Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I Think I Might Be Missing Breaking Bad, But I Thought I Was Writing About Cole

I possess a great amount of terror about 18 year old Cole.  What if we spend the next 10-15 years going through phases of difficulty, each one wearing his self esteem down in a different way because I'm handling it so poorly that before I know it he's the Jesse Pinkman of Round Rock, TX and his slimy, but extraordinarily witty, lawyer are tricking Alex and me out of our house so he can move in and make more meth?

No, I don't think I've watched too much Breaking Bad, why do you ask?

Could Jesse build this?  I think not.

We're in a rough patch with Cole.  We've been through it before, you can read an example of that here, and here we are again.  Thankfully not quite as bad as it's been in the past, but it's rough.

Today was light years better than the last five or six days, but I've been a Mom long enough now to know that there is no better way to curse his upswing than to publicly proclaim he's out of it. 

It's just like talking about how great a sleeper your baby is, that's a fast track to a night of three hours sleep.  It's some sort of kid voodoo.

Whenever we are in one of these phases with Cole I feel plagued with worry about how to handle him.  He refuses to cooperate.   He's grumpy and negative about every aspect of everything.

(And doesn't show an ounce of sarcasm in all his complaining to make it a bit more amusing.)

He doesn't sleep.  He doesn't allow me to sleep. 

He cries and screams instead of vocalizing nearly any need large or small, and something as small as the socks I hand him to wear can turn in to the greatest tragedy of all time.

It's exhausting.  It's emotionally and physically so draining that I find myself going through the same stages of coping each time.

First, I'm shocked.  I'm always surprised when these phases appear out of seemingly nowhere.  We can go months in between these times then just get struck down by the wrath of Cole.

Then, I'm encouraging and thoughtful about how to remedy any issues.  I'm all sticker charts and positive reinforcement. This is the book reading phase.  I have a collection of "make your kid better" sorts of books and I always get behind all their good ideas for at least a solid day, maybe even two.   

After a while though I become snippy and sink closer to his level, mocking all suggestions I've found in books and feeling sparks of rage at suggestions from anyone.   (This is actually when I'm in my sarcastic prime so I make a good person to go have a cocktail with, but not so much a stellar Mom and person in general.  I really walk a slippery slope during this stage.) 

Next, I'm straight up pissed off.   I'm determined that I can turn this around and we're going to have a change in behavior.  This is when I irrationally threaten things like taking away his room, or the majority of his clothes.  Thankfully most of these irrational threats are never verbalized to Cole so I don't have to actually implement some of the worst parenting ideas ever thought of by a loving Mom.

Then the worst of it comes, I find myself teetering on apathetic.  There is zero funny in that.

I could think of nothing worse than feeling apathetic about one of my children.  It terrifies me.

To be clear, I'm not there.  I am not apathetic about Cole, I don't think I ever could be.  I pray I never feel that way, but I dabble in it and that's scary enough for me.

I get to the point when I just can not fight him anymore though.  I am baffled by his attitude and frustrated that we keep cycling back to times like this.  I feel like a failure, because surely I'm jacking this up or things would be different. 

I'm emotionally intelligent enough to come up with a whole list of possible reasons we go through these times.  I also know that staying true to our rules and expectations of behavior, while fiercely loving him, is the only real path out of each of these times, along with a giant bucket of prayer.  He doesn't have an "issue." He isn't diagnosed with a particular behavior challenge, and believe me, the behavior therapist and I went through all sorts of options last year.

He's just Cole. He's strong willed, but sensitive. He's funny and an entertainer, but he's also very shy. He's sweet and loving, but he's also five. He's just five.

He's super cute too.

I bet he couldn't even shake and bake without serious problems.

Fine, maybe I'm thinking a little too much about Breaking Bad.

This will all be better soon. If it weren't for the voodoo I would say it could potentially have passed by his behavior today, but I would NEVER say that because of the respect I have for the voodoo. 

He will be back to being himself more often than not, and I'll go back to thinking I'm an awesome, fine acceptable, Mom.  Right now though, I just don't want to feel frustrated with him anymore.  I don't want to feel as though I have to back off or doom him to a life of drug abuse. I want to love on my kid and have some good days and some bad ones and feel that whole thing is going to be fine, because most likely it will be.

Unless he has a really good, but terminally ill chemistry teacher....then I'll have to take drastic measures to save him.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A List...Just Like Martin Would Have Made

Since we're all so close, let's just pretend the 30 days in a row of writing thing never happened.

Surely this wouldn't be the worst thing we all pretend didn't exist. 

In honor of Martin Luther King Junior Day, I decided to just make you a list of the random recent happenings around here....because I am 78% sure that making lists is how MLK managed to get so much done with the whole racial equality thing.  

God bless him.

1.  Last week we had a very large tree removed from our backyard in order to start the whole pool building process.  There was a backhoe and everything. 

It entertained my children for hours, which makes me wonder how much it would cost to have a backhoe just rip stuff up in my backyard for the next few years in comparison to installing a pool? 

This might be worth exploration.


2. In my quest to take over the world with my Pampered Chef business,  I have earned all sorts of free Pampered Chef products.  On a whim I ordered this white ceramic skillet...and discovered that I should make more decisions on a whim. 
I am in love....with a skillet.
I feel ashamed and proud. 
It's making everything so easy and fun to cook right now.  I'm also having professional photos taken in the near future of myself with the skillet since this one was such a hit on Facebook and Instagram...mostly for being sort of scary, but I also like to think it's because everyone wants to love this skillet like I do.
3. The return of the sun has brought new hope for my life as a stay at home mom. My kids have started going outside again and it is glorious.
The Sandbox is back in rotation, which is 90% good news.  It does get them outside and away from me, but it also brings sand back inside. 
Best photo EVER?  Probably.
The vacuum is my friend.
The boys also were finally allowed to spend some of their 2012 savings and they both purchased outdoor riding toys which has led to endless hours of them riding away from me. 
4.  Meal planing blows lately.  Nothing sounds good. I basically just want to cook eggs and quesadillas in that skillet and wing it every night, but that is sort of awful in reality.  So I hunkered down on Pinterest and decided to try a week of recipes that look delicious.  
Last night I tried the crockpot pesto ranch chicken and every person in my family devoured it.
Do it tonight people.
2 pounds-ish of chicken thighs
6 oz jar of pesto
1 pack of ranch seasoning
some chicken broth
Here's a link to the magic. 
5. The cutest thing around here lately is Stella's mastery of our very long last name.
Just to be clear, Alex doesn't usually talk like that. 
I don't want confusion like that. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bags of Too Much Money And Other First World Complaints of My Children Today - PYHO

I don't remember what day it is in in this self-imposed challenge, but here I am.

And I'm sick. 

I have pumped my body full of all sorts of drugs which young Jesse Pinkman would have been paying his smurfs a pretty penny for back in the day, and I think it's helping a bit.  A mere nine hours later, I feel slightly better, but exhausted.

There is nothing worse than being sick as a Mom.  Despite the fact that both Aiden and Cole were extraordinarily loving and kind to me this morning, by this afternoon they were over me being down and back to their selfish ways, angered by my slow pace in getting their snack and making their pancakes. 

A slave Mom's work is never done.

Despite my patient and carefully worded speech about showing grace and respect to me, my kids were still having difficulty with the concept that I didn't feel like running around for them tonight.  My illness didn't even register with Stella and she proceeded to shout commands at me until she was placed in her room for a time out. 

If only it didn't take so damn long to catch her and put her there in my state of fatigue.

I expect to have a somewhat daily battle with my children's selfishness and lack of perspective.  I've made a certain peace with that at this point.  They're kids, I'm fairly certain this is simply the way many of them are at this stage in the game.  It will probably take the full 18 years to mold them in to respectable humans, and even then it's probably some sort of slow sink-in of all the things we've spent years working with them on all this time.

I even remember complaining to my Dad about having to manually roll down the windows in the car he paid for and allowed me to drive all through high school.

(I like to think I had other fantastically redeeming qualities that showed him I had a chance of eventually turning in to a good person, otherwise he should have definitely taken action against me, thought I'm grateful he did not.)

When I am under the weather, I can't handle even a moment of their spoiled complaints. 

Here's my list of top annoyances of my children's First World problems from today.*

1. Stella keeps dumping her new purse full of money in random locations around the house.

This is possibly the worst photo quality ever posted in a blog, but you get the idea, and remember, I'm sick.

2.  When asked to help put away his basket of clean, folded, mostly new clothes, Cole threw himself on the floor and fake cried about the injustice of his life, how he's over worked and I make him do everything.

This was the point in the afternoon that I feared for Cole's life.

3. Aiden, having recently lost privileges to use his new iTouch due to disrespectful behavior, was whining about his lack of quick access to whichever song he would like to listen to at any moment.  He is currently forced to pick out one of the hundred or so CDs we have in the house.

Then he can play it on his own CD player.

In his very own bedroom. 

I understand if you need to shed a tear for him.

4. After a meal of pancakes, my children's favorite dinner, Cole actually complained that I had "forced" him to eat too much food. 

(To be clear, I never requested he eat any amount of food.) 

When I mentioned that some  children don't even have access to an unlimited amount of food, he replied, "I wish we didn't have food." 

Right, because that would be awesome child.

5. After finishing his homework I caught Aiden staring out in to the backyard looking perplexed.  When I asked him what was wrong he said he just didn't understand why we had to get rid of a tree he likes to climb, just so we can put the new pool where Daddy and I want it. 

The phrase, "it's not fair," was actually used.

I simply walked away.  I can't even explain to him why that is so messed up.

6.  Stella cried for 15 minutes because her favorite Doc McStuffin's (or as she calls it, "Tuffins") nightgown was in the washing machine tonight when she was ready to put on pajamas.  Despite the fact that she has a drawer of pajamas, literally so full it is often difficult to open and close, she didn't understand why her nightgown had to be all wet.

Stella and the "Tuffins" gown during less tumultuous times.

In fairness to her on this one, she does look crazy adorable in the nightgown, it is her only gown, and she is 2....but geeez.

It was just one of those days.  I know they will eventually work it out and in all likelihood will turn out just fine, but it's days like this when my patience is weak that I fear I will be forced to strip them of any and all advantages, such as giving them food and clothing. 

Are there still cars with manual windows? 

I definitely need to get them cars with manual windows, it clearly worked for me.

*Mom, I promise I usually would just take things away, talk to them about their lack of respect or sense of gratitude but that's rough when your head is pounding and you fear you might vomit on your newly cleaned floors....knowing you would be the only one to clean it up.  I require zero advice or friendly input on how to remedy these problems, I'm on it once I can stand upright for more than 10 minutes.

Linking up with Shell's Pour Your Heart Out.  Check it out here.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Take It From Me, You Should Check In On Your Friends' Uteruses

On Saturday I found out that one of my best friends was pregnant....and due in a few weeks.

I can't describe how odd it was to hear news like that about one of the people that I perceive to be one of the true loves of my life....seriously in my top ten of favorite people walking the planet. 

Obviously I'm doing a piss poor job of keeping in touch if one of my best friends could be 38 weeks pregnant without me knowing.


Epic fail.

There's a lot involved, but basically, for me, it just boils down to the fact that I was given a giant slap in the face about needing to step up my managing of friends, husband, kids, life.  I don't want to be someone that lets a relationship slide because I am busy.  I am lost without my good girlfriends. 

Totally lost. 

Since we haven't talked in nine months I thought I should put together a quick list of the important things I should be sharing with her to get back to really knowing one another.

1. We spent a long summer going to day camps and the pool.  Overall it was far better than I could have imagined....since I almost always imagine it's going to be hell.  The only truly awful part was the Texas heat, which is a serious form of punishment for moving here.

2.  Aiden started first grade and loves it. He's inquisitive, far too concerned with the concept of fair and who did what to whom, he's excelling at math, he's slower but catching up in reading, he's taller and lankier than I feel like he should be, he's losing an alarming amount of teeth, and he still begs me to sleep next to him...which is adorable and I totally would if he didn't grind his teeth so damn loudly.

3. Cole is in a kindergarten ready program for kids eligible but not ready to go to full-time kindergarten...which really begs the question, why did they name the program kindergarten ready if no one is ready?  I'm so confused.  Taking him off dairy and trying to be more patient with him when he has a challenge verbalizing what is bothering him has made a HUGE difference in being able to handle him well. He's still my most loving and most creative...and my most challenging, most days.

4. Stella pretty much is the cutest thing on the planet, except when she has decided she would like things to be one way and that isn't the way it's working.  She pronouces smoothie, "pootie" and recently discovered that everyone has nipples.  She jumps on her brothers in the middle of a wrestling match, she is obsessed with pink and the fact that she's a girl, and she makes me so grateful to have the chance to raise a girl.  It's different, it's the same, it's awesome.

5. Since the weather turned cold, I no longer feel the need to shave my legs every day, which has led to some amazing discoveries.  Periodically I find just one really long hair behind my knee or on my ankle, and I wonder how it could have missed the razor blade EVERY time for weeks to reach that length.  That's been on my mind for a while so this seemed like a good time to share it.

6. I started a Pampered Chef business and it's GREAT.  I didn't have any expectations, but it's been wonderful.  It gets me out, it gives me "business" to take care of in the perfect amount of time, on my terms.  Most importantly, it gives me a lot more money than I expected, which is fun.  I'm still grateful to not have to feed my family with it, but for now I'm happy to have it as part of my life.  Do you need a garlic press?

7. Alex and I have decided to put a pool in our backyard.  This gives me much concern, excitement, fear, joy, and terror...mostly that I will have to so frequently be in a swimsuit and I have not been sticking to my workout plan. 

8. I am currently reading The Night Circus and I don't get it.  I think I like it, but I don't know what the hell is happening. Is this just about magic?  Is this all illusion?  Am I accidentally reading another teen vampire novel and the story is focusing on the vampires with a gift to change things around them? 

Sidenote:  I did read The Fault Of Our Stars and LOVED it.  I think it might be a teen novel also but I thought it was fantastic.  Shout out to my friend Jenny Campbell (whom doesn't call herself that anymore, but will forever be Jenny Campbell to me so I don't accept her Jen Maximer status...if that's even right,) for recommending such a good book.  I am now looking to her for future reads once I figure out this circus thing.

9. I cut full bangs. It's been fairly life altering.  I truly am resurrecting my 9th grade Brenda Walsh roots and finding it quite wonderful.  I think they make me a better person.  Or not, but the change is fun.

10. I am still bananas for Alex and I think we are as blissfully married as two trapped and enslaved individuals can be at the mercy of small people who force us to be involved in every aspect of their lives, and whom feel comfortable intruding on every aspect of ours, including any and all trips to the bathroom and shower.  We find ourselves quoting Cliff Huxtible lines far more often than we would like, and it's substantially less funny, but we're grateful for the wisdom.  We're working on an escape plan, but currently just over the moon happy that we enjoy one another and have found great fulfillment from such Netflix options as Sons of Anarchy, Downton Abbey, and Breaking Bad.

I can't think of any other major insights to my current life.

Hug your friends.  Call your friends.  Ask them if they are with child, because it's going to really suck if you find out you were so out of touch that they had time to grow a person since you last spoke.

That isn't even Cliff Huxtible wisdom, that's all me. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

I Know, I Know

Go ahead and just post FAILURE in the comments section.  I completely understand.

Perhaps this thirty days could just be thirty days of explanations as to why I can't get around to writing each day?

Day three hardly counted as a post, but at least I did something.

Day four I had a massive headache which prevented me from doing much of anything besides lying on the floor willing my head to explode. 

Day five?  Well, day five was just life, followed by some news that made me a little sad, a little excited, a little angry, a little disappointed, and a little guilty.  So I mostly cried to Alex, felt like I had been punched in the stomach, and planned flights to visit a friend. Clearly there was simply no time to blog with all that going on during my usual blogging hours.

Now here we are on day six.  I have nothing.

So we'll go to the blogger's never fail option:

Cute child photograph...

My Stella Monkey

And we'll just hope that day seven has even better material.

Friday, January 11, 2013

It's Midnight...

And I'm up posting this photo because I just got home from a Pampered Chef party.  This is what I am doing tonight instead of blogging on day 3 of my thirty day challenge. 

It counts, right?

Pampered Chef party close out and wine to get it in before midnight.

Happy Friday everyone! 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Zumba Anyone?

I've always fancied myself a good dancer.  My wedding reception experience combined with my four years of fraternity party attendance (mixed with fun spring breaks,) and my ability to conquer Dance Party Three on the XBox regardless of competition has always led me to believe I am a good dancer.

This is false.  Very false.

Today I attended my first Zumba class. I truly thought I would rock the Zumba class forum.

A combination of dance and a group led exercise class?  Surely this would be perfect for me.

Not so. 

There were only five of us in the class.  All of us were pushing forty, two closer to sixty.  We were a mixed bag of weights and body shapes.  I would venture to saw we all were pretty, "normal" looking. 

None of us were professional dancers, but I did find out all of my classmates regularly attended Zumba classes and loved it.  I knew this because the instructor was THIRTY minutes late, we had plenty of time to chat.

When the instructor finally showed up, she was a tiny ball of Latina adorable. She beamed a smile at us, and told us she was Zumba Deb. 

Of course she was.

She plugged in her iPod, threw on her headset, and started enthusiastically clapping over her head to Justin Bieber.  I can totally clap overhead to young pop stars so I joined in, on my way to being a Zumba master, just like I had thought.

The first "routine" consisted primarily of a simple back and forth step with a clap.  Every so often Deb would rub her hand around her head and down her body.  It was very sexy when Deb did it, but it sort of looked like the rest of us had a stray hair bothering us that we couldn't locate. 

It was awkward, but I was optimistic that rubbing your hand wasn't really dancing so I could still be awesome at this whole thing.

Moments after the second song started though, Deb took things to a whole other level.  Deb consistently looked like she belonged in a sexy salsa club and the rest of us looked like we should just sit down and eat some salsa.  I have never felt so uncoordinated in my life. 

People, I am NOT a good dancer.

Unfortunately, unlike the dance floor at a wedding, there were mirrors all around me, I could see every awkward move I made.

I looked tall and floppy. 

(I am not tall, unless I am standing next to a 5 foot dancer and a woman in the early stages of severe spine curvature.) 

My only reprieve was when the older lady in front of me moved directly in my line of vision, I assume my flailing reflection was distracting her from focusing on the moves.

I was so confused.

First, I thought I could hang with some dance moves. 

Second, no one informed me of the "sexy" component of Zumba so I felt the need to giggle every time I was directed to shake my chest or whenever Deb shouted, "sex it up ladies!" through her headset.  There was so very little sexy about what most of us were doing. 

Finally, Deb clearly has not given birth because the amount of jumping up and down and bouncing would have never been in the program if someone with three small children had choreographed it.

I really felt that Deb spent most of the class showing off her bladder control.

The real fun began when a little song called "Booty Work" started.

Honestly, I felt like someone should have hit the lights and offered me a shot.  It was the most awkward and hilarious five minutes of my life.  I kept looking for the guy handing out glow sticks. 

Deb kept yelling at us to "make it sexy," and "keep it low," but I couldn't stop staring at the mirror and wondering how she wasn't dying laughing at all of us in the class. 

Here's a link to the song if you haven't heard this classy tune.

I kept imagining the real video for the song...10-20 Deb varieties of barely dressed women shaking their butts.  How awesome would it be to insert clips of my Zumba class with the professional booty shakers.  

Is this what's been happening in Zumba classrooms around the world all these years? 

Zumba is awesome. 

Next Wednesday, 9:00, Deb, me and Zumba. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Year's Resolution FAIL

It's been a while. 

Do I start this blog like that too often these days? 

I used to feel a gigantic sense of failure if I didn't post at least four times a week here.  I would force myself to stay up late to write.  I would put on movies to occupy my kids so I could ignore them long enough to write something amusing, or heartfelt, or therapeutic...then I would experience guilt about my exhaustion and my lack of motherly connection.  

Intense and useless guilt.

Being a Mom is fun.

I don't feel the pressure anymore, thank God.  

I do miss writing though.

So I came up with a 2013 plan, you know New Year's resolution and all that.  The plan was for me to write something, anything at all for the entire month of January.  Even if it was just a picture of part of my day, or a video clip I found interesting.  

It was going to be a good January.

So what happened?

This is the part where I would like to write about a deeply meaningful task I have been devoted to over the last week which has prevented me from writing.  Some manner of volunteer work involving the homeless, or the hungry, or people that don't understand how to wear leggings. 

I would like to explain how I have spent countless hours bonding with my children and husband and creating powerful memories.

I can't lie though.

Here's the truth...on New Year's Day I discovered season six of Army Wives had been released on Netflix.  I've sepnt the last eight days watching 23 episodes of Army Wives during every child-free moment.

I'm so ashamed.

(I may have also been watching one episode of New Girl on repeat that I find so hilarious that I keep trying to find ways to work the funny lines in to normal conversations, and sounding like a total idiot.  I'm not proud.)

(Seriously though, Army Wives isn't that great, but if you have thirty minutes to watch the Katie episode of New Girl, you will not regret it.)

I'm turning over a new leaf today though folks.  My challenge is on! 

Every day for the next thirty days. Something WILL be posted.

I think.

I mean, there's a lot of enticing TV out there.  Pray for my strength to fight it.