Friday, June 29, 2012

When I Would Actually Prefer To Watch The News

Children’s shows drive me banana sandwiches. Every time we watch one I can feel my soul slowly slipping away, desperately trying to save itself from the hell I have subjected it to. I do my best to direct Noah in picking the least horrible shows but really that’s like trying to pick out the least offensive public bathroom stall. At the beach.  In July. There is no winning that battle and no matter what you are left with a nagging urge to take a scalding shower to wash away the stank. Yes, that is what children’s television shows feel like to me.

There just are no good options in our home. Noah has horrible taste in shows. I love the kid but he really needs to work on that. We watch the same things every time we have our TV time.

Headache 1: Pingu
 I don’t even- I can’t even explain this one. Umm it’s about a penguin named Pingu. He lives with his penguin parents. In a penguin house. Yet he is unlike all the other penguins I have ever encountered in my life. He speaks this weird language which is a blend of French and speaking in tongues. He dances a lot and while dancing he does all kinds of weird contortionist moves that make me uncomfortable. Now you may be reading this and thinking to yourself, “Where did they find such a gem?” Well I will let you in on our joy; this little piece of viewing pleasure is available on Netflix. There is a whopping total of three 45 minute Pingu adventures. I can’t even tell you how many times I have seen each one. Let’s just say that if there were coherent words spoken by anyone in Pingu-land, I would probably recite them in my sleep.

Headache #2: Barney

Oh the flashbacks this obsession has ignited. I used to love Barney. I wanted to be one of those dorky kids in the non-brand specific solid colored clothing going on adventures with Barney. It never seemed weird to me that Barney would take these kids places without notifying any parents or teachers. My parents raised me to not speak to or go anywhere with strangers but if that big old purple bastard came up to me and told me we were going to the farm when I was a child, I would not hesitate. He wouldn’t even had to have bribed me with candy or ask me to help him find his lost puppy. That dinosaur has some sort of weird hold over kids that I never really saw until the first time Noah found an episode on Netflix. He is all into singing and dancing along to every song that comes on. He actually has learned quite a bit from this particular headache and he has so much fun watching it that I put up with it. However I will draw the line if he ever wants to dress like the kids on the show. No overalls or calf length socks on my son, thank you very much.

It could be worse. I could have kids old enough to want to watch Hannah Montana. The thought itself gives me heart burn. I’m doing my darndest to instill a love of reading into my kids so that one day we can all lounge together as a family and read our books together. Stopping every once in a while to share a line that was touching or funny and bonding over how blissfully nerdy we all are. Such a lovely thought shattered by my three-year-olds manic yelling as he shakes his butt in the air and calls to me ever so lovingly, “Hey Mama! Look at my butt!”

A girl can dream though.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Mom That I Am

I secretly hope that the words movies (moobies), cereal (cerolls) and love (yove) are never pronounced correctly.

I crawl into a toddler sized bed that leaves my back and neck aching for nighttime cuddles while reading Goodnight Moon and breathing in his just bathed smell.

I make up ridiculous songs and sing them painfully out of tune just to see her little round face light up with a smile that melts my heart.

I sometimes need to choke back tears when I hear him say “That’s pretty cool, huh Mama?” because hearing my baby excitedly say those words to me is a constant stinging reminder that my baby isn’t a baby anymore.

I forget all about my messy hair, under eye circles and extra pudge when he smiles up at me and says “So pretty Mama”.

I put all the criticism out of my mind when she cries and I pick her up and cuddle just because she wants too because I know soon enough, she won’t sit still long enough for hugs and kisses.

Even at my weakest and most exhausted, I am never at a loss for words when defending my children.

In my heart, my babies will never be too heavy or burdensome to carry.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Noah Says

Noah (in an adorably excited sing-song voice): It's almost my birthday!!

Me: It is almost your birthday baby! What do you want for your birthday?

Noah: Presents!!

Me: Good choice. What about cake? Do you want a big Avengers birthday cake?

Noah: No Mama! I want presents!

Me: Baby, you get both for your birthday.

Noah: Yeah! Nummy cake presents!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Meet The Kids

My Noah David. My first born. He started me on my life’s greatest and hardest adventure : motherhood. This boy has the biggest personality and a heart to match. He’s a few months away from turning three and he amazes me on a daily basis with the things he says and does. He may look just like his daddy but he is his mama’s son. And I kinda love that.

This little bundle of lovely is my Aria Joyce. She’s named after my grandma and in this picture is the total embodiment of her. She is my sweetheart and my dream come true. This girl has the most beautiful soul. Always smiling. Always laughing. Always watching everyone and everything with those big old eyes that I love.

Life Lessons For My Babies

"There is nothing wrong with loving the crap out of everything. Negative people find their walls. So never apologize for your enthusiasm. Never. Ever. Never."

I Was a Very Strange Child


Most nineties kids were into Britney, NSync and the Backstreet Boys. It was the height of the pop sensation and boy bands ruled over all my friends’ ear buds. But I would go home afterschool and put in my Celine Dion tape and have a solo sing along. It’s as weird and sad as it sounds and I’m not going to try and make it sound better. I loved that nutty Canadian.

Believe it or not weird obsession had nothing to do with the Titanic craze. In fact I hated the movie. My best friend at the time tried to make me watch it all the time. Considering the fact that I had to go to his house before and after school every day, I saw that movie a lot. It didn’t grow on me either. Really it just pissed me off. In my humble eight-year-old opinion Rose was a greedy whore that could have easily slid her rich ass over a few inches to make room for the “love of her life”. But noooo, she let him drown and then cried about it like she didn’t play a part in it. Then she throws that giant rock into the ocean at the end which kills me. Every time I saw her do that I just thought about how much her kids could have sold that for.  Like I said, didn’t like the movie.

So where then did this intense devotion come from?  If it was a particular moment I do not recall it. All I know is that I listened to that tape every day until my tape player refused to open one day and I was separated from my life’s soundtrack. A sad day in the Heller household indeed.

But now thanks to the glory of Youtube I can once again indulge myself in some good old Dion balladry. Ahh, nostalgia.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Aria Joyce: Month 5

....Then Comes Marriage?

Me and my guy in 2008

Marriage isn’t exactly an eyebrow raiser. Most people are raised with the belief that marriage is a rite of passage. What makes my marriage seem crazy to so many people is the age at which I said I do. A typical eighteen-year-old spends the summer after graduating high school packing for college and going to party after party. I spent mine planning a wedding and moving into a condo with my fiancĂ©. Marriage is a social norm but there is a universally acceptable chain of events that must precede a wedding- college, a career, and a few years of dating around are all things that people believe that I should have done before becoming a wife. As touching as the unsolicited concern and comments of others is, it’s getting old hearing the same reactions time and again.

Typically when someone finds out that I’m married and that my husband and I have a son, they become visibly smug. Clearly it’s very hard for people to wrap their heads around the fact that I would choose to get married at such a young age. So when they find out that we have a child, they feel justified in their belief that there was a reason (besides the whole being in love thing) that led us to get married. In their eyes we become a typical young couple who messed up, got pregnant and decided marriage was the solution. The problem with that theory is that we had our son after we chose to get married. We had our son, Noah, a year after our wedding. Did it all happen a little fast? Yes. Was our child the reason we said “I do” or the reason we are still together? No. My husband and I dated for three years - longer than most couples – and were engaged for another year on top of that. I think it’s safe to say that after all that time we just liked being together.

Another usual reaction I get is the one that comes from my age group. It’s the question of “Should- I- have- dated- around -like –crazy- and had- some- fun- before- I- tied -the knot?” This is a fun reaction to deal with because frankly when discussing this with someone my age, what we’re really discussing is whether or not I should have whored it up for a while when I was still young. You know, because that’s what youth is for. Anyways, I’m still young and I do have fun. I happen to be married to my best friend and we have a blast together. And the best part of it is that I didn’t have to spend years of my life looking for him in all the wrong people.

The last reaction that I get is really just ignorance. It’s the thought that because I’m married and have a family, my life is over. I should have kissed all of my goals and dreams goodbye on my wedding day, tied on a pretty pink apron and put my baby making face on while climbing into a little domestic hole. That’s fine for some women because there is no shame in being a housewife and a mom, but I’ve had big plans for myself since a was a little girl and I read that marriage certificate and nowhere on it did it say I was signing over those dreams.  I just get to do them with an amazing support system by my side. My husband knew me and what I hoped for my future as soon as we started to get to know each other. That’s the beauty of real love, not only do you accept the other person’s dreams, but you take them as your own. You gain a whole new set of goals that become just as close to your heart as your own. And those sets of goals and dreams come together to build up a future even better than the one you imagined years before.

Marriage is a choice made by two people who for one reason or another, want to join their lives and futures together. The age that that decision is made is a personal one and it’s unfair to judge a relationship and a family by the age at which it was founded. Getting married at a young age was not a choice that I took lightly. It’s not always easy and we’ll have many obstacles in our future together but I reaffirm the choice I made that autumn day three years ago every single day by choosing to work through any problems and by nurturing the love we have. That’s the key to a successful marriage, I just happen to be an early learner.

Confessions of a Bookworm

My childhood was much like being drunk. I don’t remember much of it and everyone else has to tell me what happened and remind me of what I did. This has been my coping mechanism in dealing with what was not the ideal childhood experience. So much of it was full of fear and stress that at some point I just blocked it out. What I do remember though is discovering my lifelong passion and love: reading. Reading saved me (Clearly it also gave me a flair for the dramatic as well). The first book that I ever read- the one that changed my life- was A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It opened my six-year-old mind up to endless magical possibilities.

I was given my first copy of A Little Princess by my parents for my birthday. I was only six but reading was something that came naturally to me. I was always three or four grade levels above my own in the subject and my teacher, Mrs. Gonzalez, suggested to my parents that they encourage this skill in me. So after I blew out the candles on my birthday cake at the dinner table that night, my mom handed me a small white box with a frilly pink bow on it. I opened it delicately taking my time until my brother ripped the top off while saying something annoying about me being slow or an idiot or maybe a combination of the two. Anyways, it was something less than charming and when I was done giving him the stink eye, I turned back to my gift. There it was: my first book! It belonged to me and only me and it was about a princess with brown hair who wore her hair in curls just like me! I was sure this book was written specifically for me and when I opened it I saw my name with a message underneath. It read: “We love you and are so proud of you. You will always be our little Princess. Love, Mommy and Daddy”. This made it all the more special and I couldn’t wait to go hide in my room and read it.

It was finished the next day. Then I read it again. It was incredible! Nothing else existed when I was reading. It’s like I was transported straight to India where Sara Crewe was raised. I felt homesick with her when she got to England. And I cried like a baby when her Daddy died. It was horrible and amazing all at once. I’m sure I must have been obnoxiously rehashing every detail to everyone in my family for days. It was all I could think about. I felt like I had just made a friend for life. Sara was so much like me. She was quiet, polite, she never said anything hurtful to anyone, she had a doll that had outfits that matched her own and she was considered weird because she loved telling vivid stories that she could come up with on the spot. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone or like a freak. I was also given hope that I too could make friends and that no matter how bad it could get in our home, happily ever after could and would come for me as well.

After I had read the book so many times that I could recite it by memory, my mom told me about the library. Apparently I could go to the library and borrow as many books as I wanted using only a card with my name on it. Life changing to say the least. I went through book after book absorbing as much as I could. I read many books similar to A Little Princess and I even read books on India, England and boarding schools just so that I could understand that original story even better. Eventually I even came to the realization that there were people who wrote these books that I loved so much. It was somebody’s job to make up stories that other people will want to read over and over again. My young mind was blown by the possibilities that life now held for me. I knew right then that I wanted to be a writer.

One book changed my life forever. It showed me that there were other people in the world than the ones that existed in my sheltered life. It showed me that there were places to travel, adventures to be had and memories to be made. I realized that all I needed to do when I needed an escape was to open up a new book. I found out that I could make a living and a life out of my love for reading and writing. I learned to believe that a happy ending was a possibility for anyone who wanted it and who deserved it-even me. One book started a chain reaction in my young life that is still unfolding for me. I’m as much of a bookworm today as I was on my sixth birthday. I still have that first copy of A Little Princess, only now it’s in good company with the nearly hundreds of other books I cherish on my very own bookshelf that lines my bedroom wall.


Hi, I’m new here.  This is my first go at blogging and I’m very nervous. Writing is something that is sacred to me and that I hope will play a big part in my life. If dreams do come true, one day I will support my family with my writing. I’ve been told a few times now that if that is something that I am serious about then I should start a blog.

First thing that I’m nervous about: That no one will care about what I have to say. But then again who cares if no one cares? I’ll write for me and if I’m very lucky, something that I have to say will resonate with someone somewhere.

Next thing that I’m nervous about: That this blog is going to be a mess because I am not in the least bit computer savvy. Slowly I will be cleaning everything up and making things pretty. But for now I just hope that my thoughts are enough.

I have big hopes for this blog and for my future. Feel free to join me in my journey.

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

Books like this are my crack. Or maybe, being a bit less extreme, my literary equivalent to chocolate; I can never read too many of them and am liable to gorge myself whenever I get my hands on one. A few months back, my family and I took a road trip to visit my brother and his family. California to South Dakota translates to about a 19 hour drive. One way. Being the book whore that I am, I had a bag in the car with us containing only books. Typically reading in the car gives me an insane case of motion sickness but I knew I was bound to get bored at some point. And by some point, I mean Wyoming.

On the way there I started the book Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It was actually pretty fantastic and kept me entertained for a good amount of the trip. But I would put it down often to nap or take pictures and I didn’t actually finish until two weeks later right before we were about to make the trip home. The day before we left, my brother (being the splendid guy he is) bought me a new book for the drive. I chose The Fault In Our Stars by John Green and long story short: Best book I have ever read. Motion sickness be damned, I finished it by the time we reached Arizona. And by that time I was mess. John Green broke my heart into tiny little pieces. If I were Superman this little book would be my Kryptonite.

 The Fault In Our Stars introduces Green's first female protagonist, Hazel Grace Lancaster, who was diagnosed with a Stage IV thyroid cancer at the age of 12. By a medical miracle, she is now 16, but remains terminal knowing that one day, the cancer will come back to claim her. During a cancer support group meeting, she meets the enigmatic Augustus Waters, a cancer survivor who is instantly drawn to her. Cautious but also curious, she starts spending time with Augustus, inadvertently changing her life as she knows it.

Conventional stories of cancer victims focus on their inspiring hope, faith, and strength. Forget that. At the end of the day, most of us would not be radiating sunshine if we were afflicted by the big “C”. Anyone who has seen a loved one go through the pains of cancer or any other terminal illness can attest to the horrible impact that it has on patients. John Green recognizes this and allows his characters to express the truth about mortality. His honesty in how patients feel on the day-to-day basis and the roller-coaster of emotions they go through is authentic and leaves the reader with the very essence of what it is like to deal with the horrors of cancer.

This was the first time that I have had the pleasure of reading John Greens work and I am in love with his writing. He creates the most amazing, multi-dimensional characters that shatter the boundaries of a simple paper page. He is this incredibly intelligent man who writes incredibly intelligent things that makes you really think and wonder. And he has the ability to break hearts and mend them back together, in the most crooked way possible. As an aspiring writer, there were countless times that I read a line and just thought, "Damn. I wish I had written that." There were lines that made me laugh out loud. There were lines that I had to highlight and reread. There were lines that I read out loud to my husband just so that he could be affected in the way that I was. There were lines that captured the feelings that I have but that I could never put into words. "My thoughts are like stars that I cannot fathom into constellations." Dear God, how did this man get in my head?

You should know that this book will make you cry. A lot. This book made my heart ache and my eyes burn with tears. There was just so much emotion in the pages of this book that it was so hard not to feel them. But it is so very worth it. It's a beautifully honest story about death but more importantly about life and it will stay with you long after you read it.

Find Your Joy

A few weeks ago, I got myself stuck in a horrible self-loathing rut. I was on Facebook and saw friends talking about moving into new houses, buying new cars, going to amazing concerts, traveling around the world, running marathons and going on shopping sprees. Then I went onto Pinterest and looked through board after board of people who were more creative than me, prettier than me, in better shape than me, and who clearly led more fabulous lives than me.
What started as a less-than-confident day spiraled out of control into a sob fest that not even a Nicholas Sparks marathon could replicate all with just a few clicks of the mouse. I was a mess and it was pathetic.
Thankfully, I snapped out of it pretty quick because A. I am an ugly crier and B. I was completely ignoring the fact that I have a fantastic life! I’m surrounded by loving family and friends that are always there for me (even when I’m being a whiny drama queen), I have a roof over my head, food in the fridge, hot running water, a pile of books next to my bed… Yeah, life is pretty sweet. But I completely ignored all that when I saw some cool pictures online.
Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings and we are all guilty of it sometimes. Social media is not helping us out either. In fact, it makes it easier to feel horrible about ourselves and our lives. It was then that I decided that I needed some serious digital detox.
I deleted the Facebook app off of my phone so I wouldn’t find myself mindlessly scrolling through a news feed full of people sunbathing at the beach or checking into my favorite restaurant for dinner and drinks. I made a pact with myself that the extra time in my day I had been using to live vicariously through others would now be used to make my own life one worth envying. Because let’s get real for a minute — if you are miserable, you are choosing to be miserable. If you feel like you are watching everyone else live out the life of your dreams, it is because you are choosing to sit on the sidelines and watch.
Make a change quickly! Step away from the computer and call a friend. Go out and have an adventure. Make some memories, laugh until your stomach hurts, go on a road trip, take a fantastically weird fitness class like hot hula, go on a bike ride, blast music and have a dance party, get dressed up for no reason, and step out of your comfort zone and make some new friends. Don’t let comparison steal your joy.
This is your life. Live it. Own it. Do things that will make you smile when you think back on them. I took my own advice (for once in my life) and I love the change. It’s hard to feel jealous of people when you embrace your own awesomeness. Once you realize that you are in charge of the kind of life you live, the possibilities are endless.