Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sister on Spring Break

Most people, even our closest relatives, when they come to stay they disrupt your lives.  I love the disruption and love having people stay with me.  But generally there is some amount of cleaning, shopping, cooking and other preparation that goes on when those we love come to visit.  Even my parents, whom I wouldn't have thought when I was younger would be that way, just are.  You want the house to be nice for them, you will have more people eating whatever meal is planned, and of course you must cook the meal.  You clear your calendar, you probably try to come home early, exercise less, do less in order to be more available for your guests.  It is all quite normal, right?  You want the stay, no matter how short or long to be meaningful, memorable and enjoyable. 

You want the temperature to be right, the bed to be right, the food to be right, your children to behave, the dog to behave and of course to get along with everyone, including hubby. 

I have to say, that there is one person who seamlessly integrates with my family.  Most of the time I still try to do all of those things I mentioned above when she comes, I mean, everyone deserves a clean toilet.  But even those times when the toilet didn't quite get clean, or the groceries didn't quite get purchased or I am crabby and uncommunicative and just want to be left alone.  Even then, she fits seamlessly into my family.

She comes in, she jumps in, she helps out.  My sister.  If you don't have a sister, or if you don't have a sister who is like this, I am sorry.  Brothers are great, but nothing is like a sister.  I was blessed with two.  My sister Daphne lives close enough that she visits quite frequently.  And oh what a God send. 

I was having a lousy week last week and Daphne came in like a breath of fresh air, laden with sunshine.  She played, she read, she bathed (the children).  She helped me shop for Easter and for house stuff; which I am terrible at.  She helped me relax, she let me nap.  It was fantastic.  Thank you, Daphne!  I unfortunately was terribly high maintenance and barely cleared a path for her to walk through the house, I have no idea if we had food in the house and of course I increased the chore list because I knew that I would have help to do something of the annoying things that needed to be done.  She spent her spring break with me and for that I am truly thankful. 

Now if I could just figure out how to get her to move to St. Louis.......

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Boy and His.....Hat?

"But Mia gets to wear a bow in her hair, what do I get to wear in my hair?"  This question was posed to me on Sunday when I informed my son he could not wear his baseball cap to church.  It actually sounds like a pretty reasonable question except for the fact that at the time he was rolling around on the floor crying and screaming.  I guess we all need to learn from a young age, that life isn't fair.  That is all I could really tell him.

He has decided that wearing his baseball cap is bar none the best thing ever.  He wears it all the time, to play, he tries to wear it to dinner, to school, everywhere.  He hangs it up on his chair and puts it right back on when he has been excused from the table.  He loves his hat.

I have no idea where the hat fanaticism came from.  He did recently start a baseball training league, better known as t-ball, back in my day.  He got a new hat to go with his t-ball uniform (t-shirt), and he loves it.  He is actually wearing the St Louis Cardinal's hat that he got last year for his birthday and that he never really took an interest in.  I have heard of boys doing this, just never imagined I would have one.  He has always put on, whatever I laid out for him, no complaints. 

But I have to admit, with his blue eyes, smattering of freckles and fair skin; he is pretty cute in it.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Carousel

Someone asked me, "How have you gotten away with not taking your kids to the carousel?"  Oh my innocent friend, I laughed.  And that is where I bust out the story about a different friend of mine, here it is:

Once upon a time there was a little girl who really wanted earrings.  Her mother was a wise woman who knew that she was probably too young for earrings and set an arbitrary coming of age date of 13 for her to get her ears pierced.  Well, that date was still close to a year away, when in comes an evil carnie who made it altogether too easy to win a hamster in a ping pong toss.  Well, when faced with a hamster coming home to live with them, the wise mommy said, "If you leave the hamster here, we will get your ears pierced tomorrow."  The moral of the story, as parents we must remember to hold a few cards, otherwise we could end up living with a hamster.

I don't often succumb to bribery.  I don't like it and I know that it doesn't really teach a child anything.  However, sometimes bribery is a tactic I use when I know that my children can do something but they really feel they are incapable.  With Jac bribery doesn't work very well because he gets so frustrated that no matter the prize he still isn't willing to put the effort in.  But with Mia, you dangle a carrot out front and you've got her.

For some reason, Mia had it in her head that she couldn't dress herself.  Maybe it was because her close to five year old brother who she looks up to, doesn't appear to be able to dress himself.  Well, we were at the mall a few weeks back and both kids were hanging on the fence around the carousel practically drooling.  No, I have never taken them to the carousel.  I know it is only $2 a token, but still, it is one of those cards that I get to play when I see fit. 

I asked them if they would like to ride.  Of couse I got a resounding, "yes"!  I told them that if they both dressed themselves without mommy's help for 10 days they would get to ride the carousel.  Everyone agreed.

The next day I quickly cut out two circles and divided them up into 10 sections, sort of carousel-esque in appearance and wrote "Jac" on one and "Mia on the other.  Ta da!  For about 6 days in a row both children were able to dress themselves without mommy.  Then Jac crumbled on day 7, but quickly realized that his sister would overtake him if he didn't start back up.  After two weeks they both had completed 10 days of dressing themselves and had gotten 10 checkmarks on their carousel sheets. 

Today we got to go to the carousel.  It was all I had imagined it would be.  My youngest has the confidence to dress herself now, and does that sometimes.  And I got to experience yet another first with them.  It was fun and purposefull and they felt great because they earned it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Big Girl Bed, Part Deux

Mia has definitely gotten used to her big girl bed.  She sleeps in it every night and has been pretty good at waking up in it every morning.  Jac and Mia both agree that it is the "prettier" bed, thus the preferred bed.  Which of course makes me feel guilty that I haven't gotten Jac a quilt for his bed.   
Last chance to play in the crib!

Crib in pieces

New Big Girl Bed (Sans the actual bed, that part is coming soon)

She also thinks that Papa is going to change those lovely sage colored walls that her mommy so erroneously picked out to a more proper shade of pink.....

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sclemeel, schlemazel, Hasenfeffer Incorporated

Everything is better with a friend. Well, maybe except for certain private matters, ahem and reading a book. I have actually tried to read a book together with someone and it is quite annoying. You feel like you are in a race to finish the page. So those things excepting, company is good.

Jac and Mia have discovered this. At the ripe age of 3 my son declared that his sister was his best friend with no prompting. I think that happened after she stopped biting him, ouch, never good for friendships, other relationships maybe; but not friendships. Don't go getting all jealous, there is plenty of fighting and even hitting. Yesterday in fact, Jac threw a nice left hook (he's a lefty you know) and hit her squarely on her shoulder. She cried. At least he avoided her face, so maybe we need to work on the "never hit a girl and a kid in glasses", but she is his sister. Mia had accidentally hit him in the head with a baseball she was throwing, oops.

But really, they played together for about 4 hours yesterday with relatively few arguments.

Jac is afraid of the dark, well actually more than the dark, but it seems to be the worst. Mia will often say things like, "sometimes people need to go with other people when you are afraid". Well said, sister.

They also have a tendency to hold each other's hands when things get scary or difficult. They spoon like an old married couple at night. (I realize that this will get weird at some point, but right now it isn't.)

I must admit that I also lean heavily on my friends. I almost didn't do this part of the post because I worried about hurting people's feelings by excluding them. But if I do, just know that I have a really terrible memory and it seriously doesn't reflect on our friendship. I am excluding family because you know who you are and to go into deets about how MUCH I lean on you would make this post really super long. Maybe that can be tomorrow's post, ode to family.

To my friends:

To my friend I tell everything to in our weekly catch up call. I miss you, seriously, stop going to Tennessee and get your booty to Missouri.

To my friend who thinks she has a dark cloud over her head, au contraire, you are one of the lightest, brightest and most innocent of influences on my life.

To my friend who is raw and funny and always herself and who teaches me that you have to let it all hang out sometimes.

To my friend who gets more accomplished in a day than I can even write down in a list in a month, who decorates and who makes colic, GERD and lactose intolerance look like a cake walk.

To my friend who can bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan. She works, has babies and has mastered the art of Mexican and Irish cooking.

To my friend who may be one of the smartest people I know and is also warm and willing to help me out at the drop of a hat.

To my friend the bartender who has never grown up and I am so glad she didn't, so long as she stays out of the po po.

To my friend who is constantly breaking things, and puts no boundaries on fun or life and can use a circular saw, which scares me.

To my friend the penultimate bachelor, who has sixteen businesses, a career and a love for dangerous sports.

To my friend who I lost touch with after high school and which I regret all the time.

To my friend who pampers her chefs and her kids and her husband and still makes time for me anytime I am in town.

To my friend who uncovers other civilizations and travels the world with a fine tooth comb and a little tiny brush.

To my Lauderdale native, I always miss your wisdom.

To my fashionista friend who manages to whoop up at board games and throw a great party, and enlist me in manual labor.

To my friend who works and travels and still has time to squeeze me in.

To my friend who walks, talks and seems to be constantly watching my children, I would have gone insane in this new place without you.

To my friend with the same calling who isn't afraid to show me her heart and who has an amazing family.

To my friend who I am always calling for favors and vice versa, it is lovely having someone to reciprocate with.

To my friend who frames up everything so nicely and also is amazingly generous with her time, energy and kids clothes.

To my friend in So Co, we need to get together more than twice a year at a football game.

To my friend with amazing taste who can even sing in the choir, where does the talent end, you must take me to Home Goods.

To my friend who is shockingly funny with more energy in her pinky than most people have in their whole body.

To my friend who is about to pop, I promise the second one is easier!

To my friend who has so many kid, but it still so calm. You are an inspiration.

Here is to all my friends whom I love!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Boy oh boy oh boy

It was back to school yesterday, and I have to tell you I was glad.  I believe I mentioned that I am ready for summer, however.....   I guess I just need the routine in order to keep me from going cuckoo (I had to look up how to spell cuckoo, not intuitive).  We did a lot last week, which was our saving grace.  Jac seems to be going through a bit of a naughty spell.  Shocking, I know. 

Evidently, so I am told, he behaves like a perfect gentleman at other children's houses.  I guess one of the ultimate goals is that he become an upstanding citizen contributing to the betterment of soceity.   But hello, the bigger goal is to respect your mama and take care of her when she goes senile.  I do appreciate that we won't have behavior problems at school and that he will be invited back to friends' houses, but I would love to get through one day without tears (on either of our faces). 

So, we are working on obeying the first time - no counting or having to tell him repeatedly to do something, less drama - he really deserves something from the Academy on occasion, and no back talk - my head spins around and literal steam pours out of my ears when I hear back talk. 

So it seemed to be a tough week last week.  I can see glimpses of the wonderfully behaved boy he could be and I am just not sure how to breakthrough and have that be the norm.   We still seem to have transition issues, although when on a schedule they are greatly reduced.  I think this is why he does so well in school because he knows exactly what is coming next.  The flip side of this is that he has an amazing attention span.  Seriously the kid can play by himself for hours on end. 

All you parenting gurus out there, surely you have been through this too?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

John Mayer in The Lou

For our tenth anniversary we were going to revisit our honeymoon locale.  Well, that didn't happen.  We will someday go back to Banff, Canada.  But this year we kept it lower key than we expected.  However, Jeff thought that we needed to celebrate by doing something out of the norm.  So, he surprised me with John Mayer tickets.  John Mayer is a fantastic singer / songwriter and he is pretty easy on the eyes, so Jeff did really good on top of a great anniversary day itself.

We were lucky because it was even a Saturday night.  The weather was a bit nasty, but we actually had great parking so we only had to brave the wind and the rain for a quick trek to the arena.  I am partial to ampitheaters, I guess because I love the warm weather mixed with the music and the little bit of extra leg room is alluring also.  But the ScottTrade Center was lovely and we were in good seats straight away from the stage. 

The opening act was Michael Franti and Spearhead, they are (according to wikipedia) a blend of hip hop, funk, reggae, jazz, folk and rock.  Jeff and I being old fogies thought that the opening act would start at 7 but that was when the doors opened and the music didn't start until 8.  Spearhead was good, didn't know many of the songs but lovely to listen to.  Felt like we needed to be sitting on the beach with a sunset in the background and a Corona.  Of course the song they are known for was great, Say Hey (I Love You). 

You'll recognize the lyrics:

This one goes out to you and yours worldwide

I say hey I be gone today
But I be back around the way
Seems like everywhere I go
The more I see the less I know
But I know one thing
That I love you
I love you (3x)

And then we got to John.  Of course Jeff and I were yawning by that time and the youngin's energy drinks must have just kicked in because everyone around us was finding their groove.  So the set list had a lot from the new album, Battle Sudios (which makes sense because that is the reason for the tour).  But I don't own Battle Studios.  It was still good, I knew most of the songs and liked the ones that I didn't. 

Set List
Heartbreak Warfare - love this song off the new album

Why Georgia > Message in a Bottle - this was a great medley of both songs
Vultures - love this funky song off Continuum
Something's Missing - don't have anything to say about this
Slow Dancing in a Burning Room - slow
There was an awesome drum solo somewhere around here - not much on drum solos, but trust me this was amazing. 
Perfectly Lonely - interesting insight into who John Mayer is
Assassin - one that everyone raved about that I didn't really get
Wheel - don't remember this one
Daughters - love this
Crossroads - cool beat and funky
Waiting on the World to Change - love this
Half of My Heart > Dreams - if you are going through a breakup, this is a must
No Such Thing - this is from his freshman album, the highschool song
Who Says - love this song about freedom
We left after Who Says and got to hear Gravity as we were walking out (I told you we were old).  I told Jeff that I was going to be really mad at him if Your Body is a Wonderland was played in the Encore but evidently it wasn't. 
Can't recommend this show enough.  Even if you don't know the new album he is a great performer and really seems like he lays it all out on the stage, very honest.  (I know he needs to keep his mouth shut to the media, but his show was great.)  The good thing about him is that he is the poster boy for making making the ripe old age of 32 look like 17, the man seriously needs to pull on some big boy pants.  But I am not here to critique his life, just his show.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Room to Grow

We bought a new table last weekend. Mia and Jac were big helpers in putting it together. 

Our old table was a bit small, you can see  it over Jac's shoulder in this picture.  It was tough to have any guests, without using the formal dining set. 

We are all very pleased with our new dining table.  I love the bench for the kids.  It has plenty of room.  But Mia and Jac actually look kind of lonely over there with that whole bench to themselves, maybe we should do something about that.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Milestones, coming of age moments; all kids have them.  There are many that you know that your child will eventually achieve; crawling, walking, using the toilet, first day of school and many more.  They make you beam with pride and your heart warms.  I will often get butterflies in my stomach as my love for them grows as I learn more and more about them.  Well, yesterday was one of those days, sort of. 

Every little girl does it at some point.  I did it.  I am pretty sure I got spanked, and then my own personal photo shoot to show off the new pixie cut that I needed to cover up, you guessed it, when I cut my own hair.  Well, Mia cut her hair yesterday.  It all makes sense, looking back.

We went to the hair salon last week to get her hair trimmed up for pictures we took this week.  She has also been VERY interested in her scissors (or should I say zizzers) lately.  And then, she had a little extra time yesterday on her own while I took a shower and got dressed. 

I came downstairs and she was in her typical thumb sucking position laying on the floor.  I just happened to see a large clump of hair that looked a bit suspicious.  Most of you seeing a large clump of hair on the floor wouldn't say it was "a bit suspicious" you would immediately be alarmed.  However, we have a 60 lb Golden who is shedding every bit of his undercoat right now, so hair on the floor, well let's just say it is nothing to get too excited over.  For some reason, this looked daintier.  I picked it up.  It was definitely not fur, it was hair.  Hmm.  Interesting.

No one in the house has beautiful, fine, light brown hair; except Mia. 

I looked at her and she burst into tears.  She knew the jig was up. 

I asked her, "Did you cut your hair?"  I couldn't control myself and burst out laughing.  She was sobbing.

The only thing she could get out was, "I don't want to have a lot of hair." 

I asked all of the appropriate questions:  Why, Were you pretending to be the stylist?, Where did you cut it?

We were lucky, I actually couldn't tell where she cut her hair.  No bangs!  But I hid the scissors just in case. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Being Able to Play in Your Own Backyard, Priceless


What an accomplishment!  We finally broke down and had the Invisible Fence trainer come out.  I really was doubtful about what they could possibly do different and that a one time visit would really be worth it.  It was so worth it. 

Tonya was our trainer and she was brilliant.  She trained him for about 25 minutes and by the end of that he was mentally and physically tired.  She played with him, gave him treats and encouraged him all while showing him that he really didn't want to go anywhere near the boundaries.  It was pretty amazing.  She also tightened the heck out of the collar which of course makes the 'training' a bit easier.  She never had to turn the volume up on the intensity it just needed to be tightened so that all of Trucker's fur wasn't insulating it quite so much. 

She really encouraged us to entice him past the barrier, which I never would have done.  Not in a cruel way, but in a way that is going to happen naturally.  So if the kids leave through the back of the yard, Trucker has to know that even if they go he doesn't get to.  If a ball rolls outside of the yard, he can't follow it; things like that. 

Yesterday, he was outside with us for over an hour being quite the gentleman.  He just stayed by us, sniffed around and rolled in the grass.  He played ball with Jac and ate crumbs off the driveway and sunned himself a little.  All of those fun dog things that he hasn't gotten to do.  It was fun and a little glimpse into the whole family being able to be outside this spring and summer. Something that I doubted, up to this point, would ever happen.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Summer, Please Come Soon

Spring Break, what a lovely time.  It is our third day of Spring Break and we have had something to do everyday.  I do enjoy getting out of the house and playing with our friends and not really being tied to any kind of schedule.  It makes my heart long for summer.  I am ready for hours, days, weeks at time just hanging out in the backyard and playing with the kids, talking to the neighbors and soaking up some Vitamin D. 

I have fallen into the trap of wanting my kids to be enrolled in a sport.  I think we all have.  I signed Jac up for baseball this summer with some trepidation.  Every Thursday he will have practice starting next week!  And every Saturday he will have a game either at 9 or 10 in the morning.  The game part doesn't really bother me at all.  We are generally out to breakfast and back home by 9, it just means that we have to be more on a schedule than normal.  But the practice is going to cut into dinner and that just seems like a crazy night anytime we have to rush dinner.  Is 5 too young for this?  Shouldn't I be waiting until 6 or 7 or 16 0r 17?  Who knows, who cares. 

All I can do is try and give them opportunities when it makes sense and is reasonable.  I do know that they can only have one activity each at a time and I do know that if they ever ask to be in a select league my heart will drop.  The commitment that takes is a bit unreasonable for children, at least that is my point of view at this point.

This morning we went to a gymnastics playdate, it was a great trial run for us in case we would ever want to do anything like that.  The kids spent a ton of energy and definitely got their wiggles out.  Mia fell asleep on the way home which is highly unusual for her.  We have a few more playdates set up throughout the week but they all are low key.  I need to remember that to not schedule anything on a regular basis this summer.  To have plenty of downtime to play and swim and relax.  Now if the sun would just keep shining and tell March that it is supposed to be more "lamb like", we would be doing good!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Thank You, Easter Bunny

Today, Jac and Mia got all dolled up in their Easter clothes for some portraits.  We also happened to see the Easter Bunny and rode one of those mall cars that cost so much money and only move for 30 seconds.  But they had fun. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Being A Single Mom, The Toughest Job

Mommies  like to talk about their jobs, just like the rest of working world likes to talk about their job.  It is how we bond with each other.  Most people have a boss who is the common enemy (sort of like in Basic Training they give you the drill Sergeant as a common enemy so you will bond).  Guess who the common enemy is for mommies.....well, it isn't exactly the same person all the time, but it is still common.  The child is the common enemy all the time and sometimes the husband.  These are our common enemies.  We do share joys but we also share lots of frustration over what our children are or aren't doing at any given moment.  Same goes for the hubster, we mostly talk about frustrations around what they are or aren't doing.

Except when they are gone.  When hubby travels, absence truly does make my heart grow fonder.

Being a single mom is the toughest job in the world. 

Jeff was on a business trip starting on Monday, but guess what, he gets back today!  To go into a week and know that you clock in at 6:30 AM and don't clock off for 80 plus hours, well, it's a bit overwhelming.  Needless to say, I miss Jeff terribly.  I miss him for his knack for winding the kids up, right before bed.  I miss him for sneaking snacks before and after dinner that they aren't allowed to have.  I miss him for all of the reminders that he leaves me that he is living here, you know, shoes in random places, socks all over the floor, a baseball cap or two left on the kitchen counter. 

No matter what, it is always easier when he is here. 

I talked to a certain mentor of mine this week.  She told me that missing him was a good thing.  She said that when she was raising her four children her husband traveled a lot.  Six to eight weeks at time just coming home on every other weekend.  She would get so good at being a single mom, that she said her husband didn't really fit into the mix when he was home.  I have had plenty of friends tell me it is easier and things run more smoothly when their husbands are on trips.  I am glad that it is easier when Jeff is here, I wouldn't want it any other way. 

I really need him more than just for changing light bulbs, mowing the grass and taking out the trash.  For instance, right now my "change engine oil" in my car is on.... just kidding.  I need him for a sounding board.  I need him to relate the daily events to so that I remember them better.  I need him for his wonderful dish washing abilities, ahem.  I need him for his excellent baths he gives the kids, cough.  I need him to walk the dog.  And more than anything, I need him to laugh.  He makes me laugh and makes me realize how funny life really is. 

The first thing that popped in my head this morning at 6:00 AM, (seriously, why do they wake up so early?) I thought about Jeff coming home today, yay!

Here's to all the single moms in the world, you are amazing.  This job is so tough.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kindergarten, Here We Come

Well, I finally did it.  I registered Jac for Kindergarten.  Wow - it seems like such a big accomplishment for both him and me.  The day after I registered him they were having a mini open house for kids and parents to come tour the school.  Jac was very excited.

We met in the Library and met the Principal and the Librarian, both of whom have that elementary seemingly drug induced peace about them.  They were both very nice and clearly loved their jobs.  The Librarian read a story to the kids and used the projector which was a big hit for Jac.  He instantly loved the idea of seeing the book on the big screen while the teacher read the story.  He asked if he would get to come to the Library every day and have a story read to him.  I told him he would probably come here once a week, but that his teacher in his class would probably read to him every day. 

I think it is exciting to have other grown ups read to him, mommy and daddy may get boring.

We went on the tour and got to see all of the specialty rooms like the Gym, Music Room, Art Room, Cafeteria, etc.  But most importantly we got to see the classrooms.  The thing that struck me was the amount of stuff.  This school is 35 years old (1974 was a good year) so I think it has had a lot of time to accumulate stuff.  Stuff in the corners, stuff on the walls, stuff on the ceiling, stuff.  I was a bit worried that this would be overwhelming for Jac.  He gets a little overloaded with too much stimuli.  But he seemed okay, other than the fact that he gripped my hand tightly the entire time. 

I certainly don't have to worry about discipline problems with this one.  There were kids running around, jumping on stuff, making a lot of noise, playing tag; not Jac.  He was quiet and right beside me the entire time.  It is the exact opposite, it would actually make me breath a little easier if he whooped it up a bit. 

So we got to see the Kindergarten rooms, First Grade, Second Grade and Third Grade.  This is when we had to leave, we had to get to someone's half birthday party.  Jac didn't want to leave.  He really wanted to see the rest of the classrooms, even though they were all exactly the same.  He likes to complete the job. 

When I mentioned ice cream and party he was a bit more willing.  We had a good day and he asked a lot of questions.  I believe the one that sticks out the most was his fantasy about wouldn't it be "funny" if my new school and my preschool were in one building?  I think what he was saying was, wouldn't it be wonderful if I could stay at my preschool and we could just bring the other school here?  He is such his mother's child.  We love the familiar.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Half Birthday Party

Everybody should celebrate their half birthday!  Well, everyone but me that is.  I need a half birthday like I need another person's poop to clean up.  But, Mia, she definitely needed to celebrate her half birthday.  Her birthday falls before school starts, so she doesn't get the "cupcakes at school, that all the little kids just eat the icing so I should have just bought a big tub of icing party", like all the other kids. 

Well, I didn't bring cupcakes because our school is nut free.  I brought little ice cream cups which were a big hit.  Here are some cutie pics of the party and the half birthday girl.

I am going to seriously consider wearing a crown on my birthday.  It justs adds a little je ne sais pas.

Eating ice cream.
With all my friends.
And my brother.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Self Aware

There is a fine line between being relaxed and letting your kids pick out their own clothes and brush their own teeth and having them become the kooky looking kid that everyone makes fun of.

Well, Jac has discovered that he doesn’t want to be made fun of. He didn’t tell me a specific time when he was laughed at but he has never liked being the center of attention, unless Jeff and I are the only ones observing. Needless to say, he became self aware last week.

It was a fairly normal morning. I don’t recall too much craziness; although Jac’s hair was sticking up. Our routine in the morning is to comb hair and put on shoes right about the time that we are to leave. Jac went to bed before his hair had dried and you could tell. Generally his hair requires a very quick comb, nothing too vigorous, it normally behaves quite nicely. It was not behaving this morning.

I doused the comb with water and ran it through his hair. It helped a little. I got a lot more water and patted it down. It looked about 80%. I combed some more and we were getting up to 90%. Good enough for preschool.

We got to school and I had to go in versus just dropping off through carpool line. I normally drop off and then Mia and I are on our way to some shopping extravaganza. But today we all got to run in and leave a car seat in the lobby for the mommy who would be picking Jac up.

As we got through the front doors of the school, Jac asked, “Mommy, is my hair sticking up?”

I looked at it. Why yes, yes it was. It must have dried and remembered that this morning instead of laying nicely against his cute little head it wanted to spring up right in the middle similar to Alfalfa. He probably could feel it bouncing around on his head as he walked.

“Yes Jac, it is.”

He stopped and looked up at me in only the way that Jac can. With big soulful eyes, he said, “I don’t want anybody to laugh at me.”

Oh my goodness. If you had been in the lobby with me at that moment you would have heard my heart break. I almost cried. But mommy mode took over. I quickly shuttled them both into the bathroom in the lobby.

I literally dumped water over his head until it was sopping and very carefully used my hand to smooth it down as I had no comb. It looked wet, but flat. He could see himself in the mirror and I could see the tension leave his shoulders. Phew. Somehow I helped Jac avoid having his tiny little self esteem being harmed. What a close call.

We are very careful combing hair in the mornings now, and that is fine.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Shopping 101

Evidently I don’t know how to shop. This is the conversation I had with my husband when he threw down the gauntlet.

“Oooh, I like these lamps”, I said while browsing the new Crate and Barrel that had just arrived.

“We could get two of these, a couple of mirrors, take down those ugly lamps by the bed and get a couple of tables. That would look really good.” I said this very dreamily.

“Yeah, $1500 later."  He takes a sip of his coffee, "you know what style is? Seeing this and then finding something very similar that looks just as good for $25. That’s style. You need to figure out where to shop.” He said all of this in a slightly mean but distracted tone.

“Hmmpfh. I don’t like to shop.” (I know I must be the one female on the planet who doesn’t like to shop.)

“I know, that is why we don’t have those lamps, the mirrors, the tables……” He walked away.

Well now, he has thrown down the gauntlet. I made an emergency trip to Garden Ridge to see if they had anything like this, they didn’t. I called my shopper friend, who unlike me is the best shopper in the world. She can furnish a house, treat the windows, change out all the hardware and have the A/C fixed in a two week time frame after she has just moved in pregnant with a toddler. I kid you not, she has done this.

She told me about Home Goods. She said it was owned by TJ Maxx. Well, right there I know it will be good. But will I be good enough? I have shopped at TJ Maxx in the last year. I survived. I didn’t pass out from all of the options. There are literally 1000 shirts all a size 8, but all completely different. My worst nightmare. I have been in Marshall’s once, but never Home Goods or Tuesday Morning or any other store that has somehow scooped up a huge truckload of one off products from 100 different stores and stuck them on shelves in a their store and marked them all at 25%.

I am going to have to put on my big girl pants, or take a tranquilizer, whichever gets the job done and check out Home Goods.

I am going to do that right after I have a little sip of this cocktail milkshake.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Maybe the Dingo Ate Your Baby

Only one baby doll was harmed in the making of this picture.

Please excuse the vacuum dirt from the picture.  I threw away the baby doll and then realized it was something I would like to remember.  Call me crazy.  Trucker still hasn't thrown the missing limb up, but I expect it any day now.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

10 Years Ago, Today

I have been married for ten whole years!  Wow, that is kind of crazy.  This morning when I woke up to realized that today was the day that ten years ago I was freaking out and sweating bullets standing in front of a Priest in front of a whole crowd of people saying words that sounded foreign, it felt a little strange.  See, I actually wasn't sleeping with my husband, I was sleeping with two different people.  You guessed it, Jac and Mia had wriggled themselves into bed with us and at some point Jeff had had enough and went to sleep on the couch (which is weird, because we have three other beds in the house).   I assume he got insomnia and was unable to go to sleep after being kicked in the head a few times. 

I was just a little shy of well rested, but coffee and a lovely breakfast helped out that situation.  I made my hubby of TEN YEARS a splenid egg skillet and toast breakfast with a lovely card chosen by yours truly.  It was nice.  Alas, I was trumped. 

I noticed that Jeff was sort of in and out a lot this morning and when he left he said, "your keys are in the car".  Which meant that he had been in my car for some reason this morning, I was instantly alert to a "surprise" potentially waiting in the car.  (I was thinking chocolate or flowers, but he gave me lovely roses for Valentines Day, so probably chocolate.  As a rule we don't do gifts on our anniversary.)  I was pretty involved with Thing 1 and Thing 2, trying to get out the door to preschool that I sort of shoved it into the back of my mind.  Right as I was walking out the door and doing the last sweep of the house, lest we forget something direly important for our 2.5 hours at preschool I saw a card on the counter with my name on it.  I kind of felt disappointed, because I had thought that I was getting something cool in the car and that would have been where the card would be - right next to the chocolate.

Nevermind.  Out we go.  We load up, get buckled, cry a few tears because someone's pullover is "mean", make a run back into the house because someone else forgot their bag and we are off.  I turn on the car and drumroll please..........magically our song is playing on the CD player. Awwwwww.  This is where you say, awwww.  How sweet.  He downloaded, not one; but two versions of our song, These Are The Moments by Edwin McCain and rigged it all up so that as soon as I turned the car on it would start playing. 

Needless to say, it made my day.  I had woken up in a pretty good mood, but a little sleep deprived. I got a tad (maybe more than a tad) stressed and irritated when NO ONE wanted to get ready to leave and just when I had absolutely had it because of a pullover and a left behind bag, all was okay and wonderful because my hubby is, well because he is my hubby.

I had planned on writing a post involving the list below for today.  Which I will wrap up with in an abbreviated version.  But I did need to brag about how wonderful he is, my darling husband of TEN YEARS!

Things I have learned over the last TEN YEARS

1.  Marriage comes first.  No matter what, marriage comes first.  Remember the ditty, first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage.  Well, that baby doesn't have a chance if hubby and wifey don't make each other a priority.  My marriage comes first and anytime that falls out of whack I suffer, he suffers and so does everything else that is important to us.

2.  Jeff really loves sports.  I kind of knew that he liked Cardinal baseball and Mizzou Football when we met.  I indulged.  It was right during all of the McGuire / Sosa homerun madness so it was really interesting.  I think I may have led him to believe I was a big sports fan.  After all this time I really thought that he had other hobbies, maybe wood working or toilet fixing or maybe taking up massage therapy.  Nope.  He is a diehard.  There is no off season, something is always in season.  Trying to change this is like trying to change the direction of the wind.

3.  He loves me almost unconditionally.  I am sure there is something I could do to lose his love.  But of all the times I have messed up or disappointed him, he still loves me.  He loves my stupid questions, he loves my terrible memory ("What was the name of that town we stayed the first night in Ireland, oh right, Dublin."), he loves my quirky insights ("Why do the planets exist?  I mean surely there is a reason.  If God made everything on this Earth have a purpose, why wouldn't Jupiter have a purpose too?"), he loves my knacky toes that rarely get pedicured, he loves my body after two babies (Gravity is a cruel, cruel, never stopping to rest, kind of enemy.), he loves the overeductated mom I have become, I think he even loves all of the good stuff .  This man loves me so much that he has, on occasion bought me feminine hygiene products.  If that doesn't say it all, I don't know what does.  I am lucky.

4.  Men really can't find the mayo in the fridge.  I thought that maybe this was just my dad.  Nope, it's not.  My husband has the hardest time finding detailed items. Anything small, I mean he can find the state of South Carolina easy, like he has a weird internal compass.  But to ask him to find something that would require the tiniest bit of looking is a ridiculous request.  And if it is something of mine that I am asking him to look for in one of my drawers, I might as well be asking him to defuse a bomb that I strapped inside of my makeup cabinet. 

5.  It always helps to laugh.  It is when we get too serious about ourselves, our children or a situation that things go awry.  Sometimes he is the one cracking the jokes while I am taking myself too seriously.  And sometimes it is me, but normally we both aren't cranky at the same time and we can help each other see the humor in the situation.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

At Least Rocky and Bullwinkle are Still Fighting Natasha and Boris

I get that we are warring with some individuals in the Middle East.  I remember 9/11.  I know that American families, sons, husbands, brothers, uncles not to mention the moms, daughters, wives and aunts are being affected by war, right now and that right now it is happening in Iraq and Afganistan prominently.  In no way am I trying to diminish our troop's efforts.

Howevah, can Hollywood find any other stories to tell?  Is this the way our parents felt during the '80s when every other movie was about the Cold War and Russia?  Is this the way they felt in the '70s when every movie was about Vietnam or Korea?  I am tired.  I want a new enemy.  At least they aren't making a cartoon out of the situation.  Was it weird that Rocky and Bullwinkle actually had Russian enemies?  I am kind of thinking that wouldn't go over so well today.

Here are the Middle East war movies that I have seen.  Some of them are exceptionally done, some just meh; but I still want a new enemy. 

Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
Syriana (2005)
Jarhead (2005)
In the Valley of Elah (2006) Exceptional
World Trade Center (2006) Exceptional
Babel (2006) Very good
The Kingdom (2007)
Charlie Wilson's War (2007)  Interesting
A Mighty Heart (2007)
Traitor (2008)
Body of Lies (2008)
The Hurt Locker (2009) Pretty good I must admit.

Towelhead (2007) Exceptional

Now Towelhead is a movie everyone should see.  It is about tolerance, set on American soil, I think we all can learn from it.  I know I did.

I know this is a selfish even juvenile response to an entertainment choice, which makes it insignificant and did I mention juvenile?  I could really use a little Cold War right now, I am excited to see Inglorious Bastards and am really hoping that it kicks Hurt Locker's Middle Eastern booty.  (Hurt Locker was good, but I don't think it deserves an Oscar.)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Woe is Me or Should I Say Zombie is Me

Seriously, I thought you were supposed to need less sleep the older you got. Sunday night poor Jac was up all night coughing. He was waking himself up in the middle of dreams and crying and did I mention that he was coughing? After the fourth or fifth time of going into his room and soothing him, all before midnight he finally took matters into his own hands and crawled into bed with us.

I let Jeff off the hook and told him to go into the guest room. Only problem was about an hour later I had two little bodies in bed with me and one kept coughing. Long story short, it was a painful night. One of those night's that I literally have to give myself a pep talk at 3:30 AM and say you are the mommy, grow up and take care of this child. He got a fever around 3:30 and I kissed his forehead and it didn't seem that bad, but I knew that I needed to take his temp to make sure. I could barely open my eyes, but I did it. It ended up being low-grade and I just stripped him down and took the living hot water bottle named Mia into the guest room with Daddy. Lucky.

Normally, during a fitful night at some point the body will be so exhausted that regardless it will sleep undisturbed for a few hours in the morning. Not so much Sunday night. Jac literally never fell into a deep sleep. My body doesn't rest until everyone in the near vicinity is resting.

We got up late, which was good. Around 8:00 AM. Jac didn't want to walk or function on his own, I hear you kid. So I carried him downstairs propped him on the couch and turned on some Mickey Mouse. (He told me Mickey Mouse is real yesterday as well as Pooh Bear.) I made him some breakfast and let him eat in front of the TV, which is very rare and of course sister wanted the same privileges. He dragged around until about noon, then seemingly out of nowhere (I guess food will do this) he had energy again.

Me on the other hand, I dragged ALL day. I felt like I was looking through a fish eye lens the whole day. The tornado sirens were tested for a WHOLE HOUR yesterday and I literally thought I was going to go nuts. I had to sing "If your happy and you know it" for a considerable length of time. I was completely unproductive other than feeding the family. By dinner, when Jeff had to work late, I officially became mean mommy. Apologies are in order this morning to say the least. I was frayed, frazzled and beyond tired when he got home.

All is good now though. I slept from 8:00 PM to 6:30 AM, fairly straight through (Mia dropped her blanket on the floor in the middle of the night and I had to retrieve it) and feel refreshed. Jac didn't cough last night amazingly. I am glad we stayed home and did nothing yesterday; I think it really helped him.