Sunday, January 20, 2013

Almost a year of no blogging later...


I’m very flattered by all of the comments – both from readers and from friends and family – as to why my blogging activity has stopped and when (if ever) I’m coming back.

Thank you, thank you! You’ve made me feel very pleased with myself.

But I still don’t know if I’ll go back to blogging.

You know, I’m not the only one to have had a blog and then discontinue it – many bloggers, even full-time, mega-popular, book-deal-in-the-works, money-earning, Superbloggers have decided to call it quits at one point or another, due to reasons that non-bloggers perhaps find difficult to understand. (But if you want, you can read some interviews with some of them at http://mylifeandkids.com/2012/07/should-you-take-a-bloggy-break-part-1/, which is one of the best blogs out there!)

Now of course the simple reason for my timeout would of course be the fact that I’m a full-time working mom of one of the most rambunctious little toddlers the world has ever known (they call them “spirited” nowadays...) and that I seriously collapse on the couch the second she stops wailing in bed and haven’t managed to watch a full episode of CSI, Heroes, The Office, or even Cops without dosing off...ever.

However the real reason why I stopped blogging is actually another one – and please forgive me for being brutally honest here – at one point I had to get really picky about which aspects of my life were serving me, and which ones weren’t.

I started blogging at the same time that I discovered metaphysics, the power of positive thinking, the law of attraction, etc. and wanted to document my journey as a positive thinker, a seeker of truth. Of course most of my blogs were also about life in Luxembourg, cute stories of things that happened to me, and random photos from my life (those WERE fun, I agree!).

However I noticed that when my job changed, I had less time and less material to write about, which had me constantly thinking “I want to blog, but what about?”

Then I had my baby, and had plenty to write about, but the dilemma became one of “I want to blog, but I’m too tired.” Or “I want to blog, but I have to get this laundry folded before naptime is over.” Or (and this is the big one) “I want to blog, but who wants to hear about my kid? There are 1,900* “Mommy blogs” out there that are way better than mine, and that’s not my thing anyway.”

At one point I had a sheet of paper on which I collected my blog topics – and there were some really good ones on there – so that when I did have the time and energy, I could catch up on all of the things I really wanted to write about. And eventually that list became just as long as my to-do list, and started being a source of real anxiety for me (“When am I going to get this all done?!?”).

Or – and I’m sure many bloggers know this feeling – I would live my life, and as I was living it, I was constantly thinking, “I have to blog about this!” instead of actually enjoying the moment.

It was at that time I had to ask myself the question: “is this really serving me? Am I blogging for myself, or for other people? Am I blogging out of the sheer joy of creative expression, or am I blogging out of a feeling of commitment? How much simpler would my life be if I didn’t have my blog to tend to?”

So that’s what happened. I decided to stop. To simplify my life in a very easy way. And despite my feeling of obligation to my dear readers to explain why I was stopping, I decided to do without that as well. Because it was one more thing on my to-do list that was only stressing me out.

Pretty sad, eh? The good thing about me not officially saying farewell, however, is that I can start blogging again at any time I want. And I have actually felt the urge to do this lately, so perhaps I will. But I will have to change my attitude (and my sense of obligation and responsibility to my readership) if I do decide to start up again. Because my life is too short to NOT be picky about how I’m spending my time, and how much energy I’m devoting to stories of complication and annoyance, instead of stories of upliftment and genuine joy.

And with that, I leave you...for now. I will let you know, however, that I have renewed my Google storage account** so that whenever I get the urge, I can begin blogging again and offer a plethora of enormous resolution photos and videos and entertaining tidbits of all sorts.

 

*I know. I counted.

**It only cost $5.00.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pain and Suffering

Today I asked a been-there, done-that mom friend at what age your children no longer allow you to dress them in absolutely ridiculous things. This includes, but is not limited to,

· Halloween/carnival costumes that accentuate babies’ adorable rolls of fat

· Hats with animal ears

· Snow suits that have more bulkiness than the Michelin man

· Outfits that have cute things on the bum.

The question was prompted by a young child walking past me wearing a hat with birthday candles sticking up on top of it. Which she obviously thought was cool, although she was of an age where she could already walk, talk, think, and look in a mirror.

The answer I received was, although it of course varies from child to child, that children start revolting against humiliating articles of clothing and accessories at approximately 7 years of age.

Since I find that dressing my child in obnoxiously-cute-but-later-embarrassing pieces of clothing is one of the biggest perks of motherhood (making the late-night waking and months of titty-twisting torture almost bearable), I decided to use this venue to celebrate some of the more entertaining outfits of my life as a parent thus far.

Enjoy.

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We call this one “The Human Bullet”.

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Kim Jong Il in pink.

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Not Dances with Wolves, but Cries with Lambs.

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“I can’t put my arms down!!!”

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The Michelin man.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Yoga Girl

My body is alive!! My body is alive!!

I had my first yoga class in over a year last night...and it was great! I located my yoga mat at home after days of searching, I still remembered how to do the sun salutation, I shaved my legs in the event of random foot adjustments by the yoga teacher (there were, in fact, several) and it felt soooooooo amazing to move and stretch my body again.

Yoga, for me, is like a full-body massage without the disadvantage of smelly oil and somebody having to touch you.

Of course...it’s not like I had a full-out spiritual awakening or travelled to Nirvana or saw Jesus or something.

In fact, my seemingly immature brain is obviously just as active as it was before.

Most of my poses were accompanied by thoughts such as this:

Mmmmm....this feels so good...oh yeah...I remember this...don’t take it too far, you don’t want to hurt yourself...it’s only your first class...sshhhh!! Ommmmm...Ommmmm...Wonder what’s for lunch tomorrow. I don’t even notice that I ate a cupcake for supper. Shhh! Ommm....see? Now you’ve stretched too far. What are you trying to prove? You’re going to feel that tomorrow. Would you be quiet already? Ommmm...I have a hair in my eye, damnit...don’t swear during yoga class. ‘Damnit’ isn’t swearing. Enough! Ommmmm....”

Etcetera.

As distracting as all that horrible mutter is, it actually reaffirmed how young I am as opposed to how old I am. I had been slightly worried that I would return to yoga class and find that an old woman had taken over my body, fully expecting lots of cracking and creaking and limited mobility.*

Instead, I got the same 12-year-old that had been in my head before.**

Yes, there was some stiffness in my back that hadn’t been there before. But I know that that will go away after a couple more weeks.

The point is: I’m soooo back, baby!!

Life is good.

 

*Just after I had the baby, my ankles began clicking whenever I walked. Sometimes it would be so loud that it would wake up the sleeping baby when I went in to check on her. As I associate my mother with clicking ankles, I was absolutely convinced that I had, at the tender age of 29, become my mother. Thankfully the clicking went away after a few months. It looks like my career as a home burglar may now finally get off the ground.

**For more on this child, see also The neighbor kid inside my head and A yoga breakthrough!

Friday, March 9, 2012

More momentum

I am soooooo excited and rejuvenated and proud of myself!!

With all of the energy surrounding the topic of energy in my last blog, I’ve finally registered myself for yoga class again!!

Those of you without children are probably thinking, “Whoopie dee doo, what’s so great about that?”

But those with children will probably know what I’m talking about when I say that registering for a class – for yourself – is a major deal.

My thinking: “I would give anything to go back to yoga. I know I would get some of my energy back. I know I would get better at positive thinking again. I would feel sooooo much better if I went. But I’d have to take a late class because no one would be here to watch the baby. And if I take the late class, I’ll fall asleep and snore during the closing meditation. I won’t get back until 10pm and that’s past my bedtime. Damn, do I have a lot to do. And I wouldn’t see my husband at all. And he never takes classes, so why should I be allowed? He’ll get resentful and we’ll start to argue. And then Baby Lovely will see us argue and get resentful herself. I don’t need to add more stress to my life. I can do yoga later. When she’s twelve. But then I’ll be taking her to dance lessons and riding lessons (gag). And I’ll have to clean all of her leotards and wipe the horse doodie off of her boots so she won’t leave muddy crap-prints all over my nice tile floors. So I’ll never do yoga again. Perhaps when I retire...but then I won’t be able to move a muscle. And yoga class will really mess with my self esteem, because not only will I have to go to class with skinny young flexible people, I’ll also have facial hair. And pregnancy flab that I never got rid of. So I guess I’m just doomed to be fat and spiritually disconnected and out-of-sync with my own physical wisdom for the rest of my life.”

See what I mean?

Of course most of that thinking is utter nonsense – my husband would never resent me for investing time in myself and nurturing my hobbies, in fact he’s absolutely aware that I’m much more pleasant to be around when I feel mentally and physically fit. And nothing says that I have to feel crappy about myself when I’m older – it has all the potential to be a wonderful phase in my life!

I’m also well-aware of what I said yesterday...that the more energetic things I do, the more energy I have...

So I did it. I got lucky enough to find a course at 8pm that still had open spots, in my absolute favorite yoga studio, and the company has even implemented an online booking system that allowed me to reserve a spot and pay for my yoga class without giving me a second to second-guess my decision. I start Monday!!

I am soooo pleased!!

Perhaps – no, DEFINITELY – I am closer to getting back on track with my body, mind, and spirit – you know, the things you tend to lose entirely when you’ve got a baby in the house.

Or a kid who tracks in horse poo.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Expanding my energy!

Let me begin by saying that there are a lot of good things to come on Lovely in Lux!! I know you’re all waiting to read about my groundbreaking transatlantic candy bar experiment, I can’t wait to share my stories of mass coffee nomenclature chaos at work, and of course I’m not finished blogging about Starbucks...in fact I can’t wait to really get the energy flowing as far as getting one to Luxembourg!!

I’ve got several creative ventures going in my private life, too...Baby Lovely’s first birthday is coming up and I would love to create the Ultimate Birthday Painting for her (photos of course to be posted!), I would like to create some lovely table decorations for our little family birthday party, and – oh joy of joys – I need to do my tax returns. All of this needs to be blogged about. Hooray for creative energy!

But (and you probably guessed there would be a ‘but’...) The ‘but’ is...I’m exhausted. I’m absolutely exhausted. Baby Lovely has been crapping, puking, suffering from unidentifyable rashes, and getting fevers for a few weeks now and just recently has been staying up practically all night. We even had to take her to the children’s hospital on the weekend at 2:30am (the children’s hospital in Luxembourg was very nice!). And I really know I shouldn’t be complaining, because I’m sure it’s no fun for her to be sick, and I am truly grateful that she doesn’t have anything serious, but I am definitely feeling the crunch of work, staying home with a sick baby, trying to get things done at home, not sleeping, and then getting up the next morning and starting all over again.*

So as much as I blog in my head, there’s a bit of a pinch when it comes to the writing and publishing part.

But all hope is not lost. It’s not like I’ve gone without sleep before (pretty much the entire past year, actually!) and I’ve found a website with a plentitude of high-energy affirmations! Now at times like these, when I’m actually too tired to do affirmations, it is hard to remember to do them. But it’s when they’re needed the most, and I put them in places at work where I can see them (and no one else can) so I can repeat them throughout the day. Because it’s true – the more I affirm that I’m exhausted, the more exhausted I feel...and the more I release resistance and find things to feel good about, the more energy I have! And...the more I talk about allllllllllll the energy I have, the greater I feel!

I can definitely recommend the below article and the subsequent affirmations, as I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who is tired!

http://affirmyourlife.blogspot.com/2009/08/energy-affirmations.html

My favorites are:
I absorb universal energy like a sponge.
All the energy I require is mine for the asking.
I feel totally invigorated by each positive action I take.

So I’m going to stop feeling sorry for myself and wake up...even with lots of coffee I WILL tap into an omnipotent energy source!!

Therefore please stay tuned for exciting blogs in the near future... :-)


*PS I don’t know how those of you with more than one child do it!!!! If things continue like this I may never find out!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tree Troubles

Living in a small village, there are lots of things you need to know, things you should know, but things that nobody tells you.

I’ve been taking walks with Baby Lovely in her little car practically every evening, hoping that we would get to meet someone who would divulge the secrets of the village’s organization...but lately it’s been like a ghost town. Maybe everyone is doing farmer-y things now that spring is here...and it seems like several people have been gone since November, probably to vacation homes in the French Provence.

Anyway, I have not – since January - run into anyone (despite the cuteness of my travelling companion!) who could have informed me as to what in the heck I was supposed to do with our Christmas tree.

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First, we consulted the garbage pickup calendar and looked for a day marked in green (“Christmas tree pickup”). But it was blank.

After that, we took the tree out to the end of the driveway and set it next to our garbage pails, hoping that the otherwise very accommodating garbage men would just take it with them (I had given them a nice tip at Christmas, after all). But there it sat. And sat. And sat.

Then we waited for other neighbors to put their Christmas trees to the curb, in case they knew something that we didn’t.

But they didn’t. We seemed to be the only people with a Christmas tree. Sometimes, driving past homes with no drapes, I would see that people still had Christmas trees up in February. Is that the norm in Luxembourg? We thought. Keeping our Christmas tree up in February was NOT an option for us – not only were we sick of looking at it, it was looking absolutely awful on the bottom due to multiple daily attacks by Baby Lovely, who brutalized the poor thing so badly that it would have jumped out the window and thrown itself to the curb if it could.

We thought that some of the local farmers might come and get the tree, as we knew that they would have Buergbrennen in the spring and would probably be able to use the trees to build their cross. And yet NOTHING happened! Our brown, sad tree sat at the end of our driveway, an embarrassing sight (the neighbors talk, you know!), until we lost our nerve and sawed it into pieces, stuffing it into the garbage bin (which is probably illegal) on February 24th.

On February 26th, they came around collecting Christmas trees.

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Amazingly, it turns out they construct the cross for Buergbrennen on the day of the actual event (it would take me weeks!), and they use everyone’s Christmas trees to do it. The volunteer fire department comes around with a big flatbed trailer, pulled by a tractor, and picks up everyone’s Christmas trees along with donations for the celebration.

And we had been sooooooooooo proud of ourselves this year for even KNOWING that Buergbrennen was coming up (I coincidentally saw it in a local magazine) and for buying eggs and bacon and getting some cash to donate!

Maybe, someday, (when bedtime isn’t 7pm anymore) we may even get to go.

Although I have to admit – it still kind of freaks me out.

Maybe I don’t reeeeeeally need to see my old Christmas tree go up in flames while I stand around eating eggs and bacon and pretending not to be thinking about the Ku Klux Klan. 

Suddenly, sawing it up and putting it in the garbage bin doesn’t seem like all that bad of an alternative.

Friday, February 24, 2012

My true calling

Many of us have been called to do something grandiose with our lives.

One of my friends was born to be an accountant.

I have some friends who are lawyers.

I even have a friend who has a Ph.D. from Yale.*

As for me, I have felt many callings in my life – mainly to teach, but also to write, to perform, to care for people, and most recently to learn how to write code and be in IT.

But alas. I am…

just the Poopsmith.

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For an informative video on the Poopsmith, please see here (and believe me, you won’t regret it).

Yes, my true calling seems to be cleaning up crap all day, and all night, because that is all my daughter does.

She, like the rest of Luxemburg’s inhabitants under the age of 5, has come down with a stomach bug and has had diarrhea for a week (which followed a puking spell, but that only lasted a day). Which means changing sheets in the middle of the night, trying to hold a toddler down so you can scrape poo off of her back and her belly and her feet, and doing laundry. Lots and lots of laundry.

It seems that just about every tot in Luxembourg has been bitten by this bug at the moment, as there were an entire *4* kids at the crèche yesterday. And of those four, one was my poop-prone daughter and the other one unleashed a cascade of vomit just as I opened the door.

So if you’re a parent in Luxembourg tonight, hold your children close, wash your hands thoroughly, and shove some preventive vitamins down their adorable, hungry little throats.

That way, you can keep your day job and don’t have to end up like the Poopsmith too.

 

*Yes, Leah, I brag about you every chance I get.