About Me

My photo
Like all of you, I'm a number of things to a number of people...Navy wife, homeschooling mama, educated woman and aspiring writer. Read my thoughts on all of it here. Please feel free to leave your thoughts on all of it too!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

"I'm a better arguer than you are!"

Over the past few days I've realized that the kids have entered a new phase. Jace and Gracie have always been close. They're two years apart, but have always acted as playmates. Every now and then I see how Jace is moving forward in something and Gracie isn't there yet, but they still seem to get along well enough. Lately, however, there's been some bickering. Ok, there's been a lot of bickering, and over the craziest things. It annoys me.

Today in the car they each had some little thing in their hands and were pretending that whatever they were holding was a remote that controled the pretend tv on the back of the seat ahead of them. This was fun for a second. Then Jace turned off Gracie's imaginary tv with his remote. Then Gracie turned of Jace's. Then Jace turned Gracie's off again, but made the clicking sound louder. Back and forth until Gracie cleverly announced that her remote was magic and she could turn off anyone's tv with it. Jace's clever response was, "Unt-uh...mine's magicer!"

At this point I chimed in to point out that they were arguing over invisible tv's that they were pretending to turn on and off with fake remotes. They listened calmly and immediately went back to bickering!

I've not been looking forward to this stage in childhood...hopefully we'll move past the compete over everything phase quickly, and before I harm my delightful cherubs.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Ever get that feeling?

You know when you get that feeling that you're not supposed to be doing something and then you do it anyway but as it turns out that feeling was right? That's what happened to me today.

Yesterday and today were pre-k registration. Here in Georgia they have a wonderful free pre-k program. The registration process is to get your child's name on a list that goes to a lottery. In a few weeks they'll announce which children get to go to the elementary schools and which get to be on a waiting list. If your child doesn't get picked in the lottery there are some private day cares that also have the free state program. Jace went to one of the day cares because we moved to Georgia after the lottery registration deadline. He had a great time there, but I had to drive him to and from, 98 miles a day. So, this year I was on top of things and knew exactly when I needed to get Gracie's name on that list and cross my fingers she got chosen in the lottery.

Well, yesterday when we were done running errands and got to the school to pick up Jace, and sign Gracie up, she and Tyler were both sleeping. I let them have their naps and simply picked up Jace and went home, thinking I had all day today. Of course, I waited until this afternoon when it was time to get Jace, 2:30 pm, to try again. They were taking registrations until 3:30 pm. So we parked at the school, put Tyler in the stroller, got Jace from the hoards of children waiting for their rides, and went into the office. I told someone why I was there and she asked for two proofs of residence, birth certificate, SS card, and "an immunizations card would be nice too." Well, strangely, I didn't have any of that, except the immunizations card which I keep in the diaper bag for reasons that only make sense in my head. It was explained to me that I couldn't even put her name on the list for the lottery until I turned all that stuff in. Period.

So, we trooped back to the car, got back in, folded the stroller, put it in, put our belts on, revved the engine and drove the approximately 12 minutes back home. I left the car running, ran in with my list of necessary items and plucked everything from it's place. The whole time I was thinking "maybe I'm not supposed to be doing this. I don't know why, but maybe Gracie's not supposed to go to pre-k at Jace's school. We're almost ready to put the house on the market and could move closer to the pre-k Jace went to by August...but if our house doesn't sell by then I'll be driving her to Kingsland again and I don't want to do that and with the market the way it is...I really should register her so that all bases are covered."

With that rationale, I hopped back in the car, kids waiting, when Gracie promptly annouced she had to go potty. Seriously? Now? I decided I'd better believe her and let her go. Thankfully she actually went. Then we drove the twelve minutes back to school...consciously trying not to speed, wondering why I was doubting whether I should even bother registering her.

With 15 minutes to spare, we pulled back in at the school. Everybody got out, went into the school, and I presented everything...only to hear that what I think is a birth certificate...isn't. Never mind that I've used it as one for the last 3 years and 8 months...it's just a momento from the hospital and will not be accepted for pre-k registration in the State of Georgia. Well, then. With 10 minutes to go, I tear up and try to tell the kind woman behind the desk that I understand it's not her fault, it's just frustrating that I obviously have no idea what's going on and Gracie will not be in the lottery for pre-k and I'll likely be driving back and forth from Waverly to Kingsland again (that's the 98 mile run) unless we sell our house which isn't even on the market yet...then I realize she doesn't know what I'm talking about or probably even care. I'm just some mom who's daughter is welcome to be on the waiting list once I get the appropriate papers in order.

I knew...I had the feeling...the voice in my head...and I didn't listen. Instead I spent a wonderfully beautiful afternoon driving to and fro. I did learn that I needed to order an actual birth certificate (that's done now). That's a silver lining, I guess. But I really think the lesson learned is that I might need to listen more to God when he's trying to save me the trouble. I don't know the bigger plan, but apparently it doesn't involve Gracie in pre-k at the school Jace is currently at. I don't know if that means I'll be driving a lot next year or that our house will sell or some other alternative I don't even know about yet. Time will tell...hopefully when the feeling comes that lets me know, I'll listen.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Finding time...

There's a commercial that advertises a hot tub that you can work out in. There are resistance bands that attach to it, a treadmill on the bottom, and jets for after workout massages. Personally, I love the idea. I love hot tubs. I digress, though...the point of mentioning the commercial is to tell you that it begins with a woman stating something to the effect of, "Exercise is good for us. We all know this, but most of us don't do it. Why?" Now, of course, she's trying to sell me a cool hot tub to exercise in. She hasn't succeeded yet, but she does make me wonder why I don't exercise. Every time I see the commercial I question my sitting, watching tv...should I be up doing jumping jacks or something?

And then there's the knowledge of how even married couples are supposed to date. We're supposed to have dinner together, go see a dramody, or at least play touchy-feely before retiring to our half of the bed.

Oh, and, when I'm not exercising or wooing my hubby I should make healthy meals, sweep, vaccuum, and dust. I should have the laundry clean, folded, and put away. The toilets should sparkle, the sinks gleam, and there should be no fingerprints on windows, mirrors, or walls. The books should stand at attention on the shelves. The toys should rest neatly in their boxes, baskets, and beds. The children shouldn't have grime under their nails, dirt behind their ears, or toe jam.

Now, let's get real...there are clothes in the basket waiting for folding, in the dryer waiting for the basket, and in the hamper...just waiting. But everyone has something to wear in the morning. The counter is full of dirty dishes, the dishwasher full of clean ones. Gracie has dirty feet, but she had a ton of fun in the mud getting them that way! Tyler probably ate his toe jam after he pulled his socks off, so all's good there. I just talked to Scott and he's not going to bother with dinner tonight, with me or anyone else. It's after 9:00 pm and he's at work, but hasn't had a chance to eat yet. I guess that means no snuggling either.

And, working out, being active, burning calories...exercising, well, that doesn't happen so much either. Somehow I find myself at the end of every day without having gone for a run, lifting a weight, or even relaxing in a hot tub. How's a wife, mother, writer, and friend supposed to find the time? Maybe I'll sleep on it and see how many hours are in tomorrow. Yeah, that's what I'll do...I'll find time tomorrow.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mama Means...

There are so many names for what we do. Mother, mom, mommy...I go by mama. No matter what you're called you might identify with some of the tell tale signs of being a parent. There's the less-than-daily showering and constantly buying new clothes for the kids while you're still sporting your less-obvious maternity wear. Or maybe you've gone out of the house with any number of things on your inside out shirt...someone else's breakfast, drool, or spit up. If these don't sound familiar maybe you've realized in the middle of the day that you're underwear was inside out after you carefully and quietly got dressed in the dark so you wouldn't wake the baby sleeping in your bed.

Maybe you're one of the lucky ones who has kept up with hygeine and appearance. Good for you! Sincerely, I give you my congratulations. But if you've kept up with looks, perhaps you've struggled with energy and brain power. Snapping your fingers to come up with a word? Talking in mostly single syllables and rhymes? Cuddling up with the little ones at nap time?

If you're like me, every one of these is a struggle some days...but that's ok, it's what mama means. And, although I don't always love hearing "mama" every other second, I do love hearing it. In fact, I love being everything that mama means...all these things and more.

I love cuddling with sick or tired little ones and giving goodnight kisses. I love wearing my youngest on my chest and holding the other ones' hands in each of mine through the parking lot. I enjoy juggling questions about the most important thing in my children's lives, that day. I love watching Daddy play, read stories, and try to supress laughter at our little wonders. There's nothing like watching the kids play together, teach each other, and grow.

So, even though there are embarrassing, frustrating, and downright OMG! moments that are part of my life...I'll take them. I embrace them. The balance of the good, bad, ugly, and exciting is my life as mama.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Morning After

When you're the mom of three and you're sick for two days you wake up the morning after and almost wish you were still a little sick. Just enough so you didn't have to face the dishes that now cover the counters. Just enough so someone else would be forced to care about the laundry that now overflows the hamper. Or even the load that sat in the dryer the whole time you were feverish.

And those are just the obvious things I'd rather avoid. There's also that underlayer that didn't get touched: the sweeping, vaccuuming, all the little hairs on my husband's sink. It all adds up to more work to be fit into the day.

So, the second morning after, I woke up beat. Tired. Not sick or feverish, just tuckered out from catch up. After all, the symptoms may all be gone, but the energy hasn't really returned. I don't know how the kids bounce back so quickly or why they think I can. In the midst of all the schtuff that needs to be folded, put a way, dried, washed, wiped down, cleaned up, cooked, thrown away, somehow taken care of...the kids do too. They did very well during the time I was sleeping on the couch, in my bed, and in the relcliner. Tuckered out or not, lacking energy or not, even if I'm leaving things undone...today is for the kids.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How Do You Spell That?


That's right, I've got it, and it's not so fun. The guy making my appointment for me didn't know how to spell it or if it was important enough to get me a sick call appointment. Those weren't his words, but that's the gist of what he said until I assured him that getting me in sooner rather than later would be best for my breast. That shut him up. He probably thinks I have some rare form of leprosy and my breast will fall of. It, in fact, feels like it could. Either way, I got my sick call appointment.

For any of you who, like the operator on the appointment line, don't know what mastitis is, let me tell you. It occurs when a duct in the breast gets plugged and then becomes infected. It most often occurs in breastfeeding mothers, usually in the first few weeks post partum, when engorgement frequently occurs. It can happen other times too, though, like 59 weeks post partum. It makes your breast extremely sensitive to any touch, including bras and children crawling on you. Mastitis also comes along with fever and body aches, which kicked by butt for two days. It often needs to be treated with antibiotics, although not always.

Hot compresses and massaging the plugged duct, which is no where near a good time, can help relieve the pain. And I learned about another home remedy, something new about produce. Cabbage has anti-inflammatory properties. I had heard that it can be helpful when trying to wean, help keep the engorgement down. I didn't have to deal with that with my first two and I'm not weaning Tyler at this point, so I didn't even consider it. But a friend of mine, also a doctor, suggested it.

I googled it and found stories about cabbage retracting splinters, being wrapped around sprained ankles and swollen toes. Apparently it's good stuff. For those trying to wean the cabbage can be used continually. For those of us still planning on breastfeeding, but really hoping to break up that clog in the pipes, a few hours on, a few hours off seems to be the consensus.

So I tried my first cabbage leaves earlier today, for two hours. Progress! (Imagine I sang that.) I still have one duct that's being stubborn, but hopefully another round of cabbage therapy will release that too.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Weights and Measures

Jace is learning about measuring things at school. He brings home at least one worksheet each week on the subject. "How Many Paw Prints Are You?" "Your Hand is How Many Cubes Long?" "Measure These Items in Pennies." It seems anything can be used to see how long, how tall, or how big. And it's reasonable...because we all use what we know to measure what needs measuring.

Today the kids and I went to the zoo and I got chicken fingers and french fries for lunch. They weren't too greasy and tasted quite good. I'd gotten one of those little condiment cups with ketchup in it. After filling it the third time (I'm a slow learner) I just took the tray up and pumped ketchup directly onto it. I didn't want to know how much ketchup I was really comsuming, which would have been obvious if I kept going little cup by little cup.

On the way home we stopped at the grocery store for a few things. I overheard a guy talking about how his significant other determines his love for her. "Oh, she doesn't care how many things it takes...she's got a dollar amount in mind that I have to reach in candy, flowers, and other crap. If I don't spend enough, she'll start questioning my love." I felt bad for the guy...what a way to assess his feelings. By the way, happy Valentine's Day to you.

Another standard unit of measurement, that I really should address, is the chicken box. I don't even remember what I was telling my then roomie, Cathy, about. But at some point in college I was relating a story to her and mentioned that something was "two chicken boxes" worth. It didn't even occur to me that she wouldn't know what I was talking about because in my family, this was the box used for holding hand-me-down clothes, old toys, and everything else that probably needed to be gotten rid of but couldn't be parted with yet. My family took care of the chicken for the church's annual chicken BBQ which came in these very sturdy boxes that, once cleaned up, were ideal for storage. Now you know. Feel free to start using this any time...it's about yay big.

Other common units you may want to incorporate into daily use: bigger than a breadbox, up to here (hold hand accordingly), a fortnight, baby-poop yellow, a New York minute, mean like a jelly bean, and, in the spirit of the day, longer than the song of a Whippoorwill.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Life as a Road

We were out walking today, something we've been trying to do more often. In all honesty, it's something the kids are always trying to do, but lately I've been trying to say yes more. After all, it's time with them, active time for all of us...what's the down side? Anyway, we walked around the block, which in downtown Small Town, Georgia means three dirt roads and one semi-paved leg. I know some of you are in disbelief...but it's true, we do live in downtown, right around the corner from the store-slash-gas station and United States Post Office. But, that's neither here nor there...I'm rambling far off point.

We were out walking around the block today and I noticed on one of the dirt roads that there was a really cool pattern. After the trucks, cars, 4-wheelers, bikes, stroller wheels, and sneakers criss-crossed each other...it made art. I might start taking pictures and framing them. It's really beautiful, especially when you think about the road as a symbol for life.

What kind of path is your life? What would you like it to be? Do you think you'd prefer a smooth, well-paved highway? What about a well-used side street with a little pot hole here or there? I think my life is a dirt road. I might try to pave over it every so often, thinking that's the way I should be, but I can't get it quite right and the pavement cracks from wear. Eventually, all the traffic that passes through and over my story exposes the dirt underneath, and I like that. I like that everything that makes me me right now is layered in that dirt. That's beautiful.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Love Thy Husband, But...

I do love him. I do. But I miss him too.

One of my favorite things about being married is the support...it's just a given. There's me. There's Scott. We're in this together. He can come home from a long day at work and share his frustrations with me over a late, re-warmed dinner. I can share my storys of diapers, potty training, and kindergarten woes during the commercial breaks I lovingly force him not to fast forward as we watch our DVR'd shows. There's someone to get up and shut the light off if I forget and to cuddle next to while the sheets catch up to body temp. He provides me with balance, reassurance, and love. I need those things...and someone else to read the bedtime story sometimes.

I miss my someone.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Love Thy Husband

My husband left this morning to go snomobiling in the Adirondacks with his father and brother. This is the third year he's taken the trip. The third year he's left me with the kids to play in the snow. The third year he's missed Valentine's Day.

You may think I'd be bitter. I'm not. I'm happy for him, excited for him. Why? Because he deserves it. Scott is one of the hardest workers I've ever met, both at home and work. He is a wonderful father and husband. He does a great job at balancing a 60+ hour work week with the precious time he does get with family, not an easy task. He unwinds in the snow and probably prefers it to the beaches of our current home in Georgia. As his wife, his support...why wouldn't I want to give him that time, once a year?

You're still not convinced? You're worried I'll feel unloved on the upcoming Hallmark holiday, Valentine's Day? He not only left me with three kids, kids we created out of love and who give the absolute best hugs, better than any boquet of roses, but with cards to open too. He thought ahead and bought cards for the kids to give me. He had them sign them last night. Gracie told me this morning that the Dora one is from her! I didn't even do that. I thought about it, but didn't do it. And what about the kids...Valentine's Day is so much more about them then Scott and I right now. There are cards to get, school parties to prepare for. I don't need to get extra-expensive flowers or pay a baby-sitter to go out and pay for dinner. Scott shows me and tells me he loves me every day. He can buy me chocolates and sweep me off my feet anytime...missing this one opportunity isn't reason enough to be bitter.

So, if you're convinced that I love Scott, want what's beneficial to him, and really harbor no bad feelings...pass it on! Convince the nay-sayers around me...or at least ask them nicely to stay quiet. If you're not convinced...well, nicely stay quiet.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Out of the mouths...

Whilst Jace and I were making dinner the other two fell asleep. Jace looked around at his sleeping siblings and very seriously said, "Two tired kids. They get to take naps and we have to do everything for them."

I smiled. I sighed. I managed not to laugh. He's such a great, wonderful kid. And so perceptive.

(We're having Packet Wrapped Chicken tonight. Haven't tried it yet, but it looks pretty!)

Timing is Everything

I used to be very punctual. By punctual I mean that on-time was late, early was on-time, and less than 15 minutes early wasn't early at all! Over time, I relaxed just a little, but I still like to be on time, but I've accepted that it just isn't always possible.

I really think that with each additional child the time it takes to get out the door goes up exponentially, at least for moms. And I can't seem to get that 20 minutes head start down now that I have three to get ready.

I have an aunt who was always late to family gatherings. After a while they would start telling her we were eating at noon when the meal was really at 1:00 pm. It worked. She had three children. My mom has four kids and ever since I can remember there are a few clocks in the house set 15 minutes ahead to increase the chances of leaving on time. I wonder when I'll start being tricked or using tricks or figuring out what the trick is to punctuality as a parent!

Total Relaxation

Have you ever noticed the slackness that occurs in a child's face as he or she drifts off to dream land? It's one of my favorite things about motherhood. What's better than witnessing your children let go of all the little stresses they have in their lives? I love watching their cheeks go slack and their mouths open. The calm that comes over them is contagious. I always find myself breathing more evenly, matching their lazy rhythm. I know I could never look as precious and innocent as they do, and that's fine. I would love, however, to feel the way they look more often...free of cares, secure, loved, zen...totally relaxed.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Baby Baking

I really hope we're done baking babies. I know that might sound not-so-nice, but having three kids wears me pretty thin. I don't even know the last time I slept through an entire night without being woken by someone. Bad dreams, nursing, there's always something. And without a good night's sleep dealing with other things becomes even harder.

My kids used to eat really well. They weren't fussy. They tried things and liked most of what they tried. Now they're picky. Now they complain more nights than not that I'm making foods they don't like. I noticed that they've started complimenting me on the nights we have macaroni and cheese or fish sticks.

"Thank you for making this for us, Mama."

"Mama, this is really good. You should make this more often."

Somehow I think it's working because I just don't have the ability to keep making broccoli, which used to be their favorite, and watching them move it around their plate. It's tiring.

And then there's the laundry and the dishes and grocery shopping and housework. I know, I know. I'm a mom. That's what it's all about. It won't last forever, at least not like this. They'll grow and our roles will all change. I'm glad...I love my kids. I LOVE my kids. But I'm very happy that we're done baking babies. It's time to move past infancy and slowly let toddler-hood pass us by. It's time.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Copy Cats

Kids are sponges, right? Copy cats? They listen to what we say and repeat it out of context at inappropriate times. They copy the way we scold them when parenting their toys. They dance the way they see musicians in music videos swoop and sway. It's just what kids do.

So, someone please tell me why Tyler insists on throwing his food on the floor! This behavior has never been modeled for him. Daddy doesn't he's finished with his dinner and drop his plate to let us know. Gracie, who barely eats anything at dinner time, doesn't throw her food on the floor. Nobody does, but Tyler. And let me tell you, poached eggs are a pain to clean up. Arg.

Vocabulary Lesson

Like many, we watched the Superbowl last night. I don't have a favorite team. I usually cheer for the underdog, which made last night's game very exciting! Toward the end of the game I was winding down and considering going to sleep. After all, Monday morning still comes at the same time. But I stayed up...and learned something.

I know a lot of the football talk this morning will be about the game itself, but I like to critique the commentators. I used to think I could do their job, but I realized last night that I can't. I don't know enough words, not to mention I'm still learning the rules of the game.

With just over ten minutes left in the game, and Arizona down by 13 points, the excitement was building. And one of the wise commentators noted that their offense was "working with alacrity." To which I said, "What?"

It was after my bedtime. Yes, if at all possible I go to bed at 9:00 pm. Don't laugh. So I was barely tuning in when this guy whipped out this word that has as many syllables as letters. I had heard it before, but didn't know what it meant or how it might ever be appropriate for a football game. So I looked it up.

At our house, that's a big deal. The dictionary is one I got in college as a gift for completing an Honor's project. We jokingly call it "the 50 pound dictionary," although it probably weighs slightly less. I got it off the shelf and found alacrity. According to Webster's Third New International Dictionary it means eagerness or readiness.

With their hurry-up, no huddle strategy it seems the commentator's observation was, indeed, true. Arizona's offense played with alacrity. Unfortunately for them, it wasn't enough in the end. For a fan of the game and learning, though, what an ending it was!