Saturday, February 25, 2012

Enjoy the Adventures!

The Husband and I love to do lots of things that are not what you would consider--uncomplicated--with children. We have always had an unspoken pact that we would never give up our “loves” or “doing-what-we-do’s.”   Having children would certainly not hinder our fun.  The Husband and I love to snowboard.  So, we stuck Number 1 in ski school at the age of 2.  We love to travel.  All of our children have been to more states and on more planes, trains and automobiles than most people have the opportunity to go on their whole lives.  Now, at 6, Number 1 shreds the double black diamonds with mommy and daddy like a champ and getting on a plane is as commonplace as riding a bike.  This pact the Husband and I have lends itself to some stressful situations, but when I step back and see the big picture it is all worth it. 

I will never forget when we flew to Park City, Utah for a snowboarding trip.  Baby Girl was only 3 and Number 2 was a newborn.  Believe me, Number 2 was VERY difficult as a baby.  Cried ALL the time.  Pretty much, he cried and screamed until he was 18 months old and then that turned into a communicative whine, which still persists to this day.  So…I knew the fact that I would be flying back to North Carolina with the 2 of them by myself because the Husband would stay behind for work, was NOT going to be a vacation.  But it would be worth it, right?  Snowboarding in one of our very favorite places in the country and visiting with some of our favorite people…totally worth it.  The Husband did what he could to get us all set up at the airport.  I had Baby in the b’jorn.  Ready to go.  We walk into the plane, head to find a seat together and baby starts to scream, for no reason, at the first step onto the plane.  Really?  Already?  Oh, the terrified stares from other passengers: “PLEASE don’t sit by me!“  The avoiding glares ahead into nothingness: “Maybe if I don’t look at her and look really busy staring at nothing, she will keep moving.”   I know both of those well, I do them too, when I am not traveling with my own miniature crewe.  I found my place in the very rear of the plane, hoping that it would be loud enough back there for the crying to be muffled by the engine.  And maybe…just maybe…the sound would lull him to sleep.  Let me just say, Utah to North Carolina is a very very very long flight!  He cried…the whole way.  He threw up…everywhere.  I paced back and forth the skinny little aisle with him for what seemed like hours.  I did all I could do in the small space we had to make it better for him and for everyone else.  Sweet Baby Girl was so good.  She sat quietly coloring and watching movies on the computer.   I yelled at her for every little thing because my nerves where completely shot; she did not deserve it.  She was so good.  But I couldn’t yell at Number 2, he was a baby…well, and too loud to hear me anyway.  So, she got the frustration from Truthful Mommy.  And do you know what she said to me when we landed and everything settled down?   “You might just be the best mommy ever!”  Tears welled up in my eyes, I was so stressed, and so undeserving of her unconditional love.  This is what it is all about.  So Baby cried.  So other passengers where temporarily distracted.  So my nerves were stretched to new lengths that day.  THIS is what it is all about.  My sweet baby girl, there with just the right words to bring me back to my purpose.  My kids were safe, we were home, and the week we had in Utah was amazing. 

Honestly, the stressful moments are typically forgotten.  And for certain they do not hinder us from doing it time and time again.  Everytime I am preparing for another trip with the kids where, at some point, I will undoubtedly be flying back with them alone, people ask me, “Didn’t you say you would never do that to yourself again?”  Isn’t it funny the things we forget?   A bit like childbirth, I suppose.  It is the end results and the memories that we make that we talk about for years and cherish. 

I am on a flight to Texas as we speak…BY MYSELF…to visit my beautiful sister.  I have been looking forward to this trip for weeks.  The luxury.  To read a book, write some blogs, edit some pictures, have uninterrupted adult time with my sis.   No yelling, no fighting at the dinner table, no diapers to change, noses to wipe, whining to nip, other bodies to bathe, nothing for one whole week.  But I was walking through the airport in Baltimore and I hear melt-down sized cries from a nearby toddler.  Do you know what I was thinking??  NOT, “Ha Ha, better her than me!”  Nope, she was a lucky girl.  To have that sweet baby to hold and to comfort.  Knowing nothing will do but mommy’s hug.  And to have the blessing of experiencing whatever adventure they were about to embark upon together.  The melt down will stop and the adventure will be amazing. 

Don’t let your kids dictate your life.  Let them become a part of the wonderful life that you and your husband already have together!!  Give them the opportunity to enjoy what you enjoy.  It is some of the best advice I can give you.  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A little walk and some dessert please

An undoubtedly smart friend of mine recently posted the following on facebook:

“Did you know that you burn the same amount of calories whether you walk a mile or run a mile? Yep, it just takes longer when you walk. Also did you know 1 glazed Dunkin doughnut has 180 cal, 25g carb,and 8g fat. While a plain bagel with cream cheese has 540 cal, 70 g carb, 13.5g fat. So perhaps the doughnut is the healthier choice! Doughnuts 1, Bagels 0.”

So this inspired me.  I am the first to admit that I am inspired by strange things.  Had she said, “Running a mile once a month is all you need to be in amazing shape”, would NOT have caught my attention in the least.  But throw in an easy task disguised as exercise and promise decadent dessert as an option over something as tasteless as bagels and you have my attention my friend!!
I have never been one to research.  Science, biology, politics…just don’t care.  I figure I have zero minutes in the day to adopt a new hobby or obsession so it is really for the best that I am just unconcerned.  I am super happy that others are in to these affairs and take care of them for me, but I am simply not interested.  I generally take the experts word for it and move on.  I some how feel that most of us would be better off to know less and trust more.  To let more roll off our back.  Call me crazy.  Any who, back on track…I don’t care if the awesome news in this post is true or not, and I am SURE not going to look in to it.  I am just going to go with it.  So back to the inspiration part.  After months and months of very limited activity that would be considered exercise,  I had a great idea.   I will take the kids out with my free frosty tickets that I bought back in October to give out for Halloween and just found in my wallet not too long ago, and let that be our doughnut reward.   Then Number 1 and I would exercise.  She is quite good at riding her bike, so she would ride and I would walk.  Her incentive to keep going would be the playground at the end of our venture.  Considering that my inspiring post above told me that I could walk, that was my plan.  I threw on my tennis shoes and off we went.  No other “exercise” precautions were made.  No sports bra, nothing.  After all, I was going on a walk and that did not seem to require support.  It is mid-January so I was not at all expecting or intending to sweat. 
We get about half way through our route and we come to a campus near our house with an elementary, middle and high school that are all letting out at the same time we are coming through.    That means lots of cars, breaks in the sidewalk and one stressed out mommy with a 6 year old in front of her on a bike.  So, in order to keep up and make sure she stays safe, I start running.  This was NOT in the plans.  There were lots of things bouncing around that were not supposed to be disturbed in this way.  Least of which were my super cute dangly earrings that were whipping me in the face.  My lovely cute cowl neck top was swaying to and fro.  My not-meant-for-running pants were about to fall down (which almost made me feel kinda skinny if it weren’t so annoying)  I imagine I was quite a site.  I tried to look cool; like I totally meant to be out for a jog with my daughter.   Truth was, I couldn’t wait till we got passed the campus so that she was in the clear and I could go back to my initial plan of WALKING. 

Be careful when you get inspired.  It could lead to a lot more than you bargained for!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Good days happen

I was on the phone with my very concerned father the other day.  He said he had been reading my blog and decided it was high-time I wrote something positive.  He was concerned you will think I don’t like my life.  Seems he has forgotten the gist of this blog.  So, in honor of my sweet Daddy, I will remind you that my life is 90% picture perfect and this blog is about the 10% that is….the chaos, the ugly, the mess.  However, I told him he must have been thinking on the same wave lengths as me because I was just in the process of typing this….

A few mornings ago, I could tell rather early that it was going to be a very nice and pleasant day at my house.  EVERYONE slept in.  Number 3 had been waking before 6am every morning for about 4 weeks and that is NOT morning at my house.  One of us, usually my amazing husband, would stumble into he kitchen to warm a bottle and he would hush up and go back to sleep, which was lovely.  But of course mommy and daddy were up for the duration.  It was clearly a growth spurt, as all of a sudden he looks like a little boy and not a baby. 

This Truthful Mommy was NOT ready for #3, was not planning on a #3 and was very concerned that this may have been a situation where God slipped up and sent the wrong mommy another.  Ok, I know God does not “slip up,” but I was quite sure that God had way more faith in me than He should.  Turns out, His plan was right on.  Number 3 has completed our family, he is the sweetest little guy, he was a super easy and chill baby and everyone loves him completely.  I wanted him to stay tiny forever and, wouldn’t you know, he grew up the fastest.  Thus, this new growth spurt makes me very sad.  Anyway, back to the sleepy heads…

Number 3 got his early morning bottle as usual, but fell quickly back to sleep as did mommy and daddy!
Number 1 is always the last to wake.  Her favorite princess is Sleeping Beauty and I believe there is something to it.  She loves to sleep.  This particular morning she was the first awake, but it was still after 8am.  We make our way downstairs together and hear Number 3 finally stir so we go in to get him. 
I start making breakfast, lunches to go, coffee, etc.  It seemed the monotony of our morning routine had arrived, regardless of the few extra minutes of sleep.  Believe me, a few extra minutes are like gold to me.  But here we were, back to normal.   Then I noticed the clock said 8:30.  I start to panic.  WHERE is Number 2, he has to be at school in 30 minutes!!??  This is the little guy that wakes SOOOO early that we had to put a clock in his room at the age of 2 and teach him to read and understand, FULLY, the number 7 so that he would not wake us all up at the crack of dawn.  So, for him to not be present in the kitchen at this hour was a call for alarm!

Speaking of alarm.....A few nights ago we heard a weird sound coming from his room around 4 am.  It was his alarm!  Looks like Mr. Pushy-Button-Number 3 got a hold of it and set the alarm.   Daddy heads in there to turn it off and settle him back down.  He is scared to death and believes there are now ghosts that live in his clock. The Daddy is not about to take the clock OUT of the room because it has served us well in the morning for many months.  Finally, after much consoling and cuddling, I remove the silly clock from his room.  It is not worth it.  The Husband is not sold.  He is sure that we will be seeing him again in an hour with out his trusty number 7 shining from within his clock, that is now unplugged and thrown in the hallway.  It went fine.…he actually slept longer!
I rush upstairs to check on his breathing, because isn't that the anxious place mommies always go to when something seems off??  He was fine.  He was snoozing soundly and I had to wake him up!  This would be a first for Number 2!  He tells me that he “slept so good cause his new cool clock makes him sleep great!”  Best 6 bucks I ever spent. 
So, now we are in a frantic hurry to get him to preschool, but everyone is rested.  Included Truthful Mommy.  I come home form dropping him off at preschool and Number 1 is watching, yes again, “Jake and the Neverland Pirates.”  I hear these rascally pirates in my sleep, so I start singing the part for Izzy and she says, “Mommy you are not Izzy, you are Skully (the parrot)”  Oh, I say, I thought I was Mr. Smee??  “No, you can’t be him anymore.”  Of course, I must do a little fishing and ask why not.  “Because you are not fat anymore.”  BEST DAY EVER!!!  Doesn’t really matter what else happens today.  We are well rested and I am not fat like Mr. Smee any longer!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ladies that Lunch

I can vividly remember when I used to dream out loud about being a stay-at home-mommy-without-kids.  I could picture myself as one of those ladies that lunch, tennis, sun and country club.  I never wanted kids.  Really, I didn’t.  My good friends that have known me forever laugh every time I mention something that has to do with the plurality of my offspring situation.  My life is very much different from my vivid imagination.  I do not lunch.  I cannot afford it for one, both financially and chronologically.  When I do get the opportunity to go out for a lunch, there better be a coupon involved and ALL children must be otherwise occupied.  I would rather stay home than take either of the boys into a restaurant at this point.  Going to a restaurant with one of my precious little men to catch up with a friend would be completely pointless.  There would be no catching up.  There would be catching food, catching flying utensils, catching bad manners before others around us noticed.   No chatting about life. 

I am a stay at home mommy.  That is for sure. I stay at home in my pajamas and more days than I like to admit I don’t get out of them until I have to walk to the bus stop at 3:30 to get Number 1.  But, I stay at home and work.  Not: stay at home and then head to the club (country club, that is).  I can’t even convince the Husband to get me a membership at the YMCA, for heavens sake!  I have to stay busy doing something that interests me and gets me out of pretend play, so I work since I don’t have the excuse that I must be off to my tennis match.  I LOVE my photography business.  I get to do what I love, be creative, play and get paid for it.  I like my other job too because it gives me interaction with other adults and keeps my resume legit.  But, in my dreaming days, my preference would have been to be a lady of leisure, not work and kids.

God has a funny way of giving us exactly what we need.  I wasn’t sure about Number 1, then I had her and she became a drug I could not live without, not to mention she was a great way fuel my shopping addiction! Number 2 came along and I am afraid there is going to be a quota on kisses and hugs.  He is the snuggliest little guy on the planet and I cannot get enough.  Number 3 surprised us all and I was concerned.  But he has made my life chaotically complete!!  At this point in my journey,  I mostly feel like I am still in the refining fire of grace that God promises us in our lives on this planet.  But these days my daydreams are about the days when my kids are grown and we celebrate traditions together, when Number 1 and I are best friends planning her wedding, when the boys are towering over me and still cowering to cuddle with their mama.  Funny how life changes.  Even for those of us that fight it every step of the way.  If I had been on my own, I would be an empty shell of selfish bliss in a tennis skirt.