Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I'm extremely grateful for... my own creative and nurturing nature. Every time I see that someone has signed up for a social network, group or blog I've created, I feel pangs of happiness that I've helped someone out. That is extremely fulfilling.
What I've done for myself today... I went to the gym by myself for 2 hours this morning and then I went to Target to return a Christmas present my stepson didn't like. Being alone and out of the house was so decadent I'm considering getting a mani/pedi and hitting Panera all by myself later on today.
Most of it has had to do with
- remembering the good/positive things about my life
- remembering to take time and care of myself.
- Something I'm grateful for that day
- Something I've done just for myself that day
This may be the only post for the day or it may one of five. I'm not going to limit myself to just one grateful thing or one indulgent thing per day. If I've had a girls' weekend, you can bet your Google Reader I'm going to be thankful and indulgent about it.
And so it begins. My next post will be the 12/31/2008 10 a.m. edition of my give a little :: take a little experiment. Come along for the ride
- Please respect that the "master suite" is my sanctuary. I'd prefer that kids do not come in unless given permission or asked and that it is kept clean and supplied with toilet paper. Please do not borrow my belongings without asking me first.
- Please respect my time. Your lack of planning should not constitute an emergency to me. If you've forgotten to return something, pick it up or mention meetings/events to everyone else, you are responsible for seeing to it that it's returned, picked up or orchestrated.
- Please respect my priorities. I yearn for a neat and orderly house, date nights with my husband and a supportive, non-judgemental family. I do not covet jewelry, fancy vacations or cars or high-priced anything, just a nice, sweet, semi-organic life.
- Please respect my feelings about respect. I think it's respectful to say bless you when someone sneezes, to (keep) open doors for others and to pick up even when not asked. To not return the favor is, well, rude and I don't like rudeness.
- Please ask me about me. I love hearing about everyone's life, but please, ask me about my life too. I am an amazing woman/sister/daughter/stepmother/wife if you haven't noticed. Everyone likes to feel special. We all like to feel that people notice our successes and are geuinely happy for us when we achieve them. I am no different than you about this.
- Please respect what and why I am asking for these rules. I am not trying to be difficult or to cast blame. I am requesting the similar tenets of good _________ maintenance that you ask of me. Asking for someone to care, pick up after themself or respect me is not venturing into servitude. It's common decency.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I often read blog posts about how to be a better wife/person. Most of the time, the recommendations include saying you're sorry even when you still feel like you're right, not being a nag, letting the person have 'me time,' not resisting sex and turning the tables on seduction.
I like to read these lists because I crave advice on how to improve myself.
But sometimes you've got to realize when there's no more room for improvement. That being said, I am bestowing upon myself the 2008 Amazing Wife Award.
What qualifies me for this honor? Well, let's see:
- I don't restrict my husband's social or networking life; just ask the man who stayed out until 4:30 a.m. without a single phone call to his wife about his whereabouts.
- I handle kiddie carpool 75% of the weekday evenings
- I don't ask for expensive anything -- trips, jewelry, purses, clothes -- nada.
- I keep within our grocery and gift budget every week despite wanting to indulge in a massage every once in a while
- I pole dance
- I take lap dance classes
- Instead of letting myself go, I've lost 25 pounds
- I don't sweat it when he indulges in 12-hour video game marathons on the weekends
- I love sex (sorry for all of those moms of mine reading this)
- I regularly don thongs, stripper shoes and/or short skirts to seduce my husband while he plays video games or watches his political shows (again, sorry for all of those moms of mine reading this)
- I make him coffee nearly every morning. If I'm feeling really loving, I bring him a cup as he wakes up.
- I let him sleep in every morning
- I iron and wash his clothes, find lost bills and make him dinner nearly every night
- I play Rockband
- I am a very caring and involved stepmother to his children
- I apologize...for almost everything
- I hope for, but don't expect, any of these thing "perks" in return
If that won't earn me an award, I don't know what does. Upon reading and re-reading the list, though, I realize I might also win the doormat and sucker award too. Perhaps reading this list might also lend a little explanation to my whole resentment post earlier this week.
I'd also like to add to this post a question that has come up during my Delurking Party:
Why don't I talk about my husband or my marriage on this blog?
Well, dear reader, good question. For nearly as long as I've had this blog, my husband and I have been at odds over the content. My blog is one of the few places in the world where I feel like I can speak somewhat freely. There had been several occasions when I raised a red flag or two about how I made my husband appear when I was telling my side of the story. He didn't always agree I was presenting a fair assessment and out of respect for him, I stopped talking about my husband or my marriage.
Believe me, that's a whole blog in and of itself.
I'm one half of a success-driven couple and I wish I could vent about the trials and tribulations that go along with that. Being the busy supportive one while your busy spouse writes his first book is enough fodder for a year's worth of blog posts.
But, and getting back to my whole point about being an amazing wife, I respect my husband's wishes to keep his name and characteristics out of my blog.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
- Instead of letting the dishes sit in the sink for a day or two and allowing everyone else to pitch in, I'd (resentfully) loaded and unloaded the dishwasher every single day.
- Instead of getting over my fear of driving in winter weather, I've (resentfully at times) stayed home with antsy kids.
- Instead of letting the house get a little untidy around the holidays, I've (resentfully) picked up after everyone even if I was sick, tired or busy working.
- Instead of telling the kids and husband to get over the fact that they don't own the remote control, I've (resentfully) waited to watch my DVR'd t.v. shows between 10 p.m.-6 a.m.
- I need to knock it off with resenting people for thinking of themselves first.
- I need to take a cue from that which I've grown angry about: I need to put myself first.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
- More Henleys from Aeropostale. These things are awesome and I love them. They also look really good on and let's face it, I could use some help in that department.
- Really warm socks. If you haven't noticed, Illinois has turned into the frozen tundra. It's cold here and my little piggies look like a package of frozen Oscar Meyer Weiners -- only with Lincoln Park After Dark on the tips.
- Motivation to train for a Triathlon. This can come in the form of a bikini, $1000, love and admiration, etc. I'm not picky. I just want to do a triathlon in 2009 for the sake of doing one and I need a little something extra to get myself to the gym on the days I don't want to go.
- Sun and warmth. Santa -- I'm confined to Illinois for the next 11 years. It's like a prison sentence except the prison is snow, ice and subzero temperatures. I'd be eternally grateful if you could talk to Ma Nature about keeping the heat on in the Chicagoland at all times.
- A clone of my husband. I like my husband or else I wouldn't have married him. Problem is, he's extremely busy these days and I rarely get a chance to hang out with him. If you could clone him, then I could have him for date nights and his book/speaking schedule/coding projects could have him too.
- While we're at it, a clone of me, too. Seriously Santa. If I had a dollar for every time more than one person needed something from me at the same time, I could hire another me. I understand the point of relaxation except it's hard to do when you're also strategizing social media, shoveling the driveway, making Lemon Sugar Cookie pancakes and disengaging two fighting kids.
- Personal peace. I could give world peace a chance a lot better if I had some personal peace. I'm constantly seeking validation and/or attention from people that I should just file under "unavailable." If I had a piece of peace I could probably be a more pleasant person to deal with.
- My own personal support staff. My mom probably gets more than her fair share of "help me, I'm drowning" phone calls. It would be nice if I had a personal support staff, a stress entourage if you will, to help me through the troubled times. If they could also be skilled in "great job! shrieking" and happy dances, that would totally rule.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Ingredients for Basic Pancakes
|1||cup all-purpose flour|
|2||tsps baking powder|
|1||egg, beaten -- I've been known to leave this out.|
|1||cup milk -- or soy milk|
|2||tbsps cooking oil|
- In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another mixing bowl combine egg, milk, and cooking oil. Stir mixture just till blended but still slightly lumpy.
- Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle or heavy skillet for each standard sized pancake or 1 tablespoon batter for each dollar sized pancake.
- Cook till pancakes are golden brown, turning to cook second sides when pancakes have bubbly surfaces and slightly dry edges. Makes 8-10 standard sized or 36 dollar sized pancakes.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
- The dishes would do themselves
- The laundry would deliver itself to the laundry room or the dry cleaner and bring itself back up to its rightful place(s)
- The mail on the counter would find its way up to the office, pay itself and file itself
- My Christmas shopping would have been done months ago
- My stepkids would pick up after themselves without having to be told to
- My husband would actually listen when I say something
- I would receive the same support from others that I give to them
- There would be a bubble bath and calorie-free champagne waiting for me at the end of every day
- My workouts would be done by via dancing every day
- Mother Nature would cease the snow, sleet and freezing rain that make me not want to go outside or drive
- There would be no bullies
- Stepmom bloggers would get the same love that other mommy bloggers do
- Fertility would be granted to those who deserve it.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I will list my 2009 goals right after I run down the results of 2008's list of things I wanted to accomplish:
- Be content with who I am. I are contented...for the most part.
- Reconnect with my friends. My thanks go out to Facebook
- Be a little more selfish. I have been a little more demanding of me time but not as much as I want...this is going back on the list.
- Learn to be less uptight about clutter. I'm at about 50% recovered on this one. Moving on..
- Conquer my fear of tarantulas. I'm still not able to hold one, but I did run across a blog with a picture of them crawling up a house in Austin and I didn't puke or hyperventilate. I'd say that's progress.
- Learn to do a pole inversion. Oh yes my little pole fairies, I inverted many times last weekend. done, finito, completo.
- Take a minibreak by myself. I still didn't do this. Damn.
- Accept my fertility fate. I accepted it back in late Spring. I'm not fertile. I will not reproduce. I'm okay with that.
- Begin at least one of the online projects I've dreamed up in 2007. Not only did I not start one, I've created more...what can I say, I'm innovative.
- Dance....Yep. Always. Like no one's watching.
And now, my 2009 Personal Goals:
- Gain SMILF Status (from someone other than my husband). I want heads to turn when I walk into a room. I'd like winks and flirtations even if I have no intention of acting on them. I'm cute now; I want to be hot by the end of '09.
- Speak publicly. I know. Seems like a huge departure from SMILF doesn't it? I'd like to take some of my subject matter expertise (stepmotherhood and social media) and get out in front of people and talk. If you're able to help make this happen, let me know :-)
- Be a little more selfish. I don't know if it's nature or nurture, but moms always tend to get the shit end of the stick when it comes taking time for themselves. I'd like to change that in 2009. I want to stand up for my time while also being a good role model to my kids.
- Be a better daughter, granddaughter and sister. My grandmother's health is ailing and my mom's could be too if she's not careful. These women, including my 15-year-old sister, are my lifeblood. They are my support system. They are my rocks. I cannot let them down.
- Give back to people. I love helping people out. I'm your classic nurturer. I'll create social networks and blogs until the end of time if it helps some other woman just like me out. In 2009, I want to go big or go home.
- Stop seeking validation (except for parking). I had a revelation this week while driving home. I realized that one of the reasons I push myself so hard to do a lot of things is that I'm seeking validation from certain people in my life. My mom (and this is why I love this woman) reminded me that their inability to recognize these things about me is their problem, not mine.
- Complete a Triathlon. I love swimming and ever since getting my bike this past summer, I've been an avid biker. I'm going to start training in 2009 and hope to do a sprint distance triathlon in summer 2009.
- Fit (comfortably) into size 10 jeans. Right now, I've lost enough weight to fit into my size 14 "skinny jeans." I used to be in size 18s up until a few months ago. I'm fairly comfortable in this skin I'm in but I'd like to be trimmer and healthier. I've gone down 2 sizes in 3 months. I think I can knock another 2 out of the park by Spring.
So that's it. That's my list of personal goals for 2009. What's on your lists?
Just a refresher on "the rules"
- Subscribe to this blog (1 point) if you already subscribe (yey!) give yourself the point.
- Visit Becomingastepmom.com (1 point)/ Bonus point if you leave a comment
- Post on your blog about the give-away, pointing people to this blog post. (1 points)
- Leave a comment on this blog post with your total points and your blog's URL.
Any questions? Let me know....
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
After a little digging, I found a little more information about it:
According to KidsHealth.org, it's estimated that 6 out of every 100 people are afflicted with S.A.D. Females tend to be more prone to the illness and it can be hereditary.
As for living with someone who has it, eHow has a 7 item list on How to live with someone who has Seasonal Affective Disorder. The list includes points such as learn about the disorder so you understand it, be supportive, and do not tell the person who has it to cheer up or get over it.
The New York Times also had a comprehensive fact sheet on its website in particular the risk factors associated with S.A.D.
As for diagnosing S.A.D., AllAboutDepression had a list of diagnostic criteria. It should be noted that S.A.D. isn't a separate illness, rather it is a seasonal pattern.
Monday, December 8, 2008
According to MayoClinic.com, the symptoms of Fall/Winter Seasonal Affective Disorder (when the blues occur in the cold months) include:
- Loss of energy
- Social withdrawal
- Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
- Weight gain
- Difficulty concentrating and processing information
Of those symptoms, I'm currently experiencing everything except oversleeping.
I have found, since meeting my husband, that stepmotherhood has exacerbated my S.A.D.
When I was a single girl and the blues kicked in, I just stayed in more and buried myself under warm blankets and watched movies. I would usually stay that way until it warmed up or when I had a good reason to leave the house other than for work.
Since moving in with my man and his two kids, I've discovered that I can't just hide myself away from the world the same way. People rely on me for things now, be it meals, companionship or parental supervision.
I'm also the the "rock" of the family. I'm the shoulder everyone cries on, the emergency swooper-inner, and the words-of-encouragement giver of my brood. Usually, I enjoy my role in our family. That is, until winter sets in. Those feelings of hopelessness and anxiety combined with the social withdrawl I experience during the winter make it extremely difficult for me to be the same person year-round.
There are several therapies or coping strategies for Seasonal Affective Disorder including
- let the light in
- manage stress
One of the things I know about myself is that I have anxiety issues. There are probably a dozen reasons why but they don't matter as much as how I deal with them.
Starting now, one of the ways I'm going to combat my anxiety is to not push myself so hard to be Mrs. Super-Fantastic-Overachiever.
While I think it's a good idea to push yourself, doing it all of the time will just burn you out. And burnout and depression don't mix.
I'm going to manage my stresses by concentrating on things that are fulfilling. A fellow stepmom blogger and I have an idea that needs some nurturing right now. I'm really excited to tell everyone about it once we're able to announce it.
I've also found something of a partner to work with me on another idea I have for my other blog. This idea needs some TLC as well and I plan to make an annoucement about it the spring.
I've definetely been socializing, although in a geeky way. I regularly Twitter (twitter.com/Ehal76) and am on Facebook quite often. I've even taken the reins of organizing a 15-year high school reunion this summer.
My ability to now do pole inversions is going to keep me in the gym, too. Apparently I have something of a weak core and I mean, really. Who wants one of those?
In the medical world, having a treatment plan is half the battle to recovery. The other part is having support. If you, or someone you know, experiences Seasonal Affective Disorder, do me a favor and let me know.
I could use all the support I can get.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
I can go upside down on the pole now which totally rocks as it has been my pole trick nemesis for the past year.
My hamstrings aren't too thrilled with me, but it looks oh-so-sexy and I wanted to share with the class.
We now return to our regularly scheduled programing.
Friday, December 5, 2008
According to the site, this is what The Erin Experiment is:
ISFP - The Artists
The gentle and compassionate type. They are especially attuned their inner values and what other people need. They are not friends of many words and tend to take the worries of the world on their shoulders. They tend to follow the path of least resistance and have to look out not to be taken advantage of. They often prefer working quietly, behind the scene as a part of a team. They tend to value their friends and family above what they do for a living.
What do y'all think? Do you agree? Disagree? Not care?
I love personality tests. I find them soothing beause most of them have been spot-on with their analysis of me which is that I'm a creative nurturer and I put a lot of people before me.
Don't believe me? Take my real personality type: ISFJ.
ISFJs are characterized above all by their desire to serve others, their "need to be needed." In extreme cases, this need is so strong that standard give-and-take relationships are deeply unsatisfying to them; however, most ISFJs find more than enough with which to occupy themselves within the framework of a normal life. (Since ISFJs, like all SJs, are very much bound by the prevailing social conventions, their form of "service" is likely to exclude any elements of moral or political controversy; they specialize in the local, the personal, and the practical.)
Anyone reading this that knows me well would say. "Oh good God Erin. That is SO you." It's almost eerie how spot-on the rest of the analysis of my personality type is, which you can find here.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
- I'm the only one that seems to know how to put stuff away after dinner?
- I'm the only one my stepkids come to with a question when both my husband and I are noticeably working?
- I can't seem to calm my brain down long enough to decide what to do with my life?
- I can't seem to say no to anything?
- I stay in Chicago, yet hate winter weather (oh yeah...nevermind)
- I snort when I laugh?
- I am so freaking impatient?
- I can't be content just doing one thing?
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
My Stepson: "Stepmom, you know what's cool about me?"
Stepmom: "What dude?"
My Stepson: "I'm like the only kid that gets two Christmases"
Stepmom: "Are you okay with that?"
My Stepson: "I love it. I get twice as many presents"
As I write this, my heart feels like it's going to pound out of my chest. My fingers are so jumpy it's a wonder I can type. I haven't done something stupid or major. I'm not pregnant or dying.
I'm just anxious.
Winter weather is one reason. I spun-out into a ditch a few years ago and have been petrified to drive, or even walk, in inclement weather ever since. When I hear that it's supposed to snow, my heart starts to pound rapidly. If forced with having to drive in the snow, I might as well drive to the hospital and ask them to hook me up the EKG because I feel like I'm having a heart attack.
The onset of Chicago's winter weather this week has put me near the edge. The rest of my life might just push me over.
I'm at that figurative fork in the road that people write self-help books about. I have big ideas and big dreams. Unfortunately, I only have a limited amount of time and funds to turn those big things running rampant in my brain right now into a reality.
It sounds like a cliche, but I'm trying to build a brand -- a name or place that is synonymous with my subject matter expertise: kick ass social media consultant and a stepmom blogger. Did I mention I wanted to start adding product reviewer to the mix?
Unfortunately for me right now, there's not a huge need for pole-dancing, social media blogging stepmothers.
My anxiety exists because I'm trying to figure how to make all of these things happen together and on the same playing field.
In my perfect world, www.erinerickson.com would exist and on it would be portals for social media consulting, stepmom consulting, product reviews and advertising. I'd be able to write and consult because I'd built a brand that people always connected with my name.
In order to make my perfect world perfect, I have a list of things to do that I am somewhat clueless about:
- Buy domain name.
- Find and hire web designer to create landing page for site as well as bling my blogs.
- Start accepting advertising so that I can make a little bit of money.
- Sign up to do product reviews so, again, I can make some money.
- Find contributors to my blog(s) so that I'm not writing like a manic dog every evening.
- Convert all of this stuff that I love to do into a real job that pays the bills.
If I were sitting on a bunch of money, I could hire someone fairly quickly to take care of all of this. Unfortunately, I don't have a ton of money to spend so I'm left trying to figure out a lot of this stuff on my own.
And as soon as I try to sit and figure out how to design my site, find sponsors, do product reviews, etc. another idea pops into my head that reminds me how much I need to get these site(s) up and running.
It's a vicious cycle and it's making my head hurt and my heart race.
I'm glad I have that go-getter personality, but right now, as my mind races around thinking about all of things I need to do that I don't know how to do all I can try to mutter is this:
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
- Subscribe to this blog post (1 point) if you already subscribe (yey!) give yourself the point.
- Visit Becomingastepmom.com (1 point)/ Bonus point if you leave a comment
- Post on your blog about the give-away, pointing people to this blog post. (1 points)
- Leave a comment on this blog post with your total points and your blog's URL.
In the event of a tie-breaker, I will post an announcement on Twitter and Facebook. The first person who responds to the announcement is the recipient
Monday, December 1, 2008
I know a lot of families are doing the same thing. With the economy in the crapper, parents all across the country have had to tell their kids what no kid wants to hear: Santa doesn't have enough elves to make all the toys so we have to keep our list shorter this year.
In the past couple of years, my husband and I have come up with creative ways to handle the I-want-Santa-to-bring-me-this-itis that creeps in around Christmas. The one that seems to have stuck the best is something I overheard on the radio, or at the garage, I'm not sure:
While Santa does read your letter and bring you presents, he also sends Mommy, Daddy (and Stepmom) a bill for all of the presents that he delivered. So we still have to watch how much we ask him for.
This seems to have worked with my stepson. He has been known to taper his list once he realizes that Mom, Dad and I do have to pay for everything.
This year, we're still sticking with the "bill" concept. My husband and I have a set limit that we're spending on the kids this year and while we won't reveal to them what it is, we are trying to discourage them from asking for extravagant gifts.
Because it is a blended family, trying to encourage gratitude instead of material things isn't just up to my husband and I. Everyone has to be on board and sometimes, when you're in a blended family, that isn't as easy as you'd think.
When I wrote about how stepmoms have to hop on board previous family traditions, Christmas is a huge part of that. If mom is huge on presents, then you might want to do that to or risk looking like a greedy, money-hording stepmom.
If you want to teach good tidings and cheer, go ahead and do that in your house, but better clear that with mom first so she doesn't think Dad or stepmom are trying to shortchange the first family.
It's tough to be a stepmom around the holidays. You want to set a good example and teach the children well, but you also want to maintain tradition and not rock the boat.