Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Just Like Always...

When I originally started blogging I swore I would better define 'how I do it?' and I guess I haven't really gotten that far yet. What reminded me of this was Super Manny and I were at the Swedish Embassy (aka Ikea) and ran into a young couple that had a measuring tape to a chaise...which I thought was genius because I couldn't remember the name to my Swedish couch. While Tim tested each couch with his rear side I started chatting up the young couple at how smart and prepared they were. She kindly informed me they forgot the measurement of their space at home. So they were still gonna have to wing it! I felt much better about my lack of preparation for my own excursion. -- Back to the great debate of the bubblegum pink couch cover that was on sale...as Tim and I discussed...they over heard my two major arguements...Number 1- We have 3 little girls at home,2 female cats, 1 female dog, plus myself TOTAL of 7 females. Number 2- The handsome pilot while absent for the final voting process had already approved said purchase. (defense of pink couches has ended).

The woman and I began conversing...she too had a child. She was in 'the industry'. Her husband traveled a lot (a handsome musician). AND THEN 'how do you do it?' she said 'I only have one!'
I then had to confess that I worked in the industry as well and had a the handsome pilot who traveled everyday for work. Both of them looked at me like I had 10 eyeballs and I must say in that moment I was almost embarassed. I cheated. I have Super Manny. That is one way. But I have been without him. Watching them look at each other and then back at me at least 5 times I knew they were seeking a secret answer. So I just blabbered it all out. Now I will share with you what I shared with them...

First, I am not a new parent. Their little one was barely a year old and so far their only child. Having one child is hard, because being a new parent is 10 levels past difficult. The chances are that its not second babies that are easier...second time PARENTS are just smarter! Third time parents are just relaxed...and based on watching my own mothers, even more kids will make you God-like with wisdom. The first child has you running to the doctor with EVERYTHING. We knew NOTHING. A nurse told me once to take a rectal temp on my 1st born and I cried...then rushed her to the ER. Yup...it was a 101 temp... which isn't cause for an ER visit by the way. Not for a baby... they tend run high. Just a luke warm bath and some Tylenol. Really?! I stayed awake that ENTIRE night watching my sweet 1st born sleep, but I tell you what after a 6 hour trip to the ER I learned to get over my fear of rectal temp taking! I was just a nervous wreck all the time...constantly thinking about her. Worrying about her health. OH BOY and the allergies to everything and the special diet. Colic. Color of poo. Everything I was obsessed with. I read novels on parenting, magazine articles, online anything. I debated both sides of every piece of advice with the handsome pilot. We tried everything and eventually figured out what worked for us as parents and what worked for Grayce ... meeting in the middle creating a perfect balance. ALL of that was a time consuming lesson...but so worth it by beauty number three!

Secondly, making anything work is about priorities. After AJ came college was a bit tougher. Classes were so hard with two babies. I guess healthy babies that could attend childcare would have been easier, I know that mothers out there do it all the time and much credit is due to them. I was making a 90 minute drive one way 3x's a week to take Grayce to see a specialist, then eventually down to 1 time a month by the time AJ was born. With both of them I never missed a day of classes after giving birth. LOL freaked my fellow students out! I had Tuesday and Thursday classes...so I was just back at it after giving birth on Friday!  After AJ I walked straight into finals...then had winter break. Sadly she had developed RSV and couldn't be around other children for 7 weeks. I tried daycare with both of them and both times major problems to include physical harm and neglect! So the handsome pilot and I arranged our classes at opposite times...one of us was always with the kids. I took a job working nights. Slept when the babies slept. Daddy was a stay at home daddy for a few months. By the time AJ was a few months old we had our first live in nanny. She was awesome. I got sleep and studying done. I also got my wedding planned. She moved away with her boyfriend after 2 months and then Tim filled the position about a month after she moved.  Living in a small town daycare options were limited, besides I am a fan of having them at home! I knew eventually they would go to school and have activities finding a million ways to get out of the house in the years to come. I would just prefer that when not doing those things they are HOME. It was important to both the handsome pilot and myself as their parents...remains just as important today. During college I was trying to find a career...something that would make me feel like I wasn't 'working' my life a way. I did just that. Eventually, I was offered a job in film and came to LA leaving college behind. A choice I don't regret at all.

Finally, organization...communication...and the occasional desperation! When we came to LA back in 2007 there were 3 adults vs. 2 little beauties! Tim took on less of the full-time Nanny role. He worked and stayed busy. We had another friend that is in the 'industry'. The handsome pilot was flight instructing and flying private planes. Together all of us made a family. Before I went to work I organized school uniforms by day of the week down to the socks. Funday Sunday was our collective day to clean the house. All school paperwork waited for me at the end of the night to sign and review. Daddy took care of rides to and from preschool and kinder. On NO school days a grown up was there. When I went on location (which was EVERY show in the beginning) Daddy took less work and balanced the schedule with Tim. Family dinners every night to talk about the days happenings and the next days schedule. I worked from home. Daddy worked 5 minutes away and was home several times a day... if even for an hour at various times. He took work out of town or out of country and I would adapt to be home. I had a more accurate calendar in those days....writing down everything! Keeping track of everyone. I did all the grocery shopping, bills, and the guys did the garbage, yard and pool. Flying by the seat of our pants was not an option. Whenever we ran into a desperate situation we got creative! Work with Daddy days. Work with Mommy days. Work from home days. I was forced to be more organized than ever before...still today it takes the well oiled machine to run the brood. I am just less neurotic about it all now. Tim would probably argue not much less.

With all that said. I guess the most honest answer is...'we always have'. That's how I do it everyday. The same way we always have. With the same people we always have. Tim always gets the Super Manny award, but really he is and always has been Super Family. The handsome pilot and I made choices many years ago and never strayed. We knew what we wanted for our girls and made them top priority. HOME our whole lives revolve around it! We knew it would mean sacrifice from time to time. As long as the girls were never the ones sacrificing. The pilot and I both have an office view we would not like to give up. Tim has the chance to write and be in LA. We are extremely well oiled. Extremely close. We are family. This is Home... in Hollywood.

I am certain that this set up won't last forever, but as my new Ikea friend and I discussed the beauty of the 'industry' is that we can choose to NOT take work. We can be at home with our kids for how ever long we choose. We are not committed to the same job all the time. Both a beauty and a burden of freelance. That wonderful couple was doing everything perfectly, they were doing what was right for them I just know that as new parents...they deserved to hear it from someone that already came up through the ranks! Right now I have been home with the beauties for a month...it has been so nice and I don't forget to take advantage of every moment with them. Whether I have 1 baby or 500 babies...this life is managed the same way. Just now my worry and fear have been replaced with knowledge and experience! To sound cliche 'if there's a will, there's a way'. My way wouldn't work for everyone...but everyone can make it work for them. I am a firm believer that if we hadn't figured this out...we would have figured something out that we were comfortable with as parents and happy with as a family.

Right now my creative side...the side that has to always stay engaged and busy is totally fueled by getting settled into a new place,writing,painting,cooking and laughing. Tim has read two novels and caught up on video games with his free time. Us grown folks are prepping for preschool at home and looking forward to Dru being old enough in a few short months to start attending more playdates and activities. Working on little human potty training for the third time. We are constructing an indoor treehouse in the weeks to come. Life is beautiful. My life is beautiful. The film industry is beautiful.

The road to success is paved with those who gave up.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What Did You Just Call Me?

So I am up later than normal. Not sure if it was that cup of coffee that I was craving, but knew I shouldn't drink and did anyway. Stress? Not feeling well? Creative mind at work? Thinking of all the house stuff left to do? Unfinished shopping list? OR if it is that awkward back to work goodbye that I had with the handsome pilot before he went back to work.

Part of me wants to check FlightAware to see how he is doing...BUT I did that once and it didn't go to well. Actually that last sentence is a HELL of an understatement and deserves a short story.

For those of you that don't know FlightAware is an site online where you (anyone) can check the status of a flight. If you know the tail number to the aircraft or the flight number if its commercial. Well one late night a few years ago (I was pregger with Audree), the handsome pilot took a week of work moving a small plane across the country with another guy. They flew out to the east coast and picked up a plane to bring back to Long Beach. They called and said that the weather had gotten bad and that he was diverting to visit his dad near Bozeman,MT for the night. Told me to track him on FlightAware and that he would call when he landed. I had never done this before...BUT what the heck. SO after a few hours I logged on entered all the information. Saw that he had taken off...followed the dashes...and BAM the plane icon fell out of the sky! Showing that it had CRASHED! NOT the page loading...not a malfunction of the website. A DOWNED AIRCRAFT! WTF and HFS and OMG! I freaked out. I called his dad who didn't answer! I called him who didn't answer! I started calling the FBO's in MT no answer! I called the 1-800 to FlightAware! I finally got ahold of some nice old man at the Bozeman airport (which was so small the calls actually went to his house)! I woke him up in what I thought was a calm concerned woman voice asking if this particular tail number had landed...which got a response of "young lady I would have to be at the airport to know that!"
I cried for about 30 minutes trying to catch my breath! Had all my worries been justified?...would his dad be showing up at the house to tell me that they were searching for wreckage?...what would I tell my children?...should I call his mom?...OK maybe I entered in the info wrong...I tried again and again...for more than an HOUR...same results! Called local hospitals of the 'crash site'...
When FINALLY I got my man on the phone he was fine. JUST FINE! Alive and not anything near a crash! Apparently the smaller planes don't always get updated as often as the commercial planes on FlightAware! Well hell...that could have been mentioned!

See on my wedding day someone asked me if I was ready to be a Pilot's Wife and I nearly laughed at the label...as I stood in a 9,000 sq foot historic airplane hangar that was decorated for our huge reception...with pink iced airplane shaped cookies...walked in as the new Mr&Mrs to the Top Gun theme song...watched planes land all night as we shared the night with our family AND I said no I am not ready to be a pilots wife, but I am going to love being his wife.

Goodness gracious what was I thinking! Guess I was thinking like any other independent woman that would be doomed in a relationship with a man who's career was actually a way of life. See pilots always have 'another love'... the sky...the plane...the office view. They also have high divorce rates! So it's no wonder our marriage has had so many 'take-offs and landings'...because my industry has high divorce rates too! For me it's rarely a factor of the 'other love' as much as it is the risk he takes.

Maybe I meet him so soon after 9/11 or that there are always plane crashes on the news or that I met him while he was still in college before he was even 21 and thought this love would fade (with the planes)! I don't know for sure. I have always been a risk vs. reward type of person and to me a job like that just was not worth the risk! Prior to marrying a pilot I was scared to death of flying...still am...except in his right seat! I have always had this strange gut fear of losing him. Even during our separation he would let me know when he was on the ground safely...after some time I stopped worrying so much. Here I am exactly 11 years after I met him still telling him to be careful every night. And finally figured out why pilots wives are labeled. Just like a cop wife or a Marine wife or all the other wives that have ever not slept with worry. BECAUSE WE F*ING EARNED IT! We are proud of our husbands. We worry for them. We love them. They have jobs with more risk than most. (PS mad props to the cop wives...I would have never even gone on a first date...that's too much stress for me:)

It took some time for me. It took finding out that there are other pilots wives (who have great blogs btw) and that I am not alone. I guess most of all it took time for me to understand that there is a handsome pilot out there who is doing what he loves and always dreamed to be...I can respect that. I can understand that and I love that. Shall the day come he wants to make me a baker's wife or a preacher's wife or a stay-at-home dad's wife...I will love any of those even more :) While being away from your spouse for work is common, it wasn't what the first 6 years of our relationship was and took some time to get used to for us both. So used to being glued at the hip for so many years and loving every minute of it...having all that time away disconnected us from who 'we' were meant to be. I think though we have seen better and we have seen worse...now we just get to enjoy the stuff in between until the new work schedule comes out or he has enough hours for an upgrade!

I may not have this whole Pilot's Wife thing figured out. I know that the love (of the planes) is not fading anytime soon and I did figure out that one of the many things I was great at this whole time was being a wife to a Handsome Pilot. Call me what you will...

And right on schedule the text of safety comes in...and a beautiful nap awaits me...good night clouds he shall meet you again tomorrow :)

(Photo is from 2008--My First & Only Flight Lesson! He waited years to get me to do that! Made him happy :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Memories ... It's Whats For Dinner!

One of the many talents I am known for is FEEDING EVERYONE! All the time. You'll pretty much offend me if you don't eat!

Cooking is love. If you think back to mom,dad, grandma, aunts, and all the special memories from a lifetime there is always a kitchen or a grill nearby. Breakfast,Lunch,Dinner and everything in between usually happened in the kitchen. It's were my bro and I always took our greatest arguements (cuz our referee was in there), it's where I did my homework (so mom could see us and dad could answer questions wondering back and forth from the grill), it's where we all played 'Mouse Trap' (biggest table in the house), where I had my 1st cup of coffee (with my mama K), where we cured J Girl's 1st heartbreak (there was ice cream)!

So many memories--so much LOVE at every table.

Granted I give my mother the hardest time for not always being a whiz in the kitchen when I was younger. She actually burned fish sticks on the OUTSIDE, but they were still frozen on the INSIDE! Now there are so many things that she can do in that kitchen. In all fairness when my brother and I were younger she was hardly home to cook dinner, but always there to eat it with us. When I got old enough it was me who cooked the sides and my Dad (step-dad) grilled something. EVERY NIGHT except Friday...we ate out! Always the grill...summer,winter,fall and spring. Digging his way through rain, snow, or leaves out to the Weber and lighting charcoal...never fail with charcoal. The greatest gift we ever got my Daddy (my dad dad!) was a propane grill. My sister and I went in on it together and proudly presented it to him years ago. He still uses it and still makes the best pork steaks you will ever eat (my bro is a close second)! I love sitting out there at the grill while he cooks and fights fire. We've talked,laughed,argued and resolved out on that back deck. My Dad's were the Kings of the kitchen at our houses!

Every holiday is my Aunt B feeding everyone...all the aunts actually...but at Aunt B's house. The summer I was pregnant with Audree she spent so much time teaching me recipes. Small reminders of the times I spend with my Gma J in her kitchen as a child (mostly in time out w/a cousin or two...so Gma could keep an eye on us)! Gpa J bringing in fresh anything from his garden. The extra stove Gpa put in the garage for her as to not heat up the house in the summer time. All the mason jars down yonder dwindling down and the time spent watching my Grandparents work together to replenish what we enjoyed. Time in my teens at my Aunt V's house making ice cream,monkey bread and memories! Tears stream down my face now as I think about the turmoil my Aunts are in arguing with one another. Not my business, but I would give anything to be back in Gma's kitchen (Aunt V's kitchen now :) chasing my cousins-tattletelling-stealing Gpa's juciy fruit gum-laughing-and LEARNING. I learned everything I needed to know about being a mother from that room without knowing it. My Mama K's (my step mom) family taught me so much as well...mostly that no house is too small to host a family dinner! And that EVERYONE is family! If you showed up and at least 2 redheads could vouch for you...dinner was yours :)

My house has always been the same. My first husband was kinda like my very own lab rat sent to me by Betty Crocker herself. We were Marines...stomachs of steel back then. Thank goodness cuz I had to feed us both on about $50 a month. The Chaplin gave me a cookbook for a wedding gift...I no longer have that cookbook BUT my famous lasagna remains! I was stationed in Okinawa as a newlywed. My dinner time was my mothers middle of the night...3am call from your tearful daughter trying to figure out meatloaf...what mother wouldn't value that an emergency? Her response was 3 words: ketchup. crackers. hamburger. Then a dial tone. (I am laughing thinking about this...but I was crying at the time). There was not really internet like there is now. I couldn't just hop on and find a zillion blogs with answers; I was in Japan I couldn't pop over to the neighbors and ask. My husband wanted meatloaf and I wanted to make it...I did. He ate it. Yes, he is still alive. Living happy in SoCal with a beautiful wife (who I pray can cook like a champ...he earned it)!

Lesson learned. My cooking no matter how awful wouldn't come close to killing anyone (if you don't count the time the glass pan exploded and we ate the chicken anyway...we all suffer from an unrational fear of knock-off Pyrex)! So I couldn't stop cooking people had to eat. That year in Okinawa I single handedly cooked a Christmas meal for about 70 Marines. We rented tables and chairs. If 2 Marines could vouch for ya...you had dinner! Somehow with all the Christmas memories I possess from a lifetime that is my fave! Easter that following year was just as amazing. We were Marines. We only had each other. We were brothers and sisters in arms. Amazing memories.

By the time I met and married the handsome pilot my cooking skills had improved. Not greatly. But his life was not in as much danger as the Marine. There is only one meal he can make fun of me for. FILET OF BEEF with Avocado! (ummm.I have no defense for this meal.It was like warmed up beef jerky with melted green goo.) Also, don't get Filet Mignon from WalMart. Lesson learned. No one died.

One thing hubs and I have always done was sit down and eat. TOGETHER. Even when his work day sat him down for dinner at 11pm I sit with him. We end our day at the table. The way a family should. Even during our separation he would request meals that he missed or arrive and share some new ones he learned. We sat down for a meal each night he was here. Never letting go of the family table we originally created. Intentionally. With purpose. One that worked! Our plan was for our table to always bring us together and unite us. It has. It does. We are all the better for having valued the importance of praying and eating as a family.

We always had friends over. Ribs and Crab Legs were an epic college meal (rare BUT amazing)! Taco Night. My BFF lived across the hall in mine and hubs 1st apartment. We ate together. Rock Paper Scissors who would do sides and who would do meat. My greatest friend Mary Carol lived below me. She was nearly 70 years old at the time and also taught me about being a mother and about cast iron skillets. From the time I was pregnant with Grayce. She was who I turned to with my Mama's so far away. Amazing times. Amazing meals. Amazing people.

When the beauties came along none of that changed. Family sits at the table. Whether you are 2 days, 2 years, or 29 years (like me now ;) )! Prayers ALWAYS. We have our fave family prayer printed and framed to hang in our dining room because we needed a cheat sheet learning new ones. AJ was our toughest little one. Always a fight at the dinner table. Pickiest eater. Never eating. Grayce was allergic to everything under the sun. Audree perfection. 3rd times the charm I guess.

So many of my friends come to me for advice on all of the issues I went through/go through with the beauties and eating. My family teases me about my Hollywood all (okay mostly) organic diet for the girls. How do I do it? How do I afford it? Why? Isn't that a lot of work? Don't you let them have any fun? No candy? Your not a fun mom!
WAIT A MINUTE on the last one :) I was so anal about their diet...I get that. I have let up over time. We have special days. They finally got to try Chef Boyardee from a can...and loved it! (gagging a little in my mouth right now). The day after someones birthday we eat leftover birthday cake for breakfast. Once a year we eat ice cream for dinner (well they think it's dinner, careful planning of actually           healthy meal earlier than normal has to be accomplished...I know its dessert,but let them think it's dinner)! They are allowed Sprite or Root Beer when we are not at home (eating out,birthday parties,etc)! Every now and again I bake monkey bread (see Aunt V's house)! There are plenty of times to 'cheat' on our organic diets. There are so many ways to make what we are baking,cooking and sharing with the ones we love healthier than the original.

Most of all I finally have something close to my dream kitchen (work in progress)! It sits in the middle of the house. No walls. Everyone can find me. Everyone can join me.
I believe wholeheartedly that we have all gotten so disconnected from our food. Precooked. Frozen. Fast. In the car. On the couch. Grab and Go.
The best way to teach them is to show them. My girls rarely get kicked out of my kitchen. The last one was too small and cramped so sometimes they had too, it just wasn't practical!
Taking them to shop for food with you is the start. Farmer's Market is our fave place. We touch. We smell. We ask questions. We taste.

Then we go home. I chop. They touch. Mix. Create. MAKE A MESS. Cook. Bake. ENJOY!

What I am actually creating is a relationship. A healthy relationship with food. Where it comes from. What we can do with it. How we can create a taste to be enjoyed by mixing it together. A respect for our bodies, what we put into it, and why it is important. Somewhere in all of that we have made a memory and strengthened our relationship with one another. Someday I hope they will share these same experiences with their own children (way way way long time from now).

You can't get family tradition out of a can!

Now that is not to say that after all the activities and days we are running behind that I don't keep some box mac and cheese in my cabinet (but there is NO JUNK allowed in our cabinets. NO fruit snacks, chips, candy...I don't even waste my money cuz we won't eat it). Or that Tim doesn't always have a standby quick meal plan/idea in his back pocket or at the very least some McNuggets on the way home. We do those things too. Lately with the move and the hectic that is basketball season it seems as if though our family table has transformed for a moment. But we share, love, and enjoy all the same. Tonight we even had our first guest for dinner in quite sometime...1 kid and 1 cat vouched for him...so he got dinner. The same plate of dinner waited for the pilot. We wrapped up my day and began his. We adapt and overcome while still meeting our goals. Tim cooked...I ran passing drills with Grayce in prep for her game tomorrow. Together we shared our days missed with an old friend. We laughed. We had a toddler trying to bail from the table. Simply perfect.

Mama's come a long way from Ramen in a Cup.

Kitchens...also GREAT for bathing baby.
*NOTE to Dad's must remove baby before washing dishes.
Doing both at the same time is NOT multi-tasking.
But I like that your thinking :)

Audree and Grayce 2010
(Our 1st HollyHome)

Monday, January 9, 2012

I Am Still Writing That Book...Everyday!

My mom

This is my first offical blog post EVER! Its not going so well...I keep erasing and starting over! I don't know where to begin. I mean I am 26 years old, but I have lead a crazy life...and if you don't know what I have been through it is hard to understand why I get all amped up over little shit! I am a former Marine (1997-2000) which means I graduated high school and ran straight to the Corps traveled the world and came home again...sorta. Never actually moved back in with my mother since I left September 7th, 1997. I remember a few tears that night in the hotel...my recruiter told me to stop my crying and get some rest...from then on I didn't really look back. I look back now, but when I left there wasn't much to look back on. Mom and I didn't get along...we lived in a new house that I didn't grow up in...the only thing I hated was looking into my baby sisters face and hoping she understood that I loved her and I wish I was going to be there to grow up with her. Now when I look back at the same scene I see the tears my mother held back...the fear on her face...and the pain of letting me go. I wish I could go back and hug her one more time before I walked out that door. I called my mom a while back and told her thank you for putting up with me all those years and said I was sorry for not getting on the school bus on time for the entirety of my education. But what I will tell her someday is I am sorry that I insisted on learning my own lessons on my own terms. I took the hard road despite the many times she guided to "easy street". Now I know why...now I get it! Seeing my girls do it their own way on their own terms and watching thier heart break and their trust mistreated by others is going to kill me. But I am better for my experiences no matter what the struggle or disapproval from my mom...better because she was always there watching over me. Just like I will be with Grayce & Ava.
Guess I am amped up on my mom today because she had a hard day in a series of many hard days...and I can't fix it. But through her tough day she took 100 calls from me about wedding stuff and nonsense stuff and just calmed me. She really is coming through for me with wedding planning...dispite her worries over not having a job. (*note to self...kick the ass of some guy named Doug with an itch...lol!) I can say this about my mom she knows how to agravate ya but she knows even better how to love ya!
Anyhow I don't know the real point of talking this much about my mom to everybody. But I feel better. Hope you all think a little more of your own moms. Next posting I will tell more of myself so you can all get to know me better. I always said I wanted to write a book of my life, but never knew where to begin. Maybe when I bring you all up to date and hash out the things I have been through I can piece it all together and make sense of the tornando that sucked me up and spit me out...cuz so far that is what life feels like. Maybe my story will come together for even me.
<End of my 1st Blog!>

Photo From 2011 :)
-My mother inspires me more and more everyday since 2006. She is strong and genuine. She cares and love (too much sometimes)! I adore her and I am even more thankful for her love and support now in 2012 than I ever thought I could be...

The World Is Yours.