Monday, July 28, 2014

Nothing But Rainbows and Unicorns

A few days ago my friend Tammy issued me a Facebook challenge. She challenged me to post three positive things for five days. Me being me, I wanted to respond to this challenge with something sarcastic, but I realized that didn’t sound very positive. I bit my tongue and refrained from the remark that I really wanted to type.

For whatever reason, I’m more of a glass is half-empty kind of girl. I tend to be more of a pessimist than an optimist. And that’s not to say that I’m a downer in every situation. I can be fun (I think) and enjoy laughing and having a good time. I just tend to worry and think the worst in most situations. My mind tends to race to the worst-case scenario in most circumstances. I have no explanation for why I do this. I truly have a good life and nothing traumatic has happened to me. I also think I may subconsciously think negatively about things because if I’m already in a negative mindset and something doesn’t go my way, I’m not being let down. There’s no bubble to burst as I already had it in my mind that it’s going to go wrong. If something does work out in my favor, then I can be happily surprised! This seems logical, right??

So, Tammy, I accept your challenge, but I’m doing it in a blog rather than posting for five days. Forgive me for taking liberty with this, but I’d say it’s better than not doing it at all.

As for positives, I could start with the obvious. I have a great family, husband, and children.  I don’t think I need to number them as my first three positives, however, because that should be a given.

7/24/14 Day #1
1. I really like where we live. We are within walking distance to a running/biking trail, the kid’s school, the library, shops, two grocery stores, a park, coffee, pizza, and ice cream, to name a few. We are minutes from beaches, lighthouses, the Old Port (which we have walked to before), the mall, many restaurants, and so much more. South Portland is a city, but it still has that small community feel with lots of conveniences.

2. Last night I had a dream about our neighbor, David, who passed away last year. In the dream, he called me on the phone and we talked. I could hear his voice again and he sounded happy. In the morning I shared the details of my dream with David’s brother. He told his wife, who was David’s sister-in-law, and coincidentally, she also had a dream about David last night. She, too, said that David was happy in her dream. I’d like to think that these were more than dreams, that it was David’s way of letting us know that he’s okay.

3. Jason works the next three nights, so I will have some snore-free, restful nights. (I’m kidding, Jason...sort of. I truly miss you when you’re working, but it is quiet.) And, go back to my earlier statement. You are already on my positive list, so you can’t take this personally! :-)

7/25/14 Day #2
1. The kids I and have been playing tourist in our own area. Yesterday we went to East End Beach to look for sea glass and then played on the playground. Tonight we went to Bug Light and Spring Point Light to run around and see the lighthouses.

2. Griffin goes to daycare on Wednesdays and Fridays, so today Abby and I had some time together. We went to the mall where she just had to go to Justice and then to Red Mango for some yummy frozen yogurt.

3. Today I bought new can opener. It works like a charm. Super exciting.

7/26/14 Day #3
1. Griffin slept until 7:47 a.m. This is a few minutes off his record of 7:59 which he did while we were at Disney. I was almost ready to go into his bedroom to make sure he was still breathing.

2. After our morning at the beach, the kids wanted to go to the Old Port. We spent $22 at the Old Port Candy Company. Don’t judge. We Huchels like our sweets.

3. While in the Old Port, as we were walking past Mariner’s Church, a wedding party arrived in their limo. It reminded me of our reception there almost 15 years ago.

7/27/14 Day #4
1. Today is my parent’s 46th wedding anniversary. Jason and I are both lucky to have parents who have been married for 40+ years.

2. When Jason got home from work this morning, we all walked to Uncle Andy’s for breakfast together.

3. Sometimes I enjoy a rainy day in the summer. It makes me feel like I have permission to be lazy. And I have.

7/28/14 Day #5
1. This morning I ran with my friend Patty, her kidney recipient, and his sisters around Back Cove as we prepare for the Beach to Beacon which is on Saturday.

2. It is another quiet, rainy day and I’m enjoying a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts.

3. Jason just took the kids to the movies so I have a little time alone. I may fold laundry, do the checkbook, or just simply read on the couch.

So, there you go. Five days of positives. A blog entry that’s all rainbows and unicorns with a sprinkling of glitter.

Challenge accomplished. Whatcha got next? Bring it on.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Nose Knows

The sense of smell is an interesting thing. Some smells are very pleasing and others are rather offensive to the nose. And what one person may find to be a pleasant smell can repulse another. Also, certain smells trigger memories and can transport you back to a certain time and place in your life. There are scientific reasons why this is the case, but I’m not here to be too informative. This is a blog about nothing, after all.

There are certain smells that I consider to be some of my favorites. I tried to narrow it down to my top ten nose pleasing scents.

1. Freshly baked bread
2. Freshly cut grass
3. Coffee brewing
4. Cookies/brownies baking
5. Health food stores
6. Ocean air
7. Lemon lavender Yankee Candle
8. Freshly laundered clothes
9. Lilac bushes
10. Bacon

In addition to these scents, I also have some favorite smells that may be considered odd. They don’t fall under the typical category of delightful aromas, so others may think I’m strange (and if you already do this just solidifies your thinking). Here are my top ten unusual favorite smells.

1. Gas (the kind from the pump, not your butt)
2. Play-Doh
3. My dog’s feet
4. Candles just after being blown out
5. White-board markers
6. The interior of a new car
7. Beer breath on my husband
8. Opening a can of tennis balls for the first time
9. The fumes from a boat motor
10. Hardware stores

What are your favorite smells? Are any on my lists? It’s okay to admit your weird favorite smells, too. I won’t judge.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mom's Day Off

What’s that sound? Nothing. That’s right. I am enjoying (I think) a rare time alone at home.

Jason, being the ever thoughtful husband, decided he’d take the kids on an outing today so I could have some peace and quiet. I’ve been essentially spending every waking minute with the kids and doing the house/yard work because 1) we’re home for summer vacation and 2) Jason’s schedule causes him to be gone at night and sleep during the day much of the time. Now I love summer and am thrilled to be home and I’m glad Jason has a job he loves (except the overnight shift), but it can be a bit wearing at times. The most trying aspect is my dear son, Griffin. He can be sweet, lovable, funny, smart, and he has a smile that makes my heart melt. He’s also been a challenge since he was an infant. One might call him a “spirited child”. Right now everything makes him breakdown, whine, yell, have a fit, argue, repeat himself over and over, and push all the limits. And there is no reasoning with him. He doesn’t even hear because his mind is focused on what he wants/doesn’t want, so our words go unheard. Yes, it’s a bit trying to say the least.

When Jason first posed this day to myself, I kind of felt funny about it. Is it okay as a mother to take the day off? I felt guilty telling the kids that I was going to have a day to myself. Then I thought that I’d miss out on something fun. Then it shifted to worrying about them being safe on the drive and then on the rocks and at the waterfalls. Now Jason is a very responsible parent, but if you read my last post, I alluded to the fact that living in my head is like being in crazytown. It’s always filled with worries and what-ifs. (And for the record, I texted Jason so he could let me know when they arrived. I haven’t heard from him yet, so I’m trying to tell myself that all is well and they’re just having too much fun to send a text.) In the end, however, I decided to take Jason up on this offer and let them go on their own.

So, what am I doing with my day off? Well, I’m not sure. Obviously writing right now. They didn’t leave until about 10:30, so most of the morning had gone by and I had already taken my run and walked the dog. In the almost three hours they’ve been gone, I’ve taken a shower, had lunch, walked to Dunkin Donuts to get coffee, and browsed online for new running sneakers. I’ve also spent a lot of time thinking about what I should be doing with this time. Cleaning? Writing? Reading? Pedicure? Nap? Beach? I think having a day to myself is a lot of pressure. I want to make the most of it, but don’t know exactly what to do. Crazy, huh?? Yep...I warned you.

Well, I’m going to try and enjoy my stress-free day and actually do something rather than just think about what I can do. I don’t want to waste another minute because these days are few and far between!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Disney Adventure

In August, Jason and I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. Rather than have a romantic getaway for just the two of us (I mean, who would want that?), we opted to do a family vacation instead. We just returned from a weeklong adventure in Walt Disney World! Other than a trip to NYC and Ocean City, Maryland about four summers ago (which was a driving trip) and our yearly visits to Jason’s family in Pittsburgh, we haven’t taken a real vacation since our honeymoon.

Planning for this trip began months ago. I essentially did no planning. Jason met with the travel agent, made reservations, scheduled the flight, ordered what we needed, and basically took care of all of the arrangements. I’m not good at making decisions and quite frankly, didn’t have the energy/desire to do it. I trusted that he’d make good choices and I was right...everything went as planned and the trip was a success. High five, Jason.

The week before the trip I began feeling the stress. I don’t like packing because I’m always afraid I’ll forget something. Jason, on the other hand, feels no stress about it (or most anything) and can’t understand why I do. He said as long as we had our Disney Magic Bands, some underwear, and our bathing suits, we’d be all set. Not so much in my mind. I dwell on what I might be forgetting. I’m sure I’m forgetting the most important item.

And on top of that, I started getting anxious about the plane. I’m not much of a flyer as I fear the plane is my coffin. Abby hasn’t been on a plane since she was about one or two, so she doesn’t remember flying and Griffin has never flown; therefore, I didn’t want to be a mental case in front of them. I’ve been known to develop stress induced Tourette’s on planes. I can’t control the inappropriate words coming out of my mouth and tears fall out of my eyes. If you think this sounds nuts, try living in my head. It’s pretty much crazytown all the time. Anyway, this flight was a success...likely in part to a little calming agent (don’t worry...totally legal...prescribed by my doctor). I handled the flight, both ways, like a champ.

The requisite photo of meeting Mickey and Minnie

While in Disney, we stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort. We visited Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and downtown Disney. We rode lots of rides, saw a number of shows, and walked miles each day. We ate at some fun places like the Disney Royal Castle, T-Rex Cafe, Sci-Fi Diner, and Rainforest Cafe. Our accommodations were great, the Disney bus system worked like a charm, and using the Magic Bands made things super simple. All in all...a very successful family adventure!

While there, I did make a few observations:

1) Disney people are not stupid. At the end of most rides, the exit went through a gift shop. Of course every kid is going to want to purchase something. Griffin wanted EVERYTHING! At one point towards the end of the trip, to try and tame his desires for all souvenirs/toys, we told him we were almost out of money for the week. His response, “Can’t you just go buy more money?”

2) Despite the fact that temperatures were in the 90s with a heat index of around 110 all week, I was surprised at the number of people wearing jeans (or other strangely warm garments) at the parks. My shorts and tank tops were uncomfortably stuck to me with sweat. The thought of walking around in sweaty jeans, glued to my skin by a layer of moisture was unbearable.

3) On a similar note, as hot as it was, I easily became too cold when in an air conditioned place. It would feel great to walk into the AC at first, but for extended periods of time, it was rough. When we went to restaurants, I was shivering before the meal came. On the buses, it felt like I was sitting on a slab of ice. I needed that happy medium.

4) Disney doesn’t always bring out the best in parents. I saw many parents lose their crap with their kids. I am happy to report that I was not one of those parents. While there were a few frustrating moments, I never lost my cool.

5) I was also witness to many children having tantrums. It’s good to see other kids making mine look angelic. At times one of mine (you decide which one) could be quite whiny and demanding, but he or she never made a giant scene.

6) I can’t imagine bringing more than two kids to Disney. It worked just right having four of us for rides and at dinner tables. Seeing families with three and four kids looked exhausting. Without even taking the cost into account, it just looked like a lot of work. I salute those of you who have attempted this.

7) Speaking of kids, there are a lot of babies at Disney. Watching people maneuver strollers, baby gear, bottles, breast feeding, crying, pacifiers, baby food, changing diapers, and wearing Bjorns in the heat...phew. I think I would’ve waited until the child was a wee bit older. It looked like a lot of work to attempt such a trip!

8) I was amazed at how many brides and grooms were there getting married or having their honeymoon. There were newlyweds everywhere!

9) Photographers were all over the parks. We’d have our picture taken, they’d scan their machine on our Magic Band, and voila!...our photos would be in our Disney online account. It was a great service. Well, until we saw how much it was to download the pictures. $14.95 per photo!! What? To download a picture? That ain’t happening.

10) Disney is huge and runs like a well-oiled machine. From the bus system to the Magic Bands, things go smoothly. I’m curious to know how many employees work in Disney. From the bus drivers to park employees to resort employees to restaurant employees, there are a huge number of people working there. Even the number of busses is unbelievable.

This was one of the photos taken by Disney photographers.  This, however, is a photo taken as a screenshot of the photo on my computer. I was not going to pay $14.95 to download it. No way.

Well, I’m not sure when we’ll take our next vacation. If we wait another 15 years Griffin will be 20 and Abby nearly 25. Hopefully it will be sooner than that. For now, however, we’ll savor the memories because Abby and Griffin’s dream of going to Walt Disney World really did come true.