Wednesday, January 30, 2013

An Ode to the Big Brown Baby...

The equine of the family has not gotten much love from this blog which may seem odd considering he is the largest member by about 1100 lbs. And since he adds much to my life, here's the story of how the Brazilian Thoroughbred Maximilliano came into my world....

For as long as I can remember I wanted a horse. Doesn't every girl? And while I couldn't have my own, I did have a guinea pig which was almost as cool. Aside from the fact that it squealed all night, pooped on the carpet, chewed holes in my clothes, and you couldn't saddle it and go for a ride it was pretty much the same thing. Ok, not even close. But I one of my best friend's actually had horses and so occasionally I did do some riding - if you can call it that. 

A few things I learned during these various riding attempts:
  1. Yes, horses can read you like a book. I am a pushover and I distinctly remember when "Honey" decided to stop, drop, and attempt to roll while I was still in saddle. Thanks "Honey" for that teaching moment. 
  2. Approaching a happy horse in a grassy pasture with a lead rope hidden behind your back really just means, "run like hell" in horse. 
  3. If a horse begins to pick up the pace without you asking, that momentum will continue if you do not choose to stop it. While galloping is fun, it's not advised for the amateur rider. 
  4. It would take too long to get into the details of this event, but take it from me. Do not set one inexperienced rider on a horse and have them hold the reigns of another horse that is being ridden by a less experienced rider. You're really just asking for an unplanned rodeo. 
With these "hard" lessons behind me I decided at the ripe age of 30 horses needed to be in my life again. For a hot minute I thought, "I would just buy one off ebay and figure it out!" But upon further thought, I opted for lessons first. By chance I found an amazing Natural Horsemanship trainer. Not that I knew what that meant, I just discovered this lady would teach an adult everything from the ground up which I needed as I didn't even know how to put on the saddle... For her privacy I won't mention her name here. But should you ever want the best in horse training from a true horse whisperer, email me here! This is a kind, humble woman who cannot help herself from helping others and she takes far too little credit.

And so the lessons began and yes, I did feel like a total boob as the only student over 11. But the hours spent learning were well worth it and I'm about 97% sure they saved my life about 18 times. 


NOTE: Do NOT purchase a horse without taking lessons from a trusted horse mentor.

And so eventually I met Maximilliano. He was the tallest, most handsomest horse in the barn and he had won over a hundred and fifty thousand dollars in his former career as a race horse. He was also the meanest SOB in the barn, ear pinnnig and biting every time I came near him. But I discovered he was for lease and hoped that with help perhaps there was a happier Max inside?

My first ride with Max. Sitting on a giant horse in a small round pen I'm told to ride around a bit, the trainer will be back in a few minutes. At least 17 minutes passed (but who was counting) and we didn't move an inch. Every time I suggested we move forward there was more ear pinning and more me discovering my inner wienie. But I didn't get tossed so I figured this was a good sign. When the whisperer reappeared she spent about 8 minutes having a "Come to Jesus" moment with Max. During this time nothing happened to him other than he had to run sideways which was apparently horrible for a horse. Max came running back to me a perfect Angel. I may have exaggerated a tad but the horse literally did a 180.

With his new attitude Max proved to be my horse love and soon enough I wanted to buy him. For some reason my husband was not on board but it might possibly have been due to the incredibly outrageous cost of upkeep. Good thing I work in marketing and I created a very persuasive PowerPoint presentation that finally got me my horse. (I think Microsoft stole my idea for their dog commercial). And oh how I loved my horse! Every free minute I could sneak to the barn I was there. Of course about 9 months after I finally purchase the horse I've waited for my whole life I get pregnant...

Clearly having a horse has been much more difficult after having children but the bright side is this: Horses have a way of calming people in the strangest way. It doesn't matter what ridiculous, overwhelming, stressful situation you are experiencing. When you are with a horse you forget it for that moment. I speak from experience. Having had my first child without the epidural (and not on purpose) and trying to power through with that BS breathing technique, the only thing that really helped calm me to some small extent was thoughts of my handsome brown baby who loves gatorade and peppermints and now both of my children...Thank you Max.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Thank You for the Music

I want this documented because I'm a realist and I know this shiz won't last. My kids actually enjoy my singing. They ask me to sing to them. I'm not going to be joining Glee anytime soon because truly, nobody (else) enjoys my singing and therefore the ratings would tank. Otherwise I'm sure the show producers would call and ask me to do a guest appearance. Anyway, my children DO like my singing and sometimes, a mommy needs that.

This morning was one of those mornings. Unfortunately (for all involved) the man of the house has had the flu for 4 days and has been less like the man of the house and more like the useless lump of the house. It's been all mommy all the time and I was tired. My entire human hurt because I have been panic exercising in an attempt to insta-remove excess holiday weight by doing "explosive" lunges I read about in Women's Health. (I apologize to any neighbors that may have been witness to the "explosive" lunging.)

In any case I finally dragged myself from the safety of my bed and pretended to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I even made a "blender". (For those unfamiliar, a "blender" is essentially a smoothie but my daughter named it a blender because... it's made in a blender). The blender is a fair amount of work for an overly-tired, pre-caffeinated mommy. It requires going above and beyond with multiple ingredients, cleaning the blender, cutting fruit, etc. But the children love it so I made it. Plus, the blender offers the perfect portable yet healthy option when we're running late to my daughters pre-school. We are always running late. 

Within 4 minutes of handing the children their little cup of sunshine the 1 year old drops his while attempting to carry his cup in addition to two enormous stuffed animals. And thus the downward spiral begins... We are already running late but now I am cleaning a sticky floor, cleaning a sticky child, cleaning sticky stuffed animals, and preparing a new portable breakfast option. You will be impressed to know I did do all of this (silently cursing) and managed to arrive a mere two-minutes late to pre-school. 

But the saving grace of the chaotic morning, the Bright Side, was getting in the car and the kids requesting "We Are Young" by Fun. Thank you children! This was not a Disney Classics kind of morning. And thankfully, they like to hear it loud and everybody sings at the top of their lungs. Even the 1 year old is yelling something incomprehensible. And all former frustration is temporarily gone. Rock on my friends. Rock on. Even if the other children and parents are staring in disgust and possibly horror as you roll into pre-school with your blaring bad voices be loud and be proud. Because for that moment of sanity, it's worth it. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Poop in the Hand...

Just last evening I was responding to another blog post in which a mother was sadly packing up her children's old favorite toys and reflecting on days gone by. I was empathizing in a big way, sobbing as I typed. I'm pretty sure PMS may have been a factor.  

Even though my children are only 1 and 3, I totally have break downs thinking of them growing up too fast. I find this to be especially true when I watch Toy Story 3!! Damn that movie. I feel I can never throw another toy in the garbage even though the truth is, some toys NEED to go there...

In any case, shortly after I experience my dramatic and sentimental moment the 3 year old comes running into the house yelling, "Moooommmyyy, Riley's holding poop - in both hands!!!" Awesome. For a split second I ponder, is a poop in the hand worth two in the bush? Aaaahhh... a sobering dose of reality that reminds me it's not all ponies and rainbows. And it only gets worse... 

I run outside and grab the child and force him to toss the stiff dog poop. I then rush him into the bathroom and decide, "maybe we'll do bath time a little early tonight". As I prepare him for the tub he proceeds to do a little decorating in the form of peeing all over the tile and newly washed bath mat. 

As if on cue, my daughter comes dashing into the bathroom slipping into the pee. The good news is that we're in the bathroom, water is running, and they are both promptly placed in the tub as I place towels over the disaster zone and dream of the additional laundry I get to do tonight. 

It was unfortunate that my hubby chose this moment to "ring me" from his 5-star hotel in Miami. Poor guy, he had to work on a Sunday. Entertaining clients the night before having to take them to the BCS Championship game. He called to let me know he was, "heading out for the night, taking an armored limo to go party in South Beach." WTF? He'll pay for this. Maybe not now, but one day...

To top it all off I simultaneously have cookies baking, possibly burning. One of those things that was supposed to be fun to do with the kids but was basically just a big giant shi* storm. Since the post holiday extra poundage they were supposed to be "healthier" cookies baked with wheat flour. Idiot of an idea.Cookies were bland and dry as hell and now I have to clean that up too. At least the kids thought they were amazing! Probably not a lot of time left to fool them on my baking skills...

But the bright side is, of course, the reminder I was given that perhaps children growing up (slowly!) is not all bad. I might not miss the daily intimate encounters with the peepee and the poopy. But for now, I'll be thankful for my friend... Bacardi. Thanks for being there for me friend, and with zero carbs too. That's real friendship.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Is 3 Too Young for a Musical?


A little camera shy.
I love musicals but generally have no one to go with me or no time to go. Until NOW. NOW I have a tiny human that doesn't have a choice in the matter. But truly, I do hope to instill in her a love for live performance and was thrilled when the spouse surprised me with two tickets to Mary Poppins the Musical as a Christmas gift. 

I have always believed in the philosophy that life does not stop once you have kids. Things definitely do NOT always go as planned and definitely DO always take four times as long as you planned, but it doesn't stop. That said I've trucked both kids with me just about every where that is kid appropriate since they were born. Occasionally a liquor store which technically might not be considered kid appropriate but the other shoppers understand - you have kids and you may require a sip of something significant now and again or every evening just after 8pm....

All this said I know my daughter is a good kid and she can be trusted in public to at least try to do her best. However, I was clearly nervous in taking her to a live show. She hasn't sat still for over 30 seconds since conception. In other words, it has never happened. Visions of angry theatre patrons giving me the evil eye danced in my head... Alas, we were going to a show! We would do our bestest. Read on for the breakdown. It may help you decide to show, or not to show...
  1. The musical had a 2pm start date and it's a 35 minute drive. The problem with this scenario? Nap time generally begins around 1pm. 
  2. Naturally no nap took place. This heightens the potential for bad behavior, tantrums and the like by approximately 82%. 
  3. Around 12:30 I again proclaim my excitement in that the "girls" get to go to a show. Response: "Mama, I don't want to go. I want to stay home with my brother because I love him and he's my best friend." While endearing, we're going. 
  4. Thankfully a fancy dress with ruffles, velvet and bows can do wonders. Some call this child bribery. I call it a win-win. 
  5. Additionally, she has a Disney music CD and decides she is excited to hear them sing "Chim Chim," as she calls it. 
  6. By the time I'm finally able to get us both dressed and happy with our dresses I'm running late. It's no surprise and more like the story of my life. 
  7. I pack us into the vehicle and proceed to speed. As we round the exit for the parking ramp the child passes out. Finally taking that over due nap. Great timing. Great.
  8. No time to mess with parking I take a spot on the top floor of a six-floor parking ramp about two blocks from the theatre. 
  9. I foolishly decide to let the child sleep a few more minutes and attempt to carry her hurriedly to the show. This proves challenging as I'm wearing heels. But hell, I can do it! I did Disney alone with two kids in JULY. I can do ANYTHING!
  10. I cross the parking ramp carrying the additional 27 lbs. Thank God she's light. As I reach the elevator it has a tiny hand-written sign that reads, "Elevator broken. Sorry for any inconvenience." 
  11. I reach into my fancy handbag and pull out my mini chick gun and proceed to shoot the elevator until the bullets run out. The gun part did not actually happen but I envisioned this scenario and instead moved on to the stairs. There was no time to cross to the front of the ramp and walk further away from the theatre. 
  12. By the time I reach the bottom the child is awake and thankfully happy and excited we're going to a show. I think the fact that there are little girls and their moms everywhere decked out in pretty dresses heading to see Mary Poppins may have been essential.
  13. We find our seats and I'm thrilled to discover that not only are we 3 minutes early, we're seated in gallery seats that are near the door and on the end placed next to another mother with small children. We may have been able to touch the ceiling of this several story theatre, but there is a time and a place to be seated in the nosebleeds and this is one of those times. 
  14. Thankfully I have prepped the child for two days on the importance of being quiet and to whisper if she needs something during the show.
  15. Unfortunately I did not prep the child for two days on the importance of NOT needing something every 30 seconds or the importance of sitting still. 
  16. Withing two minutes of the opening I feel the tap tap on my knee. My little darling "has to go pee pee." She is instructed to wait.
  17. During the next 12 minutes I am told she has to go pee pee at least 17 times. In case you're not a math whiz, that is more than once per minute.
  18. During the same 12 minutes I'm asked repeatedly when we will hear "chim chim". 
  19. Finally I can't take it anymore and we rush to the restroom. 
  20. Clearly on our way back to our seats we hear "Chim Chim" from the hallway. Of course. 
  21. During the next hour I'm tapped on multiple occasions for questions on what's happening and told three or four times, "I have to go poopy sooo bad." 
  22. Again I give up and we hike it quickly to the restroom.
  23. Shortly thereafter is the intermission. Thank God! We can talk, walk, stretch. I will not be purchasing refreshments as I'd prefer to spend the rest of the show in our seats vs the restroom.
  24. After moving from her seat to my lap to the floor and back again twice she finally settles on my lap and passes out cold. Again I THANK GOD! While I'm sorry she missed the end, it may have been necessary for everyone's sanity.
  25. And then, like deja vous, the show ends and I proceed to carry the sleeping child down 5 stories in the theatre - following hundreds of people that have no where to be and are not heaving another human. I begin pushing people down the stairs without regret. Ok, that didn't happen but again, I did imagine it for a minute. Alas, I forge on the two blocks to the parking ramp and then up the the six flights to my car. Curse the heels. Curse the heat. My back muscles are now beginning to spasm, I'm sweating, my hair is flat yet frizzed and the look on my face deters others from commenting. Wise choice.
And would I do it again? In a heartbeat. For all my sarcasm I'm incredibly sentimental and teared up at least nine times looking at my daughter's face light up during this show, literally the bright side of this adventure. And would I wear the heels again? Indeed. I'm just not ready for a sensible flat.