Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Sweetness

The summer weather around this part of the world has been abysmal. *pausing for effect*….hey, I used the word abysmal…that’s worthy of a pause.  Not in the hot, humid, sticky sort of way, but in the sun hasn’t been out AT ALL, it’s been so cold and rainy, miserable sort of way.  It’s getting under everyone’s skin.  Not to mention in their bodies.  The illnesses that have stuck around this year have been horrible.  The weather was supposed to be great this weekend; everyone was excited because we had something fun planned.

We weren’t going to be here, which was enough excitement in itself.  We were going to take our kids on a camping trip with family this weekend.  The boys were pumped!  Jumping up and down, crazy dancing, goofiness spilling out of their pores kind of excited!  They couldn’t wait and were counting down the days.  Unfortunately those plans fell through.  Everyone was bummed.  Like moping around hanging their heads, this sucks….bummed!  The weather and illness spoiled our plans again. 

This mommy couldn’t stand disappointing her kids again, so yesterday the sun was shining (we were shocked) and right there and then hubby and I decided to make lemonade out of lemons.  We found out it actually can be done.  We were going to do some urban camping.

So we drug out the tent and set it up in the backyard.  You would have thought it was Christmas morning with the way the boys hooted and hollered with glee.  Once it was up they spent their time running laps on the inside of the tent while hubby and I got dinner ready.  Typical camping style food….hot dogs, chips, some fruit.  The kids were in heaven!  But we didn’t stop there.  After dinner, we took a mini break and put the baby in the bath and into bed.  Poor Buggy didn’t get to partake in the camping festivities since it would have been way too cold for him to sleep outside.  Once that angel who was full of snuggles and cuddles drifted off to sleep we brought out the “piece de resistance.”

The fire pit!!!!!

There is something about boys and fire.  My husband can sit and look at a burning fire for hours just mesmerized.  It must be a genetic trait because my two older boys do the exact same thing.  After the fire burned for awhile, the coals were right at the stage of perfection to make S’mores.  There we were, sitting in our backyard roasting marshmallows laughing and talking about what makes the perfect roasted marshmallow.  Then we all devoured our tasty dessert with huge grins of satisfaction on our faces. 

The evening ended with ghost stories and finger shadows in the tent.  Right as I was saying goodnight, both boys got out of their sleeping bags to give me the biggest hugs, kisses and snuggles.  They told me they would miss me and didn’t want me to get lonely since I had to sleep in the house to be with the baby.  As I walked out they told me that they couldn’t wait to see me in the morning.  ♥♥♥

The sweetness of their affection and words will be burned into my heart forever!  The day couldn’t have turned out more perfectly and we were able to keep our word.  The boys were able to camp and sleep in a tent.

This is what being a family is made of, this is the sweetness of life!

How has improvising created unforgettable memories for your family?

Friday, July 29, 2011

If I Had The Time I Would...

Oh how many times have I spoken these words?  A gazillion perhaps?  As a mom, I always have a running list going in my head of things that absolutely have to get done during the day. 

Feed the kids…check.

Make sure the baby is in clean diapers…check. 

Make sure the kids get to school on time…check. 

Remember to PICK THE KIDS UP at the end of the day…check (sometimes it’s a close one).

Clean the dishes, do laundry, pick up toys, run the kids to whatever sport they are playing at the time…and inevitably unclog a toilet or two.  And I never forget to get some play time and some loving time in with my boys.

But there is always a secondary list going on in my head.  There are things I would LOVE to do if I had 25 or 26 hours in a day verses 24. 

● I would actually decorate my house.  We’ve been in this house for 4 years and I still have blank walls in all the rooms with the exception of the boys’ bedrooms and the dining room. 

● I would strap on some protective gear and tackle the every growing miscellaneous clothing pile in my closet that I’m convinced was left by aliens from the planet Piles for Miles.  

● I would clean and organize the office, which is currently named the indoor garage because of the all the random crap we’ve thrown in there.

● I’d organize my pantry.  Oh to be able to walk in there and actually find the thing that I’m looking for would be what heaven is made of. 

● I would read more.  I love, love, LOVE to read.  But most nights I’m so tired that even if I try to read, I get through a page (if I’m lucky) before falling asleep only to wake up and forget what I have read so I have to go back and read the page again the next night.

● I would spend more time with my friends.  Go have coffee, chat, catch up with what’s going on in their lives, or maybe go for a spa treatment.  But it would definitely not be in the form of an email, facebook post, or text.  It would be face to face interaction.  I miss that!

I try to remind myself that the time will come (and probably much sooner then I’m ready for it too) when I will have more time.  When all the boys are in school there will be a few hours that I can devote to the secondary list.  But for right now, my time is theirs, and that’s as it should be.  But there are days like today, where I catch myself dreaming about just a few extra hours. 

What would you do with an extra hour or two?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mama Bear Is Seeing RED!

*WARNING* a big fat mommy rant is coming up!  Enter at your own risk!


Big T is my first born baby.  So as a baby he got all of those first time mommy worries.  I’ve come to realize that those first time worries stick around.  Now I know he isn’t a baby anymore but he is the first of my children going through all the “firsts” of his life.  First child to crawl, walk, and run.  First child to go through that oh so lovely experience of potty training.  Big T was the first child to cut teeth and then first to lose them.  He is the first child to go off to preschool, then kindergarten, and now elementary school.  And here we are as his parents right along side of him experiencing our firsts on how to parent him through all these wonderments.

Sadly, I didn’t think that this first would come so soon.

It was a typical evening and Big T was playing around at the dinner table during dinner.  This is an ongoing issue with him, dinner just isn’t his thing, but we are working with him to teach him about having good table manners and not taking over an hour to eat his meal, playing with his foot, etc.  All of a sudden he started calling himself a loser because he felt he couldn’t do anything right.  My mommy senses were peaked and seeing that we don’t use that kind of language in our home I knew he heard it from someone else.  I thought maybe that he had heard it at school a few months back on the playground and was repeating what he heard (which he does on occasion when he doesn’t understand something so we can help explain it to him).  *sigh*   I only wish that was the case this time.  When I asked him where he heard such a thing he told me that his “friend” at school was repeatedly calling him a loser.  I had to use every bit of strength I had to keep my jaw from hitting the floor, and then grabbing my keys, going over to said “friend’s” house, grabbing that kid, molding him into a ball and bounce him from knee to knee before kicking him as if it was the Superbowl and the winning point would be this one single field goal and having a lovely little chat with him and his mother.  This is what I would have said:

Big T is not a loser.  If you must know he has been a winner since before he was born. 

He stuck around when I had a bleed in my uterus at 7 weeks

He spoke his first word at 6 months

He has a photographic and phonographic memory

He has a kind and loving heart

He has a laugh that will make you burst out into laughter whenever you hear it

He CARES about others and their feelings

He has a generous heart and is always willing to help others in his class (a direct quote from his teacher…thank you very much)

He is a great big brother who loves and helps out with his siblings

He loves to learn new things and is extremely intelligent

He is a sensitive boy who just wants to make people happy

Finally, Big T decided to befriend your son because he noticed he didn’t have very many.  Turns out to have been a mistake, but mistakes don’t create losers’.  Not learning from them and continuing to do them, does.  Therefore, when Big T sees your child on the playground he will be kind, but he will not be his friend, nor will he pay attention to any negative comments he makes.  He will know that your son is flat out WRONG!  All of these and so very much more are perfect examples as to why my son is not a loser.  I suggest that you have a good long talk with your son about what makes a good friend, because apparently he doesn’t have a clue.  A little deep thinking as to why your child feels the need to do these things to feel better about himself wouldn’t hurt either.

Back to reality, because as adults, we don’t always get to react the way we want to…

I understand kids are cruel.  I’ve experienced it first hand…who hasn’t at one point or another in their childhood?  I know it is a right of passage through childhood.  But to be the parent of the child who is receiving the cruel comments… is just flat out HARD!   When your child listens to a little twerp on the school playground more then he listens to his parents, you feel helpless.  Well, irate and helpless, which quite frankly is not a good combination.  All you want to do is go over and thump the little minion who stooped so low to call your child a name and did it so often that your child actually started to believe it about himself.  But what kind of example would that set?  Frankly, I don’t care!  But I have to.  I have to be the grown-up, the mother, the voice of reason.  You spend the better part of 6-7 years making sure that your child has a good sense of self, and confidence to face these things.  But the words from a 7 year old unhappy, undisciplined boy still creeps into your child’s head and make them believe whatever they are saying. 

All I keep telling him is that he is unequivocally not a loser.  That the boy was wrong, and that friends just don’t say those things to friends.  That he needs to know within himself that he is a good, kind and smart person.  My sweet Big T, how I wish I could shelter you from all the negativity in the world, but all I can do is arm you with knowledge, confidence, kindness, and the security of knowing that your parents will always be there for you. 

As for this “friend,” watch out, because mama bear is on red alert!

How do you handle playground meanies?

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Unbreakable Mommy Habits

The feelings, the urges to be a mother to SOMEONE, SOMETHING, even if your children aren’t around, are always there.  When you do it all day long it is hard to break the cycle and turn the mommyness off. 

Almost along the lines of the infamous saying “you might be a redneck,” I want to dedicate this post to listing examples of what you’ve done while out in public when you are WITHOUT your children that make you think “I’m definitely a mother”.  Here are mine:

1)      I religiously put a new toilet paper roll on the spool in public bathrooms if they are running low.  I’m not talking about the bathrooms that have stalls and automatic toilet paper, but the small quaint places that look like a bathroom in a home.  Not to mention, I wipe down the counter around the sink after I’m finished, even if the mess isn’t mine.  *this could be bordering on the line of just being a woman and not being a mom, but I just did this last week and thought to myself…ohhhh yeah…I’m a mom alright.*

2)      I’m all of a sudden driving in the carpool lane when I am without my children because when am I EVER without my children?

3)      I have found myself in a brief moment of panic, looking for my children in whatever store I’m in, scared to death that they are lost, only to realize I am in fact by myself on this trip. 

4)      I’ve caught myself talking to the empty space around me as I am leaving my home, a store, or the mall asking “does anyone have to go potty before we leave?” as strangers look at me wondering who the heck I am talking too.

5)      I have to muster up all the strength I can to not wipe the runny nose of some other mother’s child while out in public. 

6)      When I’m at a lovely restaurant with friends, or out on a date night with my husband, I have to fight the urge to eat standing up because it is rare for me not to get up and down, up and down, up and down from the table at home.   

7)      I’ve tested my coffee on my wrist to make sure it wasn’t too hot to drink after going through the drive thru.

8)      I’ve asked for extra napkins when ordering my meal at a restaurant that only has cloth napkins and not paper.  Must remember: cloth napkins = no kids. 

9)      I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of time brushing the crumbs off tables in restaurants when my kids weren’t there. 

10)   I’ve cut up my husbands’ meat into bite size pieces for him while out on a date (who couldn’t use a little help in that area?  It was an act of love I tell you…an act of love).

Those little actions that happen simply out of habit, simply because I wasn’t able to “flip the switch” from mommy to Hopes…they catch me off guard, make me laugh, and embarrass the heck out of me.  Oh well, they haven’t put me in a straight jacket yet, so I must still be doing okay…..well, so far anyway. 

What mommy habits have you been unable to break?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Saved By A Date

I’m talking just in the nick of time saved.  Let me explain.

My wonderful husband and I had our much awaited and anticipated overnight…yes overnight date night last night. 

This has been a date night that has been in the works since last May.  My sweet husband bought us tickets to go see Jamie Foxx at an area casino/hotel for my birthday.  If I wasn’t excited enough over those awesome tickets, he also got us a room at the hotel/casino that he was performing at, and arranged for my fabulous mother to come and watch the kids at our house overnight.  Someone please pass him the “Husband of The Year” award!! 

Last night couldn’t have come at a better time.  Yesterday was one of those extremely tough mommy days.  A day where my older two boys were testing limits and boundaries left and right with me all while fighting over every…single…thing with each other.  I tried taking them to the store quickly to find a pair of rockin’ shoes to wear on my date night (I know, I know…what was I thinking?) and ended up leaving in utter embarrassment due to my older two running around the shoe aisle like they were running at a track meet, then going to the sleepwear section and giggling at the lace and leopard prints.  *sigh*  The baby was screaming the whole time because his brothers were constantly going in and out of his view.  Needless to say, I drove home empty handed with my patience tank completely depleted.  The icing on the cake was that Buggy decided that yesterday was “not taking a nap to save my life” day.

Somehow I was able to quickly pack our overnight bag, and by the time my savior (aka Mom) came to watch the boys, I was walking down the stairs in tears.  She quickly shoved us out the door telling us that everything would be just fine and to have a good time.

Let the date begin.

I have to admit, the drive to the hotel/casino was filled with talk about the children because I needed to purge and vent.  But I’m proud to say that once we checked into the hotel and got cleaned up, there wasn’t even a whisper about the boys. 

**By the way, this post is void of pictures because the date night took place in a hotel/casino so pictures are a ‘no-no’…BUMMER**

We had a lovely dinner for two at one of the casino’s fabulous restaurant.  We talked about how excited we were to see Jamie Foxx, and debated on if his set would be more club style music, R&B, or a mixture of both.  We both agreed that we would love it if he would throw some of his fabulous comedy into the mix.  I seriously didn’t know what to do with myself, we were having an adult conversation that didn’t revolve around the kids, house, bills, work etc. 

Jamie Foxx rocked it.  I mean he ROCKED it!  He did a bit of everything which was just what we were hoping for.  In addition, I was pleasantly surprised to see that we in fact weren’t the oldest couple attending the concert, and that I actually picked out an outfit that was fitting for the occasion, which rarely happens.  Actually, it never happens. Could this night get any better?

It could and it did!  After the concern we thought we would through caution to the wind and play a little bit at the casino.  We had the best time high fiving and cheering each other on when the lights on the machine were blinking and music was playing.  We talked about how lucky we were in so many aspects of our lives.  How we are so fortunate to have such a close family that has people in it willing to watch our children so we could do this *thanks again Nana*, how we have such wonderful friends, a wonderful bond with our children…yes they crept into the conversation again, but just briefly.  

The evening ended with us walking hand in hand to our room for a great nights sleep in a lovely hotel room with one of the most comfortable beds I’ve been in in a long time!  Could that be because there is the absence of a baby monitor humming in my ear?  Complete bliss AHHHH!!!!

I woke up this morning to my husband bringing me coffee (I’m thinking he wants to hold onto the Husband of The Year Award), feeling refreshed and ready to enter back into motherhood. 

I hope to have another night out with my hubby real soon.  It does wonders for my mood, my soul and my sanity!! 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Octopus Envy

Octopus whaaaa…? 


Octopus envy.  It’s what I have.

Since becoming a mother it seems I’ve turned into a person who feels she has to be all things to everyone.  To be able to do everything that is needed of me exactly when it is needed of me.  Which as you know is flat out impossible, and it is the very thing that has ignited my envy of an Octopus.

Why in the world would I be envious of an octopus? 

It’s not for its bright beautiful color, or how gracefully it can move in the water, or even for its ability to squeeze into small spaces of any kind.  Although that would be an extremely useful ability and would definitely up my wardrobe selection ten fold.  Hmmmm….

Nope, it’s for the simply fact that they have EIGHT arms!  I can only imagine what I would be able to accomplish as a mother with eight glorious arms.  I could make meals, clean the kitchen counters, empty the dishwasher, vacuum the floors, dust the tables, help a child with homework, put a baby down for a nap, and maybe even eat a meal myself ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

There are many days where I find myself wishing I could sprout out an extra arm or two during the day.  I find myself asking my boys to tell me how many arms I have.  I know I have two, but apparently they don’t.  I’ve taken to asking them if I look like an octopus.  Of course the answer is no.  So why then do they ask me to do eight different things all at the same time?  “Mommy can I have a glass of milk please?”  “Can I have more ____ please?”  “Can you get me a napkin please?” It goes on and on and on, and mostly during mealtimes. 

Instead of sprouting new arms like the glorious octopus, most of the time I find myself being a pack mule.  Grabbing and carrying everything I can think of so not to forget anything or have to do whatever it is more than once.  Just the other night I took my older two boys to see the Cars 2 movie.  Walking into the theatre I was already holding: my purse, a bag of popcorn, candy, pop, and a booster seat.  Once we found our seats Sweet Pea needed help getting into the seat.  So while holding all of the above, add to it a childs bag of popcorn, a bottle water, and the child himself.  Then came the task of trying to put the booster seat into the theatre seat, and Sweet Pea into the booster seat.  For the record, I can say that without a doubt, a mule is nothing to be envious of. 

So yes mighty Octopus, you have my envy. 

What or who has your envy?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The 4 P's of Parenting Boys

I know what you’re thinking.  That because I’m raising three boys and share my life with my husband that this post is going to be about bathroom habits, and I’m delighted to say that you’re wrong.

In my short time as a mom to boys (8 years) I’ve learned (most of the time the hard way) that certain techniques work, and other techniques make things worse.  Everyday I learn something new about the boys and about myself as a mother.  What I try to remember are the 4 P’s of Parenting Boys that I have set for myself.

Patience:  Holy moly this is hard!  I mean grind your teeth, eyes rolling in the back of your head, eyelid twitching HARD!  How many times can you ask one little being to do something?  And we’re not talking about something complicated.  We’re talking about something as simple as washing your hands before dinner.  I actually have a number, right now the record in our house is 15.  Yep, 15 friggin times I’ve had to ask one or both of my older boys to wash their hands for dinner before they actually do it.  It’s like as soon as they hear an instruction, it is at that very moment they find interest in every piece of lint or spec of dust that stretches the floor from where they are to where the bathroom is. 

There are some days that I do so much deep breathing and collecting myself that I make myself dizzy.  But we all know as parents that patience is something we have to have.  Darn-it-all!  It would just be SO much easier to fly off the handle (which I still do from time to time).  Oh how I wish they sold patience in a jar on the shelves of every store in the world.  It would be so much easier to buy it, drink it and then have patience rather than conjuring it up all my own.

Persistence:  My mantra to myself when I want to throw in the towel is simply…If you give up, they win and walk all over you.  It’s that simple.  I have to keep at it until it is burned in their brain.  For example when it comes to consequences for their actions, the follow-through is so much harder on the parents then it is on the child.  If I threaten something like “if you hit your brother again, you won’t be able to go to so-and-so’s birthday party,” (you know where this is going don’t you) and of course he ends up hitting his brother, not going to the party, and you get to listen to his moaning and groaning, sobbing and crying, and the “you’re the meanest mommy in the whole world.”  So who is actually getting the punishment?  I swear most of the time it feels like it is me.  BUT, persistence pays off, especially in the long run, even though it has a tendency to suck when you are in the moment because who really likes to be the bad guy? 

Praise:  Give plenty of praise, praise and more praise.  I’ve learned that my little boys can have very fragile egos and can lose confidence in themselves and their abilities with the slightest bit of negativity.  I try my best to remember that they are just simply trying to find their little place in this crazy world of rules and exceptions to the rules.  As parents we can be so quick to jump on the negative in order to correct their behavior and have them learn the correct ones.  So I try my best to be aware and communicative about the things they do right no matter how small it is.  There have been times where all I’ve focused on is the negative or the things they need to work on and I’ve found that all that does is promote more of the negative behavior.  However, when I use an equal amount of praise, I get more of the behavior deserving of praise.  Go figure!  Seems simple and logical enough, but it is sure hard to stick to and requires a ton of trial and error on my part.  But it is another must as these boys are shaping how they see themselves at such a young age.     

Plungers:  Okay, okay…turns out one of the 4 P’s of Parenting Boys does in fact deal with bathroom habits.  But the bottom line is you simply cannot live in a house full of boys without investing in several really good plungers.  They save you from having to remodel your bathrooms every other year.  They save your sanity.  So, if you have one boy or twelve please for your own peace of mind, invest in plungers.  Get one for every bathroom in the house.  I learned the hard way that the days of having one plunger for the house are long, long, LONG gone.

So while my personal 4 P’s of Parenting may be short, concise, and the words themselves are easy to remember they are the things that I strive to remember, and struggle to do, every single day.  Well with the exception of the plungers of course, that doesn’t take memory, but it does require lightning quick feet and a fast draw!

What are your mantras of motherhood?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Whine For the Wine of It!

For those of you who know me, you know I love my wine.  For those of you who don’t…let me just tell you, I.  Love.  My. Wine.  After all, my parents raised me right. 

It has been a standing joke in my family that the reason why I love my wine is because my mom’s doctor told her way, way, WAY back when she was pregnant with me that it was okay to have a glass of wine to help slow down the multiple contractions she was having.  Apparently I was anxious to see the world and a glass of wine in the evenings slowed down the contractions.  Then I was two weeks late.  We all say I was just hanging out, waiting for more wine.  Well, wouldn’t you?? 

So I’ve loved wine since day one.  I’ve learned a few things along the way.  In high school I learned that wine in a box is not WINE.  Step away from the box and never go back!  In college, I moved to the bottles.  Lesson number two:  Boones, while a right of passage for every college student is not, I repeat NOT in the least bit considered wine!  It wasn’t until my husband and I started dating that I really got my “wine on”.  We took a few trips to Napa, learned a few things about wine, wine paring and had a TON of fun.  We’ve been “wino’s” ever since.  Trying new and different brands/styles of wine is always an exciting adventure.  Finding a wonderful new bottle that we’ve never tried before that is surprisingly good is like finding a $20 bill in your pocket!!  It’s so fun!

We of course never go overboard.  You don’t have to drink the whole bottle to enjoy wine (even though there are days that thought is VERY tempting)  Enjoying a glass of wine with my husband at the end of the day, after the boys have gone to bed is simply perfection.  And, it’s connection.  We get to have time together to talk about our day, or what will be happening the next day.  It’s a time to check in with each other.  Do we need a glass of wine to do that?  No, but it gives us something to talk about, discuss, and give opinions about, that does not involve our kids.  Like a mini date night almost every night, and who couldn’t use that?   

Wine is good!

It has been understood for a long time that if there is a particular day where the children are whining ALL…DAY… LONG, my husband is making a trip to the store to buy a bottle of wine before he comes home from work.  It was almost written into the marriage license as a secondary clause. 

It’s a tit for tat sort of situation.  Whine for wine.  One of the many techniques this mommy of three boys has in her survival kit.  What a wonderful way to turn a negative into a positive.  So go ahead and whine for the wine of it! 

Thursday, July 14, 2011


One of the best parts of being a mom for me is watching the boys learn and navigate language.  Those little words that they try so hard to form, but come out in some other cute variation from the actual word itself make me grin from ear to ear, and some actually make me blush. 

There are the usual words that young children say differently as they are learning language.  I’m certain most little ones have their own version of Spaghetti.  In our house it was Pasghetti courtesy of Big T, or Spa-deddi provided by Sweet Pea.  Don’t forget the word Banana.  We had just plain Ba-na from Big T and BOO-nana from Sweet Pea.

Then you get into the really creative and interesting.  My favorite word that Big T (who is now eight) used to say and that stayed around for a very long time was the word “Blopes.”  Any guesses as to what he was referring to?  It wasn’t for “ski slopes” or “soaps” or “ropes”.  Nope, that was his ever original word for “Grapes.”  It was so cute and unique that we rarely corrected him.  It’s not like he would be going to first grade walking around saying “blopes” so we let it slide and soaked up all the cuteness of it until it was eventually gone but it’s never been forgotten. 

Sweet Pea’s claim to fame was the way he called his brother “Tie-way” to which his brother would always answer and never correct him.  But he was the only one with that kind of right-of-way.  That is closely followed by “Me-mote” for “remote”.  What is it about guys and remotes anyway?  Is my sweet 5 year old already trying to lay claims to what he feels is his territory?  Finally, and most recently we heard him say “NOOOO-Kay” in answer to a question he thought he would say “no” too but decided to say okay mid word.

Buggy is too young to have any personalized words just yet, but he can babble with best of them and you can tell he has a ton to say and I simply cannot wait to see what he has in store for us.

Now onto the word that made me blush.  And wouldn’t you know it, it decided to make its grand entrance in one of those crowded inflatable jump places for a birthday party where they were serving pizza for the meal.  My sweet Big T said extremely loudly in his polite, ‘I better use my best manners because I want cake’ voice.  “May I have some more PECKER-roni pizza PLLLEEEZZZZZZ.”  Yes, yes you may my sweet as long as you don’t continually shout that out in public and make the other parents think we are teaching you some sort of slang at the tender age of 3.

Out of the mouth of babes!  I cherish, laugh, and love each an every one of these uniquely-formed words.  

Please share what wonderful, unique, and fabulous words your children have created and take a walk down memory lane.  Nooo-kay!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Slept Like A Baby

I remember when this phrase meant something completely different before children then it does now.  It used to mean you slept extremely well, that you were “out like a light”, or “slept like a rock.”  It basically implies that you’ve had a great night sleep and never felt better.

Now I know that the only people who use that term are people who have never had children!  Once you become a mother, sleeping like a baby is not exactly considered a good thing.  A baby, depending on what stage of babyhood they are in, wakes every few hours to eat, or get a diaper change, or just need to be snuggled, hugged, and loved (my personal favorite!).  The longest that my children slept during the night when they were itty bitty babies was for 3-4 hour stretches at a time if I was lucky, and I was pretty happy with that. As they grew, it of course got longer and longer which is great right?  Well, wait…we haven’t factored in the colds that they get which always seem to happen right when they learn to fall asleep on their own…why is that?  Or the ear infections that will keep them (and of course you), up all night long the poor dears.  Or the teething, night terrors, and gas pains. 

No, when you are a mother and someone says “I slept like a baby” your first thought is “I’m so very sorry” because it implies something completely opposite from a good nights sleep.

Now, “sleeping like a teenager” that is something dreams are made of.  Don’t you remember sleeping in until 11am and thinking it was still too “early” to get up?  When you were able to sleep through something nobody should be able to sleep through like an extremely loud and violent thunder and lightning storm, or better yet…an earthquake?

As a mom, I now “sleep like a baby” almost every night.  I have a baby monitor next to my bed to hear the baby if he needs something.  The two older boys are across the hall, so I sleep with my bedroom door open slightly so in case they need something I will be able to hear them.  That’s just what a mom does, and I want to be there for them.  Usually I will have to get up with one of them for something.  So if I get a 4 hour stretch of sleep one night…I’m doing pretty darn well.  My husband, well that lucky guy is one of those…those…PEOPLE who sleeps through just about anything.  If we have a night where more than one child is up at the same time, I have to wake my husband up to help out (which he is always willing to do…bless him).  Yep, he’s that guy who could sleep through an earthquake.  <insert nasty expletive here>

Then I remind myself how fast the years are going by.  How pretty soon my baby will be where my oldest son is.  At an age where he still needs me for some things, but not for all things and usually never during the night.  I try to cherish the late night hours of snuggling and holding and comforting the younger boys because I know all too soon the tables will turn and I will be battling with them to get up, because it’s noon already!!

But if I could just get in a few nights here and there where I was “sleeping like a teenager” that would be perfection!  Dreams to dream!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Don't Panic! That Wasn't An Earthquake!

It was just me trying something new….running!!

Yes, that rumbling vibrating sensation you felt on the Earth’s crust was not the movement of fault lines beneath you but me running.  So you can rest easy!

I’m the first one to admit, I’m not…I repeat NOT a runner by any definition of the word.  I used to run Track in High School way, way, WAY back in the day.  But even then, I was a sprinter and not an honest-to-goodness runner.  Even during track practice I could barely make it around the track twice before feeling like my lungs were burning up from the inside out.  And I was actually in the best shape of my life back then.  No, I ran for the competition of it all.  The, ‘I’m faster than you and you’re going to eat my dust’ of it all.  Sprinting suited me just fine.  I’d get up for my race, get into the blocks, run my little heart out and be done in less than a minute.  Then I’d sit down and watch the long distance runners do their races and I would be ever so thankful I wasn’t them.  No, a runner I am not.

So why in the world after it has been 20 years since I’ve done any kind of running that wasn’t just in name only, you know, “running” to the store, “running” out to the mall, “running” errands, “running” the kids ragged, would I decide to strap on the shoes and actually start running now??  No, I’m really asking you because I don’t have a darn clue. 

I guess if I had to put it into words I would say the reason I’ve just decided to get up and start running at this time in my life is because I’m making it a goal to try new things to help me be a better mother, wife, and person in general.  How does running do that?  I’m not quite sure really, at least not yet.  I do know it is extremely beneficial to your physical health and well being.  That’s a huge plus because being tired and run down while raising three boys just makes you a perfect target to be run OVER by three boys.  Running helps to release any kind of frustration that may have been brought on during the day.  It helps you sleep better which makes the world look better in general.  Instead of doing some cardio aerobic exercise in the house on the TV it gets you OUT by YOURSELF for a little while!  WOO HOOO!!  Who would have known that the torture of running would be worth it in order to have some time alone!

So I’m giving this running thing all I’ve got.  Starting slow so as not to put myself in the hospital.  But I’m excited about it.  In the short time since I’ve started running I’ve figured out a few things 1) running isn’t my favorite thing to do in the world, but I’m going to stick with it 2) groins are sensitive little twerps and are masters at payback for the work you make them do, and 3) the after run pain feels just like if you’ve been riding a horse all…day….long!

Number three actually gives me a little insight to the late John Wayne.  That swagger he had…it wasn’t because it was a trademark or part of the characters he was playing.  It was because he was too darn sore to walk normally after being on horses for hours at a time during the movie shoots.  I understand this now as I have adopted my own little John Wayne swagger while trying to walk a day or two after I’ve been out for a run. 

What have you tried lately to better yourself as a mother, wife, and person in general?  If this running thing doesn’t work out…I may need to follow your lead. 

Wish me luck!!  I’m going to need it!

Friday, July 8, 2011


I’ve never have been the most girly person you’ve ever met.  Sure I use to wear dresses or skirts when I was going someplace nice or if I just wanted to spruce things up a bit or if I was in a particularly flirty, happy mood.  But I’ve never been one to get all dolled up every single day…just because.  If I wasn’t considered girly before having three boys, I’m certainly not considered girly now.  Because let’s face it.  Wearing your little black dress to a soccer game, baseball game, preschool field trip, elementary field trip, grocery store, or <insert errand of your choice here> would be considered just a little bit much (yeah, just a little). 

It starts when they are babies and everything you put on is because of function rather than fashion.  You wouldn’t want to put anything nice or delicate on anyway with all the spit ups and diaper changes, and sneezed out food.  Then just as you have one child moving out of that phase, you are blessed with a brand new baby and the cycle starts all over again and then again in my case.

So here I am, I’ve got three stages of boyhood growing up in my house. Every day is an adventure and if I have a day without some sort of adventure I’m left wondering what to do with myself.  Most of my time is spent in our trusty van running from school drop offs, to school field trips, to sporting events, play dates, back home to try and get the baby to eat and take a nap before we have to be off and running again.  Then there are the times where I play construction worker, pirate, damsel in distress (okay, that might be one time where if I REALLY wanted to play it up I could put on something fancy), or the villain.  So just having the opportunity to put something on that is different from a pair of jeans and a t-shirt are few and far between.  Not to mention having the time to even contemplate what to wear instead of just grabbing something that is clean. 

I do give looking decent my best shot however, and I am usually able to fit in a shower, quickly throw on some concealer to cover up the blemishes caused by stress and the dark circles under the eyes caused by lack of sleep, a little bit of mascara, and a dab of lip gloss which quickly gets rubbed off from all the kissing on the chubba bubba of my sweet Buggy.  All of which I’ve been able to do in about 10 minutes flat if I have to.  And more often than not, my “outfit” isn’t horrendous, it doesn’t clash or look like I just stepped out of the 80’s (although I see some of those styles coming back…YOWZA) but it isn’t something you’d see in the Macy’s or Nordstrom catalogs.  It’s more something you would find on one of the many mom makeover shows that are on TV these days, you know…the before picture.   

But I have to say, I look forward to the day when I can have the time to go shopping at the mall for clothes for myself and get educated in fashion again.  To have a sense of what looks good on me and what doesn’t.  Or when the invitation to an occasion that requires getting all dolled up does not create a swell of panic and the appearance that a tornado has swept through my closet!  You know the feeling don’t you?  The “what the heck do I have to wear that doesn’t have some resemblance of food that was lovingly placed there by a child’s mouth/hands that won’t come out even after using every laundry gadget and gizmo available on the market?”  Or the “oh crap!  Do I have time to go find something at the mall to wear that will work, and will I ever wear it again before it goes out of style?”

Just to be able to walk into my closet, find something that is not stained, that is in style, and is flattering.  That isn’t a pipe dream is it??  Because when that day comes watch out!  I’m going to be all kinds of fancy-shmancy and I’m going to love it!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Vacation? Nope, Just Geography

Everyone loves vacations.  We all look forward to them during the year and can’t wait to get some well earned R&R!  Most people countdown the days, and then the hours, and then the minutes, and sometimes even the seconds until they are able to leave the office to go on a vacation. 

The definition for Vacation in the dictionary is as follows:

Va*ca*tion (noun):

1. break from work
    a period of time devoted to rest, travel, or recreation

2. fixed holiday period
    a scheduled period which the activities of courts, schools, or other regular businesses
    are suspended. 

When a mom packs up the kids, all the kids stuff, and all the stuff for the kids stuff, and all the things to put the stuff for the kids stuff in, and you’ve all but packed up the entire house and can’t imagine anything else fitting in the suitcases, or the car to head out for a family “vacation.” The only thing you are really doing is transporting your “work” to a different location for a set amount of time.  It’s simply Geography.

With a family “vacation” a mom brings her “work” with her.  There are still all the tasks you have to do from day to day for the kids at home while you are on vacation.  It is a work of love, but it is still our “work.”  If there isn’t any “period of time devoted to rest” at home, there certainly won’t be while on vacation and there is definitely no “scheduled period of time which activities...are suspended.”  In order for a stay at home mom to get a “vacation” it requires her being away from her children.  More often than not, that happens as often as England gets a new queen.  But when/if it does, we find ourselves thinking about our children, how they would like it wherever we are, and wondering how they are doing.  Our motherhood brains just never, EVER turn off. 

Don’t get me wrong family time away from the home is priceless.  It’s great to have a change of scenery with new things to explore and new situations and environments to expose your childrens young minds to.  The memories that are made are priceless and will stay with you forever.  It is definitely cherished time that you can never get back. 

But I think it should have a different name/definition.  Instead of saying “we’re going on a family vacation” change it to “we’re going on a family adventure.”  That, at least is a more adequate definition of what’s really happening!

I say the more family “adventures” the better….bring on the Geography, just don’t call it a vacation!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Maintain Humor or Drown at Sea

How does one live without humor?  I know that there are people out there that do, but I’m certainly not one of them.  I think you need humor in order to stay sane.  Having humor with strangers you meet allows you to laugh rather than simply assume that the whole world has gone crazy or even worse…that YOU are the only crazy one.  Having humor in families is a must so that you can remain a tightly wound unit of love and support.  It allows you to see from different peoples perspectives instead of being judgmental.  And of course without a doubt having humor when you are a mother is one of the many survival tools that we keep in our back pockets. 

Humor is my life preserver in this sea of testosterone with its fluctuating tides.  I cling to it on a daily if not hourly basis.  It is what I choose instead of freaking out. 

When all you ask for for yourself throughout the day is to have your extremely tired and overwrought baby please get some much needed sleep, and to be able to have a chance to use your bathroom without having company or hearing a splash the second after you sit down because someone forgot the important house rule of always putting the seat down, seems like you’ve asked for something outlandish like a Villa in the South of France, or the Hope Diamond.  You cling to humor.  When you catch your five year old trying to ride your one year old like he is a horse and has him pinned down to the floor grinding his face into the carpet….pass a can of humor please.  When your children have been quiet for most of the morning and you think to yourself “this is a great time to make a quick phone call to ____” and as soon as the person picks up on the other line your children decide it is time to either a) play 20 questions with you or b) conduct the first battle in their personal ongoing version of World War III over who gets to sit where on the couch.  You cling by your fingernails to humor.   

My mom bought me this great little plaque she found at a local festival and she said that she thought of me…

See…humor!!! I LOVE IT! I look at it every single morning and it brings a smile to my face and reminds me not to take things so seriously all the time. That with just a little bit of humor I will be able to survive the sea that day.

So I’ll take humor for 500 Alex, because I’m certainly not drowning today!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Gonna Try For A Girl???

Why is it that when you are walking through a crowded public place like the mall with all of your children and its all you can do to make sure one isn’t left behind, or snatched up by a stranger, and you’ve stopped because one of your children lost his shoe 4 stores back, it is at that very moment that perfect strangers decide they are your best friends and feel comfortable coming up to you to ask “So, are you gonna try for a girl?”

I’ve heard them all and quite frankly they used to hurt.  They would make me feel like I was an anomaly, like I was a person with three eyes, rather than just a mom with three boys.  That it is just UNHEARD of to have a family with all boys in it and no *GASP* girls!!!  Then, for my own sanity I learned to look at the comments differently.  And do you know what?  It’s actually worked.  Here are some that I hear almost every single time I head out with all my children in tow.  There’s the “HOLY COW you are a busy mom” which is really starting to get old.  Moms in general are busy, but thank you for wasting my time and pointing out the obvious.  There’s the “OH MY, how do you manage?”  A general question that is asked with complete lack of tact or decorum so I have since decided to use that opportunity to explain how I, Superwoman manage three boys all while leaping tall buildings in a single bound and still being able to change diapers when needed and feed them three square meals a day.  Then there’s the “I have one boy at home, I don’t know HOW you handle three!”  To which I think to myself, it sounds like the problem is with you and not your son…but what I actually say is something more along the lines of “it sounds like you have an active boy on your hands.” 

Then there are the comments that dive into the realm of complete stupidity and tastelessness.  For example, I’ve heard this one on more than one occasion “WOW!  Were you trying for a girl and just didn’t get one?”  Yes, that’s it Einstein, my husband and I set up a class for the X and Y chromosomes with strict instructions to ONLY let the X chromosomes reach the egg, and some silly Y failed the class miserably.  THAT is how we ended up with three boys.  Finally, I’ve heard the passive aggressive comment that is “Good luck with that”.  Why thank you very much I do consider myself extremely lucky and how kind of you to notice.

But for some reason, the comment “Are you going to try for a girl?” gets under my skin more than the others.  As if to imply that my life isn’t complete if I don’t have a little girl, or that it is missing an important element. Would I have liked to have a little girl.  Absolutely.  For two main reasons:  1) I have a great relationship with my mother and it would have been wonderful to experience being on the mother side of that kind of relationship and 2) After raising a boy, it would have been nice to experience the difference in raising a girl.   I understand the desire to have both, I really do.  BUT that doesn’t make me ungrateful for the three, gorgeous, kind, intelligent, loving boys that I have been blessed with.  I quite frankly wouldn’t have it any other way.

So let me just put this out there once and for all, for everyone to hear: this baby factory is closed for business forever!!  We are very happy, content and blessed with the family we have created.  So if a perfect stranger asks me “are you gonna try for a girl” my response is simply “are you going to make her, and carry her for me?  Because I’ve perfected the art of making gorgeous boys and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”