Friday, May 25, 2012

Spring-a-ling

We're headed to the beach for a week (I should actually be packing instead of writing), which means upon our return summer will have officially started in my book.  So long, spring...your longer, brighter days have allowed us to stay busy!  But before we jump into moments filled with drippy popsicles and splashing in the pool, I thought we needed to recap some springish things we've been up to.  

Mud puddles!

'Down on the Farm' at Maymont (read story, pet animals, complete craft, play)...don't let these sweet pictures fool you...most of the time the boys preferred the toys over anything else; they did not gather on the carpet for story time with everyone else; they were scared to touch the rooster and turtle on weeks 2 and 3; and the time at the craft table lasted about as long as it took me to take the picture.  Just so you know.  And let's not count the number of face plants and 'run and chase' rounds through the petting zoo.

Strawberry picking at Gallmeyer Farms!  Minus the argument that ensued on the playground equipment, this was actually an enjoyable outing:)
 
 

  A trip to the zoo with our friends!  Truly a 100% successful day. 
 
 
 
 
 

Playtime with our best buddy!  It's the mom in me, but I can't get enough of these 3.  I wish I could adequately capture the delight in their voices and googly eyes they all have for one another.

Little Lady Lovebug's Baby Shower!  Baby Moss will make her debut sometime mid July and last weekend we celebrated her pending arrival.  Have you ever seen a cuter mama to be?!?!  Of course she makes that NON maternity dress look good at 8 months pregnant.  Our time together was simple and complete with good food, a book basket, diaper donations in place of favors, funny games, mementos and baby pictures from Lindsay's infant days, close friends, family members, perfect weather, and of course lots of goods for the baby.  To say this crowd is excited is an understatement...come on baby girl!
 
 
 



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Goodness

Quite often I vent, complain, tell it like it is.  But after all this is my outlet and there is no use in sugar coating things if the point in blogging is to share my ideas, thoughts, opinions, experiences, and whatever else with the internet world.  For me, writing is therapeutic.  It's like having a conversation, but being able to get every single word right instead of re-hashing the conversation and thinking, "I should've said this, this, and this."  But today instead of venting I thought I'd share a glimpse of what a GOOD day looks like...this coming on the heels of being sick with strep throat, an insanely busy week last week, and a sleeping funk that the boys have finally seemed to overcome (certainly I just jinxed it, though).  Nothing fancy or over the top, just simple and good.  I want to record it now so I have something to come back to next time we hit a rough patch.

Joe was out the door early for work today.  The boys woke up at 7:30 (7:30!!!) and beforehand I was able to shower.  I also felt body-ache free after praying to the antibiotic gods for the past 24 hours that the Amoxicillin would kick in anytime.  As a result of feeling like I'd been breathing fire and a truck had run me over, Joe took over most of the household duties, so I came downstairs to a clean kitchen.  This might seem small, but a clean kitchen helps me start the day off on the right foot.  There's something annoying about having to clean last night's dinner dishes before I can even start breakfast.  So thanks, Joe:)

At breakfast the boys and I shared some eggs and cereal.  The boys ate cereal with milk all on their own, a first.  And such a cute feat.  When did they become so grown up?  Not to mention they ate everything.  This 'cleaning their plate' accomplishment is becoming more and more common.  Ok, maybe the strawberry and watermelon bribes are working.  You do what works.  But full bellies mean happier kids and they've slept better lately too.  Bingo!

As I cleaned up (from the past two days) I could hear one of the boys saying, "Help, help" from the playroom.  There was no sense of urgency or frustration, but I stopped what I was doing anyway to indeed go help because a polite "help" is much better than an angry scream and we've been working on this.  I stopped in the playroom doorway to find the boys helping each other up.  One would sit down, reach his arms up, and his brother would help pull him up.  Switch roles and repeat.  Seriously precious.  Then they'd walk hand in hand to another room.  Whose house is this?  Usually by 9:00am the walls are closing in, I've split up 3 wrestling matches over blocks or dump trucks, and had to referee turn taking on who gets to sit in the 'meow' chair (a chair with lions and tigers on it).  Today the TV hadn't been on for one second, they were playing nicely TOGETHER, and before heading out the door to gymnastics they snuggled with me on the couch as we watched "Big Truck" clips on You Tube, per request.  How could I not oblige?


At gymnastics each week I expect to sweat for 45 minutes straight because between keeping up with the boys, demonstrating how to do things, and trying not to feel like a total failure mom as my kids are the only ones NOT sitting on the red mat following along with the teacher it's a workout unlike any other.  Today during warm up while the rest of us were running and bear walking in a circle, my kiddos were jumping from mat to mat and rolling around.  But then when it was time to do introductions, here comes Garrett bee lining across the gym to give his teacher a high five and then a hug to me.  And then Gavin followed suit.  Hope, there's hope!

Lunchtime was another clean-plate victory, books were requested ahead of schedule, so upstairs we went for nap time.  If they don't wake up during this loud thunderstorm it will be super sweet icing on the cake (as was the $11.50 I just found in the washing machine).

AND there's more good things to come...girls' dinner tomorrow night, wine club Thursday; my friend delivering her second baby on Friday, and beach vacation that starts Saturday!

When the good days are good they are SO GOOD.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Normal

What's normal?  The dictionary says it's conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural.  I say it's relative.  A girl I know from college, Andrea, recently posted an "Is It Normal" list and I couldn't help but start thinking of a few questions of my own.  I echo her same sentiments and then some...

Is it normal to genuinely hate those parents who say their kids have been sleeping through the night by 8 weeks old and wonder if I'll ever sleep through the night again?  Mind you, my kids are approaching 2 1/2.  I can appreciate some late night snuggles, but not being able to fix the problem is a frustrating jab in my side.

Is it normal to be sitting outside on a drizzly Sunday morning by 7:00am watching your kids play in the yard hoping they don't wake up and tick off too many neighbors?  Their alarm clocks went off too early for my taste and only by covering my coffee from the rain drops was I able to enjoy it.

Is it normal to wish for a day to yourself and then when your husband offers to take the kids for a few hours you have no idea what to do because your kids are what you do all day, everyday?

Is it normal to foresee future parent/teacher conferences where the teacher is explaining the discipline chart she'll be using with your sons because all you can hear doctors and gymnastics teachers saying these days is, "Wow, they are spirited little men! Yep, they're all boy!  You have very active sons." 

Is it normal that my kids find it necessary to taste test the dust bunnies under our couch?  How about play dough?

Is it normal to wonder if anyone will miss me if I run away?  I know, martyr me. 

Is it normal to stir my coffee with a plastic knife from my kids' play kitchen?

Is it normal that I wish I could drop my kids off at the gym child care and not workout?

Is it normal for an almost 32 year old to be reminded by her father that, like I used to tell my students, some thoughts should just stay in my head?  This coming from the very man that gave me the infamous 'honesty speech' at age 16.  Alas, I've decided that in the future keeping my mouth shut sometimes will taste better than repeatedly putting my foot in it.

Is it normal to be able to recite the PBS television schedule, but not even know the candidates for the next election?

Is it normal to consider a large piece of coconut cake as good as a therapy session?

Is it normal to have a play date that lasts two hours, start 28 conversations with another mommy friend, finish just one in person, and wrap up the rest over text messages during nap time?

Is it normal to want what we don't have and then want it back again when we have what we thought we wanted?  Clear as mud, right?!?!

What's YOUR normal?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

It's Late, My Kid Is Screaming, and My Brain Feels Empty - Happy Mother's Day!


First there's THIS and then there's THIS, both of which wrap up motherhood more eloquently and funny than I could or am feeling right now.  Blog posts have been few lately, mainly because I've been uninspired or totally drop dead tired by 8:16, which is one minute after my kids are usually in bed.  45 minutes too late if you ask me, but alas it's almost summer and longer days mean more time outside, which one would think would result in two very tired two year olds, but nope, not my kids.  They seem to wind up at night.  Case in point, it's 11:57pm and Garrett is stirring for the second time tonight.  The first time was just a few minutes ago.  A mom would think she'd know her kid by 26 months, but dog gone it if things don't keep changing....hold me, don't hold me, snack, no snack, in, out, Daddy, Mama, Elmo, choo choo, dance, walk, yes, no, play, water, milk, juice, books, ball, bunny, bear...

Since last October we've been on a rock star schedule, naps in check, bed time down pat.  Around mid-April all bets were off.  Naps, while they still exist thank goodness, can widely vary; Garrett became Mr. Bratty Temper Tantrum Pants; and Gavin has been the king of time-out these days.  Most nights I'm up 2-3 times with at least one kid and 4:30am and I have become reacquainted again, as Garrett wakes up asking for a snack.  I totally admit that I've caved to his request because it's a battle I choose not to pick at that ungodly hour.  I also tell myself it won't last forever and if the kid is hungry let him eat.  He certainly doesn't do much of it during the day.  Although I'm finding bribery to work quite well and no, I'm not above using it.  But graham crackers on the couch or peas and black bean burgers at the Thomas the Train table or accidentally dropping an entire plate of fruit in the middle of the floor is getting old.  I'm usually awake for the day by this point, but lack motivation to do anything, which is weird coming from a morning person, so I find myself tossing and turning and wondering what I keep screwing up as I lie in bed.  So when the boys wake for the day by 6am (also new) with screams and whines and cries for no one but Daaaa-eeee the days can be long.

Anyway, today is Mother's Day.  There's 3 minutes left of it.  Everyone is in bed, my shows are over, Garrett is crying yet again, and a crazy, busy, fun week lies ahead of me with trips to the park, gymnastics class, church group, tutoring, three dinners out (3!), a trip to the zoo, substitute teaching, and a baby shower to host.  My heart is full inside after a fun day at the park, solo trips the grocery store and Old Navy, dinner with family, and tea with Mom yesterday was icing on the cake along with the truffles and gift card from my mother in law.  There's no real way to thank a mom for all she does, BUT peace and quiet is always nice, AND it's free.  Just a thought:) 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Thank Heaven for a Handy Man



Joe's hobby is his Jeep.  His 1979 Jeep CJ7 with its latest one-ton axle 'upgrade.'  He built it from the ground up when he lived in D.C. and Wisconsin and still has grand plans of welding a roll cage for it.  Yep, a roll cage.  So it can be safer when he takes our boys on four wheeling trips.  Four wheeling trips.  I, personally, just want to go camping, let my toes in the water, and sit my ass in the sand.  But those boys.  Well they can four wheel all they want.  Provided my children are belted in, clothed in full armor, and protected by a roll cage.  A homemade welded roll cage.  I go out with friends to 'get away.'  Joe escapes to his garage to putz, clean, organize, sand blast, build, rebuild, saw, weld, and whatever else takes place with all of those tools to which I don't know the proper names, except to say 'thingamajig' or 'clampy doo-dad.'  Who else puts an air compressor on their wedding registry AND receives it.  This guy.  Joe roams the aisles of Home Depot like I meander aimlessly through Target.  But hey, whatever works.

He gets giddy at Christmastime to pull out the chain saw to trim the tree's trunk.

He set out to replace a few boards on our deck and ended up rebuilding the whole thing.

He gutted our entire kitchen and worked the plumbing and electrical to save a few bucks.  All this was done while he was finishing a masters degree and I was cooking babies in the hospital on bed rest.  Just had a few things going on.

He re-wired our basement (did I mention we live in a 1950s house?) so all the basement lights now come on at once with the flick of one switch.  I hate basements.  And I hate laundry.  But that switch makes it all better.  Smart man.

He replaced the view screen on our digital camera with a cheap find from eBay that was shipped from China.  $20 fix vs. $??? new camera.  OK!

He power washes messages into the sidewalk to be funny.  He also sometimes finds it necessary to keep a clean walkway with the power washer, even if it means using it right outside the boys' window at nap time.

He hires retired master welders to learn a few tricks of the trade on a Sunday afternoon.

He doesn't buy a new computer, he completely rebuilds our old machine.

He keeps spare tires (big tires) in our backyard, which have become fabulous climbing toys for the boys.

He fixed my hair dryer by finding the split wire, cutting the cord, and using a soddering iron to put it all back together.  It worked beautifully and I had my first good hair day in a long time.

During my first overnight stay away from the boys he managed to paint our entire new kitchen.  Seriously.  I can't even manage to fold a load of laundry in a day.

And right now he's washing my car and making me feel quite lazy.  I won't be surprised if by this afternoon the wiper blades are changed and all necessary fluids have been flushed and replaced.

While I might stress over the $30 I spent on a shirt, Joe doesn't blink twice at dropping $300 on a tool.  But he's learned to use his hobby to fund itself.  He'll 'flip' a Jeep for profit and use the extra cash to cover his next project.  He'll buy a clunker, strip it for parts, and sell them one by one.  He scours the internet and Jeep forums for the perfect part/tool.  And while I totally don't the how and why of pouring his heart and soul into his beloved Jeep that rarely leaves the garage, it's a hobby that keeps him close to home.  It doesn't take away from our family finances.  And it's a part of who he is under the rat-race-cubicle-office-polo-shirt that must be donned Monday thru Friday from 9:00 to 5:00pm, so if that's what it takes to keep a man happy, so be it.

I might never understand the need to have lifted his diesel Excursion.  But I don't have to; I just thank heaven for havin' a handy man.






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