Sunday, December 23, 2012

Best. Christmas. Ever.

When I was 3 or 4 years old there was one present that I wanted to see under the tree more than any other. My need for this magical item was pretty intense starting when I would watch the commercials that popped up during the beginning of the season and the intensity would grow each time I witnessed the magic....


I remember I would drag my mom to the living room every time the commercial played.
Sometimes I would just shout
and my mom would say, "That's nice, sweetie."
Because I pretty much wanted everything I saw on the TV.
Christmas would come, and I would be overwhelmed with many presents.
Hula hoops, dolls, board games, more dolls, clothes, movies, bikes, books, hell I even got my own TV when I was 7.
While I was busy opening tea sets and dressing to the nines in my new bridal wear, I would forget that one present that I really wanted, was missing.
There were LOTS of things missing, because I asked for everything.
But I truly appreciated everything that Santa and my parents got me, so I would forget about it.
At the end of the following year, those commercials would start up again, and again, I would beg my mom for a Chia pet.

And again, I would be blessed with an insane amount of presents, and soon forget it.
Except every year my need for a Chia Pet, grew stronger.

I have asked for one, every.single.year.
Why didn't I just buy one?
I don't know.
Maybe because I dropped enough hints every year that I figured someone would surely know to get me it. And by hints I mean, yelling at telling anyone who might be wondering what I want for Christmas, that I want a Chia Pet.

A few years ago (and by a few, I mean 3, so I was 25) my mom got me a Chia Pet.
I was excited beyond words.
I hugged the box....I thanked my mom over and over...I ripped off the plastic and opened the box.
I dutifully followed the directions.
I spread those goddamn seeds with such precision and love.
You have no idea the psychotic thrill I got from it.
"yes...spread the like it....mwahahaha"
The kids looked at me like I was a maniac, especially so when my ogre voice turned on full volume, when they asked if they could help.
"NO IT'S MINE!"...."I mean, yeah, just in this one centimeter wide spot...okay okay, that's enough for you...this is an adult job"
Per Chia instructions, I placed my Cat (of course it was a cat) into a grocery bag, tied the bag in a knot, and placed it verrrry carefully in the sun, outside.
I may have glared at the children and mumbled something about never making anyone pancakes ever again, if they knock it over and break it.
I can't remember because what happened after is a blur.
I noticed when I pulled up in my driveway the following day, that the bag was gone.
I searched, I yelled at the kids "WHERE IS IT!?" and I looked everywhere.
Then I remembered that the gardeners had been there that day.

They must have thought it was trash.
Or there was a criminal on the streets who wanted to ruin my fucking life.
I thought about putting up "Lost Chia Pet" posters for a split second. But the kids were all looking at me funny while I sat on the floor where my Chia Cat was supposed to be basking in the sun, hugging my arms around myself as if I had already been committed.
When I am upset, no matter if some real tragedy has occurred, or if it's just a minor incident of my childhood dreams being shattered, I cry.
With snot.
And the whole hiccuping so hard I might throw up, thing.
I am also the ugliest crier you have ever seen.
The kids reactions changed from "Crap, mom is upset" to "Oh my, I think her face is melting off, is she going to be able to see with no face? Are we ever going to have pancakes, ever again?!"

Sprite put her arm around my shoulder. She let me wipe my face on her shirt, as I sat in the driveway. She told me she was really sorry. Han said he would ninja kick the robber and get it back.

It was gone.

Every year since, I have still asked for a Chia pet, but with less enthusiasm.

Until I saw this one.

A GNOME CHIA PET?! Holy crap, this is the greatest thing ever. BEARD. BEARD. BEARD.

I posted this gnomie goodness on Instagram.  And I posted it on It's Cool To Be OCD
when he asked on his page what was a present you have always wanted?

This is the part of the story where I just cut to the fucking chase.

It's Cool To Be OCD and Patti from Insane In The Mom Brain
(who are both my really real life friends, although we have never met in person, I assure you that if they called and said their house burned down and they needed beer money, I would personally deliver a keg of whatever they wanted, and I would wipe the soot from their faces and tell them that they are not ugly criers and I would still tap that)



       HOLY SHIT


                                     SQUEEE...LOOK AT HIM...isn't he amazing!?

I have already told him all my secrets and introduced him to my robot collection.
I love him so so so much.
We are the happiest couple ever, and you might find me on that show where the one guy was making out with his car. Things might get a little weird when his beard comes in, but I think I can handle the winds of change. I am considering hiring his own personal security for when we have to be a part, and the kids might be mad that we can't afford pancakes any more, but that is a small price to pay for Homie the Gnomie's comfort and happiness.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Stocking for Donna

It is highly likely that my five children will be with me on Christmas morning. I imagine they will wake up a full hour before their normal wake up time, and they will be energized, excited, and exude happiness. Christmas is the one morning during the year where I do not have to beg, plead, and bargain for them to PLEASE get up. It happens every year. I usually stay awake after Santa leaves his gifts, and I make sure the stockings are filled and everything is displayed in a nice arrangement. It's silly, but I always make sure everything looks "even stevens" so no child feels less special than the other, not that I really think that they would assume that. But it matters for some reason, in my exhausted mind, on Christmas morning. Everything is arranged into a little area for each of them under the tree, and their stocking, personalized with their name, is filled with little toys, stickers, candy, etc. and set just at the right angle in front of their area. I assure you this year will be the same as the years before. The kids will come running from their room, searching for their stocking. The children who know the truth about Santa will play along for the younger ones. But they will look at me as they open their gifts, and hold my gaze, as if to say a silent thank you. It is very easy for me to feel so grateful, so thankful, and so damn lucky, on Christmas morning.

Other parents, especially on Christmas morning, don't find it as easy. As I read the beautifully written post by a woman who had lost her son Theo, to a brain tumor, I got a glimpse into just how difficult something like a stocking, which is generally a simple tradition in many households, can be after a child has passed away. In Theo's Christmas Stocking, Karla paints a devastating, but clear portrait of her grief. She realized, after decorating her home for the holidays, that come Christmas morning, Theo's stocking would be empty. She requested that her friends and family, to please commit to one random act of kindness and email it to her. She then filled Theo's stocking with the messages, and read them aloud on Christmas morning. In this way, Theo's stocking is filled with things that money can't buy, but the feeling of comfort and hope given to his family, will stay with them forever.

I learned about Theo and his mother's request, through my friend Shiela, a.k.a. Mary Tyler Mom
Sweet Donna
photo courtesy of 
 Anne L. Geissinger
 Storytelling Through Photos
on her Facebook page, and also saw her post it on Donna's Good Things. DGT was started in 2009 after Shiela's daughter Donna passed away, from the same savage beast that took Theo.
The mission of Donna's Good Things, is to spread the message that doing good things, in the name of a child, is the best way to honor their life. She continues to parent Donna by sharing Donna's story, raising awareness and money for researching Pediatric Cancers, and passing along good news, stories of hope, and also giving her followers ways to contribute to the cause in any way that they are inclined. Which is why she shared Theo's story, and his mother's request.

Both Sheila and Karla have gone through something I haven't. No matter what images flash through my mind, when I read their words, I truly do not know the heartache of losing a child. Both women are inspiring, choosing to spread hope, even when they have every reason to break down. Both women are raising awareness for pediatric cancer, which let's face it, my children, and your children, are not immune to.

This season, I will be committing to 2 random acts of kindness for both Theo and Donna. I invite you to do the same. They do not have to cost money, they can be something big or small. Whatever it is, do it in their names. The recipient of your kindness will benefit by having a piece of the true spirit of the season, and it is a beautiful thing to share with these families on Christmas morning.

For more info on how to send an email for Theo, you can read the original post here

And if you have been inspired by Donna, and want to fill her stocking with a random act of kindness, you can email me at
and I will personally mail them all to the Quirke family.

May your hearts be full this season and always.

xoxo Humble

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Humble and Compassionate: Part 3: Keep the Light On

This is the third part in the Humble and Compassionate Series
The first part can be found HERE
The second part can be found HERE

I live my life with passion.
I hope this doesn't come as a shock to you.
I hope even more, that it is obvious.
But in case it's not, I assure you, I do.
I do, I do, dammit.

Okay maybe not all the time.
Not in the times when life throws me over an unexpected bump in the road.
And most certainly, not when life throws me on to a new course.
I mean, I am the type of person who re evaluates their life 47 times a day, so when I am suddenly on uncharted territory, I just sit there in shock, absorbing it all.
Have I mentioned lately that my 17 month old son has yet to sleep through the night, for 2 nights in a row?
He wakes up around 3...4...and again at 6 a.m. screaming bloody murder for no apparent reason.
They say Preemie babies have a hard time shifting in between sleep cycles because they were born when their nervous systems were immature.
So basically that means he screams like his limbs are being hacked off when his brain switches between relaxed sleep, and deep sleep.
The cure is that he sleeps with me. I like to think my presence comforts him back to sleep when he is suddenly on Elm Street.
This also means that I get throat punched and titty kicked an awful lot.
He also snores. The kind of snore that can be heard from two rooms over.
But directly in my face.
What I am getting at here, is I am really exhausted.

My days are filled with hiccups, bumps, surprise hurdles, and recently I was thrown off the track.
After speaking with friends, family, and even damn near strangers about it, I Googled the situation. I love how I always think I am going to stump Google, and it turns out 8,048 people have also had the same exact situation.
I guess my life isn't that unique.
After talking, Googling, and staring into space in the shampoo aisle for 25 minutes, I then decided it was a good time to avoid it entirely. What is the rush with this whole parenting thing anyways? Oh, it's a parenting situation, FYI. I am perfectly content to just sit on my ass and wait for a good solution to pop up.

Sadly Oprah cancelled her show years ago.
So I have still been sitting on my ass waiting for a solution to appear.
It's been over 2 weeks since this situation started and although I have plenty absorbed the shock of being on a different track, I still feel like I don't know what the fuck I am supposed to do.

So back to that passion I was talking about.
In between the time it took for me to have a holy shit this is happening moment, and like, now, I have lost my passion.

I have been on robot mode, complete with the saddest attempts I have ever made, to play with a 5 year old.
"Mama I said, let's walk around town" she has her pony and I am the mama pony, except I don't have a pony, I have a dinosaur.
I fake trot my dinosaur around the coffee table.
"Mama, no like this.." she gallops her pony ahead of my Dino, and I stare off into space.
"Mama can I watch cartoons now?"
She's bored of me, so I turn on the TV.

"I was talking to the mama dinosaur, not you mom."
End Scene.

Giving my children the best part of me, is a part of my passion. And I missed the mark. I won't beat myself up over it, because I have been in the parent game long enough, I know that it really isn't that big of a deal that I couldn't withstand playing with my daughter for more than 10 minutes. In fact the next time she asks to play, I will make sure I play with her an extra 10 minutes longer than I feel like. Then, and only then, will I feel like that memory can be erased.

So what do I do now?
I go back to the track I was on.
I continue to pump myself up in the morning, tell myself it's going to be a beautiful day, brainstorm reasonable ways to make it so, and then make it so.
People often ask me what it is that keeps me going, the thing that motivates me.
It's more than a one word answer.
The secret, or not so secret, I hope, is that I only do things that I actually want to do.
Don't feel like doing dishes...but I want clean dishes, which feeling is stronger?
Okay I really really want clean dishes so that particular outcome is what I really want, therefore I do the dishes.
That's a simple example, yet a complex thought.
I don't really feel like running around doing a million and two errands.
But if I do everything I set out to do, it will make me happy. I will feel relaxed knowing there is not as much on my plate tomorrow.
So I do as much as I can, and I do so happily.
Even if I don't complete whatever it is I think will make me happy, I know I am one step closer to where I want to be, and farther away from where I started from.
It's a choice I make, every day. Go where I want to go, or choose to stay right here.
Sometimes taking a break is much needed. Unanswered e mails. A voicemail icon. Leaving the dishes in the damn sink. If that's what I want to do, that's what I do.
I've been doing it for weeks now. And now I want to go back to where I was.
So what does living with passion have to do with compassion?
Well when you live in such a way that your head isn't constantly stuck up your ass (hey I do that sometimes too) you are more aware. You are interested in being a listening ear, because you have specifically chosen the people in your life that you want to listen to. Surrounding yourself with only people whom you admire, enjoy, and add to your life, instead of bringing you down, makes it rather enjoyable to be a listening ear. You feel needed, but not drained.
My Internets mother Klonnie from The Klonopin Chronicles
often says "Namaste" at the end of most posts. "Namaste" means "the light in me, recognizes the light in you"
That, to me, is compassion and passion all wrapped up in one word.
If you are not keeping ablaze the light that is inside of you, then you are not going to be caring so much about anyone else. Which is a big deal because we were made to stick together. That's why cities have so many damn people in them. That's why people who live in the country tend to have big ass families.
This is elementary, you guys.

I am not perfect. Sometimes I slip. Sometimes I zone out because I feel the crutch of exhaustion. But today, I am here. You are here. And that to me, keeps the light on."

So tell me, what are your thoughts?
How do you live with passion?
How are you not?

Oprah ended you guys, we have to stick together.