Monday, June 24, 2013

My kid is crying because...

-I wouldn't let him watch me pee
-her ponytail is too high
-the cheese is sliding out of his sandwich
-there's grass on her feet
-the apple isn't red enough
-she broke her own crayon
-I wouldn't let him get up from the dinner table to watch a car back out of the driveway
-the book won't stay open on a specific page
-I'm not sharing my spicy food even though the spice would just make them cry and freak out
-the strawberries are too cold
-I'm making him wear underwear
-I made her go potty when she didn't feel like she had to
-I gave him the blue cup
-the sun is setting
-I wouldn't let him hand me a booger
-dinner isn't ready yet, even though he caused the delay by putting his shorts in the toilet
-his sister is in his room
-he has to use his inside voice inside
-the balloon isn't floating anymore
-I wouldn't paint his toenails
-he insisted on opening his own granola bar and promptly broke the bar in half
-the string cheese had the wrong number on the wrapper
-I wouldn't let her do headstands on the couch
-there are wrinkles in his car rug
-she needs TWO blankets around her ears at bedtime, not just one
-the chalk is too dusty
-I wouldn't let the 3-year old drink my espresso
-I cut his sandwich

Sunday, June 16, 2013

What Daddy taught me

The farther I get in this parenting journey, the more I realize most of it is doing the best you can, with what you have. In direct correlation to that, the older I get the more I realize just what kind of hurdles my own parents had to face to get us where we needed to go. And the older my children get, the more I want to apologize to my parents for the "strong-willed child" (yes, they had that Dr. Dobson book) that they had to raise.
I learned many things from my Dad, who is one of those guys that knows many things about many things. The proper way to cut down a tree with a chainsaw? Check. How to play bass guitar? Check. How to crack a bullwhip like Indiana Jones? Check.
Below is a very short list of some of the things my dad has taught me, all of which I am very grateful for. I love you, Dad. Happy Father's Day!

What Daddy Taught Me:
* Righty-tighty, lefty-loosy
* The Oldies ARE the goodies
* I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.
* Does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight?
* Spicy mustard mixed with honey makes an excellent dipping sauce for meats and cheeses
* A keen wit and a solid grasp of logic will take you very far in life
* The bass player can make or break the song/concert/album
* Mowing paths through the lawn instead of mowing the complete lawn can make for an epic hours-long game of tag
* Good coffee takes some effort, but is always worth it
* Sometimes people are overwhelming and it's okay to take a step back from the chaos of social interaction
* The names of a vast majority of tools and how to use them properly
* You always want dad on your softball team (but only if you're willing to hoof it around the bases after he hits it into the unmowed grass)
* Gaffer's tape fixes anything
* A good pipe is not just for Wizards
* Sometimes tossing random ingredients together will result in the best dishes
* John Wayne movies deserve repeated viewings
* The best sound at a concert will be wherever the sound board is, sit there if you can!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Favorite Things Friday.

(Not our countertop.)
*Reese's candy
I am so indebted to this candy right now! Reese's Pieces helped us potty train our daughter several years ago, and now (after a spectacular false start with Pez candy) mini Reese's peanut butter cups are helping us potty train our son! He's doing an amazing job!

*Hardwood floors
See above.

In between grocery shopping trips, I ran out of our kids' usual baby carrots and sugar snap peas and was at a loss for a veggie. Luckily for me, it was hot out and we had plenty of spinach and frozen fruit! Zaza was a little turned off by the light green color from the spinach, but she quickly changed her mind when I had her taste it. The peaches, pineapple, bananas, and mango disguised any spinach taste, and they loved it! I'm already stocked up on more spinach and frozen fruit for the next hot spell.

*My guitar
15-ish years ago my dad bought a Yamaha acoustic guitar, and eventually bequeathed it to me because I was teaching myself to play. He lowered the bridge and filed down the frets to make it play easier, and I've had it ever since. It's had some bumps and chips, and I've had to glue both the nut and the strap button back on (at different times) but he's still going strong! Yes, my guitar is a he, and yes, he has a name. His case is even adorned with a "Hello, my name is" sticker.

*A 4-level house
If I start in the basement and go up to Zaza's room, I climb 3 flights of stairs. I may not be happy at the time (especially if I have to sprint because someone's screaming bloody murder, which almost always turns out to be a false alarm) but I'm grateful for the free exercise!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

For all of my Mamas...

In honor of Mother's Day tomorrow, I thought a Mama post would be appropriate. Mothering is not just being able to give birth to children, it is a mindset and a state of being. Some of the best mothers I know have not yet given birth to their own children, but they are far outdoing many women in terms of caregiving and childrearing. Now, let me state the obvious in that no Mom is perfect. There will be fights, there will be yelling and tears and bad decisions. There will be mistakes made, because we're human beings and it's what we do, even when we try not to. Yet despite all of that, we mother on. This post is dedicated to all my Mamas, all those women who selflessly and lovingly take care of others, be it children or adults. Your mommy hearts are precious and your efforts do not go unseen, bless you for everything that you do. You are an inspiration to me daily.
I want to talk to a few of the Mamas in particular, from whom I draw hope and courage.

For M
When I get impatient and frustrated with my kids, I like to think WWAMD? (what would Aunt M do?) M is my older sister, who has not birthed children of her own yet, but she's totally a Mama because she gets it. She not only has the basics down like a pro (diaper-changing, not letting the toddler lick the dog, etc) but she gets kids. Their mindset, their creativeness, their need for attention and love, she just gets it and knows how to tap into that and let their little minds and bodies be children. But she also has a ton of patience and is very firm when she needs to be, without the usual hesitancy of "this isn't my kid, am I allowed to say no?" If they're doing something they shouldn't, she lays down the law. So when I get impatient and frustrated, I count to 10 and chant to myself "How would Aunt M handle this?" and then I try to do that. It has saved me from many a blow-up. Thank you, big sister, for being the best sister and momma a girl could ever ask for.

For N
My cousin N is an amazing woman, and you can read all about her story here. Seriously, go do it. Her openness and vulnerability regarding her struggles with infertility will blow you away. She's a fantastic writer, a great photographer, and the most adorable farmer's wife you'll ever meet. She's also one of my favorite cousins. (Am I allowed to say that? It's only kids you're not supposed to have a favorite with, right?) I can't find the post in which she wrote this, but in one of her posts she wrote about wishing things hadn't happened a certain way, or that she could go back and change circumstances. But then God started to change her heart, and show her that while the circumstances were not the most ideal or happy, they helped make her into the woman that she is today.That post made a big impression on me because I was always the type of person that would fixate on that one unfortunate occurrence in which, if I could only go back in time and reverse it, everything would be perfect. But the longer I live and the more painful and hurtful experiences I go through, the more I realize that yes, it hurts and that's not pleasant, but the hurt is part of what makes us who we are. For better or for worse, everything you go through moulds you and it's up to you to make that moulding an experience for the better. Thank you, N, for having the courage to face your struggles in an open format where other women can empathize and relate. I love your Momma heart, and I love you.

For B
My mother-in-law and I are pretty much as opposite as it gets. I'm a people person, she prefers a quiet evening at home. She loves the calm neutrals of earth tones, I like bold colors and glitter. Lots of glitter. But even in those differences, we have so much in common and we often find ourselves speaking the same thoughts on a matter. B has taught me not to sweat the small stuff. She is so calm with our kids, even when they're dumping applesauce on the floor and leaving toys on the stairs. I don't know how she does it, but it's like it doesn't even occur to her to become stressed about that stuff. She's like a calm little duck in a hurricane, the water rolls right off her back while she waits for the storm to pass. If my aunt M method doesn't work, I go to Plan B (see what I did there?) It won't matter in one year or one week if there are toys everywhere or applesauce on the floor, what will matter is how I treated my children. I'm so happy that I get along so well with my MIL, and I cherish every lesson she teaches me (intentional or not).

For J
J is my Momma. The woman who gave birth to me and the original tree from whom this apple does not fall far. My mom had 3 children in 4 years, and I was the youngest (but only until my little brother came along when I was 10). She used to do motherly type things like lick her finger and wipe a smudge off my face, or eat a sandwich made from the bread loaf butts because no one else wanted to eat those pieces.  When I was little, I despised those things and swore I would never do them to my children. But guess what? I do them! And it's because they work. I no longer care about crusts, or drinking out of the "ugly" cup, although I do usually use a washcloth on their faces because it works better. When you're a momma, you do what you have to do. Mom taught me that you do the best you can and then let the rest go. Some of my favorite memories from growing up are the little things that took small effort on her part but made us feel so special. Pancake batter dribbled in a letter shape (usually our first initial), a birthday card cut in half on our half-birthday (the date 6 months after your real birthday), getting to choose the meal on our actual birthday, etc. I count it an honor to pass those traditions on to my kids. Thank you, Mom, for teaching me how to be a momma and how to still be myself. For teaching me to kiss the boo-boos, enjoy storytime, make meals fun, and make grocery shopping an adventure. Thank you for being my mom, for bringing me into this world and for loving me, even through the constant talking and demands for attention. I'm paying it back now in the form of my own Mini-me, but thanks to you, I know just what to do with her. I love you, Momma.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hipy Papy Bthuthdth Thuthda Bthuthdy

Yesterday our little man turned 3 years old. We had a pretty low key celebration since we're moving on the 30th. We're doing a slightly larger party after the move, where the grandparents can come and I'll decorate a bit. Yesterday we had a couple small gifts for him, let him pick his birthday dinner, and took them to a new park after lunch.

Birthday Breakfast! He wanted jam with dinosaur sprinkles.
First present of the day, he never let it out of his sight all day!

They loved this wall!


It was super cold out, so we headed home for a snack and some Monsters, Inc.

Pirate's Booty and hot chocolate with strawberry-heart marshmallows!

Gluten-free brownies were sooooooo good!
He chose pizza for dinner (gluten-free, of course) and waffle fries, and dessert was GF brownies. The kids received packages in the mail from Grammy and PopPop, (a birthday card, more cars, and some airplane jammies for him, some little dolls and cherry jammies for her). We also gave him a little coloring book and some of those capsules that dissolve into shapes, after which we sang Happy Birthday and let them dig into the brownies.
He kept saying how much he loved his cars, and fell into bed exhausted and happy and newly 3 (in his brand new airplane jammies).
Happy Birthday, Little Man! We love you so much and we can't imagine life without you!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

You might be a mother if:

*you've ever changed the paper towel roll at work and seriously considered taking the empty tube home to your kids
*you're the one stuck with eating the bread loaf butts...and you're okay with that
*you quote Disney movies in public and other adults don't know what you're talking about
*all of your toilet paper rolls are oval shaped because the kids used the TP package as a stepstool
*you've ever sat cross-legged on the floor and sipped lukewarm water out of a tiny teacup, while your 4-year old pours herself more "tea"
*there are Xs all over the kitchen floor, because you had an abundance of painter's tape and the kids had treasure chests to bury
*you've ever stepped on a lego
*you've seriously considered getting a leaf rake for the sole purpose of expediting toy-cleanup
*you break out into song and then realize it's a cartoon theme song ("we're going on a trip in our favorite rocketship...")
*you've ever had to say "artists don't paint with their spit."
*you have ever trudged outside in your pajamas and someone else's boots to clean the snow off the satellite dish
*you have fallen asleep sitting up while watching cartoons with your littles
*you get more excited about pillow forts than they do
*you have to smuggle the broken crayons into the trash because they NEED that 25th fragment of the purple crayon
*superhero capes are a big deal
*there's a doorknob-shaped hole in the drywall behind your door because the kids decided to take the doorstop off
*a single spontaneous slobbery kiss can improve any bad day
*you discipline your kid, and then realize you punished them for acting EXACTLY like you
*there are no cups in the cupboard, they're all scattered throughout the house and you can't find a single one
*there's a propeller blade in your pocket
*you don't mind when your kid breaks a toy because it means you can actually get rid of something
*you own more than one pancake mold
*while pumping gas, you take the opportunity (and handy nearby trashcan) to clean out the car