Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Anatomy Lesson

We have been having many discussions about "pecs" at my house lately. As in, pectoral muscles? Yeah. This all started because all super hero action figures are quite built-as you would expect for men of steel. Their pecs are rather large. Much bigger than any actual man we know. So, naturally, Drew started referring to them by the name of girl parts in this region. I'll not be using the term. Heaven forbid someone googling that word lands here!! Big Dan let him know that on guys those parts are actually called pecs. The whole thing has been very confusing.

A few days ago I came downstairs after getting dressed and Drew exclaimed, "Mom, you have huge pecs." Um. I'm pretty sure I just stared at him because, well, there are no words. I am an extremely modest person. Or a prude. Or whatever. The truth is I'm not comfortable talking body parts with my 4 year old. I really try to play it cool, though. I try to make it so it's no big deal. I just answer matter of fact and try to move on. But on the inside? DYING. He has said some really...wow...kind of stuff.

Imagine my delight as I explained (matter-of-factly and not sweating or freaking out) that Emily would not grow pecs until she was a teenager. And I did not use the word pecs, just to be clear. After explaining that big pecs on men are a result of working out (and leaving out the probability of steroid use...), I would not be surprised if Drew starts asking for a set of weights.

Big pecs. It's what you always dream your child will aspire to...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Welcome Spring...or...wait...

Well, I'm sorry for the silence, but I've been on SPRING BREAK! WOO! (Don't you really feel like any time you say "spring break" you have to follow it up with a woo?)

I was sort of laughing at myself for being excited about Spring Break (woo!) because I only work three days a week. I'm such a wimp. But, let me just say, when Sunday night rolled around and I wasn't packing lunches and going over lesson plans? Yesssss.

Our week did not start out as I had hoped. We did not make it to Dinosaur World. A. It was raining. B. Emily needed a trip to the pediatrician. I will say that my kids had an absolute blast playing in the Dr.'s office waiting room for a very extended period of time, so it was all the same to them. Although, Dinosaur World would have been cheaper. Em had another ear infection. Other moms? Are you sort of glad when you find out your kid is actually sick at the ped's office? I mean, I don't rejoice in the sickness of my children, but there's nothing worse than the doctor saying, "Um. You're a wacko. They're fine." Alright, fine. No doctor has ever said that but you can see it in their eyes.

Tuesday we spent the day with Aunt Katy. She and I put the finishing touches on all of our gear for Wade's party. Did I mention we were doing the party? I know I've mentioned how much we love a party. We did a "Cars" party for him and I'm pretty sure he loved it! I, of course, have exactly zero pictures of it, but Katy has bunches, so I'll get them posted. Then you can ooh and ahh and then hire us to do your child's next party.

Wednesday we loaded up and the kids and I headed to Knoxville for our REAL spring break. As you well know, any kind of trip is sort of a gamble. It can go one of two ways-total blast or complete disaster. Somehow it never lands in the middle. But, either way it will be a memory, right? It might require a glass of wine when you remember it, but you'll remember. I'm happy to report our Spring Break (woo!) 2011 trip was a complete blast. We rolled into town on Wednesday night and I have never seen cousins so happy to see each other. Thursday we took advantage of free admission day at the Oak Ridge Children's museum. Us and the rest of East Tennessee. I have not been there in many moons. It was fun to check out all the new stuff. Drew had a good time, but I learned something important about him. He likes to take his time at a museum. He was not at all happy to be rushed through the exhibits. He was also not impressed with "soooo many kids". But, all was made well when he got to eat a Happy Meal with a SUPERHERO in it. (Incidentally, the super hero was the junior version of Robin, who looked EXACTLY like Charlie Sheen. No joke. The moms were cracking up.)

On Friday we met my good friend and her boys at open gym time at a local gymnastics place. Holy moly. The big kids were in hog heaven. Drew played his guts out. And, not to be outdone, Van was a wild man in the foam pit! The car ride to and from the gym was the highlight for me. I had all three 4 year olds in my back seat. The conversation reminded me of lunch time in my preschool class. It all starts normal enough, and then always devolves to boogers and other bodily functions. And lots of cracking up. Friday night after the kids were tucked in, the sister's and I (and a couple of men folk) burned the midnight+ oil setting up for the party. We took a moment of silence for our middle school student council advisor and all the hours we spent decorating for dances. Had any one of us had to do it alone, it might have been miserable, but hanging out together was probably my favorite part of the whole weekend. It didn't hurt that I had had two Starbucks doubleshot+energy drinks that day. I think 2011 will go down as the year of the caffeine.

Saturday we took a leisurely morning and then found out about some family things that had to be done and scrambled around like wild people. But, I was bound and determined to make it to Weston's soccer game, and boy am I glad I went! He scored his first goal! I screamed like I was at the super bowl. He was just a little proud of himself. I could cry right now just thinking about it. I love that kid.

The party was a total blast and I think Wade had a great time, which is really all that mattered to me. My son spent approximately the whole party riding a power wheels Harley. In past visits, he was way too nervous to ride one. Somehow, this time, it all came together for him and he was a maniac! You should have seen him slap that sucker into reverse and correct his course. Classic. I knew when I looked up and he was sitting backwards on the handle bars saying, "Oh yeah, oh yeah" that we had crossed over some sort of confidence barrier. I probably should've been more concerned for his safety, but mostly I just felt happy for him!

After the party, I loaded up the kids and hit the road back to Nashville. Best trip back ever! Kids slept and there was no traffic. We had all day Sunday to reboot before heading back to school.

A whole extra week has passed since I started this post...niiiice! And while I was off doing whatever I was doing, winter came back. Did you hear me??? It's COLD outside. Seriously. Don't taunt me with high 70s and then in a matter of days hits the low 30s. I'm just saying. I blame myself. Never should've packed up all those sweaters...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Crying Over Spilt Milk

I am not a good housekeeper. I am sad about it, but it is the truth. I'm a mess (in more ways than one) and I have to work really hard to keep my house even slightly neat. Emphasis on slightly.

Some time ago I realized there had been a chocolate milk spill in my fridge. I will not tell you the specific length of time because there is really only so much of my pathetic I'm willing to share. I saw the spill was massive. All down the back wall of the fridge, pooling up at the bottom, under the meat drawer. And do you want to know what I did? I closed the door and walked away. I know some of you are dying right this second. My sister is both simultaneously shaking her head in shame and trying to figure out how to get down here asap and get a hold of my forsaken fridge.

Every time I opened the door, I literally felt sick at the thought of cleaning it. So, I would just close the door again. (Please don't hate. You have no idea how utterly embarrassed I am to write this...) And my fridge is not the only place in my house I've spent time ignoring.

Today, I tackled the fridge. I wanted it to be easy. I wanted to find the perfect tool to scrape it all out in one fell swoop. What I got was a whole lotta scrubbing. The kind that makes your fingers sore. There was nothing to do but to scrub down through the layers that I allowed to harden and crust over time.

I knew as soon as I started scrubbing this wasn't just about my fridge. The Lord has had me in a place of facing some places in my heart that I have continuously shut the door on. He has led me by the hand and turned my shoulders saying, "Let's take a look." And on my most stubborn days, He gently takes my chin. "Look. Don't be afraid. Just look." And I won't lie. I've found mess. Dirty, crusty, stuck on mess. Mess that, if I had only taken a look long ago, probably wouldn't require so much scrubbing. Because the scrubbing? It hurts. A lot.

Today though, as I scrubbed the bottom of the fridge, each time I saw the white start to come through, it encouraged me to keep scrubbing. If I focused on how much was still left to deal with, I felt overwhelmed. If I focused on that little patch of white, I found myself thinking, "It's working. Don't quit."

In my soul I'm beginning to see those patches of white shining through. The Christ in me that has been covered over by my stubborn refusal to SEE. He is teaching me how to scrub, and most importantly, He is teaching me to keep scrubbing even when it hurts.

I need change. I need to face each mess when it comes, right that minute. It takes God-sized courage to face our own mess, it really does. My sore, worn out hands are raised to him to say "Thank you". He doesn't ask us to scrub without teaching us how.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Copy Cat

Well, we've crossed over another preschool threshold. Did you know it is HILARIOUS to repeat back everything your mom says?? Yeah. Hilarious. Can I just say that it is beyond weird to have my own kid doing all these "kid" things? Do you know what I mean? And some things never die over time apparently. He is still an amateur, though. He hollers from the backseat "Mom, say something!" To which I answer, of course, "Something." "No," he says, "say something else. I promise I won't copy you!"

I'll let you play out the rest of the scenario in your mind...it's rather predictable.

Also, have I mentioned his new obsession with "Subways"? As in, the sandwich shop. And yes, he puts an "s" on the end. It adds some East Tennessee flair, just like when folks say "The Walmarts". I got a slew of gift cards from the awesome moms in my class at Christmas time, and one of them was for Subway. So, one night for dinner I took the kids to "Subways". Oh, the wonder of choosing your very own sandwich toppings! Drew could barely believe it! He loved his sandwich (and had no idea they have a kids meal. Add it to the list of things I don't tell...) and now asks to eat at "Subways" almost every night. Last weekend he ate an entire 6 inch sub all by himself.

Emily has taken to keeping a stash of snacks all around the house. Yesterday afternoon she opened a cabinet and pulled out the slider thingy and declared "cracker!" A whole little bowl of crackers had been stashed there the day before. Self-serve snacks-awesome. She has also figured out how to stand in drawers to reach new heights. Anytime I am at my desk at the computer she opens the bottom drawer and stands in it so she can reach to type. It's very helpful. Also, there is a series of drawers on one side of the silverware drawer and the bottom one makes a great step stool to wreak havoc inside the silverware drawer. And to "help" me cook. Also known as almost catching on fire. While annoying, I'm pretty impressed with her ingenuity!

Today officially starts spring break. While we won't be hitting any beaches or doing any wild partying, we do have some pretty crazy plans that just might include a trip to Dinosaur World. Also, I've got a new obsession with figuring out how to hang a tire swing in our back yard. And some climbing rocks. I hope my vision comes to reality, because you will be very impressed. Because in my mind? Genius plan. I don't know if we've met, but if we have, you can probably predict the outcome. Something disastrous and/or mind-blowingly stupid will happen. The good news is, I'll have another story to tell...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fine Dining

Ya'll have heard me whine about eating with children once or 1,000 times. And I have to admit, for the past few months I have been pretty lame about meal times around here. And by lame I mean, a whole lotta microwave and not much (or any) sitting at the table. In my defense, Emily has been in sort of an in-between phase as far as eating is concerned. She was not really ready to eat much of what I would fix for myself, so I just fixed kid food all the time. She has sort of turned a corner, and combined with the fact that she can now eat some things with milk as an ingredient, I think we might be making some progress.

I actually cooked dinner every night last week and we...drumroll please...ate at the table with no t.v. on. Don't get worried. This is NOT going to be an idyllic post about how sweet our family dinners are. Au contraire. I was just thinking tonight, "Why do I do this to myself?" I thought that right after Drew got up for the 105th time and Emily leaned back in her seat for the 105th time and almost fell all the way over. Emily had eaten the "pulp" out of her cucumber slices and left the rinds laying on the table. You know, right next to her plate. Drew spilled ketchup and Catalina dressing on the table and it was congealing as we sat there. Emily likes to eat with a fork, but can't really get anything on the fork, so I have to put each bite on there, hand her the fork and then she feeds herself.


Because. Being a parent is not about having a fun, quiet, simple time. It's about training little people to be their best selves and to live lives that honor the Lord. This is no small task when you consider we all enter the world pretty much as barbarians!! And maybe it's too much to have them sit at the table, and use a napkin, and clear their plates (well, Drew gets to clear Emily's plate...) and maybe when they're grown with kids they'll let their kids run around with a chicken nugget hanging out the side of their mouth because they were traumatized by all the sitting at the table. I kind of doubt it, though.

I don't want to say that I like our time at the dinner table. Because then I would be a big, fat, liar. I don't like it at all. But, deep down I know it's right. So, I press on. And thank the good Lord for my Pampered Chef scraper-it scrapes up a multitude of sins!

If you have any good, quick dinner ideas for the toddler-preschool set that is also acceptable adult fare, I'd love to hear about them. My friend Laura posted about "Make your own Salad night" and I tried it here. It was a hit! Even Emily chowed down on some salad.

It's not gourmet. It's not home-made. But it's healthy. And it's made with love. Even if it is a hasty bit of love!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekend News

I sure wish I could stay up late enough to watch Saturday Night Live. It doesn't help one bit that I now live in the Central Standard Time Zone. And also, do you like how I still pretend I'm new to Nashville. I've lived here almost 6 years. It feels like 6 months still.

Anyway. Sometimes on nights when I can't sleep I get a little bit excited because I am up late enough to watch the Jimmy Fallon show. Have you seen it?? It is hilarious. I mean, HILARIOUS. If I had Tivo it would be at the top of my list.

None of that has anything to do with the the actual content of the post. Forgive me.

We had a rainy, stay-at-home weekend this weekend. I was a little worried it might cause some stir-craziness, but I guess we've had enough time outside that a couple of days home and we're still ok. I did build a fort and insist on some "trampoline time", but otherwise all was well. Funny side note-I've been letting Drew stay up late on the weekends and we watch t.v. in my bed. We don't have cable up there, so we're pretty much stuck with whatever's on, and sometimes it ends up being Joel Osteen because anything on network is way too adult for Drew. One night "Hairspray" was on, and can I just say, he loved it??!! He still asks to watch it regularly. Ha! So, last night "King Kong" was on and we were watching a little bit of it at the end. He was watching King Kong run around crazy and he said, "Mommy, I think he needs some trampoline time".

Today I was sitting at my computer and Emily sauntered into the kitchen, looked up at me and said, "Hi, Mom!" HI MOM???? What are you, 12?? I cracked up. You can so tell that she loves being able to talk. She has also started singing, which is super cute. She is very shy about most things, though, so you kind of have to catch her doing it without her knowing.

Drew has a CD player in his room to play music at night to help him get to sleep. Today I was putting away laundry and he said, "Mom come here! I need to show you something. It's very fancy!" Um, very fancy? Alright. I went into his room and he said, "Listen, it's cowboys singing!" And he was right. He had switched the CD player from CD function to AM radio and was broadcasting the Grand Ole Opry in his room. He was very proud. And I must say, that is pretty fancy!

We are crossing our fingers for pretty weather tomorrow so we can hike right after school.

Wishing ya'll a great week!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pussy willow

Please tell me you snickered just a little at the title. It will make me feel so much better about myself.

My son, he gets some weird things stuck in his little brain. Back in the winter (you know, two weeks ago...) when we were on a complete t.v. binge (don't judge...) Drew watched an episode of Ms. Spider's Sunny Patch and became obsessed with pussy willow. On the show Ms. Spider has a "stuffie" made out of pussy willow, her daughter uses it at Grandma's, loses it, drama ensues.

Drew decided he wanted his very own "stuffie" made from pussy willow. I'm not kidding.

I tried explaining that it wouldn't really work. Spiders are tiny, so their "stuffies" are tiny. We would need like 6,000 bushels of pussy willow to make a "stuffie" his size. I thought we were done with the conversation.

A few weeks went by and Drew asked, "Mom, how do bugs hibernate in the winter?" I did what any decent mom does-I pulled out the World Book encyclopedia. Ok, fine, I googled. When I explained what google was all about Drew's eyes got wide and he said, "Mom!! Can we google pussy willow?" I was nervous. Google can be dangerous, youknowwhatI'msayin'?? But we found it, and learned all about it. And we are now the proud owners of our very own fake pussy willow. On the table in the dining room. Ushering in spring like none other.

I just have no idea what I'd do without that kid.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

In Case You Missed It...

If you are reading this post, there's a slight possibility you missed the rapture. When I tell you what happened today, especially in light of yesterday's post, you are going to be convinced the end is at least near, if it has not come. Maybe those billboards are right...

We had an amazing day today. I have a to-do list miles long, but I was craving time-quality time-with my kids. I have worked a ton this week (all you full-time working mommas feel free to make fun) and this was our first day home together in a while. Drew has decided that he is super into hiking and, ya'll? There is nothing in life that makes me happier. I am the happiest when I am in the woods. I live, literally, minutes from a state park. Today I thought, "Why haven't I been doing this more often?" I've been sort of judging myself lately for "losing who I am" and things of that nature. There's a lot wrapped up in that crazy burrito, but mostly? I've been having babies! Drew is just now really big enough to get out there and tackle nature without breaking down after a few minutes. So, I let myself off the hook and just felt happy we were out there today. Drew's favorite part of hiking is picking the trail and following the arrows. We did have a few moments of confusion as he looked at an arrow and said, "Uh, mom? If we go up we'll be in the trees!" We had a little lesson on how if the arrow points up it means straight. And then I told him, "Get used to it son. Lots of things in life are just plain confusing."

Emily rides in my fancy carrier on my back. It feels just like carrying a pack and this, too, takes me to my happy place. Only a pack that talks baby talk and pats your back is way better than carrying stinky socks and hiking food! We did have a *little* trouble learning how to get her in the pack in the back riding position. After a few practice sessions at home she would shriek any time I pulled the pack out. We pushed through, and now we're pros. Well, at least getting her in. Getting her out is still rather precarious. Today I had to do it in front of about 10 other moms (one of whom was wearing the exact carrier) and I tried to be nonchalant. I was all "Sure, I just swing her around by one arm all the time..."

After our hike we played on the nature playground and headed home for lunch. Drew was in such a good mood. Being outside does that boy a world of good. With that in mind we took a long walk to the grocery and the hardware store after nap time.

It was at the grocery store, at the check-out no less, where the miracle occurred. We were in the u-scan line, and you know how finicky the u-scan computer lady is. I had just finished hissing at Drew to stay off the platform with the bags or the whole system would be screwed up for who knows how long. Or something along those lines. As I was finishing up my order, Drew tugged on my shirt and said, I kid you not, these exact words:

"Mama, I love you so much. You do lots of nice things for me, and I am thankful for you."

And then the shofar blew and the heavens opened.

When I came to, I glanced around. There were witnesses! Actual other live grown-ups who heard him say this!

I couldn't help but get tickled. Remember how I said motherhood constantly catches me off guard?? It was almost like I could see God wink at me. Just when you think you have it all figured out...

Amazing what happens when you just let go.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I know I've said to tons of parents over the years, "Oh, he/she doesn't mean it when he/she says those things. They love you. They're just testing things out. Don't take it personally."

It's amazing how much wisdom and insight you have before you have children.

We have entered the land of four year old injustice. The land where every word uttered from the mouth of mom is met with some form of the following, "Awww nuts [sidebar: NO idea where he got this...], NO FAIR, you are such a meanie. A MEANIE. *Roar*". And if we happen to be in the car at the time, there is some extra seat kicking just for emphasis.

There are so many mom moments that just catch you off guard. I've been around kids for a lot of years. I've seen this. I've heard about it. But, somehow, it still comes as a shock. Because, what? I'm going to have the ONE kid who says, "You know, mother, you're right. You are so insightful about my needs. I'm so glad you are looking out for me."

I knew it was coming, but truthfully? I'm a little huffed.

Today I could feel a big ol' lecture working it's way up. It went something like this. "You know what? I'm so tired of you calling me mean. I work really hard for you and do lots of really nice, good things for you, and you don't appreciate it. And furthermore, your behavior is what earned you these consequences in the first place that are 'not fair', so blame yourself not me." I maybe would've thrown in a "young man" or two just for good measure. But you know what I did instead? I ignored the tirade. I just rolled down my window and flat pretended it wasn't happening.

Remember all those times I told a mom "Don't take it personally"?? Yeah. About that. Some moms embrace the meanie role, calling themselves meanie just to irritate the kids. I think there is some part of me still trying to be Mary Poppins, hoping to never be meanie. And now that I've admitted to feeling this way, I feel like I'm standing here nekkid in front of all of you. Be glad this is the written word, friends. But, I realized, it wouldn't bother me a bit if there wasn't some part of me who never wants to be seen as meanie.

In understanding the unbelievably high standard I have set for myself, I could feel myself relax. Wind in my hair, sun on my face, I laughed and said, "Yeah. I am a big meanie!"