On A Clear Day I Can See a Very Long Way

Today, while looking for some Christmas videos for the kids first day of vacation, I came across a stack of home movies. I pulled out one and popped it in. I started watching footage of me when I was pregnant with Patrick and went all the way to Cheyanne’s first year.

I was amazed.

Not just that my seven and five year old kids were ever that young, but that life was ever so simple. We looked so blissful and in the moment happy. Not that I didn’t know we were happy, I remember being very happy during those years. But I also remember being in such a hurry. Continue reading “On A Clear Day I Can See a Very Long Way”

To All the Pets I’ve Loved Before

Blossom

I haven’t had a dog since I was in high school. Through out my childhood we had two dogs a black lab named Shadow and a white mut named Misty. Both were good and loving dogs.  Shadow moved on to a friend’s farm and Misty passed away when I was a freshman or sophomore in high school.

My mom did eventually get another dog but not until sometime after I graduated and not long before I moved out of the house. Read more

Beauty and the Beast

There is something about the theater that is so full of magic that I can’t help but be swept away every time I get the chance to go. And if you add in a little Disney magic to boot, you’ve got a night to remember. And that’s exactly what I found when Cheyanne and I had a girl’s night out in the city. We went to the opening night of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at the Golden Gate Theater and were mesmerized from the moment we sat down.

I freely admit that I have done my share of trash talk when it comes to Disney Princesses. But I always feel that Beauty and the Beast (even in the pre Disney/original version of the tale) stands apart from other fairy tales because when you look at it, the person in need of rescue is Beast more than Beauty. And at the end of the day it Beauty who has saved the day, not the prince. Read more

5 Ways to De-Stress For Free

I am tired today. It’s been a stressful couple of days, which I’m not in the mood to blog about right now. Besides I always try to keep in mind that no matter how crappy your day is there is always someone out there having a crappier day. It’s important to always keep whining in perspective.

With that said, that doesn’t mean we should bottle up out stress either. But when we wear a lot of hats, as most of you reading this do, it’s hard to find the right time or place to let it all go. Not all of us can get to gym or afford yoga classes at the studio downtown or a nice relaxing massage.

So for my own sanity, as much as yours, I came up with a list of things you can do for free around the house to take the edge off.

  1. Garden – OK so gardening can be a bit of work in the beginning but once it’s going strong the actual “gardening’ part can be very therapeutic. Weeding, watering and harvesting have been soul-soothing activities for thousands of years. Take some quiet time working in your garden and enjoy.
  2. Read – This may not always be easy with kids running around and a house to keep up, but force yourself to. Not only is reading a relaxing activity, it’s also very good for the soul and for the brain. A good book will give even the most stressed person a much-needed break from whatever things in life are stressing them out. Reading before bedtime can also do wonders for insomnia.
  3. Nap – OK, OK stop laughing. It is possible to nap. Some days. Remember when your kids were newborns and everybody said “Sleep as much as you can!” or “Sleep when the baby sleeps!” Yes, great advice, but it doesn’t have to end when your kids are no longer babies. If your kids still nap, take one yourself. If they’re older put on a favorite movie and make a big bed for all of you on the floor. They can watch the movie for an hour and a half while you let your body rest. A massage is wonderful, but is nothing compared to a good nap.
  4. Television – Give yourself a chunk of time in the evening one or two days a week and enjoy your favorite sitcom or reality show. TV has been relieving stress and creating an escape for people for years now, and is as good at doing it today as it always was.
  5. Yoga – I know I said that not all of us could afford the gym or yoga classes. But most of us can afford a DVD, which we can than use when we want to. I know for me the mornings I get up before the kids and enjoy 15 minutes of yoga while the house still sleeps are amazing. Good for my sanity, my soul and my body.

What’s your way to De-Stress?

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The War on Moms

Last week on WomenCount Radio (the Blog Talk Radio show I host on Thursdays) I interviewed Sharon Lerner author of the new book, “The War on Moms: On Life in a Family-Unfriendly Nation.” I also got the chance to read the book before hand and it gave me a lot to think about it. The book basically is a look at how in the United States mothers face so many challenges when it comes to simply raising out children.

Take for instance,

  • Only 42% of working mothers stay home for the first 12 weeks of their babies’ lives.
  • The United States is one of just a handful of countries that do not offer paid maternity leave. Nations such as Germany or Australia dole out money just for having kids. And after infancy is over, there is free, high-quality childcare in France, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden.
  • The average cost of keeping one infant in a child-care center is greater than tuition at public college

And that hardly scratches the surface of issues facing moms, and doesn’t even touch on the other side of the coin, women who stay home and the challenges they face. Personally I have been a working mom and a WAHM.

I gathered a handful of links to posts about the challenges mothers face in hopes of doing the same thing the book does, which is show that we are not alone in our challenges as moms. We’re all doing the best we can.

From Mommyhood: Next Right – Between Home and St. Elsewhere

From Mother Knows Less – Working Moms v Stay At Home Moms

From Just Mommies – 6 Things Nobody Told You About Being a SAHM

From Godsy Girl – The Top Five Challenges Facing Women in 2010

From The Queenof Spain: Make Me

From My Blogalicious – Just Call Me Sisyphus

I would love to add more links to this post so if you’ve written something about the challenges you’ve face as a SAHM, Working Mom or WAHM please leave the link in the comments.

And here’s to ALL moms!

Our Visit to Neverland

“So come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned. Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever, in Never Never Land!”

I believe in fairies. And I’m not ashamed to admit it. I mean I don’t go around telling people that, but between you and I, I do.

For a story about fairies, flying, magical places beyond the stars and little boys who won’t grow up, Peter Pan is one of the most relatable stories ever written. As children we shout that we believe in fairies, we dream about what it would be like to fly to Neverland and we keep an ever-watchful eye for pirates.

But then we grow up, and the magic is lost somehow. Until we have our own children. And then, just as Wendy says goodbye to Peter in the end, the magic returns and the story only begins again with our own child.

Yesterday my own two darling children and I hopped on the train to San Francisco, a magical place in itself, to see the live production of Peter Pan at the three sixty Theater. I knew it would be special, but I had no idea it would be the most amazing live theater experience I’d ever seen.

When we saw the real Wendy, John and Michael fly through the air above us along with Peter and Tinkerbell my heart began to race. I looked over at my kids and both of them were sitting there with smiles on their faces and pixie dust in their eyes.

They were mesmerized.

And later when we all shouted that we believed in fairies so that we could save Tink’s life, I felt myself start to cry.

Patrick with Nate Fallows (Peter Pan)

Sometimes as adults the stress of life can be overwhelming. And the magic of childhood is only a distant memory, if we remember it all. But in that moment as I watched Tink light back up I remembered. I remembered what it was like to believe in fairies, and I remembered that magic still exists.

And in the last moments of the show, as Peter Pan smiled at Wendy’s girl Jane, for a moment I looked up and thought maybe somewhere there really is Neverland. Just maybe…

But lucky for us the magic did not end there. Thanks to a very generous invitation from SHNSF we were able to meet up with some of my favorite local bloggers and meet the cast of the show. All of them were so unbelievably sweet to my kids, only reinforcing the magic of the day.

Patrick & Cheyanne with Abby Ford (Wendy Darling)

I love the theater. I love classic books. And I love taking my kids on magical journey’s to places like Neverland. And I love that my kids think Pixie Dust is real and that fairies are never far away. And I won’t ever be the one to tell them otherwise.

“And because Peter never grew up, when Jane had her own children, they flew away with Peter too, and so it will always be, as long as there are children.”

Thanks so much to cast and crew of Peter Pan in San Francisco for an amazing day. And to SHNSF for putting together this event and allowing my kids and I to be a part of it.

Though SHNSF provided tickets to the show I was under no obligation to write this post or in any other way compensated for it.

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Disney Princesses and the Cautionary Tale They Tell

There we were in the Spirit Halloween store in search of the perfect costume. I had been urging my four-year-old daughter to go with Wonder Woman. We headed straight for the section that had the complete selection of Supergirl, Batgirl, and Wonder Woman costumes, along with a handful of other less known female superhero characters (I know these characters have their own history of sexist stigma, as far as my four year old os concerned they’re just girl superheroes, equal to the men).

But no. On the wall off in the distance was a sea of pink, glitter and lace. The princess section. As I held the Supergirl and Wonder Woman costumes in my hands I yelled after her “Wait! Don’t you want to be one of THESE?” But it was too late she was already gone. And the costume chosen was Sleeping Beauty. The year before was Cinderella and the year before that was Belle. Well, 2009 was just another princess year at my house.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved the traditional fairy tales as a girl. And that part of me is still drawn to pink and lace and all things girly. It’s ingrained in my female soul. But as an adult I’ve found many things to be disturbing about the princesses. Especially in recent years as Disney has worked hard to make the Princess genre one of the most highly marketable genre in children’s clothing, toys, movies, music, and of course costumes.

My daughter is four. I cannot ban the Disney princess’s from my house. So I let it be, even it if it does get my goat.

But recently I read a book that helped me take another look at the classic fairy tales and rethink my perception. I read the Women With the Alabaster Jar. The book takes a closer look at the feminine in religion, kind of a more detailed look at the story most people heard about in Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code.

In this book there was an entire section devoted to how woman are perceived in the classic fairy tales of yesterday. And the point of view was a new one. You see the theories discussed in this book were about the need for feminine and male balance in the world. The age old law of Yin and Yang. Basically a world without balance of both the male and female falls to ruin.

Look at these fairy tales in that sense. The men in these tales are empty. They are completely lost without a feminine equal. So lost that they are willing to risk their lives battling dragons or traveling aimlessly across the countryside in search of their feminine equal. Because without the feminine equal they are nothing. In Sleeping Beauty when the female half falls asleep, the entire kingdom falls asleep with her. The world in a sense stops without the feminine character.

This is exactly how I see the lack of representation in the world as well. Think about it. If we truly had both the male and female represented in politics would the healthcare debate be raging on? Would we still be trying to gain equal pay? Would we still be struggling to make crimes against women and gays considered hate crimes? Do you think crime would be as high as it is? Unemployment? Who’s to say for sure, but take a look at this recent report from the Global Gender Gap Report.

Finland & Norway ranked in the top five. Is it a coincidence that both countries also rank in the top five for female political representation as well (41% and 47% respectably)? Not at all.

Could these classic Fairy tales actually just be a cautionary tale for why the world is in disarray? I like to think so. It’s not about getting more women than men in office. It’s not about women being better than men. It’s about equality. It’s about not being able to have a happy ending without both male and female being represented and being present.

We, as women, as Americans, and as members of the Human Race will never really be able to start solving the world’s problems until we achieve balance. Until the Prince stops prancing around and admits that’s he’s nothing without the Princess. Only then will the rest of the kingdom awaken and the world will truly change.