Thursday, April 30, 2009

that mom

so tonight for dinner, my kids had spaghetti-o's. my goodness, i never thought i would be that kind of mom... who fed her kids spaghetti-o's for dinner. how disgusting is that. (anthony wasn't home tonight. thus, why on earth would i cook?) ella liked them. bennett took one bite and said, "nasty!" i tried to redeem the meal by giving them broccoli and ranch dressing. i sorta felt better that at least there was some nutritional value. until later, i was cleaning the kitchen and found the broccoli under the table. so basically, bennett had ranch dressing for dinner.

i then took my kids to the park. i of course put a hat on because i never showered today. i also hadn't changed my pants from when mason spit up all over me. and as random pieces of plastic easter eggs came tumbling out of the van when i slid the door open, bennett raced over to get them and toss them back inside on top of the doll car seat and random pom-pom. (i pretty much never clean out my car. yeah, i'm admitting it. i'm trying to help you feel better about yourselves. the reasons: a. i know just how much anthony loves to do it so why would i rob him of that joy? b. i simply don't have enough arms to carry in my kids, diaper bag, and whatever other random items are in the way, and c. i tend to think that there will be some moment when i might need that diaper/pen/old church bulletin/monster truck/kleenex/torn magazine/plastic ball/shoe/ballet medal/broken sunglasses... and the pom-pom almost always calms mason down for at least 4 seconds when he gets fussy.) so there, at the park, i realized i was that mom again.

you know, the one you see before you have kids. back when you have all the answers about how it should be. she drives a mini-van and i will never drive a minivan. she hasn't fixed her hair today and i will always fix my hair when i'm a mom of 3 little kids. there is stuff falling out of her van. seriously, can't she pull it together? clean out your car, lady! oh, and look at her daughter. didn't anyone ever tell her that a purple shirt does not go with blue shorts? does that little boy have ranch dressing all over his face? how hard is it to wash your kids face? oh my goodness. look at that baby. umm, ever hear of a bib? does she ever bathe him? he has food chunks in his hair.

so, if anyone reading this out there isn't planning on becoming that mom (i.e. me) i just want to let you know that your priorities will change. and although it would be nice to shower, its even nicer to sleep. and a fancy car would be fun to drive, but being able to walk back to help your 4 year-old when she needs you is actually really convenient. and yeah, it wouldn't kill me to change my pants but chances are, i don't have anything else that fits and if i do, it most certainly isn't any cleaner. and someday my daughter will learn to match, but for now, she dresses herself. and she's quite proud of what she comes up with. and her confidence and independence is far more important than my pride. (i mean, most of the time. depends on where we are going.)

so yes, i am that mom. and really, it just isn't as bad as it looks.

(note: i would have taken pictures of my kids so that you would know i'm actually not exaggerating about their appearance, but by the time we got home, mason was screaming, bennett had pooped and i couldn't find the camera before ella changed out of her outfit into her pj's. but i'm sure the opportunity will present itself again...)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

weekly random tidbits: how to feed a control freak

  1. bad news, all you lovely single ladies out there... my brother is officially off the market. chad is engaged! welcome to the family (soon) to his beautiful fiance sarah

  2. had a wonderful girls weekend at my parents house. i really don't have any complaints, but if you ask, i can think of a few things that would have made it better: if the weekend lasted 15 days instead of 2 and also, if mason hadn't come. yes, i love him and all, but "girl's weekend" translates into "its all about me." he doesn't understand this. and he exhausts me. but thanks to my dad, i still had many moments where my arms were baby-free.

  3. and of course, the other two had the time of their lives at home during their "daddy party," which included an exciting assortment of fun-ness. like movie night and slumber party in our gigantic tent that barely fits in our family room even with all the furniture moved out of the way. (reason number one daddy is more fun than mommy: energy. i'm exhausted just thinking about this.)

  4. we have an imaginary dog named poppyseeds (yes, plural). the kids are very dedicated to feeding it, caring for it, talking about it. its the best kind of dog. because also imaginary: slobber, dog hair, and barking.

  5. ella's craft time yesterday: making a car. items needed: egg carton, crayons, tape, scissors. (no, i did not come up with this.)
  6. feeding mason has been a bit of a challenge. no surprise here because nothing with the kid has been easy yet. its not that he doesn't like food. its that he doesn't like me putting food in his mouth. he won't open up for the spoon. my new tactic: 2 spoons. he holds one and as he puts his in his mouth, i sneak in with the other spoon and he's happy. he likes to eat, he just wants to be in charge. a control freak at 7 months. God help us all.
  7. "i'm so proud of my daddy. he works so hard out in the hot sun. i think i'm going to give him some money." ella loves to hand out money when she is feeling affectionate. the other day she gave me some pennies for playing easter-egg-hunt with her. that night she then asked for them back when i wouldn't give her any jellybeans.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

weekly random tidbits... the trifecta

  1. a friend of mine called me to ask me about potty training and mommy guilt. (oh honey, you so called the right person.) her son is 2 months younger than bennett and she's getting the pressure that he should be potty-trained because "all my kids were potty trained when they turned 2." of course they were. so she was kinda stressed about it and i reminded her that she is having a c-section FRIDAY and now is not the time to start potty training. in fact, i have no intention of potty training bennett anytime in the near future (which is a disappointment to him because he's on the verge of being ready and i'm just too overwhelmed with life) and when i do, i'll let her know and she can take that has her 2 month warning. so in order to help her out, i'll stall as long as needed.

  2. happy earth day. i've saved us like $3.20 with the cloth diapers now. (gagging smell emanating from laundry room not factored into total) (don't even ask how much i could be saving if we didn't need bennett's diapers because you just can't put a price tag on sanity.)

  3. anthony took ella and bennett to the park this weekend. when i take them to the park its sorta like, go have fun. i'll be sitting right here with mason. when anthony takes them its a completely different story. for instance: this weekend. he decided they would go to three different parks and do something different at each. kite flying at park #1, swinging and easter egg hiding at park #2, and picnic lunch and hide-and-go-seek at park #3. he calls it the trifecta. they love that word. no wonder they like daddy so much more than me.

  4. we've reached this new era where ella designs her own crafts. it is AWESOME. i am not a crafty person so when she says, "i'm going to make a bird house today." i was like, great, what do you need. tape, crayons, paper, cracker crumbs and spinach. and a tupperware for the birds to stand in while eating.

  5. we had our first 100 degree day yesterday. lovely. just lovely. why do the weather people build it up like we are going to be excited or something: "maybe on tuesday we'll have our first triple digit temperature of the year, folks!" nice try. you didn't fool me. no one is celebrating. (except for air-conditioning repairmen.)

  6. and lets hear it for candy! its the simple things in life...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

it should go without saying

we were at one of these outdoor fun-fests this week with a bazillion bounce houses and almost as many people. its sorta like a mom's worst nightmare. you know, an amber alert waiting to happen... where's bennett? ok, there he is going head first down the slide. where is ella? oh, in the middle of that group of 20 jumping children. wait, where is bennett now? who is that standing on his head? ok, mason, you are fine and i really don't want to get you out of the stroller because then you'll never go back in so please stop screaming. wait, where did ella go now?

it was in the midst of this that i felt a little tap on my arm and turned to see this adorable little blond girl (a.l.b.g.) (name withheld to protect her innocence) standing behind me with tears rolling down her face and terror seeping from her eyes. "i c-c-c-c-can't... i c-c-c-c-an't..." she's trying to say through her sobs. yeah, you guessed it. can't find her mom. well, actually it was her grandma.

the POOR thing. she was scared to death. so i'm hugging her and looking all around me and clearly there is no one in the near vicinity looking for her so i tell her we are going to find her grandma. i then drag my children out of line and plead with my eyes for them to can their protests in light of this terrified 4 year-old holding onto me. and off we walk to find grandma.

we end up with a very kind police officer at the lost and found station who is trying everything he can to keep her calm and reassure her. the poor thing was wildly looking all around her and i tell her i won't leave until she finds her grandma, at which points she climbs into my arms and breaks down sobbing. seriously, i was having a hard time holding back my own tears on behalf of this girl. 4 years old! it could have been ella.

about 10 minutes later, i see this lady strolling up and she stops with her hands on her hips, eyebrows raised and zero compassion/kindness/emotion on her face (at least none i could detect) say, "well, are you scared?" yes, let me introduce grandma. c.l.b.g. practically leaps from my arms to her and doesn't stop crying. she clearly wants to be held and consoled while grandma decides to take this moment to educate, with a rather flippant attitude. "well, i bet you'll never run off again." and then to me says, "and WHERE was she?" (mind you, all this is said in some very condescending tones.) what i wanted to say: "walking around scared to death... and where were YOU!!!"

allow me to say now what i feel should be obvious. God forbid... should we ever face a moment when we are reunited with our lost child, who is experiencing some real fear about being all alone in this scary world... it is SO not the time to educate on what they did wrong. because, if i may be so bold, its not so much what THEY did wrong. they are the child. we are the grown-ups. we are the responsible one. if we have issues with our child wandering off and not listening, then maybe that should be addressed before a police officer gets involved. (of course i'm not trying to heap guilt on you if this has actually happened. because we have ALL turned our back and had those moments...i'm just talking about our children here...)

if it doesn't come naturally for you (and seriously, if this is the case, we have bigger issues to address) at least muster up some sort of emotion over your missing child. hysterics of any sort, even if it is anger over them not listening, communicates to your child that maybe you were just as scared as they were. that your love for them is overwhelming and their disappearance terrified you.

ok, i'm going to put my soap box away now. i just have to say that c.l.b.g. has not left my mind since that moment. first, the fear she faced. but then second, the lack of care expressed at her reunion. i mean, chances are high this family expresses love in different ways than mine, but little children need to know they are loved. and valuable. and that we would desperately search to the ends of the earth if anything ever happened to them.

so yeah, go hug your kids.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

happy birthday, angie

things i have learned from my much wiser, compassionate, loving, humble, terrific, big sister:
  1. how to sprout lentils
  2. mini-vans are super cool (ditto for home schooling, adopting, and aqua net hairspray)
  3. how to peg my pants (back in junior high, of course)
  4. how to drive (not counting our initiation courses with dad in the little red station wagon on that old dirt road that is no longer a dirt road)
  5. you CAN make it through mr. vincant's 4th grade class without a pink slip
  6. it is actually possible to do devotions in the midst of raising a gaggle of kids while giving them an excitement for knowing God as well. the secret is chocolate milk in a special "devotions only" cup with a fun picture bible...
  7. never swallow safety pins. or let your finger get stuck while on the top of the slide when wearing heavy skates
  8. celebrate the small accomplishments in life. for instance... burping. "did you hear it? did you hear it?"
  9. all my mommy survival tips (like bringing along an icepack while running errands to put in your child's car seat so the buckle doesn't burn them upon re-entry)
  10. to always let others go first. or the time all us cousins wanted to ride that electric horse outside of thrifty and aunt susan told us that those who are first on earth are last in heaven and then we all wanted to go last but you made the sacrifice and went first. (i think God is going to make an exception for you.)
  11. that if i didn't ask Jesus in my heart, i was going to burn in the lake of fire (as a 3 year-old, this quite literally scared the hell right out of me)
  12. raising your voice to your children isn't actually necessary. a smooth calm voice is far more effective (still working on the implementation of this)
  13. it really isn't a big deal to let your 5 year old drink orange fanta out of a bottle... as long as she is happy and quiet so we can watch pride and prejudice
  14. "a clean house is nice. but the problem is you can start to get used to it."
  15. wash cloths make great barbie beds, and are especially fun on barbie camping trips when spread out ALL OVER mom's clean living room
  16. we can watch soaps on the little b&w tv as long as we point the back of it to the hallway and turn the channel if we see mom coming
  17. its ok to let your younger sibling tag along with you EVERYWHERE (not that i so much applied this myself. but that was because my younger sibling was annoying, and i of course was not.)
  18. there is nothing like a really, really good book. most of the best ones i have read came as recommendations from you.
  19. that we would recover from the mortification suffered when our mother dumped us out of the van at the busiest corner by the high school since we had made her late for work.
  20. motherhood is a marathon, not a sprint. and some days are all about survival.
  21. how to share... since you always let me borrow your barbies, clothes, jewelry, car....
  22. girls don't call boys (well, except for that one time back in junior high when you called cory for ashley... but he didn't really get it anyway.)

thank you for a life lived reflecting Christ in everything you do. i want to be like you when i grow up. happy birthday.

"Sisters share that unique and special relationship that combines friend and family - a bond that is at the same time supportive and enduring. The woman who shares her life with a sister is blessed." -unknown (but stolen from my sister's quotation collection)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

introducing random weekly tidbits

i often have these little bits of information pop up during the week and i think to myself, i should put that on the blog. then i forget, or realize how incredibly boring reading it would be. or sometimes i just have a little paragraph to share. so. i thought we'll have a little weekly time to share the tidbits of life. you know, for my mom and the other 2 bored friends i have. i'll post it sometime each week. check... i don't know... sometime between monday and friday. it should be here.

1. mason now fits into the cloth diapers we have. no, i'm not all about "going green" or anything (not that there is anything wrong with that and i think its wonderful if you do... its just that my priority list begins with things like "staying sane" and "convenience." and of course, also at the top is "saving money." therefore: cloth diapers. when my lovely friend jenny had sextuplets, some wonderful, very generous stranger sent her a plethora of amazing cloth diapers. not that she wasn't grateful, but more so she recognized the absurdity of trying to do cloth diapers on top of simply surviving every day with 6 babies, and she passed them along to me. so. thank you jenny. also, thank you stranger.) mason doesn't wear them when he sleeps (because i so do NOT need anything else waking him up) or when we go out (because i'm not interested in standing at some public restroom sink washing out a poopy diaper with one hand, holding a baby with the other, while yelling at my children to stop doing pull-ups on the handicap bars.) so i did the math and yesterday i saved us 38.4 cents. at this rate, i should be able to get a new kitchen table in like 3 1/2 years.

2. i just finished a great book. i'm always slightly depressed when a good book ends. and even more so after a series. this particular book was the final book in a 5 book series that followed a 9 book series. needless to say, this is kinda tragic. these people, who were such a part of my life for so many months... are no more. after finishing this post i have every intention of baking a batch of brownies and comforting myself with some warm chocolate.

3. 7 month update: mason is sitting on his own. he is also teething. his 2 bottom teeth should be poking out soon. hopefully VERY soon. any. day. now. please.

4. ella recently exclaimed to me, "wow! mommy, you know EVERYTHING!" that's right, honey. and don't you forget it!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

you must have been a beautiful baby...

i always hear how mason "looks JUST like bennett." and while i agree they look like brothers, i often see more resemblance to mason in ella's baby pictures. they do have slightly different eye shape and obviously eye color... but, i don't know, maybe its just the round face, kevin bacon hair and similar face expressions...

someone recently told me we are all just a creepy clone of each other (said as a compliment, i'm sure).




what? what's that you say: "wait, i need to look at some more." well, since i'm looking for an excuse to be an annoying proud mommy... its your lucky day! here ya go:

mason on left, ella on right (and sitting in the sink):

mason on left, bennett on right:

what do you think?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

don't try this at home

i love the baby whisperer. no, i hate her. no, i love her. hate her. love her. hate her. love... yeah, its been sorta like that. in this whole journey for normalcy (whatever THAT might mean here) there have been these miraculous moments where mason has been this angel who drifted off into a peaceful sleep. AND THEN... there have been these other moments where i have contemplated putting my head through the drywall. oh the joys of motherhood. and of course i blame the baby whisperer. because if it weren't for her i would have to blame: a. myself (and like i need another thing to add to the pile of mommy guilt) or b. mason. tempting. but he's just too darn cute.
but he has been sleeping every night until at 4 or 5 am and then goes back to bed after a bottle. (why, oh why do i put this in print... have i jinxed myself?) this is reason enough to celebrate.

and earlier this week, i had the GLORIOUS joy of not one, but 2 nights out with dear, dear friends. i love these nights for 2 reasons. i love my friends. and then i love my kids more. we all just need a little break now and again.

i never have to worry when the kids are with daddy. he is just one big bundle of love and fun.

...and then this conversation happened with ella:

"oh mommy, i have to tell you the funniest thing." pauses to giggle and then contain herself. "last night we saw this guy with a hammer and nails," and then her face got all contorted and violent and very expressive, "and he put a nail in his nose and then hammered it in!" and then her and bennett burst into laughter.

umm... ok. what?

"where did you see this?"

"on tv. with daddy." really? was this before or after the midnight showing of the exorcist.

kids are still laughing so hard. and then ella adds, "he had to get all the boogers out of his nose."

"ahhh ha ha ha ha ha ha..." the giddiness reaches an uncontainable level as i am reaching for the phone.

time to check-in with daddy. i guess it was some illusionist show with cute, innocent bunnies and when the scene switched to hammer "fun" he turned off the tv. apparently not quickly enough.

looks like i'll be hiding the hammer next time they get a cold.