Expecto Patronum!

Why do moms have such a propensity for guilt? patronum

Why does this guilt seem to surface most visibly around our children’s birthdays?

I have a secret to share: I suffer from a lesser-known anxiety disorder. It’s called Party Compulsive Dysfunction. I’ve had this affliction going on nine years now. It is a wholly personal affliction that usually sets in 8-12 weeks ahead of either one of my children’s birthdays.

I suffer from PCD because I am under the false pretense that having in-home birthday parties is more low-key and easier than the expensive, elaborate off-site parties so prevalent these days.

(how very wrong this assumption is) More

There Are No Words

candlelight vigilYesterday my husband and I buried our good friend, Mei Kum Jones.

On either side, we also buried her twin baby boys, Colt and Cameron, who would have turned one today. It was unspeakably difficult on many levels.

A week ago,  my closest friend called me from her home in Arlington and asked me to confirm Mei’s address. Not one for sensationalism, this friend told me nothing had been finalized yet but that a family of four was reported dead at that address, which was just around the corner from her house. This information was both shocking and chilling and since I was behind the wheel of my car at the time, I called my husband.

After all, if it hadn’t been for Mei, my husband and I might never have met at that fateful Christmas party 13 years ago. More

Tri, Tri Again

Title 9Until I competed in a triathlon last year, doing so had been on my Bucket List for at least eight years. The notion got into my head when I befriended some very likable, totally approachable and completely unassuming triathletes while living in the DC-area.

I was at a cocktail party when I got talking to one of these friends—who had worked her way up the ranks into the Iron-Woman category—about what it took to train for something like a triathlon. I commented on how impressed I was and how I felt that I could never achieve those sort of distances in any single event, let alone all three (swimming, biking, running) together.

This is when my friend told me about a beautiful, far more manageable version of an ITU Long triathlon called the Sprint. More

Our Bags Are Packed And We’re Ready to Go

suitcasesIn fact, I’ve been halfway there since we booked our first, family overseas trip back in September. Because for me, one of the hardest things about settling down and starting a family has been, well, settling down…

Truth be told, I’d much rather be traveling the world, meeting new people and exploring different cultures, or at least still doing that WHILE having a family. Don’t get me wrong, the kid journey can be pretty amazing too but I’ve been eagerly waiting to have them participate in the bigger journey pretty much since I first conceived our daughter, 8 years ago.

Prior to that time, the world was an open road waiting to be explored. In our twenties, both DH and I did a fair amount of traveling in some pretty extreme locations, predominantly Asia but some in the Middle East too. We carried backpacks and our Angus MacGyver tool was the multipurpose sarong (which doubled as: a dress, a scarf, a sheet, a towel, a curtain). We thirsted for third-world travel, where we found life stripped away at its rawest and yet most complicated state.

Traveling became part of who we were and what drew us to one another, then also how we grew together. Now that we’re married, kids do the same thing for us. More

Running Scared

5491796838_9e91366626Today was Patriots’ Day in Boston, a day marked by its predictability and routineness. A day that begins April break for many Boston school children; the heralding of spring; a home game for the Red Sox, sometimes a win; and always the running of the Boston Marathon. In fact some people know today first as Marathon Monday, and second for the holiday commemorating the Battle of Concord and Lexington, fought in 1775, marking the beginning of the Revolutionary War.

Today things changed.

I’m thankful that I took my kids away for April Break. Away from usually safe, predictable, routine Patriots’ Day down to our Nation’s Capital, where just about anything can happen. Yet here I sit, feeling safe and unthreatened while I watch news reports of fellow Bostonians feeling shaken and upset.

Two bombs were detonated at the finish line of the Boston Marathon today and at least three people are confirmed dead so far. More

40: Shades of Gray

shades of grayWhat do you want to be when you grow up?

No, really. What do you want to BE?

Because, let’s face it, whatever you’ve been doing in your twenties and thirties, probably isn’t what you still want to be doing in your forties and beyond. (If it is, congratulations, you can stop reading now because you are way ahead of the pack).

I know this is true because in the past few years I’ve been watching friends and acquaintances around me turn 40 and each time, within months of their birthdays, many of them have initiated one type of major life change or another. Some of them have changed careers; some have started families; some have ended marriages; and some have finally worked on turning their dreams into realities.

Forty is reality.

It’s time to take charge of life rather than allowing life to take charge of us. Out with what society expects of us; out with what we’ve been groomed to do or be our whole lives…what is it YOU want to be?

More

Couples Counseling

coupleLast year, I wrote about investing in your marriage in a post called Marriage Takes Work. It’s been a popular read and has generated a number of comments but that’s not why I wrote it.

I wrote it because I grew up surrounded by divorce and because my husband and I reside at almost opposite ends of the Myers-Briggs personality spectrum—I’m a sound ENFJ and he’s an ISTJ. If you’re curious about yourself, you can take a quick test here, (thanks Marisa Hopkins for the link).

DH and I entered into marriage knowing it would require our constant care. So last spring we enlisted the help of a clinical social worker and started Couples Counseling.

People have funny misconceptions about the term “counseling;” it often seems to connote that one is seeking counseling for something that is in trouble. In our case, we’re not in trouble, we just want to make sure we don’t lose our way. We’re not asking for help but rather seeking “guidance.”

Guidance to help us better manage the way we communicate with one another, guidance to bring up topics we didn’t know have the potential to evolve into challenges later, and guidance to prepare us for future hurdles that we may encounter along the way. More

Wearing 4T

Starting today, my son and I have something in common, we’re both a 4T; it’s just that his is a clothing size and mine, an age.

Today has been looming on the horizon for a good long while now. In fact, in many regards, this celebration began when I turned 38, so unexpected and wonderful was that birthday surprise. Scorpios love basking in the sun, so being celebrated and the attention that comes with birthdays suits us well. In fact, ask most Scorpios and they’ll confirm that we tend toward recognizing the entire birthmonth, not just the day.

Scorpio pride aside, I’m downright lucky that I married the man I did—a man, who speaks his love through action—because so far this month has been one prolonged celebration. From the gathering of friends, family traveling to be together, and the general broadcast over social media, I have no hope (nor desire) to hide my age and, quite honestly, I’m rather perplexed by the notion of people who do.

I’m a staunch believer that age and wisdom go hand-in-hand. More

Mommy Burnout

Yesterday I let my three-year-old sit on the potty for 45-minutes, having an epic meltdown, waiting for someone to help him wipe. That someone was not going to be me. I’m out of the bottom wiping business.

Did I feel like a bad mother? yes. Did it fry my nerves to listen to his wails? yes. Will I repeat the situation all over again when it happens next? yes.

In just three week’s time he will head off to preschool where no one will be allowed to wipe his bottom. He’s got to do it on his own. But it wasn’t just this motivator that spurned me on, it’s that I’m in Week Eight of the American school system’s ten-week long, summer holiday. I’m toast. More

Writing Requires Discipline

In addition to my sporadic writing on this blog, I also write (and edit and work) on another blog. It’s a fascinating blog, which mainly focuses on travel and parenting issues around the world. Even though I’m on the site several times a week, editing other writer’s posts, I only get to publish my own articles about once every 6-8 weeks.

Since I have a post running on that blog next week, I sat down to write. I chose the topic: children and discipline. As I got into the article, writing about how important discipline and enforcing rules is in our house, it occurred to me that I’m not very good at practicing what I preach and I started to wonder why that was.

It’s times like these where I really wish I had taken more psychology classes in college or understood more about what makes people tick. More

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