Wednesday, May 27, 2015

three sheets to the wind means going elsewhere! :)

I have been in a rut lately. I think it started on the flight back to our normal lives from Hawaii. I got a sudden and unshakable case of post-vacation (aka: real life) blues. Vacation was amazing and exciting and fun and carefree. It was all I could have imagined plus some. But then, we flew back to Omaha, Nebraska. Can I just tell you? I hate Omaha, Nebraska. 

OK, maybe I don't fully hate it. I voluntarily moved here not once (freshman year of college), but twice (fresh start after college). So obviously, there is some love there, or once was (isn't it amazing how love can turn from present to past-tense? It's sad, really. Is anything forever?). But years have drug on without anything new or exciting happening. I am an adventurer by nature: I seek out twists and turns and find absolutely nothing interesting about stability (also read: reason behind my shitty resume).

On the flight from Seattle to Omaha, I almost cried that I was leaving a place I love because I live in a place I don't. It all felt very permanent and sad. I wallowed in my rut. I thought to myself, "if only I lived somewhere else, everything would be more exciting." Omaha lenses are no longer rose-colored; they're dusty brownish gray and fogged up with humidity.

But then, that stupid (but oh so motivating) 7 Habits of Highly Effective People book crept into my mind. “If I really want to improve my situation, I can work on the one thing over which I have control - myself.” God damn you, Stephen Covey! You in your infinite wisdom, not allowing wallowing and self-pity, but rather preaching to get the fuck out of our funks and do something about it. You're right, of course. Damn it.

In all honesty, I've had a couple drinks and suddenly transparency seems of the utmost importance. Maybe it always is, but we just distract ourselves with other bullshit. We tell ourselves that acting like we "have it together" and keeping up appearances means more than being honest and authentic and letting people in to the actual lives we live. Well it isn't.

I'm the ripe old age of 32 and I can tell you I have learned so far that I gravitate towards the people who are honest and warm and welcoming: warts and all. Those people who work so hard to cover up the juicy parts about them are dull and fake and really not Friend Material (is it too soon to make a Duggar joke? Probably. I'll sit on that one for a New York minute).

So in all transparency, I do struggle sometimes with very low-level depression. That isn't a clinical term. I haven't been diagnosed, been to a shrink, or even Web MD'd it. I am just ball parking it from what I've seen on movies and read in books. I have spurts here and there that come and go. Basically I will describe it as an overwhelming feeling of loneliness, even when I'm not alone. And these past three weeks have been one of those ruts.

But it's time to climb out of it. I have an agenda and new motivation: convince Steve to get out of this god-forsaken town! (Insert emojis here so you think I'm joking but I'm not really). But really, home is where you make it (Joe Dirt). So let's make it somewhere cool! (emoji again).

It isn't what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about. 
~Dale Carnegie

Sunday, May 24, 2015


I have this persistent fear of discovering I have an incurable disease and I will die within a year. So I have mentally prepared for this over the years by making checklists of what I will do once that inevitable news comes (yes, I'm a bit dramatic).

Before, it was adventures I would have, places I would go. I would definitely have to get and use a passport, skydive, give my self all sorts of memories that wouldn't do anything for anyone once I was dead. My life was about me, so my looming death would be about me too, of course.

But as I outgrew my twenties and welcomed my thirties, my perspective shifted. This shift from Super Selfish to Slightly Less Selfish coincided with the birth of Brandon. His arrival made me a bit softer, less self-absorbed.

Some people are much more mature than I am and find themselves caring about others and how their life affects those other people much earlier than thirty. Some people are bigger assholes than I am and find that out even later. Some people are just straight up dicks and end up dying just as selfish as ever.

Anyway, when this fear reappeared to me this week, I marveled at how my checklist had changed. I would first and foremost find a live-in nanny that would treat my children as well as if they were her own children. She would share my views on parenting (at least the important ones) and probably most of my philosophies on life, as long as I could find someone like that. She would make meals for Stephen and support his choice to continue his schooling if he so decided. And although she wouldn't openly oppose complacency, she would certainly never condone it. She wouldn't have to become Steve's second wife, but I would pick someone that I would approve of just in case the family dynamic began to feel natural.

I would also write a lot. I would write journals to each of my children, describing them as I knew them and what I hope for them as they grow. I would tell them how special and funny and smart they are and would overload their egos because that's the kind of mom I am. But then I would give practical advice that they would probably never heed, then one day, after they had made the same mistakes I had, they would look back and marvel at my wisdom.

I would also write to everyone that was ever a pivotal part of my life: whether for decades or for a year or for a split but defining moment. I would thank them for being a positive impact on my life and fill long letters with lots of sappy shit that people never say in person but would write down if they were dying.

And then, after I took care of everyone else as best as I knew how, I would try to find some peace for myself. I would go for long walks and take baths and read books and write for myself. I would chill the fuck out and maybe even start listening to Bob Marley and become super zen. Who knows - hard to tell. Hopefully I wouldn't be one of those people who was just angry she was dying, but rather one of the ones who accepted it and did the best she could with it (as you can see, I've thought this over a lot in the name of preparedness). Hopefully I would look back at the years I've already had and be thankful for them, rather than cursing the ones I never had.

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.  
~Mark Twain

Friday, May 22, 2015

when the kids are asleep

Many people suggested ways I could carve out more time for my writing, but none of their suggestions involved the care and consideration of the small children who live in my house. I find lots of discussion online about "waiting for the muse" but not enough about having to write in between T-ball games. I want more honesty from people who write books while they have small children. I want to hear from people who feel like they have no time.
~ "Yes Please" preface by Amy Poehler

Preach, girl: preach. I often kick myself for not starting this book ten years ago, five years ago, hell, even two years ago. Really anytime before I had two kids would have been ideal. I try to write something every day: sometimes that's just a blog or a journal entry (OK, who am I kidding, that's what it usually is). But the fact is, I am always with my kids, and I don't want to be one of those moms who sets her children in another room and goes and does her thing. I mean, OK, sometimes that sounds pretty nice, really, but then when I think of my kids instead of me I decide not to. 

So that gorgeous time each night after both the kids have fallen asleep and after I've cleaned up countless Cheerios and Goldfish is all I've got. The time between their bedtime and mine has grown and grown and now I find myself up until about 1 each morning, trying to get in some workout time, a shower, some relaxation, some reading, some writing. I am always tired. I operate on coffee and distractions.

What I really need is someone who gives as much of a shit about my children as I do to come over in the mornings, let me sleep until about ten, then give me two hours to write. I'm not talking about a babysitter who turns on the TV and then sits on the couch with her phone. That's the problem - those peeps are a dime a dozen, I'm sure. I remember babysitting and trying to avoid turning on the TV at all cost. We went on walks, played games, cooked, jumped on trampolines, ran through sprinklers. I am a firm believer that children should be interacted with, spoken to, treated like the growing people they are.

I have this small window of time when my children haven't yet learned to Google and look to me for all their knowledge. I know everything to them, and I will teach them all of it. They want to be with me? Then of course I will be with them! These days are fleeting. Some days I tell myself, just push back this book and work on it once the kids are in school. But the fact is, there will always be an excuse, a reason to procrastinate and the book is in me now. I don't know what kind of book will be in me then, but I have a story to tell today. I don't have writer's block or lack of inspiration, I just have a lack of time. But Amy Poehler did it, other parents did it, and I can do it too. I will just buy more coffee. A lot more.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

eyes and hands

Here are some of my favorite photos of the boys this week: 
 Those big brown eyes, I tell you what.
 Holden's face is so funny to me.
 Show and tell. Always in this house.
 Something is funny.
 I love his chubby hands reflection in his sunglasses.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bye bye, ba-ba

Yes, my son was a three-year-old with a pacifier addiction. So what? There are worse things, right? But it was embarrassing. Steve and I found ourselves apologizing for it to complete strangers who would ask if B & H were twins. "No, this one is three, but you wouldn't know it since he still uses a pacifier like a baby." Trying to shame Brandon in that way didn't phase him. We tried everything except trying to get him rid of it.

I was going to cut him off cold turkey on his birthday so I never had to write that opening sentence, but we knew the Hawaii trip was coming up soon and I figured it would be nice to have on the airplane, and for calming down fits. Then, the day we came back I couldn't take it of course, yada yada: always an excuse. So on our first normal day back from our trip, we went to the library and picked out a book about a pig who discovers he no longer needs his pacifier. And I read it to Brandon and told him he could have his pacifier for three more days.

I've found that communication is key to any relationship. If you want to be a good spouse, parent, child, employee, boss (you get the idea), you should share the knowledge you can to keep people informed. No one likes bad surprises sprung on them and I wasn't about to rip the pacifier out of Brandon's mouth and say "bye bye!" For those three days, we did a countdown each night: "Three more nights with my ba-ba," then two, then one. Then, on Sunday night, as Brandon was getting into bed, he asked for his ba-ba.

"Remember? Last night was your last night with your ba-ba. You don't need it anymore!" I told him. I expected a relentless crying fit, but he remembered our agreement and went to bed without crying and without his pacifier. The next morning I said, "how was your first night without your ba-ba?" and he replied, "I don't need it anymore!" We rewarded him with a set of Thomas trains. Bribes are really pretty fool-proof around here. Last night marked his third night without his pacifier. It really wasn't all that hard to break that three-year habit, I just had to actually try.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

the impossibility of safety

My boys are what you would expect from boys: rowdy and rough. And I love that they like to wrestle each other, to play ball, to climb into their fort. They are quintessential little men in that way. But unfortunately, this lifestyle of theirs leads to bumps and bruises and scrapes. And with each bump or bruise or scrape, I freak out. Not just freak out, freak the fuck out. I am that psycho mom that coddles her child over a tiny cut while he's saying, "I'm fine, mom!" Have you seen The Goldberg's? I'm Beverly Goldberg. 

Before these boys, I probably assumed a kid with scrapes or bruises was neglected - that any child properly supervised would also be safe. I've quickly learned that is not always true. My children are properly supervised and even still, they find ways to bang themselves up. Sometimes, Holden will knock his head against something while I'm holding him. He will just headbutt something because that's what he does. If I'm Beverly Goldberg, Holden is Steve Martin's kid on Parenthood that bangs his head against the wall.

I always promise Brandon when he is scared that he is all safe with mommy and daddy and nothing can hurt him, but I know that he can still get hurt. I wish I could save him from everything harmful, but the fact is, I can't. I want to put my boys in bubbles and keep everything evil and hurtful away from them. I want to be everything they need, even the impossible. But maybe that's what's important: not what you can do, but what you will attempt.
I think we have a moral obligation to our children that can be easily summarized: number one, protect them from harm. 
~ Tom Allen

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

so much left to do

Here were some of the things we did in Hawaii:
  • Glass-bottom boat for the kids (surprisingly, a bust)
  • Snorkeling (not me, but everyone else)
  • Mopeds (a highlight! The best)
  • Ziplining
  • A magic/comedy show
  • The main luau on the island
  • A lot of time at the pool, and some at the beach
  • Tourist shops 
  • Good eating at local restaurants
Here are some of the things I'd still like to do if I had another week in Hawaii:
  • Fly to Oahu and check out Honolulu and the Pearl Harbor memorial
  • More mopeding
  • Get a henna tattoo
  • Snorkel (since everyone else has)
  • Walk along the beach walk that I didn't discover until the last day
  • Take Steve to the Hard Rock Cafe
  • Hike (somewhere with a waterfall)
So, is it time to go back yet? I'm ready. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Island kids

You can expect this week will be all about Hawaii. I have hundreds of pictures, and plenty of adventures to recount. It was honestly the best week of my life. I haven't been on a real vacation except for my honeymoon, and I spent the week of my honeymoon lying in bed with a pretty terrible sunburn. So yeah, Hawaii was pretty awesome. Of course it helped that my  mom offered to watch the kids quite a bit so that us parents could hang out with our siblings and go on excursions together.

There are so many rainbows in Hawaii. I actually cropped a rainbow out of this picture.
 Uncle Chad is the cool uncle. Both of my boys love him.

Oh my god, this girl- she is so beautiful.
"Grandma, your tan is making me look pale."
Here's a picture where I didn't crop out the rainbow.
Holden is trying to be big now - eating apples and such.
It is fun to watch waves crash against the seawall.
Holden loves an elevator ride.
"Saryn, you forgot your hat!"
More to come. So much more. Looking through and editing my photos allows me to relive the moments again.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Wowee! Maui!

We just got back from Hawaii (that's right, HAWAII! I would insert palm tree and hibiscus emojis if I was writing this from my iPhone). I really should be sleeping, but I had to at least peek at some of these photos. I'll share a handful tonight and more throughout the week as I get caught up.
 I love a good profile shot against the water.
A palm leaf fell right near me. I'm pretty sure that would have knocked me out.
When the girls are getting ready, the boys (and I) are waiting. 
This kid loves the sand. And crawling towards the ocean at an incredible rate. 
My mom is so tan, "tan" doesn't even work.
Coaxing Brandon to look happy (and he was, until he saw the camera).
We went to a luau.
The male hula dancers were just alright. 
But the female hula dancers...well, let's just say I wish I could make Steve this happy.
As kids do, they loved the pool. The pool also tired them out quickly.
This spot is pretty perfect. 
 The gang's all here.
 And here.
 Joel in a nutshell.
 Mom looking great, dad wearing knee-high socks with shorts.
 The original Peleskys
Like I said, I love a good profile shot against the water. More to come.

Monday, April 27, 2015

strength and determination

It doesn't get easier, you get stronger.

Saucony posted this on their Instagram account, and I paused to reflect on that. Of course, that applies to running and yoga and exercise and training of any sort. But it also applies to so much more:

Like Gracie being a part of me apart from me.

Like being the hard ass that I need to be for my kids when I really just want to snuggle them and give them everything in the world they ask for.

Like standing up for yourself.

Like mustering up the self-control to eat a salad for lunch every day.

Like figuring out a job no one taught you how to do.

Like finishing your college degree. 

Like anything in life that requires discipline to do well (and that is just about everything).

It doesn't get easier, you get stronger.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Yesterday, I gave the boys a bath, and it was a disaster. I dread bath time all the time, actually. Holden is that age where he tries to do everything big boys do, but without any of the coordination. So he loves splashing around in the bathtub, standing up, sitting down, dunking a ball in the hoop, turning over - all while being held in my two hands as I attempt to save him from himself. We have one of those bathtubs with the sliding doors on it, which means I have access to only half the bathtub while Holden has access to the entire thing. I am outnumbered and out-resourced.

Yesterday was especially bad and I spent the entire time nagging, admonishing, and yelling at my kids ("Don't drink the bathwater! It's icky yucky!"). After wards, I swore I was done giving them baths. "Sponge baths only for you two from now on!" But then, of course, as boys will be, they were boys and filthified themselves today in the backyard. So of course I gave them baths again.

And today, the boys were the same - Holden on the move, Brandon sucking down bathwater. But this time, I was calm(er). I laughed at their shenanigans and realized how much more fun it is not to ruin their fun. Kids love baths. I get it - what's not to love? Baths are the best. But damn, I wouldn't like them if I had some pissed off woman kneeling outside the tub nagging at me the entire time.

Not too long ago, I read this quote: "the difference between an adventure and an ordeal is attitude." And if I remind myself of that, buckling them into their car seats, errands, hell, even bathtime is an adventure. I'm much too young for acting this damn old, after all. The rest of my life I can be grumpy and haggard. But not while my kids are still filled with joy. I don't want to rob them of that during this tiny window of time called "childhood" where happiness is the norm, not the exception.

Monday, April 20, 2015

mom stress

It's easy to forget how much our kids can understand. They may be small, but they certainly aren't dumb. I say things mostly to myself, to verbalize it and vent, and Brandon hears me and knows what I'm saying. I remembered this the other day when he said, "I'm so stressed out." That is one of those things I say to myself aloud. "How can you be stressed?" you ask. "You don't even have a job!" Let me tell you: this stress is mom stress. It might be worse than your work stress. No, each situation doesn't last as long, but it is still very real.

Like when I'm buckling Holden into his car seat and Brandon is in the parking lot and sees a leaf he decides to chase. Or when I go check on Holden and see a blanket over his face and quickly check to make sure he's breathing. Or when one of them gets hurt and it's too late for me to prevent it. Basically, seeing my child in danger of any sort is the greatest stress I've ever had. And yes, it is a moment, not a week or a month, but it is intense.

Yesterday I went swimsuit shopping and brought Brandon with me because he would have cried for dad if I had left him. That was a mistake. He was crawling under the dressing room door, trying to run away while I was trying to find this elusive not-skimpy but also not-middle-aged-mom swimsuit that would cover all my mommish parts (so of course I had to go with the middle-aged-mom swimsuit because there is no in between - oh, and Steve reminded me that I am a mom and I am middle-aged. Thanks, babe).

When we got back, in my discouragement (probably mostly about my age and body, but also a touch about Brandon's behavior), I said that Brandon wasn't a good boy at all today, but at least one thing got accomplished: he made me decide that we weren't going to have any more kids. I was venting aloud to myself mostly, maybe a little to Steve. But Brandon ran to the living room and laid on the couch, looking depressed.

After the dust had settled, I went over to Brandon, gave him a hug, and told him I said some mean things because I was upset but that I love him and I know kids don't usually want to do what the adult needs to do.

My kids will certainly never grow up thinking their mom is perfect, but hopefully they see that I'm trying to be someone better. When I'm not too stressed out to be rational, that is.

Friday, April 17, 2015

April sun

 It feels like summer! I already have a sunburn/Holly tan!
Holden was diagnosed with a double ear infection and put on Amoxicillin. Then he broke out in these red bumps that cover his body. I thought he was allergic to Amoxicillin like his mama, but the doctor said this is the virus interacting with the medication and it should go away. It's still here and getting worse so I'm hoping it's gone tomorrow.
 Got him some shades so he can be like the cool kids.
 Want to give your kids endless fun without leaving the house? Fill a sink up with water for them.
 I love the color of my house next to our tree's blossoms
 What's going on up there?
 I also love these dangly things. I have no clue what they're called, but I have a suspicion googling "dangly things" will not yield my answer.
 Watch out! This kid loves to play the iPad.
Holden half sneering, half smiling at me is fine by me: I'll take what I can get.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

walkin' tall

This kid took his first steps two weeks ago, and hasn't made much progress since. I blame it on the walker that he's been scooting around in for six months now. It gets him from here to there, sure, but doesn't teach him walking as much as thrusting his belly forward to propel it. He can't seem to break that habit yet. But yesterday, this happened:
Then today I saw him standing on his own. We're almost to his much-more-independent phase. I think I'm ready for this. Some things get easier when they walk. And then, of course, some get harder. I have a feeling I will have to worry about this one in parking lots.