Sunday, June 7, 2015

"I have a lot of things to prove to myself. One is that I can live my life fearlessly." -Oprah

Dear Oprah,

Are you still in the business of making people's wildest dreams come true? I have thought about this a lot the past 10 years because I wanted to make sure I got it right and didn't request anything I would later regret—like asking for an unlimited supply of nail polish. I wasn't a big dreamer in 2004 ;)

But here I am, almost 27, and I can say with confidence that my wildest dream would be getting to be a contestant on Survivor. AND BEFORE YOU SAY NO.... please remember, Oprah, that you are in fact...Oprah! You can make it happen. How does it feel to have that kind of power? 

Besides the fact that you're Oprah and with that name comes complete and total power, you also know Tyler Perry. And Tyler Perry knows Jeff Probst. And Jeff Probst is the host of Survivor!

My desire to be a contestant on the show isn't for the money. Truly. Not that I would turn down the million, but I so badly desire to just play the game! 

Do you remember when you interviewed Elie Wiesel and afterward you said you didn't do it for the ratings or for your viewers, but you did it for you? Because you wanted so badly to talk to him?

That's how I feel about Survivor. I just want to play. For me, for the fun, for the adventure. 

I would even be willing to donate the money to your Angel Network! Okay, most of it. Can I pay off my school loans and maybe get a few new bottles of nail polish first? 

I know what you're probably thinking, "Is this girl as awesome as she sounds??"

Short answer: Yes. I am. Some would argue a reality show of my life would do well. But I am too humble to accept those offers.

I know there isn't a secret formula to win the game; all different kinds of strategies and personality types have won. However, without sounding like every other hopeful contestant, I know I have what it takes to win the game. 

I often tell people how you've changed my life. When asked how people don't seem satisfied with, "I know about proper jean sizes because of her!" I would love to tell them you are the reason I got on Survivor. But I am forever grateful you knocked sense into me. I had been trying to squeeze into 2 sizes too small for many years.

And if I haven't convinced you thus far I have one final plea:

I remember you saying that one time someone told you they knew in their soul they should do something that you weren't sure about but you said, "I can't argue with someone's soul."

In my soul I know I should be on Survivor. Can you help make that happen?

They are currently casting the upcoming season so do not delay! 

I have applied several times, I've sent in the application and the videos, I've begged, prayed, hoped, and plead to anyone that would listen, and tweeted the creator Mark Burnett, oh maybe 5000 times. Until I hear from you I'll be running laps singing, "I surrender all...I surrender all...."

See what I did there? :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Untold Stories

The Untold Stories—that sounds like a crappy TLC show (actually I think it is. Anyway...)

I think I have finally gotten to a point in life where I will no longer be a nanny ever again. Maybe babysitting occasionally but my days of chasing after other people's children for 50 hours a week is behind me.

With that said I think I am ready to share the secret stories, the ones that I've tucked away over the years too scared I would run into the parents again.

My freshman year of college when everyone on my hall was getting paid pocket change to slave away at retail stores and be screamed at by their incompetent underpaid bosses, I went the babysitting route to make some shoe money. I could charge whatever I wanted and work whenever I pleased, it sounded perfect! I put an add up on Craigslist and by that weekend I had already met with 6 moms and their spit upping babies at the Starbucks on my block.

Starbucks is the go-to meetup for any girl in the city needing to make sure the person they're meeting isn't going to kidnap them. I walked in with an over-sized pair of glasses on covering the majority of my face and left them on as my eyes scanned the room. I was looking for a 30-something blonde wearing a North Face and holding a baby. I saw about a dozen 30-something blondes, all wearing big, puffy North Face jackets (and Uggs, of course. The stereotype is painfully true.) and bouncing a baby on their knee. I finally spotted who I thought was my 30-something blonde woman and walked over with a big smile on my face. The smile that says, "You can trust this complete stranger with your child and eagerly pay me accordingly!" We spent the next half hour chatting with an unspoken understanding that we were both making sure we hadn't seen the other on an America's Most Wanted poster.

Once I felt confident she wasn't hiding anyone in her basement we scheduled my first "get to know the baby" date. Jacqueline, the mom, wanted me to come over Monday afternoon for a few hours while she was there and get to know her 9 month old. She said there was a lot to learn and remember and she felt it would be best if she were there. Hmm, okay. "Get to know the baby" AKA she was only 95% sure I wasn't hiding anyone in my basement.

Being a babysitter in a big city is a slippery slope, being a really good babysitter is an even slippery slope. Once the parents like you they will start recommending you to their friends. You start out wanting to work a couple days a week after class and suddenly your only social life is with preschoolers. And it's so hard to turn down! The date night gigs were the best. I usually arrived right after they put their kids down and got paid to watch TV.

I was truly blessed with so many wonderful kids to babysit and their parents were just as great. I actually looked forward to working for most of them. But of course there were always the...outliers.

Within five minutes of meeting a new mom I could always guess exactly what kind of mom she was, with no previous information about her. Those groups were:

The fist time mom.
The first time mom of a girl.
The mom of all boys.
The mom of several kids.

The first time mom and the first time mom of a girl were very similar; the only difference being the level of protectiveness. Moms of little girls always had a slight increase in that area. I could always expect around 15 texts the first time mom of a girl while they were on their date night, where as for just the first time mom it was only around 5. The texts were always the same.

What she would text: How's everything going so far? 
What she meant: Is my baby still alive?

What she would text: How'd bath time go?
What she meant: Did you drown my baby?

What she would text: Did he fuss when you put him in his crib?
What she meant: Did you invite your boyfriend over to make out while you let my baby cry?

I got referred to a new family by another couple I had been babysitting for for several years. Those were always easier on both of us. The parents were ready to trust me since their close friends already trusted me.

However, this wasn't the case with this family.

They were first time parents and had a 10 month old son. My first night babysitting for them Sherri, the mom, went over all her son's needs with me. When he eats, what he eats, bedtime routine, no allergies, he needs his blanket to sleep with but not during story time, white noise on volume 4 and a half, shut the bedroom door mostly but keep at least a 3 inch crack, if he wakes up crying it could mean all sorts of things...

Sherri: "Like, if it's a high-pitched 'weeehhh!!!! weeehhh! muhhhh!' that means it's his diaper. But if it's more of like, a low rumble that turns into a high-pitched squeal then he's hungry...."

She stood there for 5 minutes mimicking all of his cries, which all sounded the exact same. I babysat for them a couple times a week for over two years and every single time I arrived she would go over his bedtime routines, food preferences, and schedule as if I lacked the ability to remember basic facts. I truly wondered why she trusted me with her child if she felt I couldn't remember that, um, he's a baby and needs his diaper changed.

Not all the mom's were like this. There were others who balanced out the over-protective ones. A mom of five boys needed a last minute babysitter and found my Craigslist ad. She didn't even want to meet me first! I spoke with her on the phone and felt comfortable enough to meet her at the Whole Foods up the street from their condo.

She was a lot easier to spot than the 30-something blonde at Starbucks. Even though she was also a 30-something blonde there's something about being the mom of 5 boys that makes you look like the mom of 5 boys. Pony tail. Dirt stained jeans. In very good shape.

She waved frantically when we spotted each other and started walking toward her place before I even got to her. She gave me the briefest rundown of her kids. Their names, no allergies, and bed time. She said the baby goes to bed first and to put him in the pack-n-play in their master bedroom.

We were having a great time, a wild and hectic time, but fun nonetheless.

That is until I put the baby down for bed.

If you 1.) have your baby sleep in your room, 2.) have other children and most importantly 3.) have a babysitter coming over would you not take 3 seconds and pick up the dozen condoms spread across your bed and bedroom floor?!

I truly wish that was the most awkward/inappropriate experience I had over the years. But no. I would gladly go back and tidy up all those condoms myself if I could not have babysat for one particular family.

It was the worst combination—terrible kids and terrible parents. That combo is rare. You at least usually like one or the other.  But their kids were brats, unashamed little terrorists and the mom and dad were even worse in their own creepy way.

They had an almost one year old, and almost two year old, and an almost three year old. The mom would offer these absurd recommendations for when her two year old would get out of hand.

"It really calms him down to give him a bath. He loves playing in there for hours. I only do that when his dad is also home, of course, I can't stay in there with him and leave the other two by themselves. Maybe you could set up a little craft area for Peyton and just sit on the toilet and hold the baby in your lap while Evan plays in the tub. That would work!"

Oh. would it? Would that work? Are you for real, woman?! I am not sitting on the toilet holding a squirmy 10 month old and facilitating art class for a 3-year-old while your undiagnosed toddler calms himself in the tub for 2 hours!

Except one day I did. Because she was right. It was the only, and I mean only thing to make him stop screaming.

And the next day I quit.

The kid wasn't even the main reason I quit. I had to get to their house every morning at 7. I would arrive right at 7 every single morning. And every single morning the dad would mosey out of the shower right as I walked in, on the dot. He would meander out of the bathroom still soaking wet as if he purposefully didn't dry off and he'd walk out to the living room to say good morning to me all while only being covered with a towel the size of a large washcloth. The only thing keeping it around his waist was his thumb and pointer finger pinching the ends together, daring me to give him the satisfaction of noticing.

After working for a few crazies I was able to see the warning signs in the interview process and turn down their offers to save myself. I am all about cleaning up after and cooking for your children, but ma'am I will not clean your bathroom. I also won't fold your husbands boxers no matter how many days you leave my "to-do" list on top of his laundry pile. I got the hint but apparently you didn't.

It would be remiss of me to only tell the bad stories and not mention the lovely families I had the privilege of working for over the years. You welcomed me into your homes and trusted me with your children and I will never take that lightly. I loved every minute with your precious kids—the dance parties, walking around the city after a rainstorm to find good puddles to jump in, the sheer joy it brought them when we'd go to the park, and my personal favorite--rocking your babies to sleep. I will always cherish those memories and the experience I gained. Oh and eating all the pizza and chips in your pantry was awesome. Sorry for always finishing the last cookie.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

New Year's resolutions

Have you made your New Year's resolutions yet? If you haven't, good! Don't.

They. Don't. Last. 

Maybe I lack the self-control to maintain the absurd commitments but I think many of us aim for unattainable goals every year.

Instead of setting myself up for failure, this year I am going to make small, manageable lifestyle changes. Those changes for me include:

  • 1 gallon of water every day
  • 3 days per week of exercising
  • Better evening and morning routines 
  • Reaching out in kindness more
  • Be able to do a split again

I am a pretty good water drinker but I can never keep track of how much I've had. And I'm certain it's not a gallon. I can never remember how many times I've refilled my glass or Nalgene so I ordered a gallon glass jug and will pour from that to more accurately keep track of my water intake.

As far exercising more regularly, Jesus help me. The two things I dislike the most in life are being cold and getting up early. When my alarm clock goes off at 5:30 and I can already feel the chill that will engulf me if dare I get out from under the covers... It's tortute.

I wanted to get a head start on my exercising goal so I started back yesterday. I want to be able to scoff at everyone who shows up to the gym on January 1st and be like, "Omg they're so annoying, I started a full week before you losers!!"
I did my first deadlift yesterday and as a result I got my first callus! Well it's just a blister at the moment but has great callus potential if I keep this up!

My sophomore year of college my roommate and I were laying around one day and started talking about what we would do if there were a fire. Our bedroom was on the second floor and we wanted to see if we would be able to save the other one. We took turns playing dead as one of us tried picking up the other to carry to safety. 'Tried' being the operative word. Jen was so tiny but I could barely walk two feet once I laboriously got her off the bed. We were laughing so hard it made exerting any strength impossible but also because my upper-body strength is zero. Add that to my New Years resolutions: getting strong enough to carry someone to safety, but hopefully never have to.

I think that's where my better evening and morning routines will kick in and help. Getting to bed at a good time, having my gym clothes laying out, water bottle ready to grab and go, etc. Those little things make getting up slightly easier. Not a lot easier! But bearable. The kind of bearable where you know it probably won't kill you it only sort of feels like it. 

2014 has been full of manageable lifestyle changes, ones I didn't anticipate but am glad I stuck with. I want to keep at it. Reaching out in kindness to people isn't necessarily a resolution for just 2014, it's something that's been on my heart the past few months that I've been working on and want to continue to make a point of until it becomes more of an effortless habit and less having to remind myself. 

I hope you all take a moment to rethink any New Years resolutions you've already made. Are they achievable? Will any of them improve the lives of others and not just yourself? (I am asking myself this also.)

Want an accountability partner? Message me! I promise 90% encouragement and only 10% harassment ;) Really though, if you would like daily, weekly, or monthly accountability and follow up for any new or old commitment you're wanting to stick to I would love to partner with you. Feel free to email me at 
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