Bananas and Spray & Wash

Life is a series of fleeting moments. Whether it’s a sunrise, an unexpected interaction with your teenager, a quiet moment with your significant other or your last conversation on this earth with someone you love most.  The trick: sometimes you just don’t know when you’re going to miss something until it’s not there anymore.  Like, the last time I was able to physically carry Techno to bed. He now stands taller than I in a size 12 men’s shoe in 8th grade. I don’t remember the last time I was able to pick him up off the couch after he’d dozed and carry him to bed. But it’s been years. And I miss it.

I am now knee-deep in these fleeting moments, my dear Reader. Instead of being able to chronicle them in this blog as I have so enjoyed these last three + years, I have been too full of living them. And enjoying almost every moment.

If you want something done, ask a busy person. ~Benjamin Franklin

I am not sure I fully understood this quote until recently.  Ten weeks out from a triathlon on my bucket list for  5 years has kept me incredibly busy. Just the thought of it makes my heart beat a little faster. Time management has been of the essence these last four months. Honestly, it has become a part-time job.  And it seems the more I have to accomplish in a day, the more I just want to rise to the occasion and get it all done -or curl up in a ball and nap for an entire weekend.  Just depends which day you ask me.  With it all comes doubts, anxiety and worries – they all creep in from time to time.

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Recently, I found myself doing laundry after some training while simultaneously consuming  a banana. In the moment it struck me, “You chose this?!”  I can’t even sit to get a decent breakfast to nourish my body anymore. I must do it on the fly and while doing chores no less.  The next item up was preparing  my three-and-a-half-year-old for pre-school, seriously, a Herculean task some days.

And while this random date (of the triathlon) in my universe almost glows with significance on my calendar, it is nothing compared to the reality that there are Moms everywhere who work full-time out of dire necessity and do so many of these things that keep me running and spinning and exhausted.

I have friends and family who are single Moms, who are cancer survivors,  whose children are sick or have died, whose spouses have battled illness or whose parents have struggled with disease all while working, raising a family and fighting to make ends meet.

My selfish and deeply individual goal pales in comparison. Yet, every time I am out on the road or swimming in the pool I challenge myself to push through the doubts and fear and to believe with every cell in my body that “I have got this.” It has been humbling to make the parallels of what I am facing now with how it stacks up to the stuff life throws at you. It parallels motherhood on so many levels. The ups, the downs. The endurance through challenges and the will to see it through.  The difference being, if I am blessed enough to reach my goal and put it in my rear view mirror come July, I am done. The endurance race of Motherhood never truly ends.  Truth be told, eating breakfast over the washing machine probably won’t stop anytime soon either.

My hope is that my children can see their Mom giving her all to a goal and accomplishing it.  But even more important to me is that they see their Mom as always committed to each of them and always there for them.  Hopefully this is not something that is fleeting. Hopefully it is something that stays with them their whole lives.

And by this time next year, I hope I will look back on this goal, this time in my life and say,

Remember the time I did that? I miss that.

 

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

Ride On

The Fall was busy. I can’t believe it’s been over two months since I’ve been able to get some thoughts down for my blog. After awhile I started to think, will anybody come back to read it anymore? Then a voice said, does it really matter?  This blog is as much a love letter to my kids and something to leave them with as it is a way to ensure my sanity.

And I’m due for some sanity-seeking.

The Fall brought some unique situations. Like finding myself army crawling on my back for a pre-school rescue of Little Bee from a public restroom stall. How lucky for me that my sweet mother was able to capture it real-time for posterity.

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Or finally pulling the trigger on a bucket list item of mine – the Half-Ironman – only to find myself in Physical Therapy for what appears to be a torn rotator cuff and a bum tendon in my leg. Swimming, biking, running? I am able to accomplish one of those three activities right now and training starts next week. Should be a nail biter!

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Observing my middle daughter, Twinkle in a tough, minor medical situation ( See No Bubble Wrap Here ) since August has been a life lesson for both of us. She has had to visit the Doctor numerous times since August for a pesky skin condition. Treatments are way uncomfortable and cause her much anxiety and dread. I have watched her face it with new courage and strength. We’ve had scores of pep talks and pump-up sessions and many visits to the coffee shop or favorite fast-food restaurant du jour for post-treatment rewards.

When the tables turned last week and I needed to have something removed from my face and subsequent stitches, she was right there to be my cheerleader with the empathy and compassion of a much older girl. One proud Mama here.

Christmas brought Techno his first cell phone. We have leaped off the ledge into the cyber abyss.  Ice and I are not quite ready for the whole digital world to be at his fingertips. But it’s the first time he has had a bona fide and recurring financial goal to work towards. He’s got the phone plan from us, but he’s now the proud owner of his first “Bill”. Welcome to a taste of adulthood, my son!

The tides have turned a little with Techno and Twinkle. Twinkle is knee-deep in middle school and high school is nearly on the horizon for Techno. The importance of friends in their lives has become paramount. And the memories of that shift in my own life have come flooding back.

I see changes in their language, clothing and interests. Every week they plot which days are best to include activities with friends and plot their course towards maximum fun. What Ice and I have realized is how quickly the hourglass is emptying. The time for all 5 of us under this one roof is fleeting. The maximum fun in each week must include family time and we’re doing our best to make that happen whether they like it or not! It has sure helped that we have all been home together for a holiday break since Christmas Eve.

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2016 is sure to bring many surprises and ups and downs. Time waits for no one. How blessed are we that we have this moment?

Celebrate well.

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

How Pumpkin Spice Latte Made Me a Better Mom

This time of year, it is insane with the elevation of Pumpkin Spice this and Pumpkin spice that.  I do not know who the genius is that developed this crazy marketing ploy, but they were definitely onto something. Because apparently even Jimmy Fallon knows it’s not Fall until Pumpkin Spice lattes are being crafted in the coffee shops.  I had a good laugh recently when I heard of a hardware store posting on their marquis that they had “Pumpkin Spice” tools!  Hurry! Rush into the hardware store before they sell out!

It got me thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if there was some an extra ingredient that could be added to Motherhood at this crazy time of year when schedules shift, kids start back with the petri dish of germs, the events, practices, homework, team pictures, dances, parent volunteer hours and the holidays all converging at the same time? Some magical additive to make it all more manageable?

Recently Ice and I attended pre-school orientation for Little Bee. We squirmed in our seats through all the Do’s, Don’ts and Be Sures. We had been handed her very first homework assignment of her academic career that is just a seedling right now.  We were off to Do Good and get her started on the path to sharing with classmates and the proper use of a glue stick.

Standing in line at pre-school for Little Bee on her second day I heard the Mom behind me tell her son they forgot to dress him like the color of the day and bring a coordinating item for show and tell. Now by this time we had forgotten to even DO the homework Bee was assigned to bring on the first day and now on the Second day we had failed yet again!

I laughed, turned around and blurted out

“We forgot to wear red today too!  We’re just gonna roll with it!”

She replied

“This is my third child, I’m not really worried about it!”

“Mine too!” I said.  “I think I know a few people who might let this bother them all day. Congratulations, YOU are one highly evolved Mom!”

Let it Go. That’s my extra ingredient. That is my Pumpkin Spice.

In that moment, it became so clear to me just how much I have let go of since my first two were younger. How much needless stress, worry and fear of judgment I have left in the dust.  How it’s okay to be the one who screws up. It makes all the other Moms feel less alone and sub-par. It might make someone who usually finds themselves always feeling three steps behind stand up and cheer

“It’s not my turn this time!”

And I say, good for her. I am happy to help.

Now don’t get me wrong, stress and the desire to have well-mannered, well-prepared kids and the like are still lurking out there somewhere sometimes. Like when I want to have lunch out with friends and I simply cannot subject them to one more biscuit thrown at the wait staff, one more crayon broken and eaten for good measure. But mostly for my reaction to it all!  It gets tiring.

Which brings me to my second ingredient. Sleep.

My advice – get it whenever you can.

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Sani-Tally

Ahh to be two and oblivious. Unaware of the germs, bugs, dirt and bacteria and the near misses with cooties that dot every day when out in public places. I am not a self-professed germo-phobe. But I also do not like to go a day without washing my hands like five or six times. And to take a trip last weekend on the Amtrak train to one of my favorite cities on planet Earth was a hilarious look at how much little people really do need their Mamas to look after their hygiene.

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As I sat on the train with my sister, (she had just boarded and met up with us) we were gabbing and carrying on like we do.

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I look over and see Little Bee who had escaped her Daddy’s lap pick up something off the ground and put it in her mouth.

A. USED. blue. cough. drop.

From the FLOOR of the train…

More gabbing. More carrying on.  My husband blurts out from the seat behind us

“Your daughter is licking the train!”

(Of course she is my daughter in this scenario.) I turn around and see her little nose pressed up against the window and she IS licking the window. Good Lord.

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When we disembark, nature called for most of us. Why oh why did I forget that train station bathrooms are the mecca of cooties? We hit a stall, Bee and I, and like usual her little hands could not stop touching walls and surface area and…BIG ICK!

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We visit the Shedd Aquarium to start our day. At mid-morning-snack-and coffee pick-me-up-time my sister purchases a lovely fruit cup for all of my kids to share.  There was some squabbling over honeydew melon (or lack of interest in it by Twinkle Toes) and an exceptional interest in the red grapes. And there sits Bee eating grapes off the bare counter at the snack bar and making an attempt to rescue a wayward grape from (where else!??) the floor!

It was at this point that my sis and I decided to recount how many Gold Medals of Gross my daughter had earned that morning. And thus “the tally”.

It’s a germ jungle out there people. Wash your hands and cover your mouth. And if you eat a cough drop on the train. For God’s sake, finish it.

Thank you.

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

How a $2 bill made my day

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So much to do. Bags to pack. A weekend trip. So many things to coordinate for those at home not traveling with me.

A crisp, gorgeous Fall day just begging to be enjoyed. But could I?

I tend to get carried away in the details and can’t set things aside sometimes no matter how important. It’s a trait I mildly detest in myself. And unfortunately I think it may be genetic and passed along to at least one of my children.

So here lies my dilemma. Go and play or stay and organize things to the hilt for my trip?

play…Play…PLAY! (voice in my head whispers)

For today, victory to the voice.

Bee and I “Go to Zoo” as she likes to say.

Upon arrival, I ask,

“Which animals do you want to see first?”

“The giraffes!” she says.

So we head in that direction. Past the carousel.

We head up to the counter.

As anyone who has had a feisty two-year old knows, getting to and from places takes an Act of Congress most days. And if something is left behind or forgotten it’s so much work to undo, re-do and get situated again.

What one little thing did I lack? Money to ride the carousel Little Bee is now yanking me towards and wanting to get on. *Huge Sigh* I had mistakenly left my cash at home.

Do I really want to try and drag her away from her spotted target or try to distract and re-direct?

More than a decade or more ago my Mom gave me a $2 bill with the intent that I carry it in my wallet at all times.

“You never know when you might need it.” she shared

I have had it in my wallet for so long, sometimes I don’t even see it. Or even consider it real money.  I have wondered will I EVER use it? It sort of became something sentimental and more symbolic than useful.

Not this day. This day is the perfect day to use that $2 bill.

I happily pull it out. The ticket taker makes some small noise. Like when was the last time someone paid with a $2 bill?

And I probably won’t ever again.

Nothing could ever top that $2 purchase or those three minutes spent on the carousel with my girl.

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Does this Coupon App-ly?

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As I stood in my local grocery store this week it hit me how utterly ridiculous it is that I need to consult a COMPUTER (a.k.a. my smart phone) to access the best prices.  When did shopping become an exercise in how tech savvy you can be and how many apps you can use to clog your phone?

It is complicated enough for me to push a cart, keep Little Bee pumped with Goldfish crackers, watch for stray items being grabbed off the shelves by her or hurled from the cart, navigate each store’s aisles for what I want (because you can never shop at just ONE place for everything you need) AND be expected to walk a straight line without crashing my cart into some unsuspecting senior citizen (because I am looking at my phone for that store’s “Deal ‘o the Day”).

Why is it such a game? Why can’t you just offer me your best price?  Am I in a real-live domestic goddess game of Survivor? Will there be a year’s supply of Pop Tarts at the end if I can balance all of this nonsense without losing my mind?

They want your dollars. They want your loyalty.

Every store has an app you should download. E-Clip coupons. Downloadable deals. Save 5% if you do this. Save an extra 10% if you do that. Take $2 off your next order if you throw away 10 minutes of your life every time you shop here and fill out our survey to “tell us how we’re doing”.

What if I do a cartwheel round-off down your aisles while singing your commercial’s jingle… then what does that get me?

I will tell you. A one-way trip to a rubber room.

Stop the ride, I want to get off.

Speaking of rides, remember when you were a kid and for a penny or a nickel you could take a ride on an electric pony? That was some fun technology at the grocery store. I can get behind that.

Aside

Sequins, the Beatles and Mother’s Day

For some, as seasons change it is a reminder of the quick passage of time.  It might be a glimpse of the first robin of Spring or the moment you slip on those flip-flops after a brutal winter just itching to show off your new pedi.

One of my markers of the passage of time involves sequins, fake hair, oodles of bobby pins and gaudy makeup.  No, I am not a stay-at-home Mom by day and a street-walker by night…It’s recital season. Ugh and Yay! all at the same time.

Twinkle Toes (what creative genius came up with that pseudonym?) has been dancing since she was three. She’s ready to hit double-digits in a couple weeks…so, a long time.

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There is always a little dread when coordinating the weekend. Rehearsal on Thursday night. Be there at 6 o’clock sharp.  Somewhere north of 50 people milling around all looking at their watches looking forward to being done with this necessary evil. Wishing for some couch time with an episode of Modern Family, just one more errand completed or a last-minute dinner that didn’t include nuggets or noodles.

Looking ahead to the weekend it’s always “cram stuff in, hurry home to get ready and fly out the door”. Make sure there is enough time to fight with Twinkle and her “bun”, apply just enough toxic hairspray to hold up a bridge and be sure to pick up all lost bobby pins lest they end up in Little Bee’s stomach . Apply said gaudy makeup and stand back and admire the horror of my sweet almost-ten-year-old looking just-enough garish so the back row can see her red-lipped smile.

But THIS year I was so looking forward to leaving Bee with my husband, parking my tush in that seat, taking a breath, relaxing and watching my daughter and all the young girls at the studio (and one very brave boy!) dance their hearts out and showcase their sizable talent.

After all was said and done it was hands down the best performance I have ever seen them produce. Literally blown away.  And it turned out to be an early Mother’s Day gift.

Sappy princess song after saccharin-sweet love song played on. But most of these performers were not the little ones looking backstage for every movement cue.  These girls/young women were pouring their hearts into some beautiful artistry. And quite honestly some very grown-up expression. So You Think You Can Dance had a few contenders here with this bunch, no joke.

As I sat there (in between my mother and Bee’s Godmother) a myriad of things was going through my mind:

Was it not just yesterday that Twinkle was dancing on her Dad’s toes in a costume made for a pre-schooler?  And here she was graceful and confident with a plié here and a relevé there.

Many of the older girls on stage are just on the cusp of what life will offer them. Will all the years spent honing their craft make an impact in their adult lives somehow?

As the strains of the Beatles’ Yesterday and Train’s When I look to the Sky played on (I’ll admit these two always kinda get me) I thought back to the last five years.  When did the engagement parties and baby showers I attended segue over to funerals and battles with disease? Passage of time.

Time is marching on and it is going so very fast. There have been great losses and uphill battles in the lives of many of my family and friends. People have come together. Communities have come together.

As Mother’ Day approaches a beautiful little ballet recital made me pause and think of the very best that the women in my life have to offer one another.

Countless meals, hugs and smiles. A phone call here. Several fundraisers there. A letter sharing empathy because someone else experienced it too.  The space to grieve. An angel pin. The t-shirt worn to support an effort. The poem read even when the tears were still blinding. A locket to house the most precious of photos. The book dropped on a doorstep because it had to be shared. The party thrown to offer support and say goodbye to something that no longer served its purpose. A good cry. A flower. A prayer.

I don’t know what impact these experiences my daughter has had dancing will have on her.  But they have surely left an imprint on her Mom.

Happy Mother’s Day.

 

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.