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.

 

 

 

 

Everyday Moment

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Inspired by the blog Daftly Domestic. A single moment captured from the last week. Reminds me of a wall hanging my aunt had in her home when her kids were younger. It caught my eye every time I passed it.  It read:

Quiet down cobwebs

Dust go to sleep

I’m rocking my baby

and babies don’t keep…

How I remembered that, I’ll never know. It’s been years since I’ve seen it.  It no longer graces the wall anymore.  Most likely stored away.  I thought I would have to call her to jar my memory for the words.  But when I really thought about it, it just came to me. Must have made an impression even I could not imagine. Kind of like my kiddos.

Could She Be Any Sweeter?

In our kitchen we have a message board to celebrate guests, holidays, seasons, accomplishments and the like. Whatever message just needs to be conveyed that day.

So when I finally got around to erasing the “Happy New Year” greeting from December 31st and asked Twinkle Toes to come up with a new message, this is what she wrote:

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In case the orange word is unreadable it says “table.”

Love.

Six Ways a Stay-At-Home-Mom Stays Sane During the Polar Vortex

Okay, who even knew that the word “Polar Vortex” existed three months ago? Google this: there is a Wikipedia page devoted to the “2014 North American Cold Wave.” Makes me want to crawl into a vat of hot chocolate and  warm up.

Source: Businessweek.com

Source: Businessweek.com

I remember when snow days actually meant a day off from school because there was just A LOT OF SNOW. Not temps that would freeze my eyebrows on contact.  Kids could head outside and get some of the zoobers out.  (Technical term, I know).  You know sled, make snow forts,  hit each other in the eye with snowballs.

After looking back on the five-day break my kids just had off from school here in the Midwest there were a few key things that helped me get through the frigidly cold and claustrophobic days.

1. Exercising – In a moment of sheer madness I accepted an invitation online for the “Plank Challenge.”  A way to torture my midsection that seemed like an interesting idea on January 2nd. But it proved to be a great idea to build up a little sweat and some endurance during this time. Each day brought an increase in the time to hold the plank, eventually working up to five minutes.  Yeah, I don’t know if I’ll get there.  But it was fun to involve Techno and Twinkle and watch them do the same. It also inspired me to add a few other fun exercises we can do together as well.  Jumping jacks and squats were never so much fun.

Source: Health.com

Source: Health.com

2. Reading – Travel magazines…and LOTS of them! If I couldn’t be in Turks and Caicos I sure enjoyed looking at the photos and enjoyed someone else’s good fortune to be there!

3. Sleepovers with some of the kids’ friends – It was great to break that brother/sister sibling tension with a little buffer.  Having some other kids around broke up the monotony for them and me.

4.Car trips to break up the day– Gotta make a trip to the bank?  Whoo hoo!  What else can we do? Drive through for coffee? Stop at Target and scan aisles for things we don’t neCoffeeed like sparkly paperclips and Hello Kitty lip gloss? Perfect. And I think I can stop for gas and hit the Redbox to pickup a DVD for the evening.

5. Daily Boggle matches – Matching wits with my kids is humbling.  Two rounds with my nine-year old and she had found two six letter words and beat me!

6. Counting our blessings that we don’t live in Atlanta, Georgia – It was surreal watching news of 18-hour highway backups and traffic jams, a baby being born in the car amid the snowstorm and children sleeping overnight on school buses and in their schools. In the Midwest we are more than equipped to handle winter!

The kids dreaded going back to school this week after being so out of the daily routine.  And truth be told their Mom missed them a little bit.

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I’ve Got a Feeling

Years ago on a beautiful sunny last-days-of-summer-morning Techno was riding his bike with training wheels and Twinkle Toes was in a stroller, just a little babe. Standing by the roadside with a cell phone to my ear, cars rushing by on a very busy downtown street I was panicking while canceling credit cards and checking my bank balance.  Ice was on his way to assist in whatever way he could. I was devastated and embarrassed. I had ignored my own intuition and suffered the consequences.

Just an hour earlier I had unloaded my car with the intention of enjoying a stroll with my kiddos by the lakefront.  While locking up the car and stupidly putting my purse in the trunk I noticed a couple strolling by. To put it mildly, they looked like they might have seen harder times than I. Briefly looking in their direction and giving pause for just a millisecond I went about my business unloading the kids, the baby gear, the diaper bag – the usual.

The kids and I had our walk, where I nearly lost my brave little boy testing the waters and going waaaay too far ahead on his training wheels. We arrived at the end of the paved path and set out to cross the grass and head over to the car.  From afar I could see the passenger-side window appeared to be smashed in with glass spilling everywhere.

Panic set in. Heart beat raced.  Quickened pace. Did this really just happen to me?  And with my little children in tow?

I approached the car and realized all too late I should have heeded my earlier gut feeling.  My radar went up just a little bit after seeing that couple. It can’t be explained. Something just didn’t feel right.  Hindsight 20/20 and all that… I should have just left for another parking spot in a different location. Or just left. Period.

A good Samaritan on a bike stopped to help and confirmed my suspicions that I had in fact seen the couple who stole my purse and forcibly damaged my car. They had been casing the cars with a wad of keys in their hand he shared. He had noticed them while on his bike ride and put two and two together as to what had happened to us.  He said he wished he would have done more.

In the aftermath of that HUGE inconvenience, the sentimental loss (irreplaceable family photos in my wallet), the privacy violation – and seriously, a brand new purse! – I promised myself that I would make a real effort to listen to those whispers in my ear and that feeling in my gut in the future.

Times when one of the kids will be sick and I’m thinking “Another doctor bill?” there seems to be that pull towards when it’s just time to bite the bullet and get it checked out.  Pneumonia, strep and a mono diagnoses later have proven again and again that sometimes Mama knows best.

Women do have a knack for being intuitive.  Amid all the noise, peer pressure, distractions, stress and sheer exhaustion there is a hidden talent I am convinced we possess.  It’s knowing when to listen that takes the finesse.

Here’s to the woman who knows when it’s time to move on from a relationship she has outgrown or goes back to school to better her professional options. Or the woman who takes a step to protect her child when others might think it too bold or crazy. Or the woman who takes the leap of faith towards a dream she has been fearful to advance. Or the woman who finally makes the appointment for that mammogram or colonoscopy despite her reservations.

Day in and day out intuition makes the world go ’round – believe it.

Don’t Sell Me Superwoman

Being the huge fan of browsing mail-order catalogs and trying to devise a way to have the ripped athletic physique like most of the models contained within is a special form of torture I subject myself to. So could there be a better time to do this than at the start of the new year, during “Resolution week” (which it’s already been established I don’t participate in.) Pages upon pages of sun-tanned, impossibly natural beauties with perfect smiles and glow-bright teeth?  Looking disgustingly happy surfing some Hawaiian wave or photographed mid-acrobatic climb up the side of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Jealous much?

So I’m still loving the clothes. Dog earring page after page and so very subtly letting Ice know that I just might love a gift certificate for any upcoming occasions that might warrant it.  And by the way, spread the word!

“When did they introduce that style?” I think.

“Oooooh, that would be so cute to wear to the next picnic or trip to the Zoo with Little Bee.”

So caught up in the piles and piles of cute things that I envision adorning my closet,  I completely miss the captions on the multitudes of Super Women featured in this edition.

Looking closer I see descriptions of jobs, accomplishments and favorite pastimes of these ladies.  A painting psychotherapist and a woman who faces down a mountain lion and professes surviving natural childbirth? Or how about a surfing environmental researcher who has a law degree and scales mountains? Let me tell ya, I can sooo relate.

All of the sudden I question if I am worthy of sporting these clothes.  A picnic and the Zoo?  Shouldn’t I organize an effort to raise funds for a new playground first or champion saving a species for which I visit at the zoo before I can wear these clothes? Geesh!

I share this with Ice and you know what he says? “How many kids do they have?”

I don’t seem to recall more than one caption mentioning anything about that…

The Other Side of the Rabbit Hole

aliceHaving kids is a bit like falling down the rabbit hole in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. You are entering a zone of peculiar creatures. There’s no set of instructions to do it well. You come out the other side hoping you’re all in one piece. And (more than occasionally) you wonder “How am I going to get out of here?!”

I am terribly guilty of looking at a stage in life that I do not enjoy as if it will always remain the same.  For example, my dreaded task of finding a babysitter for the last eleven years. Coordinating schedules with impossibly busy teens is not high on the list of fun things to do (because really, aren’t all the good ones uber-busy and sought after?) All while hoping their scheduled time with my little darlings doesn’t rate down somewhere with cleaning out the lint trap or taking out the garbage. And then panicking when their scheduled time DID rate down there and I am left holding the bag – a.k.a all ready and going nowhere fast? You get it, I have an aversion to finding babysitters.

But just as the seasons change, these times do not last forever.  There will actually come a time when a sitter won’t be required.  When my kids will be so grown up and responsible they will not need my constant protection, supervising or behavioral corrections. I can’t imagine that time, but I am told by those who made it out of the rabbit hole that it will happen.

Little glimpses do exist if I look hard enough. In the morning I enjoy simply waving goodbye to Techno as he shuffles his way to the bus stop down the street. It was kind of a big deal for his Mom last year when for the first time the bus did not pick him up at the end of the driveway. It was surreal that he would actually walk out of the house, go down the street – and out of sight – and I would not witness him get on the bus.

Of course he enjoyed the independence. Hanging out with the neighbor boys, talking about whatever fifth, sixth and seventh grade boys talk about (do they actually talk directly to one another at this age?) and realizing himself how much he is growing up.

Some mornings he runs so late there isn’t even time for goodbye. But he is the best waver. Not once, not twice but some days three times over the shoulder I get that sweet smile and a wave.  And I am reminded that it still feels like I have lots of time left with my peculiar creatures. But I know that is just a fantasy land.

Aside

Get Me a Technology Transplant, STAT!

MinionsI have become the old, out-of-touch Mom. It’s official. Even my siblings are calling me out.  I am locked in to a contract with a cell phone company until March.  I am a dinosaur in the cell phone world. Who stays with their cell phone provider for eleven years? Apparently this girl!

The first day of school rolls around and amid hundreds of Facebook posts you won’t find my kids. Nope, their Mom does not get 4G service in our town. Thus no instantaneous posts touting the excitement, fun and fashion of the first day of school. Bad Mom.

No less than fourteen texts came in to my phone that morning while having coffee with friends that included pictures of my niece and nephew in all of their first day of school glory, comments from my siblings and Mom. Digs at me. How old-school I am. Lots of cyberspace chuckles were had at my expense.

Being passed around our table at the coffee shop were iPhones, iPads and a rather fancy uploading device to immediately transfer pictures from phone to tablet. I had nothing to share. Old fashioned digital camera for me.  Gasp! The pictures are still locked in my camera and have yet to see the light of day. Please, don’t alert the technology authorities.

Rewind a few days before this, while driving I heard this comment out of the mouth of my oldest: “You automatically get a banana vacuum.” Excuse me?! What planet are we on? Apparently this sentence does actually exist and makes sense to a kid playing Minion Rush, a video game based off of the movie Despicable Me.

A few minutes later was heard: “The Beijing police just came out of the sky and got me!” Really. This revelation is brought to us by the game Subway Surfer.

These kids today…

Can you just see the little minions laughing at me?