Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Monkey See, Monkey Do

A good friend of mine and I have created a list o’ fun for we mommies to do. Here’s the thing, we created this fun, fun list about SEVEN months ago. Um, and well, we’ve not accomplished ONE of these items. I keep saying, I suppose we are simply no fun. My friend prefers to tag us as “striving for fun” instead.

However, in spite of not getting out with my friends to go play -- which I’m sure those of you who know me know I love to play – I absolutely consider myself fun. Well I realize the fun I actually DO get to have.

I mean in a house full of three kids 7, 5 and 2, how could you NOT have fun?!? Since Saylah could walk one of Ben and my favorite games with our kids is hiding behind a wall and jumping out at them. (In a fun parent way, NOT a scary-gonna-wet-my-pants way.)

The last few weeks I’ve had tons of fun with my kids. Which is part and parcel for why I’m behind (like 2 months behind) on posting! (again)

Recently I took the kiddos to Turkey Lake Park’s children’s farm to check out the turkeys, goats, horses and such. After seeing the animals we went to the playground where I took turns with Isaac sliding down the really tall slides. If you’ve not been to TLP’s playground – it is BY FAR my favorite playground (ask my older scouts, they’ll tell you. We’ve had many a game of tag on it.).

The cool thing about kids is you can play and typically people don’t look at you like you are looney. They say, “aww, what a sweet mom.” Little do they know those kids are just my excuse to do those silly things.

There are however times where my pride or grown-up-ness does take over and I decline from the antics. For example: we took my parents’ dog to the dog park the other day. To sum up the event I need only say that I had to tell the girls, “This is Charlie’s (the dog’s) park. You are not dogs.” But, come on, dog parks do look like fun. So I compromised and told them they could be puppies too but they could not sniff anyone’s tail end. Okay, I’m kidding, I didn't say that. I just wanted to see if you were paying attention. ;)

I told them they could be puppies but they couldn’t walk on their hands and knees. So they made a doggie obstacle course, that Saylah convinced her sister to complete but couldn’t get Charlie to run. They asked me to do the course and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I felt silly. I mean there were other grown ups there and where as being silly in front of grown ups who are parents of young kids is one thing. I’m uncertain of the stigma attached to silliness in front of grown ups with dogs.

I think I made up for it though. For the last couple of nights, Audrey has decided she’s a monkey and wants to hang upside from the top rail of her bunk bed to sing her prayers. Well, I like monkeys too.
Let me tell you, there is little that compares to hanging upside with your 5-year-old and singing The Lord is Good to Me …

Friday, March 1, 2013

I’m sorry … um … what was I doing?

Okay we all know we are all too busy. Right? We know that right? Seriously, I’d love to know of one person who is equally balanced with life, love, work, fun, sleep, exercise, friends, whatever.  If you are that person … you get a sticker.

For the rest of us: have you ever got so busy with your daily life you start forgetting things? 

I thought I’d break the ice and confess a few of my ridiculous antics of recent.

First, my justification for forgetting nearly everything but my head … and that’s screwed on! February has been chock full of deadlines, three kids, new clients and Girl Scouts, Girl Scouts, Girl Scouts. Cookie season, field trips, service projects for two troops – oh and to top it off, Ben’s schedule has been such that he works late nearly every night (like 10 p.m. late) unless I need him home for some other commitment I have to fill.  

Okay so here are a few of my frequent forgetfulnesses:
·     * I had a plan to play with a friend. Scheduled our time, then realized I had something for Saylah, so rescheduled the play date … then realized I knew the date but didn’t know the day … in other words … I got my dates mixed up and had to re-reschedule our plans!
·      * I’ve stopped myself from putting cheese, ice cream and milk in the pantry countless times.
I * I temporarily (like three days) couldn't find my driver's license so I couldn't get into the gated community to pick up our Girl Scout cookies. (I still don't remember where I found it, but I did.) 
·     *  My friend’s preschool payment check lived in my back pocket for a couple of days because I forgot to put it in the box during carpool drop off.
·     *  I left blue cheese salad dressing in a bag overnight (hey it’s “aged” already anyway right?).
·      * I ran a half marathon last weekend. I packed my running bag only to discover when I was 1.5 hours away from home that I packed AUDREY’s running belt – not my own. Bonus that I’m kid-sized.
·      * And the very best …  After a training run, I took a shower and shaved my legs – well … shaved one leg – and didn’t even realize it until I was dressed and driving in the car! Seriously!

So there’s mine … what have you done to prove you are just too busy? Come on, you know you have stories too!  ;-) 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Good Night Story

I wrote a while ago about how I had changed our nightly tuck in routine. After moving Saylah to her own room, I loved the opportunity to have one-on-one time with each of my kids. We are still going strong on this new routine and I still love it.

I start with Isaac, who wants a lullaby or two before his prayers and being plopped into his crib. His songs are not of the typical variety however, and if anyone else tried to tuck him in, they would be hard-pressed to know what he was requesting. He asks for “la la” which is the Smurf theme song. (Get it … La la lalalala, la la la laaaa) or “choo choo” – a song I made up:
Chuga chuga chuga chuga chuga chuga
Choo choo
Chuga chuga chuga chuga chuga chuga
Choo choo
I love, I love, I love
You you
I love, I love, I love
You you
Of course the usuals are sometimes sprinkled in there; minkle minkle (twinkle twinkle) and open shut them but mostly La La and Choo Choo are the big hits these days. (Now you know my super secret and amazing lyrical talents.)

Audrey likes a back scratch and to be read a story. And, sometimes she wants to scratch my back too. Saylah requests talk time, where we talk about everything from what she will sing when she’s a rock star to evolution and creationism.

This is only part of our bedtime story though. Each night, after our sweet time, the real fun begins. At least one will get out of bed (of course) and there’s always the request to turn a bathroom light brighter, crack a door wider, or change a CD.

But after a while and the more-than-occasional threats, they finally fall asleep. After a couple of hours of TV watching (the much needed veg out of the day), I head myself up the stairs to check on my kiddos one last time before I hit the hay.

This is my last little present of the day; my last gift from God today of the joys He’s given me in my life; my last little giggle before I fall fast asleep.

I go into Audrey’s room, tip-toeing over strewn out clothes and dressed up dolls to turn off her fan. Currently, she’s got a fort up on her bed, so I pull back the wall (sheet) and it’s always fun to see the scene set up in her bed. I can tell if she was tired or still had a little bit more energy. I can tell if she was nervous of the dark or too sleepy to notice. Typically, she’s taken to hanging her dream lite by its tag on the bunk bed slats above her head to serve as a light to ward off any monsters or ghosts. She’s usually wrapped up in a blankie that is two years too small for her that she insists on using that night. Note: it’s a different “special” blankie each night. And often she lies on her back, like her Daddy, which I find really cute.  I kiss her cheek and head on to Isaac’s room.

I can tell if I put Isaac to bed or if Ben did based on what was left in his crib when I go check on him. If it wasn’t me, he may have a ginormous Spider Man blanket in there or some random Barbie doll his sisters threw in there. No matter the tucker inner, his dream lite puppy and turtle are both always, always on blue (per his insistence) and his bink (pacifier) is always near his head. I always resist picking him up (well almost always), kiss my hand, gently touch his cheek with it, and head on to 
Saylah’s room.

My final giggle of night happens here. First of all, Saylah, if you don’t know her, is tiny. She’s just and idget. But she sleeps on a queen size bed – our hand me down when we got our king bed and used for our guests when they come in town. Her bed contains at least four pillows (two cover pillows and two real pillows) and then a bottom sheet, top sheet, comforter and soft blankie. Sometimes it has two more small throw pillows on it as well. Think that’s a lot? That doesn’t even account for half of it – I think there is an estimated 15 dolls on her bed and sometimes accompanying doll beds for a couple of them.
So each night when I come in her room, I first – have to find Saylah. You think I’m kidding don’t you? Seriously it’s like Where’s Waldo for my daughter. Once I locate her I have to make sure she hasn’t buried herself under her pillows. Then I take in the wonder of what her post-tuck in bedtime must have entailed.

She likes to build houses and caves and statues out of the contents of her bed. One night, I kid you not; she had created four “rooms” out of pillows and dolls. In each room some of the stuffed residents were placed. Others were used as pillars to hold up walls. But always Kaitlyn (her like-American girl doll), her American girl doll (whose name I don't recall) and Sunshine (a baby who she insists is a boy) are always in the “room” with her.  Another night she had every pillow and baby stacked up to create a cave in which only her head was under. I felt like it was the stuffed reenactment of a Looney Toons Cartoon where the rocks were going plummet down and bury her at the slightest sneeze. (She got pulled out of that one.) Two nights ago she had unearthed the body pillow from under her bed and was using it and it’s pillowcase as a sleeping bag … I suppose she and the dolls were having a camp out.

I know that each day is chock full of stuff to do, places to go, and distractions galore. I’m on a kick of trying to remind myself to be present with my kids. But I absolutely love that I get one more little bit of time each night to stare at them, enjoy their peacefulness, and to “listen” to the stories they have yet to tell. I am blessed. 


Friday, February 1, 2013

Isaac's Snake

I hate snakes. And when I mean I hate them, I mean I really, really, REALLY hate them. So much so in fact that I am strangely drawn to them – kind of like how you can’t turn away from a car accident when you drive by ... you have to slow down and look at it.

With me, snakes are the same way. Attempting to get over this phobia of those slithery little villains I’ve had my fair share of touching, holding and observing them over the years. Really I can’t look away. But something at the core of me is heebied out by them to no extent.

Ben is of the belief that if you see a black snake or whatever – you let it live. Those are the kind that eat the mice.  Me? I chop of their heads. Screaming bloody murder as I do. Considering that perhaps the mice would be a better visitor?

One time, I was reading and relaxing in our lanai and a little yucko thing went slithering out of the corner of my eye. No one was home, no neighbor around to get rid of it, there it was, the size of worm, invading MY space. After much squalin’ and hiding behind the sliding glass door where I could keep a keen eye on it, I decided I needed to “man up” and take care of the intruder on my own. I grabbed Ben’s (not mine) shoe and squashed the bajeebers out it. Had anyone been around during this episode, they surely would have called the cops with all the screaming coming out of me as I did the deed. Darn snakes.

It’s pretty much my only “thing” – my only truly girly “thing.” My kids know I hate snakes as well. And, like any good daughter would, since I hate them so much, guess what? Saylah has decided that she loves them. I mean absolutely loves them. They are her “favorite animal” (gross) Of, course they are.

For Christmas this year, Saylah’s school had a Holiday Shop where the kids could buy presents for their family. (No she did not buy me a snake, I got a ring.) But she did however buy Isaac a stuffed snake. It is the one and only snake toy in our house. My sister in law bought a real looking toy for Saylah a while back but sadly it got “lost” – so this blue stuffed critter is the only snake toy in our house. The problem – Saylah bought it for Isaac with her own earned money. With that kind of sentiment and consideration, I’m certain there is a designated amount of time necessary to wait before this guy gets lost as well. So typically he gets stuffed under a bunch of toys in Isaac’s toy box – out my sight. Because yes, even the bright blue stuffed ones ick me out.  

Periodically he gets unearthed from the mound of toys and someone plays with him. Two nights ago, Isaac grabbed him and started chasing his sisters around the playroom with it, hissing as he went. The laughter, squeals and giggles from this game piqued my interest and lightened my heart from a looong day; so much so that I opted to join the game. Isaac hissed towards me. I let out my most girlish squeal I could muster and off I ran. Giggles abound the four of us took turns chasing each other around the house, hissing and snake biting each other in the bootie.

I even went so far as to hide with the snake and strike at them from under the covers. (Truly my biggest nightmare come true) We’ve played our snake game for two nights now and it’s still a ton of giggles and glee.


I am definitely not a fan of the vermin still, but I am starting to warm up to the blue version of these cold-blooded creatures. Maybe he can stay a while longer. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Crazy Is as Crazy Does

All my life I’ve never wanted to run a marathon. I have, however, wanted to SAY I’ve run a marathon. I spent years figuring out a way I could honestly accomplish that goal and ultimately yielded to the fact that, sigh, in fact, I was going to have to actually RUN 26.2 miles to say I did one.

After coming to this sad conclusion, I conjured up the next best plan, for my “I’d-rather-not-self”: if I was in fact going to have to actually run over 26 miles (something only lunatics do btw), I was going to at least, run it with my Dad. (Who falls in the lunatic category simply because he typically runs more than one of these a year! In fact in the last 5 years or so, he’s run NINE. To me that equates to crazy times nine!)

This was a great idea – well, besides the part that included the 26.2 miles of running. Dad was a great choice. I love having Dad and Daughter time, he loves running marathons, and he knows what he’s doing. IF I had to actually do one of these things – this was the best way to go for it.  
So alas, I resigned myself to the fact that it was time to sign up to do one … and only ONE … race.
Next thought: might as well make it magical. Disney here we come!

So last January, against my better judgment, I signed up for the Walt Disney World Marathon. With a foreboding feeling in my gut, I not-so-eagerly paid my $140 entrance fee. To which I thought – “man, you really are dumb. (sometimes I sound like what my grandma Sanders used to say out loud to people) you are PAYING a lot of money to undoubtedly kill yourself.” (add “fool” to this conversation as well while we’re at it.)

When I started training, I required myself to have the perfect storm for running: good tunes in the itunes library, perfect weather (not too hot, not too cold) and cute running attire. ;)

Slowly (very slowly) I built up my mileage, all the while telling my friends, “I’m pretty sure I’m gong to die when I run Disney in January.” Sure, I can be a bit melodramatic I suppose, but I wasn’t entirely convinced I was created to be able to do this.

I was decent about getting out to run, but kept telling myself I had a lot of time before the race, I could take it slow. I think my Dad noticed that my “training” plan was a bit haphazard and being the engineer and dad that he is, somehow when I wasn’t looking, I got grand-fathered into his training plan. Doh!

That was good. Because he got me on track and kicked me into a higher gear so I could actually contend with the 26.2 monster in my future.

Then about four months ago, things came to a stabbing halt. One day after a run, I had a weird pain in my leg. It wasn’t that muscle pain you feel when you’re sore and want to whine. It was more one that when you take a step you get a sensation like someone is stabbing you with a knife … every step. Fun, right? It was so bad that at one point, I had a moment where I needed to run to catch Isaac and I couldn’t get there. (Side note: teach your kids the command “stop.” It saves lives.) Another time when Ben and I were crossing a road I got a flash of what it might look like to be road kill. So, I got a CT scan and an MRI, and a warning from my doctor that I might have to cancel my race.

8 months into training was when I realized how much I really actually WANTED to RUN this race – not just say I did it any longer – actually RUN it. By the Glory of God, my leg pain subsided a week or so after my CT and MRI showed up clear. I was back in business!

I’d lost two months so I had to really make up some ground. We worked hard and I kept on top of keeping my leg healthy. By the end of our training plan, I had become the running geek my dad probably always dreamed he’d have for a kid. (LOL) I was eating prunes instead of Gu (don’t knock it they are WAY better than that liquid snot stuff), tracking my runs on Nike Run, and actually looking forward to long runs. In fact, I have come to the point where I don’t enjoy the short runs as much any more.

This is all because I run my long runs with my dad and love running with my Dad. We have the best conversations and it’s just nice to get to have that Dad/Daughter time together. There’s no pressure when we run. We take it nice and slow and “enjoy the journey.”  I never dreamed running could be enjoyable. But it’s really very fun.

This past weekend I accomplished my goal. I ran the 2013 (20th Anniversary) Disney Marathon with my Dad. I loved every minute of it! It was sooo super fun! 

Honestly, it felt like one big running party! We ran through all four theme parks, on the Richard Petty racetrack and the Atlanta Braves Spring Training field. There was entertainment, camaraderie and treats galore! I’m so proud of my accomplishment I’ve already donned the coveted 26.2 sticker on my car and I kind of think of might wear my medal for the next two weeks. Best part of the whole thing … I ran it with my Dad.

When I asked myself the night before the race why I was doing this … knowing that for a year I had said in my head, “because it’s on my goal list,” this time, the night before the race, I said to myself, “Simply because I can.”

And I can’t wait to do it again. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Helen Keller’s Teacher Had Nothing On Me

What was her name? Annie right? That was one of my favorite stories when I was a little kid. In fact, at dance the other day Saylah picked up the level 1 reading book of it and it brought back memories. I was always so impressed with how stubborn and tenacious she was when trying to connect Helen to the world.

After this week, I’m pretty sure I’m tougher than teacher Annie.

When we first had kids I completely got on board the “pay now or pay later” mentality. You know the one … the theory that you either teach your kids now to do the right thing and go through the tough love when they are young so that when they are older they already have a good foundation of right and wrong. OR you don’t do that and realize when they have become terrors that you may not be tough enough for the tough love they are going to require to now achieve those principals.
Well, I still agree with the theory. HOWEVER, with Mr. I-man, I’m nearly a year behind. And, man am I paying for it already!

I’m not a fan of new year’s resolutions, but after seeing how mouthy Isaac is becoming (yes, mouthy – even in toddler gibberish) and that our youngest is quickly showing signs of little Napoleon potential, I thought it best to make one primary resolution: Isaac Behavior Bootcamp. (I have to admit I stole the name from my bestie. Thanks Jenn!)

So IBB started this week when the girls went back to school. So far I’m winning … I think … and by a very narrow margin.  It has become clear to me that I’m not entirely within my wheelhouse of knowledge (like that sports reference? Thanks Ben.) on this one.  Isaac’s boy is coming out. It’s good of course, but it is entirely different for me.

With the girls, when they did something wrong, they’d get scolded which would typically be followed by them crying, carrying on, and the need to perpetually talk about it. Isaac on the other hand; when he gets scolded actually sticks out his bottom lip, then more often than not, he gets angry and withdraws.
He gets over it quickly but I have noticed he needs space to get himself back to center. (I wonder if that’s what Ben has been telling me all these years when we have our “discussions”? ;)  hmm)

So, whereas at one – heck, with Saylah it was like 10 months – I was putting her in timeout and talking to her about manners and respect, I am now starting that in full-force (as opposed to the “dabbling” I did in it last year) teaching Isaac ‘NOT to talk to Mommy and Daddy in that tone,’ ‘yes you do have to eat all of your food that I serve you’ and ‘no you cannot hit your sisters.’ Okay, we never let him hit, but he DOES hit. Typically it’s not in anger. Typically it’s because he is playing, gets worked up and wallop! Queue: ticked off sister tattling on brother. But we are in full swing of teaching him that WE are in charge … not him. And so far, I don’t think he’s convinced.

Speaking of hitting. I do have a super funny tale to tell … about a tail. Saylah’s in particular. Over break, Ben and I are sitting at the kitchen table after dinner, amused by our three kids chasing each other through the house, giggling up a storm. Back and forth they were going down and up our hallway into the family room. In zooms Audrey to the family room who throws herself facedown on the armchair. Bam, on top of her plops Saylah, keester up, face down on top of her sister. In gallops Isaac, who also propels himself on to Saylah. All three are laughing hysterically. Ben and I are smiling and I am personally loving how fun it is to watch my kids play together so sweetly. No sooner does that thought come out of my head then I see Isaac rear his head up, open his mouth and CRUNCH! take a bite out of Saylah’s backside. Yep, right on the right cheek.

She screamed – as anyone would who recently got bit on the butt might. Ben and I had to hide our laughs (because come on … that’s funny!). We did scold Isaac for it. (It’s simply not okay to bite your sister on the bootie.) But even Saylah admitted (after her bruise subsided) that it was a little funny.
So this week has been a rude awakening for him. He’s been forced to eat his whole dinner instead of part of it before getting dessert. He’s practically lived in timeout. And he’s even gotten a little swat on his diapered behind. To which, his little bottom lip protrudes and his face gets all crinkly and he cries. I really don’t care for this withdrawing thing of his because quite frankly my little heart cries too and all I want to do is scoop him up and kiss those sweet little crinkles. (I’ve become a softy).

I’ve also decided (because Jenn potty-trained her youngest this week) to add in potty training, despite all the people who tell me boys do it later. Has anyone else noticed all our brothers were potty trained the same age we were? Wish me luck. I’m sure I’ve bitten off more than I can chew! (no bun pun intended) ;)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I'm Baackkk!

There are a myriad of things I could blog about from the holiday season. That zany zany holiday season where every mom you talk to projects her weariness with slumped shoulders and the phraseology, “we have this to do, then this, and blah blah blah” … yep, literally the words “blah blah blah.”

Every year we do it to ourselves; and every year we all say we won’t do it again. Next year we’ll cut back, relax, spend more time with friends and actually enjoy the holiday moments. Hopefully none of us made this our new year’s resolution so that we won’t feel a sense of disappointment in our over-achieving selves come next December. (wink wink)

I know most moms said they were happy for school to start again. Trust me, now as a mom I totally get the cleverness of the favorite holiday song It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas. But this year, I was actually kinda bummed when school started back up.


I rather enjoyed late mornings, homebound evenings, and my two weeks of checking out of all responsibilities outside of my home. (I.e. work, girl scouts, anything beyond mom responsibilities). And I loved hanging with the kids in our jammies way too long each morning.

I thought I’d share some of my top fave funnies from the holidays.

10. We combo’d families this year for Christmas. (My side and Ben’s) It turned out great. Ben and I served yummy food and even yummier drinks: mimosas, wine, and Irish coffee. We have now concluded that for every event to go off without a hitch a Two Drink Minimum is required to be consumed by everyone over the age of 21.

9. My favorite Facebook post came from a friend who said that her “favorite Christmas present was putting that damn elf away.”

8. Speaking of the elf, this was my favorite shenanigan: (courtesy of the collective minds of my sister in law, brother in law, Ben and me)

7. Audrey is in a phase where she dreams of being other things. Anything from “I wish I were a kitty cat.” To, “I wish I had purple ears.” Latest, out of the blue from the back of the car I hear, “I wish I were an elf. (Yes the elf had a big influence in our house)

6. We allowed our 7 and 5 year old to stay up on NYE with our friend’s 8 and 5 year old. Who says alcohol is needed on NYE? I’ve never seen a “drunk” like the punch drunk of grade-schoolers hyped up on sugar and lacking of sleep.


5. I nearly DIED from a badminton birdie to the head. As you can see, my husband was very distraught over the incident. (Note 2nd image, like father, like son) 


4. I’m not sure who was more excited about Saylah’s American Girl Doll from Santa. Saylah or me.

3. Same statement applies for Isaac’s light sabers and Ben. (Which Santa had to bring two … no kid can have a decent fight with an unarmed opponent I was informed.)

2. The kids rode horses at Oma and Opa’s campsite. Isaac rode for the first time. Nothing makes your smile wider than hearing your kids giggle with glee. None of us are sure if it was from the horse or the fact that he and Audrey got to bump helmets over and over again during the ride. Favorite quote afterward happened when Isaac kept trying to make Audrey a horse, “Isaac get off of Audrey, she is not a horse.”

1. We celebrated another Christmas at my Mom and Dad’s house on the 26th. After an early dinner Ben took all three kids back home to hang out with his sister’s family while I stayed to have grown up time with my brother and his wife who were visiting from NYC. With Matt and Chris in the guest room and me seeking my own space and quiet sleep place I opted to sleep in the kid’s room on a toddler-sized fire truck bed for the night – and LOVED it. (Circle back to the beginning with the slumped over exhausted Mommy and add in being 5'2" and you'll understand!) ;) 

Happy New Year Family and Friends!