Sunday, March 19, 2017

Nothing to see here- just us Cheese balls

Nothing exotic or awe-inspiring going on here. I'm trying to find simple treasures in the ordinary. Humor in the every day adventures of mom-ming. Cue my last shopping adventure to our local Harmon's.
Seeing as it was a Saturday, I had the luxury of sleeping in; waking up to the bright sun outside and dressed for the warmer weekend in cute jean Capri's that I actually fit into again and my new converse sneakers. I looked freaking adorable, with the exception of my hair, which was having some serious issues. Nothing that couldn't be tamed by pushing sunglasses on top of my head in place of a headband.. like I said..freaking adorable. 
Caffeine. I needed caffeine. I stared at my coffee pot. It stared back and wasn't going to brew itself. *Sigh.* Will had gone back into work for a couple hours and I stared at the boys after staring at my silent coffee pot . I needed coffee, it was gorgeous out and we needed to kill some time. We were walking to the grocery store. 
With new tires on my jogging stroller that I, at this time only use for leisurely strolls, and random piles of crap on the bottom of it which included a 6 month bag of popcorn and some clothing items that I didn't have the energy to remove, we headed out. 
As we were crossing the highway a middle-schooler who was skateboarding in the opposite direction called out, NICE SHIRT!! I was wearing my Operation Underground Railroad tee. I smiled to myself. Clearly I was killing it today. 
We had a few extra items to pick up, all which would fit perfectly under the stroller. A few items ended up turning into a lot more, but still looked like it would fit. I eyeballed the checkout lanes....Ugh. I HATE self check out, but we were still under the required amount, and The Wyatt loves scanning. Because I'm such a great mom, I thought, sure. Let's go crazy and self scan today. After codes were typed in and the lady came over like 4 times to clear our screen because WE DIDN'T WANT A FREAKING BAG and Alex got his sticker, I shoved all our items under the stroller and we were finally ready to get my coffee. Sweet mother. 
With my order placed, we traipsed over to my iced coffee where a sweet, slightly older then high school looking girl sat smiling at me on a stool by my coffee. Excuse me, she said. Oh man. She  wants to tell me how cute I look today....oh the burdens I bear..... Seriously people. These are my narcissistic thoughts. Like, for real. Yes?? I ask with a confident, knowing smile. Well....I didn't want to embarrass you when you were standing in line....
Ugh. This conversation had taken an ugly turn. Did I have a poopy pull-up somewhere on my person?? Something was on me. CRAP. Something was definitely on me. Where was it. Shhhhhoooot. 
Yes?  I asked this again taken down a couple notches. 
Well, the lady at the self service counter didn't want to embarrass you but she thinks you forgot to scan a cheese ball.
I heard, embarrass you and cheese ball. Oh for the love of all things..I have a cheese ball in my hair??My hand flew to lightly touch my hair. We didn't eat cheese balls for breakfast. Crap. Did we eat cheese balls for breakfast?
Wait. That's not what she said. 
What? OH...um....I handed her my receipt.....the Cheez-Its...did I pay for those? 
No that's on there....she said she thought she saw a cheese ball. I'm so sorry. I'm sure it was just an accident...
Ok. I was finally tracking with what she was saying. Took me long enough. I stared longingly at my coffee which I had not yet picked up. ugh. Stupid non existent cheese ball. She didn't know that though...SO
I unloaded everything on the grocery store floor in front of her. Item by item.
She was mortified. I think it was that really old bag of popcorn...I really needed to throw that out..particularly if it's being mistaken for a cheeseball....I actually felt really bad for her, she kept apologizing....
But at the end of the day..everyone has a job to do. I told her this. Hers was to ensure I wasn't pilfering a cheese ball and mine was to respect her position and show my boys that their mother was gracious without coffee and could remain polite despite a silly mistake. 
At the end of the day we all left content, me with my coffee and ALL of us with a hankering for some cheese. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Career Day.....



I have been struggling with mom-dem lately. I don't know what my issue is. I don't know why I feel like any kind of self-worth is wrapped up in a paycheck. I don't know why I am struggling with working within the home as of late.  That is why I started to laugh...kinda, sorta,  not really... when Wyatt brought home a flier about career day. Hmmm. If I had balls enough to do it, I'd sign up and get started on my powerpoint...but I don't so I'll just lay out my presentation here. Thanks for listening.

Investmenta devoting, using, or giving of time, talent, emotional energy, etc., asfor a purpose or to achieve something ((dictionary.com)
Engineera person trained and skilled in the design, construction, and use of engines or machines, or in any of various branches of engineering : a mechanical engineer; a civil engineer. 2. a person who operates or is in charge of an engine. a skillful manager (dictionary.com)

Hi. My name is Alyson Cooper and I'm an Investment Engineer of a small outfit called Cooper Inc. This is a co-ownership that my husband and I have ventured into together, however my husband works two jobs, so I assume a large portion of the day to day responsibilities of the company when he is unavailable. Let me say however- without him, I would not reach even half of my potential within this business.
Currently Cooper Inc. is running with two employees, a perfect number in my opinion. While I have learned never to say never due to the fact that God laughs as soon as that word is uttered from my lips, I am confident in the assessment that I would be unable to handle additional employees and function at normal human capacity at this time. I.E....I would freak. So no, we are not seeking out further employees at the time if you are looking to change corporations.
My job responsibilities include a certain degree of the following: flexibility and empathy with a working knowledge of how to clean, cook, read, drive and maintain appropriate health and nutrition.Oh yeah...and financial management. That one is critical apparently.  One must be playful with a cheerful attitude, have the ability to lift anywhere from 20-50 pounds daily, possess a certain degree of physical and mental aptitude with problem solving-skills, have infinite patience and the ability to maintain enough organizational wherewithal  to manage multiple schedules and to do so in a punctual manner. This all must be done on approximately 4-6 hours of sleep.
Basically Mary Poppins on crack. 
Our two employees could not possibly  be any more different. The skill set you have to work with one, will not work for the other. Rewards that work for one, will not work for the other. One is a rule follower while the other is not. I have found that I have to be extremely creative, stick to a schedule that both are comfortable with, outline the day precisely with little digression and possess the ability to repeat tasks without losing my ever-loving mind.
Bribery is completely acceptable within my line of work.
Describe an average day of work.
One of the exciting things about Investment Engineering is that you NEVER know what you're going to wake up to! Crazy exciting right?! Each day is anything but normal. In fact, you almost crave normality in this job! Sleep is at a premium since we engineers are on the clock and can be summoned by our employees anytime during a 24 hr period. Our employees can be high risk, demanding, whiny, moody, wiley, forgetful, dirty and sometimes just gross. One currently is still defecating himself. I know what you're thinking. BUT on the flip side they can also be loving, caring, sensitive, warm, inviting and SO much fun. Investment Engineering is a high stress job, so when looking at the big picture, you have to soak up that side of the list that hugs your heart so that it acts as a salve when the other behaviors are playing out.
Ensuring that the Physical, Social, Emotional and Spiritual well-being of both my employees are met is paramount. While I am only human, it is imperative that I have a mental checklist going daily to see how our employees are faring and what I can do to be a loving source of encouragement. We HAVE to be our employees biggest fans. We HAVE to be in their corner and be fierce advocates for them if the situation arises. This is not to say that we let them do what they want, but we have to lovingly hold them accountable so that they can live their lives in a Godly, compassionate, courageous manner. As Investment Engineers, we are investing in our employees lives.. in their future.....in their spouses future if that is a path they choose to take.
NO PRESSURE. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?
If you choose to go into Investment Engineering, the investment is high, and the initial payout may sometimes feel low. Unless you're looking for hugs, kisses and boogers...in which case, that payout is HUGE. HOWEVER...payment accrues over the years and while it takes a signifigant amount of time to see the investment, it pays you back in spades. I am told this. I am still within the initial payout phase. I'd be happy to follow up with the class in approximately twenty to thirty years.
You may be thinking. Whoa. Um....I'm not ready for that kind of career. I get it. I said the same thing. I went to school for 20 years to do something entirely different. And one day I may take a second job and do that as well. That's the incredible thing about Investment Engineering. There are SO many different types of personalities and ways to run your companies. There is not ONE right way to do it. Successful Investment Engineers see the big picture and work toward small, daily, acheivable goals. Investment Engineers all look and act different. What works in one company may not fly in another. Owning your own company is hard...it's something you really should take a lot of time to discuss and go over before jumping into.
Help students to see the connection between academics and your career
UMMMMMM....As I just mentioned..I went to school for 20 years. I know. You do not need your Masters or a PHD to become an Investment Engineer. What IS helpful is to have common sense and a strong support network. You will find that while yes, it is helpful to have a basic knowledge of 4th grade math (I don't)...it may be better for the relationship of you and your employee if you just send them to a tutor...because some battles aren't worth your relationship.....but I digress.
I think what the school is looking for is for me to say education is important to and will help with this future career....so there you go.
I have attached requested visual aids below and have described each briefly.
I hope I didn't scare any of you away from this career path. Despite challenges you may face, I feel myself growing more as a person daily. The woman I was when I set out in the start up phase of this company is not who I am now- and that is a good great thing.
One day, should you advance onto this career path and you feel like you can't make it through the day...if your employees are loved, fed and alive, you have done an incredible job....Tomorrow is always a brand new day.
Thanks so much for listening and having me in today.


Visual Aids
Investment Engineers all look different


Fiction

Reality
A few job responsibilities of the Investment Engineer
            



Thursday, January 26, 2017

#stillreal

I've been on this keeping it real kick lately...just being sensitive to those around us...to other women...other mothers. Just my disclaimer before you decide to read any further. It may sound repetitive...it's just where I'm at right now.

Conversational encounters with other adults before 7 pm is generally rare for me, so typically I have unintentional diarrhea of the mouth when the opportunity arises. Just setting the scene....
I'm sitting in the library...as is our usual when Wyatt goes to Math tutoring, and I had just cracked open my book while Alex was potentially going to play. I say potentially, because he hadn't had a nap and we were teetering on the precipice of a meltdown. Another mom and her husband were there with their two toddlers who were about to put on a puppet show. Unfortunately, I had claimed the most comfortable seat which was directly in front of the "puppet theater" and I decided begrudgingly (though with a smile) to offer her my bench so she could see. She said we could share. Awesome..though I figured that meant I'd have to half-heartedly laugh at this kid's show.
We chatted a little and I came to find out she was looking for a Pre-K, so I told her where Alex goes and that he was going 2 days a week, but now it was 4.. blah blah blah...and it's a life saver for everyone. She looked at me with this immense relief, as if she had found a kindred spirit. I mean it wasn't like she was going to tear up but her immediate response was agreement at cherishing the quiet moments and how sick she was of hearing #blessed all the time. I looked at her and said um...well welcome to #real. From that point on we opened up and had a great conversation. Two strangers just having met in the library....united over keeping it real.
Don't get me wrong. I KNOW I'm #blessed. Yup. I do. BUT FOR THE LOVE. I feel like I can't put it out there enough. Please, be real with me. I'll be real with you. Some days it's all I can do to pull myself up and out of bed..that's what Jesus and coffee are for..because it's freaking hard. 
Our neighbor just had a baby and I went over there with a loaf of banana bread and a hat over my dirty hair, knocked on her door and said, It'll be OK. Some days really suck though. Will was like, really Aly? That was very neighborly of you. But it's the truth, and she looked at me the way new moms look and said some days are really hard....
YES. YEEEES. SOME DAYS ARE REALLY HARD.

Be there for those women. Be present. Be real. Talk to someone who looks lonely or tired or worn down by life. Love on them. Tell that mom (OR DAD!!) in the store with the screaming kid that the day is almost over, or that she can do it..that you've been there and are in her corner. It may be the only source of encouragement she gets that day.

This Week's keeping it real moments....
*Some days I don't shower. But I ALWAYS sniff myself to make sure I'm palatable enough to exit my house.
*I have a  plastic poop pile of diapers in my garage that desperately need to be walked a couple hundred feet to the dumpster. I thank God for the cold weather that has preserved them.
*When Alex naps in the afternoon it is like a sweet song to my soul.
*When for the 400th  time Alex asks for juice I start sipping half empty juice boxes around my house to ensure they haven't fermented and hand him those.
*I have floated eggs before in my fridge to make sure they're not spoiled. Totally a thing. Check it out.
*I have fish that ALSO needs to go in the dumpster, but it is currently in my fridge so it doesn't smell....cause if I trashed it, that would TOTALLY smell....I really need to go to the dumpster today....
*Dishes are my freaking nemesis. eh. who are we kidding. Cleaning is my nemesis.
*I had a fight with my found bag of Rolos today and totally lost.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Just Enough.

Word gifts from my friend Merriam-

Definition of enough
1:  in or to a degree or quantity that satisfies or that is sufficient or necessary for satisfaction :  sufficiently

Definition of sufficient


  1. a :  enough to meet the needs of a situation or a proposed end <sufficient provisions for a month>

    Definition of all

    :  nothing but :  only <all work and no play>:a :  completely taken up with, given to, or absorbed by <became all attention>b :  having or seeming to have (some physical feature) in conspicuous excess or prominence <all legs>c :  paying full attention with <all ears>
I stopped writing before Alex's adoption was finalized.  I just couldn't risk having my words twisted and potentially hold up the process. That is what I told myself. That and I just couldn't emotionally deal. I couldn't deal with the stress of the adoption and I couldn't deal with my move to Japan. So I stopped. I stopped writing...for like, two years. Two crazy wonderful, painful, excruciating, hard, amazing years where I didn't document ANYTHING that happened. I thought I would start writing again when we brought home our son. I thought, I can be an "adoption mom inspiration" and normalize what other adoptive moms may be feeling! Yeah...no. When Alex arrived home, I just couldn't. So much to say and yet nothing would come out.  
This one and a half year old little boy who we picked up from a Taiwanese orphanage and carried away in a taxi cab, screaming for his alma....the only mother figure that he had ever known- all I kept thinking was.,.. am I enough? Will I ever be enough? As the months progressed and the sleepless nights persisted; I felt depleted and quite frankly,  I didn't feel like I was doing life well. I thought that this little man that we had brought home was placed in the arms of the wrong mother. I felt my temper was too short, my patience... non existent. I felt that I was never going to sleep again.  I felt I needed to be more attentive, more interactive, more nurturing, MORE. MORE. MORE. I didn't feel like enough. 
Oh my friends,  the lies we tell ourselves.
The truth? I am enough but I will never be his ALL. That is the way it is supposed to be. I am human. I am a sinful creature and it's impossible. THANK GOD for that. It's too much pressure!!
At the end of the day, through my exhaustion I can sigh with relief knowing that I am not my son's be all end all...but I AM enough. It was by God's great design, that I was to be Alex's mother. What a sweet gift bestowed upon me. I pray that in the small moments of desperation that I never lose sight of the bigger picture.



Friday, January 6, 2017

Keeping it real


I am not mom-ing well today. Yelling, depressed, cold and angry. I don't know why. I'm just not my best self. Let's keep it real. When others tell you, well when you say you're not a good mom, it actually means the opposite is true. A good mom never thinks they're a good mom. I'm calling it. I think that's a load. Sometimes it's the truth. It's not that you're a bad mom- but you could possibly have been better. You know what? That may happen tomorrow. It may happen 20 minutes from now...God willing. I thank him daily for his Grace. What I have learned is, sometimes you just do the best you can in that moment. If you screwed up, apologize to your kid, give them a hug, say you suck and that you'll try harder. I can't tell you how many times I bowed my head today asking the Lord to help me not do bodily harm to my children. Take a minute. PRAY! BREATHE! Find your healthy coping skill and use it. AS OFTEN AS YOU NEED TO.
This year, let's be real with one another...with other women...with other moms. Few of us have our crap together and we shouldn't make others feel less than if their head is barely above water either. Throw them a life raft...FOR THE LOVE. Lord knows I'm not even close to a good swimmer and I need all the help I can get.
Keeping it real.....Sometimes I.....
*Vacuum my table with my upright vacuum. Yup.
*Stress eat snickerdoodles at 8:30am..... (I threw them in the garbage later that afternoon...They have been my New Year's demise)
*Tell my kid the meatball is a hot dog just so he'll freaking eat dinner. (Actually Will did this and it was a stroke of brilliance)
*Stare at the clock all afternoon and wonder when the appropriate time to start drinking my Cappuccino Oatmeal Stout Stoutwas...
*Talk to myself. Actually this does not occur sometimes...this occurs Always.
*Eat a low fat soup for lunch, then tell myself I ate low fat soup for lunch and eat the entire snack cabinet.
And this was just today. OK. I lie....my table is crazy dirty and I didn't clean, less vacuum it.....But you get the gist. And I feel better for telling you.
Mom On.

Healthy snack choice from yesterday...... (that's water btw!!!)



Thursday, January 5, 2017

Take a minute.Breathe.

I have exactly one hour and twenty minutes until I have to pick up Alex from Pre-K. I get a total of 2.5 hours total and each of those minutes is accounted for which includes leaving my house 7 minutes prior to drop off and pick up. Today, due to crappy weather I drove Wyatt and his posse to school which ate an additional 14 minutes off of my time. This did not account for the 6 minutes I struggled and swore at Alex's car seat that I was trying to put BACK in the car upon my arrival back home because three children needed to fit in the back seat. Yes, Wyatt and Alex having the same school time would be way to easy right? (Their start times are 40 minutes apart). Six minutes I yelled at that car seat. It finally relented and buckled into place. My watch beeped. I looked. Take a minute to breathe it said. Breathe. Deep breaths. In. Out. Repeat.
It's a good reminder as I always forget within the activities and stressors of the day. Stop. Take a minute. Breathe.
I wish it had other reminders like- Thank Jesus for that breath you just took. Put your phone down. Don't eat that entire bag of Rolos.  Be present. Hug your boys. Build a snow fort. Be content. Read your Bible. Call a friend. You are not alone. Look at the mountains. Relish your surroundings instead of drowning in your own spinning thoughts that are dragging you down. Kiss your husband. Seriously Aly, PUT THE ROLOS DOWN.
I could definitely stand to be hit over the head with these throughout the day..so with that being said perhaps I will. Perhaps I'll program them into the phone I'm supposed to look at less and just Breathe. As is true with everything....easier written then done.
I'll let you know how that goes.
Oh...and I now have 39 minutes...I'll use them wisely......



Tuesday, January 3, 2017

I'm Back.

I'm back.Talk about a loaded statement in two words.  Back to Blogging? Perhaps. Back to the U.S.A? Definitely. Back to reality. Back to suburbia. Back to budgets and responsibilities that I had eschewed for awhile. Back to family. Back to short plane rides. Back to grocery shopping in one place. Back to driving everywhere. Back to lots and lots of snow. Back to shoveling. Back to large stoves, large refrigerators and large backyards. Back to lots of large. Back to lots of great and eh. You can assume which is which in the above list.
Welcome back. Welcome home. You must be so happy to be back. Back to lots and lots of people uttering the same words. *Deep Sigh*
It is true. We are "back" in the United States. Back home? I guess if we are considering my country of origin my home, then yes. I'm home. Did I feel at home in Taiwan? Absolutely yes. Did I feel at home in Japan? A little less then Taiwan, but absolutely yes. Do I feel at home in my current state of Utah? Not so much, but I'm working on it....kind of. 
Living abroad has forever changed me. In talking to one of my friends, she so wisely said, I just feel bigger then the place I'm at.... I get that. It's not meant to sound haughty or arrogant. I am literally bursting at my seams with experiences and culture and some days walking through the aisles of target just doesn't feel like enough. 
But today? I went to Target...and while it wasn't a hidden back alleyway with secret treasures,hanging lanterns, or filled with ancient shrines..it was enough. That my friends, is progress.