take away as a win, a loss, and a lesson. I knocked one big one off of my list by having a piece I wrote become published. As amazing and as exciting as that is, it was no longer a part of the bucket list. The new bucket list I made when I became a mother.

Things included in my Motherhood Bucket List were: go on a picnic, go to the aquarium, watch a meteor shower, change a life, pass on as much compassion and love as I can. My bucket list is a melting pot of tangible ideas and memories and then things that you could never really gauge if it is completed or not. It is the hopes and dreams I have for myself and I have for my child.

I want to teach him the alphabet, shapes, colors, numbers and things like that that all parents want their children to know. But I also want my son to be compassionate and inviting. I want him to know that while there is stranger danger, that there is beauty with talking to people you meet in line at the store.

Just last week we met an older couple who were probably in their eighties. They were total sweethearts. It all started because the man resembled my Poppy. My son, thinking it was his grandfather, reached over and grabbed his hand to hold it before I could say anything. You should have seen the look in the man’s eyes with how happy he was. My son refused to let go and the man laughed and held my sons tiny hand. I found out that they recently, just this past month, became grandparents for the first time but their grandson lived on the other side of the country so they didn’t get to meet him yet. It was two grandparents aching to meet the baby they loved and spoiled and couldn’t hold yet, and then my little guys thinking the man was his Poppy that led to an older couple becoming so happy. They said the interaction made their day.

Those are the small things I want to teach him. That while some people are horrible, there are people out there in the world filled with kindness. There are people out there who might need an interaction like that. A polite compliment at the store to anyone could change their entire day.

That interaction will have been knocked off my list. We impacted someone’s life positively even if for only a moment, and it was a wonderful feeling that I hope I can do more often.

You see, with bucket lists it’s mainly about your wants and dreams and desires. With a Motherhood Bucket List you factor in a variable of others into it. So as I throw 28 one final kiss, I reflect on my life, my family and my newly rewired list. I will add to it, and mark things off. I will find things that happened that I never would have thought to put on there and I will add them in hopes of recapturing the event again.

I encourage anyone reading this to make a bucket list. It can be a list for just you, or it could be a list for motherhood. Maybe your parents always promised to take you to see a little museum that’s off the beaten path and you never made it there. Take your children. Bring your unfulfilled hopes from childhood and share them. Seven-year-old me wanted nothing more than to go to a park that had animatronics dinosaurs. We didn’t make it there and now I’m 29.

I am taking my son this summer and I can’t tell you if he will have more fun or if I will. The one thing I do know is that the memories from the trip will last a long time, and if at the end of the day every item doesn’t get checked off my bucket list, I’ll look back to the ones that did and remember how much fun we had together, or how much we changed someone’s life even if it was just for a day.

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