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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Frustration

My frustration level is high.  My thoughts are scattered.  I need to regroup, refocus and screw my head on straight.  Right now I'm feeling a little sideways and topsy turvy.  There is  no way I can effectively tell the stories that are brewing around in the back of my brain...

I have two, maybe three stories that are asking to come out but I need to focus on telling them the right way.  The big one is about Claire.  There is another medium one about Claire and her growing, ever changing maturity....but maybe these two can be combined.  The third story is one I don't know if I'll be able to get out at all but I'll give it a try when my brain is less foggy and more able to focus.

I don't want to tell these stories without sitting on them for tonight and then I can tell them to you with a fresh perspective tomorrow.  My goal in this blog is to tell the stories of my kids and my family without damaging my kiddos in any way so I'll sit on these stories until tomorrow ~ for the love of my children...

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Cream Rises To The Top

I just came back from one of the best night's I've had in a good long while...a girl's night out where I spent the night away from home ~ a mini girls' weekend, if you will.  The best part of the night, though, was that  I got to spend time with one of my old high school friends, Laura.  I haven't seen her since, ummm, maybe high school.  

She is one of my "cool girls" from my blog a couple of weeks ago and she proved it to me again and again last night and into today why she has earned the title of "cool girl" in my book.

Laura invited me to join her and her group of girlfriends at a conference not too far from where I live and I gladly accepted.  After last night I am even more happy that I accepted Laura's invitation. These women all kick ass and take names.  And I'll tell you why...

Laura, and her group of girlfriends, are all officers in the Army, that's part of the reason she/they are cool girl(s) in my book but not the only reason.  These women are the epitome of honey badgers ~ with a few significant differences.  Honey badger...well...he's out for himself and himself alone.  He doesn't give a shit what other's think of him.  He sees what he wants and he takes it.  These women are kind of like that but...

They may not care what most others think of them, but they care very much how they are thought of in the eyes of their girlfriends so they make sure they have each other's backs.  I sat at lunch with them today and marveled at their level of camaraderie.  There is an easiness about them when they are in each other's company.  There is no one-up-man-ship, no snarkiness, no bitchiness.  Just a true desire to help each other succeed in a "man's" army.  They are there for each other to mentor one another, to cheer each other on when things are going well and to pick each other up when the chips are down.  There is no petty jealousy among them and they are comfortable listening to and accepting critiques.  I asked them if their relationship was typical among females in the army or if it was specific to them.  They all said it depends on the woman.  There are the ones to avoid, they said, the ones who bring you down either by being a true honey badger...only looking out only for themselves or because they just don't have their shit together.  This group of women in the military have each other's backs and have their shit together so they can succeed in a man's army.

They are inclusive.  Only Laura knew me last night but I felt welcome instantly and left knowing I now have a few more friends to add to my list.  Not all women can do that...include someone new and have them walk away knowing they have made new friends.  I love groups of women like that.  My first group of ladies here in Richmond is exactly like that.  Instantaneous friends.  Maybe it's my military upbringing...you have to make friends instantly or you'll be alone.  Growing up in the army made me realize how important it is to seek out good people immediately and cut through the bullshit to get to heart of the matter ~ friendship.  I couldn't be happier than I am right now, feeling like I have made several new friends.

These women are the cream of the crop.  They are rising to the top by being there for each other and making sure to keep each other squared away.  They are the cool girls always and honey badgers, in a good way.  They are exactly the kind of friends I want for Claire as she grows up.  I want her to not only be a honey badger and cool girl and all that jazz but I want her to surround herself with women  like my friend, Laura, her group of friends, and my groups of friends as well.  They are cool girls ~ all...they are the cream of the crop and have risen to the top.  It's the only way to go through life...surrounding yourself with good friends who have your back, keep you on the right path, make sure you know you're loved and respected and want nothing but success for you.

As Claire grows up I want her to understand more and more how important it is to make sure to accept only the friends who are the cream of the crop.  After last night and today, I can honestly say, I appreciate those friends more and more.  Those kinds of friends are the only kind to have.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

So, What Do You Do For A Living?

Sometimes I hate that question...today, though, I cracked myself up as I thought about the answer one mom might give about her, ah, "job."

Today, I was out for my walk in the new section of our neighborhood, the part that's just been built out with all the new people...the ones I don't know very well.  And as I was walking a car came by me all decked out with decals proclaiming what it is the driver does for a living.  She pulled into a driveway as I was cruising by and pulled out her two children from her car which told the world she is a "Slumber Party" consultant...it put a whole new spin on the question "What do you do for a living?" ~ let me tell ya'!

For those of you who don't know what a "Slumber Party" consultant is I'll fill you in.  Slumber parties are in home parties for, um ~ well, adult toys.  I was just recently was invited, and went to a party, thinking it was a lingerie party.  Naive?  Yep.  But that's what I thought ~ boy was it a shocker for me when I walked into a room full of both friends and strangers to hear the latest and greatest about...ummmm ~ toys.

As you all have gathered, I am pretty much out there and say whatever pops into my head but I can't for the life of me ever envision a time when I could, with a straight face, tell people I sell sex toys for a living...I'm blushing just thinking about it.

Anyway, as I was walking away from the mom and her two kiddos who just stepped out of a car with the "Slumber Party" logo on it I got to thinking...how the heck is she gonna answer that question for her kids and what the heck does she say to the moms of kids who have play dates at her house?  How do you answer that question if your line of work is selling things that remain "taboo" in the mainstream?

I have absolutely no idea how this ties into the love of my children, except, for me, I would rather answer that I am only a mom and a blogger with a passion for writing than to have to try and explain what a "Slumber Party" consultant is to my kiddos or their friends or their friends' parents...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Failed

I just got the phone call home the other day.  Lucas failed.  The school nurse called to tell me he failed his vision screening with his glasses on...twice.

She was not too nice about it ~ kinda bitchy as a matter of fact.  I was immediately put on the defensive when she asked, in a high and mighty tone, when the last time Lucas had been to see an eye doctor.  We are all over it when it comes to Lucas and his vision.  I've been through the wringer with Lucas and his eyes ever since kindergarten.  Kindergarten was when we figured out Lucas' vision is beyond bad...not only can he not see well, he also had a lazy eye, causing even more problems.  My guilt was at an all time high, way back then, when I realized my little blond boy couldn't see so I have made sure, without fail, to get Lucas to the best eye doctors in our area.  And the bitchy, condescending tone of the school nurse's voice set my teeth on edge, like fingernails down a chalkboard.

So today was our trip to the eye doctor to make sure nothing was wrong.  It's been less than a year since he saw our beloved optometrist.  So I didn't think anything was wrong, but I couldn't be 100% sure.  I sat there with Lucas as Dr. Billmayer ran his eyes through the wringer.  And I have to say my heart sank every now and again as she took him step by step through certain eye tests.  "Are you sure there are two rows of letters, Lucas?" she asked at one point.  "Can you see the letters on the top row of the eye chart ~ the biggest letters?" she went on to ask.  Both answers were no.  I knew the answers were supposed to be "Yes," but Lucas couldn't give her a yes.  He could only give her a  no...I wondered and wondered again if he was truly losing his eye sight and my heart ached for my little blond boy.

When the exam was finally over, Dr. Billmayer turned to me and said "his prescription hasn't changed at all.  His right eye is just not correctable beyond 20/50 even with his glasses on."  I was beyond relieved to hear that his vision isn't failing and that I didn't fail Lucas again.  But my heart still hurts to know that Lucas will never have eyesight in his right eye that is anything remotely perfect.

I have the letter to the school nurse, which shows that Lucas, and his eyes, are well taken care of and loved. Thankfully.  He may have failed his vision screening but I'll be damned if I'm going to fail him again.  And I think I made that perfectly clear to the nurse when we spoke the other day.  I will do whatever I can for the love of my children...

 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Worry

I  just had the most rewarding conversation with a friend of mine about my novel.  She called me yesterday after reading my blog about how scared I am when it comes to my novel.  My friend, Priscilla, wanted to give some advice that was a little different than what others had given me on the glorious social media platform known to all of us as Facebook.  She was a creative writing major in college and wanted me to take hold of the idea that I "need to let go of the worry and let things fall into place."

I like that idea.  I like it a lot.  Not just for my novel but for life in general.  Worrying gets me no where fast.  I sit and spin my wheels and stew when I should be working  my ass off to get whatever task needs to be done completed.

I'm not saying I'm a worrier...although, I definitely used to be.  But there are times when I try to hard or want too much for something to be perfect when it doesn't need to be.  Sometimes, as long as t's are crossed and i's, things can be just fine without all the added pressure of an unattainable perfection.

I'm really glad Priscilla called.  She gave me some fabulous advice, not just for my novel but for life as well.  And as I was talking to her thoughts of this quote popped in my head "Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing." (Harriet Braiker).

So I am breaking free from the chains of worry.  And I broke out of my desire for perfection, yet again, and am striving for excellence...for the love of my children.

And this is where I have ended up with my novel so far....

Broken down into the three main characters...with edits to boot!!  THANKS, Priscilla!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

One Year Ago

This was supposed to be yesterday's blog.  But yesterday threw me a little sideways and I needed to vent, and get off my chest, my frustration with myself and my "Mother of the Year" award ~ causing this blog to get pushed to today.  It's funny, usually, I just go with what strikes me on a given day.  Usually, I don't have a set agenda for the week but for some odd reason, this week shaped up to be one with set stories for certain days...

Yesterday was the one year "anniversary" since my surgery.  I guess I really shouldn't call it an anniversary...it's not something I want to celebrate so maybe I should say yesterday "marked one year since my surgery."

One year ago yesterday I went in to have my palate widened so all of my teeth could fit comfortably in my mouth and then fit together in my jaw.  One year ago yesterday I came home from the hospital completely drugged and in tremendous pain.

One year ago today, I looked puffy, swollen, miserable and unable to smile...


Last night brought back a flood of memories of the days, weeks and months following my surgery. 

Last night I had to study vocab words with Zach for his English mid-term.  It was around this same time last year when I was drugged, in pain and unable to speak well that I had to help Zach study 150 vocab words.  My mouth couldn't open past and inch but there I was studying vocab words with Zach.  I felt exactly like I looked...shitty!

Last night, as I was studying with Zach I started laughing, thinking of myself a year ago.  And just thought I would share some of these crazy, funny, horrible pictures of myself at my absolute finest.  It was a strange day, yesterday, and I needed to absorb some humor, thinking of myself in the past year and how far I've come...so here's a pictorial journey of me in the past year...I hope I can make you laugh as much at me as I've been laughing at myself...

One year ago today...
Can you say "Ouch..."


Hockey Mom for President!!

I'm so special, I have THREE front  teeth!!
Looking  like a lizard with a BIG OL' mouth!











I've come a LONG way in a year!!!

I still have about eight months to go but I can't believe how far I've come in a year.  I was so miserable studying with Zach a year ago but last night my mood was light and easy as I helped him go through a stack of vocab words.  It didn't hurt my mood much to have Lucas come in our room making up his own vocab words...keeping Zach and me entertained with his light and sunshiny spirit, even in the face of having to wear a sling for the next three weeks.

I have finally come to a point in this journey where I can say I would make the same decision and go through with my surgery again.  It's taken a year to get here but I'm finally here and more than happy that I am.  It's been a long road but one that I can now look back on a crack up at myself and how I looked as I progressed to this point.  Last night was a night of lightness and laughter, so much different than it was one year ago today...thankfully!

Oh, for the love of my children.... 








  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Winning" Mother of the Year"

...Yet again.

It seems I do this from time to time and mostly with Lucas.  I win "Mother of the Year."  Today is another shining example of winning this coveted prize, yet again. 

When Lucas was little he would have massive ear infections that would go undetected until his pain was so unbearable and then his eardrum would rupture and we'd be faced with draining eardrums and massive amounts of antibiotics.  Then we'd go through it all over again, not noticing much until the infection was too full blown to stop in it's tracks. 

Last year, when Lucas broke his thumb it was only at the urging of our friend, who is a doctor, that we took him to the orthopedic doctor...and confirmed what our friend suspected ~ a broken thumb.

In our defense, Lucas seems to have a massively high tolerance for pain.  Zach broke his wrist just days before Lucas broke his thumb.  Zach was sweaty and pale and weak.  Lucas was chipper and sunshiny.  When Zach separated his shoulder at the beginning of hockey season I thought he was going to pass out on the way to the hospital.  Again, he was sweaty, gray and weak.  When Lucas came home from his game on Sunday, he be-bopped in, telling us about this big hit he had and saying his shoulder hurt a little bit...but he was chipper and sunshiny.  He didn't seem to be in much, if any, pain.

When he told me about the hit and that his shoulder was hurt, I asked him to do all of the things the doctors tried to get Zach to do.  Lift his arm forward, backward and out to the side.  He could do it all, with minimal pain.  I told him we'd keep an eye on things and if he was still in pain, we'd take him to the doctor.  Monday morning dawned with Lucas cruising into the kitchen for breakfast...no mention of pain or his shoulder.  NOTHING!  He went to school.  He shot pucks in the basement after school.  He ran around with his buddies.  No pain, no nothing!  Last night, he came to me with his shirt off and said "Mom, does this look normal to you?"..."UH, gee NO, Lucas it doesn't," I responded.  It looked  like Zach's did when he separated his shoulder...malformed.  I told him I would make an appointment but was still leery...there was NO pain mentioned.  How can you have a separated shoulder with NO pain??

This morning Lucas came down asking if I had made the appointment.  It was 7 o'clock in the morning...my temper flared a little as I snapped back and told him the time.  I let him know I was going to make the appointment as soon as the doctor's office opened at 8:30...but I was still baffled by the lack of pain. 

As I called the doctor's office I had to wonder if Lucas was just trying to get out of exams...and at the back of my brain I also knew I had tennis waiting for me at noon.  The receptionist asked if I would like the 11:30 appointment ~ or how about the 1:30.  Both conflicted with tennis...and I reasoned to myself, he wasn't in any pain...what was the harm in waiting a little longer?  I set his appointment for 3:30 and went on my day.

I picked Lucas up...he was FINE.  No pain.  He had his back pack on both shoulders.  He was chipper and sunshiny...I felt like it was going to be a waste of everyone's time but I knew I had to get him examined, just to check the block....not so fast, the doctor says....it looks quite wrong, she says....let me call the orthopedic surgeon's office and get you in, she says.  Our doctor comes back to our room, fairly quickly and says "You can go ahead on over to the ortho guy.  They are waiting for you."  WAIT!  WHAT???  REALLY??!!??  Basically, it was a "do not pass go, do not collect $200...go right to jail" card...DAMN!

The X-Rays confirmed what we really already knew.  Lucas' shoulder is separated...midly, but separated just the same.  DAMN!  Out of the sport he loves for three weeks...all with NO pain.  None of the medical personnel could explain his lack of pain...I now know it's just an extremely high tolerance for what takes most people down.  I need to be watchful of that.  You would think I would have learned through so many years of ear infections but I didn't.  Today, I won "Mother of the Year," yet again.  And I feel more than a little guilty about it....I really hate winning "Mother of the Year" this way. 

I would rather win it for the love of my children...not ignoring their pain ~ or lack thereof.  DAMN!

Monday, January 23, 2012

My Novel...

Recently, I've had several of you ask me how it's going with my novel...and where it's going.  So I'll tell you exactly where I am and how it's going...

My blogging partner, Julie, and I have set several dates for us to be able to have our novels edited enough to turn them over to the other.  But the problem is, we keep pushing them back.  Now, we have a set deadline with each other...it's a drop dead, deadline..no backing out.  Even if our novels haven't been touched one little iota (and mine hasn't) we have to turn them over to each other to read, critique and help improve.

I have to tell you, I spent one month...27 days actually, pouring my heart and soul into this novel of mine which I just named "The Devil is in Our Family Now" and I can not make myself go back to it.  I am terrified of it...yep, me ~ a honey badger...I'm terrified.  What if it truly sucks?  What am I going to do then?  I spent 27 days and countless hours typing, thinking, dreaming and living these characters and I am terrified to think that the whole thing is a complete and total piece of shit!  And it probably is, but I'll never know unless I can screw up the courage to go back to an re-read the words I wasn't allowed to edit in the month of November.

I have until February 2, yep Groundhog Day, to make some sense out of what I wrote or I'll have to turn "The Devil" over to Julie untouched and unedited...CRAP! You all know, my kiddos were my biggest supporters...especially Claire, who lovingly colored in every single step on my "thermometer of achievement," marking off every 5,000 words on my way to the supreme goal of 50,000.  And now, I am letting them down by being a scaredy-cat.  What kind of mom am I to let fear of my written words keep me from looking back at what I've already accomplished?  I don't want to be known as "scaredy-mom."  I want the kids to know I can take the bull by the horns, look it dead in the eye and say "BRING IT ON!"  OK, or at least be able to go back and make some sense out of what I've written.

I've got lots of work to do and lots of fear to overcome but I have to do it for the love of my children....

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Good Feelings

Recently, I posted this quote on our Perfect Mamas Confess...

"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."  Maya Angelou

It's a way I want to teach my kiddos to live their lives ~ to keep in mind how they treat people will be remembered, always.  I want them to know that fancy words are soon forgotten, important deeds can go unnoticed but the feeling you give others will stay with others forever. 

Have you ever just "had a feeling" about someone, whether it's good or bad?  I know I have and I usually can't shake it.  If it's bad, I walk away.  If the initial reaction I get from someone is good, I stick with them through thick and thin.  And I'm usually spot on with my initial reaction.  I've picked out the best of friends with my first impression and I've figured out the biggest dirtbags on my gut reaction. 

I'm hoping my kids can do the same.  But more importantly, I'm hoping my kiddos are the ones who create the initial fantastic reaction and are those who make others feel good.  I'm not sure how I pass that on to them but I'm up to the task of figuring it out...for the love of my children.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Just Not Sure How I Feel

Last night was a night for fun ~ to the wine dinner we went.  But before we went we had to brief the kids on where we were going, what time we'd be home and all that entails leaving your kiddos home alone for the evening.

It was during my directives that Zach pipes up and asks "So, where are you all going tonight?"  I told him we were headed to a wine dinner.  His response is "Do you have a cab  lined up to bring you home?"  I'm not sure how I feel about that....

On one hand it sounds very responsible but on the other hand, Zach's only 15 (alright almost 16) but is that something he should be worried about?  I never worried about a designated driver for my parents when I was a teenager.  In fact, I didn't even know what a designated driver was. 

Have times changed that much, making our kiddos so much more savvy than way back in the day when we were in school?  Or is it just a matter of society changing?  I don't know what the answers answer are and I don't know how I should feel about it but my gut is telling me to go with just a little proud...I'm not sure that's how I should be feeling but I guess if Zach is questioning us on our responsibility it means he's taking it all in and hopefully applying it to his own life.  At least that's my hope.

Oh, for the love of my children....

Friday, January 20, 2012

Wine-ing

There are times in life you sometimes just have to wine in order to avoid the whine.  Tonight is one of those nights.  We are headed out to a wine dinner.  I am looking forward to it more than I could even imagine because I know I have a weekend chockerblock full of kids activities. 

Most weekends are usually full of kids activities but this one seems to be stuffed to the brim.  This weekend has 1 swim practice, hours of dance practice and four hockey games flowing all onto the floor.  I like busy but this is crazy! 

So tomorrow morning when I have to get up at 6:30 to take Claire to swim, and then to dance and then go to the boys two hockey games, I will savor my memories of the wine dinner because I got to do something just for me.  Now, to be clear, I may be a little fuzzy at 6:30 tomorrow but I will still feel pretty damn good that Stan and I got to squeak in a little date together with two of our favorite couples as we prepare for the activities ahead. 

Tonight I wine so I don't whine for the weekend and I can do all of the crazy, whirlwind, out of this world, fun activities for the love of my children...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Going Home

Home...

The word conjures up a lot of feelings in me.  All my life I have been a bit of a nomad, so home is a precious word to me.  My dad was in the Army, and while we didn't do the "move every two year' gig, we did move from place to place smack dab in the middle of my formative years.  We left Ft. Carson, Colorado in  between my third and fourth grade year to move to Ft. Belvior, Virginia where we lived until the beginning of my eighth grade year.  When we left Virginia I thought my heart would break...especially since we were leaving my beloved state to move to Ft. Riley, Kansas!  REALLY?  Kansas...what the heck, I thought.  All I knew about Kansas I learned from the "Wizard of Oz."  I imagined it gray, windy and desolate.  What I found was completely the opposite....I found a hometown ripe with color and wonder.

I hadn't really thought much about the little town in Kansas where I spent my high school and college years until recently.  Recently, I have had the absolute pleasure of reconnecting with many of my high school classmates and it has brought back a flood of memories of my years spent in one of the quaintest little towns in the Midwest...Manhattan, Kansas.  The Little Apple.  I've been asked by my high school friends how often I get home.  Home ~ I think to myself with a warm flood of emotions washing over me.  Hmmmm, not that often, I have to reply.  It's been at least seven years since I've been to, what many would consider, my hometown.  And I don't know why.  I can't give them a good answer when they ask why I haven't been home.

Maybe it's because I went from being an Army Brat to being an Army wife and "you have to bloom where you are planted" and live life knowing "home is where the heart is."  I was able to live in the moment and put the past behind me, forgetting the past places I had been.  I did a very good job at living in the moment, maybe I took it to heart a little too ferociously, throwing away my claim to my hometown in the process. 

I do think it's important to "bloom where you are planted" and all that jazz.  But what I have learned through reconnecting with my friends is that it's phenomenal to let the feelings of wanting to go home wash over you and serve as a reminder of who you are and where you came from. 

Manhattan...the name brings back thoughts of the Riley County fair with all the fun and excitement of a small town fair. When I think of Manhattan, images of water skiing on Lake Tuttle, partying in Aggieville, the Christmas lights on Poyntz Ave, book shopping at Varney's, wandering around the beautiful K-State campus and going to little zoo behind the high school flash through my mind. Manhattan is such a vibrant little city and one I realize, now, that I miss.


I know someday my kids will leave the confines of Richmond, Virginia and go set the world on fire their own way.  I hope they can live in the moment and have their home where their heart is.  But I also hope they don't throw away their connection to their hometown.  I can't tell you how very happy I am to have reconnected with my old friends, become closer to some I didn't know well and let the thoughts of going home once again stir up some very fond memories.  My facebook status has been updated to now show that I have a hometown...Manhattan, Kansas.

Going home is for the love of my children...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Fear In My Heart Has A Name

...and his name is LUCAS!  I've written many stories and status updates about Lucas lately...for good reason.  He strikes fear in my heart.

He knows no fear...I, on the other hand, feel it all for him.  Neither Zach nor Claire strike this kind of fear in  my heart.  They are a little more reserved and a lot less impulsive.  They both seem to have a good healthy fear of, well, FEAR!  Lucas has none...zip...zero...zilch!  He will do anything, and I do mean anything for a laugh.  AND he has a habit of picking friends who like to lead him down a bad path...he is a follower, not a leader.  Couple that with his lack of a regard for fear and we have a recipe for disaster.

And I have no idea what to do about it.  I laugh at his antics but they strike fear in my heart at the same time.  That he truly believes "Jackass 3" is the best movie of all time is scary as all get out to me.  I know it's partially his ADHD.  I know kids with ADD and ADHD have impulsivity control.  I get it.  I do.  But I don't know how to reign it in now.  I used to know, when he was little, but now it's a whole new ballgame with a whole new set of rules and I have to learn new ones or invent some of my own...maybe both.

I guess I better get on this task pretty quickly, before he goes down a path I don't want him to go down.  Any suggestions are more than welcome, because I need all the help I can get squelching the fear in my heart who has a name...Lucas.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Sweetest Thing

Claire came to me last night and handed me her stack of school papers to sign, just like she does every Sunday night right before she goes to bed.  Last night's stack was different, though.  Last night's stack had an "I am" poem tucked inside and this is what it said....

I Am...

I am a supporting sister to my hockey playing brothers.
I wonder if my brothers' careers in hockey will continue.
I hear my brothers cheer for me while I am swimming.
I see the ice skates gliding across the ice.
I want to know if my brothers' careers in hockey will continue until they become pros.
I am a supporting sister to my hockey playing brothers.

I pretend to be the number 1 fan to my brothers while they are playing the good old hockey game.
I feel the same feeling my brothers do when they score a goal.
I touch the ice cold puck when my brothers win a tournament.
I worry my brothers will get hit too hard and break a bone.
I am a supporting sister to my hockey playing brothers.

I understand when my brothers lose a game to the best team in the country.
I say "Go Pokey" when my brother, Zach, is on the ice.
I dream my brothers will become pros in ice hockey.
I try to be the best supporting sister I can.
I hope my brothers will not give up hockey.
I am a supporting sister to my hockey playing brothers.

I just had to share...it was just the sweetest thing and it made this crazy, hockey mama just a little proud this morning!

Oh, for the love of my children....

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cool Girls

Last March I wrote a blog called What I Want For My Daughter". In it I talked about how I want Claire to grow up as one of the "cool girls" at school.  That blog has been on my mind lately, and I decided I want to take it just a bit further.

But first, I need to go back and explain what I mean when I say "cool girls"...

Cool girls, to me, are the ones who are comfortable in their own skin, are comfortable around the guys and are athletic enough to kick someone's ass if need be. Cool girls enjoy sports and are able to hold her own with anyone. Cool girls aren't "Queen Bees" or the "Wannabes." They are the absolute opposite of that.  Cool girls, to me, are like Honey Badger...they don't give a shit what anyone else thinks of them, they don't need validation from anyone but themselves or if they do they seek it from those who bring them up.  They have the world at their feet.


I think Claire is on her way to becoming a cool girl.  She has self-esteem out the ass.  She's smart, she's strong, she's tough, she's competitive.  She's out to rule the world...in a good way.  She has the kindest heart but she's not going to take shit from anyone.  I'm glad she's on the path to being a cool girl.

But I want to take this just a little further...

I don't want Claire to just grow up as one of the cool girls, I want her grow up to BE a cool girl.  I want her to hang on to her title of cool girl...tight.  I want her to always keep and cherish that title.  I don't want anyone to ever take that away from her.  I want her to be able to stand toe to toe with anyone and never give up ground.  I want her self-esteem to stay high and never let anyone bring it down.  I want her to be like Honey Badger...never giving a shit about what others think of her.  And I want her to rule the world...in a good way.

I was not what I considered a cool girl in high school.  From what I remember of myself in high school, I was a little shy, a lot awkward and extremely prissy.  But I have grown up and into the cool girl role, for the most part.  (I still have some little quirks, but hey, who doesn't?)  I had to shed the shy, the awkard and the prissy so I could be a good example for Claire.  I didn't want her growing  up like me ~ I want her growing up to BE a cool girl because it was the cool girls I looked up to and admired in high school...not the queen bees or the wannabes. I didn't want to be one of them. I wanted to be a kick ass cool girl. So I claimed the long desired title for myself.


I could give you a list of the girls I had in the cool girl category in high school and my list would probably surprise the majority of  my class mates. My list would be mostly devoid of names of girls in the popular group and it would contain no names from the queen bees and wannabes.  They were not the girls I aspired to be.  Cool girls were the "it" girls to me.

I think all women should want to have the title of "cool girl" conferred upon them.  I think every one of us deserves to have that title.  I think we should all hang on to the title with all our might and never let it go.  I think every woman out there deserves to be a cool girl.

So to all of the women I know out there...let's all aspire to be cool girls!  If you've lost your way in the cool girl realm, that's OK...come on back!  We want you here!  Let's all be like Honey Badger...never giving a shit what other people think of us!  Let's kick our poor self-esteem to the curb, thumb our noses at how others percieve us, and bring the world to our feet!  We've got that world to rule...in a good way! 


Here's to you, Cool Girl...

                                                      With Love!


 



Sunday, January 15, 2012

I Could Have Cheerfully Strangled Them


Yesterday.  We were on a timeline.  There was a long list of things to accomplish before we could head out the door and up the road to Lucas' hockey game in Maryland.  I wrote out a list of what needed to be done so Lucas and Claire could see it in black and white.  It was the three of us, needing to work together to get things done and get us out the door on time.  Stan and Zach were long gone.  They left on Friday for Zach's games in Philly.  I needed to get Claire to a friend's house before Lucas and I could head north.  There were so many moving pieces to the weekend and I had it all shaved down to a millisecond.



I gave them the two hour head's up, left the list for them with explicit instructions on what to do when they finished a chore and headed to another.  I told them I was going to go write my blog and I would be out soon.



I emerge from my desk not quite and hour later to see not one thing had been checked off the list.  The cats weren't fed, the litter box wasn't cleaned, the rabbit's cage hadn't been cleaned, bedrooms were a disaster, the dishwasher was still waiting to be unloaded....you get the idea ~ NOTHING was done.


Claire came down with her nails painted.  I could hear Lucas in the shower.  I was furious.  How dare they take their sweet time to do exactly what they want where there is a long list of things to accomplish before we can head out, I thought to myself?  I don't often lose it but yesterday,  I lost it.  I went upstairs and knocked (very loudly) on Lucas' bathroom door, demanding he get out of the shower immediately.  Claire stood, rooted to her spot, waiting for the explosion to happen.  And it did.  I stood with my fists clenched at my sides and I yelled...loudly and a lot.  I think my head may have been spinning and I pretty sure I looked possessed...red eyes glowing wickedly in my sockets.  There were no obscenities, no belittling and no false accusations just my loud voice reverberating through the house.


I don't get mad very often.  Yesterday was my day to lose it just a little.  But I hate it.  I hate "losing" it.  I hate yelling.  I hate being angry and frustrated.  I like calm Jenni.  The one who can talk through whatever it is that is not quite right. 

I left the two of the standing there in the wake of my tirade and went to take a shower. 

I emerged from my shower somewhat mellowed and went to find my two errant children.  It was then that calm Jenni took over.  I told them how angry I was them.  I used these exact words...."I am sorry I got so mad and yelled so loudly but when I give you all a list of chores to do and you don't do it makes me angry because I feel very disrespected.  I need you all to do what it is I ask you to do when I ask you to do it."  I asked if they understood what it was that made me so angry and got an affirmative answer.  "Good," I said "go on and get the rest of your things done.' 


I went back into my room to finish packing and getting myself ready when Claire came in, gave me a giant hug and said "I'm sorry, Mom."  I hugged her tightly and smiled.  Apology accepted...moving on.  Lucas, on the other hand, handled it just like Lucas would...deflect with humor.  Long after we got on the road, I watched him in the backseat as he jammed away to Blondie while she sang the "Tide is High."  I watched his fingers pointed skyward and moved up and down, Saturday Night Fever style and I smiled.


We got out of the house, nearly on time ~ for that I was thankful.  I was not thankful for the feeling of wanting to cheerfully strangle my children, though.  As I was dropping Claire with my friend, Julie, I told her the story of our morning.  I told her how I don't get mad very often and  Lucas interrupts me and says "No, that's not true, Mom.  Remember that one time two years ago when you got so mad and cut up our debit cards and I didn't even do anything to get in trouble."  Point made.  Thank you, Lucas, that was over two years ago.  I don't get mad very often but when I do, it's not pretty and the kids remember it.  Sometimes I wish I didn't have a temper but I do.  I have to think that someday these stories will be the ones the kids will talk about with one another as they are raising their own kids and I will smile.


Oh, for the love of my children...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

WOW!

Last night was an interesting night...

I took five kids on an adventure ~ that's a different story for a different blog but that story will be told.  The story I'm going to tell is the one in the car, to and from our adventure.

I had two girls and three boys with me last night.  Lucas brought two friends and Claire brought one friend. And it made for and interesting ride...

On the way to our destination Lucas and his cohorts took over the front three seats of the TRVLN ZU and I had the "pleasure" of listening to three goofy, young teenage boys talk.  I usually don't get involved in conversations unless a situation dictates.  Last night was no different.  The boys carried on with their chatter and I listened.  At one point one of Lucas' friends broke out a small bottle of hot sauce.  Why and how he had it is a mystery to me but he just happened to have a bottle of hot sauce in his pocket.  Out comes the hot sauce and with it comes the challenge...the throw down on the road to manliness.  Who can eat the most hot sauce?  Lucas was the first one to jump aboard the challenge ~ I think I should be scared!  He downed a small cap-ful of sauce.  All I could think was..."WOW!"  And not a good wow ~ a wow about how crazy he is...anything for a laugh.  I truly am scared of that child as he grows up.  I need to find a way to knock some common sense into him and make him understand the movie "Jackass" is not a good role model. 

And then there's Claire...she and her friend took over the front two seats on the way home putting the boys in the far back.  I got to listen to Claire and her friend chatter on about everything.  As with the boys I still and listen quietly, jumping in if needed or wanted.  I like being a fly on the wall.  As the girls were chatting, Claire's friend, Molly, started talking about heading to middle school next year.  She was wondering about homerooms, classes and whether Claire was going to go to their local middle school or chose to go the middle school with the IB (International Baccalaureate) program.  Claire sank down in her seat just a little, let out the biggest sigh and said, ever so quietly "Molly, I don't want to talk about middle school right now.  I don't want to think about growing up and leaving elementary school."  My heart constricted and ached just a little for my girlie who knows how good she has it and can live in moment,  never wishing time away.  WOW!  She's my little version of Peter Pan ~ with a maturity so far out reaching her age. 

I was on two completely different ends of the spectrum last night with two kiddos of mine.   I wouldn't have changed a thing about the entire night...not one damn thing.  It showed me what work I have ahead of me and what I am doing alright, right now.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Friday, January 13, 2012

They Couldn't Be More Different

Ah, what a trip...

Thursday night carpool always cracks me up. It is my evening to transport Claire and three of her friends to dance class. Lucas has to ride along with us because I drop him off at another hockey family's house so he can catch his own ride to hockey practice. It's an interesting ride, four chatty dance girls and one stinky hockey player together in one car.

Last night was that night. Lucas and Claire loaded into the car, ready to get to their destinations. We made our stops, picked up the other girls and off we went...

I've always known boys and girls are different but last night sealed the deal. Last night, I listened as the four girls whispered and giggled, busting out in raucous laughter probably aimed at Lucas who looked at me in stunned horror as the girls giggles got louder and louder. I looked over at him and said "What do you want me to say, Lucas? They're girls." His response was a resounding "BRRRRRRWWWWWAAAAPPPP!" Gee, thanks Blondie for the sweet burp in the face!

So, I've got giggling girls in the back and a burping boy in the front. They couldn't be more different. What am I gonna do but love them...and I do!

Oh, for the love of my children....

Thursday, January 12, 2012

How Can That Be?

I've been driving Claire to school all week ~ just trying to let her sleep in and catch her breath a little.  In order to get out the door on time she has to be up by 6:15 and out the door by 6:55.  The bus comes around 7 and she is off to start her school day. 6:15 comes early on these dark winter days. 

I used to drive the kids in almost daily when all three were in elementary school together.  They, and I, could all get a  little more shut eye.  Their school doesn't start until 7:50 but the county needs the buses  to run another load to school so our kids have the eariest pick up.  I liked driving them to school and hearing their chatter in the back, but I gave it up after Zach left and went to middle school.  It was too hard, having them on two different schedules, with Zach going to school later than Lucas and Claire.  And besides  Lucas and Claire really liked riding the bus.  It was their time to hang out with friends, get the latest elementary school gossip and just let off a little steam before the rigors of the academic day began.

It time seems so long ago now, the time when I used to drive the kiddos.  That was back when Zach was a fifth grader, Lucas was a second grader and Claire was a wee little kindergartner. I never imagined the time could come so quickly and Claire would be my last one at elementary school ~ staring the middle school years square in the eye.

Today, as I was dropping her off, though, I noticed something.  I watched as the fifth grader safety patrols all took to their jobs.  Claire and her group went to get the flags to put up.  The other "safetys" (as they are called) took their positions in the car pool loop, helping to keep traffic flowing.  My mind wandered back to the days when Zach was a fifth grader and I would see all of those kids doing the same jobs these kids are doing now.  I remember thinking how big and grown up they looked.  And then my mind wandered to the days of watching Lucas in the car pool loop, directing traffic.  I remember so clearly thinking those kids did not look nearly as old and grown up as Zach's class did.  I looked at these kids today and thought...there is no way these kids are as old as fifth graders and getting ready to head to middle school.  It's impossible.  They still look like babies. 

How can that be?

How can it be that, although, the kids are all the same ages, my youngest one's class looks so much younger and kid-like?  They don't look like they are anywhere near ready to leave the confines of elementary school and head off into the big, wide world of middle school.  Maybe it's because I don't want to think about Claire and her group growing up.  Maybe it's because she's my baby and time with her is passing so quickly.  I want to slow time down, with all of them, not just her.  It's going to fast.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lucas Makes Me Laugh

Just a few minutes ago, I was struggling for material for my blog and in walks Lucas.

He came to say good-night to me.  It's an unwritten rule in our house ~ good night wishes are mandatory.  I'm sitting here at the computer struggling to find content...something, anything and Lucas is my savior.

Lucas gave me the obligatory good night kiss and I rubbed his back.  He said "Oh Mom, can you scratch my back?"  I was happy to scratch that itch for him.  He was in heaven.  I reached where he couldn't.  He said "that's good. Thank you" and he bent down to kiss me good night again. 

It was then I realized my forehead was wet ~ with slobber.  I said "Lucas, you just slobbered all over me."  His response was "Well, when you were scratching my back I started to drool."  He cracks me up...tells it like it is and makes me laugh!

Ohhhhh, for the love of my children!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Time To Whine

The past couple of days, I have been feeling irritable and a little off kilter.  I imagine I am feeling kind of like my cat did when he had fleas.  Let me explain...

Fleas have to be one of the biggest irritants to any living creature.  This is what I imagine a flea would do to anyone...they cause itching that can't be eased.  They get into places that can't be reached.  And they come and go ~ one minute you're feeling fine, the next minute you're overcome with an itching so intense it could drive you to madness.

And NO, I don't have fleas...

It's my braces.  I am so over them.  I usually don't wish time away but I can't wait until August gets here.  My mouth is on fire!  The headaches caused by my misaligned jaw are long gone but the pain from the near constant movement of my teeth is driving me mad.  Couple that with poke-y wires, cheeks that feel like a cheese grater rolled over them and a lack of the desire to eat because it's such a pain in the rear ~ I gave myself a recipe for a little time to whine.

But whining doesn't do any good.  It just makes me want to whine more and I have too much to do, too much to be thankful for to sit here and whine. 

Whine time is over!

It's time to move on and get back to normal. So, I'll do what any normal person does to lift their spirits...I'm gonna put my iPod on the docking station, pull up my "fun song" play list and get moving.

These songs always make me smile, so to help brighten your day, I thought I'd share them with you.

First, up?  "Jenny, Jenny" (gonna get it stuck in your head so you'll think of me all day ~ and smile!).  It always makes me giggle, just a little.



How 'bout a little Black Eyed Peas and some "Boom Boom Pow"?  Can you say "girls' weekend?"



Or maybe some "Toes" by the Zac Brown band.  Ah, that's good...not a worry in the world...

 


How 'bout a little Billy Joel and a little "Only the Good Die Young"?  A tribute to my Catholic-ness



My last one....Def Leppard!  "Pour Some Sugar on Me"!  This one brings me back to a GRAND concert where we competed to see who could lose their voices first...



Ah, there!  I feel better already!!  PHEW!  I don't wanna to whine and be irritable.  I've got things to do, places to go and people to see.  No one wants to be around a whiner ~ except other whiners and that's not a place I wanna be or can afford to be...for the love of my children! 

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Crazy Train

I spent the whole weekend on the crazy train. 

You know that feeling you have when you get off a boat after a day of fun on the water and you're standing on solid ground but you still feel like you're swaying in the boat on the water when you legs feel all wobbly and weak?  That's how I feel today.  I have a temporary respite from the crazy train and then it's back on it again this evening...

The crazy train is the one that takes the kiddos to and from all of their activities. 

The kids took the crazy train all over the place this weekend.  Stan, Zach and Lucas were in two different cities in Maryland for hockey.  Claire was here, going and going and going with hours of dance followed by hours of swimming at the first meet of the new year. 

It was while I was at the swim meet that one of my friends, Cassandra, and I got to wondering why...why do we do all of this?  Why do we power through life on a crazy train?  What benefit is it to our kids?  Is it beneficial?

These are the questions that are running through my head today.  Not only were Cassandra and I talking about this but Stan and I were also talking about this the other day.  How do we strike a balance between doing what the kids want to do, what's good for them and what's good for the family? 

When Cassandra and I were talking at the meet we were wondering what is it that we are looking to get out of all of this for our kiddos. 

Are the boys going to go to the NHL and play hockey?  More than likely the answer is a resounding "NO."  But could they get a scholarship to play in college?  Who knows?  Right now the boys put in at least three hours of practice a week and sacrafice weekends to travel all up and down the Eastern Seaboard to find other worthy opponents.  To what end?   

Claire with her passion for swim and dance is going to have to make a huge decision next year, and she knows it.  Swim or dance?  Right now, she swims seven hours a week and dances eight hours a week.  Heading into middle school, with a tougher academic schedule, she's not going to be able to keep up with school work and both of these time consuming activities.  There aren't enough hours in the day.

When we were kids it wasn't this way...not for most of us, anyway.  The elite athletes had this kind of schedule.  Now the kids are channeled into the world of travel sports at an early age and pushed beyond all limits. 

I look at Claire's schedule and I cringe.  She asked to do it all, her last "big hurrah" year before heading off to middle school but I still cringe.  It's too much and she knows it now but it's too late to back out of anything for this year. 

The thing I keep coming back to, though, is that these activities keep the kids busy and out of trouble.  What would they be doing if they weren't at practice or dance or swim or traveling to play games?

I asked the question above, "to what end?"  But does there need to be an end?  Can't this all just be for fun, for friends and for staying out of trouble?  I think that's why we climb on board the crazy train every day.  It's not a bad place to be, just a little crazy.  But if they give the word, we'll disembark from the train and find a different way to fill their time. 

So for now I'll contine to say "ALL AHHHH---BOARD!" for the love of our children...


Saturday, January 7, 2012

The First Time

Lately, it seems to be a time of firsts in our house.  Last week we bought our first ever headboard and footboard.  And the other night, for the first time in our marriage, I did what Stan has been waiting and expecting me to do for18 years...

We had my parents to dinner the other night.  I wanted to prepare a feast for us.  I had everything organized and ready to roll.  We were going to have brined turkey, cooked on the Big Green Egg, grilled asparagus, salad and stuffing ~ but not just any stuffing and certainly not stuffing right out of a box but stuffing the way my mom fixes it. Celery and onions cooked in pounds of butter, with apple added for extra moist, extra delicious mounds of gooey stuffing with a golden crispy top...just the way I adore.

I set about all of my tasks and was preparing the apple for the stuffing when it happened for the first time in 18 years of marriage.  Instead of slicing the apples I sliced the tip off of my thumb.  Stan was watching my face when it happened and I took off for the hills as soon as I felt the blade slice through the skin, holding the flap tight against against the wound to stop the bleeding.  Both Stan and my mom (who is a nurse) tried to see what I had done but my embarrassment was deep and I took to tend to my wound alone. 

Stan has been waiting for this minute since the first time he saw me pick up a knife.  He never has liked watching me cut anything up and he usually tries to step in if I'm cutting something like a watermelon or a squash.  Or he'll just stand there and hold his head in his hands and watch in muted horror as I slice and dice with reckless abandon. 

He really has never liked to watch me wield a knife.  But it was brought home forcefully the night he tried to pre-program 911 into our home phone as I prepared dinner.  He thought he knew what he was doing but he thought wrong.  Instead of programming the number in he actually called 911 and hung up.  They immediately called back and asked to talk to a female in the house ~ uh, me.  They wanted to make sure I was OK and it really wasn't a domestic violence call.  I assured them it wasn't and went back to slicing and dicing with Stan holding his head in his hands. 

Poor Stan.  I think I've given him more gray hairs than the kids have with my lack of skills wielding a knife.

He really is not an overly protective guy or a hoverer but he just can't get over seeing me with a knife in my hands...evidently with good reason.  I'm happy to report my thumb has healed but my ego is still a little wounded.  But that's OK, these are lessons to the kids...be safe with a knife or you just might slice your fingertip off, and be a little protective when you must.  I promise from now on, I'll try to be safer with a knife.  I guess I need to set a good example for all of our kiddos.  And as for the other night, I turned all slicing and dicing over to Stan for the love of our children...

A Child of the 80's...

Is what I always thought, but lately I've been questioning the validity of that.  . 

We have satellite radio in our car and I've been listening to 70's on 7 and I know every word to nearly every song that comes on ~ from Shaun Cassidy's "Da doo run, run, da do run, run" to Abba's "Dancing Queen" to Elton John's "Yellow Brick Road" and on and on and on.  How is that possible? 

I came of age in the 80's.  The 80's were the years of high school, listening to music, going to concerts, school dances...music defined me in the 80's.  I listened to everything from Depeche Mode to Def Leppard to Wham!.  For goodness sake you would think I would know every word to every song in the 80's but I don't.  I turn on 80's on 8 and there are so many songs on there I don't know and don't remember ever hearing.  How is that possible?

All of my musical memories have got me to thinking about my kiddos and where they will peg themselves when they look back on their lives.  Will they connect with the music of today?  I'm sure they will to some degree.  But I can say for absolute certain they will also connect with music from other eras.  We listened to the 70's on 7 the whole way to and from Maine ~ that's 30 hours of uninteruppted music time.  They could sing along with almost every song that came on.  I loved hearing their voices in the back of the van singing away to any imaginable 70's tune.  I have no idea how they know these songs...do the tunes from the 70's just magically work their way into the brains of all of us...kind of like osmosis?  Are these songs so insidious they just snake their way into our brains surreptiously permeating the deep dark recesses of our brains only to be pulled out again and again when the song comes blasting through the speakers?  They listen to their own music, from the present but they are remarkably adept at spanning generations of music. 

I like that.  I like that we all have spanned across the years, all of us loving music from other ages and stages.  Technically, I'm a child of the 80's and technically my kiddos will be children of the new decade in a new century but for now, they'll live in the 70's through music.  Claire just came in and I asked her what her favorite song was from our 30 hours in the car...her response was "Hotel California."  Gotta say, Girlfriend can choose 'em ~ one of my favorites too (had it on a mixed tape...how 80's is that for you?)

With that and for the love of my children ~ here are the Eagles to take you back...



Friday, January 6, 2012

I Am An Enabler

To my darling children,

I admit it!  I've created you all and I created monsters!  Spoiled is what I'll call you ~ all!  As much as I love you, I've done you a huge disservice and enabled you to become the spoiled creatures you've become.  Last year I wrote a blog about you called "They Don't Know How Good They Have It" (http://www.jennicombs.com/2011/02/they-dont-know-how-good-they-have-it.html).  Today I'm going to take this idea even farther....

You, my little darlings, are spoiled.  You are not mean or nasty ~ think Nellie Olson from "Little House on the Prairie" (Ah Crap!  You don't even know who she is) but you are spoiled just the same. 

Today is the day your little worlds are going to get a little topsy-turvy.  This morning I told all of you I needed your sheets so I could wash them before the cleaning people arrive (I know I'm spoiled too!).  Claire was the only one to comply.  She sent her sheets careening over the bannister and onto the floor below.   Since you boys failed to do your assigned tasks, I needed to do it for you...again. I cruised into Lucas' room first and I am greeted by a sight that stuns my eyes...Lucas, your whole floor is littered with dirty clothes.  Your bathroom floor is littered with dirty clothes.  Your sink is a science experiment gone awry, with toothpaste spatter all over the inside and around the rim.  Today I did what I should have done months or even years ago.  I closed the door to your room, your bathroom and Zach's room.  I will tell the cleaning people to skip your rooms and you will now have to clean your rooms, remake your beds with the sheets I took off and washed and Lucas, you will have to clean your own bathroom.  Seriously ~ It's a damn science experiement!  Zach ~ your bathroom is clean and neat, as is your room but you failed to do the one thing I asked you to do...strip your bed. Your worlds need to be rocked just a little!

I have enabled you to get this bad.  I have been lazy in my parenting.  I don't check your rooms or  bathrooms that often.  You get away with bloody murder in the house because I go around after you if the job is not done to my satisfaction and clean it myself.  Don't get me wrong, my room is not always perfectly neat and tidy but it's  not littered with clothes, cups, empty water bottles, etc...I don't leave gobs of spit-out toothpaste in my sink.  My towels are hung up to dry.  I get my clothes in the laundry hamper.  It's time you all took a little responsibility for yourselves and your things.  My enabling days are over.

Today, you will have clean your own rooms!  "GASP ~ NO, SAY IT ISN'T SO!" Is what I imagine I hear you all saying.  Well, guess what ~ the gravy train has left the station and it's not coming back.  I am your enabler no more.

With Love,
Mom

Soooooo, as you all can see, I'm a little grumpy with my children right now.  I was on the verge of grumpy this morning when Zach asked if his socks were clean.  
"Were they in your hamper on laundry day," I asked. 
"No, but I put them in the washing machine," was the reply. 
"Hmmmm...the washing machine?  On laundry day?" I probe a little further...
"No, yesterday," was the lame response. 
Yesterday was not laundry day.  Not sure how he thinks the socks are gonna get washed if they're not there on laundry day.  Is the damn laundry fairy gonna come down and magically wash them??  OH wait!  I'm the damn laundry fairy...I grant all manner of laundry wishes.  Want clean clothes?  POOF, they're clean!  Want folded clothes?  POOF, they're folded!  (I draw the line at putting them in rooms or putting them away...which is why Lucas' are all over the damn floor!)  Well, as of this minute I'm firing the damn laundry fairy...or at least paying her less...oh, wait!  She's not paid for that!

The straw was fractured after my conversation with Zach but it was shattered this morning when I saw the condition of Lucas' room and bathroom.

My enabling days are over...I think.  I hope I can be strong.  Spineless and lazy no more!  That's my new motto for 2012!  Welcome to it!!  Enabling BE GONE...for the love of my children!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hester

Last night we went to my parents' house for dinner.  They were frying oysters and asked if Stan and the boys wanted to come.  They know I don't touch the things.  Oysters on the half shell look like a plate full of snot...take those same oysters and fry them and they look like fried snot.  Can you say "EWWWW?"

Anyway....

My parents also invited their 92 year old neighbor to have dinner with us.  When they moved here in July, they moved into a gated, 55 year old-plus community.  It makes socializing and commaradarie very easy for them.  They have gotten back into the swing of entertaining and are enjoying opening their home, once again, to others.  Last night was no exception.

My mom busted out the fine china, sterling silver and crystal glasses ~ all for a Wednesday night fried oyster feast (and here I'm complaining about the things looking like fried snot...last night they just looked like fried snot patties on really pretty china.  Guess this apple fell a little farther from the tree than most!) 

Anyway...

Hester.  She is my parents' neighbor.  And she loves to tell you that she is 92 years old.  Really, she doesn't look a day over 80!  She is fabulous, sharp, fit, well groomed but lonely.  Her husband died many years ago and she lives alone.  Her daughters both live here in Richmond and take extremely good care of her, as she loves to tell us.  But on a day to day basis, she is alone. 

We first met Hester two days after Hurricane Irene this past summer.  My parents' community lost power for several days while our power was restored within hours.  As the temperature ratcheted back up to unbearably hot, we invited them all over for some respite from the heat.  And all three gladly came trooping over for an afternoon turned evening of food and fellowship.  It was then we learned how much Hester loves to talk.  And talk and talk and talk...

Last night was no exception.  Hester told story after story after story.  92 years worth of stories are pent up in her head, waiting, wanting and needing to be told.  If she and someone else started talking simultaneously, she just bulled through, telling her story.  And we let her.  She's earned this time to tell her stories.  They are good stories to be told and heard and remembered.   

Last night Hester told the story of a young Italian man she and her late husband met so many years ago.  She told us about his broken English and his struggle to be understood as they went out to dinner.  The waitress came, as dinner was winding down, and asked if he would like anything else.  He said "No thank you.  I am fed up with what I have already eaten."  His translation was probably literal...I am full ~ I am "fed up."  We all laughed and listened to more of Hester's stories.

I enjoy watching my kids interact with their grandparents and people of older generations.  I think they understand that someday we will all be there ~ each of us wanting to have our stories told so they don't fade away and aren't gone forever.  Hester's story gave us new material to use.  It started last night when I declined desert because I was too full.  "I am fed up," I said.

Too soon I was off and running again to pick up Claire from swim practice and I left my boys, Stan and my parents to listen to more of Hester's stories.

After we got home, Stan and I started talking about Hester, her constant chatter and her need to tell the stories. She has stories to be told. We are here to listen and learn. My kids learn compassion and patience, sometimes not seen in me, in my busy-day-to-day-hurry up world. It's good for all of us to just slow down every now and again and hear stories that we will look back on and smile about in years to come

Listening is for the love of my children...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I TOTALLY Forgot!

On both of my boys' birthdays I published poems that I wrote for them and made into a little book filled with all sorts of their cutest pictures.  I planned to do the same thing for Claire but totally, one hundred percent forgot!

In my defense we were on a massive tour of the Mid-Atlantic & North East states on her birthday.  We traveled through Virginia, D.C., Maryland, Deleware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and into Boston on the day we celebrated 11 years with our darling daughter.  What a great birthday present for her...a 10 hour road trip, followed the next day by another five hours of sitting...

Anyway, I totally screwed up and forgot until just now when I was thinking about Christmas presents and the best one I ever got...

The Christmas Present

The day you were born
You created the ultimate storm.

Your birthday, you see, was the 22nd of Decemeber
The date is one we will always remember.

A Christmas baby, so warm and so sweet.
How blessed we were with the perfect treat!

Our Christmas baby was the most wonderful present.
Oh, to behold just a joyous event.

Beneath the tree you slept in a stocking so tiny.
The Angel on top was sparkly and shiny.

The lights of that Christmas were brilliant and bright.
Never could you imagine such a beautiful sight.

Oh how lucky we are to have our Christmas child!
On you, the angels looked down and smiled.

"Now there is a baby whose life is so blessed," they said,
"Love and laughter may you have in life ahead."

Our sweet little Christmas present is growing day by day.
Every Christmas we give thanks and pray.

We are so fortunate and lucky
To have you, our Christmas babe, from Kentucky.


This birthday may not have gone down in history as one of her favorites and I did forget to post her poem.  But her birthday is always a truly special time for me ~ my darling, little Claire Bear is, and always will be, my favorite Christmas present.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy Belated Anniversary...

...to me!

It was one year ago yesterday when I was upstairs, folding my upteenth load of laundry ~ much like my day today.  I was watching the movie "Julie and Julia" and it was then I got inspired by Julie.  In the movie, Julie decided to take Julia Child's cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," cook one recipe a day and blog about it for 365 days.  I took her idea to heart...making it my goal to blog once a day for the year. I named my blog "Oh, for the love of my children..." and rolled forward.

When I named my blog it was more of a tongue in cheek title ~ a play on the saying "Oh, for the love of God!" I thought it would be funny to post the truly irritating parts of being a mom but what this blog has turned into is something far more. I never imagined it would be a place where I could vent my irritations but come out on the other side seeing every story in the light of the love of my children.

It's been a fantastic year! And while I didn't reach my goal of 365 blog posts, I gained valuable knowledge...I learned I can do this thing called writing. I learned how much I love writing and I learned how much fun it is to be the mom of these three kiddos. I also learned I have no desire to stop this blog after a year and am making it a goal for 2012 to really get to 365 blog posts ~ yes, I'm already two behind...but I can make up for lost time. I figure as long as I have you all along for the ride, I might as well keep doing what I enjoy so much...loving my children and writing about the zany, crazy, out of this world experiement we call child-rearing.

I only have two and a half more years left with all three of these kiddos of mine at home. It's milestone after milestone after milestone right now and I might as well write it all down so, maybe, someday these kids can look back on life growing up and know, without a shadow of a doubt, how much they are loved.

Rolling on for the love of my children...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ahhhh, I LOVE Lucas!

Yesterday Stan and I did something we have never, in 18 years of marriage, done...
Yesterday we bought ourselves a headboard and footboard for our bed.  18 years of wedded bliss and we had never had a pretty bed in our room.  The kids' rooms are all decked out with headboards and footboards but not us, we put ourselves at the bottom of the nice room list so we decided it was time to rectify the situation, making this our Christmas gift to each other.

We headed out into the great big world of furniture stores, each of us having an idea of what we wanted.  I pictured a pretty four poster bed with decorative spindles and Stan pictured a massive sleighbed.  Our ideals weren't really in sync with each other but not too wildly divergent either.  I figured we could find something, giving us a happy medium.

As we walked into the store, Stan said "OK, we're gonna get this done in 10 minutes."  He was joking but only slightly.  Both he and I share one thing it common when it comes to shopping....we buy ~ not shop.  I really don't like shopping.  I break out in hives at the thought of being at a mall for the sake of just being at the mall.  I like to know what I'm going to get before I go out and just go buy it.  Stan's the same way.  Buy ~ don't shop.  (Of course we do our homework before we go out so we are knowledgeble and don't get taken for fools.) 

So we tackled the furniture store, each of us knowing what we wanted.  Not too long into our foray we came across a furniture group that had what we each wanted...both a poster bed and a sleigh bed.  Stan fell instantly in love with the sleigh bed.  He was drooling at the thought of the bed in our room.  I have never seen such a look cross his face as I did when he saw the bed.  We each agreed to keep looking but the saleswoman assured us we would be back to this group.  How right she was.

Stan was funny yesterday.  I was the one who hemmed and hawed because of the price.  He was the one who asked if we could also get the bedding from one of the beds.  He was adding in things as I was trying to take things out.  He knew exactly what he wanted and he went after it with a vengance.
We ended up buying the sleigh bed.  I couldn't live with myself knowing how much he loved the look of that bed and then making him settle for something less than what he wanted. 

As Stan was telling the story yesterday, he said he thinks that is the first time ever, in the history of us ~ he and I, where he has looked at something, wanted it so badly and then gotten it.  Lucas, my little love, pipes up and says "What about the day you got married?  You looked at something you wanted then and got it!"  Ah, I love Lucas!  I don't know where he learned to be so suave but he bowled me over!

Yesterday may have been Stan's and my first time buying a pretty bed but it wasn't the first time Lucas has amazed me with his quick wit and lightening fast brain pulling out the ultimate compliment.  God love the kid...he is one sharp kid when it comes to making people feel good.  I just smile when I think of some of the things he has said and done to make me feel on top of the world.  I hope Lucas never loses the ability he has and the gift he was given to make someone's day just a little brighter.  I just love that kid.

Oh, for the love of my children....