Mug Alert: The first Om Nom Nom

My neighborhood is in the beating heart of the coffee phenomenon. I am surrounded by caffeine addicts. They are everywhere. Before 9am it’s like the streets are overrun with zombies and only the children remain normal, happy and giggling. Standing in line at one of the thousands of coffee shops leaves you recounting the list of rules from Zombieland. Then, almost like magic, there’s actually HUMANS leaving the shop, not zombies! That coffee fix is a serious thing, not one to be messed with. My beloved coffee addicts have taught me that coffee comes before words.

© Duskbabe | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images


© Duskbabe | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

I am the one in a million that doesn’t drink coffee. There’s something about it’s taste that just, well, isn’t my cup of tea. It’s mostly drinking it that repels me, but I’m not opposed to making it for my beloved coffee addicts. It’s taken a few years but I actually like making coffee now. It’s a great way to make easy friends… the zombies always smile at the person handing them a hot cup of java. It’s become an act of love.

In honor of my beloved coffee addicts, I’m starting the Mug Alert post. Now you can remind yourself and those you love to let out their inner RAWR, first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee done just right.

The OmNomNomivore

onnomnommug

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Love, All Grown Up

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. Be a tree, give fruits, flowers, shade to others without expecting anything from others. Whatever you want from others first you have to give that to others. Whatever you give to others, you will be given in return. If you give love, respect to others then surely you will be given love and respect from others. That’s why we should learn to give good things to others.”- Deepak Panwar freeimage-814506 A couple years ago, my husband and I found ourselves in the midst of a marriage crisis. We had no idea how, but we had gone from twitterpated young lovers to disillusioned married people. We fought constantly, and our words were almost always disrespectful, sarcastic, and unkind. We tried everything we could think of to reconnect: Date nights, talking more, sharing interests… it all just ended up serving as the Band-Aid over the gunshot wound. We were toeing the line of ending a marriage and splitting a family.

I stumbled across an advertisement for a marriage self-help book one day. In my head I scoffed and thought about how silly and trite it probably was. But, part of me knew I was running out of options to save my marriage. I ordered it, and jumped into reading. Of course, some of it was exactly what I expected in terms of catch phrases and fluff. To my complete shock, the main message was absolutely revolutionary to me. It told me to stop demanding and expecting from my partner. To stop speaking and behaving disrespectfully. My brain rebelled, “But, he makes me angry! He disrespects me! I’m not going to roll over and let that happen to me! I’m not going to bend over backwards for someone who won’t do the same.” I sat with these feelings for a good week until I finally figured I could probably swallow my pride long enough to give it a go… because honestly, what else could I do?

We decided to table the issues we had been arguing about for months. It wasn’t about better listening or communicating more clearly. It wasn’t about expressing needs asking for concessions. The focus was on the here and now- our words and actions towards each other in each moment. We were challenged to behave as we did in the beginning of our relationship with random acts of kindness and love. It wasn’t overnight, but change started to happen. We began to look at our relationship in terms of what we could bring to each other, and not what the other person owed us. Hearts softened, and we learned that though we couldn’t take back old slights and wrongs, we could forgive them without having to battle over who was right or responsible. Our words and actions towards each other became kind and respectful. The knot in my stomach that was all the old hurt and anger I had been hanging onto started to melt away, and I felt like I could breathe again. Of course, no couple is perfect, and sometimes old habits like to run amuck. But, we continually came back to the idea that we were in this relationship to love each other, not to tear each other down or win emotional battles.

What is left today is a relationship that feels all grown up. We are happy and, dare I say, still a bit twitterpated. We are tackling life one day at a time, and we do it knowing that we are a team. Not because we have to be, but because we choose to be. We love, laugh, trust, respect, forgive, and keep moving forward.
couple on beach
Relationships grow and evolve through so many phases- lust, twitterpation, adventure, comfort… But I truly think that love grows into its finest form when you realize that your highest calling to your relationship is to treat your partner with infinite kindness and respect. When you can look at them and know that you want nothing more than to never be a source of pain or disrespect to them… and that is reflected back at you. That it’s not about being right or in charge. That it doesn’t matter who makes more money or has more success. I think it’s when you realize that you can take on the world and anything in it… because you are a unit based in respect and driven by the desire to do right by each other. That binds you tightly to each other, and how can trials tear you apart if there isn’t a gap for a foothold to be had?

#Erin

Too many d*cks on the dancefloor…

A Reader: There’s the Testosterone Conundrum… Teenage boy + step father = constant conflict & disagreements so what do I do?

Father and Son

Boys boys boys. Growing up in a house full of two “little” brothers, a wrestling match or stinky hamper was never far away. Neither was a fight over our mom’s attention. Like two dueling dancers, they’d each try to out-do the other until she noticed. Even when you love the boys in your life they can be stinky, LOUD, rude, and messy all at once without realizing it themselves. Lots of testosterone can certainly strain a family relationship. It doesn’t even take a full grown boy to disrupt a family dynamic, even a Preggosaurus Rex growing a little boy can produce enough testosterone to kick the circus off-queue. So what is a mama rex to do when the going gets too RAWR?

The first step is to channel it. I like to think of testosterone as steam in a kettle. The more of it a guy has, the more forcefully he needs it to be turned into spent energy. You can’t just cap the steam and expect it to go away, it needs a healthy outlet. Finding some activity they can do together, maybe it’s race RC cars, or go to batting practice or work on a car, or whatever it may be for your boys, will go a long way in helping them bond in a healthy way. The more healthy outlets they have in common, the stronger a relationship they’ll be able to build.

There’s also some sticky family dynamics at play, underneath all the hormones and beating their chests with fists. There is a father-son dynamic that needs support. Right now, as a teenager, your son can’t see the big picture and long term because his pre-frontal cortex is just not quite there. It will take him a few years to realize your husbands’ actions aren’t putting restrictions on him or reigning him in just to be mean, but rather to give him guidance that typically comes from Dad. Finding ways to nurture this bond is tricky and often, a well-intentioned plan can backfire in your face. Some degree of Mama-Sneak is called for, but not too much. You can send them on errands together, find new activities that they both have to try (outdoor stuff is good because they burn much more energy and come home tired!), but be careful being too sneaky in setting activities up.

Something that seems to work well for the men I love in my life, but certainly is not appropriate for everyone, is being the rube for them in those crucial bonding situations. When they can be on the same ‘team’ because they’re both laughing with (and usually at) me, I don’t take it personal because I know they in the end, they’ll be more bonded, and it’s not like there’s any less love then.

The other consideration is to be an open listener for your son. This means to LISTEN and not judge or try to problem solve but just listen. He’s reaching an age where he wants to emotionally attach and if you and him have a good relationship, he’ll attach back to you. This is not attachment in some weird way but rather he’ll develop a deeper trust with you. He’ll be comfortable sharing more than the typical teenage boy shares with his mother about the happenings of his life. The goal is for you and his Step-father to be there for him as a solid support- through dumb decisions and good decisions.

And when all else fails, “RAWR” at them.

Tickle me no more!

A Reader:

“Can someone explain to me what is wrong with men? My fiance is currently not talking to me (childish) because he claims I speak to him like a child. Example: Telling him not to tickle me when I’m holding a baby. Or explaining he has to take his cough medicine as directed and not when he feels like it. Sometimes my 11 month old baby acts ten times more mature and aware of her surroundings than he does!”

Marie:

He’s either going to complain that you’re babying him or he’s going to like that you’re babying him. Men are ruled by their egos and to play along you’ll have to either play along or put an end to play time. There is certainly a time and place for scolding (um, do you want me to drop our daughter?) and a time and place for kind reminders (sweetie, it’s time to take your next dose). However if he’s responding so immaturely to perfectly reasonable requests, then there is likely something deeper going on.

First, check the tone of your voice. I am often snappier than I intend to be and it has an affect on Raul. I have to be careful that I’m very clear in what I’m asking of him and that my tone matches my intent. (Often easier said than done!)

Next, call him out on his complaint. “What about what I just said or asked makes you feel like a child?”  Hear him out, however ridiculous it may sound and then take a deep breath. Once he’s had the opportunity to say his piece, you can kindly remind him that your response was a reaction to him- by not caring for himself or being considerate of you, you get frustrated with him. You are sorry if he feels demeaned, as that wasn’t your intent, but you’re also disappointed in his behavior by acting and responding so immaturely.

At this point, as long as you both are still conversing at normal conversation levels, this would be a good opportunity to make your expectations clear. “I will never be ok with you tickling me while I’m holding our daughter.” or “I’m concerned that you’ll get more sick or stay sick longer if you aren’t following the medication guidelines properly.)

Next you’ll want to remove yourself from these ‘bad guy’ situations. Set up his phone to pop a reminder to take his meds. Make a point to hug him when you’re not holding a kiddo. And if he’s being immature again, call him out on it (nicely!). If you have him helping you with a task, you’ll just have to accept that it might not get done the way you want it to. Assign him the tasks that you don’t mind if it’s not exactly as you would do it (ie. taking out the garbage vs folding clothes).

Lastly, if he still won’t grow up and cooperate, it’s time to fight fire with fire. Flip the tables on him. As soon as he gets all pissy, start crying at him for not listening to you and making your life harder. He’ll likely freak at the tears and say whatever he can to shut you up. Sob, “I’m trying so hard to__________ (insert action he was just complaining about) and you just come in here and mess it all up! Boohooohoo!”. They hate crying worse than nagging.

It takes time for a new-ish guy to learn how you like things done and it takes time for you to learn his strengths and weaknesses in supporting household chores. Patience and planning ahead will go a long way to keeping the peace.

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