Dear Little Boy, You Will Never Be Ruined

I wrote this letter as part of the End Medicine Abuse Project in conjunction with Listen to Your Mother. You can read more about the project here.  Yes, this post is sponsored by The Partnership at Drugfree.org as part of a blog tour with listentoyourmothershow.com in an effort to End Medicine Abuse.

I took part in it because as much as I like a good laugh, part of what I believe so desperately about parenting (and everything) is being honest and upfront with your kids, self, random internet strangers, you get it. And because I hadn’t thought much about medicine abuse in my kids (they are so little), the project challenged me to come up with an honest way to talk to them about the issue of drugs. I was honored to do this because this is one of those important honesty moments we all need to have with ourselves and kids. I chose to write a letter to my son, baby Jude. Part of this is me imagining him grown. I chose Jude because he’s so new here, that I wanted to take a moment and talk to him. If you have questions about why I wanted to take part in this project, leave them in the comments (or email). I’ll answer.

Part of this project was a Google hangout where I and the other bloggers in this project read our posts out loud. If you missed it, you can view the videos here: part 1, part 2, part 3

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Dear Jude,
Forgive me for believing in your infinite potential. For seeing all the universes inside of you. I am your mother. I was there when you became my guy; my XY from an XOXO. Don’t make dry heaving noises at me. It’s true. I was there when you became a pronoun from a verb. So small, I didn’t notice until you were my upset stomach. My frequent urination. My growing hope. You started as a “no sushi, no tuna, watch the coffee” and grew into a “no clothes fit.” And then you emerged a person, fully formed, with a silly wide mouth that both your father and I stared at in amazement. And then prayed it didn’t end in orthodontist bills.
I will never stop being awed by you. How your fingers and toes exist. It sometimes seems like magic that you are here. I know too well the miracle that you are.

And that’s what I want to tell you. I want to tell you to look at your hands, your face and your feet. They once were mine and I took care of them. Buying hypo-allergenic lotions because you might be allergic to god-knows-what. Cutting nails. Binding little hands into little mittens. Applying Mickey Mouse band aids when needed and sometimes when they weren’t. But those days are over. Your skin that is yours now; every hair, every cuticle and cell now belongs to you. Sometimes you wash. You fight me on haircuts. Remember deodorant? Right, exactly.

And with all of this, I know you feel like you are something indestructible. And that whatever you do, you will be able to continue forward. That there is no end.

That’s a lie. Those hands and feet that now belong to you. That brain, those earlobes, the space between your fingers. It can all be ruined in a careless moment. A curiosity for drugs, for cigarettes. Or a weak moment where you want something to help you study to help you have fun. I know you don’t believe me. I know you are rolling your eyes. But you were created in a moment, you can be destroyed in one. And if that moment comes and you choose to say “yes,” when you should say “no.” Just know that to me, you will never be ruined. To me, you will always be beautiful. And I will always help pull you back.

Remember you are a miracle. What you contain is immeasurable. That you came from a spark and now you are here. Big hairy, with a wide-mouth grin and a gangly legs. There is nothing you need to make you feel how other people think you should feel, there is nothing you need to have more fun, to end your boredom to make you “cool” (if that’s what the kids are still saying these days), that you don’t already have within you. I know this for a fact. Because I made you. And yes, I will always hold that over your head.

I love you.
Your mom

Join Me Tonight In a Discussion to End Medicine Abuse

The Medicine Abuse Project- The  Partnership at Drugfree.org Logo

So, most of my high school and college life was spent desperately following the rules both because I wanted to leave my house and because I didn’t want the cops to send me back. As a senior, I was once at a party with underage drinking and I asked the host to kick the kids out because I didn’t want to lose my position as an RA, because it was the only way I could afford to live on campus. If I lost my RA position, I’d have to leave college.  If I left college, I’d have to move home. If I moved home? Well, global thermal nuclear war would be the obvious result.

Consequently, I’ve never used drugs illegally and having that talk with my kids never crossed my mind. I’ve thought about the sex talk, the alcohol talk, but I’ve never thought about the drug talk, not in any serious way. So, when the fabulous ring leader of Listen to Your Mother (Ann Imig) asked me to participate in discussion about drug abuse, I almost said “no.” I have nothing to share. But then, I realized, I actually have to discuss this stuff with my kids one day. And how am I going to do that? I don’t want them to be like me, making decisions out of fear. But I also want them to make right choices. And if I believe that it is monumentally important to give them right information about sex and alcohol, why wouldn’t I believe the same for information on drugs?

So, please join me and I and some other talented ladies talk about drugs, drug addiction and how we are talking to our kids about it. Here is all the info.

Date: The evening of Tuesday, September 10th, 2013
Time: 9 PM EST
RSVP (optional for Google + users)
View live: http://www.youtube.com/user/LTYMShow/live

For the first time, LTYM has joined forces with The Partnership at Drugfree.org to host an exclusive live-streaming event via Google Hangout On Air, taking place on Tuesday, September 10 at 9 p.m. EST. The live readings will feature 11 leading women voices on the subject of medicine abuse – a health issue that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now calls an “epidemic.”

These readings will feature new and original work about each of the women’s personal connections to addiction, substance use, and/or what they want children to know about the medicine abuse epidemic in a powerful story-sharing hour. Join us at this engaging kickoff to a blog post tour featuring these wonderful writers. Watch the livestream broadcast at the Listen To Your Mother YouTube channel ( http://www.youtube.com/user/LTYMShow/live ) beginning at 9 pm EST.

This live event will feature:

Janelle Hanchett – http://www.renegademothering.com 
Brandi Jeter – http://mamaknowsitall.com
Sherri Kuhn – http://oldtweener.com 
Heather King – http://www.extraordinary-ordinary.net
Lyz Lenz – http://www.lyzlenz.com/
Judy Miller – http://judymmiller.com 
Lisa Page Rosenberg – http://www.smacksy.com
Alexandra Rosas – http://www.gooddayregularpeople.com
Ellie Schoenberger – http://www.onecraftymother.com
Zakary Watson – http://www.raisingcolorado.com
Melisa Wells – http://suburbanscrawl.com

For more information and to join:

RSVP on the Google Event Page

and/or join us at http://www.youtube.com/user/LTYMShow/live

The Medicine Abuse Project is a multi-year initiative of the national nonprofit, The Partnership at Drugfree.org. Its goal is to prevent half a million teens from abusing medicine by 2017. The Project provides comprehensive resources to parents, educators, health care providers, law enforcement officials and others about the growing problem of teen medicine abuse. The effort aims to mobilize parents and the public at large to take action. This includes learning about the issue, talking with their kids about the dangers of misuse and abuse of prescription drugs and properly monitoring, safeguarding and disposing of excess Rx drugs in their homes.

LTYM is thrilled to be working with The Partnership at Drugfree.org. Working with nonprofits is a big passion of ours, and the fact that we both involve storytelling as common thread to both of our missions is wonderful.

Please join us to empower many families across the country to take action and end medicine abuse.

To learn more about The Medicine Abuse Project, visit drugfree.org/medicineabuseproject and follow the conversation online at #endmedicineabuse

 

This live event and blog tour are sponsored by The Partnership for Drugfree.org, LTYM’s 2013 National Video Sponsor. Also, this post and my post for the project are sponsored and I’m so honored to be a part of this.

No Pants 2012: What I’ve Learned About Fashion

Back in January, I gave up clothes shopping for a year. You can read about my journey here and here. This post is part of my effort to reinvent my wardrobe and look good, without being a rabid consumer of cheap crap.

In approximately 27 days I can shop again.

It’s almost been a year, since I gave up clothes shopping. In that time, I’ve purged over 10 black trash bags of clothes from my closet. Two bags of shoes and one bag of purses and belts.  And yet, today, I still managed to clear out another half a bag full of clothes from my drawers. After a year of saving, I’m still surrounded by excess.

Last year, I looked at my dismal wardrobe made up of cheap Target finds and thrift store salvage and calculated the cost of my habits. Over $50 a month, and nothing to show for it except well-worn graphic tees and ill-fitting pants. [Read more...]

Flying

Dave, my husband, is a pilot.  He got his license in High School and flew in college. He hasn’t flown in a while, this is partially due to airplanes being so expensive, and also due to an incident where his alternator failed and he hand to land without power at night in rural Texas.

For our first anniversary, I rented us some plane time and he took me up. I almost barfed. I could trust him enough to sleep next to him at night, but behind the controls of an airplane? I mean, he’s the guy who broiled on a cookie sheet and fed me silicone chicken.

I wanted to fly too.

I’ve said this before. I don’t believe in bucket lists. If you are going to do something, do it. Make it happen. Too much of life is spent planning. I mean, how many of those Pinterest ideas have you actually done?

Six years later, thanks to some delicious crackers, I flew. I don’t think I realized how scared I was until we landed. When I stepped off the plane, my shoulder blades relaxed, my eyebrows separated, my jaw unclenched. Every part of me was trying to keep us in the air.

As a kid, my parents took me on a family vacation to Kitty Hawk. There we raced in the sand dunes where Wilbur and Orville Wright first took flight. I remember thinking how amazing it must be to be the first man to soar with the birds. To let your feet leave the ground. To be suspended in the expanse.

I forget that. Sometime in between the first time I looked up at the sky and saw a plane and met wonder, and when I shuffled angrily onto a commercial airline, I forgot the horror and awe of flying. Taking my seat between a man who smells like wet onions and the aisle where the flight attendant kicks my foot and rolls his eyes when I ask for water, I forget that for those three hours I am peers with the clouds.

Today, I flew. An instructor was right next to me. Dave was behind me. Yet, I kept mumbling, “Oh god!” into my headset when the wind rattled the plane. But there was a moment, when I took my eyes off the horizon, and I thought how beautiful this ugly little Cessna was for letting me step off the edge of earth, just for a few minutes.

 

Thanks, you crazy crackers.

And the winner of the giveaway is….Jen Visser! Congratulations! You win some tasty crackers and $150 toward an experience on Cloud9Living.com.

I used Random.org to pick the winner from the comments.

Yes, I was compensated for this post and this contest by Pepperidge Farm. But all the opinions and experiences were mine.

Sponsored: What Wrinkle Cream Do You Use? Because Holy Eye Wrinkles Batman


No teen mom’s eyes look like this.

Why yes, I was compensated for this post. But not nearly as much as you think. And really, I do heart my wrinkle cream. So there is that.

I gave up wearing my wedding ring at about 6 months pregnant. That was around the time my body decided to sprout a pregnancy-induced bloody tumor and every time I wore my ring it chafed my finger red, raw and bloody.

“Here is what your love does to me,” I said holding my finger aloft.

“Here is what my love does to you,” Dave said poking my super-big-are-you-sure-that’s-not-twins belly. Touche.

A few days after quitting my symbol of fidelity and baby legitimacy, I took my mobile command unity (read: laptop) to a coffee shop to get some work done. A table of women behind me were loudly discussing the TV show “Teen Moms.”

“Some people just are too young to reproduce,” a middle-aged woman wearing stone-washed jeans declared.

“It’s just awful!” Agreed another woman munching a scone.

I turned to survey the vitrol and the group silenced. They’re eyes fell on their scone crumbs. I turned back to my work. Silence, then…

“It’s just that these young unwed mothers don’t know things like not drinking caffeine. It’s so bad for your baby.”

The next time I slurped my coffee, I stood so they could see my fetus-laden profile.  And that was the most subtle comment. A cashier at Target asked in if “the father knew?”

“No,” I shook my head. “And I’m not going to tell him either. He told me he loved me!”

The cashier nodded sadly.

These days, no one confuses me for a teen mom. Mostly it’s because I wear my ring, and because no teem mom would wear jeggings or have these eye wrinkles. Mostly the eye wrinkles.

And I have reached the point in my life when washing my face with hand soap and lotioning with Vaseline isn’t going to cut it. (Why yes, that was previously my beauty routine. I should take a picture so y’all can pin that shiz.)

Around the same time, a friend asked for wrinkle cream lotion suggestions on her Facebook page, and being a social media ninja, I stalked that thread and bought Olay Regenerist MicroSculpting Cream. For two reasons: 1. Coupon. 2. Coupon.

And I love it. I’m not saying my skin is once again the source of ageist comments, but I did get carded while on vacation. And the girl at the grocery store, when checking my ID said, “Whoa! I would have totally only pegged you as 28.”

I’m 29. So, thank you?

Anyway, I am writing all of this, because well, I do heart my face lotion and also because P&G, that source of all those sob-inducing Olympic commercials (No, YOU are the sap!) just launched an online store. (Hooray for internet consumerism!) and you can get you some Olay Regenerist MicroSculpting Cream for 10% off now through August 31, free shipping (hooray!) and loads of good deals. If you like, and you’ve accepted that you no longer look like a child bride, go get you some Olay Regenerist MicroSculpting Cream (notice the not-so-subtle links? CLICK those and I’ll get an affiliate sale. Or not. Do what you like. That’s how the internet works, y’all).

But tell me. What’s your fave wrinkle cream? And more importantly, can I get a coupon for it?

 

No Pants 2012: I Don’t Know How to Go To The Pool

I believe that there is a secret document that holds all the “dos and don’ts” of momettiquette and no one is sharing it with me, because you all are douchebags. My anxiety about this guide to proper mom behavior (which I am sure includes, “Rule #4567: Don’t tell your 15-month-old to ‘Suck it’ when she whines at you.”) is no better exemplified than the community pool.

The last time I was at a community pool, I sat on the plastic deck chair and wrote tortured poetry about ships and fair maidens. Sometimes, I read Lucy Maude Montgomery. I was 14. The world was my tragic oyster…full of chlorine, ships battered by the waves (much like love!) and men with mustaches.

Now, it’s summer and I have a baby who likes to splash about, but we have yet to go to the pool because without my journal and my fictional dead heroine tangled in seaweed, I don’t know how to go to the pool. What are the rules for moms at pools? Do you meet people there? Should I be friendly? Do I bring toys or is there a large sign that says “If you bring toys people will look at you askance! ASKANCE.” Please, anything but askance.

I probably can’t write poetry about mustaches and ship wrecks, because I have to make sure my kid doesn’t drown, right? It’s all so complicated.

I was asking a friend about the mom pool rules and after telling me that there was no secret document (that’s what she would tell me). I asked her if I could wear a two-piece. Now, let me just tell you this, I’ve worked hard to get back to my pre-baby size and sometimes mama just wants to show off some stretch marks. And my friend was all, “A mom in a bikini at the community pool? YOU AREN’T MRS. ROBINSON!”

This is precisely why I believe in the secret document. Without that guidance from my friend, I would have failed to connect my desire to sun my flabby, stretched-out flesh with creepy Anne Bancroft.

Then I went to New Orleans for 5 days and ate so much fried oyster that, well, a two-piece is out of question for the next few days. Too bad for all those young Dustin Hoffmans running around the middle of Iowa. So, yes, I’ve been planning my pool outfits.

One of the things I’ve learned from my almost 6 months of not buying clothes (*breathes into paper bag*). Is that clothes need to be versatile. If that bathing suit cover up isn’t working hard for you as a tunic, a top, dress, smoothie maker AND a bathing suit cover up, get that thing to Goodwill! If you can’t make those shoes work at the beach, the grocery store, vacation and at a Biaggi’s, who needs them? So, as I plan my outfits for the pool (we still have yet to go), they all look a little something like this.

 

Now, if only I could shop again…Read more about my No Pants 2012 Challenge here.

Thank you to Old Navy for sponsoring my post. I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all my own.

COOL WHIP Key Lime Bars

Nothing but delicious deliciousness after the jump…
[Read more...]

‘Tis The Season

When we got married and began looking for apartments, I told Dave, “All I ask is that the apartment have a dishwasher whose name isn’t Lyz.”

We got one. It sucked. But we used it because, while Dave and I can together face cancer, car accidents and renovating a bathroom, the dishes destroy us.

But there is the rub, the spicy delicious rub. We love to eat. And I love to cook. Garlic aioli. Lemon ricotta pasta. New potatoes with dill. Homemade pizza. Pie. pie and more pie. And all of these things take dishes. A lot of dishes.

So many dishes.

 

 

I don’t think I can stress enough how enormously lazy we are when it comes to dishes. Let me put it this way. We will spend upwards of $30 and drive all the way across town to buy a good pizza. And I have spent seven years testing, trying and perfecting my pizza dough/sauce/cheese and baking combination. But what happens to the dishes that result from those efforts? Well, they’ll probably be named in the divorce settlement that will occur after our dishwasher inevitably breaks and we run out of cups.

(ME: WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU’RE THIRSTY!? DRINK FROM YOUR HANDS!

Dave: *Licks rainwater off the sidewalk*)

But guess what? IT’S MOTHER FREAKING GRILLING SEASON! The time when meat and everything goes on the grill. Dishes don’t get dirty and magic is in the air.

Magic.

But there is one problem. Grilling utensils.

Before we were married, my parents bought Dave this grill cooking center. And as a present for our wedding, I bought him grilling utensil with oak handles and a carrying case, which under no circumstances can be put in the dishwasher. And sure, file this under first-world problems and then ask me about how my venti mocha burned my wittle tongue, but when we tried out the Grill Daddy, which can be put in the dishwasher…Well, Dave busted out polo that was NOT blue to celebrate. (He’s so wild.)

 

This may be the best summer of my life.

FESS UP! What are you ridiculously lazy about?

 

I did receive a Grill Daddy grilling utensil. But the opinion is mine, unless of course you factor in that I’m just a puppet of the Illuminati…then…well…PROBLEMS!


How far I’ve sunk

Baby, I was born this way.

Sometimes people ask me: “Lyz, how do you get your sense of style. I want to know, so I can never dress like you ever.” The other day, I went to my cooking club and one woman was so shocked I wasn’t wearing leggings, she just stared at me in amazement. “Look,” she said, “you’re wearing lipstick…you look so good.”

What I’m trying to say is, style like this isn’t made, it’s born.

So, when I got the chance to try some pajama jeans. I stuffed what remaining dignity I had down my throat along with some Cadbury eggs and said, “Yes.”

When they came they were so comfortable.  And yet, they were pants. PANTS! Could this be my turning point? Could I finally learn to love pants through Pajama Jeans? I put them on and paired them with my McLovin’ T-shirt. It seemed apt. Then, I sat down to write a post about weaponized bird flu, eat Cadbury eggs and chat with my friend Anna. Where was E? She was at the sitters. I mean I was working after all. My work is very serious.

“I’m wearing Pajama Jeans!” I told Anna. I’ve known her since college and together we stole a plant from a campus building. She’s earned these revelations. By contrast, Anna was studying the Talmud and had showered. Already, she was winning at this crazy game called life and she knew it. “I think they are the terry cloth nail in your Midwestern mom coffin.”

My hair was unwashed and cropped in a mom haircut. Instead of foundation I was wearing tinted moisturizer (“It’s easier to apply!” The mom website assured me). The night before I had made what I like to call “White People Enchiladas.” Basically, cans of cream of something soup, cheese and chicken. Anna was right.

“WHAT HAVE I DONE?!”

I looked back on the long road to slobdom that had been forged in pregnancy, with my love of my black, knit maternity pants, then my quest for yoga pants, because they were easy on the FUPA. Now here I was, 29 and already succumb to the fate of Pajama Jeans. Was there anywhere else to go? Hell? Kmart? Was I doomed to die facedown in a pile of hotdish?!

Anna had me check my cupboards. I didn’t own Jello or French fried onions. I had a bag of dried apricots. All was not lost.

That’s the thing about pants, isn’t it? They reveal your deepest nature in a way that no other item of clothing does. I hopped into the shower and changed. My Pajama Jeans are neatly folded in my drawer, they were after all, very comfortable. And maybe if I wore them with heels like the girl in the commercial…

They should show this picture to a High School health class. No one would be making babies then. NO ONE.

Shout out to the regulators: While I did receive a free pair of sexy Pajama Jeans, these opinions are my own and I may or may not be wearing them now as I type this.

Want A Rolled Canvas Print? Yeah, I Thought So [CONTEST]

From time to time, I am given the lovely opportunity to give you guys free stuff. I kind of love it. Mostly because I enjoy free stuff. And so does Dave, in fact while the Dave is a strong believer in the capitalism, he becomes quite the socialist when it comes to a good deal. Normal days, he’s all “FREE MARKET YARRR!” But then I’m like, “Hey this is free.” And then he’s all, “I NEED EVERYTHING TO BE FREE ALL THE TIME! Now, get free stuff while I read some Marx.” Don’t worry, the Dave is not allowed to enter this giveaway. Here is an image that accurately how I feel about giveaways.

Now, here are the details:

Uprinting is giving away one fabulous canvas print. You can get a picture of your baby (or Liam Neeson), printed out in 16″ x 20″, with a 2″ border (or no border). One business days turnaround time, and free US shipping. Please note: Canvas prints are awesome. Exhibit A:

What are you waiting for? Get your entries in!  The contest ends on February 22, 2012.

You should assume that the owner of this blog will receive compensation in exchange for the post. Any and all reviews posted are based solely on my own experience and may be atypical. Please practice due diligence in making any related purchase decisions.

[Read more...]

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