Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Pat on the Back

Sometimes there are moments when you think I must be doing something right, give yourself a pat on the back.

And lately the kids have been doing things that make me feel I earned a pat on the back.

As a Mom there are certain personality traits I hope my children will possess, I'd like them to be affectionate, compassionate, sympathetic, funny, honest and well-rounded individuals. And so much more. So the other day when my little girl was carrying her monkey around the house and I heard her say: "Why are you scared monkey? It's okay I've got you." I smiled and thought I must be doing something right.

When we go shopping together and its just us girls, MC often asks if we can get something for HP, now its usually a toy that she wants but not always, still I love that's she's thoughtful and wants him to get him something. I must be doing something right.

Sometimes when HP wakes up in the morning or from his nap he'll start crying, MC will say "Mommy I need to go check on Hunter, he's crying."

Yesterday on our way home from running errands, HP was hungry and beginning to fuss a little and without prompting MC says "It's okay Hunter, we're almost home." That's the first time I've heard her say that, previously she would make faces and noises to try and make him laugh.

Later as she was playing in her room, I heard her say " Amen. Mommy loves you, Daddy loves you....etc." (Our nightly bedtime ritual) Then she closed the door and said monkey's tired so I tucked him in. Awww....

When I was tucking her in last night she requested that I lay down with her so I climbed into bed. After a good 20 minutes it was obvious she was wired and not going to sleep, unless she thought I was asleep. So I closed my eyes...about 10 minutes later she lifted my arm and gave me her monkey, five minutes after that she patted me on the arm and then several minutes later she took my hand and rubbed her fingers back and forth as if she were trying to soothe me. And I thought what a sweet little girl we have, must be doing something right.

Famous people leave legacies, there are sometimes statues made to remind us of their significance in history, maybe they write a book of memoirs or maybe they're a musician that's impacted multiple generations with their music, many of us make grand plans to try and make the world a better place, thinking it has to be something big to make a difference. And maybe it does, I don't know. In the past when I was younger I used to dream big, Olympic swimmer, best selling author, successful sports journalist. I never once dreamed of being a Mom or even thinking about the importance of that role.

But now when I see my kids sharing without being encouraged to share, giving hugs or kisses on their own initiative, thinking of someone else when shopping, etc. If I can have a positive impact on my children and be a strong role model then I couldn't ask for a better legacy.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Two Kids, 1 Mom and a field trip to the Doctor

I dread going to the doctor's office. I don't like going for me but when I have to take one of the kids because they're sick, well it's like a field trip. If one child is sick and the other is well then by the time we're home they're probably both sick with different illnesses and if they're both sick and I'm alone with them then we're probably creating our own side show.

Today it was me vs. them. I was wrestling and trying to corral my 2.5 year old and almost 1 year old while answering loads of questions for both the nurse and the doctor. But before we were called back a lady with her child and another lady exited, calmly, orderly and without a trail of toys, pacifiers or sippy cups in her wake. I assume it was the child's grandmother that accompanied them and was helping carry the diaper bag and loading and unloading.

Its times like that when I'm hit with a wall of emotions, missing my Mom, wishing we had family that lived nearby and could help, jealousy and then shame because I'm jealous.

I'm tough, lots of people over the years have called me a "survivor" but there are some days when you just don't want to be tough. Some days I want to be weak and have help, today is one of those days.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fun with Step 2

One of things we're lacking at our house are good, quality outdoor toys. I love Step 2 and Little Tikes but we really need to clean out the yard and make room. But we could use our garage and that way the kids would be in the shade. I'm hoping to win the Step 2 Sand & Water Fun Farm so the kids will have something to play with. Check it out here : A Mom's Balancing Act or Step 2.

Little Tikes Rocks!

I'm entering blog contests again as I try to learn to juggle the kids and time for reading my favorite blogs. Today I'm entering to win a Little Tikes Cozy Truck from A Mom's Balancing Act.

Be sure to head over to her blog for your chance to win. This would make an awesome birthday gift for my 2 year old monkey.

Groundhog Day

Do you ever feel like every day is Groundhog Day? You know the Bill Murray movie. where every day was the same until he got it right?

I'm beginning to feel like I live Groundhog Day everyday. I wake up, get the kids, change them, feed them, starts doing laundry, then clean up the mess made from eating breakfast, play with them, break up fights, check FB for adult conversation, more laundry, more dishes (didn't I just wash those?), time to fix lunch, play dates, naps, and repeat.

We do a wide range of activities from day to day, sometimes play dates with friends, shopping for groceries or running errands, swimming, etc. but almost every day feels like the day before. The dishes and laundry are NEVER completely done and the house always needs to be picked up. There are always diapers needing to be changed and kids that want to eat.

Does anyone else ever feel like they're living the same day over and over again?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Boys vs. Girls

Every time I change HP's diaper I think about how different boys are from girls, and no I'm not talking about anatomy.

Our little girl, monkey butt, would lay still and stare at her hutch while we changed her diaper, no fighting the process, wiggling etc. But Mr. Moose aka HP, well changing him is like wrestling an octopus or an alligator (words spoken by sitters and friends) but yet so on point.

Monkey butt could play for hours and entertain herself with little encouragement or interaction. Mr. Moose is curious and into everything, after a little exploring he either wants my undivided attention or he wants to be held.

I'm not complaining, I love my kids and I love that they're different. And I think a lot of their differences have nothing to do with gender but rather they're two individuals displaying their traits and personality. So sometimes I wince when someone says HP is all boy or he's just acting like a boy. if MC does the same thing she's acting like a boy?

Now at 10 months HP is crawling, cruisin' and climbing and I can tell I have two active children that will be getting into a LOT of trouble. I'm pretty sure HP will be walking any day now and running as soon after that as possible. YIKES!

As I'm writing this, I looked to see what the Moose was up to and he'd crawled on top of his Leap Frog music table and was between it and his activity cube!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Should I Feel Guilty?

We haven't taken a family vacation in 2.5 years. Well, unless you count our short weekend trip to San Antonio with the kids. (I don't really count a three hour drive and two nights in a hotel as a vacation) And we haven't had a vacation without the kids in four years.

As a matter of fact we haven't been away from one or both of our kids for 24 hours, EVER! When I was in the hospital delivering HP, we were away from MC but I wouldn't count being in labor with our second child as being kid free.

So I want a vacation, but more importantly I NEED a vacation. And at this point it could be something as just two nights in a hotel without the kids. Even 24 hours of being free of responsibility of anyone but myself would be a nice break. But should I feel guilty for feeling this way?

I love my children more than anything, I do but I also feel like a vacation or small break from them would re-energize me and they would benefit from that too. Sometimes I feel like we're the only ones that haven't had a break or a vacation. Most of my friends have parents that take their kids for date nights or for weekends here and there while they take a quick trip, we aren't that fortunate.

Unfortunately, my husband's father has passed and his mother is physically unable to watch the kids. My mother is deceased and well we wouldn't even consider leaving the kids with my father even if he offered and my brother is in medical school and over one thousand miles away. So the only way we'll even get to take a quick trip is to pay someone to watch the kids, and no not just any someone but someone we really trust so we can enjoy the break.

Is it alright to want a break and some alone time with my hubby? Can we realistically go away for a weekend and enjoy ourselves without feeling guilty or worrying the entire trip? Are we the only ones that have this issue?

My husband has promised me a trip away sometime this summer and I really hope we're able to make it happen.

Friday, June 17, 2011

What Did She Say?

Our little girl, MC aka monkey butt has gone from saying very little to talking up a storm. Of course this is great news but its also scary because I never know what she's going to say.

Yes, I know that what she hears will be repeated. Therefore, we're trying to censor our conversations and reduce our use of certain expletives. But that being said we don't really use a lot of curse words to begin with. I'm starting to realize though that we say certain things more often and we're not even aware of what we say.

Some of MC's new favorite expressions are: "Oh Dear!" (not something I ever say so I'm not sure where she got this one from), "I don't think so Mommy!", "Crap" (apparently I say this more than I realized), "Trust me", and "Are you sure?"

Today she hit me with a new one, HP was crawling around and had gas, MC says "HP made a fart!" He made what? NO I have not said this before. And so I was shocked but also trying to hide the fact that it was cute and funny, although mainly because we were home alone and because she used the word "made" as if he'd been in the workshop assembling it.

A few days ago we were looking for a can of soup in the pantry and one of our storage containers fell, as soon as it hit the floor MC says "CRAP". Because I'd almost said it myself but she'd just beat me to it, I wanted to laugh but also wanted to correct her but since I couldn't keep a straight face I just pretended like it didn't happen. Its tough being a parent, even harder being a good one.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Dad

Alright, so let me start this post by saying I'm not bragging and in no way, shape or form am I proud of the situation. I would change it if I could. But I've wished for change, prayed for change, held out for change and I think at this point it's just one of those things I'm going to have to accept in life. I'm talking about my relationship with my Dad.

There are times when I wonder how I turned out normal, okay well normal is relative and to some maybe I'm not "normal" per se, but I think I could at least get most people to agree I'm well adjusted. But I am grateful that I'm able to write about this as a parent to two fantastic children and not behind prison bars or stuck in an asylum and pointing my fingers at my Dad and blaming him for my circumstances. Of course on the flip side of that I'm not sure he should get much credit for where I am now either.

Maybe I'm being too harsh, maybe some of the unpleasant memories of have of my childhood and the embittered, confrontational relationship with my Dad has helped me get to where I am, even if only motivating me to be a different person than him.

I'm writing this tonight as I was shopping online for a small gift for my husband from the kids for Father's Day. His card is already done. This will be the second year in a row he's getting a custom made photo card with pictures of him and the children. You see I love cards and I'm really funny about choosing the right card for the person. And so I've always had a really tough time choosing the right Father's Day card for my Dad.

Most of the cards talk about the great relationships between father and daughter, or the fun trips you've shared, or the lessons you learned from him, maybe how he can fix anything that's broken, or is a good listener, likes to fish, hunt, etc., you know what I'm talking about. Problem is, none of that applies to my Dad. Maybe someone should have created the "These are all the things I wish you were to me, but I love you anyway" card. I'm serious and yes I know that's sad but it's true.

Sometimes more than anything I just wanted a "normal" Dad. I often told myself that he'd change, if I just accomplished more he'd be more proud and love me more. I'd use his criticism and negativity to motivate me to study harder, work longer hours and persevere. But regardless of my actions or accomplishments they were never good enough and he never changed.

I'm sad to say that while I tried to convince myself it didn't matter, it does matter. And now that he's a grandfather, well I hoped he'd be different. I hoped my kids would have a relationship with him and feel loved. Instead, he never tells people he's a grandfather. He doesn't call and ask to talk to the kids, e-mail and ask for recent photos or come to visit unless it can benefit him in some way.

My husband is a good father to our children. He holds them, changes them, plays with them, takes them to the park and tells them he loves them. I'm grateful that they will both know their father's love. So while I dread Father's Day because I can't find the right card for Dad and wonder should I even send one, now I'll try to focus more on making sure my children's Dad has a wonderful day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Things I was never told

Some things don't mix well, like oil and water, beans and men, beer and liquor. Some things should never go together like fire and gasoline or corn and babies or children that still wear diapers. And apparently, among other things no one told me, garlic, spinach, raisins, blueberries and well I'm sure you probably know of some others. Now I guess, since I'd never changed a diaper in my life before my daughter that if I did know what happened when a child ate some of these things, well it probably would have been good birth control.

I'm looking forward to the day my children are potty trained...I'm not looking forward to potty training my children! I will say if you are super hungry and considering eating things that you shouldn't in order to lose weight, well just change one of these diapers I'm talking about and your appetite will diminish significantly.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

In My Next House

So do you ever sit around and think "in my next house we'll have ....." ? I wouldn't say I sit around and think about it, I have two children under 3 and so I don't have time to sit. But I'm frequently having thoughts of what my next house should have to make life easier at home.

One of the things I'd like is a gigantic bathroom, HUGE, like a spa. I want it to be luxurious with a large shower that has the full body jets and a bench, room for two people to shower comfortably without knowing the other is there. I dream of separate toilets, each behind a door for privacy. I can keep mine clean and stocked and it will NEVER smell like my husband's dirty feet or worse. And it must be soundproofed so if I need to go somewhere and scream from frustration at my child's latest stunt I have a place. I'd like a small, cozy fireplace by the giant tub with jets and a TV that can be seen while soaking.

The master bedroom, wouldn't it be cool if it could be separate from the rest of the house but still convenient? I want our next house to have 2 master bedrooms, one that can be used as an in-law suite or guest room. But totally away from each other and away from the children's rooms. It doesn't have to be grand but roomy and with an area for a reading nook. But I do want it to have lots of windows, hopefully with a water view, (private lake would be nice) and it needs shades that will completely darken the room and operate via remote control. I'd love to have a balcony or patio off our master, something intimate where we can enjoy a drink or read our e-mails.

Kids rooms should be a good size and wired and equipped with video cameras so we can keep an eye on them. (Not in a creepy way, in a I just heard something crash, are they alright or did it come from another room or outside) It would be nice to have lots of built-ins.

Outside, I'd like to have a large yard with a nice big deck, an outdoor kitchen, a beautiful pool with a built-in table and stools, a hot tub, waterfalls and room to swim laps.

The kitchen, now most people would think about the kitchen first, but not me because while I want it to be up to date and gorgeous with the newest and coolest appliances, I don't cook that much so its one of the last things I think about.

Now if only we could move into this "next house" immediately. What do you wish for in your next house?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Here, There and Everywhere!

Where am I? Where was I? What did we do today? Do you ever feel like the Internet and social networking sites suck you in and you just disappear? Nothing gets done, laundry, dishes, trash starts piling up and then you're left wondering where the day went.

I think I was in a cycle for a while where I would hop on the PC and between surfing and playing and feeding the kids,time just vanished. But this week has been different. We were here, there and everywhere! We went to play dates, went swimming at the neighbor's house, shopped at the Outlet mall, Costco, Target, had lunch with friends, had dinner with friends and numerous other activities. This morning we had plans to get together with friends but I was so tired and the kids were still sleeping so we canceled.

I know that I definitely like getting the kids out of the house as it makes the day go by faster, they seem happier and I feel more productive but I just need to find the right balance.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I'm a Mess

This week has been hard, difficult, long get the picture. Wednesday night I went out with a few friends and had a drink and some much needed girl time and I thought the distraction would make things better but sometimes you just can't outrun what's bothering you.

I've tried to focus on the positive, I have two great, healthy children and we have a roof over our heads. But even when thinking about the good things there's a dark cloud that follows me and makes it difficult to enjoy the sunshine.

I'm so fortunate to have a good support system of friends in place. But at the same time, right now, I just want my Mom. I know that I could tell Mom all of my problems and she wouldn't judge me or berate me for a bad decision, she wouldn't offer a solution every 5 minutes but she's just listen. And when she did offer advice it would seem as if it were my own idea.

Why am I falling to pieces this week? Its been 5 years since Mom passed away. Why is the pain still so raw?

There are people in Alabama that have lost everything and literally had the rug pulled out from under them. I have friends experiencing hardships worse than my own. I'm healthy and independent so why do I feel so sad and hopeless right now?

If I could just have one more conversation with Mom, how would it go? What would I say? What would she say? There are so many things I wish I'd done differently. I think if I could talk to Mom I'd tell her that I'm so glad I changed my mind and have children of my own. And yes there are so many things I just didn't understand but do now that I'm a parent. I'd say thank you for all the sacrifices you made for us because I know there were countless sacrifices. Thank you for showing me that love is unconditional.

But more than the thanks, more than the apologies I just want to have a normal conversation with my Mom. What do I do when McKenzie has a rash? Why doesn't she eat macaroni and cheese and what should I feed her for lunch? What was my bedtime at this age? Should she go to preschool? I want to go shopping with my Mom and have lunch. I want her to come over and read the kids the same stories she read me as a child.

I love you Mom and I miss you.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Running in Circles

Wow, for over a month now I feel like we've been running in circles! December was a month that was jam packed with challenges, activities, sickness and almost anything else you can imagine. Most days I felt like I was on a treadmill at the highest incline and there was no emergency stop button, oddly enough I even had the image that I was the hamster on the wheel going round and round with no hope of getting off the wheel.

What happened? Where do I begin? The first weekend in December we were at a birthday party, correction, two toddler birthday parties back to back on a Saturday and then we raced home to watch a football we were busy, so what, right? Well that was the beginning of our month of illness.

The day after the birthday party I had chills, fever, diarrhea and nausea. So I quarantined myself to our bedroom, put my hubby in charge of the kids and drank lots of fluids. I thought that would be enough to keep everyone else well and I would recover quickly. Two days later I was better but our daughter was sick. Another 24 hours and our son now had the stomach bug. By the time the kids were well I had caught it again, aghhhh!

That unfortunate episode which helped me lose 4 pounds in 2 weeks also helped me regain those 4 plus 2 more. Then MC got sick with croup which was followed by her first ear infection. Let me just warn you right now, 2 year olds and steroids don't mix well, at all. I'm not kidding! Then MC was well but then HP, our 4 month old, got croup and just to make things more interesting he also got an ear infection.

We spent Christmas Eve visiting our neighbors in shifts while one of us stayed home with the sick kids. Unfortunately, we had to spend New Year's Eve in shifts too. Then my brother came into town for a visit and his first introduction to our 4 month old. But as luck would have it he and his fiance' became sick too.

At times, I was thinking we should return all of our Christmas gifts and use the funds to build a bubble. But now its January and we're currently all well and as time allows I'm hoping to tell you about our nightmare experience with the Christmas tree infestation, how we had Christmas on a shoestring budget and how much I'm enjoying our new toy the Xbox 360 with Kinect.