Monday, September 30, 2013

What We Do

Most of us do our best.  We try to get it right.  We schedule, plan, drop off, pick up, organize, socialize, politicize, make, fold, wash, put away, fix, teach, scold, enlighten, remind, wonder and love.  All.the.time.  We also forget, show up late, lose, get lost, yell, nag, compare, worry and love.  

We are parents, it's what we do.

We celebrate victories big and small.  Well adjusted kids that get good grades? Um, a really good feeling.  Laundry that is all folded, put away and you know, caught up?  Yeah, that is the best five minutes maybe ever.  

But more important than how we celebrate, is how we rebound.  How we come back from the five million mistakes we make, how we cope is critical to parental survival.  

Last week, Tim and I  forgot something and we felt like total garbage.  Lucy lost a tooth at school and was very excited to put it under her pillow.  I loved that she was still into the whole tooth fairy deal.  She's in fourth grade, the days of fairies and magic are numbered.  

The next morning, Lucy stomped down the stairs and informed us "she forgot."  I gave her a look that said "oh my god, how could that bitch tooth fairy forget about you, my perfect angel, I would never forget you, ever."  And then I said, "well, honey, maybe she has a good explanation, put the tooth back under your pillow."

"Well, if she doesn't come tonight, I'm not believing anymore," she stated and then sulked into the other room to pack her backpack for school.

I quickly called Tim and told him how we had totally screwed up and ruined everything.  "We killed her belief in fairies," I scream-whispered.  "She wants an explanation and 'I fell asleep on the couch because life is exhausting and I'm getting old' won't work."

Later that night, Tim and I stood in the kitchen staring at each other wondering what we would tell Lucy.  Suddenly, Tim started scribbling something down in his best tooth fairy handwriting.  Without speaking, he pushed the piece of paper across the counter top.  It was weird and brilliant.

It wasn't too wordy or apologetic.  The tooth fairy wasn't full of guilt, she was super busy, but doing her best.  There.

"She came, she remembered me!," Lucy squealed as she ran down the stairs full of happiness and belief.  Brazil made perfect sense to her.  

She forgave her and felt loved, that's what kids do.

I may not know a lot about parenting, but I do know front porches. 
So much in fact, I'm giving out advice in the Detroit Free Press. Check it out.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Falling Into A Groove, What I Know For Sure & #iPPP

It's Fall. Time for pumpkin lattes, sweatshirts and shorts, mums and more.  I love this time of year.  We are over all the end-of-summer sadness and the start-of-the-school-year anxiety.  We have routines and schedules and we are in the groove. 

We're picking out our clothes the night before school.
The painting and the quote "To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything" were on Lucy's closet wall when we moved into this house.  In fact, it's one of the reasons I chose this place and had a good feeling about it.  
We are finding sweet rides to school.

We are enforcing early bedtimes.
I walk in expecting to find Tim reading a bedtime story and I find them playing football which then turned into a pyramid of course.  Because of course.
We are having family dinners as often as sports and work schedules allow.
They were moving around telling so many stories at dinner it was hard to not get a blurry picture with my phone.
I love dinnertime storytelling so very much.  I wholeheartedly believe it is an art form that so few people know.
Lucy had the floor, er porch, on this particular evening.
We're making new friends.

This is a sweet time of year when we are busy, but not too busy.  
Every day when Peyton gets off the bus Wade rides his scooter as fast as he can screaming "Buuuuuddddyyyyy" and gives him a giant hug.

After-school snacks on the porch.  I am going to use this front porch as long as the weather will allow.

Nature + Wade
We are figuring some things out and appreciating it all.  The holidays f*ck up all this sweetness for me and make me question everything.  But we are still a couple months away from that stress, so it's mostly sweetness and appreciation.  

There's no punchline, no joke, just gratitude.  And it's not perfect.  I cried a lot this week because of my own depression/anxiety demons and "crazybrain" issues, Tim had to work a lot, we went off our budget and that just isn't good at all, there were homework battles, JT got gluten somewhere and had to be picked up from school early, I had trouble sleeping and then was exhausted during the day, I still haven't called my mother and it's been on my to-do list for months and I have guilt, I felt stress from not replying to emails fast enough or ever, yeah all that was there.  All that doesn't matter as much when we are in a groove and the good things are falling into place and the world is full of mostly happy, cute kids and pumpkin lattes.  Right now, we are in a groove and I am grateful, that I know for sure this week.

Here's what else I know for sure (this week):

  • I found some music that is seriously dreamy and better than an Old Navy sweater commercial.  Listen and swoon.

Found this via Girl's Gone Child (one of my favorite writer people ever).

Found this via Pandora--That's What She Say by Wild Child.

  • I am loving biking more places and believe more people should bike.  It's my new thing and I love it.

  • I vlogged about Kate Gosselin's hair and my obsession with it and what it means.  Mmm-hmmm, yup, I did.  Check it out and subscribe to my YouTube channel for more insightful, educational videos like the one below.

  • Tina Fey is hosting SNL so I will be watching, duh.

  • I want to get a tattoo. I was drawing designs on my arm in church with a Sharpee marker.  I think it's going to happen soon (that sounds so "dear diary").

  • I may regret getting a tattoo, but I will never regret getting a piano.  Nothing makes me happier than to hear the kids playing the piano and singing along.  

What do you know for sure (this week)? C'mon, we're friends, share what you know. Leave a comment here or on the Facebook page.

  Please come play with me on Instagram @jumpingwithmyfingerscrossed

All the pictures in this post were taken with my phone.

I'm linking up today with my friends Greta from and Sarah from for the #iPPP link up.  They host a link up where they encourage people to share "your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favorite photos of the week" from our phones. 

Check them out.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Talkin' TV

I take TV watching very seriously.

Yesterday I did something I've only done once before.*  I emailed a television station/channel regarding my dismay/anger because they took off one of my shows (Access Hollywood Live).  Yeah, I even said "my shows" in the email just like I was 80 years old.  Sure, I felt a little ridiculous typing the email.  I mean I get it, there are a lot of other emails I could send filled with my outrage about injustice in the world.  My particular beef (again with the 80-yr-old speak) was with my local Fox affiliate and their programming decisions. I know even as I type this, I kind of can't believe I've become one of those people, those fans that sends angry emails to stations/channels.  But I take TV watching very seriously and my love runs deep.
*I emailed the programming department a decade ago when they took off reruns of Thirtysomething, which I personally think should just always be on somewhere like old I Love Lucy shows.

I've always loved television, like a lot.  Some people might say I've loved it a little too much, but I don't hang out with those some people.  

As a kid, my Saturday mornings were spent with cartoons, my summers with soap operas and Sale of the Century.  I grew up wanting to be a Solid Gold dancer or a detective that looked like Lonnie Anderson or Lynda Carter from Partners in Crime (anyone remember that show?) or a cruise director like Julie on The Love Boat or marry into a family like the Ewings from Dallas.  Okay, maybe those "some people" are right, I might have watched a little too much and loved it a little too much.

Pop culture on TV helped raise me.  It was my entertainment and my escape. It was my routine and stability in a somewhat unstable home. 

In middle school, I came home everyday and I poured myself a tall glass of fruit punch, grabbed a Little Debbie snack cake and plopped onto my spot on the couch in front of the TV.  I turned the channel (literally because duh, we didn't have a fancy remote control) between Guiding Light, General Hospital and Santa Barbara.  Then I'd get out my homework and do it while I watched Oprah at 4 p.m. and Donahue at 5 p.m.  I used to dream about being a caller on Donahue's show begging for help for my crazy mother, but I never found the phone number (duh(again), no Internet).

Years later, I still sort of have routines around TV shows i.e. watching Access Hollywood Live while I make Wade lunch. But now what will I do?  I tell you all of this so you can begin to understand just how deep my love and obsession appreciation for TV really is.

These days there are so many TV shows. My TV habits have changed.  I'm less self-help, more entertainment.  I'm less must-see TV shows each week, more binge watching seasons for weeks.

Even though I am outraged about my daytime programming, I'm sure I'll find a new one to watch.  And this time of year is really special to us total freaks TV lovers.

What I'm Looking Forward To Watching Again: Parenthood  

Love this show. It's like entertaining therapy for Tim and me.  It's sooooo good.

Scandal Even though binge watching the first two seasons made me question our government and hate everyone, I love this show.  This is another one that Tim and I watch together.

New Girl I love the whole cast of this show.  Funny and silly and sweet.  Just all around good fun.

The Good Wife We've watched this one since the beginning and love it.  It is smart and not too heavy on the violence or romance so it's perfect for us.

Shows I want to start watching and am a little embarrassed that I don't already:
Breaking Bad, duh, the most talked about show this week.  I watched the first episode of the first season the other night and was sufficiently disturbed.

The Mindy Project It looks funny and I like funny.

Homeland Angela Chase! I mean Claire Danes is in this and of course is a critic's darling.  This is one I want to binge watch for sure.

Veep  It's supposed to be funny and smart and I love Julia Louis Dreyfuss.  I watched five minutes of one episode and loved it, but I fell asleep.  Nothing against the show, the exhaustion just won that night.

Orange is the New Black I just want to be cool and this show is what a lot of the cool kids are watching.  Yup.

Shows that I tried and we just didn't click:
Glee It doesn't make sense because I love musicals, I love TV and I love celebrity guest stars.  I don't understand why I don't like it.

Revenge  I got behind in watching and felt too much pressure to catch up.  It was good, but it just didn't work out.

Shows that I will never watch:
NCIS, Criminal Minds and anything scary like American Horror Story or the Walking Dead  
My anxiety issues and overactive imagination simply will not allow me to watch these shows.

I could go on and on and on.  I didn't even cover new shows starting this season, shows like Modern Family that I'm just kind of over, mid-season shows like Mad Men and Dallas and so.much.more. But what about YOU?  What are you watching?  What premieres are you looking forward to?  

Just for fun, remember when I went to THE Southfork Ranch?  Checked it off my bucket list and fulfilled a childhood dream when I was in Dallas last year.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Don't Call It A Comeback & a MamaKat Vlog Link Up

It's easy to get discouraged.  Sometimes I feel small, like what I'm doing is stupid.  

I'm talking about blogging and vlogging, it could be something else for you.  I'm talking about starting something, going for it and sticking with it.  Maybe it's to make money, maybe it's just to be creative and have fun, maybe it's to get all the voices out of your head.  I had you until the last one, right?  Okay I won't scare you with my neurosis, but you get it.  Right?

Over the past month, writing and blogging has helped me heal and feel less broken.  Connecting with people, motivating me to be creative, pushing me forward, teaching me about life, people and art.  Vlogging? Well, that's been harder.  I haven't wanted to sit in front of my flip cam or computer and talk.  

I suck at the sad vlog.  

Negative self-talk? I am a pro.  After not feeling the desire to vlog I started to say things like this in my head "why do you even vlog? no one watches" and "you don't have enough subscribers to matter."  Ouch.

Well, I'm fighting back and my inner bitch is going down.  I vlog because it's fun and creative and another way to connect.  I vlog because someday I hope I have more subscribers and can make a little money.  I vlog because I want to learn more about shooting and editing video.  I vlog because I have a voice and it matters.   I vlog because I want to.

Like an old LL Cool J song, don't call it a comeback.  I'm here and I'm sticking with it.  Today I'm proving it by posting a kick-ass vlog about....Kate Gosselin's hair.  Okay, they'll get better, but I'm sticking with it.  Cuz you know like LL says "I'm gonna take this itty bitty world by storm and I'm just gettin' warm."

Keep on keeping on with your something whether it's a vlog, a blog, a hobby a new business or your biggest, scariest dream.  Knock 'em out.

Here's the latest vlog, it's a link up with Mama Kat's Vlogging Prompts and yes, it's about Kate Gosselin's hair and what my obsession with it all means.  What does it meeeaaan????? (supposed to be a reference to famous YouTube double rainbow dude)

(If you are an email subscriber, click here to watch

If you want to help me prove my inner bitch wrong, please go ahead and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

And go check out Mama Kat & the other vloggers that link up.

It wouldn't be right not to include this video.  You should play and do a little air boxing and/or kitchen dancing.  Seriously, do it.
LL Cool J's Mama Said Knock You Out

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Snorkel

At the football game on Saturday, my snorkel fell out of my activity bag.  Why would I be carrying a snorkel?   Why not?  
Tim is super dad--
he coaches JT's flag football team
and helps coach Peyton's team.
I feel like the caption for this picture shoud be
"God loves football."
And for some reason, I think that is so funny.  

I've never been one of those moms with the monogrammed 31 bag full of extra snacks, wipes and band-aids.  I'm not much of a planner.  When I hear the words "be prepared" I usually spend more time singing them like Scar in The Lion King rather than actually preparing.

I'm more of a fly by the seat of your pants kind of mom.  Sure, I may not have all the supplies for a given situation, but I'm always ready.  I'm ready to make the best of the situation, teach the kids that everything will be okay.  When Wade forgets to put on his shoes for his big brother's baseball tournament and we don't realize it until we are at the tournament, no, I don't have extra shoes for him in the minivan.  But I do have a snorkel from our beach trip earlier in the summer to make him laugh and extra sunscreen (never taken out from previously mentioned beach trip) for his tender little toes.  

Can we really be totally prepared anyway?  I mean sure, your kid's blood sugar gets a little low, that extra snack bar will most definitely come in handy.  But lately, I've had some crazy shit happen.  A stick going through Lucy's finger, who can be prepared for that?  I mean really?  
I always have a book in case the other kids don't feel like watching the game.  Yeah, this book happened to be in Spanish and none of speak or read Spanish, but it had pictures so it kept them busy for a while.
This past Saturday evening, we went on a family walk.  We went off the main path and pretended we were explorers because we love that stuff.  Wade tripped over a tree root and directly into a bee hive, nest or whatever they are called when they are in the ground.  He was covered with bees and running for the road.  The whole family and our dog ran behind him screaming, arms flailing.  Well the dog wasn't screaming and she doesn't have arms, but you know what I mean.  It was every man (and dog) for himself for a few minutes.  We were quite a sight. Once Tim and I caught up with Wade, we stripped him down to his underwear and got rid of all the bees.  The poor boy ended up with 14 stings, bites or whatever you call them.  

I wrapped Wade up in my sweater and we headed for home.  After a bath and some Benadryl, Wade was better.  After a glass of wine, I was better.  But seriously, sticks and bee attacks...who can prepare for those?  Life throws some pretty crazy curveballs.

Wade was back to his old self the next day,
trying to keep up with the big boys.
(And doing a pretty good job blocking Tim.)
Some days I bemoan my unpreparedness and wish I could be like moms who fill their minivans with essentials.  I've indeed borrowed wipes from the mom with the 31 bag full of all things practical and been very grateful for her certain kind of preparedness. Hopefully I've made some kids and moms laugh with my out-of-place/off-season snorkel.  Or at the very least made some mom feel better who is upset with herself for packing everything but the extra wipes. 

We're a village right?  We can help each other. It's dangerous to get caught up in comparisons and judgements.  Feeling less than or better than each other.   

My prepared just may not look like your prepared.  Just like my volunteering may not look like your volunteering. My parenting may not look like your parenting.  But we need each other.  Especially for the crazy curveball moments in life when no amount of planning can help and we drop everything to do what we can for one other.

We need traditional planners, non-traditional planners and moms that sing just like Scar in The Lion King.  And who knows, there may come a day when someone somewhere says "if only someone brought a snorkel" and I will truly be prepared.

What type of mom-person are you?  Practically Prepared or Fly-By-The-Seat-Of-Your-Pants Prepared?  Traditional Planner or Non-Traditional Planner? Or somewhere in between?

In case you don't remember the song, here is the tune I would set on fire in a Karaoke jam session--"Be Prepared" from The Lion King.

Last spring I made a vlog about what was in my purse, it's kind of funny to see all the crap that I found in there (no snorkel).  Check it out.  What's in your purse?  What's in your bag?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Beautiful Power, What I Know For Sure & #iPPP

I got the time wrong for my kid's curriculum night at his elementary school (I was an hour early!), so I sat outside by the bike rack and took selfies and wrote a blog post.
That's what you would do right?
I have a love, hate relationship with the world wide web and technology.  I love the connecting, the searching, the remembering.  

The first time I was on Facebook, I remember feeling sort of disturbed.  I was friending and connecting with people from a past life and it felt weird.  But now it just feels like dots connected, like puzzle pieces put in their place.  Because of course I should tell my best friend from kindergarten happy birthday even though I haven't really talked to her since the last day of kindergarten 30 years ago.  And it's not weird that I "like" all the sweet new baby pictures posted by the wife of the boy I looooooved in 7th grade.  

Growing up, my real best friend was TV.  The world we live in now, where you can watch a show anywhere on all different kinds of devices, is a world beyond my wildest little-kid dreams.  I mean it's all kinds of amazing.  

But all this amazing-ness and connected-ness can be overwhelming as a parent.  And that's what I hate about technology.  I really have nothing else to say about this part of the conversation.  It is really a whole other conversation.  Tweens and teens and technology? Too much access, too much screen time, too much connected-ness, too much texting, too much porn, too much, too much.  F*ck, now this is really scaring me and this post wasn't supposed to be about that.

Because what I love about technology is all the good, all the beautiful power.  There is so much that is wonderful and amazing (even better than the fact that you can watch old episodes of almost any show evah anywhere on your ipad, which is just beyond).  We have access to people's stories and art and music and culture and beauty and pain and joy and love.  

This week I was reminded about the beautiful power and the goodness of social media.  A friend, a former babysitter of ours, is my friend on Facebook.  We comment on each other's funny pictures, like the sweet or funny comments, congratulate each other when things go well, wish each other luck, etc.  She and I are very different.  Our political Facebook posts are polar opposites which I find sort of hilarious.  Ten days ago, this friend went into labor early and had baby Sawyer.  Being born at 24 weeks means a lot of tubes, tests and concerns.  My heart broke imagining my friend and her husband watching their baby go through all of this, while taking care of their young daughter at home.  I reached out to her on Facebook.  I was invited to a Facebook event for a Day of Prayer for Sawyer where it was suggested we write baby Sawyer's name on our wrists or arms and pray.  
Wade and I prayed for Sawyer.
Picture after picture was uploaded to the event page.  People all across the country praying for Sawyer, thinking about Sawyer, loving Sawyer.  Instantly, my friend knew she was loved, her family was loved and her baby was loved.  She knew in an instant that she was not alone.  That is beautiful, that is good and wonderful, I know that for sure.

Without all this social media, I never would have fallen in love with my latest obsessions:

To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) is a nonprofit organization that is changing lives.  It is helping to destigmatize mental illness and discussions about suicide and self-harming.  It is about giving people hope.   The Facebook feed is full of inspirational quotes and stories. There are real ways for people to help and get involved.  It is beautiful and powerful. 
Click here to read how it started, it is an amazing story, you might cry.

Humans of New York is about people watching, story telling and noticing the art of the everyday.  Follow them on Facebook and Instagram, seriously, do it.  I am in love with this project.  It reminds me of the people watching I used to do when I rode the bus to and from work a million years ago.  It is beautiful and good and wonderful and real.  It is art.

Click here for more information about Humans For New York.

Without the Internet I would never have never have heard one of my favorite songs that has gotten me through some tough times the last couple months, Better Days by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.  My Pandora channel dedicated to them was my soundtrack this summer, and it is pretty beautiful too.

So yeah, I don't know exactly what to do with teenagers and technology, but I do know for sure to appreciate the good, the beautiful power and the wonderful parts of social media. 

Here's what else I know for sure this week:

  • Curriculum Night? More like Curriculum Week. This was my week.  When you have four kids, you have four curriculum nights and it's a lot of information.  I sort of feel bad for whoever is last because by that I point I could care less what they are learning.

  • I went to a movie in the middle of the day and it was a beautiful thing.  My pal Steph and I went to an indie flick at the hipster movie theater in a neighboring town.  It was so much fun, I felt like I was 24 and sort of cool.

  • The movie In A World is good and you should see it.  This is the indie movie we saw.  Directed, written and starring Lake Bell, a smart, funny woman.  Woo-hoo!!!! Seriously, I'm a little obsessed with her now.  Plus it's a movie about voice over work, so I've been talking like a voice over artist all over my house for a week and everyone loves it.  "Welcome to breakfast, the best meal of the day, it will change your life, how will you like it?," said in my deepest, booming voice.  It's fun.  See it, then try it.  Even just watch the trailer below and try it.  Live a little.

  • We are all about football on the weekends.  And football scares me as a mom.  But commentating? Um, no.  If any of my boys want to grow up and be Bob Costas I am totally okay with that.  And doesn't JT look so cute?  Or maybe he'll be a voiceover artist.
JT was helping Tim coach in the booth at Peyton's football game last Sunday.

  • This Sunday is one of my favorite Sundays all year because it is the Emmy Awards.  Head on over and watch with me on Twitter (@AngelaYBlood).  Watching award shows are always more fun on Twitter, trust me.

What do you know for sure (this week)? C'mon, we're friends, share what you know. Leave a comment here or on the Facebook page.

  Please come play with me on Instagram @jumpingwithmyfingerscrossed

All the pictures in this post were taken with my phone.

I'm linking up today with my friends Greta from and Sarah from for the #iPPP link up.  They host a link up where they encourage people to share "your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favorite photos of the week" from our phones. 

Check them out.