Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Tears

It starts like the slow drip of a faucet. Every once in awhile you wipe away the wetness discreetly. Maybe it's allergies. Something in your eye perhaps? You start to sniffle. What is going on?

You soon find yourself covertly wiping at your eyes and making the skin at the edges raw in a fierce attempt to hold the water back, to not let anyone see. It's too obvious to hide at this point, so now you agonize over what to say. Do you lie and say you got makeup in your eye? You mentally debate if you brought tissues and if you can slyly search your purse for them.

Here's the worst part about it, you really have no idea why the tears are there. It's embarrassingly ridiculous. That about sums up my life sometimes.

I never used to cry. I was one tough cookie. Funerals, sad movies, pain, nothing could touch me. My nickname should have been Stoic. Then I had kids and something inside me was unleashed. My faucet was permanently broken.

But the leak is very situational. I still rarely cry at standard issue crying moments. Nope, instead I make things weird. You see, I've always struggled with authority. Police, doctors, dentists, teachers, they're a bit hard for me to summon the strength to talk to. But...being so Stoic, I can generally muster up the courage, put on my brave face and push through when the need arises.

Now, there's nothing left to muster and no face brave enough, I'm just a mess. I walk into the parent teacher conference with a running mental mantra, "Stay calm, don't cry." Doesn't matter if the news is good, bad or inconsequential, the tears will flow and I'll be trying to say it's fine whilst looking like my dog just died.

Lord help the policeman that pulls me over. Again, doesn't matter if it's a sobriety checkpoint (I don't drink, so no worries there) or if I was speeding. I'm instantly flustered, constantly bumbling and moments away from full on waterworks. Needless to say, I have never received a ticket, maybe in this instance the tears work in my favor?

The dentist moments are extra ridiculous for two reasons. One, I can't wipe the tears because there are a million hands and contraptions all around my face, blocking me from erasing the evidence of my silent stream of shame. Two, it really freaks out the dentist because they think they're hurting me. I probably have really weird notes in my file about my crying problem, but they still always have to check, because, I mean, what if they were hurting me?

Finally, the doctors office. I just left there. I saw a doctor for the first time and there were clearly no notes in my file to indicate my tearitis conditions. I could feel them trying to burst out before I got into the exam room. As we sat and talked I tried a hundred different things to occupy my mind and body in the hopes that I could trick myself into staying calm. I almost did it. The first 20 minutes it wasn't more than a leaky faucet, I could have blamed it on my makeup easily. But as soon as she was ready to finish the appointment I could no longer hold it in. I made a beeline for the worlds scratchiest paper towels from the medical dispenser on the wall. Then it was awkward. She couldn't leave me like that and I couldn't explain. I recomposed myself as best as I could and hightailed it out of there. On the way home I berated my addled brain for doing this to me and tried to make myself sob to get it all out. Apparently that's not how it works and the body has a seemingly endless supply of tears.

So now you know. I worry about how
flawless I come across on a daily basis. I mean, my seeming perfection might make you feel bad about yourself right? So sharing this is my way of bringing things back down to earth. Don't worry, I have a lot more weird stuff that we haven't even begun to broach yet. The time will come. Anybody else out there have a weird struggle like this?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Mothers Day Homage

I was at a funeral recently where it struck me (again) that it seems sad to leave a eulogy for someone's funeral. People should get to hear the wonderful, funny and not-so-wonderful things that we, as their loved ones, have to say about them.

So, I googled eulogies and found a lot of how to guides for writing them, as well as debates on if they should be glowing or realistic. Then I googled eulogies for the living and found the word homage. Apparently that's what we should be doing to let the living know that we think they're great. Google noted that an homage is usually for when a person has received an award or is retiring, but I think it might be good for people to get them a little more often than that.

So without further ado, this is my Mother's Day homage (now that I know it's inappropriate to use the word eulogy for this sort of thing as long as the person is still alive.)

Dottie Istre has been my mom for 35 years. There's a lot more to who she is than just being my mom, but it's my pervue, so it's the focus of this homage.

She would argue that she stopped really being my mom when I became an adult but I regularly try to convince her that moms are forever and we always need them. You're welcome to try and convince her too, because so far I'm not winning this battle.

I'm the second in a line of 4 girls. That means she was a mom before I came along, but I wasn't there so I can't attest to her earliest mothering skills. I came along in the middle of the coldest blizzard that January had ever seen. My grandpa was teaching himself to crochet to stay busy in the waiting room with my older sister while my mom was busily attending to the business of pushing out a 10lb baby. She bred big babies.

All was successful and I came out with all my fingers and toes. I can't tell you much about those early years, baby brains and all that, but I'm pretty sure she did a great job, since it seems like any nastiness would have stuck with me.

Not long after I was born, our little family made the move to Kalispell, MT. We began life there in a big rented house uptown. My mom managed to keep our household afloat through a series of tragedies. My dad's temporary blindness, my older sister breaking her leg, my younger sister splitting her chin open and the arrival of my youngest sister (not that she was a tragedy, she was a blessing.)

Back then, she was still deciding what kind of parent she would be. She would try out different parenting styles. She and I went through a battle of the wills at that time. I was a horrifically stubborn and indignant child. She tried to get me to eat food, I mean she really really tried. I wasn't having it. She would send me upstairs to time out when I had disobeyed and I had to do things my way so I would only go to the top of the steps, never to my room where I'd been sent. She had such a level head as we endured these battles, I never remember her raising her voice at me as I worked my hardest to push all of her buttons. She seemed to love me through every bump I forced her to endure.

We moved outside of town to the Evergreen area just prior to me starting preschool. It was a very small apartment, in a very small apartment complex, where we all shared one small long skinny yard. It was directly across the creek from my grandparents house.

My mom kept her cool as she got my sister to school, me on the bus to preschool, handled the 2 little ones at home, and volunteered with our church. She allowed us a lot of freedom to explore and we felt the world around us was magical at that age. There was never much money, I know that now, but you never would have guessed it as a child growing up in my family. She made every birthday special and holidays were filled with family time.

We didn't stay in that apartment for a long time. According to my hazy preschooler memory, it was a little over a year. Then we moved into my grandparents basement temporarily while my parents were figuring things out. My sisters and I loved it, but I now know what a challenge it must have been for my mom. It's hard to ask for help and in her efforts to keep things separate etc... we lived like we were camping so as not to intrude on my grandparents life as much as possible. We were in close quarters during this time and I only remember order and quirky solutions to daily conundrums. No yelling, crying or frustration. If I had been the adult, this wouldn't have been the case. But that was my mother throughout my young life, stalwart, loving and filled with ingenuity and resourcefulness.

A few other bumps in the road occurred and brought my family to the place where we would purchase a yellow trailer with brown trim and place it on my grandparents property. This would be my home until I left for college. My mom would spend countless hours working to make this a home for our family.

Now that we'd finally settled, or maybe because I was a little older, I remember a much more complex mom during this time. I was in elementary school and I discovered that most mom's took their kids to school and picked them up after school. Not my mom. She had the hardest time waking up in the mornings. She would stay up all hours of the night, get up in the morning to help us get ready for school, and go straight back to bed for the rest of the morning. It's something she still struggles with today. She likes to say that her schedule runs opposite of everyone else's. She was also on a permanent diet. There was always some new eating plan to try, and we weren't included in it. She made her food separate from ours and we all knew that we were never to touch her diet Coke, some things are sacred.

My sisters and I filled life with challenges for my mom during the next few years. She met each one head on as she helped us navigate schoolwork, cultivated a love of reading in each of us and showcased her creativity as she regaled us with magical made up stories and read us The Chronicles of Narnia series with all the vim and vigor that she could muster.

I learned more from her during this time that any other. She showed me that you don't need money to solve problems, that everything can be researched and understood and showed me the value of hard work. She worked diligently with my grandpa on a garden that ran the entire length of our trailer. A lot of food came from this garden and we all helped here and there. But it was her love and passion. She was up every day working on it, checking on it, harvesting it, and caring for it throughout each spring and summer.

Reality had to hit at some point. I do remember my mom yelling during this time in our lives. It was usually related to chores that we weren't doing. She would rearrange rooms regularly as a way to get things clean, you never knew what to expect when you walked in our front door. She would draw out plans on graph paper and create a map to follow of how she wanted things to be. She always had ideas for how to make something that would make our lives easier or prettier. These ideas would go on my dad's and Grandpa's to do lists or we'd come home from school to find her like a whirlwind, whipping through a project that only she could envision.

My grandpa passed away when I was in 8th grade. He was my mom's best friend, she was his youngest child, and they had a very special relationship. From that point on my mom made it her mission to take care of my grandma as well as the four of us girls. It meant that she took a big step back in our lives as she worked to find her new balance. I think this was probably a very hard time for her.

As my sister's and I got older and started heading to college my mom let us forge our own paths, as long as they didn't spark her infamous "bad feelings." If my mom had a bad feeling about something, it wasn't going to happen, no matter how much you begged, pleaded or rationalized. That bad feeling was rarely every wrong and saved us from quite a few scrapes. I chose my college this way. My mom's bad feeling about my top choice led me to my second choice, where I met my husband and started a life here in Hawaii.

My mom poured herself into my grandma. She usually made my sister's and I check in on her daily, I think they got frustrated with each other sometimes and it helped them have breaks. She took her to all of her appointment's, shopping and wherever else she wanted to go. She completed to do lists, that my grandma would create, of ideas she had and things to be done. She memorized all her medications and preemptively knew when she'd want to go see a friend or invite family over.

In turn, my grandma helped our family immensely. She financially covered gaps and pitfalls and she hosted every holiday. I loved our family holidays. I miss our family holidays. Everything felt special, everyone felt loved and the focus was always on being together.

Then I went to college across the Pacific Ocean. As I mentioned earlier, my mom thinks motherhood changes at this point, which it probably does to some degree.

Over my years in Hawaii she would come to visit me. She was here for some of my most important moments, like when I got engaged and when my sons were born. She came and helped me as I began life as a new mother. Her role was definitely redefined as she became my support. Her support role holds true especially when it comes to prayer. My mom is a prayer warrior. She prays often and she prays fiercely. She helped me learn the importance of prayer and see how it brings us together in celebration and  support.

My mom weathered her mom passing away and moving out of that trailer that we'd lived in so long, and into uncertain rentals that wouldn't feel quite like home. She had a stroke and was diagnosed with a degenerative disease. She endured a brutal divorce and fought to find herself and support herself.  There were some very dark times where I wondered if I had lost my mom. But slowly she began to reemerge.

Her declining health, at the age of 62, brings us to the here and now. We just passed the one year mark of her coming to live with me. I get to support her and drive her to appointments in the same way I watched her support her mom when I was growing up.

She now has the opportunity to build relationships with her Hawaii grandchildren. I'm so excited for them to get to know my creative, hard working mom who is filled with ingenuity and God's love. She has a lot to share and a chance to rest and recover alongside a family that loves her. It does my heart good to have her here. We don't always get along now as we figure out this new life together. But we both are sticking it out and making it work. I don't say enough nice things to her so this is part one of my efforts to do that more.

My sisters, and other friends and family, may have different memories or perspectives on my mom so far. I'm not infallible and I'm sure I didn't get it all right. But I know that we can all agree that she love the Lord and she loves us and she always will. Being a mother is only one part of who she was and is, but it's the part that made me, so it's my favorite.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The joys of being a know it all

The other day I found myself discussing know-it-alls versus wise-asses, (bet you wish you came to our Sunday family dinners!) The discussion ended with my sister being the know-it-all who has an intensely real need to impart knowledge. My husband was labeled the wise-ass who imparts knowledge only if he knows it will screw with someone. I appeared to be a name caller in this situation as I inadvertently gave this conversation legs and labelled them each as such.

But I did it with a smile on my face, so it's all okay.

Cut to a few days later, and I found myself sharing knowledge on a topic that I had no personal experience with. I was basically regurgitating Google. My audience was in awe and lauded my expertise. I did not correct them.

I think I'm the actual know-it-all.

This theory was cemented tonite when I attended a trivia night in my hometown. When I knew the answer, I found that I couldn't just give it, I needed to share every detail of my life that added up to me knowing that fact in that moment. There was real pride in my voice when I  confidently announced that vanilla comes from an orchid plant.

When I didn't know the trivia answer, I had to give a run down of everything that went wrong in my life, leading me to the place I was now at where I didn't have the answer needed. There was real shame and devastation.

Guys, I think I truly love the sound of my own voice. I cannot shut up. A vow of silence would do me in. No one asked me for all of this information.

And so I now know that I am a know-it-all. I have an intense desire, almost a need, to devour as much information as I can. You never know when its going to be useful that you read the instructions manual for a handheld 1976 blender from cover to cover. The backs of restaurant menus can be informational gold mines. Don't forget to read the fine print on those prescription medication commercials (because they're funny, the information is kind of useless.) Heck, I stay at the end of the movie and read the credits. Why?

Because I'm a know-it-all.

Don't believe me? Ask me about it. As long as you have a couple free hours we can sit down and I'll prove it to you.

Now that I know, l'll see what I can do about it. It may not be the world's most desirable trait that I've acquired. I'll see what I can do to mitigate my responses, but in the meantime, you've been warned.

I have a lot of knowledge that needs to be shared with the world. And it mostly came from the backs of restaurant menus.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The elusive teenager in its natural habitat

I am one month away from being the mother of 2 teenagers. Our story is just beginning and it already has so many parts to it. Some parts are funny, many are ridiculous, some are sad and at least one smells.

You see, the moodiness of the modern teenager is not something to be trifled with. You can make a trifle for them but you better ask discreetly and not give it to them in front of other people in case it somehow embarrassed them to be loved and cared for in this manner.

Every day must begin gingerly. You approach the wild teenager with extreme caution to gauge if today will be a good day or a plague day. Don't trust anything that you thought you knew about your child, a good day can turn on you in an instant. Hypervigilance while giving the illusion of aloofness is key.

If it's a plague day, you, your ideas and even the cat will be treated as though you have been infected and must be avoided at all cost. I recommend lots of prayer on these days. Actually, I recommend lots of prayer everyday.

This covers the basics that I've discovered so far. But let's not forget some of the oft overlooked details of the day. The flip flop, the sneak attack and the dictionary will all make appearances in your daily life as a teenage zookeeper.

The flip flop moments can be identified by smell or by bathroom time. Teenagers have no middle ground, they are either unabashed stinkers who seem to lack the olfactory senses to realize why so many of us bathe and deodorize daily. Or they lack the olfactory and common senses to understand that less is more when it comes to cologne, hair gel and general grooming time. Flip flop moments are unpredictable, one day the stench has you frantically searching to find the onions that must be hidden somewhere and the next day the primping and preening time turns you into a screaming banshee as you try to get your kids out the door. I offer no advice to you parents of flip floppers, only my commiseration.

The sneak attack is as heart warming as it is unnerving. It's the random and inexplicable hugs, snuggles and kind words. You don't know where they came from and you probably never will. Sneak attack make you want to hold them close and cherish them,  it you know this action could end sneak attacks forever so you choose your moments carefully. In the midst of your elation you worry, somewhere deep down, that it might mean something really bad is coming. Ignore this feeling. It won't help either way. Take them for what they are in the moment, try not to overthink these sneak attacks. Thankfulness is key. But make sure it's silent thankfulness. If they sense that you appreciate it in any way it may never happen again.

Finally, the dictionary that is stuck on repeat. They will find a word or phrase and it will begin to appear everywhere. It often starts as cute or witty. Sometimes it's even eloquent. Sometimes they say "creamy poop" every time you try and talk to them. It will quickly take a turn and the constant use of it will cause you to rethink your views on capitol punishment. Just as you think that the good Lord has answered your prayers and made the word or phrase disappear, a new one will appear. These dictionary moments will last longer than you want but when they're gone, experts tell me that you'll miss them.

As a matter of fact, experts tell me you'll miss all of it when this season of life is over. So dig in your heels and prepare for the ride of your life. Rumor has it teenagers are worth it in the end.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Choosing laughter

I was reminded  by a couple of good friends today that there is a lot of laughter to be found when our world is spiralling.

This was yesterday's spiral.

It all began at 12:15pm. I'm sure it actually started the moment I got up, I am a hot mess, but this time sticks in my mind because it's when I looked at the clock and realized I screwed up.

Nana had to be at the doctor in 15 minutes. The doctor was 10 minutes away. I have a 3 year old. Times the 4, carry the 2 and all to the power of 5. Let's  a face it, the math wasn't looking good.

Cue screaming down the stairs at the toddler to put their shoes on and hoping Nana heard that too because you don't have time to run downstairs and tell them in person. Gather the 12 year old that makes poor choices and can't be home alone, very against his will, and explain that he'll be doing schoolwork in the car today. Grab your purse as they all begin to file out the door and then notice to white fur balls barking and jumping at the door.

That's right, you're dog sitting for a few hours. Oops, forgot about that didn't you?

Scoop them up and throw them in the truck (gently of course) and squeal your tires as you race down the driveway.

You're on the road taking deep breaths and attempting to chill the heck out. She'll only be a few minutes late. Then she drops the bomb. "Oh, my appointment is at 1:30."

Say what now?!?!??!

Quick mental math tells you that by the time you go home, let the dogs pee, handle the toddler tantrum that you didn't go where you said you were going, and finally remove surly tweenager from the vehicle it will be time to load them all right back up.

And so you persevere.

But not without unleashing a slew of things that you can't take back and will regret.

Why is the time different? Why can't people communicate? Why doesn't anyone want to try and help you? Why can't people help themselves.

Of course your choice words lead to their choice words and you find out that you challenged them by asking the time for the appointment, you told them the electronic calendar malfunction was fixed and you always yell at them for bothering the kids during school time so that's why they can't come and talk to you.

That was a lot of phenomenal cosmic yelling in an itty bitty truck cab space. My super hero name today should be counterproductive woman.

Oh well, apologies all around. Nana arrives at the doctor. Now it's time to sit and waste be wise the math doesn't add up. Drive home + unload + gas prices + reload + mommy sanity = might as well sit and wait.

Not everyone agrees. The dogs whimper or bark at everyone that walks by the truck. The tweenager can't read the Iliad with all the dog noise. Toddler needs everything in her life to be different.

McDonalds it is. So much for the healthy eating, less spending goal. Plain cheeseburgers and cold sodas fix this moment, albeit temporarily. There goes the gas cost savings, literally right out the drive through window.

Drive around long enough to lull the dogs into complacency and you can park again. Tweenager finishes the Iliad. Toddler needs to stop asking questions or you cannot be friends anymore. You let her use Snapchat in an effort at peace and quiet. The dogs don't like Snapchat. They're back to whimpering and barking intermittently, it's very unsettling.

The doctor appointment goes long. It's now been 2.5 hours since you last saw the outside of your vehicle. There may have been some poor planning and poor choices made. Just as you're beginning to think this McDonalds scented cab is your new forever home, Nana appears.

You check in to see how the appointment went. She tries to give you an appointment card for the next time. You unleash the fury of a thousand angry squirrels as you explain that you want communication and your online calendar not an appointment card. You sound and look like a surly toddler stomping her feet. Everyone quietly (and maybe a little scaredly) sits still for the final five minutes of the ride home.

The dogs, children and Nana scatter like delinquents when the cops show up and you stand and wonder how life got this way. Oh well, back to life right?

You look down at your phone and see the time, 3:30, and run in yelling at the toddler to get her shoes on, it's time for swim practice.

Here we go again.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

So much to say!!!

This subject weighs super heavy on me. It eats away at my soul bit by bit. I'm forced to face it everyday and it continues to get more and more challenging.

Kids and Technology.

I've read the blogs. Followed the guidelines. Seen the news. I know we live in a different world nowadays. But even with all the advice that the internet has offered me, I still just don't know what to do. It all feels hopeless.

When is the appropriate time for a child to get a cell phone? I think, and hope, that need is the primary factor here. Are they away from you for significant periods of time with no other way to contact you? Then maybe it's time.

Why are they away from you for significant periods of time with no way to contact you? Did you send them on a walkabout or is it because our country has abolished pay phones from the face of the earth? If it's because they're 16 or older, you get a pass. Your kids should be away from you for significant periods of time, and it is the government's fault that you don't have payphones available.

Okay, need established. Now what type of phone do you get them? No kid needs a smartphone. Phones are for calling and texting, that is their purpose (she says as she writes a blog on her smartphone hypocritically.) But if you don't get them one, they will not be the cool kid. Scarred for life. Or so society tells us. Somehow we've come to believe that our kids need a $700 piece of technology that has a 75% chance of breaking within the first month (hope you got the insurance) and 100% chance of being outdated within 2 years. Or, maybe you're in this to save money. A flip phone and a tablet seem silly when a smartphone could do it all in one conveniently overpriced device ( thats why I have one:))

A smartphone, tablet, iPod etc... opens your child to the entire world! That's pretty amazing, as well as amazingly terrifying. I think it's wonderful that you have the one kid in existence who doesn't come to crave the instant gratification of receiving a text, or experience the thrill of constantly checking for new notifications. It's even more wonderful that your child respects you enough to always follow the guidelines you gave them for when they can use it, and what's appropriate. Sadly, I think a lot of our kids are not the same way.

I think a lot of our kids get bullied or are bullies. I think a lot are sleep deprived from staring at the glowing screen waiting for the notification that never came. I think many children have found addictive games, pornography and foul things that their precious eyes cannot unsee. I think these things are happening through the lens of their personal electronics. I'm not saying shelter your kids, but I am saying a certain maturity level may be required to handle our technological world. If they really need/want technology, couldn't we share our devices til they've proven themselves worthy of this grandiose prize?

Now, off my scary technology soapbox and on to my social query soapbox. Can your child function without technology? I'm asking because when my child invites them to play, they bring it along. Their personal technology device, meant for one person, is brought along when they hang out with friends. Is it in case my kid isn't fun enough? I'm slightly baffled as to why your child wants to play on his phone while sitting on my couch. Isn't it the same as when he's on his couch? Is it because I have air conditioning? Is your child setup for the lifetime of social interactions that will need to occur without technology in hand? Because they don't even look up from the screen when they're talking to me.

Do I sound pretentious enough yet? Well, here's the laughable part, my kids are crawling with technology. Even my 3 year old has a phone (of sorts). But I'm finding their technology use frightening. My 10 year old asked to play a video game in the car today. We were going to the grocery store 2 minutes down the road. He sounded desperate. The game wouldn't have even loaded in that time (I didn't say they have quality technology). One of my 12 year olds snuck away from his own slumber party to watch YouTubers play video games (his real friends were in his house playing real video games at the time). My 3 boys go to a school with Technology Academy in the name. My husband is a software engineer, creating technology is his job.

I say all this just to get it off my chest. Kids and technology pisses me off. Now let me tell you what I've learned and what I'm doing to regain some sanity.

No personal devices (tablets, ds, iPod etc...) They have computers for school so they have access to things they both need and want online. I've found that they cannot control themselves with personal devices. They're either on it all the time or they haven't even charged it for 2 weeks. Either scenario is a waste. Personal devices are also too easy to hide what they're doing and where they're doing it. If your kid has a personal device, please keep it that way. I don't enjoy it when they share it with my kid.

Phones. My 12 year olds have had them for almost a year. My 10 year old and 3 year old have old phones of ours that don't have service but can make calls via WiFi. They all pretty much exist so that we can play Pokemon GO as a family. I am way overpaying for this service. The phones must sit on a centrally located charger at home and they are not allowed to put any app on the phone without parental permission. They should be for emergencies. They are not. It's sad. Don't buy your kids a phone unless you have to.

Gaming systems. I'm actually a fan of these. It's a way for multiple kids to enjoy technology together. It's in a centrally located area and can easily have set time limits. I still like the trampoline more, but gaming systems are pretty okay. But, I'm not a fan of that being the only thing your kid wants to do when he comes to my house to hang out. We have a lot of cool **it.

After today, here's what I'm  I going to do. I'm​ setting up a technology drop box at my house asap. From now on you'll be asked to leave the ball and chain there (yes this goes for adults too. No I'm not referring to putting your wife in the box.) and forced to enjoy the lovely company of the many people that live in my home when you come visit. If you need that personal screen time, feel free to leave. (Jumped right back on my high horse didn't I?) Okay, okay, I will allow calls and texts, after all that is a phones purpose.

Rant over for now. I like technology, I swear I do. I just don't know how it fits with kids who are exploring boundaries and learning how our society works.

P.S. I didn't even touch on this, but if anyone can explain the zombie like affect that the television causes, I'd love to learn more. I let the 3 year old watch trolls this morning and managed to mesmerize 8 different 10-12 year old boys to the point that they could not move or respond. Infomercials seem to work equally well. What's up with that?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Lazy bones

Last week I found myself explaining to my children that when we say we can't do something, it's often that we don't want to do that something. Let's face it, in the Google driven world that we live in, everything is learnable.

I drove the point home with a lovely anecdote about mowing the lawn. For the first 6 or 7 years of my marriage my husband had the chore of mowing the lawn. I told myself, and anyone else who would listen, that I didn't know how to use a lawnmower so he was stuck with the job. I just couldn't do it.

As time went on I noticed that he seemed sick after mowing the lawn. I also noticed that my oldest son seemed sick every time the lawn was mowed (allergies are a formidable foe). More time went on and I realized I was regularly feeling annoyed that the lawn wasn't being mowed often enough. These things finally led me to my Aha! moment where I realized that I didn't want to mow the lawn. After this it took very little time to learn how to mow the lawn (although I've broken like 3 mowers in the time I've been in charge of this chore). I remind myself of this story every time I say (or think, silently and belligerently) I can't.

This week, I found myself having a conversation with my mom about managing her health. We were discussing how important it is to balance exercise and healthy eating as well as pushing ourselves and sticking to a plan even when you're not seeing results. She mentioned that a nutritionist wasn't helpful because she already knows what foods to eat and what amounts are healthy. This conversation went around in loops for a long time and sent my mind churning.

Who am I to talk about healthy eating or living? I'm easily 100 pounds over a "healthy weight" for my height. I was in the same boat, I know the foods to eat and avoid and the exercises to do. Whatever questions I have can be answered by Google. Yet my head is full of "I can't" excuses. Realistically, I like donuts and soda enough to choose them over losing weight.

All this brought me to a place where I got my lazy bones to the gym at 10 o clock at night and this morning found myself on the exercise bike at 7am while I checked my Facebook page. This week I'm turning my "can't find time to exercise" into I will find time to exercise."

How do we manage to let the "I don't want to" attitude rule our lives? How can we overcome this and set a "can do" example for our children? I'm going to start tackling more of my I don't want to moments head on and see where it takes me. I have a bad feeling it might lead me to more chores and trying gross food. But... It could also lead to something amazing, only time will tell.