Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Fiddler And A Sunset

(I take it all in.  The gilded and ornate details framing the stage, trailing across the lofty ceiling.  The substantial, red velvet curtain.  The glossy cover of the recently-printed program.  The musicians in the orchestra pit, plucking strings, taping bows, tuning instruments...)

I have always loved the theater, and last weekend I found myself in a packed house--breathless with anticipation for the rising of the curtain.  I was to see a production of the heart-rending, "Fiddler On The Roof;" a musical fete presented by the Utah Festival Opera Company.  I was familiar with the story, had always cherished the movie, and was thrilled to see a live performance of it.

  
"Fiddler" tells the story of Tevye--a Jewish milkman who talks aloud to God and misquotes "the good book" incessantly--and of his family of five daughters.  The story is told against a backdrop of impending political unrest; portraying a time in world history when Czar troops moved across Russia, evacuating Jews from their communities.

Halfway through the show, I watched as the stage lighting dimmed, creating an ethereal and reverent ambiance.  I identified the canopy immediately as cast members poured onstage like water.  Four of the men carried the white, lace cloth on long poles.  

The wedding scene.  Tevye's eldest daughter, Tzietel, weds the poor, humble tailor, Motel.  While the couple stands beneath the canopy--as is the Jewish custom--a hauntingly beautiful song titled, "Sunrise, Sunset," is sung:

Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
 I don't remember growing older
When did they?

When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn't it yesterday
When they were small?

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

While the ensemble sang, warm tears glided down my cheeks.  There was my mom--sitting at my right side.  She had always been "the mom"--the one to soothe the fevers and to mend the broken pieces, the balm to make everything all better.  And sometime, in the many sunrises and sunsets of my life, I had assumed that role.  

I placed my palm over my protruding belly button and felt the forceful thump, thump, thump of my unborn baby girl's kicks.  I would assume that role again with her birth, as a mother of three instead of two.  I grabbed my mom's hand and placed it on my swollen belly.

When had we grown older?


And such is the unavoidable cycle of our precious lives.  Our parents become grandparents.  We become parents.  Our own children grow up.  It seems to happen in a breath.  In the ticking seconds of the Grandfather clock.  In fleeting days.  In years that pass too quickly.  In sunrises and sunsets.

My Lilly will be seven-years-old.  She will start first grade the end of August.  She wants a Hello Kitty backpack and a new notebook.  She wants me to make her peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to take for school lunch.  All of it--the backpack, the first grade, the seven years that flew by--all of it makes my heart ache with sadness.

When had she grown older? 


The scene ended.  The audience erupted into robust applause, distilling my reverie.  I hastily wiped the tears from my face.  A renewed desire to embrace each sunrise and sunset inscribed on my heart.   

It was time for Intermission. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

GD Won't Beat Me

If you were "blessed" with a wicked sweet tooth--savoring warm, fudgey brownies, relishing in the marriage of caramel and chocolate in a Twix bar, embracing the beauty of a pint of delectable Ben and Jerry's--and then are told you have gestational diabetes, a number of things will happen:

(Getting tested.)
1.)  You'll cry and cry.  You'll realize you had just purchased a Kit Kat bar the day before your diagnosis.  You'll cry additional buckets of tears as you watch your kids share that Kit Kat bar.  You'll eat almonds and string cheese between sniffles.

2.)  You'll get mad.  You'll hoot and holler about being hungry.  Your husband will be afraid of you.

3.)  You'll get scared, worrying about your baby's health and whether or not she'll grow as large as a watermelon inside your uterus.  You'll quiver with thoughts of complications during delivery of "watermelon baby" because, OH MY GOSH, babies have to pass (usually) through vaginas!!!  You'll hyperventilate into a brown paper bag.  You'll worry about C-sections.

4.)  You'll get depressed,  resorting to unplugging your phone and your flat iron because, hey, why bother doing your hair?  The only public place worth doing your hair for (because doing your hair is exhausting) is the local donut shop.  And you can't go there!  You'll wear ratty, bleach-stained, worn-in-the-butt pajama bottoms and watch lots of Friends reruns.

5.)  And then, after you've grieved the loss of sugar and carbs, and have allowed yourself time to "process" and to "feel what you feel," you'll decide to make the most of the situation.  You'll pull up your bootstraps, snap out of it, and go to work.

You'll start with your not-so-pretty, self care diary--the booklet where you record your ketone test results and your blood sugar numbers.


You'll cover it with card stock paper and decorate it with washi tape.  You'll add bling--because bling makes everything better--and a sticker that reads, "this is life."  Because this IS life for you right now.  And though it may have it's challenges, and though hard days may lurk around the corner, it's still mighty beautiful.  Like your self care diary, you can make it beautiful.


Next, you'll tackle the "prettifying" of your One Touch Ultra Mini meter.  (Who you affectionately refer to as, "Lovely Rita, Meter Maid.")  If you have to finger prick and check your blood, you might as well make your supply pouch pretty.


In a "light bulb" moment, you'll realize that prettifying seems to be an effective form of therapy for you--uplifting your spirits and making you smile.  Things don't look so bad when...well...when things don't look so bad.  It's about making the most out of a situation by doing what makes you happy.



If you have a wicked sweet tooth, and then are told you have gestational diabetes, you'll probably feel like life handed you a wheelbarrow full of lemons.  An infamous, age-old adage would encourage you to make some lemonade.  I would say, No!  Don't do it!  (There's sugar in it, and Splenda leaves a weird aftertaste.)

Instead, I would say...

When life hands you lemons,
you BEDAZZLE the crap out of them!  
            

Monday, July 22, 2013

Chutes And Ladders; A Follow-Up

Do you remember my "Chutes and Ladders" post about my son, Camren?  Here's a snippet:


"Life is very much like a game of "Chutes and Ladders."  It is filled to the brim with the highest highs and the lowest lows.  It's natural and inevitable--that we'll face ups and downs.  It is universal.  We all have encountered those exhilarating ladders, and have joyously climbed skyward.  We've also wept when the slides have crossed our paths, sending us down, and down, and down.

How we choose to handle the ups and downs is entirely individual.  Me?  I choose to... Accept the slides.  Celebrate the ladders."



I have thought about the "Chutes and Ladders" post many, many times since I first hit "publish."  The response to what I had written was bigger than I expected, the outpouring of love and compassion (from friends and strangers alike) was overwhelming:

Leisha--"Love this!  I need the reminder to celebrate the ladders even when they bring us to another slide.  What a good reminder."

Sara--"Love the analogy.  We are going through our own speech evaluations for my son and find out on Monday if he qualifies through the board of Ed for services.  This has been one of the most stressful times, but I have found such great support through the blogging community."

Emilie--"You can do this!  You can do hard things!"

Jewels-- "I love this analogy.  My son was diagnosed with high-functining Autism at 4 (he's now 12).  Though the slides are breath-taking and frightening, there are definitely more ladders on the way!"


I could not have known how this blog would affect my life when it was created several years ago.  One stark and glorious truth confronts me on a daily basis:  Blogging has brought many beautiful people into my life.  I cherish each of them--each of you--and the experiences I have had.  I have read every one of your comments and emails.  (Laughing and crying over some!)  I have enjoyed all of them.  I have spoken endlessly about you to my husband and my mom, and have prayed about you before bedtime.

I am grateful for you.  I feel extremely blessed by you.

The love and outreach from my post about Camren, and the message that was imprinted on my heart, eventually led me to the talented and gorgeous women behind The R House Couture.  I asked them to create something special for me; something I could wear that would always remind me to "Celebrate Ladders."  Here is what they made for me:


Isn't it fantastic?!  (Looks like a ladder!)  I love it!  It makes my heart happy when I see it or wear it.  It serves as a poignant reminder to me of the importance of seeking and recognizing joy in my life.  It symbolizes higher ground, jubilant moments, and courage to do hard things.  It's about celebrating the good.  The successes.  The blessings.


If you would like to purchase your own "Celebrate Ladders" necklace, you can do so here.  The women at The R House Couture have been exceptionally supportive of me, and have graciously extended a discount to Mama Leisha readers.  Receive 10% off the "Celebrate Ladders" necklace with the coupon code:  CELEBRATELADDERS  (Thank you, Kim, Leisha, and Lindsey!)

Won't you celebrate ladders with me?  Join the "Celebrate Ladders" movement?  Encourage others to see the good too?

I'd sincerely love to hear from you.  Please share YOUR ladders with me.  Take a picture of a milestone you or a loved one has achieved and tag it on Instagram with #celebrateladders.  Tweet about it!  Document the goodness around you.  Holler for the successes you obtain in the midst of tribulation!  Give acknowledgement to your blessings.  Send me your pictures and I'll use them in a follow-up blog post.  Email me!  Tell me your stories.  Share your experiences with me.  I'll use those in a blog post too!  Let me be there for you, as you have been for me.   

We are a community.   We are strong women, warrior mothers, courageous daughters, loyal friends.  We can do hard things.  We can do amazing things.  Our potential for greatness is astounding.  We need to look out for each other, take care of each other, love each other.  And mostly, we need to celebrate together.


So let's do it!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Fly On The Wall

(If you happened to be a fly on my wall,
I wonder what you would discover.
A crazy, hormonal pregnant lady,
and her odd conversations with her lover.)


Me:  Ugh, I'm sweating!
James:  What?  You hardly have any clothes on!
Me:  I...am...SWEATING!

Target.  Two crazy kids, one "floating" pregnant belly.

James:  Why are you yelling at me?!  I haven't done anything!
Me:  I'm not yelling at you because I'm mad at you, I'm yelling at you because I'm starving!



Me:  Hooray!  Hooray!
James:  What is it?
Me:  I pooped!
James:  I'm leaving.


Me:  I need your help.
James:  With what?
Me:  I need you to help me pull my pants up.
James:  Seriously?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Banner Project and 25 Shmacks!

I am pregnant.  And seriously friends, something weird happens to me when I am pregnant!  I put my keys in the fridge.  I open a jar of peanut butter and then promptly throw it in the garbage can.  I misplace everything.  I have the foggiest brain!

Recently, while filling out some paperwork that required my first and last name, I put down MY MAIDEN NAME in the "last name" spot!  Shocking, especially when you consider I took my husband's last name ten years ago when I married him!  (See?  Foggy, pregnant brain!)  Today I am guest posting for The Wood Connection, and the adorable project I chose was perfect for me.  It will help me remember my last name!  (HA!)  You can check it out here:  http://www.thewoodconnectionblog.com/family-banner/


 

A big, "foggy-brained" THANK YOU to the Wood Connection for allowing me the opportunity to guest post!  They have generously donated a $25 gift certificate to be given to one lucky "Mama Leisha" reader.  Entering the giveaway is easy:

1.)  Simply like "She Calls Me Mama Leisha" on either Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.  (You can click the circles on the sidebar!)  Your choice!  How fun!  Just be sure to leave a comment stating how you are following.  Include your email address.
BONUS ENTRY:  Earn an additional entry by following "the Mama" on Bloglovin'!

The drawing will close Saturday, July 20th at noon MST.  The winner will be announced on Facebook and notified via email.  There is one caveat:  The Wood Connection is located in Murray, UT.  They ship only select products.  The drawing would most benefit Utah residents, people who visit Utah often, or readers willing to travel to Utah to claim their prize!  (Thanks for understanding, and if you're willing to travel I'll take you out for a cheeseburger!)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mama Leisha's LTYM Video

"The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers, and cities; but to know someone 
who thinks and feels with us, and who is close to us in spirit, 
this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden."  
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


You have a story.  

Write it down.  Share it.  Shout it to the world.  Open up and celebrate it.  Relate it.  Find the lesson.  See the hope.  Remember the pain.  Recognize the joy.  Don't be afraid.  Be brave.  Your story matters.  

Your story is beautiful.  
Your story is you.
 


**LTYM 2013 VIDEO LAUNCH thanks to national video sponsor The Partnership at Drugfree.org.  We’re proud to promote their message of preventing prescription drug misuse and abuse!  Join the growing number of parents pledging to end this epidemic:  http://www.drugfree.org/medicineabuse


**First post about Listen To Your Mother, in case you missed it!  http://www.callmemamaleisha.com/2013/04/listen-to-your-mother.html

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sexy? Nope.

Have you heard India Arie's new song, "Cocoa Butter?"


Wooo-weee, that groove is smooth!  Sultry vocals.  Hip swaying beat.  Catchy tune.  Sexy lyrics.  I immediately liked it when I first heard it, and have been repeatedly playing it ever since!

Something funny happens when I tap play and crank up the volume.  Like the other day...

I closed my eyes (as I listened and danced), took a deep breath, and found myself transformed by the record.  Suddenly, I was soulful and sophisticated.  I was fetching and flawless.  I was the voluptuous woman in the slinky gown with the gorgeous body.  I was the woman on the Venus Embrace commercial with the legs worth coveting.  I was at a cocktail party.  I was on a yacht.  I was smokin'.  Confident.  Camera ready.  Rockin' Louboutin heels and fire engine red lips.  I.  Was.  Sexy.


My reverie vanished like a puff of smoke when I felt gentle tugging on my pajama pant leg.  I opened my eyes and was "whooshed" back to my kitchen.  My reality.  I found the muffins were burning.  The sink was full of dirty dishes.  I looked down and there was Camren--trying to get my attention, trying to tell me something.  I stopped swaying and asked, "What is it, Cam?"

"Mommy," he said, adamantly pointing at my belly, "It's big."

(Because that is what he's been doing lately... pointing at my pregnant belly several times a day, vocally reminding me of it's growing size.)

"You are right, Cam," I replied, wearily, but with a smile.  He grinned and ran off to play with his Matchbox cars.  I am not sexy, I am tired, I thought.  I am pregnant.  My legs are not "Venus Embrace" legs, they are swollen.  I am an obscure mother in a small, cluttered home.  

And it is okay.  Maybe more than okay. 

I sighed--ready for a nap--and thought about how I could use some actual cocoa butter for my stretched-out, itchy belly.  I turned back to my burning muffins and my messy kitchen.

But not before hitting "repeat."                   

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Cool Coconut Cake!

This is my friend, Amanda!  (She is the one on the right.)


You may remember her from this post...the one I wrote about being locked out of the house in my pajamas, with the kids in tow.  Like a true friend, she offered me a diet soda and a candy bar as a way to cope through the whole annoying and inconvenient ordeal!  Not only is Amanda a hoot--always making me laugh and letting me call her "Boobs," (long story)--she is also a very good and giving friend.  I know this because she gave me her coconut cake recipe.

Oh me oh my, it is to die for!  It is like tropical sunsets and ridiculously good-looking cabana boys.  It is like Hawaiian beaches and cool, turquoise-tinted oceans.  It is that good!  And perfect for a summertime treat.  I'm grateful Amanda is letting me share it here:

Cool Coconut Cake  (Because I don't know what in the heck to call it!)

You'll need:
--yellow cake mix
--Cool Whip, 8oz.
--small bag of coconut
--small can of sweetened condensed milk
--Cream of Coconut, 15 oz.


1.)  Prepare the yellow cake as directed.
2.)  Remove cake from oven and let it cool a few minutes.  Then, using a toothpick, get busy poking a bazillion holes in it!


3.)  In a bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk and the cream of coconut.  (Important note:  MUST be cream of coconut, NOT coconut milk.  Also, cream of coconut will took totally weird and chunky out of the can.  Stir it and whip it with a whisk until smooth.)

4.)  Pour the mixture over the entire cake.  Like a sponge, the cake with suck it right up!

5.)  Promptly put the cake in the refrigerator and let it chill, chill, chill.  The more chilled it is the better.  (I'm talking about a couple of hours here, people!)


6.)  Just before you are ready to serve your cake, combine the Cool Whip and the coconut.  You will NOT need a whole bag of coconut.  That is too much!  (Unless you are cuckoo for coconut!)  I'm not sure how much I put into the Cool Whip.  I eyeball it.  Maybe about a cup.

7.)  Spread the coconut/Cool Whip mixture all over the cake, like frosting!

8.)  EAT AND ENJOY!!!!!

 
 A few final instructions:  Always keep your cake in the refrigerator.  Always serve your cake cold.  Always share with your loved ones.  (And me!)

When you fall madly in love with the simplicity and deliciousness of this recipe, don't thank me...

THANK AMANDA!