Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Grinch came early.

Burglary. n. The crime of breaking into a building, home, or some other place with the intention of stealing.

We have been burgled, robbed, hit and any other word your thesaurus specifies.  First off we are all okay!  And really that is the most important part of the story.  We are blessed by the people in our lives, not the stuff in our possession.  Secondly as burglaries go it was a mild one.  No trashing of the interior of the house, they did not take everything we own, no obscene messages left to unnerve our family.  But it has still rattled my world.  Never before have I been "fearful".  A friend and I once chased a car down the interstate as they were throwing furniture at us just because we caught them stealing from a charity drop box.  Smart?  Well, no, but we did get the license plate number to the police.  As a friend posted this week, I have a "feisty" nature.  I can thank my mom for that gift.

It was an ordinary morning with the eldest.  We went to the tutor and then stopped at a store so I could pick up supplies for a jewelry gift I am planning to make.  As we drove into the driveway the eldest pointed to the front doors.  My very large double doors were wide open.  Now once in a while one door will open with the breeze when a child has not closed it completely.  Okay, make that frequently, because kids either slam doors or don't close them.  There is no middle ground.  I knew those doors were locked before I left.  So the eldest was commanded to stay in the van as I went to the door.  My fight or flee response was definitely set for flee but I went in just far enough to see into my bedroom which is right off the foyer.  Nightstand drawer open and a pillow on the floor.  Not the way I left my room.  After that I sent my child to the neighbor's and called 911 and then my husband.  As the afternoon unfolded, because this was after all broad daylight, we figured out that they had forced/kicked open the double doors and stolen two TVs and the majority of my jewelry.  On the whole not as bad as it could have been. 

But then I started itemizing the pieces of jewelry that they snatched.  Now being the spoiled only child of loving parents and the spoiled wife of a generous husband I had a lot of jewelry.  Several custom made pieces.  But it is not the dollar value that upset me.  It was the memories.  The custom ring given to me by my parents for my college graduation, the earrings commemorating the twins birth (with the wrong birthstones because they came five weeks early).  My original engagement ring and wedding bands.  On a daily basis I just wear my anniversary band.  The incredibly ornate ring given to me by one of my favorite aunts.  All the emerald and diamond jewelry given to me over the years.  Emeralds, because my husband and the twins are born in May and diamond, because the eldest was born in April.  The costume brooches that my grandmother wore.  She loved brooches and almost always had one on for special occasions.  To say that tears were shed over the memories lost would be an understatement.  I mourn not for the jewelry but for physical representation of all those birthdays, anniversaries and other important milestones.  They were like pictures lost in a flood or fire.  Irreplaceable.

In addition to the loss of something so intimate is the insult of my pillowcase.  Yes, pillowcase.  Like a papercut next to a major wound, it is the little things that put us over the edge.  The pillow on the floor of my bedroom was left there after the thief ripped off my pillowcase to carry away my jewelry.  Really??  Who knew that creeps thieves do not bring their own eco-friendly shopping bags like we do at the grocery store?  It really galled me because that is the only set of sheets I have that fits my new, fluffy mattress.  And I had just washed all my bedding the day before.  I know, petty, but it still made me hostile.

Perhaps the greatest loss of all is my loss of comfort in my own home.  Now we will be putting in a full-on security system.  Today I skipped mass because I was so nervous being away from home before the security system is installed.  In time this will all get better.  It has only been two days.  But I still hate that feeling of insecurity this event has given me.  I have been in the worst parts of New Orleans, Houston and New York City and have felt more confident and secure than I do now. 

Now that the siniveling is over let me move on to my reasons to be thankful. 

  1. I am thankful that the Eldest and I arrived after it was all over.  No surprising  the bad guys in the middle of the crime and ending up hurt.  
  2. I am grateful that they did not take anything that belonged to my children.  My children are a little unnerved and angry but since the scum did not appear to go upstairs the boys are not as impacted as they could have been. 
  3. The beast dog was not injured.  Because he is so destructive he is kenneled when we leave the house.  He was ballistic when finally released but he was safe.  Of course now he is left out when we leave as a hopeful deterrent.  I am sure we will live to regret him being loose. 
  4. I am thankful for the push this has given us to get our ducks in order.  Get appraisals on what is left, recording serial numbers, videotaping a home's contents, installing a security system.  All things we planned to get around to and never did. 
  5. And last but most important I am thankful for the outpouring of love and support we have been given by family and friends during this stressful week.  No matter what happens in life, I am always reminded how blessed we are by the people in our lives.
Now we go forward.  We will replace the TV's, a security system will be installed by the end of the week, new memories will be made as a family.  As we go forward I will try to do what a friend gently prodded me to do.  Forgive the thieves and pray for them.  I am not there yet.  Forgiveness is my weakest area but I am working on it daily.  I hope that you all have a less "exciting" week/weekend.  But remember to watch out for yourselves and neighbors.  Tis the season of the grinch and he is a busy, busy boy.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Just wondering.

In the odd moments of trying to accomplish some chores while home schooling the eldest I started wondering what surprised you about parenting.  You know, things that you never heard about or thought of when you were thinking "I want one of those". 

For instance, it never occurred to me that I would only have male children.  The boys plus the DH and the beast equals five males of some species in my house.  That is a whole lot of testosterone. It also means that no matter what bed I put clean sheets on I still have to watch out that I don't trip over Nerf weaponry or accessories.  Yes, that includes my own because DH has his own weapon pile stashed under the bed.  You just never know when the Nerf war to end all wars will break out.  It also means that all toilet seats are suspect in the up or down position.  Always check before using. 

No where in my day dreams of parenthood did I think of the mounds of paper that goes with children.  School papers, reports and projects.  Art work times three.  Medical forms and information that needs a place to live until the next ER visit.  And then there are the artistic masterpieces you find taped to your bedroom wall from your very own Picasso.  You know, that one room in the whole house that is supposed to be your sanctuary?  How to store and when to toss.  And when do you find the time to sort through all that paper?

Toys!!!  Never did I realize three children could own, use all at one, and dismantle so many toys.  Not being the queen of organization the toys are going to be the death of me if the paper doesn't kill me first. 

Food.  It never occurred to me that one large roast and 3 pounds of potatoes might not last most of the week before children.  In the not to distant future I will have three teenage sons.  Can anyone say second frig and freezer?

Noise!  Three boys tend to attract other boys at this age.  Boys like to play war games, wrestle and out yell each other.  Great things for running off energy when outside.  But on cold, rainy days all those boys come inside and go upstairs (if I'm lucky) and work out their energy.  Crashing bodies on the second floor sound like elephants on the bottom floor.  It makes the glasses in my kitchen cabinets rattle.  That is when I pull out the secret chocoate stash.  Winter is looming.  Time to head out to Godiva again.

None of these are earth shaking issues but it always amazes me how much I did not know or think of before children.  Maybe some of these are because I was an only child and a girl.  We are a different species. 

What amuses or amazes you about parenthood? 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I am thankful for...

Any of my friends know that I am a huge Facebook crack addict fan.  Circulating on my crack site has been the lovely practice of giving thanks for something each day in November.  Now while I love the idea I have not been organized enough to participate regularly.  Okay, I only gave thanks one day and that was halfway through the month.  It is the thought that counts right?  And who knew Thanksgiving was this week?  Man that turkey day has snuck up on me.  Anyway I thought I would give thanks here.  Because this is the most organized I am likely to get between now and death the New Year. 

I am thankful for my parents.  They are healthy and capable of tearing me a new one when ever I need it.  And at 46 I still need to be reminded of the basics now and then.  They also love me like nobody's business and adore my husband and children.  Really, can I ask for anything more?

I am thankful for all of my in-laws, parents and sisters.  Every so often we all hear horror stories of mean, meddling and invasive in-laws ruining marriages, butting in lives and generally making people miserable.  Never have I experienced that in almost 19 years of marriage.  When any of them visit my family or we visit them they are all gracious, loving and happy to see not only their son/brother but also myself and our boys.  We are truly blessed with the relationships we have with them all.

I am thankful for my husband.  A man that did not fit my "type" when I met him and yet has lasted with me for almost 19 years of marriage.  A friend described us as a "differential equation gone bad" when he found out we had started dating.  Yeah, he is my eldest son's Godfather now.  Darling husband is my best friend.  He works like a dog for our family and has never been anything other than a gentleman to me since I met him.  He is my biggest cheerleader and ignores all my gray hair and wrinkles.  The man is blind and I love him for that.

I am thankful for my children.  Although my high school year book did not have a "Most Unlikely to Reproduce" I was a shoe in for that spot.  Surprisingly enough I did reproduce more than once.  They have taught me what love really means.  They have taught me patience, something I really could not spell before them, and what it means to share.  Not something that came natural to me in anyway.  Through the struggles and challenges they have faced I have learned compassion and empathy for others.  Many days I fail to be my best but they renew me each day.  Now I truly understand what it means to say each day is a gift.  

I am thankful for the friendships that have been made along the way.  Some I have known for 35 years.  That is a long time for someone who moved until fifth grade. They say that if you have five true friends in a lifetime you are blessed.  I am very, very blessed.  They have held my hand during the best and most devastating times in my life.  Two even offered to stage a sit in at a school for me.  Really, how many people can say that???  I know without any doubt that I can pick up the phone and say I need you here today and they would travel first and ask questions later.  I hope that I am as faithful a friend as they have been to me.

I am thankful for my volunteer work.  It keeps me sane and on even footing.  The old adage that one gets back more than one gives is true.  What ever your passion may be in life I highly encourage you to find time to volunteer to serve others.  With a hospital, your place of worship or your favorite charity.  Yes you will help others just as you expect.  But you will also grow in ways you cannot imagine.  We are all busy.  Carve out some time, you will not regret your decision.

I am thankful for all my new and renewed relationships through Facebook and this blog.  Social media has allowed me to look at people with new eyes.  Because really, are any of us the same people we were in high school or college?  We have all changed and grown, usually for the better and social media allows us to reconnect with our new and improved selves.  It also allows us to get to know casual acquaintances and colleagues better.  It is possible to develop real friendships though social media.  Don't tell my tech husband I  said this, but technology is "Way Cool"!!

May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving this year surrounded by people you love.  And don't forget to give thanks in your own way for all your blessings.  Even if it is only to say, "I'm thankful I didn't get caught".  Let them all wonder what you did.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I will NEVER...

How many times have you said "I will NEVER" only to eat your words later?  Sooner or later we all eat our words over something. Over the years I have had some major retractions and have learned to not use that phrase.  Examples of foot eating opportunities abound.  "I will never get married before I am 30."  Age 28 down the aisle.  "I will never have children."  Yep, three of the little rug rats.  "I will never yell."  Really??  I did say that one and the terrible twos/threes broke me quickly.  "I will never be a stay-at-home mom."  Eleven years and counting on that one.  I will NEVER home school any of my children.  Third year for the eldest. " I will never have another dog."  The beast has been with us for about five years.  See what I mean?  Major statements and everyone of them proven wrong by my own choices.  Now for the most part life has been richer and more joyful because my "I will never"  became I will choose.  But this past Sunday I ate my words yet again and this time it scared me to my core. 

Every summer, particularly here in the south, there are cases of parents or other adults leaving small children in hot cars with tragic consequences.  There are also the occasional stories of someone forgetting their child at a place of business, home or somewhere else.  Even though life has handed me humility on a silver platter a multitude of times I still said "I could NEVER forget one of my children".  "How do people do that?"    Oh how the mighty have fallen!! 

On Sunday mornings my eldest volunteers as an junior assistant for the four-year-old class.  He rides with me and helps out while I teach my fifth graders and then we ride across the street and meet the rest of the family for Mass.  The two prior Sundays the eldest missed class due to a campout with the Scouts and not getting ready in time for me to leave.  So this past Sunday he was back in class and all was right with the world.  I was filling in for another Lector (someone who reads from the scriptures) and was not prepared so I hurried across the street to get ready.  I noticed a strange number had called on my phone but did not call back since I was headed into church.  After finding my husband in the church and dropping off my purse with him, I signed in and started preparing for the scripture reading.  Now I noticed that the Eldest was not with the rest of the family but automatically thought he was getting ready to be an alter server and thought nothing else about my missing child. 

Then his teacher showed up with my first born.  Suddenly the light bulb went off!  I cannot begin to tell you how incredibly sick I felt at the thought that I had forgotten my child.  Yes, it was just across the street.  Yes, it was with caring adults who got him back to me safely.  Yes, he is 13 and not a helpless infant.  But oh my goodness, the what ifs that have been circling in my mind since that moment are keeping me up at night. This is the one thing that I really thought was not possible, forgetting a child.  Now I know how parents do this and let me tell you it is scary just how easily it happened.  The most frightening thing is how routine the day seemed and how long he was gone without my noticing that he was missing.  He was calm, his teacher was calm, even my husband was calm.  I am still not even close to calm.  This child is with me all day, every day and I forgot him.  How does this happen?  Way. To. Easily.  The Eldest was lucky.  I am simply thankful and humbled at how fortunate we were Sunday. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Shower Sagas

As an only child I drove my parents crazy when it came to bath time.  I loved water.  Single handed I could use every ounce of hot water in my home for every bath or shower.  Annoying and expensive but I was always clean as an end result.  Those people I gave birth to are not like me.  They are not like my darling husband who loves to be clean also.  They are a world unto themselves. 

This summer DH and I began an exercise and diet program in order to lose a little weight that had crept up on us as happens with busy lives and middle age.  With the addition of scouting and the need for PE for the Eldest I have added the children into that exercise program as often as possible.  With the Eldest that includes daily walks or bike rides.  With the short ones they get the occasional bike ride after school along with the Eldest and Number 4.  Number 4 is with my boys so much he has lost his name and is openly referred to as our fourth son.  He keeps my boys busy and my boys keep him busy.  Truly a win-win for moms! 

This week I took the boys hiking in a local forest two times to work on our health and scouting skills.  Saturday they walked 3.3 miles in hilly terrain. They did great!  They all climbed up a gully over dirt, tree leaves and using the roots of a tree to pull themselves up as their less nimble and lazy loving parents watched and encouraged from above and below.  A great afternoon was had by all. Good healthy exercise all wrapped up in nature and fun.  

That night the short people showered and the Eldest was scheduled for his shower the next morning.  Splitting up the schedule makes for less drama in the evenings.  Or so I tell myself.  The Eldest missed his volunteer work at the church yesterday morning because he did not get to the shower in time.  Even though I had time to eat breakfast, shower, dress for church and apply warpaint and blow dry my hair in that same amount of time.  Really kid?  So off to class I went feeling particularlly hostile for a Sunday morning of teaching about God's love.  One of the twins had a scouting workshop at the church in the afternoon so his alter ego played in the woods behind our home with the Eldest and Number 4 all afternoon and evening.  As I cooked dinner the short people were sent off to the showers.  Now if any of you are Cosby fans you know the next line.  "There is going to be a beating tonight."  Well no beating but a tongue lashing and two weeks of grounding.

Twin B showered and came down smelling fresh and clean for dinner.  Sir Stinky Twin A chose an alternate path.  He came to the table in fresh pajamas, dry hair ( a cool trick for someone with no blow dryer) and grass in his hair.  Yeah, dry, grassy hair.  I had already noticed in Church that his hair was not clean but had chalked it up to not doing a good job the night before.  Nope, he has a new trick.  Sitting in the bathroom as the shower runs for 20-30 minutes!!  Really??  Busted!!  So now he gets supervised visitation with the soap and water for a while, two weeks of housebound time with absolutely no electronics of any kind, all over lying to us about a shower.  Because parents never notice when active boys smell like dead goats!

I would love to say this is the first time we have had shower sagas but getting clean seems be a recurring issue in my house.  Usually it is the hair not washed or rinsed enough.  Because even though all three boys love the swimming pool and can put their face in pool water, shower water is evidently dangerous to male faces and heads. Somehow I think my neighbor down the street who has three girls is not going to have these issues.  Of course she may never have hot water again when they become teenagers.  Kids.  We love them but they will make us insane before it is over.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Teleportation and other Myths Exposed

After almost eighteen years of marriage and thirteen years of motherhood, I have noticed that the males in my household believe certain myths.  Now I am not talking about area 51 here.  No, these are a bit closer to home.  So I feel the need to expose or "debunk" some of the untruths they hold so dear.  What?  Am I being unfair?  Well yes, but since they don't have blogs they cannot argue with my myths that I hold dear.  Such as all sweets and yummy food must be surrendered to the mom for a "toll fee" bite.  My favorite!

Myth #1.  Clothes hangers when empty will teleport themselves to the laundry room for the next use.  It is not just in closets that I find empty hangers.  Nope.  Why just today I located three renegade hangers on the Little People's bedroom floor.  Just lying there like plastic roadkill.  They have also been discovered under beds, in the bathroom and my personal favorite, buried under the formless Pottery Barn couch in the armpit of Hades playroom.

Myth #2.  Used washcloths also teleport themselves to the laundry room.  My boys are all responsible for bringing their dirty clothes to the laundry room and for putting up the clean clothes.  With constant nagging and harassment positive reinforcement they handle this chore with great enthusiasm.  Except for washcloths.  For some unknown reason they live in the bathtub only.  It is not unusual to spend the entire day catching up on laundry only to walk in the bathroom and find five or more wet washcloths in the back end of the bathtub.  Today they were even folded.  That's right.  Wet, folded and stacked.

Myth #3.  Socks reproduce.  Well at least I think that is the myth.  Why else would they be left all over the floor, and tucked under couch cushions,  in every room of the house if it were not for propagation of the species?  And then they are surprised when they run of of clean socks.  (Insert eye roll and motherly sigh here.)

Myth #4.  Opening the refrigerator multiple times will make the options better.  The Eldest can be a picky eater. I often see him going between the pantry, freezer and refrigerator up to five times each checking out the options.  This occurs only when the options are scarce or really healthy.  I have never noticed that behavior when there is cake, cookies or pie. 

Myth #5.  The more toys on the bed, the more restful the sleep.  Do your children do this?  It is not uncommon to hear loud thunks as darling husband and I are sleeping in front of the TV watching TV at night.  Years ago this would have caused me to jump up in a panic thinking a child was lying unconscious with a broken neck on the floor.  I have learned that it is the sound of large, often heavy toys getting kicked out of bed as they flop over in bed.  Who knew that large Nerf guns were not sleep friendly? 

Myth #6.  This is perhaps the most prevalent myth among young male children.  Evidently they believe that if you urinate inside of the toilet bowl the toilet will snap certain parts off and thereafter you will be forced to dress in pink and wear very large, sparkly bows in your hair.  And as a final offering to the toilet god the lid must be left in the up position.  If you have any ideas on how to debunk this myth I am all ears! 

So what are some of the favorite myths in your house?  I am sure there are some amazing ones out there.  Now if you will excuse me there is a toll fee in need of collecting.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tooth Fairy Problems

It might be time to fire the Tooth Fairy.  She has become somewhat unreliable in my house.  Now we all know that she has been around the block/world a few times and is not exactly a spring chicken anymore but lately she is missing a lot of teeth.  In the past year she has been delayed by rain, held up by technical issues (her wings went on the blink) and got grounded by all that ash coming from Iceland.  She also got hit by the recession once or twice and had to wait until she got paid for the teeth she already collected before she could disperse more cash. 

Twin B pulled out a wiggly tooth yesterday morning and put it under his pillow as he made his bed yesterday.  Guess what happened?

NOTHING!!!  That's right!  The old girl was a no show again!  Now it did rain last night and we old folks do not like being cold and wet so maybe that held her up a bit.   But Twin B was feeling a bit neglected until we solved the mystery of the non-visit.  The culprits?  Shoes.  That's right shoes.  Evidently the little people left their stinky school shoes downstairs instead of putting them on the shoe rack in their room.  Those nasty tennis shoes rampaged through the house, scaring off the tooth fairy and ended up in my pantry with an unopened Rice Crispy Treat between them.  Awful!  Well maybe the old girl will show up tonight if those montrous shoes are caged up in the closet where they belong. 

The tooth fairy may be old but she is still a quick thinker!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Things I did not know before children.

Long ago I babysat children.  I had cousins and friends with siblings.  I worked for a pediatric ENT.  Totally ready for that whole having kids thing.  Right?  I knew nothing everything about raising kids. After having three boys here are some things they have taught me. 

Baby proofing the house is not physically possible.  You can make it somewhat safer for the child, but the house and furniture will never be the same.  Those child locks on the door will not protect the contents from twins.  They are perfectly capable of tag teaming the door, at 16 months old, and ripping the door off the hinges. 

Banana pudding when flung on wooden mini blinds and kitchen walls is there to stay.  Years later you will still find spots you missed even though you cleaned for five hours.

Never walk away from a toddler who is eating banana pudding.  That two minute potty break is not worth the hours of cleaning.  Also never walk away from a toddler who is potty training.  Enough said!

Boys enjoy crashing into each other for no apparent reason.  They will do this even though it hurts and you tell them to stop.  Broken collar bones are very obvious.

Stores are amazing hiding places for small children.  When you let go of a toddler's hand to pick something up they will be gone in an instant, especially if there is more than one.  People seldom want to get near the hysterical mother screaming children's names in stores.  But they will give you dirty looks and talk bad about you to your face. 

People love stopping you to look at your adorable twin babies.  They just don't like opening doors so you can push the shopping cart  and the stroller through the door while holding onto the third child's hand. 

It is socially acceptable to grasp with both hands, a stranger's pregnant belly.  It is also acceptable to ask  a perfect stranger if twins run in her family or if she took meds or had an invitro-fertilization to produce the twins.

Screen windows are not effective after pencils and hot wheels are driven through them.  Screen windows are also not that cheap to replace. 

Flat paint does not scrub well.  No matter what the brand.

A freshly eaten Oreo will leave evidence when you bite the back of your brother's school shirt right before you leave for school.

Nerf battles take over the whole house.  Bullets can stick to curtains and they will be found under the couch cushions and in the pantry.  Don't ask how, just trust me, they will.  

Cute foam, child sized furniture will turn to mush when children use it as landing pads.  That $300 Pottery Barn couch will be a shapeless puddle of fabric within six months.  That is why I smiled when I bought it for $25 at the outlet. 

Resale and consignment shops are your friend!  You may not ever have clothes to sale after three boys wear them but spending $5 on a pair of dress slacks feels a lot better when the kid shreds them after falling over his brother the first time he wears them. 

Bicycle helmets are a necessity!  They will save your child's life and at least prevent concussions. 

Boys are not quiet, neat or safety conscious.  They do however love their mother above all else.  They will open car doors, house doors and carry in groceries twice their size just for a smile and a kiss.  Neighbor boys will also do those things just because you treat them the same as your own children. 

It is possible to love multiple children just as much as the first child and the love grows stronger each day.

It is possible to be scared out of your mind one minute and full of joy the next.  Children do that to you.  Raising children is worth the work.  Watching helpless infants turn into loving, smart, resourceful young men is better than any Hollywood blockbuster.  I wouldn't miss this show for the world.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Traveling: Then and Now

Long ago in a land before children, I LOVED traveling. In college my roommates would walk in the door at 4:00 p.m. on a Friday asking who was working that weekend.  No football games, no band practice, not on the work schedule, ROAD TRIP!  By midnight we would be packed into the car, often with another car behind us and off on an adventure.  Florida, New Orleans, maybe to-be-decided along the way.  One time we drove from Monroe, Louisiana to Jonesboro, Arkansas to take homemade treats to a friend in a drum and bugle corp.  We  watched the show, visited with our friend, met the group and then proceeded to drive the six hours back that same night.  Exhausted we pulled into the driveway sometime just after dawn.  Loved it!  That was then.

Now.  The planning begins at least two weeks in advance.  Laundry has to be completely caught up so a household of five (four this weekend) can  be packed up.  Weather reports must be checked so that everyone is warm, dry or not to hot.  If the beast is not traveling with us, then the vet has to be scheduled to board said beast.  Medications have to be filled.  Toys have to be packed.  And activities must be planned for after arrival, and if on a long trip, scheduled along the way for relief.  Healthy snacks are purchased, portioned in individual serving sizes so everyone can have their own, and reduce the level of fussing, arguing and pushing for premature termination from a sibling or parental unit.  Road rules have to be established before starting off on the trip.  I get one CD of music then you people get one movie.  If the three of you cannot agree on a movie then I listen to my music all the way there.  The van aka "The Mothership" has to be cleaned out of the day-to-day filth of three children so that she can be ready for travel filth.  Really, do you know people with clean cars?  I only know one and it's not me!  By the time the trip is over and the unpacking begins I feel like I have run a marathon.  Except I don't run, that is to much like work!  And the brood wonders why I roll my eyes every time they say "Road Trip"!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Uniform Blues

It is fall here in Tennessee and unlike in my home state of Louisiana that means cooler temperatures in the morning and evenings with beautiful temperate afternoons.  Of course that also means that instead of shorts the little people have started opting for pants and short sleeved shirts to wear to school.  They are still in elementary school so the summer uniform consists of short sleeved uniform shirt with khaki shorts or PE tee and shorts.  The winter uniform, which will be in effect next month, is dress khaki slacks or PE sweats.  No problems with figuring out what to wear, no drama in the mornings, easy stuff.  Except when it is time buy new stuff.  Only one brand/store is sanctioned by the school so the cost is your first born and all your chocolate.  We parents get by with the used uniform sale at the school and then only supplement if necessary from the store.  Now the first few years were great.  Hand-me-downs from big brother and the sale carried us most of the way through the year.  This year...not so much.

The eldest came home to be schooled after fourth grade so we are now officially out of hand-me-downs.  Last May when the uniform sale hit I was scheduled within a inch of my life and did not get to the sale.  We got through the beginning of school with our leftovers from last year.  And then Twin B did it again.  He grew!  A and B are not identical.  B has 1 to 1 1/2 inches on his twin at any given time.  Fine.  No problem.  Went to the uniform store yesterday, dropped $65.00 on two pair of slacks to get us through this week. (I don't know why the kid actually wants to breathe when the pants are buttoned anyway.)  Good to go!

Today is field day.  They both needed to wear their PE sweats this morning.  Can you guess it?  Ding, ding, ding!  Gold star for you!  B doesn't fit in any of the old sweats!  And there is only one almost decent pair left. Two small holes on each knee count as decent right?  I forgot that I had cut off all the old ones and made them into play shorts this summer.  Oops!  Back to the uniform store for four pairs of sweats today.  I haven't been yet but I am sure the price will make me seek comfort in my secret chocolate stash.  Now where is that brick so I can put it on their heads to keep them little.

Monday, October 3, 2011


I went to see the new movie "How Does She Do It" last night."  It was a cute movie but not earth shatteringly funny.  The one thing that annoyed me was the unflattering comparison of working versus nonworking mothers yet again.  Having been on both sides of this discussion I must say, there is NO easy way of being a mom.  No matter if you work outside the home, or in the home, it is still work.  Work we signed up for voluntarily but none the less, real physical labor.

If you work outside the home then all the work to be accomplished at home still has to get done.  Children have to be taken to and from school, fed and hopefully, if they remembered to bring the laundry down, in clean clothes.  School projects have to be supervised, tests studied for, and extracurricular activities managed.  And they need to have your time along the way for kissed boo boos, bedtime stories or real conversations about their day and life stresses.  Then, you have to do your job so you can come home and put in your other eight hour day.  Hectic, stressful and not easy.  It helps if you have a job you love like the movie's character but either way the job pays bills so it has to be done and done well.  Your day, your time, is not your own.  Conflicting schedules have to be juggled all the while praying like mad that you don't drop a single ball or they might all fall down.

If you are a stay at home mom the juggling game is still the same, it is just the details that change.  Because you are at home others assume that you are available to help out at church, school, and at a moment's notice pick up items forgotten by other members of the family.  It is assumed that your house will be spotless, your meals will be home cooked, your children perfectly dressed and school projects wonderful because of your availability.  But of course real life intervenes and on a regular basis throws all schedules out of whack.  Extracurricular activities take on a life of their own, shoes go in gutters, children lick the floors and walls of their school come home sick, volunteer projects get out of hand and just as quickly as the working mom, your day, your time, is not your own.  All the balls are in the air and if one falls the rest quickly follow. 

Why do we do this to ourselves?  Are we as women all crazy gluttons for punishment?  I don't think so.  Recently a innocent comment about sports got me to thinking about women and how we behave.  "Oh yeah, your a woman so you think with your heart, not your head."  This referred to a woman's support for a particular team because her husband liked the team.  I think that statement defines women.

We do think with our hearts.  It is with out hearts that we desire to become mothers, give up our bodies, vices, sleep and the ability to accomplish more than one errand without running to the ladies room. It is with our hearts that we nurture our children, protect them, love our spouses, and maintain family relationships and friendships.  When we take on that big project at work or decide to home school a child who is struggling, we do so because we are looking at the big picture.  This project will provide for my family, this child needs more help.  We are not organizing a flow chart in our heads and deciding if we can fit it in the schedule.  We pick up that extra ball and toss it in the air because our heart calls us to help, to love, to be of service for others.  Love cannot be decided with the head.  And we love fiercely.

Working outside of the home, working in the home, it is all based on love.  And that is why we should support each other as passionately as we support out families.  Because we are all juggling.  We are all doing the best that we can in a crazy, hectic world that often expects the unrealistic from mere human beings.  We are all struggling with the same basic issues and lying awake at night, making lists and double checking that nothing has been dropped.  Good luck this week with juggling your schedules and commitments and take an extra moment to be nice to another mom.  

Saturday, October 1, 2011

What was I thinking?

Have you ever caved into the demands of children only to ask later, "What was I thinking?"  Actually after today I am beginning to wonder if I was taking drugs thinking.  For several years the Little People (Twins A and B) have asked if they could join the scouts.  Knowing that our schedule is insane on a normal basis and that darling husband works a bazillion hours a week I said no.  Well this year I caved, lost my last brain cell, and said "Sure, you can all three join Cub/Boy Scouts!"  "We will figure it all out."  Really???  I am not new to this mom game.  The eldest is 13 years old for goodness sake.  I know that promises made by children are soon dropped like dirty shoes on a spotless floor.  But I went there anyway.  What was I thinking?

First off scouting is not a poor man's activity.  Uniforms, books, patches (yes they all have to be sewn on) and camping gear will run high dollar.  Ladies, this seriously hurt my shoe/Godiva budget! Next, they all have meetings to go to weekly.  Two different meetings added to an already complete schedule.  Then there are the camping trips.  The short people only have two a year, the eldest has one a month.  There are badges to be earned (worksheets to be done by the boys and their parents/den leaders) skills to master and physical fitness challenges to be recorded and improved upon.  Of course all this is on top of homework and any other activities they might be involved in on a regular basis.  What was I thinking?

Now don't get me wrong, I still feel that the Boy Scouts is a valuable experience and will build character and useful skills.  But WOW!  The amount of time far exceeded my expectations.  Today between all three children, DH and I spent from 10:00- 4:45 on scout related stuff.  My only free day of the week.  And people were peeved because they were working on multiple objectives that are due tomorrow at 4:00 p.m instead of playing with friends on a beautiful day.  Promises to work hard and cheerfully put in the effort to achieve desired goals; dropped like stinky shoes.  What was I thinking?

But the work is done for today.  Well, all except that 30 day record of physical activity that is due tomorrow that we haven't started yet.  Yeah, I wonder if they give mom merit badges for under achiever?  Now, where did I stash the chocolate? 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Why I am wearing one shoe.

Clomp, swish, clomp, swish.  Odd sounds coming from the doorway as I am about to start dinner are never a good sign.  And the weirdness always starts during dinner preparations.  Here he comes, Twin A, in his school clothes, minus one shoe.  He had on two shoes when he went outside.  Oh yeah, this is going to be interesting.    Up come the hands in explanation, "Mom, it happened like this".  "I was playing football with the guys and I made the most amazing kick!"  Okay...and your shoe is where?  "Well, it came off and flew so high into the air!  You should have seen it Mom!  Amazing!"  Yes son, but that doesn't answer the question.  "I just need to know which ladder to use."  <Yeah, this is the accident prone 9-year-old, asking for a ladder.>  Why do you need the ladder son?  "Well my shoe kind of got stuck in the neighbor's gutter.  On. Top. Of. The. House." 

Yes, I did retrieve the shoe after going back to school for an engineering degree so I could figure out how to set up the multipurpose ladder.  Did I mention that darling husband does not allow me on ladders because I am the klutz that gave Twin A the klutz gene?  Oh and the ladder had to straddle a small ditch to reach the shoe.

And that is why dinner was at 7:00 p.m., again.