I TRI’ed… and I WON

KiraBlog, Life5 Comments

TRI'ed svMaybe you’ve heard of the of the WIN for KC Tri.  It’s a great little race here in Kansas City.  Well…I don’t want to sound too braggy bragger – and I know this will come as a surprise to many, if not all – but I did it yesterday and I WON.

But it wasn’t easy.

I’ve had TRI-anxiety, like straight up going to vomit just thinking about it, for the two months leading up to this race.  The terror was mainly because of the swim.  If you know me, you know I’m a weenie in the water.  Worrisome water incidents at ages 3, 7 and 10 had me pretty much thinking swimming in open water was not a good lane for me.  And based on my training swim in Lake Michigan a week and a half ago that started with a 20-meter doggy paddle panic attack, I was really happy I hadn’t registered yet.

And I told as few people as possible so that I didn’t have to be accountable and could back out and back in to bail city.  Only problem, I wanted to do it.  I’ve wanted to do it for so swimmin’ long.  It’s been on my bucket list for at least 15 years.

And then those pesky people that did know… my swim coach, a few close friends and family members, my husband and my kids… especially my daughter who because she knocked out a TRI last summer, set the inspiration wheel in motion.  I also wanted to do it for my son who often indulges in his fears…like his mom.  I want him to know for all his life that he needs to be just a hair braver than the monster in your head.  My monster wanted to have me for lunch so I just had to keep biting back.

And so even though 200 fierce, ‘I wanna be like you’ badass women entered the water before me and all of them (plus those that passed me) exited before me…I WON.   Even with logging the longest transition time in the history of tracking transition times…I WON.  Even after stopping to kiss my hubba and babies (and some of my kids are at a slow to kiss age) on the last turn of the bike… I WON.  And though I walked almost every blip hill and stopped to unnecessarily tie my already sufficiently tied shoe… I WON.

I WON because the race was only ever with me.

I WON because my support system is greater than any earthly possession you could want to have.

I WON because one friend believed me over the finish line through 128 text messages the 12 hours before the race and another friend graciously picked me up on race day and showed me the way.

I WON because my heart and sweat and tears and fears were fully exercised, exhausted and exposed and I’ve got the medal to show for it.

Damnit, I WON because I TRI’ed.

And even though I won, I now have someone to BEAT.

Hugs and LOVE!

~ Kira

Ditch the Bricks… and Fly!

KiraBlog, Parenting, Uncategorized6 Comments

sky jerseyWe couldn’t find the shorts.  The shorts that matched the jersey.  The shorts that matched the jersey that were part of the uniform for the first official game of basketball season.

Stop the clock.  Sound the horn. Blow all the whistles.

For my 10 year-old daughter… this was devastation.  Like “I’ll just quit.  I wasn’t that great at basketball anyway.”

Quit… WHAT?!?  You can’t just quit.  Life is full of losing stuff.  For me in particular, it’s an everyday thing and mostly it’s my mind.  You can’t quit.

But I get it.  It’s the first game.  So for 3 hours, I turned my house upside down.  I found 100 other things I didn’t know were missing but no uniform shorts.

Fatigued, frustrated and first pre-game defeated, I shared the bad news with my daughter.  But, I also shared the good news that I had two other really great (in my mind) options:

  1. Wear your twin brother’s game shorts from last year that had a similar design although in a darker shade OR
  2. Wear your youngest brother’s shorts that although they are a size 3T, they match to the hot diggity-dog T.

She headed to my room crying and swearing off basketball forever.  Busted.

I gave her a few minutes before heading into my room.  I found her tucked under my covers.  With tears rolling down her face and falling off her chin, she said: “I really want to play but I’m afraid of the judgement.”

Oh baby. Momma’s. Heart. Breaking.  I sat right on the edge of that bed and told her: “I know exactly what that feels like.”

I mean…don’t we all?  Is there a woman you know that at some point did or didn’t do something because of the blessed “judgement”?  Please, for all of the love, tell me it isn’t just me.

So I shared with my daughter the purpose of judgement.

Judgement is a fool. It is meant to hold people back, sidetrack them from doing what they love and dim their light.  Judgement is heavy and it’s like carrying bricks in your backpack and you can’t fly carrying bricks.

And then I looked my baby girl right in her big beautiful brown eyes that shine like the clearest night stars and told her… “And YOU were meant to fly.” (It was a very ‘nobody puts Baby in the corner’ parenting moment for me.)

But it worked and she did it.  She put on those 3T shorts (thank you sweet Jesus for making a 3T basketball short that has the length and elastic for this ‘half-court buzzer beater’ to even have a chance) and she balled like a mini Maya Moore (really mini…3T mini).

I imagine myself having conversations like this with my daughter throughout her life because I’m still having them with myself and with those close to me.  Confidence is a journey and we all still need reminders.  I think that’s why we have sisters and friends and coaches and teachers and people who live to lift others up.

So for my daughter, for myself and for all of you…Ditch the bricks, shine your light and spread those wings!

Hugs and LOVE!

~ Kira



What We Tell Ourselves Matters

KiraLife, Parenting, UncategorizedLeave a Comment

wall-of-words-2A few months ago, we painted my daughter’s room.  Initially she requested very bold and bright colors and me, being more reserved, said “Why don’t you do something more subtle and bring those colors into the room through accenting.”  (Inner voice pleading: Please don’t want to do crazy colored walls!)

Thankfully, this spurred an idea in my daughter.  With the help of my sister-in-law, they executed Milana’s wall of words.  I thought it was great… really great, but its greatness didn’t quite hit me until the other night when my daughter and I were lying on her bed reading together.  As I closed my book I looked at all the words on her wall encircling “Milana is…”

Different.  Leader.  Fearless.  Proud.  Lucky.  Fast.  Joyful.  Dreamer.  Bright.  Fashionable.  Resourceful.  Active.  Brave.  Fierce.

I thought, holy snap crackle pop, she wakes up to these words.  Every. Morning.  When the world hasn’t hit her yet, she gets to remind herself of who she is… in her own words.

Words have the ability to breathe life into us and unfortunately tear the life right out of us too.

I wish this wall was my idea but I’m grateful my daughter has enough insight to surround herself with words that lift her up.  I hope that as she rises from her bed each morning and lays her head to rest each night, that these reminders stitch tightly to the fabric of her core.

Because what we tell ourselves matters.  For real.  The internal dialogue is probably the most important voice we hear.  Our inner words define our inner feelings and our relationship with ourselves defines every other relationship in our lives.

My daughter’s wall is a reminder for me too.  I know my personal narrative needs some editing. I harp on my kids to get along but I’m hardly getting along with myself.  Some days there is a jive talking turkey feeding me a bunch of nothing useful.  In fact, if my inner voice was a person and said the things I sometimes say to myself…I would’ve kicked her in the throat by now.

So here’s to non-violent interactions with yourself.  Here’s to making your most familiar voice your biggest fan.  Here’s to light, and love and letting ourselves be kind… to ourselves!

We all need that voice to help us RISE and SHINE!  Because when the light shines from within…it just can’t help but be shared with others.

Light it up y’all… We could use your bright shining self!

Hugs and LOVE!

~ Kira


This Summer Keep the Slippage on the Slides

KiraBlog, Life, Uncategorized1 Comment

Pool PicSummers in Kansas City can bring temperatures upwards of 104 degrees.  This was the case a few years back when our twins Blaize and Milana had swim lessons down at our neighborhood pool.  They were 4 years old at the time and our youngest Rocco was 2.  While one of them was with their swim instructor, Chad and I could be one on one with the other two making summer moments to remember.

Milana (as usual) went first.  I headed to the edge of the pool to get in and relieve Chad of juggling both boys.  But I’m kind of a weenie when it comes to the pool.  I leave it to floaties, noodles, abandoned innertubes, and Chad for water entertainment.   I only go in if it’s melt your head hot.   I’m also one that has to condense the going in into a few seconds – jump in – letting the shock hit all at once.

So with my best ‘Let’s Do This’, I dove in.  It was cold but with the heat… it was a relief.  But let me take you where relief took a flip turn.

I head towards Chad and the boys exercising my preferred water movement… the beloved side stroke.  As I approach the boys I stand in preparation to grab Rocco.  I wipe my face of the dripping water, adjust my ponytail, and become strangely aware of Chad lunging towards me with a worrisome urgency (both boys in tow).  Along with the charging at me, he is saying something with a concerted effort to be softer spoken but deliberate.

“What are you saying?!?”  I can’t make out his words.  Too many kids.  Too many “Marco Polos”.  I jet my chin forward as to try and make my face closer to his and hear the intent whispers coming out of his mouth.


It doesn’t sink in.


Sure as a Slurpee in summer both breasts (complete with nipple) were fully exposed to our community (OMG), my neighbors, their children, a woman from Chad’s work and two young (couldn’t be more than 17 impressionable years of age) lifeguards – that with some certainty, I feel I have probably slightly aroused and/or traumatized in one full swoop.

I submerge my want to die self into the water.  I pull my want to kill you suit back over my breasts (still not believing this is my life) and figured I’d just stay underwater until everyone left.  And then I laughed.  Resurfaced and laughed more with my husband and I’m sure the rest of the pool goers but mortification kept me from looking anyone in the eye.  And then we went home and put the house up for sale.

I can only imagine how the story continues to be told as some community folklore by the ‘these are the people in our neighborhood’ who were witness to my coming out pool party.  But for $15, the twins mastered how to cup their hands and make “Oh SO BIG” splash kicks behind them.

Hope you make a big splash this summer!  Just tighten those swim strings mammas and keep the slippage to the slides!

Hugs and LOVE!

~ Kira

Too Old for this Shiznit

KiraLife, Parenting, Uncategorized16 Comments

face cream  I’ve never plucked my eyebrows.  If you’ve met me then… obvi.  But the other day I noticed a little grey mucker had weaseled his way into my forehead baseline and that puppy got yanked faster than a losing team’s goalie in the final minutes of playoff hockey.

A few months ago I purchased neck cream … you know… to have on hand when I needed it.  I started using it religiously last week.

Today I went to purchase Bio Freeze from Target because… well… my knee.

And though there is some “if I could turn back time” longing for my more youthful self – mainly so I can apologize for not being nicer to her – these subtle transitions into the next phase of my life don’t necessarily gnaw at me.

BUT today’s German Sheppard teeth still in the skin bite is another story:   While at before mentioned Target I was making the turn through the produce section to the register.  This ignited a heated debate with my 3 year old Theo over the “free” cookie from the bakery. Side note: that cookie isn’t free… I pay for that sugar high hand over fist.

Anyway.  I was practicing my hold firm and he was practicing his loud voice so I was quickly trying to wheel away from the spacial memory area for cookies when the lady stacking the heads of lettuce said “Have fun with that one today grandma.”

I laughed. Because that’s what I immediately do when strangers say things to me in awkward parenting moments.  But as word recognition was fully absorbed several internal thoughts started whirling:

  1. She clearly didn’t see me in the way normal people see people… with their eyes.
  2. Grandma must be the new “Bey”
  3. Dang I thought I could stretch getting my hair colored another week
  4. That heifer wants to fight

For a moment I let that way cray comment set in.  I literally wanted to go home and crawl into my shawl and die.

Getting older is scary, nothing makes this more evident than this year’s onslaught of Facebook friends running the full court Rodan & Fields press.  (Got nothing but love for you girls)   The panic is cracking at my about to cave crowsfeet.  And what’s the alternative?  Poking my face with a bunch of needles to make it “appear” that I’m winkle-free.  The most twisted thing about our culture is that we convince ourselves that appearance is reality.

We think we know about someone’s real life, marriage, finances, happiness … because of what they show the world.  Believe me I spare my general and I forget how we are connected Facebook friends the full extent of my shit show. You’re welcome.  But those closest , they know the aches, the pains, the fears, the can I just abort and reboot somewhere down in Mexico moments and makings of my life.

Chasing the appearance may attract the attention of false friends and admirers but I’m too old for that shiznit.   I have a hard enough time chasing my kids because… well…my likely arthritic knee and they … chest swell… got my speed.  And I can’t fight aging because I’m too busy trying to defend myself from my 3 year olds haymakers and kung-fu kicks forever all day.

Being a mom to 4 kids especially with a Theo finish can make you look weathered and I’m usually in some variation of a track suit so I get it… I’m not that mad at the grandma mishap happening.

But that (blind) lady in Target also made me remember how alive I am.  That’s the coolest part about aging.  You’re frickin ALIVE!   And my initial laugh, that was the right move… because it was funny.   Yes, I could technically be old enough to be a grandparent but if that lady saw me turn a mother out on the dance floor, she wouldn’t have sold me down the your roots need to be done river.

Aging… it’s inevitable AND it’s a blessing. I hope my maturing reality includes getting to be a real grandma.  I’m going to have one badass grandma gang and we are going to rule the wrinkle world!

Get your fine line fabulouso on!

Hugs and LOVE!

~ Kira

Life in Death

KiraLife, Uncategorized1 Comment

FullSizeRender (9)My family suffered a pretty big blow a few weeks ago – the loss of my Uncle Bruce.  I’m finding that tears randomly drop down my face into a fat puddle mixed with sadness, disbelief and regret when the still unbelievable notion that he is gone passes through the conscious thought.

Death.  What a deal.  I don’t know what is worse… seeing it coming through the suffering of the one you love or being sucker punched hard and fast in the face.  But this isn’t about measurement because the pain of loss is too deep, too wide, too much girth to go around to try and pinhole a better.

I was asked to be a part of the services and share in the eulogy.  Finding the words was not hard at all.  I have so many words for my Uncle Bruce.  So many words of love and gratitude and laughter that I could sink a sorrow ship.

It is true that it’s not what people say but how they make you feel that matters.  Whenever I was around my Uncle Bruce he made me feel like the simplest version of myself… like a kid again.  My Uncle Bruce escorted me to father/daughter dances after my parents divorced and things were family confusing.  He hung shelves in my teeny tiny Chicago apartment in college so I could have a bedset (bedroom / closet).  He was my all-time euchre partner and all-time ‘we got this’ even when we were all but got no chance.

Nothing flashy about Uncle Bruce… just steady and consistent.  He was all the things that make you feel secure and safe and loved.

As I continue to grieve his loss, the memories of love and laughter rise to the reflection brim.

I’ve also noticed how the heart can withstand great heartache and yet life and love are beyond the heart.  It seeps deep in the soul.  And the heart may stop beating but their spirit finds you.

There, in a spring breeze when you know he’d for sure be on the golf course, a bad hair day that you know he’d delight in saying was the best you’d looked in a while, the laughter of your child… the same kind of laugh he drew out of me every time I was in his presence.

In death, we remember.  We remember not just the person but how the person helped frame our story.  We are flooded with all the life in action reels.  In times well spent.

I have a Dad that I love but Uncle Bruce definitely won a best supporting role.  We often forget how important those roles are.  The cast members who are not in the limelight or center stage but who help string together the scenes and lay the ground work for your best self to emerge.

Reflecting on my Uncle Bruce is like remembering who I am.  His spirit is resonating in my every day and I’m more aware of that now.  I think of him daily and those thoughts remind me of some really great things.  He continues to escort me back to a place of security, safety and love.  His memory like a hand-made quilt.  Every stitch perfect.

Death can strip the physical but the spirit, the feelings, the love… they never die.  I’d give anything for an encore performance…one more game of bean bags or euchre.  One more time to hear him say “oh we got this.”  He didn’t have to tell me he loved me.  He showed me in every memory I have of him.

I’m seeing even more clearly his life in his death.  And it’s so beautiful.  His life, his love was so beautiful.

Love some more y’all… it’s the greatest legacy you can leave behind.

Hugs and LOVE,

~ Kira


No Resolutions, No New You

KiraBlog, Life4 Comments

 newyearIn 2005, I was going to become a better cook (ambitious new wife).

In 2007, I was going to stop hitting the snooze button (8 is really too many).

In 2010, I was going to lose the baby weight (3 babies in two years = mucho lbs.)

In 2012, I was going to get serious about yoga (because 3 babies in two years requires mega Zen).

In 2015, I was going to donate, volunteer or give in some way every Tuesday instead of just on #GivingTuesday (because working in non-profit, mentoring a boy in the foster care system, cooking for the homeless and supporting every bake-sale, major saver, baseball, gymnastics, football, wrestling, swimming, tire flipping fundraiser wasn’t enough).

In ten years I have not sustained ONE of my resolutions and… well… it’s worked out pretty good for me:

  • My husband is the primary cook in our house and he’s smashing it in our home and beyond.  (Shameless plug*- check him out at the Painted Rooster, First Friday weekends in the West Bottoms, Kansas City)
  • One of my 4 kids is my alarm clock. Every. Damn. Day. And although anytime after 7:00 would be a great time to wake up especially on Saturday or Sunday, I love them still.
  • I had a fourth baby and thank goodness I didn’t kill myself trying to shed the lbs. from the previous three.  Who wants pain in vain?
  • I got casual about yoga because that’s really what yoga wants and casual is my best modus operandi.
  • I gave more than I’ve ever given in more ways than I can ever count and it happened organically and wonderfully without the pressure of remembering it was Tuesday (remembering days is hard).

So here’s my New Year’s recommendation:  Don’t Do It!  Don’t resolve to a new you.  I like YOU.  No, I love YOU.  I want more of you.  I want you Bruno Mars or Billy Joel JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.  I lean towards Billy, but you choose.  Both are great and both are true.  Don’t change.  Not one thing.  End this year and start the next year just being the hot damn beautiful you that you are.  And then on December 31, 2016 you (and I) can be like “YES, I did it!  I was me for 2016!” and we will celebrate and dance and do casual yoga.  It will be the best!  And we’ll have done it together.  Namaste.

 Hugs and LOVE,

~ Kira


We are Better Together

KiraBlog, Life16 Comments

I’m not going to lie I was dreading doing the Girls on the Run 5K with my daughter Milana.   There was the running thing (see first ever Middle Moments post), it was the first day of 30 degree temps (I’m a cold weather weenie) and I thought there would be nothing more crushing than having to choke on my lungs for however many minutes while my daughter repeatedly told me to stop being so red and heavy breathy and straight up embarrassing.  The stage was set for a fiasco.

And then the best thing happened.  Like the best thing ever in the history of things happening happened.  First, we went to the flag where the rest of our school’s group would be. There, we were met with a dissemination of energy that was passing like happy hot lava from pod to pod of jumping jacking little girls.  It was a two-fold marvel of trying to keep warm and ‘Let’s Do This’ rolling across the gathering crowd.  The excitement was palpable.  I let myself fall under the running tutu, pink cape spell. My tune was changing…I was getting pumped.

It was time.  We went from our school stationed flags to lining up by the start line.  In half momma bear mode, half please don’t leave me desperation I said again “Milana make sure we stay together.” My strategy was to stay behind her so I could keep an eye (aka not let her see me have to walk).  She stood ready with a handful of other gitty, skippety GOTR’ers.  We all bellied out the countdown, crossed the start line and then the most beautiful, inspiring and remarkable 48 minutes unfolded in front of me.

GOTRFour girls interlaced hands and began running a race.  I mean they just did IT…they spontaneously knitted themselves together.  No one told them to do it and it wasn’t planned (my husband would say “people know what spontaneous means” but my day after awe makes it necessary for me to drive it home).  I thought at first this will last a hundred yards or when the crowd breaks or at very most till we get to the first mile marker and everyone is too tired to hold on any longer.  And yet, THEY HELD ON.  Those girls remained connected like it was the only way it was going to get done.  Occasionally when they had to pass someone they would yell “Break” and two girls would go one way and two would go the other and then they’d re-link.  They would run up to water stations together unlatch, drink, re-latch and start again.  I’m choking for sure… because my heart is in my throat!  And then more happened.

Running with us was Milana’s 3rd grade teacher.  Her daughter came along to run with her but she had gotten ahead of us.  About a mile up the course she rejoined our group and the girls extended their collective hands and without uttering a word said ‘come on…together is better’.  And then there were five. Those girls finished that whole dang race hand in hand.  3.1 miles.  48 minutes.  It only took them that long because when one got tired they all walked never uttering a word of irritation or impatience. They were right there making an unbreakable unbeatable Red Rover ‘Take on the World’ wire through the race.  After a short pause, they’d take turns being the one to rally their GOTR gang, summon up some “We Got This” and giddy up again.

I think what I loved most is I didn’t know any of the other girls.  I remembered one from when we volunteered for the KC marathon but none of them were Milana’s ‘besties’… her inseparables.  I would expect it with them.  These were 5 girls in a common group, doing a common thing with a common goal in mind.  But there was nothing common about what they did.  It had nothing to do with winning or the best time or doing anything other than being there in that moment with each other, for each other.  Girls supporting and lifting one another up.  Yes to that!  Every. Dang. Day!

Right after they crossed the line, Milana said “We did it.  And we did it as a TEAM!”  This sent me right over into a gushy mushy “Is this really happening” pile.  Holy GOTR goodness.

So whoever made up Girls on the Run… you nailed it!  You did exactly what I know you were hoping to do.  You made a whole slew of girls believe in themselves.  You helped them see something as possible.  And you created this space where hand holding and encouragement and “Let’s Stick Together” reigned victorious.  It was THE most beautifully organic thing I’ve seen in some time.  What these girls showed me was that we are all in a great big race, its okay if you have to slow down and we are indeed BETTER TOGETHER.

Hugs and LOVE,

~ Kira



Marriage, Mirrors and Dot-to-Dots

KiraLife, Uncategorized16 Comments

weddingMarriage is not a straight line.   It’s more like a super advanced dot-to-dot and you’re not privy to the picture till you finish all the connecting. But when you’re in the thick of it, that once simple dot to dot feels like decoding a 10 page cryptogram.

Last year, my sweet cousin, little Dave asked me to be a reader at his wedding. I was floored, literally, I hit the floor.  Inner voice suggesting: Shouldn’t you know a little something about being married to represent it in a church?  I thought maybe I should be transparent and tell him I haven’t a clue and that he might want to pick someone with a better handle on the thing.  But I was so excited and honored and humbled that “Absolutely, I will read the snot out of that scripture” was pretty much my response.

And then he sent me the verse.  “Love is patient. Love is kind…”  Sing along with me.  It’s the quintessential reading for a marriage.  But here’s where I fall off.  I’m just not convinced the wedding day is the place you need that precious reminder.  You need that sucker to drop down like a life navigation bar on day 906, 2,231-39 and maybe all of the 4,000’s (which is about where I’m at so I try to speak only that which I’ve experienced).  And so of course because I can’t help but put my two cents in, I stepped up to the altar and proceeded to give a pre-reading commentary, much to the chagrin of the Priest, on how the road is muddy and windy and the hills will make you tired so just remember to keep coming back to these words as your guide. Yadda Yadda.  And as much as I said it for not so little Dave and his lovely Jessica, I was saying it in hopes I would hear it myself in front of God and all these witnesses.

There’s a part of me that thinks the reading isn’t actually for the two people getting married.  It’s a Jedi mind trick meant for the way past honeymooners seated in rows 1 through to the parking lot.  My husband and I are 11 and a half years, 4 kids with all their kid happenings, 2 full and 3 part-time/seasonal jobs and one fat mortgage in.  It’s been really good and it’s not been patient, not been kind.  It wasn’t patient or kind like 5 minutes ago.  In fact, sometimes it is U.G.L.Y, we ain’t got no alibi.

I don’t see marriage as a job. I think it is a privilege but it’s really hard work.  Often gritty, cleaning under the fridge kind of work.  And like cleaning under the fridge work… you can put it off or neglect it all together.  Seriously, when was the last time you cleaned under/behind the fridge?   We’ve had good years with a lot of bad days.  We’ve had good days within bad seasons… and sometimes they’ve felt like hockey seasons and those things last forever.  It’s fun and frustrating, happy and heavy, gratifying and “Go get your own damn water and stop drinking all of mine!” which is so crazy because I’m a really good sharer. Marriage, I’ve come to learn, can bring out some straight up cray cray in you.

(This next line and only the next line is to be read as if you’re doing a cover for Justin Timberlake)

It’s like it’s a mirror. (Continue reading as yourself)  And it reflects back at you all your own stuff – good or bad depending on what you decide to focus on.  When I look in a real mirror I tend to zero in on that ‘one’ area I don’t like (okay, 3 areas and once a month it’s like 6) and I can really get myself into a funk.  I’ll swear off mirrors or cry… kidding… ok, not kidding, mirrors can make me cry.  Unfortunately, I can look at my marriage like that too and only see the parts that send me spinning.  I had no idea I could get so annoyed by bowls facing up or knives not pointing down in the dishwasher or leaving the pantry, dresser drawers, kitchen cabinets or anything with a hinge on it open.  For the love of Pete, close. the. dang. door. And sometimes I can make majors out of the minors.  My mirror helps me see that.  We’ve had some majors too and they’ve been great teachers of forgiveness and acceptance.

Also, when I look into a real mirror, I often (always) forget to look at my heart that loves to give, my eyes that enjoy seeing the best in people or my attempts to disarm smile.  The good parts.  I also forget sometimes to see my husband’s uncanny ability to look at me and my children with fresh eyes -no matter how crappy we were to him the day before.  I forget to see that he is so generous with his care for me and that even if he goes to bed before me, when I come to bed he’ll wake just long enough to tell me he loves me.  I forget to see how the pieces that drew me to him in the first place are still there just layered with other life stuff.  Kind of like my stomach after the twins.  And like my stomach, life stuff will jack you up.  The getting from dot to dot is a little more arduous.  It’s not as easy as it was when we were a carefree, “what would you like to do tonight”, two man banding it.

And as much as I believe in marriage, it doesn’t mean I don’t believe in divorce.  (The double negatives always screw me up but I feel weird saying “I believe in divorce.”)  My parents are divorced and it’s funny but I may be one of those rare people who didn’t wish and hope they’d get back together.  It didn’t work for them.  Their dot to dots weren’t on the same page.  And even despite the individual and collective pain of it not working out, my mom constantly and consistently says that she never regretted getting married because she got 3 great kids out of the deal.  She chose to see the best parts of that mirror and run with it.

But mirrors are tricky. Some mirrors lie.  They do.  Bastards.  And it’s wrong and it can literally ruin you.  Period.  Harsh things can be felt and said after a lying mirror moment.  But crazy enough mirrors kick us into gear and reveal the parts of us we want to change and how we want to evolve even if it means not standing in front of that mirror anymore.   Mirrors can make me flat out crazy.  But I still love the one I get to look at…but really the knives in the dishwasher – we need to start tracking on this one please. :)  Please is kind, right?  And I’m sure patient is right around the corner.  I’m busting out a little Windex for my mirror and going to keep pushing to the next dot.  I could probably use another wedding soon too… So who wants to get hitched?

Hugs and Love,

~ Kira


Life is Kinda Fair

KiraLife, Parenting14 Comments

IMG_0191We are a month into school and the sky is back up where it’s supposed to be. Which wasn’t the case when we got our teacher placements so I wanted to wait to make sure we fully recovered from the “sky is falling” classroom announcements before commenting on them. The hitch was the assignments for my 3rd graders.  Once I received the email I knew right away that I’d be serving up disappointment for dinner with a side of life stinks sometimes.  Boy twin got the teacher girl twin verbalized wanting since the last day of 2nd grade, girl’s two BF’s were also in that class and she had to be in class with boy’s BF which I get…is totally gross.

And so for a second I let a part of me venture down the “I’ll just call the school and ask them to do an ole switcheroo.”  I know schools love requests but this was an easy peasy exchange – one for one.   But I then came of out of rescue mode because this was not a dangerous situation and saving Milana would completely undermine her strength and tenacity that is so innate in her.

On my drive home from work, I tried to muster up the words to ward off the verbal and possibly physical blows that would be coming my way.  She’s got spirit, yes she do.  I walked in the house, sweating, and was ready to have my all-star parent performance when my mother informed me that my husband already shared the news and they all went to practice. “Phew!” Grateful to be off the hook, momentarily.  My mother then informed me that it didn’t go over well and hysterics ensued…so basically “Be Ready.”

Sure enough when she got home she snuggled up in my bed to catch the last bit of educational TV for the night (there is much to be taught and learned from Big Brother’s Head of Household) and confessed her disappointment spatting those familiar words “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!!”   I had to admit to her that I got every teacher I ever wanted with every friend I ever wanted… that actually I was born 40 years old and got to skip every kick in the shin or wanna kick somebody in the shin moment.

After my snap out of it kid rant, I told her that I COULD understand why she was disappointed and reminded her that it was just last year that she survived moving schools. Also, that her two best friends in Blaize’s class get to actually remain her friends… this is a harder concept than it seems. In fact, I’ve come to realize that proximity for the 3rd grade brain is a very important factor in maintaining relationships… which with further thought I recognize it kind of is for my brain too. I have many really great relationships that are a grayer shade because of distance… preserved considerably by the edited pics on Instagram and up to dates on FB. Keep ‘em coming friends!

I also reminded her that she initially did not like her 2nd grade teacher because she had an accent and it was hard to understand her and she was certain “this just isn’t going to work out.” This once thought to be 2nd grade predicament quickly became the pinnacle of her school experience of which all others will need to be matched against. I shared with Milana how like last year, that sometimes – if we let them – disappointments can flip the switch on us and situations can be better than we could have ever imagined. But being knee disappointment deep is so hard at 9, at 19, 37, at every. damn. age.

I remember when my dad told me in college after some tragedy (so important I can’t remember it) that “don’t worry honey, this builds character.”  I remember saying “Dad, I’m kind of over character building.  I could play lead as a Disney character at this point.”  But life just keeps coming at you.  We are basically all track stars… hurdling mountains out of molehills. And we are often called to run really hard races thus the reason we need good training.

My primary job as a parent is to keep my kids safe… not unscathed. I also believe that to keep them safe, emotionally and mentally for the long haul, I need to help them pull the ‘didn’t get the teacher you wanted’ bootstraps up and move through disappointments so they learn to keep “I GOT THIS” in their back pocket. They are going to need it… as young adults… as old adults… and hopefully one day as parents themselves.

So not saving my kids from these life bumps will likely mean that tears and tantrums will present but parenting isn’t a 50 yard dash…it’s a bloody toenails, calf cramping, ‘why did I do sign up for this’ rat race every single year. Again, training… it comes back to good training and I’ll throw in good shoes. Managing a tantruming toddler in uncomfortable strappy sandals can derail you like no other.

So life is kinda fair. Because nobody is immune from disappointment, pain and setback and “All the love in the world won’t stop the rain from falling” (Thank you Tears for Fears). The good news: Each one of us has internal rain gear. We need help finding the pockets we keep the dry socks, umbrella and galoshes. We need help at 9, every day in our 20’s, soon to be 41 and throughout the blows of break ups, illness, addiction, death and the cavalcade of Charlie horses that can present in a life.

I’m ready, willing and (if necessary will fake being) able to be my kids life jacket. Believe me you come at my kids with drugs, face tattooing or some church cult life …. I will come at you with some Mama Bear Jedi Ninja Mojo like you’ve never seen. I got spirit, yes I do…and just enough crazy to be dangerous. So I’m all for rescuing when threat to safety is looming but I’m more for teaching my kids to swim and make sure they know I’ll play standby with floaties and a big ass beach towel.

Hugs and Love,

~ Kira

Send the Script out to Sea

KiraUncategorized12 Comments

Rocco running to the oceanVacation at this point in my life is really just taking our crazy to a different location.  Yes, there’s less running around to do per se but my people still like to participate in daily and often hourly, passing of the baton, can’t keep it down whack-a-mole, beautiful disaster that apparently is our mixed bag lineage.

This year we took a trek out to the northwest along the Oregon coast.  It was unlike a family vacation we’d taken before.  More time to learn card games like Slamwich, fly kites and play made up games like “Mommy Trap” in the hills and valleys of the beach dunes.  Memories were being made despite a lack of fireworks, technology, amusement parks, character lunches and full schedules.

The last night of our trip by the ocean I got this great idea to cast a “wish” rock and a “worry” rock into the water. Imagine all 6 of us standing at the edge of the world heaving symbolism into the sea… TOGETHER.  Ah.  It was setting up perfectly.  The sun was completely in sync with me, carefully hanging in the sky to create the snapshot of a lifetime.  In my head, this was my Hallmark moment.  The pinnacle of a family vacation done well.  A forever memory.

I watched on as my boys went running towards the water with their one hope / one concern in hand.  My husband right behind them with our two year-old set atop his shoulders and I paused for just a moment to help Milana pick out the perfect rocks because a moment like this needs perfect rocks.  “This” I heard my inner voice saying… “This is what it’s all about.”

As Milana and I set off to join the boys – HOLD UP.  WAIT A MINUTE.  I looked down for a second, maybe two. WHAT the WHAT is HAPPENING???    I got kicked in the shin… the shin of my soul.  The men I love and the men I THOUGHT loved me were high tailing it back to stairs that led to our beach house.  My moment flattened… the blowfish air sucked right out of it.

I met my husband with a “What, Why, and How could you do this?”   He said “What do you mean… we did it.”   UMMMM…No.  WE did not do it!!!   “Yes, I swear, we did it.”  You buffoon… we is not half of us… we is all of us and WE need to do it again.  For reference: Nothing is more fun that forcing people to re-enact an already unnatural moment for your own self-satisfaction.  So needless to say… it was a flop.  But it was a flop because of my own doing.

Most, if not all, of my life’s frustrations, heartaches and kicks in the shin are because of unmet expectations.  And the frequency of them is solely because I have choreographed these perfect scenarios (code for really high expectations) and unfortunately the people can’t even hear the music…let alone get through the first eight count.

My husband totally missed the beat.  He didn’t get the rock throwing… he’s not wired that way.  My Lifetime movie moment didn’t register really high on his ‘this is cool’ list.  But he is wired in the way of cooking almost all the meals, coaching almost all the teams, demonstrating a life with purpose and partnering with his wife to create a really good life for our family.  And so gratefully and graciously hindsight lets him off the hook.  That and he accepts me for all my crazy. Too often I’m seeking this perfect moment, relationship, family picture, hair day (the struggle is real) and forget to see that what I already do have is really, really great and perfectly flawed.

Besides, I already had all the vacation moments I needed to remember – teaching the kids how to make a campfire and the secret to a perfect s’more, taking slow to be brave Blaize on a hike over some rocks, watching Rocco strip down to his skivvies and run with reckless abandon into the piercing cold water and my favorite, climbing as a family up the part sand part rock mountain and each person helping the other navigate the best path.  It was all there.  I didn’t need to script some moment for everyone that I really just felt I needed to do myself.  Send one wish and one worry out to sea.  I’d love to tell you about them but they are gone now.  I just have the real stuff to hold on to.  And besides sometimes the best moments are off script.  Don’t forget to see, feel and cha cha your way through those moments!

Hugs and Love,

~ Kira