Friday, February 26, 2010

Marriage and Spiritual Growth

There's a website I love - - that brings all the "unanswerable" questions out and gets a bunch of people to answer them and post comments.

This was the question today:

Before clicking away, I gave it a good think. When I was single, I would have strongly rejected that notion -- naturally, having never been married before, I felt as though I was doing just fine and growing to the best of my ability. But that was before I decided to make myself one half of a committed relationship... and I have to say that it's been such a tremendous factor in my individual spiritual growth that I must agree with it.

Now, backing up, I will tell you that I was not the most mature single girl out there. I flitted and flirted, loved being a girlfriend (though I was never very good at it) and tended toward crazy dramatic outbursts. Tantrums, sometimes. I felt a bit less love-able because no one had wanted me all for himself -- I was always told something along the lines of, "Well, what if something happens?" As in, "What if I move to New York?" or "What if I get that job I really want?" or (what I heard between the lines of dialogue) "What if a better woman comes along?"

So, yeah, I was insecure, too. It's hard to find a young, single girl who isn't, but I definitely was.

And then my husband came along and he wanted me all to himself, effective immediately, and there was no time for me to waste. Sure, I was still dramatic and crazy and I thought he would for sure leave me at times, but he didn't. Once, when I was testing out the waters of our relationship, I told him to "f" off and -- this was a defining moment for us -- he kicked my door shut and told me, "If you really want me to leave, I will. But I'm not playing these games. I won't come back." He must have added, "Is that what you want?" Which it wasn't.

And so then we were married, 12 years ago.

Of that time, I'd say that I've only gotten the hang of this growing thing since about 5 years ago... maybe even less. And our kids are aged 5, 8 and 9, so that means the ups haven't always matched the downs (I did not weather the postpartum blues very well). But the past 5 years have opened my eyes to a couple of things, such as...

1. Sometimes you just need to have a "witness" to your life. This was a line from a silly Richard Gere/J.Lo/Susan Sarandon movie called "Shall We Dance?" and I found that it meant something to me. The small moments seem bigger when you have a witness with you, to know that those things did happen: you did the damn dishes when you were too tired after the party, you got the big promotion, you lost your job, you cut your hair off, you did 15 reps of squats when you usually only do 12, you were sick last week and now you're better. It's nothing big, but it doesn't go unnoticed.

2. The intimacy of loving another person -- and feeling that love back -- makes you fearless. You don't give a shit what someone outside of your life says/does/thinks because you know that this one person loves you -- and that's what matters to you.

3. Somehow, the more committed you are to another person, the freer you are in the world around you, to explore and experiment and play and be who you want to be. See #2.

For example, my husband has been super-clear on his desire for me to write since we were married. In his devotion to me as a wife, he has become a supporter of my dreams and aspirations and has done all that he can to help me achieve my goals; the opposite is true, too, and he's traveling this weekend to check out a business opportunity because that is one of his goals. It is a symbiotic push/pull, but one I enjoy participating in.

The last thing I need to mention is that this is not exclusive for marriage; any committed relationship/partnership seems to come with this sort of intimacy and potential for growth in both the individual and the couple (in my humble opinion).

So yeah, for me, marriage has definitely contributed to my growth. What do you think?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Shoes shoes shoes

One of the hottest items at the SV Moms event was the Skechers table. As you may have heard, these shoes are supposed to "tone" your body - calves, thighs, butt - while being beneficial for your low back. I am always skeptical of things like this that promise to tone and strengthen and "help you lose weight"... truthfully, it's not the shoes that make you lose weight, but the exercise you do while you wear them, right? Plus, these shoes are... how do I put it?... not the cutest. Lately, I am coveting the Nikes that can be totally customized, so these sort of ugly clodhoppers were not on my "to buy" list.


I vowed to wear them at least one whole day to try them out. So on Monday, I put them on and wore them around the house, to the park for my 3-mile walk, to the grocery store, to pick up the kids at school... And I have to say that my calves and thighs were a little sore the next day. I could feel the difference. Whether or not I will "lose weight" with these shoes remains to be seen. But I liked them enough that I'll wear them again... though only when I'm alone on the track!

And I almost sidestepped the Stride Rite table -- since my kids are older -- but then I caught a glimpse of these girl-sized Gladiator sandals. Perfect for our upcoming summer trip to Europe. I was thrilled that Stride Rite had some more sophisticated styles (I am so over the little girl styling of older girl sandals, as seen at Target or Gymboree).

I think these were designed by Jessica Simpson, but I won't hold that against them.
Disclaimer: I received the Skechers as a gift from the company and a gift card from Stride Rite.

Delectable "mini" things at SV Moms/Bit Moms

Apart from my 6'5" husband, I like little things. Cuddly kittens, children, cupcakes with sprinkles. And this weekend I sort of fell in love with litl, a new non-computer internet player that looks like this:

There are so many "gadgets" out there competing for our attention and it seems as though my husband's iPhone can do everything except make my coffee in the morning (which my BlackBerry, much as I love it, cannot yet do). Anyway, I have often found myself toting my laptop to the kitchen counter so that I can follow a recipe instead of printing it out first OR to watch an episode of "Glee" on hulu while I empty the dishwasher. And, truthfully, I *have* wondered if there's a better way... And now, there's litl. I think it's about $700 and yes, I have the laptop, we have the iPhone, we don't need it... but I'm in love nonetheless.

Another cute mini thing I saw at the "Ritz"-y blogging event were the cupcakes from
Cinnabon. They were so darned cute and the price point is comparable (probably even a little lower - see? mini!) to all the fancy schmancy cupcakeries around town.

I had a carrot cake one, which was moist and sugary and super-frostinged - a good sign for a cupcake.
But of course there was also chocolate. It was a tough choice.


Yes, Whole Foods was there and I loved their offerings, too, which included mini sizes for their lunch kits. Thank goodness for balance. If not for that, I could certainly go "maxi" on my mini fixation...

The Go To Mom at SV Moms/Bit Moms event

This is Kimberly Blaine. She's the Go To Mom - because she knows a little about everything mom-related. At the SV Moms event, she gave us a snippet of info about vlogging - "video blogging" - that whet my appetite for learning more about getting video into my blogs.

Soon, I will be taking this knowledge and using it for good and not evil. You have been warned.

Photo by Carla Duharte-Razura, who took amazing shots of this event!

Taga Stroller/Bike at SV Moms/Bit Moms event

Okay, so this looks like a fun bike with a huge shopping cart in front, right?

Well, look again... Now it's a stroller!

See, it's a bike (with a baby seat in the front) that can convert quickly and easily into a stroller!

The shopping cart thing is just an accessory that you can buy to put on it once the baby is grown -- the child seat is removable, you can add a second seat in the middle for another child, you can put on an adapter so that your infant car seat can be used... And when you get where you need to go, you flip the whole thing around, pull a few levers and voila! Insta-stroller!

I remember that I was flipped out over the amazing Bugaboo stroller when I had my last baby more than 5 years ago, but this thing... well, I'm in love. And I will not be needing the stroller, thank you very much.

Ritzy Times with SV Mom Bloggers

My favorite blogging mamas (and carpool buddies): Yvonne Cordes, Kim Tracy Prince, Elise Derby Crane, Sarah Auerswald and yours truly.

Oh, how I love a good party with champagne, sweets, fun women and fabulous swag. And when it's thrown by Silicon Valley Moms, well, it's also informative and entertaining. This latest event, at the ultra-swanky Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel, was an opportunity for bloggers and brands to converge and talk about how the blogosphere has changed the face of PR and marketing forever.
As one brand rep (for Taga Bike/Strollers, I'll talk about those later - they are brilliant) mentioned, the high-powered PR agency they hired in London was able to get them top placement in the best newspapers and publications and that translated into a good image... but the bloggers they worked with in Germany had formed an interactive biking group that translated into SALES.
So this day was about that connection, the symbiotic way that bloggers and brands must exist... Very exciting.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Valentines Day "Craft Stew"

To counteract the testoterone content of the Super Bowl, my crafty friend suggested a pre-SB "craft stew," in which we glittered and glitzed our way through a few fun projects. I made these Valentine shadowboxes for my girls.

Valentine's Day

I love Valentine's Day. I do. It's not just a celebration of love, but of all things sparkly, red, tacky, feathery, glitzy, pink and gaudy. It's also my husband's birthday and thus, the day the love of my life was born.
To honor Valentine's Day, one must call on all the Muses and the Crafty Gods to create something suitably spectacular for loved ones. My own mother used to create treasure hunts for us when we were kids, so my brother and I would come home from school and have to dash from here to there (under couch cushions and in cabinets, under the sink and outside by a tree) to locate our valentines. I've done this with my own kids, too, and it was really fun during their "Dora the Explorer" fixation -- "First we go to the piano bench... next comes the guinea pig cage... and finally, the computer desk!" I also like treasure maps, but sometimes my inability to draw straight lines gets in the way.
I prefer to craft up a card or two for my kids instead, but sometimes even that seems to lack a little zazz. This year, I made shadowbox Valentines.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Dawn of Poprocks and Goblins

My good friend Dierdre has a blog.

And now I do, too.

PS: As for the name... I am borrowing it from something a friend of a friend said once at a monthly gathering of Lady Craft Night. What if you didn't need money? What if you could just say, "I want that. Here's a poprock and two goblins." I don't know why, but I like that image of digging deep into my jeans pocket for a few scrapes of old poprocks that still had a little sizzle and handing them over with a couple of nasty old trolls in exchange for something glittery.