Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Embracing Where You Are...

In the world we live in, it's so easy to get lost in expectations. More than likely, as a mom, you've set such ridiculously high standards and expectations for the way things are "supposed" to be and how things are "supposed" to go that we don't realize that we are not carbon copies of perfection...

  • our kids are going to spill things....

  • they're going to make a mess...

  • they're going to get gooey fingerprints on your only clean dress shirt...

  • they're going to have a meltdown when you take away the spatula because they're hitting the dog with it...

  • they're going to have a dirty diaper when you're running five minutes late and pick them up to head out the door only to catch a whiff of the stank filling their Pampers... only to realize you're out of diapers on the changing table and so you have to clean them off and let them run around with a bare butt while you ravage the diaper bag for the last clean diaper...

  • They're going to empty whatever it is that you just filled up...

  • they're going to dump the dog water if you leave it unsecured...

  • they're going to scream when you're on the phone...

  • More than likely you're not going to be skinnier than your pre-pregnancy weight eight days after giving birth... or even eight months....

We need to be okay with being able to embrace the stage we are at in our lives without guilt or shame.

Guilt? Shame? Such heavy words but, yes.... don't feel guilty for living the stage of life you're in. There's no guilt in being a mom. But, I'll admit, it's hard not to when you've got others that aren't in the same season of life, being able to do things that you WANT to... but can't. It's hard. Sometimes, it downright sucks. But it's just a season... One of my favorite quotes is so poignant in this situation: "This, too, shall pass."

Don't make excuses for your house being a mess when you have a toddler. 'Tis the season.

Don't make excuses for your kitchen to be piled with dishes when you have kids... 'tis the season.

Don't feel guilty for not keeping up with everyone's Facebook entries if you have a life... (well, that's just coz you have a life... nothing really to do with kids! ha!)

I have friends that think I'm supermom. I'm far from it. I have things I do well at and I have things that I struggle constantly with. I'm a neat-freak, organizer, planner, OCD, anal-retentive, control freak. I like organization. I like a place for everything and everything in it's place. I don't have that right now. It's driving me nutso.

If you walk into my home, you'll see piles of "stuff" in my foyer. The "stuff" is the bane of my existence at the present time. I'm purging my home of maternity clothes, infant "stuff" and gear as well as junk. Some is listed on e-bay, some is listed on Craigslist, some is being given to a teen MOPS group and some of it is being donated to charity. BUT, until it's all dealt with, it's SOMEWHERE. And, generally, that somewhere is a place where it really does NOT belong.

In the family room I have a huge Rubbermaid tub of fall/winter maternity clothes. They obviously won't be big sellers right now so I'm going to have to hold onto those (and find someplace to store them) until such time that I can sell them. My desk, right now, it's got a couple of piles of "stuff" that I need to go through.

The breakfast nook has not one, not two, but three dog crates in it. Why? Because there's really no other place to put three dog crates in our home. Especially when one is large enough to put a refrigerator in it... even though it typically houses a Moose. (I think, however, they all may be moved to the bedroom. Isn't that such a calming thought and lovely bedroom decor? Dog crates. Bleh!)

My kitchen... this is the only room, (sans the bar area that has three things that need to be mailed -- Sorry Amanda, it's just sitting there waiting for me to take Brenden's box to the PO!) that I am able to keep totally clean on a continual, daily basis.

The playroom generally looks like Toys R Us threw up all over it (and surprisingly, I'm totally okay with that).

My scraproom is slowly being organized so that I can get back in there and SCRAP! It's so calming for me and I miss it so!

The formal dining room (off the playroom and to the left of the foyer) is generally crap free other than right now it has a few decorative items on it that can't be left low because some little Chuckie running through our house wants to destroy them.

And that's just today... who knows what it will be like tomorrow. But, generally speaking, who really cares? I want my boys to remember we had fun in the kitchen, we played in the yard, we did things and not worried about the "fluff." 'Tis the season, you know. It's summer. That's my excuse (for now) anyway. And, because of that, I can embrace where I am.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Night one....

It's a bittersweet kind of night for me tonight. Tonight is my first night sleeping without my little baby boy by my side. He's slept next to me since the day he was born. Even at the hospital when I could let the nursery keep him, I had him in my room with me all the time. He's my little man. I am his mother. However, I know that all good things must come to an end (sniff, sniff) and so tonight, Friday, June 24, 2011 is his first night sleeping in his crib.

I should be sleeping since I'm sure he'll wake up without the feelings, sounds and warmth that he's used to and be in a panic and cry which means that I'll be getting up trying to soothe a little person who doesn't understand... but right now... I'm laying here in bed, propped on pillows with an aching neck missing my little person...

... the little person I watch in the glow of the clock from the FIOS box... I watch him as he soothes himself night after night while he's falling asleep. He'll lay back and fidget with his silky blanket and his snuggle bear. They'll get pushed to one side, they'll get pushed to the other side. He'll sit up a time or two... eventually he'll find that "just right" spot and he'll lay there... and that's when I can lay back and watch him in the glow... watch his hand raise and grab a foot... watch it wave around... watch it pet his silky blanket and generally watch it reach to see where I am... and ultimately rest somewhere on me.

I'm his comfort... he is my joy. And now.... I'm in my bed somewhat lost without him. He's the last one... my last baby... sigh... and now he's on his own, too. And I'm sad.

My mom would just say, "Cut the cord." And, while it's easy to say.... and somewhat easy to do (in all other aspects), I really look forward to these moments that are just he and I... just the two of us...

... and besides, he doesn't snore...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

It's Father's Day today.

It's a day to honor the men...

... that carried us, rocked us, sang to us and shared our tears as infants
... that encouraged us to take our first steps to independence
... that were a constant when the boys of our youth let us down
... that helped pick us up when we fell... as youth and adults
... that always seemed bigger than life
... that taught us life lessons and sometimes even let us learn the hard way
... that were our teachers, friends, cheerleaders, mentors, and role models
... that always seem to know all the answers were much simpler than we thought
... that showed us what forgiveness was
... that were our first true loves
... that were our first heroes

whether by chance or by choice or simply by the grace of God, we honor those that stepped up and became what every child needs and deserves... a true, loving and doting father.

However, it's also a day to celebrate those that have become fathers...

... those that shared in the joys of the two pink lines
... that suffered along with you through the aches and pains of pregnancy (and delivery)...
... as well as the hormones that go along with that (God bless you all... yikes!)
... that take on the role of "provider" for the family
... that are the Christ-head of the household
... that aren't afraid to get on the floor and play Barbie without fear of "Man-card revocation"
... that teach skills about respect like only a man can do
... that step in and become fathers to those with none

It's a day to celebrate all that makes REAL MEN "men" because anyone can be a donor.... but it takes someone truly special to be a dad!

My dad gave up his home-cooked meal to go help out at a single-parent camp in Ruidoso, New Mexico. He does this every year but it just happened to fall on Father's Day weekend and that pretty much sums up just the kind of guy he is. He's giving up his time with his family to help be a mentor and role model to those who may not have that... hero in my eyes, indeed!

I will get to share this day, too, with my father-in-law, Ed Driggers, who is an incredible man of faith who I have learned a great deal from in the short time I've known him. He's ... well, he's just amazing. I hope and pray that my three boys grow up to be so much like the two dads in my life... if they do, I will be even more so abundantly blessed.

In honor of this special day, I do what I do best -- COOK!

Today's menu includes BBQ pork ribs, loaded twice-baked potatoes, buttery corn, buttermilk biscuits and a strawberry-spinach salad. Dessert will be a red velvet cake with homemade chocolate butter cream frosting. Decorations for that will be provided by Drew because that's his gift... because everything is better with sprinkles. (and you can quote him!)

So, I'll raise my glass of sweet tea in an honorary toast to all the men out there who are not only my family but also those that are friends who are also great dads!! CHEERS TO THE DADS!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Andy and I go rounds about the Obama's. Neither of us like them. I think, however, that his view on some of the things concerning them is a tad skewed (just a tad) due simply to his gross disgust for them.

Michelle Obama's "mission" while being the First Lady is childhood obesity. It's an epidemic they say. So, Andy will say that he finds it funny how Michelle will go and make a speech about it and then the next day her hubs is out eating a double bacon cheeseburger or something. I'm like, HE ISN'T OBESE. I believe "everything in moderation" and, besides, he has people watching out for him and his health and seeing he exercises, etc.

So, because of that it's the "do as I say, not as I do" which, I give him, most politicians need to follow, he and I tend to be at odds on this mission of hers.

But one's diet is such a personal thing, I'm certainly not going to begrudge someone their cheeseburger -- if they're fit and healthy.

I do, however, feel like continued awareness needs to be made about the obesity problem but where in the world do you start?

When I actually watched television, Jamie Oliver did a show where he went into one area of the country and tried to convert the schools (who were feeding the children horrible food... everything was processed and fried and cheesy and creamy) to becoming more aware of perpetuating the expanding waistlines, heart disease and morbid obesity of this one community.

The schools hadn't any fresh foods on the menu. It was a hard sell but he started to make a difference. No one really wanted to hold up a mirror and see the ugliness they were doing to themselves, and more importantly, their children.

It seems like every news station has some feature at least weekly about this problem as well.

Additionally, I've got friends. (Surprising, I know). I've got friends with kids. These friends post pictures of their beautiful children on Facebook. I see some that have kids that are overweight and ... it makes me really sad.

Then, I go to Keller Pointe (the city's water park and rec complex) and I see these kids... some of these little boys have ROLLS and they're not even 8 or 9 years old yet. ROLLS??? Who in the world doesn't notice this kind of thing before it's beyond out of hand?

At what point do you look at your child and realize that THAT is NOT HEALTHY? That's not normal for a kid to have rolls of fat and visible cellulite at such an early age. I saw little girls in bikinis with stomachs and butts that are HUGE... and they're in a bikini? Not to mention the fact that I can't even imagine why a parent would buy their obese daughter a bikini (#1) or not do something about it before it got to the point that she's freakin' GIGANTIC?! It's just sickening.

That's when it's really going to have to be an ENTIRE FAMILY LIFESTYLE CHANGE. And, change is hard. But to combat this one child's problem, the eating habits of the ENTIRE FAMILY are going to have to change. It's not that one kid's problem - it's the PARENT'S PROBLEM AND RESPONSIBILITY. Someone has to do the shopping. Someone has to put their foot down and make the changes.... no processed foods, fill the plates half full with veggies... the other half with 25% lean protein and 25% grains. Lose the butter, creamy sauces, high fat dressings and RETEACH THOSE TASTE BUDS to learn to appreciate and real, unprocessed, whole foods. Lose the high sugar sodas, cookies, chips and candy... fill their stomachs with fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Take up exercise as a family and get fit together. Doing nothing isn't setting a good example for your kid... show them that NOT being fit isn't an option anymore.... that you're in this boat together. TEACH THEM HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY CHOICES!

My heart just breaks for these kids. I know how mean kids are. My 20 year reunion is around the corner and I still remember how mean some of the kids were in high school (not necessarily, to me, just in general).

Now, I don't know what it means to be the fat kid, but I certainly can't imagine that anyone wants to be like that. It's hard enough to just grow up... but to give people an instant reason to ridicule you... when kids sometimes don't have an option because they eat what their parents FEED THEM.

I can say, without a doubt in my mind that NO girl wants to have to have rolls, a belly and cellulite.... ever, let alone at the age of 8 or 9 or 10.

I can also attest by having boys that NO boy WANTS to have to wear clothes that should fit someone 15 years older than they are just because they're so morbidly obese.

It just saddens me... it really, really, saddens me. No one wants to be "the fat kid". No one. Why are these parents LETTING their kids BE THE FAT KID! We are a judgmental, first-impression society. No one will ever see your child as the beautiful person they are on the inside when they look like that on the outside. It's a sad, sobering, hard-core fact. And I sound like a real bitch for saying it.

I love and appreciate and find joy working with children... I've taught AWANA for years and Sunday School longer than I can remember. I've led a Cub Scout Pack and Den and have volunteered at the schools. I love kids. I love being around kids. But, I, too, see the hurt that this type of pressure places on them.

Kids don't always have the filter on their mouths and they hear things that would just break your heart from a very early age... I just find it so hard to believe that people are THIS CLUELESS ... they wouldn't dream of putting their kid in a car without a car seat or a seat belt to protect their outside... but what about their INSIDES? Just because you can't see their arteries and vainsdoesn't mean it's not even MORE important.... what you're FEEDING them... and what it's doing to them EMOTIONALLY!!! Many times, you can't ever fix's baggage they will carry with them for the REST OF THEIR LIVES!

Please tell me...

Please tell me that I'm not the only one that really finds it hard to not laugh and be excessively compassionate when your children don't listen to you, deliberately disobey and then get "hurt." I use that term loosely because the level of "hurt" is never fully understood at this house, it just depends upon whom inflicted said "hurt" and to what level of humility the "hurt" one claims to possess.

I think it tends to lend itself from the ages of 6-8.

Point in case we have a set of double doors that shut to close off the formal dining room from the kitchen (or, rather, what is SUPPOSED to be the formal dining room -- for us it's the playroom). Drew was HANGING from the two doorknobs. As in, he's in the middle of the door with his arms extended hanging from the knobs.

I said, "Drew, don't hang from the doorknobs, you're going to get hurt."

He continued to hang.

"Drew, get off the doors."

He tried to flip his feet up in the air (I don't know if he was attempting to do a flip or what) but duh the doors started to close... on his head.

Guess what, he immediately let go of the door knobs (since his head was wedged inside.)

Guess what, he got hurt.

Saving face, he just held his hands up to the sides of his head and stormed off (yeah, that's his annoying trait of the month... when things don't go to his liking he storms off in a huff with arms folded... like a little drama queen. It's annoying. I tell him he's acting like a girl. Yes, yes I do. I swear some days I'm going to give that kid a maxi pad with all the drama he spews.)

And I stood in the kitchen getting Ben out of his high chair letting everything unfold before me and, I just giggled (not aloud because then he'd REALLY have stormed off because he HATES to have ANYONE laugh at him.)

And as I type this... I sit here chuckling under my breath.

But, sometimes, it's good to just not say anything and let the life lessons happen... because if you've got boys, oh BOY will they happen.

Carry on!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

May I whine?

Generally speaking, I'm a fan of Google. (Thank you, Manny.)

Andy doesn't like it since "the cloud" retains any and all information for unspecified amounts of time (probably infinity squared) but, truth be known, I have nothing out there that's really worthy of being held for vast amounts of time. So, I figure if they're excited to read my recipe list or search through my homeschooling bookmarks, more power to them (whoever they are). It'd probably be more fun to watch paint dry or watch the dust slowly settle on the shelves.

I'm a fan of change. Change is good. It keeps you on your toes. However, I like my change to more in a forward progression. Therein lies my problem.

I am/is/are/was/were a user of Microsoft Outlook. I'm a big fan of this application for a multitude of reasons.
  1. I like that it has an e-mail feature so that my accounts download straight to my tower.
  2. I love that it has a contacts feature that I can record birthdays, anniversaries and all kinds of information like my friend's husband's names and their children's names and birthdays in a notes feature.
  3. I love the calendar and how the birthdays are automatically added to the calendar as well.
  4. And, last, and certainly not least, I love, LOVE, and I mean LUUUUUURVE the task list.
The task list is ... unable to be duplicated. And that, my friends, is a huge friggin problem. HUGE.

I'm able to go to outside resources for everything ELSE (like the contact list, the calendar and the e-mail), but I can't find anything even remotely close or somewhat comparable to the task list in Outlook. So I'm screwed. IT sucks! Royally!

I've been even searching the Droid marketplace for an app for it. So far, nothing.

I DO have a Cozi account and that's nice. It has a calendar feature, too, but I won't use it, I just use the Google calendar. It also has a To Do list feature and it's where I store my grocery list. I like that I can use the laptop in the kitchen to add things to the grocery list as I run out and when I get to the store, bam, it's right there on my phone.

However, you can't assign deadlines.

What you can do is create to-do lists, check the items off (just as you would on the grocery list) and then just "un" check the items when you're ready to start over but what if you DON'T save it? What if you accidentally delete it.

But you can't instantly sort, you can't assign priorities, you can't categorize them, you can't do anything but type something in and check it off when you're done. And frankly, that's not good enough for me. And that causes me stress.

I need Microsoft to come up with a portable Outlook for my Droid! (if they have that, I think I may die!)

So, there's my whine for the day.

(Oh, and GO MAVS! They're playing for the championship tonight.)

Snapshot of Drew...

Drew is almost 7.... and here's a snapshot of him.

  • The child is a Legomaniac. He has two under bed rolling storage tubs FULL OF THEM!
  • He lives to play with his friends... Jake, Hunter, Carson, Josh, Parker and Evan
  • He loves playing baseball. He's shortstop on the Red Sox.
  • He has a very sensitive heart but he's also a little toot in that if someone really hurts his feelings, I think before he ran away, he'd punch them in the nose (that's my boy!)
  • He loves the Lord and sings Bible songs all the time. "Blue skies and rainbows and sunbeams from heaven...."
  • He's a little picky when it comes to food. Not a lot, but somewhat. For instance, he won't eat a taquito (breakfast burrito) but he would eat eggs with a side of hash browns and bacon. But don't put them on bread, biscuits, a tortilla or an English muffin together! Don't you dare!
  • He is a Sponge Bob fanatic right now... it's neat to watch the tv phases the kids go through.... for a while it was Phineas and Ferb and now it's Sponge Bob.
  • His favorite treat? Chocolate chip cookies, Popsicles or Nerds.
  • The child is a numbers WHIZ! He can do things in his head that ... well, it's not NORMAL to do at his age. Seriously, a brainiac!
  • He is a skinny mini... he's already gone from a size 6 pant at the beginning of school and he's too tall for the 7s now. I guess 8 slims are where we will be for next school year for pants. I did go ahead and leave the size 7 shirts out.
  • He is in a size 1 1/2 shoe.
  • He loves doing science experiments of any sort.
  • He's reading on a 5th grade level. It's amazing.
  • He's going to have a Pirates of the Caribbean birthday party at the swimming pool next month. He's really looking forward to that.
  • He was in a photo in a local magazine featuring private schools. It's really cute.
  • He wants to learn to play the drums.

Snapshot of Ben...

A snapshot of Ben

  • 14 months old
  • He's in size 12m clothes but can wear the 18m shirts well (he's got a big old head!)... 18m shorts just fall off him. Not a lick of fat on his body
  • He lives for his chocolate milk.
  • He doesn't say ANYTHING but rather reaches for the vicinity of what he wants and says loudly, "mmmmmm MMMMM MMMMMMM!"
  • He's facing forward in his car seat (I don't care what the "experts" say, he's a much happier camper and he can now watch Elmo -- that's more important, right?"
  • He wears size 4 diapers.
  • He's started trying to run a bit (I literally bite my tongue because I just hate the thought of the face plants -- although he's pretty good at catching himself now.)
  • He went to his first water park and loved, loved, loved playing in the water (Keller Pointe) but by the end he was shivering and his little lips were not pink but kinda blueish-purplish. Folks, the water was neither cold nor was it cold outside... it is summer -- in Texas. He just isn't used to cold(er) water than his bath tub. Just so you know!
  • He will eat any fruit (loves bananas and cantaloupe, blueberries and grapes). If I make a breakfast or snack of vanilla yogurt, granola, and strawberries/blueberries/bananas he HAS to have a bite. Has to!
  • He won't eat meat -- however, he DID eat about 1/4 of my chicken friand from La Madeleine yesterday when we took lunch to my mom (she had her other eye operated on last Tuesday and isn't supposed to be driving a lot.)
  • He likes to chase the dogs around and grab the skin on their backs in his hand. They generally just stand there until he's done looking all pitiful at me like, "Are you not going to save me?"
  • He is napping in the pack n play... goes down completely awake and takes a really good nap. It's wonderful.
  • He still sleeps right next to me.... and I absolutely love it. Sometimes when I'm not ready to go to sleep, I'll play Words with Friends on my phone and .. yes, the phone is bright. He will pop his head up and lean over by me and smack me right in the face like "HEY, put up the stupid phone. It's bright. Babies are trying to go to sleep now!
  • He still hasn't had a hair cut because I LOVE MY CURLS!
  • He wears shoes SOMETIME... not much. I love the pitter patter of little feet on the floors.
  • He will stack items (and loves to knock them down). He's quite interested in his shape sorter. He is good at putting the wooden shapes on the pegs (hand/eye coordination is amazing).
  • He understands LOTS of what you say.
  • He loves to be held. I love to hold him.
  • He has to have his silky blanket and his silky bear (it's a stuffed bear from the waist up attached to the middle of a silky blanket) to go to sleep... loves these items and rubs them on his cheek to fall asleep. So sweet.

Wow, it's here!

That's right, summer is officially upon us. I've been slowly trying to do my written daily recaps but let's face it, if I don't get it in some sort of electronic format, it's as good as gone! Can I get an amen?!

Today Ben slept in until about 8:30. I woke up anticipating making pancakes only to be informed by Drew that "Daddy is going to get ME donuts." I was like, "Um... didn't you have THOSE yesterday when you were at your Mimi's?" He sheepishly grinned and nodded. But, your word is your word. Andy should have known better since that's a typical Mimi treat. Oh well. He's as big as a bean pole, a second day of donuts certainly won't harm his waistline (his arteries, maybe, but not his waistline.)

Last night I had a cranky baby that has been grabbing at both ears. I'm thinking we've got a double ear infection going on. [insert major sad face here] I was given a couple of home remedies I shall try today but if it's too far gone, I may end up at Dr. Knapp's office tomorrow.

Oh, and another big plus, I got my computer back! I have a friend named Manny who is a computer GURU (and that's putting it mildly). He remotely took control of my tower and got me all fixed up. Seriously, if I could give him a blank check, I would. He is a lifesaver! So, now that I have a computer again, it's much easier to keep up with the bloggage. I really am partial to my ergo-keyboard.

Today is Sunday. We should have gone to church. We didn't go to church. I like to go to church. Ben doesn't like to go anywhere not with me so, we don't go to church very often. C'est la vie. It won't last forever, this I know.

I'm slowly starting to do the baby-purge. I'm ridding my foyer of the baby materials that were going to be in the garage sale that never happened. I made $60 on three things. Not too shabby. Andy was like "you should have sold them for more" and I'm like...

If I had a garage sale, I'd have gotten half of what I got them for.

If I took them to a consignment store, I'd get like pennies on the dollar.

If I sell them for a little less than half price, I'm doing great and SO that's what I did.

The electronic baby swing, jump-a-roo and lion play center are all gone. The extra high chair in the garage is sold, too, but they just need to come pick it up. It's sad but it's time. I can honestly say that being a mom is the absolutely most thankless, hardest, most wonderful job in the whole world. And, while I hate that they grow up.... there's nothing I can do to stop them. (sniff, sniff)

I love the phase that Ben's at right now... need to do my "snapshot of..." post for each boy sometime soon. :)

Hopefully in the next two weeks, too, I'll have a new air conditioner in the bedroom so that it's not having to run ALL DAMN DAY just to keep it at 79 degrees. BLEH!

Welcome to summertime in Texas with a bad air conditioner. There goes the vacation... sigh.