Friday, March 30, 2012

Hi. I'm Your Diary. Write Crazy Things in Me.

I have a slight obsession with journals, notebooks and diaries. If I’m out shopping and happen to see one with even a semi-cute cover, I snatch it up like it’s going outta style.

There’s something fun about the prospect of filling each page with all my thoughts and being able to look back and read it as I grow older. I always imagine sitting down on a bench in a charming little park and being inspired to write all this cool intellectual stuff and being all poetic and deep-thinkerish. And then 60 years down the road, my grandchildren will find a dusty old stack of books up in the attic and curiously open them, read them cover to cover, stopping only to wipe the glistening tears from their eyes as they realize what an amazing woman their grandmother was and how their grandpa should have helped her dust the apartment and let her buy more shoes because she really really wanted another pair of fancy flip-flops and she deserved them for all the whiny crap she put up with, dang it.

That’s what I imagine every time I purchase a new one. I have some meaningful goals in life.

The truth is that when my new journal and I come home from the store, we have great intentions, but aren’t usually able to have our long chat at the park for quite a while. One day when there’s a quiet moment, I’ll realize, “Hey, I haven’t sat down to write with an actual pen in months! This is going to be fun!” Then I find a good pen that writes smoothly, sit down with a latte and practice signing my name in cursive for 3 pages.

When that gets old, I doodle a little.
Michelle + Bryan = true ♥ 4 eva
I ♥ B.C.

Then I’ll perfect my generic 5 petaled flower, draw an intricate cluster of moons and stars and maybe play a game of MASH or two.

I was never a very good doodler.

Next page is usually the grocery list. Then my to-do list for the week. Slowly, but surely, I warm myself up to writing a true, honest-to-goodness sentence.

Somewhere in the middle of the book, I’ll open to a clean page and begin to really write. “I bought this new notebook in an attempt to document my thoughts and feelings and hopefully keep myself a bit sane. Here goes…”
  • Recent, life-changing events: “I had two babies! They’re awesome.”
  • Smaller events and confessions: Bryan and I went on a date last night and I ate way too much and am still really bloated. It’s gross.”
  • Large and quite vague personal goals: “I need to do something meaningful with my life.”
  • Deeper, more specific goals: “After this, I’m taking all my clothes to Goodwill and then I’ll do 30 push-ups. Any maybe I’ll stop saying holy crap so much.”
  • General Realizations: “There’s not enough time in the day to get everything done.”
  • Detailed, passive-aggressive realizations that morph into extremely emotional, aggressive ranting: “Our friends are coming over at 6:00 tonight and I still haven’t cleaned this disgusting place. If only I had just a liiiiiittle help from someone I’m married to. Gah, I don’t get any help around this place. No one appreciates me. I should just stop worrying about it because nothing’s ever going to change. Not to mention, this place is tiny and cramped and small there’s no room to breathe with all this junk piled everywhere and no one helps me clean it! NO ROOM TO BREATHE. CAN’T BREATHE. GASPING. Holy crap, I’m stressed. All I want are a pair of fancy new flip flps and someone to help me dust all my crap every once in a while. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK!?”
Without fail, I become terrified that another pair of eyes might see these crazy rantings. In order to fix their perception of me, I’ll end the entry with something like, “but I’m just PMS-ing or something, haha! I’m usually very chipper and happy, go ask anyone! No really, go ask.”

I close the journal and hide it in a place where no one will be able find it. If one day, my grandchildren happen upon a box of old dusty notebooks, they’re going to think I was one insane woman with some jacked up personality disorder and an unhealthy fancy flip-flop fetish. But at least I ♥’d their grandpa, even if he didn’t help me dust the living room.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

How Pinteresting. . .

I know we've all fallen prey to this new website.  It's one of those perpetual "time-sucks" that exhaust ALL of our free time. . .time we should be spending with our family, completing housework, or tackling mountains of laundry.  But in all of our defenses, it DOES qualify as "Family Investment Research"!  There are soooo many awesome ideas as to how to connect with your kids or your signifigant other, new and exciting things to spruce up our dinnertimes, and cheap and easy ways to improve our home space in DIY heaven.  Pinterest should be seen as Life Investment Time. . . .Ha!  Enough with the excuses!  We are addicted and it's OKAY!  This new Thursday series is to satisfy your weekly "fix". Let's take a peek at some of the jewels I found this week that are just TOO AWESOME not to share:
I don't know about your kids, but mine would rather play with rocks and sticks and cardboard boxes rather than all the toys we've spent our hard-earned money on.  We plan to take advantage of this little fetish of theirs this summer and do Rock Crafts! This website gives all the materials and ideas needed to make this a fun time.  Search for random rocks around the neighborhood and make them into animals, artwork, or in our case, superheroes. When do my boys not turn things into superheroes?!
Are your kiddos obsessed with this phenomenon yet? ANGRY BIRDS!  Mr. Grouchy Pants, I'm embarrassed to admit, has been known to spend hours on his IPod propelling birds through the air. This website is where I found a way to take that obsession outside. Gather up some cardboard boxes, paint a bunch of balls, and construct a homemade slingshot and let them go to town in your backyard. Such a creative idea!
How I love crafts that don't require me to sew anything! This is such a wonderful idea for Spring!  A wreath made completely out of cupcake liners! This website shows the whole process!  It's even something that I could do with the dynamic duo, although all the pink might do them in. :) 
Maybe I'm a little overambitious, but I plan on doing this in my boys room.  This link is to an etsy shop where you can purchase these creative bins for $120 a pop. Although they are adorable, I'm thinking I should try to do-it-myself before I fork out the moolah.  I'll let you know how it goes!
This is a hilarious snack that we will be trying soon. Here's the website for the "how-to", but it couldn't be easier with just some apple slices, peanut butter, and marshmellows. The kids will get a kick out of making them with me, I'm sure!  Anything to re-vamp snack time from the normal cheeto puffs and banana!
For the Easter holiday. . .as if my boys didn't already have enough objects to hurl at each other's heads, these Fruity Pebble-Filled Easter Eggs are such a fantastic idea!  This website has all the directions.  This is perfect for an Easter party, or in our case, perfect for when we get together with the cousins.  The parents will be digging fruity pebbles out of the hair for weeks, but the kiddos will have a blast cracking them over each other's heads all day!

Although I could continue this "Pinterest Fest" forever, I will leave you with those fun tidbits for now.  Tune in next week for some more lovely ideas as to how I intend to continue to make my life more Pinteresting. :)  Happy Thursday, ya'll!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I just recently finished reading "Kisses For Katie" by Katie Davis, a nineteen year old missionary in Uganda.  Missions have always been a HUGE passion of mine, ever since my trip to an orphanage in Ghana, Africa in 2004. Talk about life-changing!  I'll never forget what God showed me in a small schoolroom halfway around the world. Reading "Kisses For Katie" brought all those fond memories about relentless love, compassion, and redemption back to the forefront of my heart and mind. It was such an inspirational book, even for those that may not have a heart natually bent on international missions. Because, honestly, we are all missionaries in various forms. I am a missionary everyday to my two dependant little boys who rely on me to exemplify God's character in every little thing I do every day. We don't have to go halfway around the world to minister. We are responsible now.  Right here. Katie said it best in one of her journal exerts that I will leave you with today:

"Amazima, in Luganda, means 'the truth'. To be honest, it was chosen quickly without much thought, because we had to provide the government with a name for our nonprofit.  God said to me, 'You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.' I opened my Bible to John 8 and it said, 'You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.'  I went to church that Sunday and guess what the pastor said?  Yes.  'You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.'

Today, about a year after naming this ministry Amazima, I stand in awe of the truth with which God has presented me.  In Uganda, I strive to teach my children and all children in our program and in our villages 'the truth' of Christ.  I know I cannot walk into a village and tell a child that Jesus loves her.  She cannot comprehend that because chances are, she has never been loved.  I have to feed her, clothe her, care for her, and love her unconditionally as I tell her that I love her.  Once she can understand and see my love, I can begin to tell her about a Savior who loves her even more.  That is the truth for these children--that they are loved, that they are valuable, that they will not be left as orphans, but that they have a life and a hope for the future.  What a beautiful truth. 

I have a yound friend named Maria.  The truth is that Maria had never had a bath before I took her home and gave her one.  The truth is that Maria has no one who cares for her.  No one who tells her she is loved.  The truth is that Maria is sent from her home in the slum outside of Jinja to beg on the streets for food, and no one in Uganda wants to touch her or help her or cares that she is sick.  The truth is that Maria is just like you or me.  A person.  Real.  A child of the King.

Meet Rose and Brenda.  The truth is that they are ophans. Abandoned and living in an orphanage.  Now two of 143 million.  The truth is that when they go to bed at night no one tucks their blankets in around them and kisses their foreheads.  The truth is that when they wake up, frieghtened, in the dark, no one runs to comfort them.  The truth is that due to someone else's carelessness, Brenda will die of AIDS.

Meet David and Bashir.  The truth is that these precious little boys were child soldiers, abducted, sold as property, and forced to kill.  Now that the war is winding down, they are not permitted back in their villages because they are seen as traitors, so they beg on the streets.

And the truth is that these are only the children I know, in a very small fraction of a very small country.  The truth is that there are children all over the world, sick, starving, dying, unloved, and uncared for.  The truth is that the 143 million orphaned children and the 11 million who starve to death or die from preventable diseases and the 8.5 million who work as child slaves, prostitutes, or under other horrific conditions and the 2.3 million who live with HIV add up to 164. 8 million needy children.  And though at first glance that looks like a big number, 2.1 billion people on this earth proclaim to be Christians.

The truth is that if only 8% of the Christians on this earth would care for ONE more child, there would not be any statistics left. 

This is the TRUTH.  I have the freedom to believe it.  The freedom, the opportunity to do something about it.  The truth is that He loves these children just as much as He loves me and now that I know, I am responsible."

And now that you know. . . .so are you.
To read more about Katie's adventures in Uganda, you can visit her blog at

Monday, March 26, 2012

To Junk or Not To Junk. . .This Is The Question.

I swear, there are soooooooo many surprises of parenting that nobody ever tells you about before you have kids, like all the poop and all the boogers and all the interrupted sex (yours not theirs). There are also the piles upon piles of artwork that continuously bombard your house on a weekly basis. Honest to goodness, just what in the heck are you supposed to do with it all?! The way I see it, you can do one of two things: 1.) You can either save it all up and be buried alive under a mountain of stick figure drawings or 2.) You can toss it in the garbage when the coast is finally clear.

If we’re being really truthful with each other here, I personally tend to pick option 2.) As sentimental as I might be, I REALLY don’t need to preserve every friggin’ piece of paper that my children have touched. Cause sometimes? Well, sometimes, the end result is crap. The trick, however, is trying to get rid of said projects without being detected. It can be quite devastating to a kid if he sees you jamming his so-called “work of art” into an overflowing waste basket. You will no doubt be given the third degree as to why you’d willingly choose to throw out such a fine masterpiece. And good luck trying to think on your toes in that scenario! You’ll be gritting your teeth as you’re scraping coffee grounds and spaghetti sauce off Junior’s horrific-looking fingerpainting.

I’ve lived and learned the hard way that what I need to do is to throw out the awful pictures when the shorties are fast asleep. You see, I make it look like I’m ooing and awwing over their work by setting it on the kitchen counter. And then late at night, when I know for certain that I’m not risking getting busted, I run it out to the garage with the trash, where the kids are forbidden to go. Problem solved!

Now before you go labeling me The Meanest Mommy on the Planet, please be assured that I most certainly do save a decent amount of the “good” projects that come home. Heck, my kitchen even looks like a dang elementary art museum. The really special projects are the ones that I choose to keep. I just cannot possibly save it all (nor do I want to). Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some rather crappy-looking St. Paddy's Day collages that I need to run out to the garage real quick….

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

5 Reasons Why Bedtimes Suck: as told by Mr Grouchy Pants

OK, full disclosure. Bedtime pisses me off. There I said it. If you don’t believe me you can swing by my street any night around 8:30 and easily identify my house. It will be the one emanating the blood curdling screams, the begging and of course the crying.

Bedtime is a huge freaking drag. But apparently the real whiners in the situation are the parents. One cry baby dad even wrote a book about bedtime battles called Go the F**K To Sleep. Real classy.

Parents think the reason kids don’t want to go “nighty-night” is because we’ll be missing out on all the fun. I say: Don’t flatter yourself. You guys aren’t that exciting.

Here are the real reasons you take that one-way ticket to Dozy Land and shove it.

1) It’s freakin’ lonely.
No wonder parents think bedtime is so awesome. For them bedtime means cuddling up next to each other in giant fluffy beds. Bedtime for me means laying alone clutching a synthetic inanimate object for comfort. You do the math.

2) Left with my own thoughts I fear I will plunge into a quagmire of lingering tragedy. What if the world runs out of cake? What if I can’t find my red superhero cape? Is there something going on between Dora and her Cousin Diego? And if so isn’t that a bit creepy?

3) I don’t want to hear the freaky noises from your bedroom. Once a week (OK, to be fair maybe once every two weeks) I detect the most bizarre noises coming from under my parent’s door. A lot of banging around and heavy breathing. What are those two wackos doing in there? Moving furniture?

4) My parents can’t function without me. With me out of the picture my parents will actually have to talk to each other. Seriously. I’ve seen what happens when those two are left to their own devices: A whole lot of nothing. When I’m around they are guaranteed a palethera of entertainment: avant garde puppet shows, impromptu naked dancing are just a small sampling of my repertoire. With me asleep who’s going to distract them from the fact that they’ve stooped themselves to a mundane middle-class existence? It’s the least I can do.

5) My sugar consumption will be cut off for 9+ hours
If I’m sleeping how the heck am I going to con you into giving me more dessert items? Unless I can count on you to feed me cookies and candy intravenously I’m painfully aware that if I go to sleep the sweet shop is closed.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Moments of Stellar Parenting

Two year-olds do this thing where they really seem to be listening, taking it all in, just "getting you". And then they pull the old switcheroo. “I know you want ice cream, honey,” I say. “But first we have to have breakfast, which by the way is the most important meal of the day. After we have breakfast, we’ll watch another Dora or two, hit the park, come home, have lunch and then it is highly possible we’ll enjoy a delicious ice cream cone –or delicioso! As Dora would say."

“I want ice cream, mommy. Do you want ice cream?” Stinker hasn’t heard a word I’ve said. Maybe I should’ve paused the TV.

“I love ice cream. Only mommy can’t have any for awhile because right now she can only fit into sweatpants and even in the sweatpants arena she’s pretty much down to one pair. It’s not good. But I’ll be fine with a sugar-free tapioca.” Stinker looks at me and nods like we’re totally on the same page.

“Ice cream is yummy. I wannit” Now he’s messing with me.

“I know you do, Stink. Later okay?” The problem is, Stinker will be three in June and he still only weighs twenty two freaking pounds. I actually want nothing more than to give him the darn ice cream. It’s always a victory when he eats something fattening, even though I know intellectually that his caloric intake isn’t having much of an effect on increasing his weight or height and the focus really needs to be on is overall health. Still I’m his mom, and I like to see him eat.

“I want ice cream!” Stinker moans. And then comes the lip quiver and the tears.

Oh he’s good.

“Stink. It is morning. Here are some choices of foods that are perfect for the morning…" I’m thinking. My skills are down because I haven’t had any coffee yet this morning. Coffee is my biggest mental defense weapon against weak parenting but I’d been too lazy to set the dishwasher on last night and am all out of coffee mugs so this kind of serves me right.

I open the fridge to forage around for “healthy choices.”

“How about a yogurt?” I ask knowing full well that he lost interest in yogurt right around the time I bought a 24-pack of his favorite brand at Wal-Mart.

“NO!” And now there are more sobs and he’s laying on the floor crying. You’d think I announced I was giving him up for adoption.

“All right. All right. Simmer down.” Then I make the mistake of opening the freezer to look and see if I have any sausage left  (He's recently discovered his love of the stuff). The ice cream is peeking out from behind the mini pancakes. The box is so bright and cheery there may as well be a spotlight on it.

“ICE CREAM!” Stinker shrieks like a chimp at the zoo. I try to distract him by discussing some non-food related activities we are looking forward to today.

“You want to go to the park later today?”


“You know what we need to do? We need to get you and Bubba a new pair of shoes. That will be fun.” I get a piercing no followed by more tears. Has this dude ever seen an episode of Sex And the City? How can the idea of shoe shopping make him cry?

“Listen. You and your brother need to have some breakfast or we can’t do anything okay? Now Noah already had some toast, what can I get you?”

“I want ice,” Stinker says pointing to the ice dispenser on the refrigerator door. The kid loves to chew ice which is fantastic since we all know that ice is packed with nutrition and calories. I start thinking about breakfast foods. Are they all sort of dessert related anyway? I mean, waffles? French toast? Pancakes? Any breakfast cereal a kid would eat? Pastries? For goodness sake donuts are practically unlawful in states where people give a crud about things like clogged arteries. What difference does it make really if I give him some ice cream for breakfast? In the grand scheme of things does it make me a bad parent? Am I setting up terrible habits by giving in? Will he never want to eat healthy food if he knows he can have the alternative? I look at the ingredients: milk, skim milk, sugar, butter…it’s all natural…and heck, milk is the first thing mentioned.

“Forget ice, Hun. How about a nice big bowl of ice cream?” He wins. He wore me down. Judge all you want but my child will at least get some calories in his little peanut of a body this morning and I’m okay with that.

“NO! I want ice cubes.” And with that, I’m going back to bed.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Giving God My "Status Update"

It wasn't until I reached the halfway mark in this Lent process that I realized that I gave up the wrong thing.  I'm currently fasting from "fast food", and as it seemed like a rational, healthy choice at the time, I've since realized that I took the easy road. I think the whole point of Lent is to bring someone closer to God through the fasting process. I wrestled with a number of things that I could give up before I settled on one.  But that was the problem. I settled on something I could give up and not something I should give up.  Don't get me wrong. I'm ridiculously addicted to fast food. I could eat some form of drive-through, processed, goodness 3 times a day. The more fattening the better! Greasy fries. . .heaven; hamburgers with three layers of cheese. . .amazing; tacos dripping in sour cream and guac. . .bring it on. So believe me when I tell you that sacrificing this addiction for 45 days seemed to be just the ticket. It's not been easy. Proudly, I've only had one minor hiccup involving a soft taco that my son couldn't finish one afternoon.  And just between you and me, it was cold, lacked the good toppings, and I was only tasting it because he had screamed that it was "poisonous yuck".  I couldn't have my toddler dying on me, so I took one for the team and deemed it fit to eat.

But in the grand scheme of things, I didn't give up the thing that would be the hardest for me; the most sacrificial.  Because let's face it. . .Facebook is my lifeline. It's my outlet. My escape. It's the one avenue that I have in which to keep up with the world around me. Most days I'm stuck in a house with two toddlers whose conversations unceasingly revert to superheroes and ninjas. The prospect of some adult interaction sounds marvelous, and pertinant to my overall sanity. Social media is God's greatest gift to me (outside of the obvious gift of my Savior and kids and husband and whatnot).  Granted, I spend an ENORMOUS amount of time there, sharing life with my friends and family and keeping up with the happenings and drama of every last person I know. But it can be a complete "time-suck".  It's been the thing that keeps me from spending time reading to my son.  It's been known to steal quality time away from my husband.  It's the culprit in many a wasted day when  I could have been investing in my tangible relationships. It's just become my greatest hobby, closest friend, and worst addiction for over 3 years now. That may sound silly, but it's the truth.  I have a feeling a lot of you can relate.

So I gave it up. Let me just tell you that it's only been three days and I am having severe withdrawls. I'm dying to know what all my girlfriends thought about the Bachelor finale.  I'm getting the shakes without my morning "fix" of coffee and facebook encouragement to start my day. As pathetic as it sounds, it's the first thing that I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think to check before I go to bed. Without it, I'm sort of walking around lost.  I know that it's sad that something so ridiculous has made it's way into my life and taken up such a residency that I almost don't know how to function without it.  Take yesterday, for example. I woke up to a toddler asleep in the floor instead of his brand-spanking new bunkbed. He looked so adorable lying there under his bed that I immediately thought to take a photo and post it on FB with the caption: My new bed is too soft-First World  Problems. But I can't. Because God has called me to give it up. So I moved on with my day. I finished reading "Kisses for Katie" and thought I should share a recommendation for it, as well as some awesome quotes from the book with all my friends online. It truly inspired me and I wanted to write a post about it.  But I can't. Because I'm fasting from facebook.  Mr. Grouchy Pants got home from preK with a headache and began crying incessantly so we took him to the after-hours pediatrician. Ear-Infection From Hell, apparently. At least that's what the doctor said and I thought her profanity was facebook worthy. . .but, nada. No posting.  The fact was that my baby was feeling terrible and I would've loved the prayers of others right then.  But God is saying no for now.

It wasn't until I woke up this morning with practically no voice that I really understood what God was calling me to during this added fast from Facebook.  I've been battling the achiness and the sore throat for the past few days, but it really seemed to rear it's ugly head today and I sat there thinking, "Without a voice, how will I handle today? Who's going to be the one to yell and scream at my family today?"  Seemed funny, but pretty accurate.  I'm sure they have all realized that things have been a bit quieter this evening. But in my quietness, and my inability to tell the world how "poopy" I felt, God spoke to me.


I realized that it's not as necessary for me to share my feeling online as it is necessary that I share them with God.  I recognized that He had become a second and sometimes third source of affirmation and comfort. Not the first. I was valuing how everyone else saw my life as it happened more than I prioritized telling Him about every little detail about my day. I changed my perspective today.  I saw God as a jealous God. As a friend who has been hurt time and time again by my inconsideration to let Him into the everyday of my life. He wants me to tell Him how poopy" I feel and how I miss my voice. He wants to know that Grouch is hurting and needs a speedy recovery from the Ear Infection From Hell.  He wants to be thanked for the inspiration that I read in a book or for the special moments that I share looking at my sleeping baby on the floor. He wants to be the first thing that I think about in the morning and the last thing that I think about before I go to sleep. He wants communication. He wants friendship. He wants ME.  And He wants me to stop giving it away to people who don't care as much as He does.

I share this with you all because I think a lot of times, we get caught up in the need for connection.  The need for communication.  The need to find others out there who are interested in our lives and the details of who we are. We find that connection, quite frequently through social media. Its a marvelous invention! It's been one of the the highlights of my life, to date! But it can also create in us unhealthy addictions, like it has in my life. It can occupy so much of our lives that we are no longer "present" in the here and now.  We are more caught up in "checking in" where ever we may be, taking pictures to post online for others to witness what we are experiencing, and trying to fit our amazing lives into a fitly-spoken status update. All the while, we are missing out on life and giving the best parts of us away.  God wants my "status updates". He wants yours. He wants us to truly LIVE and share it with him in the most amazing way--communication.  He designed us to have that need for connection.  Because we are supposed to find that first in Him, and then with others.  He has put that desire for intimacy and communication in us because He wants us to tell Him about every little boring detail of our day. Every little thing that we would normally save for our next "status update".

I'm fasting from Facebook.  A number of people, knowing that I spend my entire existence there have asked WHY.  There you have it. For the next 30 days, I will be giving God my "status updates". He appreciates them way more than all my facebook friends, I'm sure! In the process, I'm learning a lot about communication and just how much of an intimate relationship the God of the Universe wants with me.  I hope, that before you post that next status update, you'll take a moment, and let God know what's on your mind first. I know He'll "Like" having shared even one moment of your life with you.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Evolution of a Parenting Philosophy. . .on Nerf Guns

My kids have lost all the bullets to their Nerf guns, and I have been thinking about whether to get some spares for a fun surprise.  I never would have considered this a decade ago.  Let me walk you through the evolution of a parenting philosophy - from pre-children brilliance to resigned compliance.

1. Before I had my first child -"My children will never play with toy guns.  Guns are serious business.  They should be used for getting some venison and little else.  My future children will be thoughtful and not ever consider perpetrating acts of violence either real or imaginary."

2.  First child is an infant/toddler - "Look at all those hooligans kids shooting things."  A smug smile would accompany my obviously better parenting.

3.  Now that child is even older - "Stop turning those sticks into guns.  Put your fingers down.  I'm looking at you Mister.  Put your fingers down.  You may NOT say 'Bang bang you're dead' to the tree."

4.  Add another kid - "Maybe if I pretend I don't see them, I don't have to try to stop the inevitable.  I played Star Wars and GI Joe as a kid and managed to not turn into a sociopath killer.  Lets hope for the best."

5.  Kids a little older  - We went to a garage sale and there was a whole arsenal of toys spread on the lawn.  "Yes, kids.  You can each pick out a sword.  No, not a gun."  Swords became our gateway drug into the word of weaponry.  I end up duct taping many of these weapons after rowdy games of pirates, which kept my children content in their make-believe worlds for a full summer.  Imagination is good, right?

6.  Kids got little older, as they tend to do - Child receives Nerf gun as a gift.  Clearly this is the coolest thing he has ever gotten.  "At least its not a realistic replica of a tommy gun or howitzer."  I sigh in resignation.

7. Present Day - "Just don't shoot anyone who doesn't want to be shot."

Sometimes you pick your battles, don't you, Moms?  Sometimes those battles involve foam bullets and plastic swords.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Where's My Whistle?!

For the bulk of my parenting career, I had a single child. He was a great child and I loved him dearly, but I always regretted that he was an only child. Until I had more children. Just one more.

Dear hades, the bickering.

It seems that there is always someone getting their feelings hurt, someone is forever taking a toy that another is playing with, playing a game that the other does not want to play, yet the other is insisting on playing with the first.

My children have NO social skills.

There is a large chunk of my day that is spent arbitrating disputes, mediating offenses and disciplining wrong-doers. I am judge, jury and MMA referee. I hate these jobs. Hate. Them. At some point, I lose my frickin' mind and my patience snaps like an overloaded rubber band. At that point, my children are united in their terror as I deposit them in separate corners and forbid any communication.

FYI, that never works.

Something else that doesn't work is the saying "Do as I say, not as I do".  For I've noticed that it's super difficult for me to preach to the "Pants" family that arguing is inappropriate when they hear me bickering with their "Aunt Sissy" on the phone about something as ridiculous as who's hot rollers were left at our moms. "I'm NOT going to take them home because they AREN'T MINE!". . .thus the arguing insues. . .the snide remarks, the (slight) name-calling, and the bossiness.  Shame on me.

Titus 2:7 resounds in my brain on those stellar parenting failures: 
"In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity. . ."

Thus, the realization forms that my referee skills need to be second to my walking example.  But the sibling rivalry continues. . .and out comes my whistle.

 There are times, however, when the disputes becomes so ridiculous that I can do nothing but laugh. Because when my children are arguing over whether one of them "killed" the other and Mommy is going to call the policeman? That's some funny stuff. Stinker, I will avenge your death with a, but if you can tattle about it, it sort of undermines your claim.

"Mommy,  Noah killed me!"

"Buddy, if you can talk, you probably aren't dead."

"Yes I AM!" And he falls to the ground with a tremendous groan, tongue hanging out of the side of his mouth. He then cracks an eye and asks, "See?"

So I had a long talk about why we don't "kill" people and how we need to play nicely. And then I tickled them into submission. I find tickling to be an underrated discipline tool. Which may be why my children continue to bicker, tattle and commit murder in their hearts. And why Mr. "Thinks-He-Wears-The-Pants" remains ever-positive that we are DONE having children.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Worst Mother in the World

This blog is supposed to be a sarcastic, humorous encouragement to women, to lead their best lives. I try my best to make the best out of everything, to put a positive spin on things, to talk about my struggles and how I overcame them. It brings me great joy to know that someone reading might take my words and have a little hope.

But, this post isn’t about that.

I recently told my friend that motherhood has forced me to dig to the deepest parts of me to find the most patience I have. I have dug, and dug and dug. And there isn’t any left. I’m all out. I have slammed into a wall recently and am wondering when the “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle” statement will be flung at me like monkeys throwing poo at the zoo. Which by the way, I don’t even want to get into complaining about how much poop I’ve been dealing with on a literal standpoint in this house.
So, what is this post about? Well, I understand that you, reading this, are not the complaint department. But, I’d like to confess that my gremlin has got the best of me lately. And he’s hit be below the belt, right in the uterus. He’s laughing hysterically and pointing and saying,

You are the worst mother in the world. 

In the world of, “Keep it together, lady. Don’t let them see you sweat, or cry, or fly off the handle,” it’s next to impossible for me. When my 5 year old son gets in my face and screams, “NOOOOOOOO!” at the top of his lungs I think, “Does this child hate me? This beautiful boy that has my heart in his hands?” And when my 2 year old little Stinker clings to me and cries when I drop him off at Mother's Day Out for the 4 hours that he will be away from me 3 times a week, I think, “For pete’s sake, he’s still so young! How could I leave him?” 

You are the worst mother in the world.

I mean really, it’s the only possible explanation. 
I don’t think I ever knew pain until I experienced mommy guilt. No one tells you before you have kids that it’s a package deal. No one tells you that the pain of mommy guilt will wreck you from the inside out. I spent all that time before I had kids with my head in the clouds thinking motherhood is about hearts and rainbows. 
You are the worst mother in the world.

I type all these words and think, “You know there are people out there that can’t have kids. That would give their right arm to have them, all of it, guilt and all.” 
So, yet again, 

You are the worst mother in the world.

But, I’m human. And I’m having a really, really hard time. 

One of my favorite scenes from the movie, “Forrest Gump”, Forrest is running when a reporter approaches him. Forrest runs through dog shit: 
Reporter: Man! You just ran through a big pile of dog shit! 
Forrest: It happens. 
Reporter: What? Shit? 
Forrest: Sometimes……

Monday, March 5, 2012

He's My Favorite. . .Both of Them

 I heard you gasp. “BUT HOW CAN YOU SAY ONE IS BETTER THAN THE OTHER!?” Because I can. And that’s exactly what I did when I wrote awhile back how babies are better than big kids. Some of the main bullet points were that big kids can be smelly, loud, emotionally volatile and dangerous. But they can also be the coolest little humans you’ll ever have the privilege of hanging out with. Now my “baby” is a toddler and the phase has bumped up a notch in the frustration department. While I relish the time I get to spend alone with my toddler while my big boy is off at school, there’s no denying that these big ones come with perks as they grow up as well. And today. . .I want to bask in the blessedness of Big Boys.

Oh the self sufficiency! I still remember the first Saturday morning I woke up to  Mr. Grouchy Pants watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and eating a a bowl of cereal that he had gotten himself. Bryan and I both celebrated a bit knowing that we had finally made it to that point in parenthood where we could sleep in ever so slightly come the weekend. (We later mourned the loss of gluttonous sleeping in seeing as we are now awoken in the early morning by the squaking and arguing over toys from the room down the hall. . .the joys of siblings.)

Grouch has cool toys. The kind of toys I have no shame in admitting to playing with when he’s not around. Foam dart guns, superheroes, really cool puzzles and building blocks and not to mention the grand poobah…an Xbox Kinnect. It’s also fun to play games with him now that we’ve moved past the basics of stuffed animals and chewing on plastic balls. The movies and TV shows certainly get better as well. (I see your WonderPets and raise you classic Tom & Jerry.)  

Kids are funny, whether they mean to be or not. Today Grouch proclaimed “MOM. I AM NOT ENTERTAINED.” from the backseat confirming that he truly does believe it is my sole duty in life to make sure he is never bored. I assured him that only boring people are capable of being bored and he went on to find a superhero dog and make it his car pet.  

Stinker is an excellent toddler, top notch when it comes to toddlers. But Grouch as a big brother? Oh how my heart melts with the love he has for his baby brother. Now that we've made it past the baby phase, Grouch finds Stinker a lot more entertaining. What he doesn't realize during their Saturday morning squirmishes is that I pretty much brought the best. toy. ever. home for Mr. Grouchy Pants. Not to mention that Grouch is easily one of Stinker’s favorite toys as well.  

Toddlers and big kids both have their struggles and bonuses, and over the last few months I have really tried to focus more on the bonuses than the difficulties.  

What’s one of your favorite features of your big kid?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Spooning is For Newlyweds

You know how when you first got married, you loved to be all close to your other half even when you slept?  Remember how you used to snuggle up as close as humanly possible and wedge together like it was your one and only purpose in this life?  And then, suddenly, one night, you woke up in the wee wee hours of the morning and realized that holy crap, you were sweating bullets and freaking miserable as heck?  Yeah, that’s right, my friends, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news for those of you still holding out hope, but spooning is just for newlyweds (or perhaps just very, very cold people).

After seven years of marriage, I can honestly tell you that I, personally, like to be left to my own side of the bed whenever it’s time for me to catch some zzz’s.  And if I could, I’d probably even draw an imaginary line right down the center of it to declare my rightful space.  You see, my husband, God love him, is as hot as Freddy Krueger’s boiler room when he crawls under those sheets at night. He doesn't want a comforter, just a sheet or blanket.  I swear his body temperature must rise a good forty or fifty degrees while he snoozes.  Combine that with my own ever-changing hormones, and you could probably fry yourself up an egg or two on our darn duvet cover.  That is why I always set our bedroom thermostat to lower (even in the winter).  Heat and slumber are two things that just do not mix for this girl right here.

Sure, this whole spooning thing used to be cute and all back in the day, but my sleep is much more important to me now than it used to be.  Heck, there are only about six total hours in the day when there isn’t someone in my house trying to smother me in some way, shape or form.  So let’s just keep the silverware talk in the kitchen please (unless we’re talking about forking, that is…..)