Monday, October 31, 2011

7-11 Project: Trick-or-Treat

 Today marks the end of October and the day we've been anticipating all month at my house.  Before we get on to important business, I want to wish everyone a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  I hope it's Spook-tacular! (Yes, insert comment about how corny I am here.)  We are gearing up for the annual haunting of our neighborhood tonight.  Mr. Grouchy pants is counting the minutes until the sun goes down so that he can get his "trick-or-treat" on.  He got to sport his costume at school today for the Halloween party, and walked into his class with his chest puffed out and hands on his hips.  He is going to enjoy every minute of people referring to him as "Superman" or "Clark" instead of his "boring name", as he informed me this morning.  Little does he know of how hard BC fought to try to talk me into naming him "Kent", so that on all legal documents, he would officially see Clark, Kent.  I veto'd that real quick, but that hasn't seemed to stop Grouch from putting on the outfit EVERY day this week and truly believing in his little heart of hearts that he is indeed, Superman.  He will just learn to fly when he is "Growed up". Sure honey, whatever you think.  Here is a pic below of him in his class this morning in all his superhero glory:
 And now for the update.  The 7-11 Project deadline is quickly approaching and I am scrambling to check off each item one by one.  This week has been full of activity for the holidays as well as a sense of accomplishment in the progress department.  How much success, you ask?  Let me count thy ways. . .

1.  Read 11 new books.

After I finished "The Help", I decided that it would only be fitting with the Halloween season to start Michael Leehan's Ascent From Darkness; the true story of how Satan's soldier became God's warrior. 
 I am about halfway through it so far.  It is an exceptionally EASY read as the writer is not a professional author and more so writes as if he is sitting across from you at a coffee shop and telling you his life story over a mocha latte.  His inspiring journey out of satanism and depression into a life of serving God with his whole heart is amazing and I can't wait to finish it.  I highly recommend it for any of those who have always wondered about the role spiritual warfare plays in our everyday lives. 

2. Run 11 miles every week.

Regretfully, I confess that this goal has been one that I continuously struggle with.  I believe I have not successfully ran 11 miles in one week but once during this 7-11 Project.  Busyness and laziness have ensnared me time and time again.  However, this week, I ran 9 miles in three days and felt fantastic!  That is, until the fatigue set in two days afterward. I am 5 days away from running my first 5K and am really striving to be able to RUN the entire thing.  We will see.  I may end up running most of it and hobbling to the finish line with exploding muscles. :)

3. Do 11 new activities with the kiddos.
 This Sunday afternoon, we attempted a first. We sat down and proceeded to play our very first board game as a family.  BC reluctantly joined us, but I believe he and I had more fun than Grouch or Stinker.  Candyland was always something I played growing up and I thought that it was a safe choice and age appropriate for our boys.  It was easy enough to explain and everyone was geared up to have a good time. . . .until Grouch started to lose.  Then proceeded the pouting. Oh, brother.  BC and I caught him cheating at what cards he drew and eveverything fell apart once Mommy started winning.  How dare I!?  Let's just say the game will go back on the shelf until such a time when Mr. Grouchy Pants can achieve defeat without throwing his pawn across the room in poor sportsmanship. Or until Mommy relents to letting him win every little game we ever play.  Knowing the competitiveness in myself, I'd say we won't be playing board games for quite some time. :)

4.  Try/visit/experience 11 new places, things, or activities.

I picked up a class calendar at my local YMCA where I like to go run and decided to attempt my first Zumba class.  A number of my friends have said how fun it is, so I decided that would try it out.  Upon arrival, I realized that I was one of the only ones in the class that didn't take it SERIOUSLY.  Everyone was decked out in their skintight spandex and sports bras, complete with headbands and special Zumba sneakers.  I was in a t-shirt and basketball shorts. My bad. I didn't realize I needed to come to look like I was going to be included in the next Susan Sommers Sexy Buns workout video.  I sighed as the class began and immediately fell behind.  Way behind.  As "I'm Sexy and I Know It" by LMFAO blared over the stereo, the booty-shaking commenced.  Hips were swinging back and forth and the pelvic thrusting totally through me off.  Did these women take a DVD home and learn all these moves before the class? I joined in with only about every third move.  I was hopeless.  I had no mojo and I certainly wasn't bringing anything sexy back.  It was entertaining to watch all the 50-year-old "cougar-types", get their groove on.  I believe most of them were probably strippers in a former life.  And all of the 20-somethings droppin it like it's hot could probably leave this class and go directly into a MTV Spring Break casting without a problem.  However, I needed to take my clumsy rump home and study up a bit more on how the Latinas learn how to move their booties.  I enjoyed myself.  And Lord knows the other classmates enjoyed watching me make a fool of myself.  But the next time I go into Zumba class, I'm coming prepared. . .With neon armbands and leotards made for the Macarena.

And now, for the moment all 7 of you have been waiting for. . . .The first ever blog GIVEAWAY Winner!  In my attempt to gain a greater following by launching a book giveaway, I actually managed to gain 5 more blog followers this week than last week.  Not the hundreds that I completely expected to pour in (HA!), but I'll take it!  Thanks to everyone who posted a link to my blog on your facebook pages, who left me comments, and who referred me to your friends.  It means a lot to me that you find my silly little life amusing enough to tune in and see what I'm up to.  :)  I definitely plan to host another giveaway next month.  Maybe with a turkey theme.  We shall see. . . .
Without further ADO. . . .can I get a BIG round of applause for the Winner of the Miss Banana Pants Book Giveaway. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Miss DIXI BEASLEY!!!  Congrats on winning a copy of The Help, The Shack, and Ascent From Darkness.  You will LOVE all three, I promise!

I hope everyone has a safe and FANG-tastic  Halloween (yes, I brought the Corny again.  I apologize.)!  Visit my facebook page "Miss Banana Pants" and post me some pics of your little ghouls and goblins!  I'd love to see all the awesome outfits!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Last-Minute Homemade Halloween Costumes!

 For the procrastinator parents out there, here are some of the CUTEST, last-minute, homemade Halloween costumes that I've found online this week.  I thought I would compile them to share with you, since trick-or-treating is now mere days away!  All of these costumes are made with items that one might find lying around the house already.  Most are also costumes that you and your little goblin could have a blast creating together!  Enjoy!!

Baby Moose, Adorable Jester, Handsome Clark Kent,
and a Precious Ladybug!
 Baby Moose
Find a plain brown or beige footed pajamas with matching cap.  Take a pair of white gloves and fill them with crumpled up newspapers.  Attach them to the cap/beanie for an adorable infant/toddler costume!

Adorable Jester
Find a number of multi-colored socks around the house and fill them with crumpled newspapers. Attach some to the top of a colorful cap/beanie and the others to the collar of the toddler's onesie or
 colorful T-shirt.  What an innovative idea!

Clark Kent
For those superheroes in your house, put a light jacket over a Superman shirt. Pair this with a random tie and a pair of grandma's reading glasses and you've got a perfect Clark Kent!

LadyBug
Dress your bug in all black (leggings, long-sleeve shirt).  Cut out a heart-shape from cardboard and cover with red fabric or t-shirt material.  Use a sharpie to pen on some polka dots to your wings.  Then top it off with an antenae made from a black headband and black pipe cleaners.

Gigantic Grapes, DICE, Tiny Turtle, Loose Lego!
Gigantic Grapes
Dress your toddler in either gray or green sweats.  Blow up as many purple balloons as you can get ahold of and attach them all over his sweats using safety pins.  Top it off with a thin tree branch or rope wraped around his neck and shoulders, attaching leaves to it.  This is such a unique and easy costume!

Dice
This costume is super easy to make!  Just find some cardboard boxes (the size of computer boxes is about the right size) and spray paint white.  Cut holes for the legs and arms. Attach big, black dots cut out of construction paper and attach to all sides. Dress your toddler in al black to make the costume stand out. Adorable idea for twins or children wanting to match friends!

Tiny Turtle
Dress your child in green sweats. Take a two turkey oven pans for the front and back of the turtle shells.  Spray paint them different shades of yellow, green, and brown and attach using small
 rope/yarn over the shoulders.

Loose Lego
Find a large cardboard box about half the size of your toddler.  Depending on what color of lego you decide to become, wear cordinating sweats underneath the costume. Roll up matching color construction paper to make the lego prongs on the outside of your costume.  Then spray paint the entire lego the designated color.  This is also an excellent costume for multiple children to do together!

Darling Dragon, Cuddly Dalmation Puppy,
Stinky Skunk, and Cute Conductor 
Darling Dragon
Your toddler can dress in warm, solid-colored footed pajamas in various shades of greens. Then take a number of square kitchen sponges and cut them in half to create triangles. Attach these sponges along the back of the child's pajamas. Attach some to each other at the bottom to create a dragon tail. 

Cuddly Dalmation Puppy
Cut out a TON of black polka dots from construction paper or black fabric from an old t-shirt. Attach the dots to either white sweats or white pajamas.  Use a shirt or sweater that has a hood in which to attach black ears to.  Painting a circle around one of the child's eye will complete the costume!

Stinky Skunk
Dress your infant/toddler in all black.  Use a black cap/beanie/hoodie to cover the head.  Then, attach a white, feather boa from the top of the cap all the way down the back of the costume using safety pins!

Cute Conductor
Dress  your little conductor in jean overalls with a red bandana around their neck.  Take two cardboard boxes and construction paper and and create your train engine from the photo above.  Use the construction paper to create the wheels.  Finally, use rope or thick ribbin to attach to child's shoulders. This costume is a bit more complex, but would make a fun craft for you and your toddler!

Silly Spider, Cheeky Clown, Giggly Ghost,
and Mr. Jelly Beans
Silly Spider
Another costume based around  comfortable black sweats. Find 2 pairs of long, black soccer-style socks and fill them with crumpled newspapers.  Straighten out a wire closet hanger and string it through the center of the black sock with the newspaper to keep them standing up, like spider legs.  Attach the four socks to the sides of your toddlers sweatshirt with safety pins.  Take red construction paper and cut a round shape to make up the body of the spider and attach it to your child's stomach. Give your little spider black gloves to top off the look!

Cheeky Clown
Find a solid-colored jumpsuit for your child to wear that may have a matching cap.  Take multi-colored, kitchen net sponges and attach them to the front of the jumpsuit like buttons.  Take a bunch more sponges and string them together to make a necklace to wear around her neck.  Lastly, attach three last sponges together and attach them to the top of the cap to make a really silly clown hat! 
This is such a fun costume!

Giggly Ghost
Take a king-size white pillowcase to use as the body of the your ghost. The open side should be use as the bottom for a dress-effect.  Cut a hole in the other end of the pillowcase to fit the child's head through. Sinch the ends together with black and white ribbon.  Attach the same ribbon to the bottom of the pillowcase dress. Then, using a black permanant marker, draw the eyes and the mouth of the ghost.  This is a fun costume and a cute outfit for pre-Halloween festivities as well!

Mr. Jelly Beans
Another costume built around balloons!  Blow up multi-colored balloons to act as jelly beans.  Take a clear trash sack and cut two leg holes in the bottom of it. Tie the end of it together at the child's neck after they have stepped into the bag and the balloons have been inserted on all sides of the child.  Finally, tape a sign to the front of the trash sack to simplify the costume!

All these costumes and more I found on multiple websites, such as babble.com, parenting.com, Parent Magazine and google.  Good luck this Halloween and have a safe and happy trick-or-treat with the kiddos!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How To Raise a Serial Killer

Have you ever watched those melodramatic Dateline specials about rapists, serial killers, and the like? They always have very stupid names like “Murder In The Moonlight” or “Mystery & Massacre”. I'm more of a Law & Order: SVU fanatic myself. Every little “Bom-BOM” gets my mind racing as to how people go from being normal persons in society to “Jeffrey Dommers”. I've said numerous times that people shouldn't cut me off in traffic, because I've watched enough episodes to know how to hide the bodies from even Benson and Stabler. I became even more addicted to these shows whilst I was pregnant. Since I was stuck at home with my feet elevated, I forced BC to watch hour after hour of L&O marathons until it became a running joke. Anytime anything was remotely creepy or mysterious, we'd make the “Bom-BOM!” noise. . .I even downloaded it as a ring tone on my phone. Every time I would get a text message and hear it from the kitchen, I'd hear Chris Hanson say, “Little did she knowww it was the last turkey sandwich she would everrr enjoyyyyy!”  

Anyhow, I remember watching this one particular show about children who kill. As would be expected most of their parents were completely shocked to find their little bundle of joy offing the neighbors. There were, of course, the select few juvenile murderers who killed women because their mamas were hookers and such. But for the most part these boys seemed to have ordinary lives and circumstances. It begs the question: How does one raise (or avoid raising) a serial killer?  

I am taking precautions already. I am emphasizing daily that mommy is not a crack whore, daddy never beats women, the world is a happy, happy, non-violent place. So far both boys seem mostly concerned with whether or not we're having mac-and-cheese for lunch and fighting nothing but super villains, so I think we are safe.  

A few days ago, Mr. Stinky Pants and I headed to the mall for some Chick-Fil-A and last minute Halloween costumes. It was midway through the food court that it struck me: Serial-killing is the LEAST of our problems! What if we raise a douchebag?  

The mall was eight kinds of littered with teenage buttheads off school for fall break. All dressed with overly embellished, saggy, and neon-colored garb and speaking wayyy too loudly (I predict to distract from their metal braces and pubescent insecurity). Two of them entered a store in front of us, letting the door slap back and smash into Stinker's stroller. Several more cluttered the open walk-ways with no regard for the several hundred people attempting to squeeze by. What insensitive cretins!  

It is becoming clearer to me by the day that the threat of raising a mini-jerk is much more imminent than Grouch or Stink possibly killing the neighbors’ pets. I mean, if I find them writing dark poetry and taking a fascination with swords I’ll let you know. But the possibility that my precious, giggly baby boys could turn into frat-astic idiots somehow feels more alarming and immediately threatening.  

All that's missing is Axe Bodyspray & an Ed Hardy Tee.  

There will be a day, not so far from now, when Lil Stinker is not huddled up in my arms and entertained by Baby Einstein videos. There will be a day when he walks the halls of school with purebred douche bags looking to make some more douchey friends. They will be everywhere, just waiting to recruit a newbie dimwit into their crew.  

They will drink to oblivion because it is cool. They will make up games with these drinks with no other goal aside from getting “plastered”. They will talk about girls in terms of boobs and willingness-to-put-out rather than personality and purity and godliness. They will wear overly embellished shirts with gold print designs and studs decorating the sleeves and chest, sport tribal tattoos that don’t actually mean anything, and wear “distressed” jeans that leave the greater population wondering where the bear went that attacked them. They will roll their eyes immediately at every word a teacher or parent says, not because the adult is wrong but rather because it is an expected reaction from their peers. They will lose sight of the value of intelligence, kindness, and character, focusing, rather, on hooking up, getting drunk, and being the life of the party. They will skip school because a class is never more important than a Taco Bell run. They will break their mothers’ hearts for turning into something so much less than what was dreamed for them.  

How does one stop this kind of stupid from happening to her boys?  

I have a plan (that could also work effectively if your child is starting to act like a mini-killer,too).  

1. Be The Bad Guy: You know what kids do when their parents are “cool”? They get in to very adult crud because they assume they can handle it. They drink, smoke, steal, skip school, lose virginity-or, if you’re really unlucky start experimenting with killing neighborhood pets…and children- because their parents act as if they’d be cool about it. Absolutely NEGATORY. I genuinely hope Grouch and Stink love and respect me, but if they starts actin’-a-fool they will get a swift kick, a nice dose of house arrest, and diminished privileges (as in I will let them eat, breathe, and use the bathroom. . .and not a thing more).  

2. Accidentally Insert One’s Self Into Every Aspect of Life: I’ve heard all the talk of “letting your child have space and privacy”… Once again, Never gonna happen with this mama! My dear children, be fully aware that I will work in the office at your high school, I will act like I’m making your bed just to check your drawers for drugs and condoms (or swords and dark poetry), and I will secretly plant a GPS Tracker on your first car. Overboard? Maybe. But when the parents of mini-killers and mini-bully-douches are interviewed, without fail they all make the statement ” I never saw any signs”. BALONEY. I am a firm believer you can’t see signs without looking…so I will snoop. And should they turn out to be either murderer or moron, at least I will have the consolation of being on top of it and trying at every turn.

3. Will Work For Phone: This goes hand in hand with the snooping I suppose. In all my mall-research, I have found a theme of sorts: Kids who get away with being jerks, kids who get away with being bullies, kids who get away with plotting school-yard murders all have too many tools in which to mask or get away with these behaviors. A 12-year-old boy with a cell phone and Facebook account wields a lot of power to bully, experiment with violence, sex, drugs, etc. If a tween-aged boy is not responsible enough to operate a motor vehicle, is he responsible or even ready enough to communicate privately with large numbers of people without parental supervision? My parents would not have left me and a dozen jr. high friends alone in the house for a slumber party. Why would they leave me alone with a social network of 200? Heck-to-the-nanananawww! Call me Meanness, but my son will get things as he proves himself capable of handling them. Phone? Internet? Large allowance? Fancy first car? These are all weapons that- in irresponsible child-hands- can cause some serious damage- be it bullying, drunk driving, or purchasing guns and fleeing a crime scene.

4. Pray Said Mean-ness Away Daily: As I've mentioned before, a recent nightly ritual of mine has become silently sneaking into the boys' room after they are asleep and praying over them. I will immediately start including prayers binding any spirits of douchbag-ness, bullying, anger, self-loathing, jealousy, arrogance, selfishness, and disrespectfullness. I truly believe these are all spirits that plague our children more and more so as they grow. There is also something to be said about constantly saturating their lives with “things of above”. I figure if they are bombarded with mission trips, youth services, service projects, counseling/prayer partners, mother-son date nights, praise and worship teams, and choir practices, it will stifle any idle time for lengthy zombie killing sprees on Xbox Live (or in real life).   

So I will leave you with this creepy Dateline commentator voice:  

“It twasss a dark September ev-en-ing. The air was crisp, the moon bright. The house full of partying juveniles who neverr sawww it co-mingg. In she burst! But who wass she??? Snatching a 16-year-old fellow known only as Mr. Grouchy Pants, she bent him over her knee. The young men scattered and ran, a trail of empty beer cans and failed party plans crunching under feet. Why had she come?  

[Grouch's close friend, Nate Dawg] “Woman was crazy, dude. She was all crazy nuts, man. We was tryin to get our drink and drank on and she just came in all screechin’ and gave Grouch a major spank-down. She had a switch in her handbag, man. She brought a tree branch, dude! It was insane.”  

It was, police would later discover, the butt-busting of the century!!!!”

Monday, October 24, 2011

7-11 Project: Weddings and Halloween and Giveaways, OH My!!

Let's get right to the good stuff first. . .who wouldn't rather eat dessert before dinner!?  As promised. . .Miss Banana Pants' FIRST GIVEAWAY is here!  I have decided to spotlight a few of the books that I have been/will be reading as my first gift to my blog readers!  I have recently read and written about The Shack by William P. Young; am currently reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett; and will next be reading Ascent From Darkness by Michael Leehan (who also happens to be from Edmond, OK).  These three books will go to the winner of my first Giveaway for you to enjoy as much as I have!  Here's the details to enter:

Leave me a comment on this blog post AND post a link to my little blog on your facebook page. This will get you TWO entries in the giveaway.  At the bottom of this post, there is a FB button in which to do that quite easily.  I would love to enter you more than twice as well!  If you have friends that would be interested in this giveaway and do the above to get entered, email or comment me and let me know their names and I will enter you another time for every person you send this way.  The more the merrier!  I'd love to get more loyal blog followers and more feedback from all of my friends!

Now. . . .onto the dinner menu. . .
In honor of my dawdling nature, let me begin by telling you about a joyous day that I got to witness this week.  One of my best friends, Miss Emily got married to her Prince Charming!  It was such a sweet ceremony that I just had to blog about it.  I haven't seen a more "personal" exchange of vows since my own.  The bride and the groom both wrote their "love story" for the pastor to talk about.  As well, each proclaimed the "little things" that they love about the other.  I'm not going to lie. . .I totally boo-hoo'd through the entire thing.  It was soooo special!  And Miss Emily and her gorgeous daughter A.J. deserve all the happiness and blessings in life.  I'm so happy to be a part of their new beginning.  Here is a pic of the happy couple. :)  Don't you just want to pinch their cheeks!?  

Okay, Nooooooow we can move along to the 7-11 Project progress report.  This week has been full and busy!  I'm hoping this next week, I have double the success in accomplishing as much as I did this week.

1. Tackle 11 new house projects.

This darn linen closet has been my collection place for all the things that didn't otherwise have a "place". Everyone has a junk drawer at their house.  Well, this was my "junk closet".  (One of them. . .)  I'd been meaning to organize it for some time.  Mainly because every time I walked down the hall, I would smell FEET.  This had also become the place where the boys tossed their shoes when they took them off and then they laid inside without any oxygen to help them "air out".  They were in some desperate need of Febreeze, baby powder, and reorganization.  It actually took a whole lot less time than expected to clean it out and organize and I'm happy to report that when you walk down the hallway now, you no longer smell FEET.  Now, you smell febreeze and some fresh linen plug-ins. Here is the before and after photo:
2. Do 11 New Activities/Crafts With the Kids.

We have struggled with letting go of the sippie cups at our house.  I guess you could say that none of us do change well.  So I came up with a craft that would make the transition more fun.  Here are the supplies needed for our "Big Boy Cup" craft.  (paint brushes, paper plate, acrylic paints, plastic cups) :
I squirted a bit of colored paint on a paper plate in order to contain the mess, and laid newspaper out for us to paint on.  Then Mr. Grouchy Pants went to town!
It was such a simple little craft and didn't take long at all.  I let him draw just about anything on his "big boy cup" that he wanted.  He ended up drawing a portrait of himself and writing his name on it. Since we've finished, he loves to use this cup instead of his sippie cups.  It's personalized and he's proud of it. :)  Double win!

3.  Go to/visit/try/experience 11 New Places or Things.

This activity could also fall under the previous paragraph.  We decided to visit a local farm for the Fall season and let the boys experience something new.  I had personally never been to the Orr Family Farm, so this was something exciting for me as well.  It was extremely fun!  There was so much to do as you can see below:
There were go-carts to ride, hay bales to climb, homemade slides, a petting zoo, and a ginormous moonbounce.  Grouch "bounced" almost the whole morning.  He would still be bouncing had we not drug him away.  Lil Stinky Pants loved the animals the best.  This was no surprise to me as he would rather play with the bugs at the playground, than actually swing or slide.  These poor people that are just out at the parks for a stroll with their pets don't stand a chance for peace and solitude.  Stinker can't see a "puppy" without wanting to run and "give it kisses". The farm animals were no different.  He got to pet a horse, kiss a big pig, and feed the goats and sheep.  It was a blast for everyone!

Another new experience (and privilege!) for me this week was being asked to be a "Guest Blogger" on a friend's blog website.  My friend Deanna, has such an inspirational blog called "Raising Inspiration: Seeking God through the Spit-Up".  You can find all things encouraging and spiritually motivating on her blog weekly.  My guest blog, posted last week was called "All Moms Are Liars".  Check it out here: All Moms Are Liars 

Lastly, to top off this festive Halloween week, I couldn't refrain from showing off another pic of my little SuperMEN.  They both decided to be superman for trick-or-treat.  Dressing up like superheroes is definitely nothing new at our house, but they got their new costumes last night and literally have not taken them off since.  They would sleep in their capes if we would let them!  Love that they have this extreme daily desire to "fight evil" and "save the day!".  They definitely make my day with their constant growls and threats to make-believe bad guys.  Soooo, from my house to yours, HAPPY HALLOWEEN from my little heroes!

And don't forget to enter to win this week's GIVEAWAY!!  I will be picking a winner on Saturday!!  Post links, leave me comments, and tell your amigos and amigas about my little blog!  Please and Thank you!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Secrets of Parenthood: Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me?

The following secrets are morsels that I wished parents would have shared with me before I had children.  I feel as though they may be more important than those petty breathing exercises that you're taught in Lamaze. Nevertheless, they are all facts that I picked up by pure experience. So rather than making you all fend for yourself in this sometimes terrifying world of parenting, here are just a few things to keep in mind.  Having this knowledge won't help you avoid the inevitable, but sometimes having realistic expectations makes all the difference.  Without further ado:

1. Eventually, your kid will be the one with the nauseating green snail trails running from his nose to his mouth. It's unavoidable. That's what tissues and a gag reflex are for.

2. You can give them napkins but they're still going to use their sleeves.

3. If they say something to you and you don't respond, they will only say it AGAIN and say it LOUDER. And if you still don't respond... Well, ignore them at your peril.

4. Your precious child will at some point turn into a screaming hell-spawn. Usually in public. If you're Mr. Grouchy Pants, during a church service or wedding. It is the mark of a good mommy to shrug it off while stifling your own hysterical, embarrassed laughter.

5. Every one of them can negotiate better than a professional trial lawyer. Particularly where bedtime is concerned.

6. They only need to walk past a room to mess it up.

7. They are atrocious liars. Somehow, the answer they want to give seems to be hidden in the upper outside corner of one of their eyes. Another word of advice: Lie BIG. Even if we know that there's no way that Darth Sith and Luigi emptied out the Toy Closet and then self annihilated in a battle to the death, leaving you with the unfortunate mess, we'll appreciate the creativity. And imagine you'll make a great storyteller someday. Or very unsuccessful criminal.

8. Just when you think diapers and potty training are all happily part of your past and you get all forgetful and complacent, somebody leaves you a "tootsie roll" in the tub. If you're unfortunate, there are bubbles. And you don't realize what's been lurking in there until it's far, far too late.

9. They mispronounce words and it is hilarious but you have to be careful not to laugh too hard or they will be embarrassed or intentionally say: "There goes the firef&$#!" over and over. Grouch, for example, when he says "six-year-old" it sounds exactly like he's saying "sexual". Like his teacher helps him with sexual math and reading. Or he met a new friend at the park who is a "sexual girl".

10. For some reason, there is some need to take action figures, superhero costumes, extra clothes, different shoes, unnecessary books, swords, anything that's mine, or ginormous water bottles to school in their backpacks. Please stop. One, something is going to get lost or stolen. Two, it just makes it heavier, guaranteeing you come closer every day to resembling Quasimodo. And, three, you always hand it to me to carry. Just because I carried you for nearly an entire year at one point doesn't mean I want to be a pack mule for your crap now.

11. Getting them out of bed Monday through Friday? We've turned on the lights, opened the curtains, blasted Lady Gaga, and ripped all the covers off them... and they still manage to turn over and go back to sleep. Yet, Saturday, up at 6 am. Thank you. Michael Jackson and I will be taking our revenge Monday morning.

12. Before you realize it's happening, they find the need to ask ridiculously embarrassing questions in public. Like while checking out at the grocery store. Imagine a precocious three-year-old boy with the loudest voice in the world. He looks around and says: "That lady over there has a baby in her tummy... Do you think that they doctor will be able to get it out by himself, or will he need help, cause she sure is big!"

13. Nothing is better than watching a toddler rock out in their carseat. I do not mean to "The Wheels on the Bus". I mean Lady GaGa or Queen or something completely awesome that they randomly decide that they love more than anything. Nothing that is, except their interpretation of song lyrics. Which are nothing short of genius.

14. Kiddos are tricky. You ask them to brush their teeth and they look at you like: what is this "brush" you speak of? What are these - how do you say -"teeth"? But at school, they can spell October, say the alphabet backwards, make finger puppets, and nonchalantly inform their teacher that Jacob is the name of the good werewolf.

15. You and husband may be forced to get into the very creepy habit of calling each other "mommy" and "daddy" so that the children don't end up screeching: "MIIICHELLEEEEEEE! Can you come wipe my BOTTOM!" while in public. It's much less horrifying when they call you mom. Trust me on this one.

Monday, October 17, 2011

7-11 Project: 5 Weeks & Counting. . .

My life is crazy. It's cluttered and chaotic and loud and on most occasions it is completely and utterly bananas!  That is why I really LOVE the above statement.  It really fits how I view things.  Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful.  I keep having to remind myself of this.  Especially when I realize how quickly time is flying by!!  I realized last night that there are only 5 weeks left in which to fulfill my 7-11 Project.  That could be seen as a lot of time, however, I'm no where near accomplishing HALF of the goals that I've set for myself.  I still have a ton to do.  I will say that having to update my blog every Monday with my success (or lack thereof!) has given me some extra incentive to cross even more things off of the list.  The month of October has really kicked my tail so far though.  There are so many functions and events and obligations that seem to pile up!  Halloween is one of my favorite holidays! (I know a lot of my christian friends and family may think that that statement and idea is "sacrilegious" of sorts, but it's not the historical foundation of Halloween that gets me excited. On the contrary, at our house, we love to take something that may have been "meant for evil, and turn it to good".)  We love to dress up and find every possible excuse year-round to do so!  We are sooooo enjoying the fall weather, beginning of the changing leaves and colors, and have so much fun with all crafts "pumpkin"!  Not only is Halloween quickly approaching, Thanksgiving is right around the corner, Christmas shopping has already begun, and I am currently in the process of organizing two baby showers and one wedding shower all coming up in the next 5 weeks.  I've taken on a lot lately, but I'm so enjoying the busyness of the Fall season!  All this chaos, and then I fit in my personal goals with the 7-11 Project.  So please overlook the fact that I may not be crossing-off as many things as I would like as quickly as I would like to. . .I'm still convince, God-willing, that it will all work out in the end.  I work best in the "eleventh hour", after all! Back to the progress. . .

1. Do 11 new activities with the kids.

This weekend, we did something that I've been meaning to do for sometime, and that was take the boys to a festival.  The Myriad Botanical Gardens downtown was hosting The Festival on the Green and provided a whole list of fun activities and events for children and adults to promote their newly renovated facilities.  They put in a HUGE splash park with light shows and fog and sprinklers.  The kids got SOAKED to the bone, but it was the most fun that Mr. Grouchy Pants has had in a long time.  He has developed quite a fondness for water this summer, and didn't mind a bit that autumn is now upon us!  He jumped right in and started running amuck amidst the sprinklers with the rest of the mass amounts of toddlers!

  Along with the new splash zone that was put in, there was also a new area for the kiddos to play.  They had a maze made out of corn and bushes, man-made mini mountains for the kids to climb, a ball pit to play in, and had lots of new pavilions and stages set up with entertainment.  Live music and children's theatre were going on all Saturday.  The boys also enjoyed the miniature pumpkin patch!
We will definitely be spending some more time downtown at all the new areas to enjoy the outdoors.  I'm hoping the excellent Fall weather stays with us for some time before the blistering winter cold hits.

2. Tackle 11 projects around the house.

This week we worked really hard on organization.  It's become obnoxiously obvious to me that these little monsters have exceeded the recommended toy limit.  In order to teach them a bit of thankfulness and appreciation for their stuff, I decided to host The Great Toy Sort.  I went to Wal-Mart and invested in 4 large storage bins, labeled them, and then brought them to the boys room to begin a thorough downsizing. 

At first, they weren't sure what this was all about.  They tried claiming bins to act as race cars or hiding spots.  LOL.

We officially have taken the toy toll down to half it's original size.  We are placing two bins into the garage for storing and keeping two inside for playing.  Once they get tired of what they have inside, we will switch them out and Viola!. . .new toys!  I love their lack of memories at this age.  Misplaced toys become brand new again after about 3 months! But that was a organization project I've been meaning to tackle for some time.  Mission accomplished!

3. Write 11 new blog posts.

This is one of my goals that is finally DONE.  I have successfully written 13 blog posts that I've either posted or are up and coming in the months of November and December.  It's good to have them finished and scheduled for posting with the NaNoWriMo Challege coming up next month (This is the novel-writing contest that will be held the whole month of November.)  I fully intend to take advantage of this awesome challenge and write my first novel next month!  Can't wait to share the progress on here!  You all will be the first to get the sneak peeks! :)

4. Read 11 new books.
I just started my new book choice.  So far, I can tell that I'm going to LOVE it! I have heard amazing reviews of the book as well as the movie and wanted to be sure that I read it before I rented the movie.  The books are most often better, in my opinion.  I'll let you know for certain when I'm finished! Just a few chapters in, but I'm certain this will be one of those that I stay up all night to finish!

Well, that's about it for the updates this week.  I do understand that there are some goals that I don't mention every week, and other goals that I have yet to mention at all in my post updates.  For example: Sincerely apologize to 11 people that I've wronged/hurt; Do 11 random acts of kindness, etc.  Some of these goals are very personal to me.  Others, I don't post about for fear that I may come across as boasting, and that is definitely not my intention.  What I will be doing (in the next day or so) is opening a separate page with all of the goals and where I stand in accomplishing each. (For those crazy few of you who have wondered and are keeping track).  Stay tuned for that in the tabs at the top of the page next to "Because I Said So. . ."

Also, in reading a ton of other people's blogs and websites, I have noticed a trend: GIVEAWAYS.  I'm not sure why bloggers are so big on giveaways, but I have noticed the underlying benefit of hosting said giveaways: BRIBERY and FREE ADVERTISING.   Soooo, I figure since I'm fairly new to the blogging world and most definitely naive to the many avenues of getting my blog out there to the masses, I will try to partake in this style of marketing.  Coming up next week, I'll have the details on MissBananaPants's VERY FIRST GIVEAWAY!  In the meantime, join my facebook page if you haven't already and feel free to share my link to any of your friends! I'm planning a BIG incentive for those who can help me build up my follower-base! (And yes, it will be something more grand than just my friendship! Ha!  As if that's not already enough! LOL.

Have a fantastic week, and remember, "Your Life Doesn't Have to Be Perfect to Be Wonderful." :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In Pursuit of Butterflies

It is rare that I actually get time to myself to sit and really think about my life. I have a husband who needs my affection and listening ear, two toddlers who constantly crave my undivided attention, friends that I am constantly neglecting, laundry that goes unfinished, piles of dirty dishes, a disastrous MESS of a car, legs that consistently need shaving, and mountains of unanswered emails from family and dearly missed friends. With all of this chaos constantly cluttering up my life, it's no wonder that my reality has clouded my view and remembrance of the dreams I once envisioned for my life.

Tonight, as I was putting the little men to sleep, I got to remember. As I lay there in their bed with the sweet sounds of sucking pacifiers and Grouch humming himself a lullaby, I took myself back. . .all the way back to a time where Friday night football games and tomorrow's book report were the only things that got in the way of my daydreaming big things for my future. I was so determined and so excited about all the things I just KNEW God had planned for my life. Things like turning those children's books I wrote my junior and senior year into real published pieces. Oh, how I wanted to be a REAL Author! And then I would go on to write other things, such as devotionals for teenagers, then maybe even travel around the world, speaking to teens and women everywhere about how they can truly be intimate with the Lord and hear what calling he has for them and their future. My dream was to be an instrument that God used to point people to their God-given futures. To encourage them to be all that God wanted them to be and to NEVER lose sight of their dreams. Funny how I so easily lost sight of my own.

There are many reasons why life has gotten in the way of God's plan for me; not that I don't think he has me in this particular place for a reason. I believe each season has a purpose, even those seasons of confusion and chaos and clouded dreams. But I think the main reason I can't see past the fog of reality is simply this: I've lost the passion in my life.

I think in any life, in any marriage even, there are moments when the butterflies; the passion, are missing. They are never gone, they are just temporarily misplaced. I am in the process in this season of my life, to find those butterflies again. They were beautiful when they were there. They spurred excitement, dreams, a clear, anointed vision for what I wanted to accomplish in my life. So, as of late, I am on the hunt for those butterflies. The best way I know how to find them, is to remember where I had them last. In the next few months, I plan to do the things I once did, to attain that which I once had. The passion, the butterflies, the dreams.

With that all said. . . .

I want to be an AUTHOR. I want to be a COUNSELOR. I want to be a SPEAKER. I want to TRAVEL to places where people don't know the GOD I know. I want to TEACH. I want to PREACH. I want to ENCOURAGE. I want to be an INSTRUMENT God uses in the life of other women. I want to MINISTER. I want to REMEMBER how to be INTIMATE with my FIRST LOVE. I want to GROW. I want to HEAL. I want to be ANOINTED again.

I know God will accomplish all this through me and much, much more. This 7-11 Project has been a great fuel for my spiritual flame. Through each task, I'm learning a bit more about myself (besides how selfish and lazy I had been!). I'm learning most about personal commitment and accomplishing things even when the "want to" is not there. Because inevitably, when less of ME is in control, it is in those times that I am even more convinced that HE is; pushing me forward and whispering in my ear all the while, "I got this. Keep going. . ."

"For the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor."

This is my vision, my passion. . . .my butterflies.

Monday, October 10, 2011

7-11 Project: Reality vs. Good Intentions

Is it not the truth that we can have the BEST attitude, the BEST intentions, and the greatest expectations for our life, yet REALITY has a way of squashing them all to bits?! This is the story of my week! I have really been motivated this week. I've had plenty of energy and gumption to knock a big chunk out of my To-Dos, but one thing after another has thwarted my initiative. It's been quite an emotional week on the home front. . . .a few blazing hurdles in my path. . .Mr. Grouchy pants has hit an all-time grouchy PEAK. I wasn't aware of the "terrible fours". I figured at this point, things should be somewhat smooth sailing. But we've been really struggling in the disobedience department. Notes sent home from daycare, belligerent behavior, angry attitudes. It's a daily battle not to send him to boarding school. . . .seriously. As well, Little Stinky pants has given up eating. That's right. Food. I'm not sure what the underlying issue is here (as I refuse to acknowledge that it must be my fantastic cooking skills), but he has eaten like a bird for the entire last week. No real meals, he just grazes, so to speak. This may be the onset of an upcoming growth spurt, but it's enough of a problem that I'm almost tempted to call the pediatrician and let her know that I have a two-year-old anorexic on my hands. As if that is not enough stress for my plate, I also have mid-terms today for my biblical counseling class. With all of the chaos consuming my house, I've had minimal time to study. It's a wonderful thing that procrastination (especially when it comes to tests) is nothing new to me, as it seems that is what I will be doing for the next few hours. Cram, cram, cramming the information in and hoping to retain some of it for the long-haul. Hopefully, things will calm down in my little world and I will be able to take the bull by the horns (shameless OU/TX reference, yes!) this week and accomplish twice as much as I set out to do. But in the meantime, here is the skinny on the 7-11 Project progress:

1. Do 11 new activities/crafts with the kiddos.

Pine Cone Birdfeeders. The following are the only supplies needed. It was a fun and quick fall craft idea to do with my oldest, while the other was napping. Just take a walk around the neighborhood to gather the pine cones. The yarn and peanut butter I already had in the cabinets. The birdseed I picked up at the local supermarket.
We sat at the kitchen table and spread everything out. Then we painted the PB all over the pine cones to act as glue for the birdseed. After the PB was smothered on, we poured the birdseed into a small paper plate and rolled the pine cone around in it so that birdseed attached itself all the way around it. Lastly, we attached a piece of yarn to the very top for hanging, and Viola!: a birdfeeder!
We hung ours on the front porch outside our window so that that we would be able to see the birds come feast on it. It was a quick little craft that Grouch and I enjoyed together. It's the little things, you know. :)

2. Memorize 11 new scripture verses from the Bible.

As I am enrolled in biblical counseling class, studying the Bible more has become something not only that I want to do, but also something that gets homework credit! Double-whammy! With mid-terms close at hand, I was able to memorize a few extra verses that I will be needing to know for my test. Proverbs 11:14 says "For lack of guidance, people fall. But in a multitude of counselors, there is safety." I'm finding more and more how my independent, do-it-myself attitude gets me into consistent hard spots. This verse reminded me of the importance of acquiring godly advice from those that are more experienced than me. I plan on doing this more often. Especially in the area of parenthood. I could use all the help I can get lately! They say it takes a village to raise a child. . .I need to meet with the elders of this said village and have a major pow-wow soon!

Another verse that really resonated with me was Zechariah 4:6 that says, "Not by might, nor by power, but by MY Spirit', declares the Lord Almighty." Not only is it very apparent that I need professional help some days, but more specifically, I need God's Spirit to "hold me together", so to speak. I need to learn to acknowledge on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis that there is nothing I can do in my own strength to bring about lasting spiritual and emotional change in my life. No amount of working out, no amount of academic studying, no amount of mustered-up patience will be enough to change my circumstances, struggles, or will. It's only by my reliance in God to work through me, that I can come out on top. It's an ongoing battle of control on my part, but I'm really asking God to deliver me from myself. I am truly my biggest obstacle on the road to success.

3. Do/visit/try 11 new experiences or places.
This last week, I got to get away for an evening and go out on the town with my little brother and his girlfriend. Let me first say that I am more protective of my "bubba", than I am of any other males (aside from my children). I have always felt a need to take care of him and look out for him and protect him from the "mean-ness" of the world. To date, I have never "gone out" with him to a bar, club, etc. to just relax and have a good time. This alone, was a first for me. But even more exciting, was the fact that he took me to experience my very first Blues club. I'm not what I would consider a blues music fan, but I thought I would give it a whirl. I was very pleasantly surprised. The Biting Sow, on the Riverwalk in Oklahoma City is a very chill, friendly, hole-in-the-wall that is perfect for hanging out with friends, shooting a bit of pool, and enjoying some authentic blues music. They have a live band there 7 days a week. It was so nice to meet some new people, really enjoy my brother and my future-sister-in-law (fingers crossed!), and get away from the hub-bub of my home life with crazy toddlers. I won't say that I didn't feel the urge to hug all over my brother and baby him a bit. And it wouldn't have been my nature if I hadn't recollected (with his friends) the time that I beat up the neighborhood bully down the street for not letting my bubba play basketball and making him cry. Overall, it was a good night with lots of laughs. We will definitely be doing it again soon!

Along the lines of new experiences, I can't claim it "accomplished" yet, but I officially registered for my very first 5K yesterday. I will be participating in the City on a Hill Run on November 5th. This has been something that I have always wanted to do. Hopefully I can work up to a marathon someday, but this will be a step (many, actually) in the right direction. Here is the link for info or registration if anyone is interested: www.thetapestryproject.org/cityonahill5k I would love to have some friends join me! Can't wait to mark this new experience off the 7-11 List!

There's also one more upcoming new experience to report. It's probably the thing that I am most looking forward to. My amazing cousin, Jaci (check out her awesome blog here: www.meandmysoldierman.com ) introduced me to the NaNoWriMo Novel-Writing Challenge that begins November 1st. This is a month dedicated to motivating aspiring writers to stop just thinking about writing that novel someday, and actually put pen to paper and make it happen. Over the course of the month of November, writers from all over the world will be accepting the challenge of writing 50,000 words or more of an original fiction novel of their own. By gaining momentum and encouragement from other writers, I am ready to try my hand at this! I'm not at all sure what my novel will be about yet. I have been brainstorming many ideas. I am just excited to have a goal and a deadline and something that I can accomplish on my own and have something to show for my efforts in the end. How amazing will I feel if I follow-thru with this challenge and write something publish-worthy?! I'm beyond excited about November! I'm also excited to share with everyone my progress, so stay-tuned! :)

As I said before, it's been a busy, chaotic week and I'm not satisfied with my progress, but I am looking forward to accomplishing twice as much this week, so be prepared for a longer post next Monday! Until then, enjoy this fall weather! We plan on taking advantage of the brisk breeze and chilly, autumn temperatures. In fact, this afternoon I'm off to learn a thing or two about cardboard forts, scraped knees, and the magical healing powers in a pile of backyard dirt. :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Captured


I have been accused of many things in my life.  Some accusations were true, some very false, and some outright ridiculous.  But one thing is certain.  No one can ever accuse me of not taking enough pictures.  Just ask my children.  They will most definitely tell you that their Mom cannot see an Oklahoma sunset OR a random toilet, and not take a picture of it.  It's all Apple's fault really.  They made it much too convenient to carry around our camera by putting it inside our cell phones.  Not only do we have the ability to snap a photo, we now have the ability to edit it on our phones and upload it directly to Grandma as well as 30 different social networking sites. Our missionary cousin in China can feel included in our slide-time at the park within minutes. It's fabulous!  Well, to the photographer.  Because if you questioned my two little monsters, they would probably tell you that they are a quarter past OVER stopping every 30 seconds for a photo-opp. Poor things.  One thing I will say. . . . .they sure can work the charm and dimples the MILLISECOND paparazzi-mommy demands "Cheese!". 

I often like to look back on the 2,562 photos that I have stored in my iPhone memory and relive each glorious minute with everyone that will give me a second to boast. So many adorable moments that are captured forever.

What did people do without cameras back in the olden days?  They were probably much more concerned with churning butter or doing their laundry over the rusted washboards down by the river.  Or trying not to get eaten by mountain lions, right?  That would explain why, in the few old photos we do have, all the people look mad.  They were just worn plum out!

Anyhow, it's safe to say that I'm just a tad bit obsessed with my family and will jump at the chance to capture any and all memories that I can on camera to save and savor for years to come.

With that said, wanna "ooooooo" and "aaahhh" with me?

Sure you do!  Oh, lets!

This photo was taken months ago at the OKC Zoo.  The moment was proceeded by Mr. Grouchy Pants circling the poor goats and "checking them out" nervously before finally stating, "Mommy, come here!  You gotta see this!  Come look at this goat's REALdiclious bottom!"  It was the funniest thing I think the petting zookeepers had heard in a long time! LOL.

 Bathwater is my little monkey's beverage of choice.  Gah-ross!

This summer my little Stinker fell off the ladder at the playground at daycare and broke his arm in two places.  He was such a trooper though, for the teachers didn't notice any swelling right away, and chalked it up to a pulled muscle.  Stinky had lunch, took a nap, and had snack before the pain got so bad, we took him to the hospital to get checked.  I think I gave birth to the Incredible Hulk (minus the green-ness, of course).


"You're so vain!  You probably think this song is about you!". . . .my talented hubby, winning over the hearts of. . .about 145 at the wedding reception.  Ha.

 Looks like someone (Namaw) got to hear the "Banana Pants" joke one more time! LOL.

"Go ahead, make my day!"  I keep trying to tell Grouch that one of these days brother is going to outgrow him.  And when this happens, Stink will have every right to paybacks.

If I were to guess, I would have to say "briefs". :) 

Thank God for waterproof casts, electric air blowers, mile-long garden hoses, and sibling rivalry. Ah, summertime.  

Who says you ever outgrow sink baths?  That's how we get down at our crib!

Just when I forget how to enjoy life, my kids help me remember.  Take time to play in the rain, wish on a star, sing along to the radio and dance around.  No matter where you are or who is watching, take someone's hand and dance around. :)


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Great Mom Debate

I found a box yesterday full of papers and stories and embarrassing journal entries I had written from the time I was in middle school.  I stumbled across a journal entry from 8th grade that hit a strange nerve with me. In my 13 year-old wisdom, I seemed to have known that one day I, like a bajillion other women, would be entangled in one popular debate: To Work After Baby or Stay at Home?

Although I was naive in my world experiences and my writings, I was most definitely not a mom. But I had managed to pick up on a few key issues:

1. Women that choose or have to return to work post baby almost always have a bitter taste in their mouth about doing so. They translate this bitterness into little snide comments towards stay-at-home mothers regarding their lack of drive, failure to contribute financially to the home, and/or their disgusting amount of free time.

2. Stay-at-home mothers typically respond by saying, first and foremost, that they respect working mothers for the difficult decision and busy schedule they have chosen or are forced to adhere to. Then, to counter snide comments, they let flow several equally passive aggressive comments regarding how staying at home with your child is actually the hardest form of “work” and it is the very best that one can do for her child.

If a woman falls into either of these two categories, it is pretty much impossible to convince her that she is wrong or misguided. #1′s and #2′s stick to the group they are in with very little tolerance or ability to see the other group’s point of view a lot of the time.  This is just sad, and very close-minded in my opinion.  You see, I have been both women.

Now that I am a mother, I appreciate my 13-year-old point of view on the topic, the black and white harshness with which I decided, in all my infinite wisdom, that mothers will not and cannot appreciate what other mothers choose to do.  I did believe I would rather be the latter of the two women at the time.

Immediately after school however, I delved right into the grown-up work world. Forty hours a week, carefully planned weekends, timed lunches and the like becoming my normal routine. I enjoyed my career in the exciting Apartment industry.  It was fast-paced, fulfilled my constant desire to help people, and exhausted my God-given ability to chit-chat all day long. Everyone deserves a vacation though, right?  When I found out I was expecting Baby Grouchy Pants, I didn't hesitate in deciding (with BC, of course) that it was doable for me to stay home for awhile. I had been working for 8 years in the same industry and was reaching the point of "burnout".  For months ahead of time, each time I had a particularly difficult day at work, I would daydream about lounging on the couch, watching Law & Order reruns, and taking up numerous pointless hobbies to fill all of my spare time. It seemed that staying home would afford me a life of leisure with no boss and no demands of me.

It only took a matter of a few weeks home with a newborn to understand my new reality.  I was seeing pretty clearly that the whole “life of leisure” thing is a crock of dog doo. I DO indeed have a boss. He pees through his clothes and gets fussy every hour and a half. He demands me to feed him, clothe him, bounce with him, sing with him, wave loud musical toys in front of his face. It is very much the job that I thought I was leaving with the exception that I do not clock out at 6 p.m., I am not guaranteed vacation pay, and I most certainly do not wake up on Fridays to find a fat check deposited in my bank account.  My "newborn boss" and I got along as such, but I desperately craved that adult interaction again.  I wanted to talk to someone who didn't "goo-goo-gah-gah" or give me blank stares when I tried to converse about my tragic weight-loss frustrations or Dr. Phil diagnosis.  I was bored.  And by one-years-old, so was Mr. Grouch.  It was finally decided that I would enter the working world again.

A few years later, while working my little booty off showing and leasing and marketing more apartment homes, I was overjoyed (and a bit shocked) to realize we were expecting Baby #2.  Mr. Grouch took up most of my evenings and weekends and my job took up the rest of my time.  I was wondering just where exactly this new stinker was going to fit in.  I had a routine; a schedule; a plan.  And a new little monkey was going to make "working my way up the apartment industry ladder" a tad more exhausting.  But that's what I wanted, right??

It took going straight back to work after Mr. Stinky Pants came along to wake me up and make me realize that THAT was not my dream anymore.  As much as I had a need for "grown-up time", I also felt that I could personally not do my "mommy job" well when I was emotionally, physically, and mentally drained by the work day's activities.  I had nothing left.  This might very well have been my inability at time management, as many of my friends rock both jobs with style and never miss a beat.  They are rock stars! But it was not what I wanted anymore. When I became complacent in my day job, and was "released", so to speak in the middle of the summer this year, BC and I both agreed that my life needed to take a turn.  I would pursue other life-long interests and school, but more importantly, I would become a stay-at-home-mom.  It's not always been the easy choice, but it's been the right choice for our little family. 

Earlier, in my first few months of staying home, BC had often made the comment that he worked during the day, and therefore needed more sleep and general lazy time at home.  Hmmm, what exactly does he think I do all day? After enduring the weeks and weeks of people saying “Well aren’t you lucky!” when finding out that I was a new, stay-at-home mother, I felt like I could scream. YES, I am so lucky! YES, I don’t have a job with a professional title! YES, doing the same thing over and over all night and day with a toddler screaming in the background is a blessing from Jesus himself! My sensitivity was not necessarily towards BC (although it showed in spurts of sarcasm now and then), but towards the public at large. There have been quite a few days that I would pay someone a million bucks to sit behind a desk again in my comfy rolling chair, file paperwork, and take coffee breaks. Peeing without a 2-year-old in my lap would also be a perk. Although my life is great in large part to these two crazy monkeys I call sons, the privacy and control over my life pre-kids is sometimes missed.

A few weeks ago, I talked with my sister-in-law about my situation. She had children at the same time as I had and also been extremely career-driven as a physical therapist (another fellow rock star mom!). Most of our conversation revolved around her frustration of balancing work and home life in general, her kids’ various illnesses and ailments, and, finally, how I was lucky not to have to work at all. I shut up and resolved to adjust my perception of the great Mom Debate.
So here it is:

If you have kids, they must be taken care of. By the Department of Children’s Services, your partner, or you…whatever… someone has to feed them. If it's most fulfilling for YOU to do so AND it's possible, then do it.  But if it's more realistic to know that they are safe and nurtured by people you trust and that you may have a nervous breakdown if you did it full-time, please be strong enough to let someone else do it.

For all my fellow stay-at-home moms-- we DO have a “real job” but with less structure, downtime, or financial reward. If you work, good for you, you are taking care of the financial part which is all too necessary a part with little ones that need to be fed.

But mostly, being a mother is WONDERFUL, so whatever your position is on staying home or heading for the office, do so happily and willingly. Don’t judge or assume, just take care of your monsters and I’ll take care of mine. Currently, I plan to do that this way.

Monday, October 3, 2011

7-11 Project: From Lazy Bum to SuperMom. . .It's A Process, People!

Can I just say that I am improving.  I'm not as much of a lazy bum as I was two weeks ago, but yet not nearly as much of a SuperMom as I see potential to be.  I am a work in progress.  I also had a boatload of fun this week.  I'm culturing myself, stepping out of my comfort zone with some of these projects, and learning the power of the snowball effect.  As soon as I finish one task, I am more motivated to take on another. (Except the running thing. I'm still not pleased as punch to put on my running shoes and break a sweat, but I digress.)  Thanks for all of your encouragement along the way!  I know some of my aspirations on this list seem a tad silly, but I am learning a lot about myself and my family through each one.  I appreciate the "kicks in the pants" too! LOL. What are friends good for if not for telling you to get off your booty and start living life to the fullest. . .even if that entails a house project or two. :)  Let's review my successes for the week, shall we?

1.  Do/visit/try 11 new things or places.

We made a trip to the midtown plaza district one afternoon and decided to try out Kaiser's. Mainly because of their world-renown homemade ice cream, but under the pretenses that it was, indeed lunchtime.  Their burgers, most of which are made with buffalo meat (What?!) were really good. But the Chocolate Nirvana Sundae that we split afterwards was pure heaven in a bowl.  I'd highly recommend you making the trip. Immediately.  No need to pass go or collect $200.  They are very affordable.

 Another new first for me was eating lunch from a street vendor. Big Truck Tacos was parked right in front of my mom's office building in downtown OKC one afternoon.  We decided to stroll over that way and ended up with a handful of tacos, chips, and guacamole.  It was FABULOUS.  Who would have thought a big, clumsy van with a bunch of young guys would be able to whip up such Mexican deliciousness on the go like that, but it's obviously possible.  They have a facebook page that sends out status updates about their whereabouts within the city daily.  Check them out!  I'm so glad I did!

2.  Run 11 miles every week.

Well. . .I can't say I've done that, but I should at least get credit for trying.  I did wake up one morning and take off for Lake Hefner.  I had not ran outside (as most of my work-outs have been at the local Y as of late) in a significantly long time.  It's amazing to me how much harder it is to run outside than it is to run on a treadmill.  I felt like such a wimp!  Normally I can sprint like a superstar for the entire length of Brittany Spear's "Womanizer" in my ipod, but I made it halfway through the first chorus and thought my lungs were going to explode!  And don't get me started on the way that I felt the following day.  There wasn't a singe ligament and tendon in my entire body that didn't feel like I hadn't run a marathon.  How long had I ran that morning, you ask?  A grueling 3 miles. I know. . .I'm a rockstar.
Overall, for the week though, I got in 9 miles.  But the rest of the six I did in the comfort and air-conditioning of the YMCA.  Don't judge. ;)

3.  Do 11 new activities with the kids.

Hooray for edible activities!  Who wouldn't rather engage in arts and crafts when food is involved?  My boys live from snack-to-snack so these "Edible Necklaces" were right up their alley.
There are not many supplies needed, just a bit of an appetite and creativity.  We personally sat down with some cheezits, Lucky Charms cereal, Fruit Loops, and marshmellows.  Any kind of string, floss, yarn will work for the necklace. This is such an easy activity to do with toddlers, because they can snack as they go and there is no wrong way to do it.  Just string up your favorite treats for munching on the go! Tie the ends and the kiddos are ready to take their favorite snacks "on the road".  We will be doing this a lot more frequently for road trips and afternoons at the zoo. :)

The second activity that we dabbled in this week was "Pumpkin Painting"!  In my attempts to properly welcome the Fall season and celebrate the beginning of my all-time favorite holiday, we decided to try our hands (or fingers rather) in a bit of art.  The supplies we used are super simple: washable finger paints, pumpkins, and brushes. (and if you're smart and think ahead. . .add one million baby wipes to the list.  Man, did we go through them in the clean-up process!)  Everything you need is below:
 The kids had a blast painting faces on the pumpkins and getting all of the different colors of finger paints EVERYWHERE.  I learned that it didn't matter what we painted, as long as they could get it all over the place, they were happy campers.  So we started out painting the pumpkins, and then moved on to painting Namaw's table, lounge chairs, their own faces, even a bit here and there on Sissy's dogs that had to be included in the festivities.  It was a wonderful thing that I invested in the "washable" finger paints.  With just a little dab of water, the paints washed off of all surfaces (and fur).  It was a wonderfully messy time.


4.  Read 11 new books.

After completing The Shack by WM Paul Young, I decided on more of a "self-help" (guilty pleasure) genre.  One of my favorite authors and speakers is Beth Moore.  She had published Looking Up, When Life is Looking Down.  It was fantastic and very refreshing.  I've been in a place lately where I have been encountering many stumbling blocks in my spiritual life.  This book was jam-packed FULL of biblical insight and wisdom on how to look to the future by digging out of the deep pits in life that we get ourselves into.  This book definitely spurred motivation and emotions in me that I had buried for awhile.  I would recommend it as an easy read for those that need that sweet bit of inspiration in their spiritual walk.
 

5. Knock out 11 house projects.

This task has to be the one that I am looking forward to the least.  All of the house projects that I've needed to tackle for some time I look at and realize that I would much rather watch paint dry than muster up the motivation to accomplish them.  There is a reason that I have been putting them off for so long.  The idea of cleaning out the garage or organizing the linen cabinet or going through my closet seems so overwhelming that I become slightly exhausted just thinking about them.  The only one that I could happily check off the list happens to be the one that I accomplished this week, due solely to the fact that it was more creative and of decorative nature that that of the other chores.  So without further ado, behold my new porch: 

I'm still lacking a bale of hay and a door mat that plays "haunting" music when stepped on.  But it looks a lot better than before. We're ready for October! Yay!

6. Memorize 11 new bible verses

So this week, I've been working on memorizing a few verses.  But one, I feel has special significance to the place I am at currently.  Colossians 3:23-24 states, "Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as if working for the Lord and not for man, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  For ultimately, it is the Lord whom you are serving."  This verse has real relevance to me lately because I have been without a job (other than wife and mom) since the middle of the summer.  It's been a difficult transition emotionally and mentally.  Physically, it's been fabulous as I've come to ADORE my afternoon naps and staying in my PJ's all day! But as I have Stinker at home with me full-time now while Grouch is at preschool, the day-to-day can get pretty monotonous sometimes.  I have to remind myself that Colossians 3 is not just referring to the secular jobs, such as leasing agent, customer service rep, or cashier, but it is also talking about working at "being a mom" as if for the Lord.  Sometimes, being a wife and mother and maid and playmate and laundromat and cook can be more exhausting and unfulfilling than any other job outside the home.  And to be perfectly honest, it can be one of the most unrewarding on a daily basis.  There's no paycheck, no one there to tell me that I've done an amazing job, and the only person I have to vent to about the workload is under 2 feet tall. I'm having to remind myself daily that God calls everyone to certain vocations at certain times for certain reasons.  And currently, my calling is to be SuperMom. I'm blessed to have this job.  I need to remind myself of that everyday.  So this week, I can promise you, as I'm replaying my memory verses in my head, I will be serving my kids as though I'm serving the Lord Himself.  I will also be looking for a pink satin cape with the letter "S" on it next to a photo of a diaper.  If I'm going to be SuperMom, I guess it's time to get out of the PJ's and into the costume. :)  Wish me luck!