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34th Birthdays

Pull up a chair younguns’….. let me tell you a little something about what birthdays can be like when you’re a 34-year old-mom. I was reminded this morning that a crucial part of parenting is about changing your life expectations…birthdays are certainly no exception. In fact that should be Chapter One in the New Mom Handbook. The chapter should be called, Your Kids Probably Don’t Give A Crap That It’s Your Birthday. They May Even Find It Upsetting. I know, it’s a long title. I’ll work on it.
34th birthdays for some newly 34-year-old people, might be super. Maybe you get a few spa treatments, or have a peaceful day of responding to happy birthday messages while you relax on the sofa with your favorite movie. Maybe you leaf through old photos with a glass of wine while you nostalgically reflect on years gone by…whatever it is that spins your wheels, you fill in the blank. Maybe that’s what you’ll get to do. I’m pulling for you. I really am. Now, let me tell you about mine so far.
I woke up to blood curdling screams coming from downstairs. It sounded like maybe I live in Syria or in the middle of a prison riot. I walked into the living room with bedhead and great trepidation to find my two sweet, lovely children engaged in a vicious brawl over a big plastic ball. Limbs were flying, tears were flowing, outraged cries of injustice rang out demanding that I restore fairness and equality to their woefully tragic worlds. They yelled over each other at me with their 20 fingers death gripping the coveted item at hand. It didn’t seem to help to logically point out that we have two of the big plastic balls. They both wanted THAT ONE. Somehow, I managed to pry their sticky, angry hands off of the ball, and kept them on opposite sides of the living room until their brain chemistry readjusted. I just had to stand between them rocking my flannel pj pants and bedhead in a fighter stance for a few minutes. No biggie. I shook it off and suggested to my big kid that we go sledding later today. Mind you, I would have rather gotten a manicure and Starbucks, but family first and all that. 
Sure, he says, are we going to go to the hill we can walk to? 
Hmmmm, I say, What if we take the car to the big one? 
I’m assuming cool mom points are coming my way for being selfless, fun and awesome so I stand there smugly and stupidly waiting to be showered with love and undying affection. Instead….
“I NEVER GET TO PICK ANYTHING!!!!! WHY DO YOU GET TO DECIDE EVERYTHING???? ITS NOT FAIR!!!!!!!!!! UGH!!!!!!!!!” Dramatic crying and throwing himself onto a nearby chair follows. 
Um, ok. I’m afraid to even drink the coffee I have managed to procure because now I’m suspicious it has been spit in or poisoned.
A few minutes later he huffs and puffs his way over to me and looks up at me with a mad, scrunched up little face. You know it’s my birthday, I say to him. 
“That’s exactly whats wrong! Why do you get to do whatever you want just because it’s your BIRTHDAY!?”
A few minutes later I overhear my husband trying to get him to sign my birthday card while he flatly refuses to bend to the tyrannical regime he is imprisoned by. He WILL NOT give the evil dictator that suggested the big sledding hill a card. What the hell do we take him for? They march over awkwardly with my gift and his unsigned card. I’m sitting with my little lady on the couch while she snuggles into my arm and smiles up sweetly at me. At least I seem to have her on my side for the moment. I start to open my gift (a very pretty pair of earrings) and she immediately bursts into tears when she seems them. “I WAAAAANNNNT THEM!!!!!!!” “I WANT ONE!” “WHERE’S MINE?! GIVE IT TO ME!!!!” “ITS NOT YOUR BIRTHDAY, ITS MY BIRTHDAY! I WANT IT TO BE MY BIRTHDAY!!!!”
Oh wait, I forgot the part where the husband is leaving in a few hours for a last minute business trip to Florida. So as luck would have it, soon this little slice of domestic heaven would all be mine.
Luckily, the day has had no where to go but up and I’m feeling cautiously optimistic about the rest of it. We went sledding at “the hill we can walk to,” and since the big kid is a 6 year old boy he wanted me to pelt him with snowballs, and crash into him with a sled over and over again. That was kind of nice….basically like free therapy. And then we got home and the little one passed out on the couch watching Americas Funniest Videos which freed me up to drink some tea and write the cautionary tale of the 34th birthday. Later, my little thugs and I are going to watch Big Hero 6 and have a frozen Costco pizza to celebrate in style. I’m hoping when I break the news to these little people that I don’t catch an elbow to the eye or get snuffed out with a pillow. Signing off from the trenches…..

The Day I Let it Die

I’ve recently discovered a new guilty pleasure, and today I am prepared to confess. Here goes….when my phone dies at the end of the school day, I’ve stopped charging it. Sometimes until the next day. I know, I know, it’s a strange and radical move.… but it just feels so damn good! It’s like discovering a teleport back to the early 90’s and I am sort of hooked. If only I could look over and see Zack, Kelly, and Slater sitting next to me on the couch. Then it would be like reaching some blissed-out state of Hindi nirvana where your self-actualized soul leaves your human form because it’s found true completion. But I digress…
Anyway, so the first time I did it, it was unintentional. It was around 4pm and I glanced at the blessed curse that is my iPhone and found it had died on me. I was literally too physically and mentally spent from my work day to stand up and walk upstairs to get my charger. So I didn’t. And it was peaceful. It was like realizing a marching band had been following you around banging, clanging and booming in your ears all day and someone had done you a solid and hit the mute button. All of a sudden the stress, the noise, the burden was lifted, and I was alone. Peace. 
The next time it wasn’t unintentional. I saw it dying, I knew exactly what was going on and I just let that sucker go down. I was even excited for the shut off. No more dings in the background of an already hectic life. No more email checking, making sure I’ve responded to texts, missed calls, 78 meaningless alerts that seem obligatory, but really are not. No more communicating. I didn’t plug it back in until I went to bed. And it was so calming. The world was so still. I realized how much I am craving simplicity in a life that seems to be demanding things from me every single second of every single day. Some things I can’t just turn off. It’s not like my kids ask for dinner and I can just unplug them and stare at the wall because I need some chill time. But the phone; the phone I can shut off.
Everyone has their daily thing. These days I spend every day with 27 fifth graders. And they are the BEST. They make me laugh, keep me young, fulfill my desire to teach and see someone learn, but I talk to those little homies for 7 hours straight every day. That is a LOT of talking. They have a lot of fantastic questions that need fantastic answers. I do my very best to give them all I’ve got, and when I leave school I feel like I just ran a mental marathon. And then I come home and have snowball fights with my own kids, and do puzzles, and make dinner, and read books, and give baths, and sing lullabies because I still have to give them all I’ve got too…and there are moments where I feel like I might just face-plant in the hallway in a puddle of drool and never regain consciousness. So what’s a girl to do?

The age of the iPhone is a baffling one. We are bombarded with constant communication and sometimes I hate it. Sometimes it all feels like too much for me and I desperately miss the days that came before it. The simpler days that my own kids will never be able to comprehend. Try telling your kid about how when you were little your family shared one phone and it was plugged into the wall. And there were no games on it. Watch them look at you with silent, mind boggled pity. I almost can’t spend too much time thinking about it or my brain feels like it’s going to combust. Like when I try to understand outer space or the internet. So I just let it die sometimes. When I don’t answer you these days don’t be offended. Just know that I am delighting in my one woman crusade against the times we live in. However pointless it may be, it still feels good.

Snow Days

There are a few precious things in this world that I love fiercely and protectively with deep, abiding passion. There is the obvious list that everyone has…a close circle of friends, your kids, your spouse, your parents, your siblings, and then there are the other handful of things that are unique to you. A few things you discover over your lifetime that make it all worth it. On my list, right above foamy cappuccinos and the new Comedy Central series Broad City, sits my fair home state of Michigan. The problem is that until this year we have been struggling with an unhealthy relationship….I have always loved every minute of spring, summer, and fall, but would have an anxiety attack at the thought of dropping temperatures and shorter days approaching. I am ashamed to admit, I have been a fair weather fan. This year I made up my mind to change that, devised a plan, and put it into action. After all, as someone who lives for change, and fears nothing more than massively long stretches of sameness, I welcome living in a place with four seasons. I think I even need it. On my 33rd winter, I am pleased to say that I have finally fallen for the 4th season in all of her blustery glory. 
I am home right now on my 2nd consecutive snow day. I’m wearing my flannel pj pants, looking out the sunny window at the aftermath of the worst snowstorm Detroit has seen in 44 years. In Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan closed after 18 inches of snow fell. The City of Rochester Hills declared a snow emergency and drivers were discouraged from leaving the house. Not a school was open for 100 miles, doctors offices, gyms, and small businesses closed their doors. The roof caved in on a nearby soccer complex unable to support the weight of the massive snowfall that blanketed our little world. Nobody said it was for sissies…but if you can stop whining and being a huge wuss about it, you will see that it is also heart stoppingly beautiful. Like someone shook the glitter in a snow globe and you were lucky enough to be inside.
I packed up the kids yesterday morning, ignoring the advisory not to drive, like any girl born and raised in Michigan would, and spent a phenomenally awesome day with two of my favorite people. Our combined 7 kids had the time of their lives tubing behind a four wheeler, snowboarding down a backyard ramp, tackling each other in the snow, and sipping hot cocoa occasionally to warm up. Meanwhile, we turned our chairs toward the sun and drank White Russians under the snow covered branches of old, towering oak trees. It was beautiful and awesome and there was nothing even remotely terrible about it. It just takes a few simple steps to ditch your winter blah’s for good and start having lovely, snowy afternoons that you will look back on fondly when you are roasting in July.
The first step toward the end of winter whining, is acceptance. Acknowledge that we live in a place with a real winter, and that that isn’t going to change unless you are going to beat feet to a new locale. If you are going to stick around, which I am, you have to stop dreading 1/3 third of the year (at least). That is a super lame move. You need to pull up your big girl or big boy pants, and choose your mood. (that is an annoying mom-ism that I say to my kids and I think it works well here) Then, spring for some quality gear. Do not try to sit outside sipping a White Russian wearing jeans and a wimpy little north face fleece when it is 17 degrees out, and expect to be a happy camper. You will freeze your ass off and hate your life and people will think you just moved here from Florida. Instead, put your vanity on a shelf and turn yourself into the St. Puff Marshmallow Man/ Woman. Own snow pants and wear them. They are not a decoration for your hall coset. Get huge clunking boots with fur on the top that weigh 4 pounds apiece and go up the middle of your calves. Bonus for the ladies- they look cute with your leggings. And I hope I don’t even have to mention that those leggings should be fleece lined. Get a hat that covers your ears and a down coat that covers your butt. One of the great luxuries of being into your 30’s is that you truly don’t care if you look good if it means that you feel warm. At least I hope you don’t. If you do, you have my deepest sympathies.
Next, actually wear that stuff and go outside. Find something that you like to do in the winter and do it. My 6 year old got skis from Santa this year and you have never seen someone more excited about a snowy day. I learn from my kids every day, and this attempt at winter lovin’ has been a great opportunity for me to take a cue from them. Snowshoe, ski, snowboard, walk your dog, sled, ice skate, have a bonfire, birdwatch…. come up with something you like and do it. If you just sit around with your face pressed to the window waiting for spring to show up then you aren’t going to be having a good time. And you will give everyone around you a case of the bummers. Moral of the story…White Russians are great inside too, but when you bust out your snow gear and use a snow pile as a drink holder on a sunny winter day with your pals, then they even seem special. Make your winter special. You deserve it.

Make soup, sit by crackling fireplaces, put booze in warm drinks, get cozy slippers, and put a sweater blanket on your lap every now and then for chrissakes. It’s not that hard. Most of all, stop whining. Do it for yourself. Do it for your friends, your husband or wife, your neighbors, and your coworkers. I have stood on mountain tops in the Swiss Alps, seen Venice at sunrise, looked out over endless rolling hills of vineyards in Italy, and there is hardly anything that can take my breath away like the view from the top of Sleeping Bear dunes. Nothing makes me happy like a drive through windy Leelanau County roads in the fall, a summer bonfire on the beach, sitting in a boat on Lake Michigan at sunset, or pulling off of highway 69 at exit 94 to visit the place I grew up. There are 3,228 miles of coastline, and I’ve known how to drive a boat by myself since I was 10. It’s awesome here. Nowhere will ever have my heart like Michigan. So love her for better or worse, in good times and bad, because we are lucky to call this place home. I swear by the holy trinity that is leg warmers, leggings, and boots, that I will do the same. 

Fire and Ice

This weekend was one of highs and lows. Such is life I suppose. I’ll share the low and see if this can function as some sort of therapy for me. The small one and I had an episode on the side of Main Street (yes it’s really called that), after a hellish and painful slightly stressful exit from a local Fire and Ice Festival. She was tired, 7 hours into an intense hunger strike, and needless to say, things were not looking good for me. Morale was low and I’m not too proud to admit that I was afraid. We got to my car and she growled at me made it clear she wanted to get out of the stroller without assistance. I stood there for the 7.5 minutes it took for her to flop and hurl herself out of the stroller in full fuchsia snow gear, and then she growled at me again informed me she wanted to walk to her door, “BY MYSELF!!! DON’T HELP ME!!!! MOMMY, DON’T. HELP. MEEEEEEE!!!!” Well, her door was located on the side of the car that was in the midst of heavy traffic so that was clearly not an option. I slowly and quietly slid my hand into my pocket, careful not to make any sudden moves that would tip her off. My plan was laid out and I knew immediate implementation was absolutely necessary. I pushed the button to lift the hatch, knowing I was going to have to do an expert level snatch and toss to keep her from sprinting into the road. As the gate lifted, she immediately bared her teeth looked suspicious, so I knew I had only moments to act. I grabbed for her and the world transformed into a shrieking, flailing mess of hot pink and screams. I tossed gently put her into the back of my car and began to fold my stroller up with one hand like a mom-ninja, using the other hand to block her from the escape she was desperate to make. I felt small thuds against my back as thrown objects flew out of my car in all directions, some of the shrapnel bouncing off of my tired, defeated shoulders. Eventually the debris gave way, but the thuds continued…I could no longer be sure of what was happening, and focused only on the unloading of my gear, and the dismantling of my stroller. From a distant place I thought I could hear a civilized voice calling my name. I told myself it was just the hallucination of a desperate woman, and kept my head down, determined to finish my mission in as little time as possible. But there it was again, my name… clear as a bell. I looked up through snow, sweat, and the familiar sheen of public humiliation, and saw that my very sweet, and always put together friend had pulled up at the stoplight in front of my war zone car. She wore a sunny smile, had her hair done and make up on….nothing appeared to be ricocheting off of her body.
Unable to bother with standard greetings I looked at her and asked through my heavy breathing, “Is she still throwing stuff at me?!” I felt my face flinching in preparation for the potential airstrikes.
She answered back, unable to keep from laughing at me in my sorry state, “Ummmm……no, I think she’s hitting you.” 
“Oh…ok!” (attempt smile, level voice, and human mannerisms) “Just checking…..well, ummmm, the festival sure was fun! We went….ice skating!” thump, thump, thump
My attempt at conversation was shameful and skittish. She said some other friendly chit-chatty stuff but it is all a blur in retrospect. I had no time for decency or common interactions and forged on.
Green light. Hatch slammed. Lock button hit. She drove off and I had successfully trapped the small one. Her eyes held the hollow shadow of defeat and she knew there was no way out. I turned to see two pedestrians who quickly averted their gaze. I ignored them, no longer caring about civilians or their ways, and leaned gratefully up against the side of my car to catch my breath and regain my senses. 
We drove home in silence….and by silence I mean that my hearing had shut down as an evolutionary defense mechanism, like when certain species play dead in the presence of a predator, and there was milk flying around. That’s my girl….fire and ice…and it feels oddly familiar. 

Always Say Maybe

My dad is not a huge advice guy. He has never been the, come and sit on the edge of my bed while he tells me his thoughts on life, kinda dad. MINUS, the one time he decided to try that very thing….I was 20, home from college for the weekend, and had just had my hair dyed a very unfortunate shade of pink in a serious salon mishap. I was crying in my room about the disastrous trifecta that was my freckled Irish skin, plus pink hair, plus bright red crewneck sweatshirt (circa The Gap), and was wondering how my life would be able to continue, when my dad came in and took a seat on the edge of the bed… all father/ daughter chit chat style. Through my mess of snot and tears, and against the glare of my obnoxiously bright sweatshirt, I remember wondering if he was coming to comfort me in my low moment. Instead, I watched his lips move in horrifyingly slow motion, as he started asking me about whether or not I was taking birth control, and whether or not I was being “intimate,” with my then boyfriend. A safe sex lecture had indeed reared its ugly head. In that moment. When my hair was pink. Thanks to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder I have no idea what happened next. The fact that I lived through that afternoon, and am able to talk about it, basically puts me on par with the survivors of the Titanic, or the people that crawl out of tsunami rubble. Anyway, aside from that day, my dad is not a huge advice dispenser. Every now and then though, when he feels really strongly about something (i.e my birth control practices), he’ll throw a life lesson out there. When he does, I take it pretty seriously because I know if he’s going so far as to bother me with it, then he’s given it a lot of thought. My favorite and most valued lesson from him is simple and amazing, and I have appreciated it more lately than ever before. Always Say Maybe. It’s actually pretty brilliant. Unless you’re a 911 operator or something….then don’t do it. For the rest of us, always say maybe, and avoid firm commitment whenever possible. Now, the flip side of this can be annoying…like when I ask him over for his birthday, or Christmas, and he says maybe instead of yes even though I know he’s going to come….but, due to the immense value of this lesson, I forgive him.
There are too many obligations in life. Too many things to do, too many demands on our time…sometimes it’s hard to remember not to over commit. It’s ok to take a pass when you need it. There is always internal pressure to say yes. You don’t want to disappoint your friends, your neighbors, your family. You’re a nice person damnit! And if you’re a mom, and whatever you are asked to do would be fun for your kids, then you have the additional bonus of mom guilt, because of course you don’t want your kids to miss out on a good time. But here’s the secret, they won’t. And neither will you. They like free time just as much as we do. And if we go through life like a bunch of yes-men, we’ll never get any. I think it’s important to try and leave room in your life for simply being. For waking up, and seeing where the day takes you, or for seeing if it takes you anywhere at all. And it might not. The Italians in all of their infinitely cool, laid back, euro-style, have a phrase for it. I remember first reading of it in “Eat, Pray, Love,” and being struck by how much I loved it.  ‘Il bel far niente’ means ‘the beauty of doing nothing.’ My dad would not like to know that he connects to Italians in such a cultural way, as he only claims the Irish part of his mind and of his heritage, but the two lessons are one in the same. My dad has mastered keeping his schedule clear and as a result leaves room in his life to relax, to make things, to be creative, to look out the window, to garden, and to enjoy his time however it is that he wants to. I’m working on finding a balance with that, and I think I’m getting there, since instead of being home writing this I was actually supposed to be on a family ski weekend (sorry guys). I’m letting go of the phrase the kids use these days FOMO, and saying no when I feel myself getting stretched too thin, and craving freedom from obligation. It’s even sort of addicting once you start…it gives you the same feeling that you had when you were a kid and found out you had a snow day. All of a sudden the day seems sweeter and full of immeasurable possibility. I’m embracing the days I choose to do nothing and am finding some pretty great things come out of them. Those are usually the days my kids play the best together and wind up laughing the most, and when I end up having time to write, or read, or make a great yoga class. I don’t have to go to every single party, sign my kids up for 3 sports a season, or take my family to every kid-friendly community event with a clown and a bounce house. Sometimes everyone is happiest when you start with maybe, move into no, and just see where the day takes you. And if you get really lucky, it might just take you nowhere.

You Are Exactly Where You Need To Be Right Now

In the fall of 2014 something terrifying and amazing happened for me and my family. I went back to work after staying home full time for six years. Now, six years can be a blink and a lifetime all at once. As old ladies in the grocery store love to tell young moms with screaming toddlers, “the days are long, but the years are short.” They say it with a sweet smile as your three year old rips open a bag of Pirates Booty with brute force and makes it rain in aisle seven while yelling, “I WANT YELLOW CHEESE!!” in a poltergeist voice. At the time you are like “Whatev lady, you seem to not be taking this situation seriously but you need to SEEK COVER. I REPEAT SEEK COVER.” You are exhausted and just trying to make it until bedtime or nap time or happy hour…. but, later that day when your demon toddler has morphed back into human form and puts their chubby little hand into yours while walking to the park you give her mental props. She is right of course, as old grocery store ladies often are. The days are long and the years are short indeed. It seems like my six year old was born last Tuesday so I see the simple wisdom of that very clearly these days.
So, YES I am forever grateful for the time I spent at home full-time with my kids and understand and cherish its irreplaceable value, but as my favorite yoga teacher likes to say, one thing you can always count on is that all things end. I started to hear that nagging voice in the back of my mind get louder and louder, and found myself feeling more and more restless. I was ready to go back to work. Trust me when I say that once that nagging voice in my mind gets set on something it is very difficult to tune it out. I’m sure my husband and/or his therapist will vouch for me. Besides, I never intended to stay home forever and if if I waited too much longer I was afraid there would be no coming back and I would disappear into professional oblivion. I reminded myself of the blood, sweat, tears and zillions of dollars I spent on my education and took the plunge. Not to mention, I really love teaching. I even had my hair pulled and my dangly earring nearly ripped through my earlobe Friday and I’d still say I had a good day. *true story

I want to show my kids, my daughter especially, that she can grow up and be whatever she wants to be. You know, minus a few things. So shouldn’t I be what I want to be? Some women (and even a few brave men) want to stay home for much longer than I did and hats off to all of you! Do it up. Not for me though. Time for this ship to change course. I feel like in being true to myself I can teach my kids to do the same someday. Teach through example and all of that. I want them to have annoying, nagging voices that lead them to the places in their lives that they are meant to explore. I want them to do things that they are scared of and take chances and to not always take the easy road, as long as none of that results in bodily harm or arrest. (i.e. my teen years….when I was younger the voice had glitches) We’ve matured together however, and it’s much more reasonable these days. The same yoga teacher I mentioned before is also a fan of saying, you are exactly where you need to be right now. That has been true for me for the past six years, and it’s true for me now. So off to work I go. 

Taking the Plunge

An internet psychic once told me that I should write like I am an author, all of the time like it’s my job, and that if I did that someday my writing would be like a dream come true for me. He said my passion would eventually be my profession and that sparkly unicorns would deliver my massive paychecks right to my door every week. Ok, he didn’t say the unicorn thing, and he also said some other really disturbing stuff about the other parts of my life that I choose to ignore, AND he had questionable grammar…. but I feel like he was probably onto something with the writing bit, and fame indeed is waiting for me up ahead. So here I am. *true story
For a long time I’ve avoided the blogosphere because: 1. What do I have to say that other people want to hear?  2. Will I annoy, offend, and bore people?  3. Would F. Scott Fitzgerald have ever had a blog?? I’ve finally decided to take the plunge because 1. Even if just my mom and three-ish frinds read it that’s ok. 2. I’m almost in my mid-thirties now so what do I care if people like me or not?  3. Since I haven’t written the sequel to The Great Gatsby yet I probably don’t need to draw comparisons like that. However, F. Scott and I both like a good cocktail so I did pour myself a glass of vodka, baileys and almond milk right before I sat down to do this. It sounds weird but it’s delicious.
My title took some thought. I went through a few before I was reminded of my self-created term “mombot” and realized I wanted to incorporate it. It’s the term I use to describe those phases of mothering when you feel like you have lost all sense of self and where if someone snapped their fingers you would probably crap out a grilled cheese sandwich and start singing the theme song to Dora the Explorer. Auto-pilot mode. You are lost in the momming and the only way to beat it is to keep doing whatever it is that you do to stay connected to the other parts of yourself. That can apply to whatever it is you do day in and day out. We all wind up wearing the gazeless gaze of a mombot sometimes. So, we all fight that fight one way or another, and make sure to throw things into our daily routine that keep us fueled, inspired, and full. Writing is one of my things… hence this blog. I was reading a serious and important publication today (People Magazine), where it cited an interview with an important cultural figure (Gwenyth Paltrow), where she said she realized she needed to divorce Chris Martin because she had “hit a wall.” She said that she felt like the only way to prove her self-worth was to keep doing things for other people and that there was nothing left of herself. Nothing left of her own interests and passions. I realized then that not only were we both tall, skinny, stunning, famous, blonde vegans who had married rockstars….we had both had mombot moments. We don’t all divorce hot rockstars over them, but to each her own. People everywhere are muddling through their journey the best they can and trying to make sense of it all along the way. I felt like if Gwen and I had a shared understanding of that sentiment and the intensity behind it then maybe other people out there would too. The term mombot and the reality behind it could possibly be universally loved and appreciated. *If it isn’t see #2 above.
So my blog will be about my life. It’s ordinary in a good way and I find a lot to laugh about as I raise my kids, teach, and go about the story that is mine these days. I’ll tell you my mombot moments and all the rest. When I was reading about my girl Gwen I started thinking to myself, What do you really have to do Gwen??? Don’t you have a nanny, personal assistant, chef, housekeeper, driver, and like a ziliion dollars??? Somebody call this girl a waaaambulance! And then I checked myself. No judgement G. Our realities are all relative to our experience and they are all important in some small way. So as I take this leap I hope I can keep you at least marginally entertained, and you can relate to me in your own way as I share my ordinary life with you. And no judgement of course. Gwenyth Paltrow rules apply.