Resolutions? A New Plan

New Years resolutions are not my cup of tea.

Come to think of it, they aren’t even my glass of champagne.

Sure, I make some in my head each year that manage to be broken by the time the kids head back to school from Winter Break.

But I have a new approach to resolutions this year that I wish I’d thought of sooner. You may like to steal a few of my ideas yourself, come to think of it. Since it’s Wednesday I am hanging out at Moonfrye today, talking about my hot new inspiration for New Years Resolutions.

I would love for you to visit me there. I may even offer you a glass of champagne if you stick around long enough.

Christmas Memory at SITS

Just this morning, my calendar screamed that it was December 1st already.

How did that happen? This means the holidays are just around the corner…and I have lots to do.

But today I am honored to be featured over at The Secret to Success is Support, better known to bloggy-types as The SITS Girls! I’m talking about one of my favorite Christmas traditions that’s been in our little family since my oldest was just a bun in the oven. If you haven’t visited my blog before, that was a long time ago.

I would love for you to visit me over there and read about my favorite item that comes down out of the attic each December.

If you’re visiting me from SITS today, welcome to Old Tweener!

Want a little taste of what goes on around here? Here are a few of my favorite posts from the past:

Exit Interview

Pomp and Circumstance

If You Give a Dad a Daughter

What You Wish For

Hang around a while, and I may even make you a cup of coffee.

Mom Has Left the Building

Within the hour I am leaving home to attend BlogHer in San Diego. I am leaving my family behind with crappy food, bathrooms that didn’t get cleaned, and questionable laundry status.

This makes me feel both guilty and giddy at the same time.

I thought I would run a post from the past to remind myself that they will forgive me.

Eventually.

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Whether you are a mom or just have a mom, you know that all mothers have flaws. No matter how hard we try, we just can’t be perfect.

Sure, there’s that one mom from the PTA meetings who seems perfect. But rumor has it that she blew a gasket last week in Target when her toddler decided to remove his diaper and run full-speed past the checkout lines.

On a crowded Saturday.

So while most days begin on a good note, things can take a turn at any moment.

Take a few minutes too long in the bathroom when you have a crawling infant and you may find your potted plant has been un-potted.

On the carpet.

Babies teethe, blow-out diapers, and don’t sleep when you need them to. Toddlers rip pages from favorite books, overturn coffee mugs (wasting precious caffeine), throw epic tantrums, and terrorize pets. Older children bicker with siblings, whine, miss their carpool pick up, whine some more, make extreme messes, flunk tests, leave laundry on the floor, and argue with you about it all.

Most of these things on their own aren’t so major. But combine a few, and even the best of us might blow our tops once in a while. We may yell a little bit, say something we don’t mean, send someone to their room, or simply grunt and clench our fists in frustration.

Then the mommy guilt sets in. Melissa at Confessions of a Dr. Mom wrote a great post about this just last week. We all set such high standards for ourselves that when the inevitable scolding/yelling/sending the kids out of the room/morphing into The Hulk happens we immediately go to that place inside that labels us as a Bad Mom.

These are the episodes of parenting that have led to many a spirited playgroup discussion. We lay our mommy indiscretions at the feet of our friends, looking for redemption and hoping they’ve done the same thing.

But today I am going to let you in on a little secret. A secret that may change the way you look at those little rugrats, those unruly but adorable toddlers, and those sulky teens.

Our biggest cheerleaders may not be our other mommy friends.

They are our own children.

The very children who say we are the meanest mommy ever, who roll their eyes when we ask them to clean their rooms, and who want nothing to do with us when we shop together at the mall. Children who most certainly think they are being reared by none other than Attila the Hun and his wife Bertha the Horrid.

They are the ones who want us to succeed the most.

That’s The Power of a Mom. These little pieces of our heart walking around in dirty socks with messy hair and runny noses really, really love us. And they want us to do a good job.

I work with young children who are at-risk for difficulties with school adjustment. Each year, I have at least a handful of students who have experienced first-hand some of the worst mistakes a mom can make: drug or alcohol abuse, incarceration, neglect, verbal or physical abuse.

And without fail, time and time again, these little children still put their mothers on a pedestal.

Because they want them to succeed at being a mom. Their very being depends on it.

They draw pictures of their beautiful, smart mommies. They create visions of what their life will be like when mommy comes home or brings them back to live with her. They gloss over details they don’t know I am aware of, creating excuses for their moms who have taken a path not consistent with motherhood.

The Power of a Mom.

We are, most of the time, someone our children can count on. Whether it’s a peanut-butter sandwich in a lunchbox, a hug after a fight with a friend, or someone to check your spelling homework: mom is there.

So even when she’s not consistent, not physically or mentally able, or not even particularly interested in being a mom, her children are still her biggest cheerleaders. They want their mommy to succeed.

So the next time you yell at your little one because she spilled milk for the tenth time or send your teenager to his room for being surly and the guilt sets in, remember this.

Without fail, these little ones are your biggest fans.

They expect you to make mistakes, they accept your apologies, and love you in spite of it all.

Even if their facial expressions and eye rolls don’t show it.

Got Trends?

I love magazines.

Love them.

They’re like that cute guy who works at In-N-Out Burger. You see him once a month; he’s all glossy and perfect, and there’s no big commitment. No long conversations; nothing that requires too much thinking.

I’ll have a Double-Double with cheese and a chocolate shake.

Not like a novel. Now there’s a true commitment.

My daughter subscribes to In Style because when you’re on the verge of teenagerdom? You like all things stylish.

When you’re rapidly approaching 50 and have never been a style icon?

You do what you can.

Here are some of the latest tips from In Style and how I’ve incorporated them into my daily life:

Nude lips/nude nails When the style icons say nude, they really mean makeup that you cake painstakingly apply to provide the appearance that you have no makeup on. Which sounds like an awful lot of extra effort and cost when I already rock the nude lips and nails almost every day. And when I say nude, I mean there’s nothing there. Either my favorite $1 lip-gloss has worn off for the fifteenth time or I gave up and left it at home. And my fingernails haven’t seen actual colored polish since Madonna wore jelly bracelets and all my shirts had shoulder pads.

Tousled hair I have a lot of hair, and I’ve been admonished that I keep it rather long for a woman nearing 50 of my age. One might think I would be all about the styling products/trends. The reality of all this hair is that even the slightest wind blows it all over the place like some sort of funky modern art sculpture. So while I may leave the house each morning looking sleek with a slight curl at the ends, after five minutes? It’s a freakin’ mess tousled. Which apparently is a trend.

Color that “pops” The trend now is to have one “pop” of color, something unexpected that makes people notice you. Think bright yellow pumps with a black dress or orange nail polish on your toes. My “pop” is my incredibly fluorescent-white skin. It’s got a Casper the Friendly Ghost quality to it that people notice. And by notice, I mean they offer me a chair to sit down in and ask if I feel faint.

Faux Fur Every fall, fur seems to be on trend. Oh, it has to be faux fur though, lest the PETA people start throwing things at you. Fur shows up on collars of jackets, cuffs on sweaters, even on purses. I am a big wearer of the fur, but I have to tell you it’s not faux. But before you judge me or send hate email, I will tell you that the animal who grew the fur? She is alive and well, sleeping on my feet right now. You just haven’t been trendy until every article of clothing you own is covered in yellow lab fur.

Two-tone hair I have had this trend down for years now. The trick is to let your hair-color appointment go unbooked for just a wee bit too long. Then, when you finally call the stylist she has no.openings.for.three.weeks. And when I sport that dark brown/black/white/gray stripe down the center of my otherwise auburn head? Apparently I am rockin’ a trend, baby.

Please don’t let anyone tell you that the older woman can’t rock the trends of the younger crowd.

We’ve been doing it already.

When Harry Met Nancy

Harry Potter.

Quite possibly the most popular character to invade my son’s growing-up years.

We discovered the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, back in 1999. We bought that first copy at the suggestion of a good friend, and it was already out in paperback by then.

We were two years behind the crowd beginning to jump on the Harry Potter bandwagon, but we were both hooked.

He devoured each new book as soon as it was released. We would sit at the window and watch for the UPS truck to deliver the latest book, a special early delivery courtesy of Amazon.com.

And the movies? Watched over and over again through the years.

The final installment at midnight just last night.

A constant presence from kindergarten through his senior year of high school.

My constant?

Nancy Drew.

When I was young, I owned the entire series of Nancy Drew Mystery Stories. I loved them.

And I think Nancy Drew could kick some serious butt on Harry Potter.

Nancy was the epitome of class and grace, never flinching under pressure. She always got to the bottom of things by the end of the book, solving even the most complicated of cases in only 20 – 25 chapters.

With little more than her flashlight, a secret key, a hunch, and a torn page from a diary.

Harry Potter? It took him seven volumes and 4,100 pages to solve just one.big.problem.

Nancy spoke French, drove a blue convertible, was always dressed appropriately, was polite yet confident, and incredibly smart. School? At sixteen, she had already finished school.

Harry spoke Parseltongue, rode on a broom, wore baggy robes most of the time, and had to rely on magic to get him through the day.

Nancy seemed to have the world at her feet. She was apparently wealthy enough to travel wherever she wanted, mostly in that awesome blue convertible.

Except for her journey to Nairobi in The Spider Sapphire Mystery, which I’m pretty sure had to involve either an airplane or a boat.

She always called home once or twice, giving her doting attorney father an update on her case. He never worried about stranger danger, her car running out of gas, or about Nancy taking up residence with a group of hippies.

He was cool like that.

She was an expert swimmer, seamstress, tennis player, horseback rider, golfer, bridge player, and quite the gourmet cook.

While Harry Potter was the orphaned underdog we all hoped would win in the end, Nancy had it in the bag by the end of Chapter 1.

You just knew she’d win.

I wanted to be Nancy Drew.

So congratulations to Harry Potter for winning in the end, beating the incredibly evil and dark Lord Voldemort, and getting the girl.

But in that same amount of time, Nancy would have solved at least 47 mysteries.

And she had Ned Nickerson waiting in the wings the whole time.

I rest my case.

Featured at Theta Mom Today!

My son is graduating from high school.

Yeah, I’ve posted a few times about that.

But it’s today, people.

I am so excited for him.

But I’ve got something super-special just for me today…I’m the Featured TMC Blogger over at Theta Mom today! I would love for you to wander over there and learn a few more things about me you may not know.

Heather invited me over and didn’t even ask me to clean anything. Which is fortunate, since I have so much to do around here to get ready for the big ceremony tonight.

If you are just visiting me for the first time, you may want to read this post that pretty much sums up where I’m at right now. Or maybe this one, if you’re looking for a laugh.

I hope you’ll visit again soon, and please continue to support Heather at Theta Mom in the awesome community she’s created over there for all of us!

Senior Hottie!

A few weeks ago, through a convoluted series of tweets (that means Twitter discussions, for the rest of you) Liz at a belle, a bean, & a chicago dog came up with the brilliant idea that we should all share pictures of our Senior Hotness.

Being closer to a true senior than most of the others, I was secretly excited to be chosen for the Senior Hottie link-up. I mean, I’m old! I’ll win for sure!

Then Liz explained that it was pictures of when we were seniors in high school.

I almost choked.

Class of 1982.

(yes, I may be the oldest one in this link-up)

I had every reason to believe my senior pictures would turn out awesome.

The photo studio we all used was also responsible for all of our dance pictures, and they always did a great job.

The appointment was late in the summer, before my senior year even started, so I was tan (yes, for me that’s a tan) and rested, ready to take on everything senior year had to throw at me.

So why in the world did I wake up the morning of my appointment and decide to change my hair? For one of the most important pictures of my young life?

For no reason other than the fact that I was almost 17.

And thought I knew everything.

The payback to this, ironically, is that I now have an almost 17 year-old living under my roof.

And he knows everything.

So those odd bangs that don’t look exactly cut properly? They were supposed to be flipped back in true Farrah Fawcett style, with the rest of the hair.

Which is the look I went back to the very next day.

So this important moment in time, the picture that looms large in the yearbook and will be shown on TV if I ever go missing?

Didn’t look anything like how I looked for the remainder of my senior year. Like at the prom.

And now that guy standing next to me?

Is MY Senior Hottie.

In the other sense of the word.