And for once I was SuperMom

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Miraculous Christmas

It started with the ears.  I plucked them off while I was waiting for my mug of water to heat in the microwave.  I prefer the kettle, but our stove isn’t working yet.  I didn’t know you could devour a Mickey Mouse waffle in only three minutes.  A Christmas miracle?  Probably not, probably just gluttony and the gastronomical looseness of the holidays. 
We had moved into our home just three days prior to the holiday.  We had heat and electricity in most rooms, there were boxes and unpainted walls everywhere.  Our goal was to complete the living room before Christmas day.  There we sat, blankets over knees, on brown leather couches, children slamming and playing upstairs, in our ‘finished’ living room.  Walls painted, furniture set up, what it lacked for in lamp shades and art work it made up for in comfy seating.  The past few days of arranging and re-arranging (it’s good here, but it’s better here), finding (oh, there’s our dust ruffle), and cleaning, we had slowly taken one room from construction zone to home.  Tools banished to acceptable areas of the house, but dust and rubble creeping in from elsewhere, Scott and I would push back against the dust with wet rags and incredulity.  Where did this all come from?  Why are our hands black every time we come up from the basement? 
Lest you think we are silly for moving right before Christmas and are clucking your tongue at our ‘simmer in the stew of your own making’ stupidity, we didn’t plan it this way.  We had planned it in October, and then November, and then it was now or never.  Now came and we moved.  The timing has put a new spin on everything, enough paint to cover the trim in the living room; Christmas miracle!  Cooking spray for the waffle maker that I didn’t know I had; Christmas miracle!
Christmas Eve was Chinese takeout and ‘Charlie Brown’s Christmas.’  We wrapped gifts and then I started cutting in on the dining room,
“You’re going to paint?” Scott asked.  I needed something to keep my hands busy while I waited to talk to my brother about my father’s return from the hospital, he seems to be losing his year long battle with cancer.  Well into my second glass of wine and feeling that carelessness that one can only feel during late night art projects I tried to think of blessings that I could write on the walls, prayers written underneath the paint for generations to come.  All I could come up with was, ‘Eat, Drink, and Be Merry.’ A phrase that might be damning to the weight conscious.  ‘You will be blessed among women,’ kept popping up in my head, but as I am the matriarch of this house that seemed self centered.   
Scott woke me on Christmas morning with a light touch to my foot,
“The girls are awake,” I had told him that I needed him to wake me, I didn’t want to miss the looks on their faces.  I think I was too tired to notice.  Stockings were opened, new videos were watched, we took breaks to make Mickey Mouse waffles, and let the girls play with their toys.  One relative gave chickens in our name, I have wanted to give that gift before, but was uncertain how it would be received.  At first I felt mildly jipped, then I didn’t care, ‘good they need chickens more than I need another gift.’  I was pleasantly surprised at my reaction.  I was thankful and relieved. 
We napped through the afternoon.  Christmas day always surprises me with how low key it turns out to be.  All this fanfare so that we can sit around in our pajamas.  All this stress so that I can sleep the day away?  It always seems that we should be ramping up for so much more.  Maybe we need all that stress to feel like we deserve the day off. 
That evening I prepared our steak dinner by cooking in shifts on our electric skillet.  A side dish abandoned because it required baking, a feat I could not achieve with a broken stove.  Scott and I both poked at it, unplugged and re-plugged, it stayed resolutely dead.  Scott chuckled because I poured myself a glass of wine early, 
“Look if I’m going to do this,” a spatula pointed towards the skillet that is simmering brussel sprouts, “I’m gonna drink,” I declare.  He saves the dinner by producing our George Foreman grill.  We finish the day by tucking the girls away and watching Scott’s stocking stuffer, ‘Goldfinger.’

Unusual?  Yes.  Unusually quiet? Yes.  Necessarily so?  Yes.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Beauty Tips for the Haggard

"You look tired," I am getting so sick of people saying that to me, "is your daughter sleeping through the night?" my doctor asked me.
"Oh, I think I'm just going to be exhausted until they go to college," I shrug.
"My husband keeps planning these mountain biking vacations, and I tell him that I just want to go somewhere and sleep," being a mother of young children she shared my experience.

Becoming a mother has changed my perspective on beauty routines; 'I'm lucky if I can get it,' and 'I'm just trying to look 'not dead.''  I always  eagerly flip to magazine articles that promise instant ways to make you look less tired, I have learned such helpful tips as 'wear blush,' 'wear mascara,' and 'wear concealer.'  Really?  I think I figured that one out already.
I guess I'm not the person that should be doling out advice on this topic considering that so many people keep telling me how tired I look, but here a few tips from someone actually on the 'front lines.'

1.  For those days that you are not showering: get a style wear you can stick your head under the sink and and re-style it or become friends with finishing cream.  I've been growing out my hair just so I can stop showering every day, I've learned that if I run some finishing cream through my hair,and  put it back all cute like, no one knows the difference.  I've also learned that if I wash my face and put makeup on, it all still looks the same....until you absolutely have to bathe.  If you have absolutely no time to bathe, you should rethink some things.

2.  BB cream is awesome.  I've become a fan of combination products, like concealer and eye cream in one (Cover Girl and Oil of Olay have come out with one that works), and BB cream.  BB cream stands for Beauty Balm (forgive the redundant name 'Beauty Balm Cream') and is a fancier tinted moisturizer.  So instead of buying facial moisturizer and foundation you have one product that encompasses both.  They don't provide complete and total matte coverage, more of a dewy look, but I'm just going for 'not dead' rather than 'red carpet ready.'I have tried Cover Girl, and Garnier brands and have found both to be completely workable.   Then again my makeup purchasing style is 'oh, I have a coupon for that.'  So again, maybe I'm not the best to give advice on this.  I know that high end companies make the same products, so if you're a more MAC than Maybelline, sally on up that counter and ask some questions.  If you are reading this and are thinking 'I don't have time for moisturizer or makeup,' you should rethink some things.

3.  Horn rimmed glasses are your friend.  If you wear contacts and have a day wear you just can't stomach putting those things in your eyes make sure your glasses have a horn rimmed frame and pop them right on.  The dark rim to the glasses will literally block that purple bag under your eye, puts a line right through it.  I discovered this after looking at my post birth photos.  I didn't look completely dead.  Then I realized that was because I was wearing my glasses and you could not see the shadows under my eyes, giving testimony to the two sleepless nights prior.  If you don't actually wear corrective lenses, please don't wear fake glasses.  That's just silly.  If you never feel like you can wear your contacts, you should rethink some things.

4.  Give yourself a break.  Pat yourself on the back.  You showered and wore makeup today.  Yay!  Tomorrow give yourself a break from this whole appearance thing, wear some sweats, and who cares?

I know it's hard to not feel down about yourself when you see a reflection in the mirror and think, 'wait, did the zombie apocalypse start?' And then realize that is your reflection.  I mean at least you still have a reflection.  That's good, because I'm sure that some nights you're up so much you feel like a vampire.  But having little kids is tiring.  Deeply tiring in a way that you don't understand until you walk a mile in those slippers.  They will grow up and you will turn into that old lady in the store telling young mothers, 'to enjoy every minute.'

Or you can accept your bare face for what it is and tell people you are participating in Barefaced Beauty week!  And people will think you are brave and not just tired.