Monday, October 17, 2016

Why You Should Never Potty Train Your Child

You guys.  Look around.  Everyone is potty trained.  All I see when I go to Target, when I take my children to Chick-Fil-A, when we go to the park are a bunch of people who had someone in their life to teach them that "diapers are for babies," and "undies are for big boys/girls" with encouragement and care. 
Well, I have something to say about that:
What a load of mish-mosh, pish-posh.
I mean, the actual saying is fine, whatever.  Say whatever you want, but let's get something straight- potty training your child is a gift from the devil.  It requires you to watch their every move, and then as sure as you take your eyes off of them for even the slightest second they go in their underwear.  And not just in their underwear...on your rug.  With furniture on it.  So, it's impossible to thoroughly clean.  Right after you took them to sit on the potty for ten minutes.  And if you don't know ten minutes is an eternity when you're waiting for your tiny toddler to emit some kind of bodily fluid from their small selves, all while singing every song you know, reading 5 books, and begging, BEGGING for them to just go because you know they have to, while they reply,
"No, NO singing, mommy!"  "I don't want that book!"  "No, NO go potty, mommy!"
Oh Dear Lord in Heaven, help.
If you can't tell we are in the throws of potty training Youngest.  She's mostly getting it, despite my previous lamenting, but bless her heart, she's quite stubborn at times.  I happen to cherish this trait about her.  After all, if I do my job in helping her, she can use that stubbornness for the goodness of her soul and humanity.  However,  I do not appreciate it when she up and decides to have her own thoughts and feelings on a matter that I disagree with.  Aren't kids supposed to just do what we tell them?  I mean...geez.  Parenting.
ANYWAY, the other day we were outside playing.  I could tell Youngest had to go potty- she was doing the dance, holding herself, and talking about going potty.  Although, when I went to put her on the potty she screamed as if I was stabbing her one hundred times.  Did I mention I had brought her tiny, Fischer Price potty outside so all the neighbors could really hear?  It was great.
Anyway, while the littles played I was cleaning out my van because my van is also synonymous with, "trashcan."  As I'm cleaning, Youngest climbs aboard the van, and is walking around in there.  I don't think much of it because she and Eldest love to play in the van from time to time.  She's toddling around in there, Eldest is playing just outside the garage, and as I go to yell something to him I hear Youngest say, "Pee pee, mommy!"
Oh Lawd.
I turn and she has, yes, gone in the van.  Luckily, she primarily did her business on the rubber floor mats.  I mean, hallelujah!  So much better than the carpet in.  However, did you notice that word I used, "Primarily"?  Did you see that?  Pay attention, friends, because the other place she peed was in my purse that was sitting on those rubber mats in the van. 
If you don't know, there's no going back from that.
Bless it.
I mean, in her defense she had just denied that she had to go even though she was doing the dance and holding herself when I let her in the van.  So...we all know who is really to blame for the purse debacle.
And on the bright side, I got to go get a new purse at Target.  So, it wasn't a total wash of a family memory.
Overall, Youngest is doing so well.  I'm still trying to teach her that after we go to the potty we don't pick it up to show everyone in the house.  That tends to be messy, and quite an event.
You guys.
Send Starbucks.
And Lysol.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Since I've Been Gone

You guys, if you don't know what show this is from you're probably a millennial.
Look at what a baby John Travolta was!  So tiny.
Oh, hey there internet.  Long time no see.  That's my fault, really.  Obviously.  I've been MIA for approximately one hundred years at this point.  And you guys, while I'm flattered, you really didn't have to send the paparazzi to try and find me.  I'm still here.  It was such an ordeal getting those photos of me shopping at Target back from People Magazine.  To top it off they sent me a kind of rude letter telling me to stop sending pictures of myself to them since no one cares that I bought toothpaste, storage bins, and kid's clothes because I'm basic and not famous. 
 It's fine. 
I'm over it.
ANYWAY, since I've been gone I've learned a few things in my time away from these parts.  I've learned that I really, really love those Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches that have the ice cream with the cookie covered in a chocolate layer.  You guys.

I've learned that I no longer care for the PSL (that's Pumpkin Spice Latte for you non-Starbuckers out there).  I don't know what happened, and I'm really sad about it.  I was such a PSL fan, and then come September 1st I took a swig and said, "Nope."  Maybe it's maturity?  I don't know, but I don't like it.
I've learned that I really enjoy wearing a one piece swimsuit, and if that makes me lame I'm totally okay with it.
I've learned that I love a good jumpsuit.  Which, I kind of already knew, but I feel like it needs to be mentioned.  Basically, I enjoy clothing that is a uni-suit.  I like stylish, low-maintenance clothing that you don't have to work hard to put on...because putting on pants and a shirt separately is exhausting, apparently.
I learned that I still love Ingrid Michaelson.  Why is she so fun?!  I just can't get enough of her.
I've learned that no matter what, Jon Bellion will get me through the best and the worst.  If you haven't listened to this, this, or this you should.  He's amazing.  And if you don't like it...well...haters to left, my friend.
I've learned that even though I've read the Harry Potter Series four times, a fifth is just as fulfilling and as promising as the first time I read it.  Especially with this podcast on board.

I've learned and re-learned and re-learned again that my children are phenomenal creatures.  They absolutely amaze me with their bravery, resilience, and hilarity on a daily basis.
I've been reminded that spending time with Dearest is still absolutely one of my most favorite things to do.  He was, is, and will continue to be a good choice for me.  I was especially reminded of this over the last little while.
I've learned that it's okay to go your own way.  It's okay to feel both right and wrong about everything and nothing. 
I've learned that my demons are still alive and well within my spirit, but I've learned that they have a place.  They have a seat at my table, and that is nothing to be ashamed of.  Their place is valid and true, and they teach me something about myself that the angels cannot.  They have taken up too much of my time while I have been away, but I think they are learning their place.  I, in turn, am learning too.
I am sure I will get into some of these lessons as we journey onward; as I continue to learn my way here.
This summer has been immensely joyful and painful for me.  I have watched and felt the forest around me burn to ground, but I can feel the richness of the soil of my soul beneath me as I move on.  Getting knocked down never feels good, and sometimes getting up feels even worse.  But as I stand here, I can tell you that I am deeply thankful for that pain. 
I needed it.  It was warranted.  It brings me such peace that I cannot even describe.
It makes me better.  It makes me stronger.  It makes me more me.  I am always thankful for any lesson, no matter the pain, that affords me those gifts.
So, here I go.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Guest Post: Speak Your Silence

Hey you guysssss!!  Guess what?!  It's summer!  I know. Duh.  You're sweating as you read this and drink your iced tea.  Or your chilled wine, if you're off duty.  So, sweet drinker of mine, have another glass for me while I tell you that I have some really exciting news:
Today is my very first guest post ever and I am so thrilled to let you know that today's post is from Matt Pipkin, the founder of Speak Your Silence.  If you haven't heard of Speak Your Silence yet then today is your lucky day!  Matt is an incredibly brave and honest soul who decided to take his pain, and make something of it for the betterment of himself and others.  His non-profit is incredibly close to my heart, and I hope you find encouragement after you read his words.
Here's Matt:

I just love to see the transformation in a person’s life when they realize their worth.  It really changes everything, and it’s just so evident.
This was the case for me just a few years back.  I come from a fantastic family, so I always knew I was loved and that my folks were proud of me.  However, I grew up carrying a lie in my heart (although, I didn’t realize it at the time), which took a heavy toll for almost 20 years.
The lie was simple:  I’m bad.  
It almost feels silly to type it out.  But, it wasn’t silly.  It was very real.  And it went with me from age 6 through twenty-five.
I didn’t realize it in these terms at the time, but when I experienced success, I often didn’t feel like I deserved it.  But, when things went bad, I was quick to own it and blame myself.
This all changed a few years ago.  
I was a couple years out of college, feeling like a total failure (what a heavy word to own).  I’d lost and was continuing to lose a whole bunch of money during the 2008 real estate collapse, I was carrying a broken heart, and I was clueless of what I was good at or - more importantly - what to do with my life.  But worst of all, I was questioning what value I offered to the world.  
I was full of fear, stress, guilt, you name it.  And finally, this was about the time when I made a connection between what I was presently going through… and what I went through when I was 6.
I was sexually abused when I was a kid, and for the first time in my life, I was realizing that it had a deep impact on me.
It took some time, but I ended up sharing my story with my parents, which I’d been forever terrified to do, fearing I’d devastate them.  Not surprisingly, they overwhelmed me with love, as great parents do.
About a year later, I finally summoned the courage to go see a counselor.
I’m still somewhat shocked by the results, if I’m to be perfectly honest.  My counselor, Swede, changed my life.
I’d sought peace and refuge from fear – albeit, secretly – my entire life, and it’d never had staying power.  This was completely different.  This was a change at my core, something that can never be taken away from me.
The super secret sauce:  truth.
I grew up in church, experiencing panic attacks anytime I heard reference to that famous second half of a verse in 1 John in the Bible, “…the truth will set you free.”  Why?  Because my interpretation was:  “Matt, until you come clean and tell your parents what you did, you’ll never be free; you’ll be stuck in this prison of your own lies.”
But, obviously, I couldn’t tell because, if I did, my life would be ruined.  I was stuck.
However, through the process of counseling with Swede, one evening I had a revelation:  I’ve understood this verse backward my entire life.  I finally understood it to mean this:  “Matt, because you now know the truth about yourself – that you are infinitely valuable innately and no one, including yourself, can ever do anything to take away from this – you are now completely free.”
It couldn’t have been any simpler.  But, it changed my whole life.  
Today, I use my story to share this same life-changing truth with others who so desperately need it.  I founded a nonprofit called Speak Your Silence, which has a mission to conquer the stigma of child sexual abuse.  
Additionally, we make in-person, one-on-one counseling accessible nationwide for those directly affected by child sexual abuse.
One in 4 girls and one in 6 boys are sexually abused prior to their eighteenth birthday and most will never tell a soul.  It’s my firm belief that these stats won’t significantly change until the heavy social dynamics surrounding this whole issue change.
At Speak Your Silence, we're in the business of moving this weighted, taboo issue into an inspiring, empowering cause that we can all be excited to champion.
We accomplish this mission with our symbol, The Stitch, which looks like this:  /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\.  The Stitch is physically symbolic of your unique voice frequency when you wear it, demonstrating to those you love that they’re safe sharing the stories they have perhaps always feared sharing.

We launched The Stitch two years ago with The Stitch kit, and then last year expanded to offering a hand-made classic pocket tee line, featuring The Stitch hand sewn into each pocket.

The added bonus is that 100% of profits from The Stitch fund our counseling program.

The bottom line is that we’ve seen a lot of lives changed as a result of this very simple symbol.  Each person who wears it changes lives in their social circles in a way that we never could on our own… and this, collectively, changes things on a large scale.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of this problem, but I’d challenge you to take action to deliver truth to the life of just one person who needs it.  You can do this by wearing The Stitch and sharing it with just one person, whether they’ve been impact by our cause or not.

I tell you, there’s nothing better than seeing the impact that truth can have on a person’s life when they realize their innate worth. I hope you’ll be part of this work we’re doing.  ☺


Learn more about Speak Your Silence and our symbol, The Stitch.