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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween. An Update.


Introducing....

Dorothy (and Toto),



the scarecrow,


and the Wizard.

Getting ready to Trick or Treat.I stayed home (again) and handed out candy. Henry only went to a few houses and then came home (unhappily) to help hand out candy. He staked out the spot right in front of the door and proceeded to sort through his candy. This must be an inborn skill, Halloween Candy Sorting.And finally, the above picture cracks me up for many reasons. He brought "Jack" up from the steps where he sits during the fall, sat him down on the toy box and climbed up to sit next to him. That's funny all by itself but then I was reminded of Miss M. last year. She brought "Jack" to kindergarten for show and tell and told her class that "Jack" comes alive at night and dances for us. I, of course, must be sleeping when this happens. Good old "Jack", it wouldn't be Halloween without him on our steps.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Slacker Mom's R' Us.

Did you know that I never owned one of those cart thingamajigees that keeps babies safe from germs at the store?
Or that sometimes at night when one of the kids wakes up, I pretend I am sound asleep so that J has to get up? (I know that's just cruel.)

How about the fact that at one time, I had in my possesion six different strollers? I've since cut down and currently only own four. In case you're wondering, we only have one child who's even stroller riding size.

Did you know that in the summer and on the weekends I won't let T or M get up until 8am? I figure they need the sleep and besides the first few days of break they rarely even wake before that anyway. But if they do, they know that they need to either read or play quietly in their bedrooms until 8am. Even though H usually is up by 6:30, it gives me a little quiet time before the bustle of the day begins.

What do you think about character shoes? Me, I can't stand them. I have never bought any and have no plans too. There will be no Sponge Bob, Elmo or Dora character light up shoes.

I take my kids to the children's museum. I sometimes buy them a treat, just because. And sometimes we go to Target, just to go somewhere, walk around and enjoy a cookie and a coffee. H has never seen a zoo, just the inside of Cabela's.

Did you know that we actually own a Baby Einstein DVD? And I actually let H watch it? He could have cared less.

How about last Christmas, when M got a Bratz doll from a relative and instantly looked over at me and said, in front of everyone, "Please don't throw my doll away." ? (Before you start thinking I'm just plain heartless, I'm not that cruel, I just don't like street corner dolls.)
Do any of those things make me a bad mom or even a slacker mom?

My thoughts, probably not. They are just some of the things other parents think are less than perfect. Other parents don't approve of or think are bad, silly or just plain wrong.

I'm tired. Tired of hearing about the right way, the wrong way, the organic way, the all natural way.

I'm tired of hearing about the supposed perfect children that are growing up somewhere in this blessed country of ours.

I'm tired of the judgements, criticisms and issues that go along side with all of that.

I'm tired of opening up magazines or books or watching the news and hearing about what's now changed, what they formerly thought was ok and now is not ok.

I mean seriously, is there a reason we have to judge, critique, instill fear in our peers? The other people doing the best at their job of parenting as well?

So, in all seriousness, I don't consider myself a slacker mom. I've talked about this before and I know I'm far from perfect but I think the things I'm slacking on really aren't all that worrisome. I think we spend far too much time judging, comparing, trying to keep up with the Joneses than we need to.

That is why I was thrilled when Celia Rivenbark sent me a copy (*free*) of her new book "Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank."

I laughed. And laughed. And laughed some more.

Her book is great. Her sense of humor and writing style cracked me up.

From jokes about her trip to Disney, trying to do it all right for her little girl to the birthday party scenes. She makes being a slacker mom sound cool!

I especially loved that the book was broken into mini-chapters. It was like reading someone's blog. Seriously. Each mini-chapter was like a blog post. I could read one while waiting for an appointment. Read one before bed. I love to read but sometimes it's hard to find a big chunk of time to read a book and then I have to backtrack or remind myself what was happening where I left off, this book had none of that. It was great.
The book isn't all humor on parenting. She has a section on celebrities; 'Don't hate them cause they're beautiful when there are so many other reasons.' She has a section on husbands and of course has lots of humor on being a "Southern Belle."

It was a great read and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who reads and laughs on the go.

And the title, I couldn't agree with it more. I see more six year olds dressed like they are seventeen all the time.

Celia's book once again gave me insight and perspective on the whole war to be a perfect parent. I'm out.

So slacker or not, the good news for us is that despite the things we may not be doing the absolute "perfect" way, our kids are turning out just fine.
All pictures are from Summer 2007.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Long and Lean, Just the Way We Like 'Em.

Yesterday morning was H's 18 month appointment.

No drama. No data privacy issues.

For the record books: he weighed in at 26 lbs and 14 oz and is a whopping 34 inches long/tall.

Almost 3 feet tall!

So to all those who keep telling me what a round, chubby, big, boy he is, the doctor says he calls that long and lean, thankyouverymuch.
video
And because I just can't resist, here is H dancin' away. I was cleaning up M's bedroom and putting clothes away when he came in, turned on some music and danced. Love it.

(He's just about naked because of a very, messy PB&J lunch and those two colorful things on his legs are bandaids from his shots. The music is Hollaback Girl on a Barbie CD.)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Quality Friday: Last Time This Year.

Last Saturday our family was double, make that triple, booked. We had a lot of different plans and things going on but the one thing that was the most important was going to to the Farmers Market with my parents. It was our last time this year. It's getting colder and colder every week and less and less vendors are showing up with their fresh crops, veggies and produce.
We had a great time, like always. Of course, no trip to the market is complete without a trip to the brats and hot dog stand. Here's everyone (minus me) enjoying their morning snack. Again, I held out for French Meadow bakery with M. Sadly by the time we got to the bakery (what can I say we were a poky crew this week) there was only one donut left. In case you might be confused, M got it.
We also got the kids their pumpkins there this year. With the widest selection around, you really get to see everything from white and yellow to orange, big and small. They also had some decorating demonstrations going on so the kids were able to paint small pumpkins to take home too.T, M, part of H with our cousins Brittany and Michael.

J carrying T's pumpkin to the car.


Everybody including Uncle Richard and Jeane but minus my dad and H.

I love the farmers market, mostly because I know how happy my mom and dad are when they go there. But I think also because of the atmosphere. I feel like we are so relaxed there. The kids can run up and taste apples and veggies and salsas and olives and cheeses and enjoy the smells and tastes and sights we see. People come from all over, every race, nationality, age, gender, personality is there. It's probably the most diverse thing we can be a part of right now. And I like that.

The farmers market runs all year so there are plenty of more opportunities to go, I just don't know how many we'll take advantage of living in the cold state of Minnesota but I am looking forward to next summer when we can do it all again.

Happy Quality Friday!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

So What If The Animals Aren't Living.

Today I took H to the zoo. Not the real zoo. But the closest thing we have to a zoo around these parts.


Yes, the animals may all be stuffed but that didn't stop him from having an absolute blast.

On Monday, at ECFE one of the moms was talking about how she takes her kids there to play like once a week. At the time I was thinking there would be no way I would be going to a hunting/fishing/sporting goods store once a week. Oy! After she talked more about it thought I realized, why not, it's full of animals and all sorts of fun adventures for little ones.

The aquariums are better than Underwater World and while the rest of the animals at Cabela's are stuffed, the fish are alive.

We spent over an hour walking the store, talking to the (dead) animals, playing with the toy stuffed animals. We went upstairs and saw kids playing games and then went to the restaurant (yes, they even have a restaurant) for a little snack.
H was very sad to leave, but I promised another trip there soon. Considering it's 10 minutes from home and pretty cheap entertainment I don't think I'll mind taking him back again soon. Plus, I saw signs that they have a great brunch on the weekends for only $6.99 a person. I love brunch, so we just may have to take a Saturday morning trip. (Members of the brunch club, I think you need to come and review this one!!!)

So what if the animals aren't living, we had a great time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Taking It All For Granted.

Over the weekend we went to a Halloween party given by some neighborhood acquaintances of ours. They live in our culdesac and their kids aren't that close in age to ours but they are always nice and friendly and each year host this party that we go to with the rest of the development, it seems.

This last Saturday was this years party and it was great. The kids got all decked out in their costumes and we walked down the street. They had a great time playing games, getting goody bags, eating treats and pizza and just having a good time.

There were a couple families there that I had never met before. One of them has a little boy who's just a little older than Henry, and his cancer is currently in remission. Yes, you read that right, his cancer. I don't know what kind of cancer he had, I do know that he's all done with chemotherapy now and I do know that he looks just like any other toddler boy. I didn't ask questions of the parents because of my own awkwardness. But I wish I would have.

Another family at the party was there with their two little girls, eleven months apart. Bella, 21 months old is adopted from Guatemala. She was promised to the couple when she was days old and was supposed to come to the states at 3 months. Instead, legal red tape got the best of the situation and the couple waited. While they waited, the once "infertile" couple miraculously became pregnant. She had a baby girl last December, Bella came from Guatemala in January.

Sometimes it's easy to whine and complain about the busyness of life, the ups and downs of normal life. But it was so clear to me Saturday how much I take for granted.

I can't imagine having a sick child. I can't imagine watching my child suffer through an illness and go through chemo treatments. It is hard enough to watch one's parent do this let alone your child. As I watched their little boy run and play with the kids, it made me think of just how much I take our health and safety for granted.

I can't imagine waiting for a child from abroad, waiting and praying for a little one you've never met and not getting to see her or hold her in your arms until nine months after the date you were promised. And then having even more on your plate than you ever intended. God is so mysterious,isn't he?

I don't know why these families have been struck with such heartache, I'm certain it's not because they deserve it.

I know that these are just two families out of hundreds, millions that have watched their children suffer through diseases or waited for a child to arrive from overseas. There are lots more families with worse struggles than even these. But I have nothing to complain about, at least I shouldn't.

The quest for the perfect Halloween costume is small beans compared to some of the daily struggles other families are living through.

I take so much for granted. Too much.

Today I am going to thank God for family, health, safety and the blessings he pours upon us every day. I'm asking Him to forgive me, yes forgive me for taking it all for granted.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Searching. And Following the Yellow Brick Road.

At about noon today I put a post up about our seemingly unending search for the 'perfect' Halloween costumes. I promptly took it down as it seemed more like a rant and rave than anything else.

Jeff took the kids shopping again last night after our disastrous trip the first time and still they came home empty handed. Did I tell you they were shopping for 2 1/2 hours?!?

The problem was they have a hard time making up their minds and then M had decided that she wanted to be a dog, we couldn't find a dog costume ANYWHERE. (By the way, when and if we ever did find or make a dog costume, she could have very well changed her mind.)

So her and I sat here, in our sparkling, clean, organized home (due to some hard working kiddos this AM), searching the web for ideas and possibilities.

(By the way, when you google dog costume, an overabundance of dogs dressed in costumes comes up. I almost think it's easier to find a costume for your pet than actual children.)

However the search is over, the decisions have been made and I'm actually not only excited but also proud of the choices that they have made. T is going to be a wizard (he actually thought of this all on his own!!!) and M is going to be DOROTHY!!!!

When I got H's scarecrow costume I had mentioned that 'wouldn't it be so fun, cute, exciting if they each were characters from the Wizard of OZ?' I was met with less than enthusiasm about this idea so I let it go. But now I'm thrilled especially because the choices were of no prompting of mine, nor J's, instead they came up with them and used their creativity and you'll just have to wait and see how fabulous they are.

Speaking of searches, you'll be happy to know that this week, the following Google searches have led people here:

stay at home mom husband thinks I get to play all day hard work! which led the Googler to this post. (Funny since if you read my post I don't say anything even remotely close to that.)

MOPS Sharing recipes and Craft Christain ladies group (Yes, Christian is misspelled) which led the Googler to this post.

target starbucks coffee bags and Kate Spade diaper bag craigslist which led the Googler to this post.

Nice to have something different than the typical play date etiquette and undressing at doctor's office searches that typically lead here, here and here.

In other exciting news, my husband and I are going on a date tonight, which is always something for me to look forward to, and coincidentally enough the kids are planning on watching "The Wizard of OZ" with the sitter.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Day to Day Life.

It's Minnesota Education Break today and tomorrow, which means we're all home. I'm off, Ty and Maddy are off and Jeff even took the days off. So we're hoping amidst the rain and glummy weather to enjoy our time off.

Today after we got Henry's 18 month pictures done and lunch with J's parents, we took the kids costume shopping which was nothing short of a nightmare. I think there are far too many options these days. And seriously, whatever happened to re-using costumes, being the same thing another year or even making costumes.

Henry is going to be a scarecrow, so that's all fine and dandy but it's the other two that are having a hard time. Let's just say this wasn't his best moment. August 2007. When mommy forced this costume on him while he was eating his snack.

We have a box of costumes from my parents with things that my sisters and I used to dress up in that the kids from time to time use and play in so this afternoon they are down there with their friend Alex trying things on and playing. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that maybe something in that box, or even our old box will strike them as "the one" and the decision will be made. Until then at least they are making Jeff and I laugh with different masks, ears and other accesories.

H and I attended MOPS yesterday and here's what I made this week.
I'm beginning to impress you now, aren't I? I'm not even going to tell you all the fabulous dinners I have been cooking this week. You might get jealous!

And finally, two funny things Miss. M has managed to crack me up with the past couple days.

Funny thing number one:
On Tuesday, she went on a fieldtrip with school. The trip got back to school about 20 minutes before school got out and the kids who's parents chaperoned got to take their kids home. Well while I didn't chaperone, Tuesday is a day I am working at school and Miss. M took that to mean she too could leave school. It was good because on Tuesdays I am trying to alternate taking one of the kids at a time just to get a hot cocoa or a cider before going home to send babysitter girl home and meet the other one from the bus.

So her and I ran got some hot apple cider and she pointed out a pet shop nearby. So, knowing how much this girl likes animals I agreed and to the pet shop we went.

We looked at the kittens and the puppies and when I saw a Husky, I told her it reminded me of my old dog Gabe. So she tells me, "If you really want a dog, all you have to do is pay some money and you get to take it home. All you have to do is pay money, so easy."

And to that, I laughed because when I think about owning a dog I think about not just paying the money to own the dog but the walking of the dog, and the vet visits, and the dog dirt and the hair....and my list goes on and on.

So I just laughed and told her, "Someday."

Funny thing number two:
Today at Target, she managed to find a lifesize pony that "comes to life" when you feed and brush him. On sale this week for $274.99.
So she looks over at me and said, "I only have $1.00, can you borrow me the rest of the money? I will do a lot of chores for you."

Again, I laughed because she can't even fathom how many chores she would be doing for me to buy her a lifesize pony for our house.And in case you're wondering, yes I do always have my camera with me. You never know when you might need it.

All this makes the day to day life so much more fun, doesn't it?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Eighteen Months.

It is true that I said before that I may not do anymore monthly updates but I can't resist.

Eighteen months have come and gone so quickly. We are now the parents of a toddler, a boy in the making instead of a chubby cheeked babe.
Henry is so hard to describe. A bundle of energy. Busy is an understatement. He is full of personality that is rapidly developing. I only love him more as time goes on.

He loves going to ECFE and is one of the busier kids in class. He climbs, he runs, he plays with it all.
He is independent now in the way he enters and leaves the house. He walks out the door holding onto the side and enters the same way.

He climbs onto chairs and furniture.
His word repertoire expands daily and he calls each of us by name now. Mama, Dada, Ta-La, Ma.

He plays with his toy cars on the floor and goes "Vroom, Vroom" and each time I see and hear that, I grin.
He laughs. At himself, at his brother and sister and at Jeff and I. It is a laugh only he can do and it makes you think that it must be the funniest thing ever to get such a loud and strong giggle.
Speaking of his brother and sister, he loves watching the bus arrive to pick them up for school and loves waiting for the bus to come drop them off. Both kids get off the bus smiling at him and he can barely contain his joy. Their joy for each other is the definition of love.
Henry's also started going down the sassy road. With his developing personality comes stubborness and frustration. The more we say no, the more he goes for it.

He sings. Maybe not the right words but the tunes of ABC's, You Are My Sunshine and the Choo-Choo Song.
He dances.

He loves life, as I think most eighteen month olds do. I wish that I could bottle up all the joy and curiousity in him and save it for down the road.
His favorite word is No.
Henry do you want some milk? No.
Henry should we go outside? No.
He doesn't quite know how to say yes yet in words but does it with his eyes and body.

I mentioned before he starts the day by slipping on his Crocs, which it's now getting too cold to wear outside. He loves to go Bye-Bye and sometimes will stand at the gate and say, "Go. Go. Go." over and over. It's a good thing I like to be on the go.
He is beautiful and silly and wonderful and I would not trade one moment of my life with him for anything.

Like I've said before using quotes from Pablo Casals and Anna Quindlen, he is a marvel and he is teaching us all how to live differently.
Happy 18 months sweet boy.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Just When You Were Starting To Think I Might Be Deep.

I need a toddler bag.

Perhaps need is the wrong word, but I want a toddler bag. I am on the hunt for this invention and if I don't find what I am looking for I might just have to make it myself. Which will be quite a stretch for this non-domestic-chick.

I don't quite need the 20 pound diaper bag I used to need when going place to place with the babe. I need room for a diaper or two and some wipes. A sippy cup and a snack. And then my stuff. You know my wallet, keys, cell phone, anything else I'm hauling that day.

My old Kate's and Coach's won't quite work. Too small, too nice and too pursey.

And the Kate Spade diaper bag I just had to have is long gone. Yes, I sold her to some lovely lady off of Craigslist who's always wanted that diaper bag. Be ye not so stupid and don't buy a bag based on look, buy it on the principle of function instead. Sorry Kate, your bag did not have much function beyond making me have to dump out the entire bag everytime I needed something.

I bought a Skip Hop bag over the summer, which was lovely for travel and I'll hold on to that one for later use, but I'm really not into the whole messenger bag thing unless I'm traveling.

I don't want something small.

I don't want something large.

I want something JUST RIGHT.

I've been looking and researching and to more stores than one can count. I've looked at designer bags from Petunia Pickle Bottom to Reese Li, I've looked at no-name bags from Target to Babies R Us, but nothing yet resounds with me that this is it.

I don't want something that looks like a diaper bag, yet I don't want something that looks too nice to have toddler accesories tucked inside.

My quest for the right toddler bag is difficult which is why I am soliciting your help.

So throw a girl a line and recommend a bag or two.

Please.

And since I haven't quite made my millions yet so make sure it's reasonably priced. Thanks!

The other "invention" I'm working on right now that will put me right up there with Bill Gates is a new kind of shopping cart at Target.

Our Target has a Starbucks coffee in it. Which is sometimes oh-too-convenient.

However I can't get my non-fat grande carmel macciato with light whip before I shop, because I have nowhere to put it. (And maybe it's just me but I have a hard time steering a cart with one hand.)

They originally had a little attachment for the cart to place your cup, however people don't always return them and then they get left on carts out in the parking lot and get damaged and cracked, thus leaving my Target Starbucks without any of these fancy cupholders.

Ta-da, allow me to introduce my new cart invention. Child sits in cart facing the back of the cart so they can steer the attached toy steering wheel. (We're going all out here people.) Behind child is a compartment that folds in or you can pull it out, kind of like a cup holder in a vehicle, only it also has room for keys or spare change as well. Oh I'm thinking aren't I? In case you're having a hard time visualizing, perhaps I will make a sketch and attach later.

Voila! Place your coffee behind the child, thus out of child's reach while shopping. No more spilt coffee in the back of the cart. No more trying to steer with one arm.

I. Love. It.
Anybody know anyone in shopping cart design that would like to design my cart for me?

And finally, tonight yours truly is making a Chicken Pot Pie for dinner. I have no idea what's gotten into me besides the rapidly descending temperatures making me want some nice warm dinner. But I'm actually fairly excited about my very simple recipe and the healthy meal I've got planned.

All in a day's work, toddler bag hunting, cart designing and chicken pot pie.

My husband will be so proud.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Is This A Hint?

What does it mean when your First Grader checks out this book from the school library?

Cooking the Lebanese Way

*Also, there's a new discussion taking place over at Random Thoughts Book Club. Be sure and check out what we thought of Love You, Mean It, a memoir written by four widows of 9/11.*

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Rapid Subject Change.

Today I'm over at Cribsheet, where I tend to always be talking about the most controversial parenting issues, I kid you not.

On the docket today is boys and toy guns.

So go on over and check out what I'm thinking these days and whether you're a parent or not, give me your two cents.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Love

Five years ago in July, I sat in on my parents patio with them where they told me that 2007 was going to be "their" year. They did not want any weddings or babies that year, they wanted that year to be able to celebrate their 30 years together. I am sure that they thought I long since forgot about that talk but I didn't.

In retrospect I don't think I ever thought anything of it, none of us could ever imagined or comprehended what this year would be like for our family.

At the beginning of the year my parents were travelling: To Florida, to Panama, to California with lots more plans for the year.

In spring life came to a halting stop. With the news of my mom's cancer and her diagnosis came a different kind of bonding. The ups and downs that happen with cancer patients. Immediate chemo, losing one's hair, painful bouts and hospitalized stays.

The last time my mom was in the hospital just before they got sent home my dad got down on one knee and asked her to marry him all over again.

Without surprise my mom said yes. So quickly, in two weeks time, we put together a vow renewal ceremony, in their beautiful backyard, officiated by one of the minister's at church. We shopped for a gown, my mom and dad ordered a cake and we all prayed for good weather.

Good weather we got. We could not have ordered a better day. It was perfect in every single way. Considering there were no written invitations, seeing well over 100 people there was inspiring.

My older sister and I were asked to read the scriptures that had been read at their original wedding. My older sister stood up and read her scripture brilliantly and then I stood and began to read. And then, I began to weep.

When people ask about my mom, I do not cry. I keep myself together. I am matter-of-fact. Not because I am not sad but because I am, in that respect, a private person.

But Saturday, I read through tears the following scripture:

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but
didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had
the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God's secret plans and
possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains,
but didn't love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the
poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love
others, I would have gained nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is not
jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not
irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about
injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never
loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy
and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But
love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even
the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when full
understanding comes, these partial things will become useless. When I was a
child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put
away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but
then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial
and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now
knows me completely. Three things will last forever-faith, hope, and love-and
the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13
Though I try to be composed and keep myself together, it is the reality that causes me to become overcome. I was reading such truths aloud at my parents vow renewal and while it was a happy day, the tears came especially easy.

I am sure there are many couples who renew their vows over the years but this was different. It was unique, it was special, it was holy.

My parents exchanged the exact vows they said so many years ago and as it was time for their rings my dad slipped a new ring on my mom's finger, representing the past, the present and the future.

You may assume that I am biased, but I believe my mom and dad are a couple to be admired. The love they share is evident in all they do, all they have done. They are the truest of true love I have ever witnessed and they set the standard for Jeff and I to live up to. They have witnessed and lived out the above scriptures, which is perhaps the reason that the ceremony struck me in such an overwhelming way.

It is in the way my mom loves my dad and respects his work and his funny side. She's his biggest fan, his partner in life and most precious confidante. It is in the way my dad looks at my mom and wants it all to be perfect for her. His concerns and convictions to make her life all that she deserves and more. It is in the way that he calls her his 'everything'.
video
Most day-of photos are unedited images courtesy of Nicole Olson Photography.
Music: Everything by Michael Buble'

Monday, October 8, 2007

My Heart Is Smiling.


More to come.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Overwhelmed.

I mentioned this summer that there was a stay at home mom who wrote something about her feelings that being a stay at home mom is not that hard. I said a few times that I would get back to that, but it was never quite the right time. I was never quite feeling as strongly as I do right now.

So today I interrupt the normal sunshine and roses you typically read here to give you a glimpse of our week.

This week has been an overwhelming, long, tiring, exhausting week. And I can say that now on Friday afternoon while my hyperactive 17 month old child is sound asleep and the other two won't be home until this evening and also because today has been the best day of our week so far and I have got to believe we're on our way up out of the funk I've been in.

Allow me to share with you some highlights of my week:

Mondays are our busiest day right now. H and I take ECFE in the mornings. Where this week in class H discovered the snack cabinet and constantly wanted to open the cabinet and grab the snacks. I only spent the first 45 minutes of class trying to occupy him with other things.

We come home for lunch and nap. Typically H awakes just before the bus comes so we headed to the bus stop to greet M at 2:30pm.

T is currently doing third grade football so he stays after until 3:45pm. We pick him up. Come home, have snacks, get M dressed and ready for dance/gymnastics which starts at 5pm.

This last week we went early because we had to order new tap shoes, so I set H on the floor and asked T to keep an eye on him for a minute while I filled out the order and paid.

I turned around to see T fully engaged in some toys on the floor and no H.

M rushes off into the gym for class. I walked over to T.
"Where's H?"

"Umm. Oops." He looked at me embarrassed.

Immediately I started to panic thinking he got outside the front door and is in the parking lot. But nope as soon as I went to the door to look out a woman came into the lobby.

"Who's child is this?" She bellowed nastily.

"Oh my goodness. He's mine. I am SO sorry." I apologize profusely.

"You need to keep a better eye on your child, he was running across the gymnastics floor and that is not safe."

I apologize again.
She keeps yelling.
I keep apologizing.
She keeps yelling.

Believe me, my child will never again be loose in that gym. Every single parent in the lobby stared at me like I had broken some cardinal rule.

By the time J walked in the door to meet us at class I had had more than enough. Between putting on ballet shoes, entertaining H, putting on tap shoes, cleaning up cereal that H spilt all over the floor, trying to convince T why this would be a good time to do his daily reading for school, I was done.

"I...am...going home!" I said exasperated.

So home I came.
Alone.

Not for any free down time, but to make dinner since class gets out at 6:15 and by the time we usually get home it's 6:30.

With a 7:30pm bedtime that's not much time.

Let's talk about Tuesday now, shall we?

I've mentioned H's new separation issues. Well in the past what seemed to help was talking about it before I left for work. Saying today I am going to work and babysitter girl is coming over.

He did so much better with the transition.

Well this last week, as soon as I mentioned babysitter girl and me going to work, he freaked.

Try getting two kids out the door for school and get yourself ready for work with an 17 month old attached to your leg. It's nearly impossible. And people at school wonder why sometimes I look the way I do.

I should have known though that something was up because by the time I got home at 2pm. H had a temp of 103 degrees.

So our Wednesday day was spent at home. And it was one of the longest days of my entire life.

H was into everything and everywhere. I was tired. He was tired. I was cranky. He was cranky.

Naturally, it was a day J was working late.

H napped less than an hour in the afternoon. I was thinking it might not be that bad since he'd go to bed earlier.

No such luck.

By 8pm I decided that I had had enough and he could stay up and run around until J got home. His choice activity was climbing up and down the entryway steps.

I was spent. Physically. Emotionally. In every regard.

Thursday morning I woke up and felt miserable. I was exhausted from the busyness of life and an active, ill toddler the day before who decided to awake three different times that night.

And don't worry, my husband slept soundly.

I sat on the couch for about 30 minutes waiting for babysitter girl to arrive. I did not get H dressed. I barely got myself dressed and certainly did not shower, what with the new 5am wake up he tried that morning.

Halfway through the day I called home and asked babysitter girl to take H to the park so I could come home, take a shower and get some overdue projects done for work without any distractions. (Who do I think I am, a NYC mama?)

It was right about then that I decided no, being a mom is not easy. Being a stay at home mom isn't easy and being a working mom isn't easy. And considering I fall in between the two "titles" I'm going to go out on a limb and say being any kind of mom is hard work.

By the way, what's the deal with the title stay-at-home mom? Do you seriously know any moms who stay at home all the time? Because I don't.

I'm generally a happy, easy going, fun loving person, you should know that about me by now, but this past week I was not. I was tired, down and overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed by all the stresses and tasks on my plate.

My plate is heapingly full.

Family commitments and childrens activities. My job. My husbands ever growing career. My home that was a heck of a lot cleaner when I worked full time, how does that work? The task of trying to teach little people how to live their lives while providing an environment where they can grow and flourish their little wings.

I love being a mom and stepmom and would not trade for one second any of it. The craziness and the calm. (I'm trying to remember if there has ever been a calm?)

But sometimes weeks like this week happen and I just want to pull my hair out and scream.

I'm serious.

Sometimes it's just not any fun.

Thankfully there are more times that are fun than the ones that aren't.

So this post is dedicated to all the mothers. The veteran mom's who's kids are grown. The new moms with itty bitty babies just figuring it out. The mom of school age kids. The stepmoms. The future mamas.

Dedicated to all of those, because for me, it's important to be honest and give credit where credit is due.

You've got (or you will have) one of the toughest jobs out there. And there are going to be days and moments where you think you are in way over your head, but in the end, your reward is all the little blessings a child (both big and small) brings to you.

So how about this, the next time you see a mom out and about struggling through her day, help her out, make her smile and give her a little grace.

She may just be feeling a tad bit overwhelmed.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Hump Day.

We're home today.

H, has somehow gotten tonsillitis. With a fever of 103 degrees last night and a fussy couple hours I knew something wasn't quite right so to Urgent Care we went. (I was beginning to forget what it was like to go and sit at Urgent Care, it's been so long.)

Naturally as soon as we arrived at the clinic, my child acted as though I was crazy and he was totally well. Laughing at the receptionist. Smiling at the aquarium. Trying to get away from me and run and play.

By the time we got into the exam room I began to wonder if maybe I really was crazy. H was a different child.

The nurse checked him out quickly and took down his stats the whole while mentioning that he seemed fine to her and if anything, might have a virus.

A doctor came in and looked him over quickly and said that his guess is that the strep test would come back negative and that it's a virus.

Again reminding me that if he was really sick I'd know because he wouldn't be "happy".

Another doctor came in (remember this is Urgent Care) looked at his ears, listened to him breath and then did a second throat culture.

Then he had me hold him down so he could have a really good look at his throat.

Right away he could tell H had tonsillitis.

So we made a late night trip to the pharmacy and picked up his five days of meds and came home.
So today we'll be resting and relaxing at home. Though his spirits are normal and his energy level remains at CONSTANT, it's still good to rest.
We missed our second week of MOPS today because I really could not go in good conscience knowing he's sick. And truth be told I was disappointed, I was actually looking forward to it.
We also won't be seeing my mom until Saturday since the doctor said that even though H shouldn't be contagious anymore, she should not be exposed to H for three full days. But Saturday is fine by me...it's a big day, my parents are renewing their vows! More on that later I'm sure!
So you be the judge, here's a peak at H today, he looks so sickly doesn't he? All kidding aside, the meds he's on is miracle meds. He's feeling much better!
Miss M. was quite pokey this morning and missed the bus. Though she was disappointed about not getting to see her 'new' friend Stephanie, ironically enough Stephanie missed the bus too and her mom and I parked right next to each other and both girls were able to go into school together. How's that for happy endings?

Have I ever told you that H puts his shoes on right when he wakes up in the morning? Yes, it's true. My child is on the go, ALL THE TIME.

Enjoying a drinkable yogurt. His favorite treat and meal of preference today.

And yes, it's 11am and H is still in only a onesie and I'm still in my pajamas too. I've decided since it's just going to be one of those days why bother.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Arrowwood 2007 Part Two.

me, dad, mom, my older sister sarah and my younger sister adrianne.
Yes, it's true we went to Arrowwood with my parents, again.

This time both my older sister and her family and my younger sister joined us as well. The more the merrier in my book.

Twelve people!
t, m, h and my niece and nephew.

We had a great time and it was just nice to be able to spend time with the family. My mom and dad had a great time too. Every time I saw my mom she had a huge grin on her face.
m, my little sis and me floating along the lazy river.
dad being a daredevil and going down slides.

We swam. We ate. We swam. We shopped. We swam. We gallivanted around Alexandria, which included stops at the Carlos Creek Winery and the Pizza Ranch. We swam. We mini-golfed. We swam. We biked. We swam. We played outside. We swam.


Thanks again mom and dad for a fun-tastic weekend. We had a blast!