Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back to School

When I was young I loved the first day back to school. I loved the fresh new school supplies, the new books, new clothes, the feel of Fall in the air. It was a time of excitement and anticipation. As a mommy I love it just as much but it's mixed with other feelings; sadness, pride, and guilt.

Today Aiden got on the bus and headed off to start second grade. He was not at all happy about it. School is not his favorite thing and he tells me this often.

How am I feeling? FREE! LOL. Well, not entirely since Riley doesn't start preschool until next week but the calm and relative peace in the house this AM is quite freeing. I am a little sad, I will miss Aiden and his antics while he is away. I also feel a touch of guilt for being so happy to see him get on the bus.

Many of my mommy friends online and in real life were sad to see the first day of school come and told me how much they were going to miss their kids and wish they could be home all the time. I love my boys with all my heart but I welcome the school year with open arms. I think it's good for all of us to have our own space and time and I am happy to give up my role as cruise director and general activities coordinator.

I used to worry that being excited about my kids going to school made me a bad mom but I've come to realize that I can't compare myself to all the other moms out there. We all have different feelings, different parenting styles and different kids. All I can do is respect their feelings on the issue and hope they respect mine. So when I see their sad posts on FB this AM I offer condolences and support and I hope when they see my jubilant one they understand where I am coming from as well.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I always wanted to have two children. I wanted them to be close, closer than my sister and I. Kelly and I were 3.5 years apart and it was just too much most of the time. Sure there were times when we got alone but for the most part we were just too far apart in age and interested in different things. I wanted something different for my boys.

Aiden and Riley are 2.5 years apart. I love it. They've gone through phases of being close and driving each other crazy but this summer something has changed. I've watched my boys become brothers and friends. I have never been more proud.

Last summer we were busy. We spent nearly our whole summer at one beach or another and I thought it was the best summer ever. My boys were tan and happy and we washed sand out of their hair every night. This summer we have a puppy and being away from home for hours at a time is difficult. So, we've been spending a lot more time at home. At first I was sad that the boys wouldn't have the same summer as last but now, well, now I see that I was wrong and this summer has been the best thing for them.

Each day my boys play together. They spend hours playing games, building, and using their imaginations. They have become friends. I've watched them grow this summer and not just out of their clothes. They have learned a little bit about compromise, a little bit of communication, a little frustration and a lot about love. I really hope that this summer is the beginning of great things to come for them as brothers. I hope that long after I am gone they will continue to lean on each other and remember that mama taught them that their very best friend in the world is their brother.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Moon Sand (A.K.A the toy from Hell)

As promised in this post here is my post dedicated to moon sand. Do you have this at your house?? Have you allowed your children to play with it?

We first received moon sand as a gift. If I could remember who gave it to us I would call them out, but I don't. I carefully tucked it away without even opening the package. Sand?? In the house?? Clearly this was a bad idea. Then one day I gave in and let the kids play with it. Perhaps I was desperate for a few minutes of peace or perhaps I forgot to take my meds. that day. The kids loved it. But then, what's not to love. A small sandbox in your house? Rock on.

I was not in love. I will admit that moon sand is fun to play with. It has a sandy texture but if you squeeze it into a shape it kind of feels like one of those circus peanut candies from long ago. It's a tactile dream.

One summer I decided that the moon sand could live outside. We brought the little play set out and the kids would sit in the driveway and play with it. Any that spilled out was easily washed away when it rained. Slowly the moon sand dwindled until there was no more. I vowed never to buy more myself. Along came little guys third birthday and big guy desperately wanted to get him a moon sand construction set. I let him. I have always let the kids pick out their own presents for each other (with minor direction) and this was no different. They both loved the new set and played with it a lot for a few months. And then, I put it away on a shelf, a high shelf and it was forgotten.

Fast forward a year and moon sand is again in my life. It's EVERYWHERE. Little guy plays with it for hours, really. Unfortunately he plays with the set on my kitchen table. The container it comes in is supposed to keep it contained but it does not. My kitchen table is constantly gritty and the floor looks like a beach in the Carribean. (A girl can dream). Every time I go through a pile of papers there is moon sand. Lick an envelope to mail a bill....moon sand on my tongue. Pick up my fork to eat dinner and it suddenly has a gritty moon sand additive. This stuff is impossible to get rid of. I vacuum, I wash, I sweep and still there is moon sand. I've dubbed it the toy from hell because, well, it is. I do love the hours of enjoyment my kids get out of it but really? Who thought moon sand was a good invention? Moms around the world should unite and find the inventor, I'm sure they do not have kids of their own. Let's make sure to bring our moon sand with us too....we can play with it at their house.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Ah, such a lovely topic, don't you think? If you are a parent or friends with someone with kids you will understand this post. If you are not, you may want to skip this one.

Nearly every mom (and I only single out moms b/c I don't have many dad friends) I know has said at one point or another "I never thought I'd talk about poop so much and then (insert child's name) was born." It's true in my case. I've talked more about poop since becoming a mom than I ever imagined I would, more than I ever wanted to and more than I ever care to again.

From conception poop becomes a topic, esp. to the pregnant mom. Lots of moms deal with constipation while pregnant. At this point though, I don't remember talking about it with all my friends. I think poop was still a "private" thing.

Next up comes thoughts about labor and delivery. Nearly everywhere you turn someone tells you that you will most likely poop on the delivery table. They chuckle and then tell you it's not a big deal and the nurses are prepared for it, etc. I was mortified at the thought. I ended up with two c-sections so my fears were never realized, phew.

As the birth comes near your doctor prepares you for things that might go wrong. One of those is that the baby might have had it's first bowel movement in utero. More poop.

After the baby is born they make you track how many times the baby pees and, you got it, poops. Seriously, are you sensing a theme yet? From here on out it's all about the kids poop. What color is it? How much is there? What consistency is it? How often do they do it? I learned more about poop than I though existed.

My friends and I talk about poop. We compare stories about our kids, we ask each other questions when we are concerned, and we laugh about poop stories. Sometimes I wonder if we ever really grew up at all. Poop still makes us giggle.

In my house we've moved beyond poop, for the most part. My boys are both potty trained and handle their business on their own (except for that unfortunate incident involving exploding poop and a boy standing to pee on my birthday......UGH). The big word in our house is fart. My boys are OBSESSED with the word and the action. They whisper to each other when one or the other farts and they laugh uncontrollably. My youngest hears the word fart everywhere. Say Dr. Farnsworth and he hears Dr. Fartsworth. Time to go to the farm becomes time to go to the fart. It's getting old. I know it's a stage and they will eventually outgrow it (please don't tell me otherwise...let me live in this fantasy). Sometimes I walk around just saying fart to prove a point it's not such a funny word.....I turn every other word into far.
Example: Hi farts, today I went to the fart and bought some farts. I drove the fart there and then took the farts up the farts and put them in the farts.
I don't think they get it. Oh well.

Monday, March 7, 2011

My Very First Mother's Day

As my first Mother's Day drew near I was excited. I had waited my whole life to be a mom and was looking forward to a holiday dedicated to moms. I don't remember now what I thought the day would be like. I don't think I was expecting the heavens to part and angels to fly around and sing to me while a maid cleaned my house and a nanny helped with Aiden. I don't *think* that's what I was expecting. To be honest, who knows, I do tend to have pretty high expectations.

My first Mother's Day arrived in May of 2005. It was not what I had hoped. Sure, I was a mom and happy for that but the rest?? Pure, UGH. I sent out an email to my friends and family that day recapping my morning. Here it is:

Babies (and dogs) don't know it's Mother's Day.

1:30 AM Happy Mother's day!! I'm going to scream and
scream and scream until you get in here and put a
bottle in my mouth...and don't forget the
Tylenol...I'm teething.

3:30 AM Happy Mother's Day! What's that smell?
Oh...the dog had diarrhea on the rug...terrific!!

7:00 AM Happy Mother's Day!! I'm awake in
here...hello? HELLO? Get me out of this crib! Oh,
and by the way...I peed out my diaper so I'm soaked
and the crib is soaked....and....I POOPED too!!

7:20 AM Happy Mother's Day! Wow that cereal you fed
me was yummy...so are these Cheerios...cough
cough...that one went down the wrong way...Oops! I
threw up all over myself and the highchair.

7:30 AM Happy Mother's Day...while trying to do
laundry (see 7 and 7:20 AM) I discover I'm out of Tide
and will need to go to the store.

On this, my first Mother's Day I have learned the hard
way...babies don't know it's Mother's Day!

Ah, yes the joys of Motherhood.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Disillusioned Dreams

I blame Barbie.  I know a few posts back I was all about Barbie and how much I loved her as a child, and I did.  Do you see the problem with that?  I loved a doll that had a figure that’s not human, a rock on her finger the size of a baseball, the handsome (though somewhat feminine….hmmmmmm) man, the dream house, the corvette, a horse, a huge wardrobe and she tried out every career one could think of but never had to choose just one.  Damn her.  I fell for it hook, line and sinker.  I would sit for hours and plan out my future and guess what?  It resembled Barbie’s, a lot.  OK, I never had nor wanted her figure.  Sure, as an overweight child, I had dreams of being thin but I never wanted to be “Barbie” thin.  I did want the dream house, the convertible looked fun, and a horse?  You bet!  I even hoped I would meet my own Ken and we would have a family.

*insert laughter here*

Want to hear how close I came to that?  Well let’s see…..I never did manage to be thin though I have struggled with my weight my ENTIRE life.  I even went so far as to have lap band surgery but I am still a solid size 24.  Boo. 

I have a rock on my finger and it is not the size of a baseball but the love it represents is larger than I can explain.  Was my rock presented to me by Ken?  Nope.  Todd?  Wrong again.  Somewhere along the line I decided that it didn’t matter if the person I loved was a Ken or a Barbie.  I learned that love is love and I didn’t care what the person’s gender was.  My rock, and I’m not talking about the ring anymore, is another Barbie (though a much more butch version). 

Next on the list was the dream house.  Hmm….let me look around.  Sitting here at my kitchen table I can see nearly every inch of our apartment.  It’s small. Really, really small.  Do I care that I don’t have multiple levels of impeccably decorated cardboard walls and an elevator operated by a pull string?  Nope.  I could use a “little” more space but I make do with what I have and I know that it’s not possessions and material things that matter. 

I never did have a convertible. Lots of sensible vehicles, from compact cars to mini vans, have graced our driveways and I love it.  I love having a family car and the only thing I wish is that I had a third row so I could transport my kids’ friends. 

I don’t have a horse and quite frankly my hands are full with our dog, two cats, rabbit and fish.  I can’t imagine taking care of a horse too.  We do occasionally visit a farm where my partner learned how to ride when she was little.  The horses there are great fun and we don’t have to clean up the mess. 

In the end I would have to say I am not living Barbie’s charmed life and I honestly am very happy about that.  We live on a very tight budget, so tight we often exceed it….oops!!  We do so because we chose to live on one income shortly after our first son was born.  His immune system and child care did not get along well.  I have NEVER regretted leaving my teaching job to stay home with him.  We live simply because of it, we have become very resourceful people and we appreciate EVERYTHING that we have.  I wish we didn’t struggle quite as much as we do but it is completely worth it.

Dear Barbie,
I used to want to be you.  I thought you had it all.  Then, I grew up.  I realized that even though you were always smiling you could not have always been happy.  Who could be happy with underwear that was permanently molded to their body?  I, Barbie, broke free from my dreams of being you and in the process……I became me. 

I Miss Success

I miss being in school.  I was good at school.  Everything was pretty clear cut.  They introduced a topic, I would study hard, they would test me on it and usually I was successful.  In school you are constantly getting feedback; on homework, quizzes and tests, papers, you name it.  Most of the feedback I got was positive because I liked school.  I miss that kind of success and feedback.  No one really prepares you for the loss of that when you grow up and hit the real world.  Sure there are yearly reviews at work but yearly and not daily/weekly feedback is a huge change.  I also found that in the real world people are more likely to give negative feedback more often than positive.  In school your teacher applauds you and congratulates you for an A on a test.  Now, think about it.  Shouldn't you have gotten an A?  Isn't it your job to learn the material and know it?  In the real world though your boss doesn't congratulate you for doing your job, it's simply expected of you.  They will be quick to point out if you aren't doing your job well.

When you are a stay at home mom who is your supervisor?  Who's there to provide feedback and praise?  The kids and boy are they tough to please.  My boys are healthy and happy so I consider it a success but wouldn't it be nice if after a successful try at potty training your child looked at you and said "Job well done mom, that was great!".

My youngest son is a carbivore (and yes, I made that word up :)  We're trying to get him to branch out and try the worlds of *gasp* protein and vegetables.  Every night is like a test I've been cramming for all day.  I carefully select a meal and form my plan of attack to get him to at least try the food.  Some nights are far more a struggle than others (think sobbing, gagging, vomiting, plate throwing and mommy needing to be medicated).The nights that are good are OK.  He'll try the food but still declares he does not like it and every bite is a struggle and usually involves a bribe of some sort (I used to call bribes "rewards" but then I got real).  By the time dinner is over I am exhausted mentally and feeling like such a failure, even when he eats some of it.  For once I would love for him to declare "wow, mommy this is awesome (his favorite word)".  But alas, I am left with a plate of half eaten food where he sits and my brain begins thinking of what I could have done differently from the moment he was conceived.  Clearly I did not eat enough vegetables while I was pregnant, I should have tried to feed him that cat food-esque baby food meat in a jar, I should have insisted earlier he eat more things.  Coulda, shoulda, woulda. 

So yes, I miss success.  I miss school because I was good at it. Sometimes I dream about going back to school, not because I want to learn a new profession or increase my knowledge in my own but simply because I know I will be good at it. I love a challenge and rise to the occasion but sometimes, just sometimes a mommy needs to hear that she rose to the challenge and she succeeded!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Used to Have OCD......

then, I had kids.  Seriously, I don't understand how moms with OCD can even function.  I tried for a long time to keep up with my over organizational, super clean ways and then I said *F* it.  OK, maybe the transition wasn't quite that dramatic.

With one child it was easy to keep up.  I had my CD's, movies and books all arranged alphabetically, my house was clean...ah, I could breathe at night when I went to bed.  I felt like super mom because I felt like I looked like Super Mom.  Such a silly thing to strive for. 

And then, well, along came child #2.  In my head I was one of those well put together moms who could keep up with everything but in reality I was exhausted and overwhelmed.  I put on a good show and still made it to play groups on time, carried a well stocked and organized diaper bag and my kids were clean and their clothes matched.  Inside my head though, things were not as calm.  I FREAKED out about my house being a mess, cried over Days of Thunder being after Steel Magnolias on the movie shelf and once stuck my head in the freezer when the baby wouldn't stop crying.

Depression crept in and I can only imagine at least part of the reason was because the OCD beast in me was not being fed.  I held myself to extremely high standards and was failing at every turn.  It took a long time and a lot of soul searching (and medication ;) before I came to this conclusion; they are only little once.  I know, I know, not a huge revelation or anything but bear with me.  They are only little once and I could spend my time stressing out about cleanliness and organization or I could get down on the floor with them and play with moon sand (there will be a seperate post dedicated to moon sand).  I chose, and I think wisely, to be messy.  Sure, there are days.....OK, every day that I worry about what my house looks like, or freak about the mess on the floor of my car but I try to take a deep breath and put things in perspective.

So if you ever dare to come to my house, and I do love company, be warned.  For starters, I may answer the door in my PJ's with my hair sticking in several directions.  There are likely to be stickers of the Dora and Diego variety stuck to my body and I may even have My Little Pony hair clips in my hair.  Second, I won't look happy to see you.  I WILL be happy to see you but inside my head I am running through the list of things I should have been doing instead of being a model at the My Little Pony School of Hair.  Third, you'll walk up the stairs and it will smell like a barn because, well, my apartment used to be a barn.  No joke.  They converted it to an apartment but used some of the wood so sometimes, no matter what I do my home smells like manure.  Fourth, you'll trip over toys strewn all over the living room because my boys hate to play in their own room, you'll struggle to find a place to put your bag on my kitchen table and you'll scream when you think you are being attacked by a small rodent, my dust bunnies are ferocious.  Then, I hope, you'll settle in and enjoy the artwork of my boys hung all over my kitchen, you'll laugh because giggles are contagious and we do a lot of laughing here, and you'll feel at home because you'll know you are a friend and friends mean almost as much to me as my boys.


Barbies were one of my favorite toys as a child.  I could play with Barbie, Ken and the whole crew for hours.  My sister Kelly, 4 years older, used to perform the weddings.  At one point she even recorded my Grandmother playing the wedding march on her organ to have for Barbie's big day.  I liked the weddings, they were fine, but I had my own interest when it came to Barbie; babies.  My Barbie was often seen with a pillow or folded up piece of clothing stuffed up her super tight dress.  I'd play out the labor and delivery (with very little knowledge of this) and Barbie and Ken would become the proud parents of Skipper.  They lived in the dream house (complete with elevator) still drove her convertible (just let Skipper sit on the console) and continued to live their charmed life exactly as it was before children.  Barbie had it all, or so I thought.

Fast forward a few years and people began asking what I wanted to be when I grew up.  The answer was simple; a mom.  When pressed for a "real" profession I eventually chose teaching (hey, it still involved kids!).  I never made a conscience decision that I wanted to be a mom it was just part of who I was and I could never imagine a life without children.

I was 26 when my first son was born and I will never forget the day he made me a mommy.  I've been learning ever since that being a mom is a lot more involved than Barbie ever let on.   There's no dream house here (we live in a tiny apt.), our SUV is no convertible corvette and darn it if I don't look as good as Barbie post birth.  The other thing I never could have learned from Barbie is how amazing being a mom really is.  I now have two little guys and they really are my everything.  I know that's one of those corny mom sayings but it's the only way I can describe it.

This blog is going to be about my adventures in mommy land.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  I'll tell you about the dreams and plans I had for being a mom and then I'll tell you about reality.  I'll share my triumphs and be honest about my failures.  I hope you'll come along for the ride.