My Babies. I Love Them.

My kids amaze me. They each have unique and awesome personalities with character traits that I hope they keep forever.

McKenna has Sensory Processing Disorder. And she is learning to emote properly. Through prayer and therapy and her parents learning each day, we’re getting there. And I’m super stinking proud of her. She is brilliant, artistic, curious, and creative.

She is also my child who sees no boundaries in friendships. She sees everyone she comes in contact with in the same light. She doesn’t mind your color, size, shape, walk, or talk. She sees past the surface and looks for the heart.

Caia is passionate. And loud. Loud when she’s happy and loud when she’s not. She can make up a song for any situation…and it’s loud. And she is brilliant, artistic, curious, and creative.

She is also the sensitive one. She hurts when others hurt, and she feels her emotions intensely. She is my child who cried tears of joy when she saw her mommy and daddy after 10 days apart. She will give you the shirt off her back, the last bite of her cookie, or her favorite toy if she thinks she can make you happy or smile.

And Jack. My little surprise…Jack. He’s always kept me on my toes, even from the womb. (Long story short, he didn’t have enough vessels in his umbilical cord, my liver tried to poison him. No biggie.) He loves music and drums. And he loves the Dave Mathews band…because of Carter Beaufort, the drummer.

And while he is still emerging in his personality and learning to figure out his world and where he fits within it, I can say this about him…he is confident and kind. He would make friends with a telephone pole, I swear. He approaches other kids at the park with his head up and a smile. He is an eager helper, and his answer to any “Jack can you help me ______?” is always a chipper “Oh SURE!”

 

 

God, thank you for my kids and what they teach me. Thank you for the beautiful characteristics that You have given them. Guide us as we lead them. May they never lose these qualities, but only grow in them and teach them to others. Including me.

Reflex Decisions, Absurd Situations, and Moving Through the Poop Of It All

There are moments in the life of a mommy where the absolute absurdity of the situation you’re in hits you later. Not in that moment where you have to make quick, reflex decisions.

I have done things as a mommy of young that I would never have DREAMED of doing. EVER.

I’m not talking the mundane, day to day things. Or even the disciplinary issues. That’s a hot topic that I’ll touch another day when I’m feeling serious and thoughtful and brooding.

No, what I mean is the situations that I just never even thought about before I had kids.

For example, what do you when you’re trapped in a van with three kids while your husband is in a store exchanging something, and one of the kids begins crying frantically that they have to go pee. And they have to go pee NOW.

And this kid has the bladder the size of a nickel.

You know you’ll never make it into the store by the time you unbuckle everyone and run across the parking lot.

You might as well just tell her to pee in her pants.

OR…

You might happen to see that Chick Fil A cup in the cup holder. It DOES have a lid, so it’s not like you’ll have an open cup. And you’re close to home, so it won’t stay in the van really long.

So, you do it. You tell her, “Alright, take this cup, squat and pee.”

And then, for good measure and because you want to assure yourself that you are at least a DECENT parent who doesn’t expose her child to potentially harmful situations, “Just get in the floor because we don’t want anyone to see you.”

But you forget, in your haste, to tell her that this is not exactly protocol. That we don’t just pee in cups for fun. This is to be done in an emergency situation only.

And because you forget to tell her that, she spends the next week peeing in the cups that you keep on the side of the bathtub for rinsing the kids hair.

The good thing is, she has incredible aim.

So the next well-check with the “pee in a cup test” should be a breeze.

These are the things you just don’t THINK about. You don’t PLAN for these moments.

Because you never, in a million years, have a clue that they are going to happen.

They come roaring up out of nowhere and hit you on your blind side. And you are left with only knee-jerk reactions and the split seconds to make a decision that could make or break the situation. And your nerves.

For example, let’s say you have to take your child who’s having stomach issues to Target. (Now, I don’t recommend this in the first place, mind you. But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.)

And let’s just say, you’re in the parking lot and you’re picking out the perfect buggy (you know, the one that doesn’t have the pretzel wrapper and leftover soft drink container in it) and all of sudden, your kid is all, “I HAVE TO GO POOPY RIGHT NOW!”

And you know he means it. He means it big time.

You race into the store, purse flying behind you and kind of half carrying the kid like a bag of manure (which is what you’re about to get if you don’t book it) and pushing a buggy with only three wheels that work properly with the other arm.

First stall available doesn’t have a lock and you don’t care. You plop him down, and it’s just a smidge too late.

He has…fart-pooped. Just a little. In his underwear.

You maintain in your head that this is not a lost situation. While his underwear is less than desirable, his shorts seem…well, “okay” may be being a little lenient…more like, “Passable. For a quick trip. As long as I don’t run into anyone I know.” Because, let’s face it, the kid smells like poop.

You wrap the underwear in toilet paper. Your kid on the toilet squeezes out two little “drops”…I don’t even know what to call that state of matter at this point. (Pardon me guys, I know we’re getting gross. But this is real life. Real MOM life. Real disgusting mom life.)

So now you’ve got this mummified underwear and you’re thinking, What do I do with this. Throw it away?

It’s an option, for sure. But the thought didn’t even occur to me. I don’t know why, because I HAVE thrown underwear away before. In Target, come to think of it. But that’s a story for another day…

The stall right next to us has an empty Target bag on the ground. I grab it. I shove the poop pants in it.

And then I wad it up…

and stick it in my purse.

I don’t know why. Why didn’t I throw them away? He has plenty of underwear at home. And it’s not like I was going to put them back on him before we got back to our house anyway. I could have even bought him new underwear, and heck, new shorts for that matter, so we wouldn’t wander around the store offending people with our odor.

And I say “our” because at this point, I’m pretty sure that some of it is SOMEWHERE on my person as well.

Let’s get real for a moment. (As though I haven’t already.)

As moms, we do our best. We make the decision that, in the moment, makes the most sense to us. It’s not always the BEST decision, but we make it and stick the landing on it, too.

Because we have too. We are Mommies. Mommies who need to OWN that decision to put poopy pants in our purse.

Sometimes figuratively.

Sometimes literally.

And sometimes, even when no other Mommy in her right mind would have done it that way.

You be you. You do what works for you and your kid. Even if the lady in the next stall knows what you’re doing and disapproves.

You take a deep breath (sometimes through your mouth so you don’t have to smell the crap all around you), you get through it, and you learn.

…And then you go call your own Mom and thank her for all the mess that you, quite literally, put her through.

 

 

 

Mommy Hygiene

 

This is really my bathroom. It is not a staged picture. The three year old really left those matchbox cars there.

There are entire years in my existence as a mother that I don’t remember how or when I had the time to bathe.

When I was pregnant with my first, the thought never occurred to me that the moment that tiny infant entered the world, my whole view of something as simple as a shower was going to be violently shattered.

Looking back to my pre-mommy days, I see now how flippantly I looked upon daily bathing, spending 30 minutes on my hair, sitting down at a lighted mirror to do my makeup, remembering to brush my teeth…

Now, I don’t think we need to debate which stage of mommyhood makes it the most difficult to attain good hygiene. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first newborn or when you have three kids under the age of 5…although, secretly, I will maintain that, in my experience, that really IS the most difficult stage. :)

I really don’t remember the instances, but I do know that I bathed and at least made myself SOMEWHAT presentable for public appearances between the years of, oh I’d say…2007 and 2009. I just can’t remember them. It’s like I blocked out those years. Post traumatic stress or something. (And I’m kind of not even kidding about that…)

I promise you, it was not until my third kid hit about 18 months old, was I able to come up with some sort of tactical defense strategy that allowed for a more consistent routine in showering. And even then it usually involved a 3 year old or a toddler with me and about 19 toys scattered all over the bottom of the shower.

I very distinctly remember soaking into a bubble bath one night and realized that I was surrounded by a Lego man, Belle and the Beast, Mrs. Potts, a helicopter, three floating fish, and a couple of matchbox cars.

Bathtime won’t ever be the same. Sigh.

But, even as I say that, will I reach the point where one day I am bemoaning the fact that I don’t have to empty the tub of the entire cast of Sesame Street figurines? Will that become a bittersweet memory as the children grow up and move away to their own bathtubs?

Let’s not dwell on that, I say.

For now, I am encompassed in the stage of life where all can be right in the world, the children are each occupied in their rooms or playing quietly on their own, needing no immediate assistance from me, and I see that brief window…that 10 minute time warp where I might take advantage of the opportunity to do something just for me.

And so, before I remove myself to the silent (bahahaha!) world that is just for me (hahaha!) behind the shower curtain, I dole out the rules that accompany each trip I make to the bathroom: “Don’t answer the door. Don’t go near the stove. Don’t go outside.”

They don’t even respond anymore. Just nods of agreement. Because I’ve handed them my phone or the iPad, or turned on some weird kid cartoon that will surely engross them for the Nascar-timed shower I’m about to take.

The water turns on. The shower curtain rings slide over the bar, marking what the children see as my disappearance from their lives for like, what?, forever? I don’t know, because the minute I am able to take a deep sigh and pour the shampoo that tells me on its label, “calming scent, relieves stress”, I hear them.

They appear. One at a time.

“She said (fill in the blank).”

“I can’t find my (fill in the blank).”

“Do you like my picture?” as it’s shoved through the curtain creating rivulets of purple Crayola marker at my feet.

And my all-time favorite from the youngest, “Can I get in? I’ll go get my cars!”

Stupid shampoo. It isn’t working. Relieves stress, my booty.

Kids know. I swear they have sensors.

“Mom’s alone. We must not let her get lonely. Let’s go ask for food.” OR “Mom just sat down. Quick! Let’s make up something completely absurd to fight over.” AND OF COURSE “Mom’s in the shower. Ready for battle?! Give it all you got! Now…ATTACK!! Someone scream really loud for no reason…that’s always a good maneuver!”

Don’t misjudge me. I love the babies. Oh I do. I will throat punch anyone who says or does anything harmful to them. And on the flip side of that, if you love on my babies, you have loved on me.

But, oh to have a daily silent shower. I became spoiled on my vacation. The first thing I said after I got ready for dinner one night was, “No one interrupted me during that process. Kinda felt like something was missing.” It didn’t take me long to get used to it though.

And I began having grand delusions that, maybe, I could pull off actually FIXING my hair when I returned home. Yeah! I’ll totally get a haircut and pull out all those electric things that I have stored that twist and curl and straighten and crimp (just kidding) my hair.

Seriously, I have curling irons and flat irons and hot rollers in various sizes and shapes. They are stored in a cabinet and have not been used in so long that the kids don’t even know what those strange looking apparatuses are.

Jack, age 3, thought my hair dryer was a toy gun. That’s how foreign these objects are to them.

Then again, he IS a 3 year old boy…so, maybe it’s not entirely my fault.

Anyway…

So there you have it. My diatribe on showers and beauty routines for the mommy of the young. It’s been a subject of discussion (read: oftentimes, contention) in my house since my oldest was born. Please someone tell me they’ve also said to their husbands, “Well, you get to just roll out of bed every morning and take a shower at your leisure! What’s that like?!”

No, really. Please someone tell me that conversation has happened at your house.

I’m getting better about it, so poor Stephen doesn’t have to suffer too much anymore about my bitterness over a hot shower.

But, are there days where I still forget to brush my teeth? Well, yep. Oh my word. i totally admitted that. I’d say it happens once a week.

It takes so much effort to just get the shower and get dressed, that I think “I’ll come back in here and do that after I break up the fight/feed the whining one/retrieve the toy from under the couch”, and well, we all know that sometimes, we don’t finish the task.

I’ll say this: dental health takes a decline after the babies are born.

Pregnant women, listen to me, if you hear nothing else I say, hear this….

Get dental insurance now if you don’t have it.

 

 

 

Watch Out Zooey Deschanel. I’m Going “Hip”.

So, like, I’ve never been considered “hip”, “hipster”, or even “kinda cool”.

Like, ever.

All the things that the hip peeps are into these days, I’m just kind of…”Meh.”

And there’s kind of, different LAYERS of “hipness”. There’s fashiony-urban-trendy and then there’s like earthy-simple-trendy.

Let me see if I can elaborate…and expound on the many reasons why I feel like I fall into another, unlisted, category of “hip” that I call…

                  “Not There Yet, But Making a Valiant Effort. Kind of.”

For example, I OWN a scarf. A “fashion” scarf. The accessory kind that everyone has.

But I’m NOT wearing it draped over my T-shirt in the summer.

Ever.

I live in the lowcountry, where walking outside is like walking into an oven.

No, a DOUBLE oven. Set to broil on high.

Not going to wear a scarf in the summer, I don’t care HOW trendy it is.

Unless I’m spending the summer in like, Alaska.

Also, I don’t have a Starbucks “drink” that I order. You know how people are all, “I want a cafe americano with soy and 8 shots of espresso, 4 pumps vanilla, skinny, half caf, and throw in a handful of gummy bears and just swish it all up and serve it to me at exactly 105 degrees”?

I’m just, “white chocolate mocha, please.”

Other signs that I discovered made me not necessarily “UNhip”, just more like, “NOT hip”:

I don’t listen to Indie music or Bohemian or whatever. I listen to whatever I like. And it might be The Muppets soundtrack, Brad Paisley, or Tom Jones.

I don’t make my own picture frames or toothpaste or drink chamomile tea in my vintage wool sweater.

I’ve never watched an episode of The Bachelor. Ever.

(crickets chirping…)

Although I DID have friends over and make trifle and fajitas for the Friends series finale several years ago.

And if you can name the relationship between trifle and fajitas and Friends, then I will call you King or Queen whatever-your-name-is for the rest of your life, because that’s how awesome I think you are for knowing that info.

I’ve not seen a single Twilight movie or read a Twilight book.

I’m not interested in raising chickens. I feel like everyone wants to raise chickens.

Totally not knocking you if you want to or have them or are currently building a chicken coop. It’s a good (no, GREAT) thing to be self-sustainable. My grandfather raised pheasants for a time. So, you see, I’m not saying raising poultry is bad. I just feel a little “uncool”, because I have no interest in raising them myself. I feel like the odd man out because chicken rearing and breeding is not in my list of top 1,001 things I’d like to do. I mean, maybe it SHOULD be, but it’s just not.

I’ve never gone out at midnight for ANY movie premiere. Although I did go out late at night once to wait with my husband for some software release thing. Leopard or Panther or Hyena. I can’t remember. I just remember the free Chick Fil A nuggets that I got from some company’s “release party”.

Hee hee. Release party for software. Why does that make me giggle?

I don’t like plain avocados. Guacamole…well, that’s a different story. If I could only have one condiment with me on a deserted island, it would TOTALLY be guacamole. If “the guac” is considered a condiment, that is.

I’ve never bought any produce more complicated than a mango, and I don’t really know how to correctly pronounce quinoa.

Heck, I don’t  even have the Instagram app on my phone.

Seeing as how I’ve spent the last several minutes telling you how “unhip” I truly am, now let me tell you…I think I might be joining the ranks.

Slowly, I’m letting the world know, that there is hope for a life lightly dusted with “cool”. Underneath the tragically uncool hairstyle (it’s pretty much just thrown up in a hair clip everyday), the fact that I tried to pull off the “smoky” eye look once and it looked more raccoon-y than sexy, and the pure absurdity that there is not a single pair of heels in my closet (I have wedges. Does that count?), there lurks the 37 year old mom of three that admits, “I still shop in the Juniors department and I’m going to learn to weave my own hemp necklaces while growing pesticide free herbs and tomatoes in the backyard!”

Okay, just kidding about that “hemp bracelet” part.

And the “growing herbs” part.

I tried growing herbs and a few fruits and veggies when we lived in Georgia. It was a sad, sad attempt. I think the ivy plant grew very nicely though. Oh, and a butterfly bush is definitely the easiest plant to maintain (since I basically did nothing to it) and the most thriving plant I’ve ever seen. You want gardening success with no effort? Get a butterfly bush. That thing will take OVER your yard. Or the side of your house if you plant it too close to it.

Oh yeah…I DO still shop in the Juniors department, though. I just can’t bear to see elastic waist pants define my look just yet.

Okay, so here goes, I went to go see a box office phenomenon while the kids were still at their grandparents.

And I totally didn’t want to go. Because I am unhip, remember?

Stephen really wanted to see Dark Knight Rises, and I was all, “Bleh. Fine.”

Okay…so like, two things need to be said here.

1. It was so freaking good! I really liked it…I still giggle at Christian Bale’s Batman voice though. I think it’s just a bit overdone. And I want to offer him a throat lozenge.

2. I feel so “cool”. I feel like I’ve seen a cultural phenomenon. I feel like I could talk Batman with anyone. That, my friends, is a step toward “hip”dom if you ask me.

Couple of movie tips I’d like to pass on for free, though:

If you’re going to get the bottomless bucket of popcorn and eat it through the ENTIRE THREE HOUR MOVIE (I mean, I’m usually finished by the time the previews are over), please learn to chew WITH YOUR MOUTH CLOSED.

And…refrain from bringing cellophane wrapped candies to a movie that’s not for kids. When it’s a kiddie movie, no one cares because we’re all so used to hearing potty requests and overly loud toddler laughing that a little cellophane rattling doesn’t bother us. But DON’T BRING IT TO A BLOCKBUSTER MOVIE…unless you’re going to open it during the battle scenes or something.

“I’m sorry, what’s this incredibly touching story you’re telling us about the child who crawled out of the pit? Because I can’t hear you for all the peppermints and caramel creams being unwrapped behind my head!”

Vent over.

Now…as if seeing the new Batman movie (the end to the trilogy! the movie of the year! already nominated for 425 Oscars including “Creepiest Voice-Overs”!), I need to tell you…I bought…wait, ALL CAPS NEEDED AND A LINE OF ITS OWN….

ORGANIC STEEL CUT OATS.

I just got back from an anniversary vacay with my man few days ago. And I gained five pounds in five days.

You can stop laughing now, because there is something magical and alluring about all you can eat soft serve ice cream 24 hours a day. Just try and deny that.

I could not help but buy Kashi Go Lean cereal and steel cut oats when we got home.

I almost bought a colon cleanse too. That’s what ordering room service at midnight will do to you.

And why did I order room service at midnight? Because it was included in the price…and besides, how often am I going to get someone bringing me chocolate cake to my room at the press of a button?

Anyway, so I’ve seen the pics. The “instagram” pics, mind you. The ones with quotes like “Steel cut oats. It’s what for breakfast!”

And here’s the kicker. I bought blueberries to put in it too.

I know, right? I’m super trendy.

Stephen says if I were really trendy the blueberries would have been organically and locally grown.

So, I’m like, KINDA trendy.

I’m getting there, folks. I might make “sorta hipster” some day soon.

But I won’t be wearing my scarf in 93degree heat, or a fedora hat (that I’m telling you right now, people, ONLY JASON MRAZ can REALLY pull that look off…just sayin’. Don’t be mad if you have a fedora. But if I see you wearing it, I’m gonna ask you to break out the guitar and sing “I’m Yours”.)

Oh…and I also like greek yogurt (with lots of honey), I’ve read 2 out of 3 of The Hunger Games books, I own a bicycle, and I live in a beach town.

I’m on my way to hipness, people. I’m on way.

Watch out. The next thing you know I’m gonna be tweeting pics of the beret I’ve knitted.

Never mind the fact that the last “craft” I made was out of a toilet paper tube…

 

 

 

 

Why I Don’t Use Pinterest

First of all, I just want to state as a disclaimer that many of friends LOVE Pinterest.

And I think that’s cool. I really do. I mock no one who loves Pinterest.

And when the whole craze started, I got a few “invites” from people to join. I don’t think you have to have an “invite” anymore, but I wouldn’t really know…

I even tried creating an account since everyone seemed so gung-ho about Pinterest. (And I gotta admit, Pinterest IS a catchy name. So way to go, Pinterest Inventor Person/People.)

But I could never figure it out (I’m not the technical…or patient…one in our family), so I gave up.

Still, all over Facebook and half the people I was around on a daily basis were “pinning” things like crazy.

Again, I’ve seen some Pinterest projects that some of you have even recreated, you little Martha Stewarts, you. And they are cool. Way cool.

And, heck, I’ll even go so far as to say the idea of Pinterest is pretty stinking genius. Props again to you, Pinterest Inventor Person/People.

But…I can’t. I’m sorry. I just…can’t.

Here’s the deal…

I made these once.

Oh. Em. Gee.

Super cute, right? Yeah, so I like, made those Christmas of 2009. I haven’t made anything near as OMG-worthy since then.

And like, you’d totally “pin” or “re-pin” or “pre-pin” that or whatever you call it to your “board” or “page” or “space where I keep all my ideas I’m never really going to do”.

There. I said it. “Things I’m never really going to do.”

I don’t have the time right now in this season of my life to create all the things that Pinterest blatantly shoves in my face. (I’m being tongue-in-cheek here. All you die-hard Pinteresties, please don’t misunderstand. It is not Pinterest that has a problem…it’s me. “You’re not the problem. I’m the problem.”)

I could go online and search for a bajillion different cute ideas and be all “I’m SO making that! And then all my friends will rave at how crafty and cool I am. They’ll ask me how I find the time! They’ll ask me if I’ve always been crafty…like, as a child, was I creating ornate play-doh vases that could hold those cute miniature pie pops with the the clear cellophane wrap and the most adorable ribbon tied around its lollipop stem? And I’ll beam and blush, and be all…oh, it’s nothing. I totally found it on Pinterest and recreated it precisely.”

Have I ever started a project and thought that? Me?

Um, yep.

I have dreams in my head of being all “Martha Stewart/Betty Crocker/any person ever featured on Food Network or HGTV”.

So, like, the thing is…I’m soooo not.

I’ve started projects and then gotten so flipping frustrated that they weren’t working out correctly that I threw everything for the whole entire project away, ate a bag of Hershey kisses, and then took a bubble bath.

I am a perfectionist. Which makes no sense. Because, take one look at my van, and you’ll be all “Perfectionist, my booty.”

But that’s just the thing. Haven’t you ever watched Hoarders? (I’m fascinated by this show because I believe that there are Hoarders in my family lineage…Like, for reals.)

The Hoarders don’t clean anything up or throw anything away because they’re perfectionistic. If they can’t do it “right”, then they just scrap the whole project. (I recently threw away some wooden transportation cut-outs I was painting for Jack’s room…TWO YEARS AGO. I couldn’t get them to look how I wanted….but rather than admit I failed, I just shoved them in the back of the bathroom cabinet.)

Heaven help me. I have issues.

Thus the reason I don’t use Pinterest.

I don’t need one more thing/person/amazingly crafty mother of 15 kids that makes chore charts that look like the layers of a cheeseburger (no, really…I saw that. And it WAS super cute.)  and organizes her kid’s clothes by day of the week that she stacks on an appliquéd hanging bin that she wove out of the cotton she picked from her own backyard…making me feel any more inferior than the internet already does.

Does that make sense?

I mean, I’m all about some cute craftiness. I LOVE stores like Michael’s. I actually OWN acrylic paints, and I have a bin labeled CRAFT SUPPLIES. (It contains scotch tape and some Sharpie markers. SUPER crafty, y’all.)

But let’s be real. We all post the best pictures of ourselves on Facebook. We show off our apple pies that we’ve made with perfectly browned lattice tops. We post pics on blog “carnivals” about our closet makeovers.

And I think it’s all great. I do…I really, really do. And I’ve done it before. (anyone see my Rapunzel cake on Facebook?:)

But…if you look at all those amazingly beautiful projects and perfectly organized spice racks and magnetic makeup boards (which, again, thought it was super neat), and other people’s children’s lunches with fresh avocado, berries, sprouts, and whole grain crackers and homemade hummus (again, not knocking it…think it’s great)…then, after awhile, you start to feel like you’re not measuring up.

No one “pins” pics of a bag of Cheetos, 1/2 a granola bar, and some grapes and says “Kid’s Lunch Ideas”…although, I’ve been known to feed my kids that before. (And the grapes were thrown in so I would feel like there was SOMETHING nutritious on the plate…not because they would actually EAT it…)

I’ve never seen a picture of three loads of unfolded laundry dumped on the bed with the description “What I Did Today” or “Laundry Storage Ideas”.

And I use those examples people, because THAT is my real DAY to DAY life.

My Pinterest life…doesn’t exist because I don’t have an account…but IF I DID, would have the picture of those cheeky little Christmas mice, and my Rapunzel cake, and my classroom behavior chart, and my organized closet with labeled shelves and color-sorted clothing… (that does not exist, but like, maybe if I had a Pinterest account, I’d MAKE it exist, right?)

Actually, I DID do a Pinterest search on master closet organizing ideas. And what I meant by that was where to put the “everyday wear” flip flops as opposed to the “I’m going out in public” flip flops.

What my Pinterest search turned up was several images of, like, Beyonce’s closet. I’ve lived in houses smaller than the closets they were showing me how to organize.

So, I exited out of Pinterest…and threw the flip flops on the lowest and easiest to reach shelf I had. Organization=DONE.

All of this to say…Pin away, my friends. And I’ll totally look at those craft and recipe and homemade soap ideas that end up on Facebook. I will.

I just can’t let myself linger on them too long. Or allow myself to actually become attached to something like Pinterest. It affects my self-esteem. Truly.

I am just not Pinterest material, I guess.

Now if there were a site called UNinterest, and it had things like “Here’s What My Kids Wrecked At the House Today” or “55 Ways to Repurpose And/Or Serve Goldfish Crackers”…well, I’d be all over that one.

 

 

 

Things Moms Discuss at the Pool

 

Today was the first official Pool Day of the summer.

It was also Van Break Down Day, but we’ll save that topic for later.

I thought I’d give you a glimpse (because I’m sure you were all just DYING to know) at what real-life housewives and mommies discuss at the pool.

Now, we had 6 mommies in attendance.

And 15 kids.

I’m tired just LOOKING at those numbers.

So. In no particular order, here are the top topics of conversation today among Mommies At The Pool.

 

  • Cost vs. ease of use of spray-on or rub-on sunscreen
  • How it’s taken us this many years of buying bathing suits for children to finally come to the conclusion that white and other light colors are fairly ridiculous choices for the beach. (Side note: If anyone knows how to get sand out of a little girl’s pink and white striped bathing suit, let me know.)
  • How apples are supposedly the worst fruit NOT to buy organically, and yet I STILL won’t buy organic fruit
  • The third book in The Hunger Games series is bad
  • Women with stretchy skin vs. non-stretchy skin and the damage that children do to our bodies that’s irreparable without plastic surgery for those of us (ME. Yay.) with non-stretchy stomach skin that now very much resembles a deflated balloon. A deflated WHITE balloon because I’ll never wear a two piece bathing suit EVER again. (Thank you, children.)
  • How for some unknown chemical, biological, or psychological reason the pool makes kids want to eat. And other people’s snacks are definitely more delicious. Unless you’re my friend Danna who brings whole, unpeeled carrots. (Totally kidding, Danna.:) We throw all our snacks on one beach chair and the kids scavenge for what they want. It’s a food free for all. Except for the fact that no one ate Danna’s carrots. :)
  • 952 uses for baking soda, a discussion on what baking soda actually IS (I know. I know. Sodium bicarbonate…blah blah), where it comes from, and how cheap it is
  • Mini-van transmissions, prices, and battery failure

 

And it would seem that the topic of dying mini-vans was a sign of things to come. An omen. An eerily accurate indicator of what my next few hours would hold. (It’s possible I’m being a little over dramatic.)

….My van (that is not quite so “mini”) broke down tonight. Was it transmission? Battery? Do I need to start comparing prices? I don’t know.

What I DO know is that I’d like to propose a pre-approved list of Pool Talk Topics for the next Pool Day.

Things like winning the lottery, incredible bakeries to get amazingly irresistible chocolate cake, how to lose weight by blinking, how children can sleep for 15 hours a night, and the new miracle cure that zaps loose, flabby, post-baby skin back into place with one application, dose, pill, dance, whatever.

Pool Day. 6 mommies. 15 kids.

Should you attempt it yourself, I say to you, “May the odds be ever in your favor. And in the favor of your mini-van.”

Summer Vacay Begins…

Today was the day. The first day of summer vacation. The first day of no uniform ironing, lunch packing, go-brush-your-teeth-NOW insanity.

The (not so) remarkable story is below.

Day One of Summer Vacation: While the girls got the memo about today being the first day out of school and no alarm clocks were allowed, the three year old did not.

His internal alarm clock was up at 6:15, crawling in my bed, wedging his way in between Stephen and I. Ice cold feet to my legs and a toy monster truck to my head.

Welcome Summer. Yay.

The others were more respectful of the No Alarm Rule, and I saw neither of them until after 8:00.

Cereal for breakfast for them. Yogurt and toast for me.

And I realize I’m out of coffee. (They should really make coffee packages with alarms on the bottom to alert you to a near-empty container.)

Everyone dressed in remarkably unmatching clothes…cause that’s how we roll in Parris Land.

Time for Report Card Recon Mission.

It just wouldn’t be McKenna if we didn’t leave SOMETHING at school on the last day. She chose to leave her report card and all those other end of the year papers.

We pop in the school, make a visit to the teacher, and have an all-out Sister Brawl in the lobby because the running in the hallway produced a spill between the two of them, the likes of which has only been seen in old Road Runner cartoons.

Decide on Chick Fil A lunch to take to the park.

No one but me wants Chick Fil A.

Get my Chick Fil A.

Get kids Happy Meals.

Go to the park.

But not the one the kids want.

I chose the one with the shade so I wouldn’t get too hot and I wouldn’t have to apply sunscreen to three cantankerous individuals.

Kids play for two hours. I finish book two in The Hunger Games.

I know. Everyone says book three stinks.

Go to library with stinky and sweaty kids.

They do not have book three of The Hunger Games. But they do have Season Two of The Muppet Show.

I am satisfied with that.

Also, McKenna checks out 6 books which she will only read the first three chapters of before we have to turn them back in.

I like to think that she’s making up her own endings in her head because they’re much more creative.

Jack finds three books on firetrucks.

Caia finds two “I Can Read” books.

Leave library and go to Target with the bribe (I mean, promise) of popsicles.

Discussing popsicles in the van is a heated debate.

So I tell them they can each pick out their own box.

Call me a pushover. But at this point, I’m hot and tired and sweaty and if I hear one more outburst about creamsicles or push-ups, I just might intentionally leave someone behind in the frozen food aisle.

Besides, it’s not like we’re not going to eat 26 boxes of frozen-yumminess-on-a-stick this summer anyway.

And variety is the spice of life, they say.

Or maybe it’s just the appeasement of the overtired children.

Popsicles procured, we head for home.

I hope for a nap from the littlest Parris.

He does not indulge me.

We watch The Muppet Show.

They eat macaroni and cheese.

Daddy arrives home.

Mommy goes out for Mexican food and the all-important cheese dip for a night out with an awesome friend.

Ladies, am I correct when I say that many a great conversation has been had over a bowl of cheese dip?

Mexican restaurant closes. We go to McDonald’s for ice cream.

Their ice cream machine is being cleaned and ice cream is not available.

This is ridiculous to me.

Don’t they know that the stay at home moms come out at this time of night for cheap ice cream and good conversation?!

I make it home and crash into bed.

I pick up the computer and post this riveting account of my day.

Tomorrow: it’s pool time!

Also tomorrow…we’ll discuss Unbirthday Parties with my dear friend Terri and apocalyptic beach trips.

Stay tuned…

 

Confessional

Although I could write a list of 1,001 “confessions” (don’t get too thrilled, they’re all very benign…albeit embarrassing), I chose to share five with you today. Feel free to comment with your own confessions, so I know I’m in good (or bad) company.

CONFESSION: When my husband is out of town, I make one of the kids sleep in our bed with me. I am a chicken, and I get lonely. I don’t know what I think a 38 pound human being is going to do to help me in case of a fire, break-in, or alien invasion…but at least I won’t be alone.

CONFESSION: When we’re out past a certain point in the evening with the kids, we have been known to say, “This restaurant doesn’t serve juice/Sprite/chocolate milk at this time of day. It’s plain milk or water.”

CONFESSION: I am so the neighborhood peeping Tom. Not, like, in a creepy way…just like a nosy old lady peeking from behind her curtains kind of way. And then, when I find out something particularly juicy, I call my friend/neighbor Whitney and tell her. “They have someone living in their GARAGE!” I don’t know that she condones my behavior; it’s more like she loves me in spite of it.
By the way, my neighbors across the street get the award for Longevity in Pumpkin Decorating. I promise you they did not throw those pumpkins away until Saint Patrick’s Day.

CONFESSION: Once, I thought I had checked out a DVD from the library that didn’t have the actual DVD in the case. I told them so, they highly doubted me…I swear librarians don’t like me (except my neighbor, Whitney)…and so they removed the charge from my account. Two months later, I found the thing shoved under my nightstand. I was so embarrassed, I never told them. In my defense, it’s not like it was a new movie or anything. It was a severely scratched up, 8 year old copy of a Higglytown Heroes cartoon. As much as I tried to make myself feel bad, I just couldn’t. I’ve paid that library enough in late fees to buy that DVD three times by now. And something tells me it’s not the most popular item on the shelf. (Raise your hand if you even know who The Higglytown Heroes are. Yeah…that’s what I thought.)

CONFESSION: Supposedly, Charleston is due for another major earthquake this…century, or something like that. I didn’t grow up on a major fault line, so I recently googled Earthquake Survival Tips. I just want to be prepared. I wasn’t sure whether to hide in a doorway, under a table, or just run out into the street flailing my arms and screaming. I probably would’ve done the latter.

CONFESSION: I wore Depends the last four weeks of my third pregnancy. I had already had two kids, so bladder control was questionable anyway. But then I got this horrible cold that was accompanied by ridiculous coughing and sneezing fits. And so when I showed up at  my friend’s house after a doctor appointment one afternoon to pick up my other two kids, and I had to utter the phrase, “I straight up peed my pants. Like FULL-ON peed my pants. Do you have some sweatpants I can borrow?”, I decided not to take the chance again. Someone gave me a pack of those adult diapers as a joke….and I used every single one until the day I delivered. Stephen refused to let me buy anymore once that pack was gone. But, I promise you, if I had another kid (and I have NO PLANS to), I’d totally use them again.

BONUS CONFESSION: I can’t count. Or I can’t shut up. Or both. I said five confessions. I gave you six.

Alright, your turn. Confess away.

Unless you’re chicken.

BONUS BONUS CONFESSION: I believe in (positive) peer pressure.

The Silent Stalker: Mommy Guilt

By the time most of you read this, you will have celebrated Mother’s Day.

And I’d venture to guess that most of you are mothers.

So, having said that, I hope you had an amazingly awesome day. I hope you felt celebrated, cherished, treasured…and that you moms of babies got the day off from changing the poopy diapers. (That was always mine and Stephen’s deal. No poopy diapers for me if it’s Mother’s Day.)

And I just realized that this is the first time in eight years that we haven’t had to have this discussion.

I have mixed emotions.

Praise the Lord! We’re all going potty!

And, sniff sniff, no more cute tiny little booties to wipe.

The Diaper Train has left the station!!

And it took the cuddly, gurgly, footie pajama wearing babies with it…

Now, I have a sweaty preschooler who yells out, “I have to go peep!” (yes, he calls it “peep”), and drips popsicles on my carpets and drives pretend motorcycles through my living room.

As I enter each new “phase” of motherhood, I can look back on the past ones with joy and pain. With longing and good riddance. With pride and with guilt.

Oh, Mommy Guilt.

How I hate that monster.

Today my sweet, sweet husband gave me a kid-free day. It was deliciously refreshing…and yet….

That crazy Mommy Guilt kept peeking her head in every so often.

Even as I was browsing through very breakable and very kid-unfriendly antiques and glass/ceramic/china things at a second-hand store I happened to drive by…and thought, “I have no one with me. I can make a spur of the moment, random, totally not scheduled stop. No one will interrupt my leisurely browsing with ‘She pulled my hair!’, ‘He’s annoying me!’ or ‘I have to go peep!’ Nor will I have to intercept a masterful drumming performance that the three year old is putting on using chopsticks and vintage china plates from George Washington’s mother.”

But even in the back of my head, or from the depths of my heart, or the pit of stomach…or whatever other location on my person…it creeps in, “I bet your kids miss you. You’re missing out on some fun times. You’re kind of selfish.”

Mommy Guilt…

Whenever I can’t make it to one of my children’s field trips, I always feel a little pang of guilt when I send them off.

And when I pick them up.

But the truth of the matter is, it’s GOOD for them to be away from me…just for a little bit.

My middle child will cling to me like a leech if I am in her presence. Transitioning to preschool was hard for her, and I couldn’t understand why.

Then I realized, she had virtually NEVER been away from me. Her sister had some early three year preschool experience, but Caia had not had that opportunity.

Thus, pushing her out from under my wing probably felt, to her, like she was free-falling.

Enter: Mommy Guilt. How awful of me to not prepare her for this!

But as the year has progressed, she has grown. And I feel like it’s good for her to be able to step outside of her “Mommy Zone” and build her confidence.

And so, even as I have dreamed and longed and (admittedly) begged for a break from the role of Mommy for a day, I still couldn’t help but feel like I was abandoning them.

Why can’t I just be ecstatic to be able to shower and get dressed at my leisure without having to pause every five (no, make that TWO) minutes to yell from the bathroom, “Why is/are  he/she/you/everyone  crying/screaming/traipsing around the house naked with a cereal box under their arm?!”

It’s the Ultimate Mommy Dilemma.

Someone say “amen”, and tell me I’m not crazy.

Okay…forget telling me I’m not crazy. I can’t stand liars.

Just tell me I’m not alone in this.

But…the truth is, Mommies…we need some recharge time.

We need that break every now and then.

It’s for our health. And let’s be honest…it’s for the health of our kids.

In our day to day routines where we are surrounded by lunch-making, diaper-changing, potty training, nose-wiping, taxi-driving, wrangling kids to bed, wrangling kids into clothes, wrangling kids out of the toy aisle at Target…we need to be able to stop and do something that WE enjoy every once in awhile.

I have seen, I have EXPERIENCED (prepare yourselves for this confession, friends) that seed of bitterness that grows out of the seemingly never-ending and mind-numbing tasks (did I remember the field trip permission slip?, when was that well-check scheduled for again?, are we out of pull-ups/kid shampoo/fruity flavored toothpaste/50 SPF waterproof-tear-free-non-toxic sunscreen/juice boxes/milk/chocolate syrup so the picky kid will drink the milk?). Tasks that encompass our day, swallowing our time, and our ability to have a five minute phone conversation with an adult other than a healthcare professional or someone at the insurance company.

When we’re told over and over that we should have a regular and scheduled “quiet time” with God everyday, and the most you get some days is a frantic “Please help me find my keys!” kind of prayer, and then there it comes…sneaking up like a skilled sniper…

GUILT!!!

Here’s the thing, Mommies: God gets it. He understands. Even Jesus went away to be alone sometimes.

Now, I’m not a theologian or a pastor or a Bible teacher that knows the Latin derivatives or root words for the phrase “Mommy needs to be alone, so please get out of the bathroom so I can pee/cry/eat chocolate without having to answer any more questions about where your favorite jammies/drumsticks/sister is”.

I don’t have wise and experienced advice and commentary for you.

All I can say is…I know Mommy Guilt.

But I also know…Mommies need recharge time. Time with our husbands. Time with our girlfriends.

Time TO OURSELVES.

And we shouldn’t have to feel guilty for it.

Even when your child says, like mine did tonight, “We had fun today. But it would’ve been more fun with you.”

For once, for tonight, I kicked Mommy Guilt in the face. I throat-punched Mommy Guilt.

Instead of crumbling inside that my child missed me and beating myself up that I wasn’t there, I quietly left her room once she had drifted off…

And did a little “You Can’t Touch This” kind of dance and fist pumped the air…because…

BOOM!

Yeah, I’m awesome-sauce and my kids missed me today!

So, Happy Mother’s Day, my mommy friends. Love and hugs to you all. You rock it out doing this “Mommy Thang”…

…And give your kids the chance to miss you sometime soon.

 

 

It Was An Ice Cream Kind Of Night

Cause it was a “No Shower” kind of day.

Mommies, you get me, right?

 

Dear Girl Scouts,

Let’s get real. There is nothing “thin” about a Thin Mint cookie.

Oh sure. The width of said cookie may be thin, but MY width most certainly will not be if you continue to sell this obscenely misnamed product.

And while I’m at it…

Edy’s ice cream makers, marking a carton of ice cream as “limited edition”, just teasing customers to buy it because they won’t always have the chance, when it’s ALREADY  got thin mints in it…

Well, I just don’t know what to say. Except you’ve got some genius ad execs at that company.

I want you both to know, Edy’s and Girl Scouts, that you think we haven’t caught on. But I’m pretty sure there’s some sort of joint partnership going on between you guys and Weight Watchers.

The minute the fifth season (GirlScout Cookie season) is over, I’d bet money on a rise in Weight Watchers memberships.

Sigh.

So, I am, admittedly, a stress-eater. And just one look at my calendar for the rest of the month makes me want to throw it out the window.
It’s just kind of…full. And most of it with good things, but full all the same.

As I’ve mentioned before, I deal with anxiety. I have had full-on panic attacks before.

And so, like, that’s no fun.

And one of the things that brings on anxiety for me is feeling rushed, pressed for time, overscheduled….you get the idea.

Also, yesterday was a bad day for my SPD child.

I wish I could give you a concise and exact definition of sensory processing disorder, but there’s just not one. Lumped within the term SPD, are different sub-types and varying degrees of the disorder.

If you’re interested, here’s a link that explains….

www.sinetwork.org/about-sensory-processing-disorder.html

McKenna is what is known as a sensory seeker in that she can’t get enough physical input, and she also extremely under-regulated auditorially, meaning sounds and chaos bother the snot out of her more than other kids.

So, the combination of yesterday’s drama and the ever-pressing weight of the calendar, is what drove me to eat my second bowlful of Edy’s thin mint ice cream.

Oh, who am I kidding? I didn’t use a bowl.

Just a spoon. Straight out of the carton.

In my defense, one of those servings was my dinner.

You see, Stephen has a meeting tonight, so it was just me, the ice cream, and the comfort of my bed.

My only regret was that I didn’t have a robot to take the stuff back to the freezer.

 

Oh, and I really have nothing against the Girl Scouts or Edy’s. No defamation lawsuits, please.

So…buy those expensive cookies and that overpriced ice cream, I say!

Its for the sake of your mental health, ladies.