Monday, February 28, 2011

My Mom Was Right-ish....It's a Dark Day

I had to let my cleaning woman, Maribel, go on Friday.  She's out of our budget.  She's been out of our budget for about 2 years now but we finally accepted the truth.  I much preferred our two years of budget denial.  Denial got me a thoroughly clean house every other week...and a periodic trip to Target to buy some happiness.

But after two years of a not so fantastic housing market, which unfortunately comes with a not so fantastic pay adjustment, we are making serious adjustments to our life. (I know Dad, it's about damn time.)  We'd honestly already cut back on a lot of our fixed expenses, but eliminating the cleaning budget was a big chunk that we have been trying to pretend we can still afford. 

I fought this cut for months.  Actually, Alex wasn't very excited about this cut either.  He is very wise, and questioned every one's happiness if Maribel had to go. Adding to my workload is not something that makes any of us feel good, probably because I am not such a fun person when I am overwhelmed in cooking, child rearing, laundry, and cleaning.  He's very, very wise. 

Maribel was more than a cleaning woman though.  She started working for us 7 years ago before we had our kids, or even our dog.  She knew me before I started to lose my mind and obsesses over sippy cup straw matching and how to get little people to sleep uninterrupted. 

She saw each of my babies come home from the hospital.  She held them, or me, when things were overwhelming or straight up chaotic.  I've cried to her, I've laughed with her, and she saw how gross my family can be and still loved us.

We both bawled when she finished on Friday.  I immediately went to the kitchen, ate a plate of enchiladas, and half a box of Dots.  Seriously it felt tragic, like losing a really good friend.  A really good friend that cleans your toilets and makes your bed.  Why don't I have more friends like that?

I know that losing a cleaning woman is not the end of the world. I realize that it was a huge luxury to have a cleaning lady for the last 7 years, but it is super sad to see her go.  It's personal because of our relationship and's personal because it sounds like a lot more work for me.  I hate that part.

I've been overwhelmed lately by the number of things I want to do each day and really, cleaning my house more often has not ever been on the list of things I want to spend more time doing.  Seriously, never made the list...surprising, I know.

There are never enough hours in the day for me to feel like I am being a good Mom, a good housekeeper, a good writer, a good friend, a good wife.  Now I feel like I was slapped with an even more monstrous task of really cleaning this house, not just the huge task of maintaining it's cleanliness. 

My Mom recently told me that I was stressed because I was trying to do too much. It greatly pains me to say this, but she might be right.  I want to do it all and I want to stay sane and semi-pleasant while I do it.  Asking too much?

Maybe.  The days I have spent devoted soley to taking care of the house and kids have been infintely less stressful than the days were I am trying to finish an article in between a diaper change and making a peanut butter sandwhich.  I've been able to manage all the tasks I need to get done and I don't feel overwhelmed with dangling to-dos.  I feel good about what I've accomplished because I have abandoned all other aspirations for acheivement. Wait....that doesn't sound good.

I feel desperate for me time on those days.  I yearn for an hour to sit and write about how I wanted to throw Cole and Aiden in a small closet together when they started fighting for the millionth time, or 15 minutes to call Amity and tell her that I have found the perfect recipe that pleases everyone and takes me 10 minutes to make. 

(No such recipe exists to the best of my knowledge, but maybe if I were more narrowly focused on my housewife duties I would have discovered it by now.) 

I see the departure of Maribel as the beginning of even less time for me to nurture friendships that keep me sane, go to the gym so I can pretend to be fit while I really pee my pants and listen to rap music, write so I can feel alive, and a moment to do something crazy like...sit down.  I just want to be able to sit down people.

I know what I have here is nothing unique.  Any Mom with a hint of personality and a smidge of intelligence struggles with the issue of balance in her life on a daily basis.  I just feel sad that now I am going to have to work even harder to readjust the already off kilter scales.

The scales currently lean heavily toward kids and housework, as I suppose they should at this point.  These are the years my kids require the most attention at all times, and I feel like I have a lot of kids running around here.  I swear there are more than three some days. Aiden just started pouring his own juice and can even make a peanut butter and honey sandwhich with little intervention....but I've got many years to go on getting Stella there....and possibly even more for Cole.

I know this all will go fast, but in this moment the whole thing makes me a little sad.  Saying goodbye to Maribel makes me feel like I was just robbed of a little more of Leslie, someone I have been fighting to keep around since Aiden arrived.  I have to still do some things for me.  Part of my life must have nothing to do with laundry and discovering dinners that babies with no teeth could eat. 

So maybe my Mom was right-ish (ugh) in that I can't do it all well without going a little nuts....but the alternative is really just to lose me in my kids and my house and that sounds just horrible.  I'll work harder to get the house cleaned, be a good Mom, be a good friend and I'll keep trying to write because that's the way life is, right?  The constant quest for balance. 

I'll just be a little nuts in the process.  We'll call it quirky.  We'll call it interesting. 

We'll call it motherhood.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

No Shoe Mommy and Dead Ass Last Mommy

I just stopped by the grocery to pick up some of Stella's fancy, overpriced organic formula.  I usually order this online through Amazon because it is significantly cheaper, but that seemed impossible the last few days.  You know how hard it is to click buttons when there is Modern Family to watch and wine to drink. 

In the store, two young children were running alongside their mother's cart.  I would guess they were around 3 and 5.  Neither of these children were wearing shoes.  Seriously, jeans, t-shirts and no footwear at all. This bothered me.  This bothered me a lot.

I can completely get behind the idea that things sometimes happen. Periodically putting shoes on your children can be a royal pain in the ass. I honestly get that.  It would seem though that cart riding would be required if shoes were impossible.  Even unable-to-walk Stella had on shoes. These kids were frolicking, footwear free, in the produce section like they were at the beach or a farmer's market. 

I almost said something to the Mom about her kid's safety walking through a parking lot and store barefoot.  I really wanted to point out, more importantly, the potential for her kids to spread their foot fungus around the place where I was buying overpriced groceries. 

How did I know they had foot fungus?  They were walking around a public store barefoot, I feel safe saying their feet are at least partially damaged in some way.

I would have said all these things to her... but I was actually afraid of their mother. 

She was really big.  REALLY big. She also looked like maybe it wasn't her happiest day.  Or perhaps not her happiest life.  She made me feel like the most kind hearted and gentle mother ever, and that is saying a lot.  I followed her around for a few minutes to build my mothering self esteem.

Sometimes it just feels nice to see someone screwing it up more than you are. 

I actually contemplated filming her crankiness toward her kids with my iPhone so I could play it for Aiden and Cole later in an effort to bolster my image with them, but again I was pretty scared she would hit me, or steal Stella and my I quietly went on with my shopping.


In other news of good parenting, Cole brought this to school to show his teacher and friends.  I didn't even really think about what it actually said on the trophy. 

Sometimes we all fall a little short.

But seriously, I am a really nice Mom compared to that big, no-shoe woman.

I'm just saying.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The 25 Random Things About Me

Since starting to write this blog I have gotten a lot more people reading that I don't personally know.  It is a HUGE honor to think that people want to read anything I have to say so thank you and you have really good taste! 

 I thought it would be a good time to resurrect my Facebook 25 Random Things About Me from a few years ago.  Yes,  I realize this is supposed to probably be a simple list of single sentences but here's a little pre-list fact about me....I'm long winded and have a lot to say.  I do paragraphs, not sentences.

I have had to amend my original version of this since having a third child and moving on from things like DVR-ing my soap opera every day.  I am now a sophisticated writer (see my recent post about me peeing my pants,) and I don't have time for soaps. 

(Ok, my soap opera actually went off the air almost two years ago because it was too good for tv and we no longer have DVR or else I probably would be recording something else because I think they are so fun.)

Here we go....

1. I loved being pregnant (though the third time was a little more rough,) and thought labor was actually exciting and fun all three times. I didn't get my epidural until I was around 8.5 cm dilated with Cole and Stella since things move pretty quickly for me.  I even had the power go out while pushing with Aiden and was moved rooms during the process. Still had fun!  I might not do a lot of things well, but I can carry and deliver a baby with the best of them.

2. I threaten irrational punishments to my children when I feel so overwhelmed by my anger that I can't think straight or am so embarrassed in public I don't know what to say. I have been known to threaten putting them in a closet, withholding juice for months, taking away their beds, etc. Please don't call CPS for this. I never do it (and probably have much more valid reasons to be reported to CPS if you feel I might be a bad Mom)

3. I love Austin, but desperately miss being close to my family and friends in the Midwest. I think I will never have friendships like those from high school and college and I sometimes get pretty emotional thinking that I miss out on a lot of their lives now because of where I am.

(Side note: you know how you are supposed to think of your most happy place during your pain in labor?  Well, I thought of being with my five girlfriends from high school because there is no where I feel more loved and more joyful.  That image seriously helped me get through three births.  Thanks ladies.)

4. I am very sarcastic (probably no shock) but often take it too far and then feel horribly guilty afterward if I think I might have hurt some one's feelings. I really am a nice person.

5.  I LOVED the Twilight books and despite the fact that I am an avid reader, I have never
been more engrossed in any other books. I am now reading The Hunger Games, another novel you can find in the teen section and love it.  I fear I am too stupid for adult fiction now that my children have robbed me of the ability to process written words.

6. I desperately wish I were a writer.  I pathetically think that the most appealing thing about this is the fact that it sounds cool to say I am a writer and I feel the wardrobe is really flexible. I think these are solid reasons for pursuing a career.  I bet I would periodically have to go somewhere too, which would be fun.

7. I did not like my first son at all the first year of his life. I couldn't get past how intrusive he was on my life, how little sleep I got because of him, and how robbed I felt of all things Leslie. In retrospect I probably should have been medicated for my misery.

8. I now desperately love all my children and think that they are funny, intelligent and amazing kids. I fully admit to having been blown away by how particularly drawn to my daughter I am.  I also feel that they all have a secret plot against me to make me go insane some days....but don't worry I am working on my own plot and plan to wake them every day during their teenage years at 6 am with screams and tears begging them to get me juice. It is going to be AWESOME revenge!

9. I eat massive amounts of food everyday and I almost never skip sweets after a meal. I am a small person, usually weighing only 115 pounds and hopefully this doesn't change....but I sure do get sick of people telling me they hate that I am so skinny, what the hell do you want me to do about? Be nice, I know I am lucky.

10. My colon is twice the length of a "normal" person's colon. Maybe this is related to #9?

11. My husband drives me nuts and can really annoy me to no end....but I think we are perfectly matched. I love that he is passionate about things, he's intelligent, sounds like he is fighting even when we are talking (I think this is a Greek thing), he fiercely loves me and our children, he's sensitive without being wimpy, and he is sooooo attractive.

12. I sometimes feel like I have had it way too easy in life. I have always been blessed with wonderful friends, boyfriends (even the one that dealt drugs was really sweet), health, travel, work, experiences. I spend a lot of time wondering when my time of tragedy will come, yes I realize that is morbib, irrational, and pointless. Get to know, I work in that realm often.

13. I think my Dad is the most amazing person. He is not perfect, but he is so intelligently funny, able to study and explain almost everything, logical, supportive and amazing man. I look up to him and love to spend time with him. Who wouldn't love a grandpa called Tractor that smokes cigarettes while taking his grandson down a slide. It sends me over the moon to see how thoughtful and loving he is to my children, and how perfect he is for them. They don't know how good they have it.  I have a lot of fear and anxiety about not having him around anymore. I'm not sure how I would function without his presence in my life.

14. I love kissing. If I were single I would kiss a lot of boys...and no, I am not using the word kissing instead of something else. I really love kissing.

15. I have a big fear of my kids growing up to be irresponsible, unkind, or that they will have a sense of entitlement rather than a good work ethic. I am probably too hard on them at times due to this fear.

16. I love old people. I plan to start volunteering at a nursing home and making my kids come with me. Not sure when this is going to happen though.  If anyone would like to call me out on this and hold me accountable to it, I'd be very grateful...and so would all the old people I'd grace with my presence.

17. I have a fascination with ear wax, in-grown hairs, blackheads and zits....but only on people I love or myself.

18. I often wish that Alex and I had quit our jobs and moved to Greece to live in the house there for a year or so right after we were married because now that doesn't really seem possible. Maybe when we retire?

19. I am sometimes embarrassed to say I was in a sorority because of all the negative connotations people have about them, but I really think it was an amazing experience and I made some of the best friends there. I'm so proud to even say I know some of them, they are unbelievably cool and diverse.

20. I debate about whether to have a third child or not all the time, which is nuts if you knew me because you wouldn't think I would want another one since these two have been the most challenging and emotional experience of my life. Part of me really wants a girl though and another part of me thinks that three boys would be better than two. We'll see what happens.  (I thought I would leave this because we all know I did have a third, she is a girl and I couldn't be happier that I did it.  There will not be a fourth though!)

21. I really want to return to school to get my masters in counseling but I can't seem to get it going. Not sure if I am lazy or if I am truly just overwhelmed by my current responsibilities.  I like to think overwhelmed.  I barely have time to fold clothes or take a shower, I can't imagine having to study right now.

22. I am not a fantastic housekeeper sometimes. I will often walk by the same dirty tissue on the floor or little pool of apple juice for hours and won't do a thing about it. It is really gross. Other times I am a total neat freak and work my ass off to make things immaculate.  Maybe I am cleaning bipolar?

23. I have wanted to take an adult tap class for a long time and plan on doing this soon. I plan to invite all of you to the recital. (I forgot about this and seriously still want to do it!)

24. I cut 9.5 inches off my hair to donate to women with cancer. I almost chickened out because my husband's cousin gave me a huge complex about how cutting my hair would make me no longer sexy to my husband. I argued with him but he put that stupid thought in my head and gave me a complex. I cut it anyway and guess problem. :)

25. My proudest moment is winning the junior class president election. I bet you thought I would say having my kids or something....anyone can do that, I had people voting for me! I was so cool, it has really paid off.  Clearly.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Running Pee

I peed my pants yesterday.

Yes, you read that correctly.  I peed my pants.  Not Cole, me.

Here's how it went down...literally.

I usually don't drink coffee, but some mornings I really crave a hot drink. Since Starbucks won't deliver, and me running there for a quick drink while I leave my kids alone at home to play is illegal, I sometimes drink a small cup of coffee left from the pot Alex makes for himself.  Yesterday I woke up before the kids and a hot cup of coffee (with a lot of soy creamer) was exactly what I was craving. 

Big mistake.

Since having three kids, my bladder control is definitely different than it used to be.  By different I mean, I can no longer drink a cup of coffee and then run 4 hours later.  By different I mean, it is weak and dysfunctional and basically I should be wearing Depends before any physical movement beyond walking.

I went to the bathroom immediately before starting my run, but I had a feeling things might not go perfectly.  I had that feeling I often get in the last few months of pregnancy, where I could basically pee at anytime, regardless of whether or not I had just gone. 

I was about 20 minutes into my run.  I was singing along to some Pink, (yes it is entertaining to run on the treadmill next to me,) and I felt like I had to go.  I decided to ignore it and just keep running because clearly listening to Pink makes me forget that my body has been destroyed by carrying three children.  I attempted to work on those long ignored kegel exercises while I was running, hoping this would hold off any large amount of pee from escaping.

A few minutes later I actually felt wet. Not perspiration, I knew it was pee and there was more coming.  I basically flew off the treadmill, threw my sweater around my waist and ran to the bathroom...where I barely peed at all.  I guess I had already released everything I had.

This is embarrassing.  This is sad.  I am 34 years old and I can't even run without peeing my pants. 

I felt so frustrated.  Overall I was pretty fortunate with minimal post baby body trauma. I have no stretch marks or popped veins.  I don't have a difficult time getting back to my pre-baby weight.  But, I pee my pants if I drink a cup of coffee. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Missing My Lexus

I miss my Lexus.  It sounds ridiculous.  It sounds snobby, but after Friday, I miss it.

At Lexus, regardless of whether you have a brand new $50k car or a 10 year old ghetto version of a luxury vehicle, you still got Lexus treatment.  No matter what you brought your car in for, you could get a free loaner that makes you feel like your ghetto vehicle might be a piece of junk, but it periodically allows you to drive an amazingly sweet ride. 

Lexus gives unlimited access to a room filled with newspapers, amazing snacks and beverages and three different tvs that play a vaierty of interesting shows.  I don't even drink soda, but the fact that I could have all the free Dr. Pepper I wanted always spurred me to drink at least one.

On Friday, I had to take the minivan in for an oil change and the fact that I no longer drive a luxury car was glaringly obvious.  Painfully clear to me.  Boo. 

First, unlike Lexus, Toyota does not allow you to make an appointment for an oil change.  We had tried to go several times and always found the wait to be unacceptable.  By Friday though, we didn't have a choice anymore.  We were a couple thousand miles over due and taking a long trip the next day.  Alex kindly told me that I basically had to suck it up and just get it done.  Gee, thanks.

So I pull up with all the kids and hear that the wait is going to be about an hour and a half.  Awesome.  The service man enthusiastically reassures me that they have a kid's playroom to ease the length of time and he offers me a small Starbucks card that allows me to get a free drink at the Starbucks stand in the middle of the dealership. 

I foolishlly began to think that perhaps things wouldn't be that bad after all. I was clearly being dramatic and spoiled about having to stay at the dealership rather than having the opportunity to leave in a new car.

It takes at least 15 minutes for me to get all three kids out of the van and into the dealership to wait.  Cole had of course removed and thrown his socks and his shoes, Aiden couldn't find a small piece of weaponry that went to his little lego man and Stella had successfully thrown all her pacifiers so that I couldn't find any of them. Off to a good start.

We head into the dealership and find the kid room.  Aiden's exact words were,"Mommy, why did they just take these random things that no one wanted anymore and throw them into this room?" 

He was totally correct. There was exactly one toy, a farm animal spin and speak that didn't work anymore.  There was a small play table that had a few beads on it and tic tac toe board that my children basically just crawled in and out of and used as something to fight over.  There were two small tables, a broken tv, a small basketball goal with no ball and several cracked, dirty plastic cushion type things.   Let the fun begin!

They were fine for the first 15 minutes and then they were all done with the room.  We had snacks then decided to take a tour of the dealership. The boys loved it.  They crawled into the trunks of each vehicle they could get close to and attempted to honk every horn in the place.  I'm pretty sure Toyota is rethinking the options in that toy room after our visit.

I headed over to the Starbucks stand to enjoy my free beverage, only to learn that it only entitled me to a free, tall coffee.  This is pretty disappointing since I don't drink coffee.  I asked if I could have the credit for a tall coffee and order a chai tea instead and was told   Awesome.  Thanks for the free drink!

Cole infoms me he needs to go potty so we all head to the bathroom.  I went first since Cole is afraid of all public toilets and feels better if I go first.  I immediately feared that my peeing in front of the boys might lead to a string of questions I wasn't up to answering today.  Thankfully, neither of the boys had their usual questions about why I don't have a penis

Cole pees and, I guess, decides that holding his penis up rather than down would be a good idea while he pees and he urinates all over his shirt.  I didn't have a spare shirt so we left the restroom with a shirtless Cole.  We could not have looked more classy.

I decided we had to head back to the kid room, nowhere else would want us.  The boys fought over the plastic cushion things.  Aiden cried because Cole wouldn't be an "x" instead of an "o" in the tic tac toe game.  Stella was ready for a nap and letting everyone know.


By the time I got the call that my van was ready, I had all three children crying, Cole still shirtless and we had basically destroyed the bare bones play room.  I have never been so happy to leave a car dealership.  From now on I am purchasing the cheapest luxury vehicle I can find.  When is Lexus going to make a minivan?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Public Service Announcement: I Was A Victim of Racial Profiling or I Might Have Just Broken A Law

I got pulled over on the way back from dropping the boys off at preschool yesterday.  I have not been pulled over since I moved to Texas, over 10 years ago.  It was traumatic for me. I am weak.

Apparently the local police have a "campaign" going about pulling over into the furthest possible lane if you see a police officer has pulled over another car in front of you.  If you can't pull into the far lane, you have to reduce your speed to 20 mph under the posted limit.  I know this now. 

I'm being your best friend by telling you.  Please mail me a check for $50 because I just might have saved you hundreds.

First, let me say I think this is a fantastic law.  I fully support the safety of the officers that serve and protect us.  I have all the respect in the world for those that serve as police, fire, etc....except for the cute guy that pulled me over.  I want to punch his face in at his earliest convenience.

See, I tried to get in the other lane, but there were too many cars for me to wedge in, so I started to brake and carefully watch the police car and the car that was pulled over.  I always do that.  I had no clue that the masses of cars pulled over that I had been seeing recently were due to this "campaign" for a law that I didn't know the specifics of until yesterday. 

I assumed everyone being pulled over were speeding, or were simply evil of course. 

Anyway, I reduced my speed to apparently 8 mph under the speed limit when the officer clocked me. I believe him, I have no clue what it was, but I know I wasn't going over the speed limit so I'll believe his 8.

I immediately start shaking because I am chicken shit for anyone in authority. I get this from my Mother.  It's a fun quirk in our otherwise sparkling personalities.  I am instantly slightly scared if I feel I might be in trouble.  I really didn't know what I had done though so I tried to stay calm.

As the officer popped his head into my window I noticed he was really cute.  I instantly thought, of course he is going to be nice to me. I'm nice.  I have a dirty diaper sitting on the seat next to me.  I forgot to brush my teeth this morning.  I have a crying baby in the back and 3 other car seats in the car.  I'm driving a minivan.  Clearly I look like I'm being punished enough.  Besides, I still had no clue what I could have done wrong. 

I tried to make light of things and tell him my boys were going to be devastated that the one time I get pulled over, they aren't in the car.  Ha Ha Ha....oh, he isn't laughing.  Officer Cuteness is not amused by me.  Perhaps his cuteness has overridden is ability to understand humor.  Surely he would have at least smiled if he were a normal person.  Maybe he has too much metal on him?  I think my Mom sent me an article on how that damages your brain.  I'll look it up later.

I handed him my license and car insurance and he informs me of my violation. He hands me a bright orange flier about the law regarding moving to the other lane or reducing by 20 mph and mentions that this is a "campaign" they are doing right now to inform people.  I apologized, informed him I didn't know that it had to be 20 mph below the limit and thanked him for letting me know. 

See, I genuinely like knowing the rules.  I love the rules.  Rules give a sense of order and safety so that I can feel confident knowing I am not going to get in trouble because I won't be breaking them. Also, again, really love officer safety, no complaints from me on trying to protect their lives.  I'm totally on board!  Thank you Officer Cuteness, you are attractive and helpful!

He walks back to his car with my license for what I assume will be a routine check to make sure I'm not wanted for robbing a convenience store or stabbing my boyfriend, (or I was thinking he might just want a copy of my license picture because I look so good in that photo,) and I try to calm Stella down.  He had informed me that I wasn't to leave the car, so I didn't go retrieve her pacifier like I wanted to....see how good I am at following rules when I KNOW them.

He walks back to my window and hands me two stickers for the boys and then informs me he has written me a ticket for my violation and I have to sign here.  WHAT?!?!?  Thanks for the stickers Cuteness but surely you are confused.  Stop wearing all that damn metal, it is jacking with your head!  What the hell kind of an campaign is this? 
(I secretly think I was part of racial profiling.  I hear Caucasian, suburban housewives are being victimized by lots of police officers. Really, it's true.)

Perhaps your "campaign" should have included signs and distributing bright orange fliers to people's doors or posting them at Starbucks and Target where us normal people spend all our time.  Perhaps writing a boatload of warnings would be more campaign like.  You don't screw the Mom with the screaming baby in the back seat just trying to get home to her few hours of silence before she goes back to pick up her additional screamers.  A campaign implies there is a distribution of information, not a sabotage. See, you are running a fundraiser, not a campaign.
In fairness to the police there is one flashing sign I saw that says to move over or reduce your speed when encountering an emergency vehicle on the side of the road.  This is bare bones helpful when you plan on being sticklers on the 20 mph aspect of the slow down rule. 

Please give more information and don't just post it on a flashing sign on a road with a speed limit of 55 mph.  I basically read two words at a time the last 10 times I drove by it.  I can't begin to tell you how much brain power that took me to recall the last two words and piece it all together.  I'm not that smart anymore.

So, I signed my name.  I took the stickers.  I told him I'd give the boys the stickers the week I paid the ticket since I wouldn't be able to afford to FEED them after I gave the police department our grocery budget for that week.  I'm sure the satisfaction of having a stick on silver badge will sustain them all week though.  Thanks Officer Cuteness, you're really helping out here!  Then I flipped him the bird, told him he had metal brain damage and drove off.  I was such a bad ass.

OK, I really just signed my name, took the stickers, fought back tears, apologized again and then slowly drove home crying.  I'm pathetic.

The truth is, I do love rules and I believe you are responsible for the consequences of your actions. I am constantly preaching to the boys that regardless of whether they do something on purpose or on accident, they are in charge of what happens as a result of their behavior.  You pay when you do something wrong, whether you meant to or not.  Crap! 

I do still want to punch Officer Cuteness in the face. I really wish I would have had the guts to tell him in a respectful and polite manner that I think there should be a better manner in which to increase awareness of this law than to slap housewives in minivans with large fines.  But overall, a rule is a rule and I am responsible for my actions.

If only he could have just put me in timeout instead.  I'm assuming you actually periodically do get some bad guys Cuteness so thanks for that, I look forward to paying for all the additional metal you are going to have to carry around in the future. 

Protect and Serve people.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Morning With The Boys

This morning my boys were adorable.  So adorable that I decided I needed to cherish the moment...and I did.

People say this to me all the time and I find it irritating.  It actually makes my skin crawl.

I probably get so irritated because I feel a combination of panic and guilt each time these words hit my ear.  I know this journey of small children is going fast.  I know it will be over and I will miss it, but it makes it no less challenging.  I panic that I'm losing them quickly and feel guilty for having such a difficult time just enjoying them rather than stressing about how it takes us 20 minutes to do something simple like put on socks in the morning.

So when I have a moment where I find the kids collectively irresistible, I do try to grab on.  I grab on really tightly because these moments are fleeting.  These moments are painfully rare, but thank God they still periodically creep up on me.   

Aiden and Cole were playing together, and no one was fighting. This by itself is a joyful break from their normal routine of fierce arguments over anything.  Seriously anything. Who did or did not see a bird.  What the correct plural form is of the word man.  Whether or not police officers drive trucks or cars.  Anything. 

So this morning they decided they wanted to go on a hike with their backpacks and were filled with so much anticipation and excitement they were about to burst. They carefully filled their packs with snacks and a towel to rest on or sit and eat their food.  Aiden helped Cole with his backpack and jacket while I fixed them snacks. 

Nothing melts my heart faster than seeing my children help one another.  Is it possible that I am actually raising kind people?  A rare sighting that I could be doing a good job is so gratifying.

They both kissed me goodbye and left for their trip through the backyard. Ahhh.

The most adorable part was that they left me to go on their adventure all by themselves and I got to watch from my bedroom window and just marvel at their sweetness.  If I had been asked to participate I am pretty sure my emotions would have been entirely different about this entire situation.

They are so imaginative, so cute. 

They were even funny at lunch. They were having pretzel sticks, which my boys always pretend are cigarettes.  (My father, whom they call Tractor, smokes. I haven't been teaching them that these resemble cigarettes or buying them that pretend cigarette gum that I used to love as a child.)

This prompted a long and thoughtful discussion about how cigarette smoking isn't good for you, what to say if someone tries to offer you a cigarette or anything else you don't like, etc.  Yes, I'm aware that my kids are 5 and 3 and aren't probably going to encounter peer pressure for this really soon or anything, but I firmly believe that this discussion forum can't start too soon....obviously.

After about 10 minutes of this discussion I wrap up with a clear conclusion statement like, "so smoking is really harmful to your health and you should always feel comfortable saying no if someone asks you to smoke."  Mother of the Year.

Then Cole says, "Right Mommy,we can only smoke with Tractor." 

Clearly I'm doing a fantastic job clarifying the finer points of what is and is not OK now that Cole thinks he can have a smoke with his grandfather if he would like. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Random Valentine's Day Happenings

Yesterday was Valentine's Day and surprisingly, not a single one of my children cared. 

Their apathy probably stems from the fact that there was no anticipation for gifts which is basically the only type of event my kids really get charged up for these days. When it snowed a few weeks ago Cole kept looking around for the presents, assuming that snow meant it was Christmas again.  After he learned that there were in fact zero gifts beyond the rare joy of playing in snow in Texas, he was over it and a little annoyed.  Valentine's didn't even register on his radar.

I did bribe the boys to take an extended rest time by giving them a bowl of candy and a movie to watch.  I basically felt OK about giving it to them because it was a holiday.  It's OK to give them a bowl of sugar if you are celebrating, right?  I mean Valentine's Day is an official US holiday, eating sugar is practically required.

One highlight of Valentine's Day was receiving my very cool new Mommy cards.  I have a love/hate relationship with the idea of these cards, but definitely LOVE this version.  Check them out.  They are in a variety of colors and are handmade.

I feel validated in my occupation as a mother by carrying these around.  Don't be surprised if the next time I see you I make you take one of my cards, even if I have known you for years and you in no way need my contact information.

FYI my cards don't have a line through the cell phone number, I just like to pretend that enough people read this blog that I don't want them to have my cell number. People like those that find the blog by searching for "shower" and "pee." Not sure what you are doing, but it's weird and I don't want you to even think about calling me.

You can check out options at  Super cool other stuff is available and Heather was very helpful.  Also, my brother bought mine so you should talk to him about sponsoring your order too.  He's really nice.

I was able to get all three kids to the gym yesterday so I could run to Kanye West and Eminem.  I had a mere 30 minutes until the kid's club closed for lunch but I made the most of it by only listening to my most explicit lyric songs and running while singing along. Nothing makes me feel better than running to a little 50 Cent and dropping the f-bomb under my breath. 

Seriously, it's weird but it works.  My mood increases dramatically after I do this and I am pretty sure I am a better Mom for cussing to everyone around me at 24 Hour Fitness. OK, maybe not a better Mom, but a saner Mom.  OK, maybe it's just weird and a little inappropriate, but I feel good.

The low point of my Valentine's Day was trying to pay for our delicious $5 heart shaped pizza with my debit card and being declined.  I mean, really....$5?  It was sad and a little embarrassing. 

The girl ringing me up looked barely 14 and she offered to cover the cost for me.  Pride won out though and I hauled all three of my kids back to our minivan to count change we could find in the car. We compiled an impressive $5.40 in nickels, dimes, one quarter and several pennies. 

Seriously, the girl gave me a pathetic nod and said she didn't want to count it.  What was I saying about my pride?

Funniest part of the day though? Asking Cole who he would like to read stories to him.  He immediately said, "Daddy!"

No big surprise there.  Mommy is basically out of joy by the time story time rolls around and Daddy is a newly arrived bundle of child enthusiasm about everything they say and do.

Cole quickly explained though, "Mommy, you are sweeter but sometimes you are...." this is where he puts his palms on my cheeks and pulls my lips to his, gives me a giant kiss and says, "mean."

I can't argue with him.  Sometimes I am mean, sometimes I am sweet.  I'm still the one dropping the f-bomb in the name of being a better Mom and giving them bowls of sugar though.  I'm an awesome Mom.  Right?

Dear Kids, I Have Left You All My Friends

You know that Pearl Jam song, "Just Breathe?" There is a line, "I'm a lucky man, to count on both hands the ones I love. Some folks just have one, yeah and others they got none."

Well, I can't get it out of my head the last few days. Not just because of Eddie Vedder's amazing voice, but also because I am feeling extremely grateful for the love I have in my life. Thank you Eddie for articulating my feelings, I think we would have a lot of fun if we hung out sometime, though you also scare me a little....I'm just saying.

This past weekend my best friend since the first grade, Alissa, came to visit with her husband, Aaron and her adorable little baby boy. It was so blissful.  I feel blessed beyond words to have her. I don't remember a time in my life that I didn't know and love her. She's known every bit of my life, good and bad, and still loves me.
One of the most amazing things about this visit was that this is the first time that we have been around one another's kids for an extended period of time. Somehow with four kids under the age of 5 we managed to have a spectacular time. How is this possible?

I mean my kids are fantastic, don't get me wrong, but they aren't any one's idea of a vacation. I loathe the idea of including them in anything adult like. The truth is that kids at the ages of mine are all consuming. They require activity, a lot of attention for their thoughts, emotions and basic human needs, and perfectly timed sleep.
Since Alissa came with her own little five month old bundle of joy, we spent a lot of time at the house.  We had picnics on the driveway and walked around the block and it was great.  We drank wine and talked and talked and talked.  We were on the same page of being trapped by children and we embraced it. 
I loved getting to know the disposition and personality of her baby...who has the biggest cheeks and the most joyful, easy smile.  I feel honored to be a part of his life and I can't wait to see how he grows into a beautiful little boy. 
I was amazed watching my children fall in love with all three of them and felt so very grateful that my children could feel how much Alissa and Aaron loved them.  I love giving them two more people in this world that they can count on and believe in, and that have the same love and faith in them. 
I'm finding my wonderful friends aren't just a joy to me, but are just as important to my kids. What a gift for them. I'm sure they will be expressing their gratitude to me very soon.  I don't think I could be half the Mom that I am without these friendships, which also is a gift to my children in the form of me not going completely bananas.
Just like Eddie Vedder, I can count the people I love on both hands and then some.  I'm sure this is probably the end of Eddie and my similarities but at least we have something in common. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stella and I Buy a Tire! It WAS As Much Fun As It Sounds.

Yesterday I found myself at the Firestone Tire Service Center near my house for a very exciting 1.5 hours of the boys' preschool time. 

Oh, and I of course had Stella with me. 

Oh, and 4 other people included the following:

1. A VERY overweight woman watching Charmed at a ridiculously loud volume on her laptop while Dr. OZ  fought to be heard about how to look younger using natural remedies on the waiting room TV. 

The overlap did make it sound a little bit like he was suggesting using various spells and dead animal parts to cure wrinkles, which was pretty amusing. Remember, I was at the tire store for an hour and a half.  I was easily amused.

2. A semi-creepy looking woman that kept talking on her iPhone to people about gender issues and some prescription for numbing creams. 

In between calls she would look at Stella, who was doing her best to win this creepy woman's attention despite my whispers that she wasn't worth her efforts,  and shake her head and mumble/giggle the word "babies" like they were the darnedest things. 

It was very strange and I didn't know if I should respond, "yes, she is a baby," or simply remove Stella from this woman's line of vision. For all I knew she was picking up spells from Charmed to make my baby need body numbing cream and feel unsure about her status as a female. 

3.  The sweetest Hispanic man that looked straight out of some Mexican drug ring gang. 

(Full disclosure, I do not have the slightest clue as to what someone from a Mexican drug ring looks like, but he looked like he could hold his own in any drug ring.) 

He was covered in tattoos, black leather and very large silver jewelry.  He had a long braid and a bandanna around his head.

He helped me with my stroller, giggled and talked to Stella and was so polite to the tire workers that I loved him.  I totally would have bought drugs from him. 

4.  The funniest Asian man. EVER.

What did he say that was so funny? Absolutely nothing. He giggled the entire time though.  It was so very fun to watch.  I really, really, really wanted to talk to him but knew that my car was going to be done any minute and was frightened that someone like that might not be able to stop talking once he started....and I might not be able to walk away from someone that fun.

I serious thought that I must have had a large booger hanging from my nose, or perhaps my boob had fallen out (which I am pretty sure that most men would find comical rather than sexy in my current post third baby state.)

Thankfully Stella and I escaped with only a new tire and as of yet we have not had any problems with mysterious body numbing sensations or cravings for crack after our time with Mr. Mexican Drug man.  It's only 10 am though, and Stella can't really tell me if she's having these types of problems.   I'll report back later.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Aiden Figures Out We Are Going to Have to Live in a Box

Not too long ago, Alex made a casual joke to Aiden that we couldn't spend any more money or we would have to live in a box.  (He's hilarious.)  Well, Aiden took that comment to heart. 

A few days after he received the news, he looked at me in a panic as I mentioned we were going to stop at Starbucks.  He even asked me if I thought that was a good idea. He literally was envisioning his future living inside a cardboard square.

Yesterday, after a fairly pleasant day which even included a 3 hour nap by Cole and a trip to the gym, I attempted to take all three kids to the grocery store.  I wasn't planning on a big trip, but we did need a few things so that the kids could have some of their staples like fruit and peanut butter and honey sandwiches. 

OK, and I was out of wine which is truly a staple for the kid's safety. 

As we approached the store there was a considerable amount on grumbling from the rear of the van about their lack of enthusiasm for the trip. Both boys were proclaiming that they just wanted to go home and ride their bikes. I calmly and sweetly, (OK, probably wasn't that sweetly,) informed them that we didn't have things like bread in our house and if we didn't go to the store for a few minutes then we wouldn't be able to eat.

Complaining continued.

I paused and searched my file of mom decisions and lessons to be learned and decided to leave. 

Do not panic, I remembered that there was a large bottle of chardonnay in the garage refridgerator from Grandma and Tractor's visit so the sacrifice for me was minimal.  We might not have food, but we did in fact have plenty of wine.

I simply turned the car back on, put it in reverse, and started for home. 

One would think that they would have been elated since this is what they had been begging for, and Cole was in fact very pleased, already plotting how he could carry his toy shotgun on his new bike and asking me if spider man used a bell.  Aiden, on the other hand FREAKED out.  He started screaming at me to go back, he wanted to eat.  He was hysterical about our lack of food.

Oh wow.  Now I have made him think that we aren't going to have food, not that we could afford it anyway in his mind.  I honestly did try to explain to him that we had food to eat, just not food that he would probably want, but he was beyond his ability to listen. 

I could just see his mental picture, all of us crowded into our cardboard box, (probably on our driveway sitting next to our 2011 minivan,) trying to share that giant bag of Cheerios from Costco that we can't seem to ever finish in non-starving life.

 It took me about 10 minutes after we got home, and a quick visual of our fridge, before he felt like life was going to be OK.  Cole was already putting on his spider man belt and trying to tie his shotgun to his bike with Indiana's leash.

Tonight, Aiden thanked me for re stacking all the books on his bookshelf and even said that is looked, "so nice." He eagerly cleaned up the playroom, while screaming and crying at Cole for sitting in the middle of it all and trying to balance army men on his belly. He thanked me for making dinner for him and ate everything on his plate. He even reminded me that I should give he and Cole their vitamins.  What would I do without my 70 year old, desperately seeking approval son?

I need to remember how sensitive he is about things.  i am too harsh with him sometimes, too sarcastic for a joyful and dying to be praised little five year old.  Aiden can handle a sarcastic comment or a periodic joke, he is my son after all, but there are some things that are simply not funny to him. Any comments about our basic life needs being taken away are taken seriously and given much too much care for a five year old...he is my husband's son after all.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I'm Healed! But I Still Have A Little Bone To Pick

OK, fear not people, I am down from my ledge of sorrow.  I'm fine.  I'm actually feeling pretty good.

I love that so many of you reached out and let me know your suggestions and concern via comments on Facebook, here, and emails.  My favorite suggestions involved  me taking on a foreign exchange student, spending time among more children and meditating.  I'm not doing any of those, but it made me feel better to just read these ideas and laugh at them. (No offense intended that I am laughing at your ideas.)

I got a lot of suggestions for girl's night out and getting a babysitter for Alex and me to go get wild and crazy out on the town.  I had some people suggest new rules for the kids so that I could better manage the day.  I probably could use all of these from time to time so thanks for the reminder.

I did receive a few emails about appreciating the time that I have with all three of them here at home rather than complaining about it.  Good point, do I put this without sounding mean?

Well forget it, I'll just sound how I feel. 

(Warning, I am about to be unpleasant for a few paragraphs on behalf of all young mothers.)

Shut up!

I know that these times are precious and I fully agree that someday I will long desperately for my little baby to want me to hold her instead of going to sleep. I have little doubt that all too soon Aiden and Cole will find me annoying rather than desperately want me to be part of every single action they take, and it will hurt. Someday, I will miss their giggling and enthusiasm for Curious George and loathe their passion for talking back and missing curfew.

But that isn't today. Today is hard too.  I have three little kids that I am in charge of 24 hours a day and it is mentally and physically and emotionally exhausting. I am no different from other moms that have been doing it forever. I am not the first person to be annoyed and overwhelmed. I realize that, I really do.

This is my time to do it though and don't tell me it isn't hard. Don't tell me I can't cry about it or feel like I want to push it away for a while. It might be over for you, you might be sleeping all night and doing crazy things like going to the bathroom without three people following you, but I'm not and it just is too much sometimes.
I am really feeling better now.  Wow, had to get that out.

My genuine favorite comment?  No sarcasm here...I was told that sometimes you just have to put one foot in front of another. No dismissing my feelings, just a really fantastic truth. Despite the weight of my feet last week, the profound, overwhelming sadness and frustration I felt about my daily responsibilities.....this is true.   This is so painfully true.
I could explain the ins and outs of why I felt so deeply these emotion that most of us feel on some level every day, but it doesn't really matter. It was a bad week for me, that's all it was.  I'm not a fantastic mom when I feel like that.  I need to do better.   I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I had to find something else to occupy my brain other than the extreme frustration I felt.  I hung pictures, I exercised, I sat in the sunshine in my yard while my baby discovered grass and it was wonderful.  I had to push through all the annoyances of my life as a mom, because it isn't changing and this is where I want to be.

Well, that's not true, it is always changing.  I have found that raising children is always hard, but if you wait a little while it will change the way it is hard, just enough to make you feel OK again with tackling the job.  Thank God. 

So today, I can say with almost 85% certainty that I won't be in the fetal position in my closet when Alex comes home tonight.  Maybe 80%....OK, maybe I really should get a foreign exchange student.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Two Nap Trap

Warning:  This post is full of self pity.  It's what I needed right now.  It is pathetic, but definitely what I needed to get off my mind this morning...

I tried.  I really did.  I stopped writing yesterday's post and I immediately went to engage, with gratitude, with my kids. It worked for an hour or so and then it just didn't work at all. 

I broke down in sobbing tears last night to Alex.  You know the kind where you can barely breathe?  Yes, that was me.  Bawling on the couch in a miserable, pathetic ball of sadness.

I genuinely feel like I can't do this anymore.  I'm sick of being with my kids all day in this house.  I feel trapped and bored out of my mind. I feel like I have a thousand mindless tasks of pouring drinks and wiping bottoms all day and it is making me nuts. I'm out of patience and I'm fresh out of joy. 

The guilt over my frustration is literally multiplying by the moment and creating such a weight that I feel like I can barely move. I'm sad for me and I'm sad for my kids. We are not a happy bunch.

You know what I think it comes down to?  The source of most of my frustration? 

Stella's two naps.

Yes, the sweet baby girl is now the source of all my misery. OK, a little dramatic, but seriously, this is my issue.  My unsolvable, must just wait it out, issue.

She goes to sleep at 9 am for her first nap and sleeps until around 11...right when the boys need lunch.  She goes down for a second nap around 1 or so....right when the boys need their rest time.  She and the boys are ready to go around 3 or 3:30, which is a great time to go do something except for the fact that this is the time of day that Cole basically can't function out of the house without a massive breakdown.

(If I had any enthusiasm in me at all I would have written about Cole's melt down in the line at WalMart yesterday. It was major.  It also was what I wanted to do after spending an hour with the people of WalMart...they are a scary, very overweight, poor customer service bunch.)

Now bring on the solutions. (Though be forewarned that all over-simplified, dismissive-of-my-emotions, problem solving will be met with either more tears from me or an angry blog post about sensitivity.) 

I feel like I have made a valiant, though fruitless, effort to figure out this problem to save all of our sanity.  I am literally at the mercy of her body needing two naps a day and partially at the mercy of Cole's body finally being able to function from 7 am until at least 7 pm without a nap. I think I have to wait it out. 

Unfortunately I'm just not sure I can wait without completely losing my mind.

At the very least I need warm weather so we can go outside. (Sorry northern people for complaining about our brief phase of below 50 degree weather.)

I need some neighbors with kids that are actually home during the day so my kids can play.  (All my neighbors work so kids are all gone during the days.) 

I need quick options, that don't cost money, to engage my kids outside of this house.  I need a few hours to myself outside of the "rest time" that mostly consists of me trying to convince Cole that he will rest in one location and be quiet.  Hmmmm....maybe Cole is more my problem.

*Maybe I just need to suck it up until this summer when Stella will potentially move to one nap and give us our mornings to exist in the world.

*Maybe I need to be forced to have some real problems so that I learn to appreciate the fact that my worst problem is being trapped in my large, heated house which is filled with food and healthy adorable kids. 

*These are examples of exactly the type of dismissive problem solving that will piss me off.

Maybe I just need a break. I am going to the gym to run to angry rap music that makes me feel powerful and potentially prettier. That should feel good.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mom of Envy

Alex just left and I feel filled with envy.   I'm envious of his ability to leave the house this morning with purpose, with people to talk to and not a stitch of Target clothing.

It's frigid cold outside so I should be feeling grateful that I could stay in my pajamas all day if I want to avoid real clothes.  I should feel grateful that I can play all day long with my three adorable children if  I want to skip all household chores.  I should feel grateful, but I just feel envy. Envy and boredom.

I've been hanging around the house a lot lately and I'm all filled up on time with adorable children.  I have watched enough Disney movies while snuggling.  I've played Memory, Candy Land and checkers and sadly, lost more than I can handle. I have read stories and played play-doh.  I have colored pictures of superheros and pretended to be on a pirate ship while I cook and clean and honestly it makes me want to cry to think of doing it again today. 

Today is a snow day for most of the Austin area since we had a little ice and an inch of snow (go ahead and laugh my northern readers,) but my husband went out the door to work.  I am here bored out of mind again alone.

I'm left answering the perpetual question from Aiden and Cole, "when will Daddy be home?"  I am feeling bored enough that I might start making up answers.  Nothing tragic, just something more exciting than, "after you are in bed."

I want to put on my non-Target clothes (I think I still have some,) and leave for a job to be done that does not require me to explain how a cell phone works or why Santa didn't leave presents this morning since it snowed or why people put blankets on their outside plants. 

I want to swing by Starbucks while I contemplate a problem I have to tackle that day, but that I will be able to more or less leave when it is time to return home.  I want to be on the greener grass for a few days. 

I am grateful that I can stay home, but a combination of a two nap a day baby, cold weather and two little boys that are desperate for more to do is making me nuts.  I have even checked out some stay at home mom blogs that list great indoor activities....which all make me want to barf.  I don't want to make puppets or build a fort.  I want to wallow in a little mini-depression at my isolation and then have it magically get better without any effort from me.  Healthy, right?

Yesterday I was venting to my mother, not a good idea, and she basically told me to get over it.  Not the most loving advice, but perhaps she's right.  My situation isn't changing, I might as well change my attitude....make lemonade from lemons, grow where I'm planted, a penny saved is a penny yearned, (yes, that doesn't really apply, but I am saving money by not going anywhere.)

I've broken my stay at home mom rule of getting dressed everyday so that I feel more like a person and I think I'm breaking it again today.  This is probably not a good idea for morale.  I should at least go put on a bra. I'd feel more human with a bra on while I attempt to show joy at making a fort or watching Micky Mouse.

OK, I'm going to attempt to change my attitude and see if sudden joy and gratitude fills me up.  Or, I am going to hide in the corner with this laptop and pretend I have work to do. Or just hide in the corner. 

Must make lemonade.  Must make lemonade.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dangerous Times With Stella

OK Mom, I know what you are going to say.  There are a lot of things going on in this photo that shouldn't be. 

I'll go ahead and state all of  your concerns so that you can feel comfortable in my parenting. OK, so you can feel comfortable that I understand this one particular moment in parenting.

1. Stella is sitting on top of a kitchen counter. She could fall off and break her neck.  That would be bad.  I should watch her.

2. Stella's outfit of two totally different stripes does not match.  At all.

3. Stella could easily choke on these grapes, which are pretty high on the choking hazard list.  I should take them away.

4. Were these grapes and/or the counter cleaned before Stella came into contact with them? There are lots of chemicals or at the very least dirt on fruits and vegetables, you should wash before eating.

5. Why are there so many dishes and miscellaneous things around the sink?  Is that sanitary?  Is someone spending too much time on their computer, not enough time taking care of the house?

See, I get it.  Even when I'm making a poor decision, I get it.

I took this picture because we were having such a good time.  Aiden and Cole were at preschool for five blissful hours and Stella had just woken up from a fantastic two hour nap that enabled me to drink my Starbucks in peace, roam the Internet without interruption and talk to a friend without having to once stop conversation to tell someone to stop something. We both were feeling good.

It was so fun to have a few minutes of just Stella and me.  It was fascinating to watch her attack a colander (just washed) of grapes with such determination and curiosity.

She did put several of these grapes into her mouth, but I didn't once have to perform the Heimlich maneuver on her.  We worked it out and she was hilarious, even sneaky about putting extra grapes in her hands to feverishly stuff in her mouth when I was busy with another aspect of her survival.

I had a million things to do and I know Stella would have played on the floor with whatever random object I threw at her (one of her most redeeming qualities currently,) but instead I took the time to play with her on top of a kitchen counter with a spell binding bunch of grapes.

It was wonderful.

When the boys are here I spend a lot of time breaking up fights, feeding them, or assisting with fort construction and Stella has to sort of enjoy the show.  I often want to rush around to accomplish things when they are gone, seize the single child moment. 

Today I embraced their absence though, with some rule breaking Stella time.

I think it was time well spent.

It's Time for Me to Makeover My Pediatrician's Office

I've been logging some serious time in the pediatrician's office recently. Yesterday I took Stella to the doctor for a suspected ear infection.  Damn her inferior ear structure.

This was my 5th visit to the pediatrician's office in 3 weeks.  I need a punch card of some sort.  I think I could have almost earned a koozie or perhaps a magnet with Tylenol dosage amounts. 

While sitting in the office, that now is so familiar to me that I find myself giving other parents direction and answering basic medical questions while the office staff is busy, I made a mental list of things I think the doctor should change to make things more pleasant in there.

1. There should be a bar in the office.  I have been dealing with sick children for three weeks now, I deserve a drink while I wait to have my baby poked and prodded again.

2. There should be some healthy, interesting people mixed into the waiting room with all the parents of sick children.  Those parents are all tapped out of brain power, much less interesting conversation topics.  All they want to discuss is their kids ailments, which I don't want to hear.  I have my own problems which aren't that interesting either.  

3. A simple snack cart of some kind would really help me out.  Invariably my boys have decided that the snacks I brought with us are insufficient to satisfy their hunger.  Aiden requested I make him a sandwich while Stella was being examined yesterday.  (Not sure what I was doing that led him to believe I had a stash of bread and other sandwich making items.)

4. Someone to read the US Weekly magazine to me while I hold my baby.  I would love to enjoy the gossip magazines that taunt me there, but I can't put down my sick ear baby to safely hold it. A reader, preferably one that has some witty commentary to accompany all stories and photos would be great.

5. A babysitter for the healthy kids I have to bring along. Seriously, why isn't this happening?
I am simply over having sick children. I want to sleep again.  I want to be able to go out into the world with all of them for play dates and parks without fear of infecting the world with our funk.

Did I just say I want to go on a play date?  Oh wow, we have been trapped a while.

I do realize this has to end eventually so I am trying to be grateful for the fact that our ailments have been very minor, but at 3 am with a congested, screaming baby, I am 100% convinced no one has it worse than I do.  It takes me until morning and a cup of coffee to realize this is not true.

In happier news though...Aiden made me laugh so hard I almost peed my pants yesterday morning.

It was one of those wonderful moments that I love about having kids.  He was simply trying to do as I asked and get dressed, but he was so blissfully unaware and apathetic about what he was putting on his body that he came out dressed like this.

Polo shirt backwards.  Pants way, way too small.  I love this. 

He was more funny though because he came out carrying a leather belt he wanted to wear also.  Pretty sure those pants are staying up without the belt.