Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Water, Water Everywhere, But Not a Drop to Drink

Last night, as I was giving Charlotte a bath, Gabe watched wistfully.  He apparently was longing for the days gone by, in which he used to splash and play in the water after bathing.  The simpler times, before he turned into a big kid who was forced into boring old showers.

I should point out here that I'm pretty sure his showers are anything but boring.  I don't know what he does in there (and I definitely don't want to know), but it involves a lot of stomping and shouting.

In any case, last night he asked if you could take a bath.  "I wish I could take a bath, Mom."  I thought about a response.  At first I was going to go with "But you're too big for baths."  But as I still love to take baths, this clearly isn't true.  His homework was completed, we'd finished dinner pretty quickly, and we had plenty of time before bedtime.  I guess I had no real reason to deny the kid a bath, so I gave in.

"Do you know how to wash your hair in the bath?" I asked.


"Ok.  Well just don't make a big mess in your bathroom," I called up the stairs after him.

"I won't!" he replied.  "And if I do, I'll clean it up."


For a few minutes, everything seemed right with the world.  The girls were already bathed and dressed for bed, and were playing nicely together.  Gabe was enjoying his bath.  And I was in the kitchen, cleaning up dinner, making Gabe's school lunch for the following day, setting the coffee pot,  doing my mom thing.

All the while, I was thinking smugly to myself that I was going to have those kids in bed on time, all of my evening chores done, and I'd be relaxing by 8:01.  This was extra noteworthy, since J was out for the evening and I was flying solo.  I was feeling pretty badass about my parenting accomplishments of the evening.

And then I heard it.

Somewhere in the kitchen ceiling above me, I heard water dripping.  Actually, dripping isn't the right word.  More like pouring.

I looked up in alarm, but I didn't see anything.  Maybe it was just the pipes?  I ran up the stairs in a panic and flew into Gabe's bathroom.

And there I encountered a flood.

Gabe was completely unaware.  He was playing in the tub with the curtain closed, oblivious to the fact that his entire bathroom floor was covered in standing water.

Not for long, though, as it was apparently dripping through the floor to regions unknown.

OH MY GOD!  THE KITCHEN!  I ran back down the stairs, but before I even rounded the corner I could hear the water hitting the floor.

Where I could once only hear the dripping (no, pouring), I could now actually see it.  Water was flowing through one of the recessed kitchen lights down onto the floor, which now resembled a lake.
This is only a slightly exaggerated version of what was coming out of my ceiling.
I wasn't even sure where to start.  Water upstairs, water downstairs, not enough towels in the world to clean up all of the water, oh my God where is Jason, Gabe is crying, Charlotte is crying, why am I by myself when this shit happens, solo parenting is for the birds, I'll never relax tonight, my new house is broken, WHAT DO I DO?????

Turns out there were enough towels, the water was cleaned up, and Jason came home to deal with the light and the puddles in the ceiling (which thankfully look like it only sustained minor damage).

If there is any upside to this situation, it is this: I guarantee that my rule-following do-gooder of a son will never again ask to take a bath!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sandbox: The Aftermath

I'm not complaining about that awesome new sandbox.  I'm really not.  My kids LOVE it, and spend hour after hour sitting in that sandbox playing.  It has given the entire backyard new life.

But here is what I am now dealing with.

This is my coffee table.  And yes, that is a dirty butt print.
Please excuse the nicks and scratches.  I'll wait for the tiny barbarians to grow a smidge before I bring anything nice into the house.
Because doesn't everyone come and sit their tiny, dirty behinds right on the coffee table to watch a show?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Stop With the Growing Up Already

Gabe got his first iPod.  I think he's in love.

In the carpool line this morning, he sat in the far backseat, headphones on, listening to his very own playlist.  Because he has favorite songs. 

Meanwhile, Margot is casually chatting about how she's not little anymore, she's a big girl, because she's four now and not three, so she's not little, she's the biggest girl, and next year she'll be five.

And on my car radio, "100 Years" was playing, which makes me emotional as it is.  A song all about the passage of time.


Guys- he was wearing headphones.  And listening to his iPod.  Hold me. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I Have Bird Guilt

It's kinda like Mom Guilt.  You know, when you question every decision you make, wondering if it was the right thing to do?

I try to work really hard to make sure the outside of my house looks nice.  Every spring I plant new flowers in the front beds and spread tons of mulch.  I've replaced the dead builders shrubs (twice) to make sure the landscaping looks symmetrical.  And I replace hanging flower baskets on my front porch seasonally.

Last spring a couple of birds decided that my hanging flower baskets were a great place to nest.  TWO of my four baskets found themselves the home of a mama bird, a daddy bird, and a nest full of tiny eggs that eventually hatched into tiny birds.

It was kinda cute and exciting at first.  Every once in awhile I'd gently lower the baskets so that my kids could see the nest, then the itty bitty babies.  We all loved watching our babies grow up.

Unfortunately, in order to keep from drowning the babies, I could no longer water the flowers.  Hence, two out of four hanging baskets died.  And continued to hang there, a blemish smack dab in the middle of the face.  It was not the most attractive sight to see as you pulled into the driveway.  As soon as the babies flew the nest, I replaced the baskets.

A couple of weeks ago, I completed my spring planting.  New petunias, azaleas, snapdragons and geraniums went into the ground.  So many bags of mulch were spread.  And four beautiful new baskets were hung.  Then last night as we ate dinner, Gabe commented on the birds outside the window.

Not today, birds.

I immediately saw the birds he was looking at, perched on the side of my basket.  I ran out the front door, scaring them away.  I then proceeded to check out all of the baskets for anything they may have left behind.

Those damn birds built an entire nest in a day!

Thankfully, no eggs inside.  So in order to save my plant (don't judge me, they aren't cheap!), I pulled the nest out.

And as I did, they watched me.

The mama and the daddy perched right on the edge of my roof, watching me destroy their home.  And I'm pretty sure I felt their sadness. 

Seriously, my heart bleeds that much.  THE BIRDS made me feel guilty.  I come from a long line of bird lovers.  I keep several feeders in the backyard.  My kids and I love to watch them out the window as we eat breakfast every morning.  Young Gabe can now identify several species.  I even have a hummingbird tattooed on my body.  I love birds.  And I felt bad that those two house finches just wanted to start a little family and I crushed their dreams. 

I left the nest tucked away in the landscaping, so that in the midst of their grief, they could at least keep the materials and move onto a different location.

Mr. and Mrs. House Finch, I wish you and your family-to-be years of good health and prosperity.

Just not on my front porch.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Defeated by Outdated Tech

Gabe loves music.  He is SO big now that sometimes he just likes to hang out in his room and listen to the radio.  He might draw or build with Legos while he's in there, but the other day I walked in and he was just sitting at his desk, bobbing his head along to the music.

How did we get here? 

Recently he mentioned that he wished he had a way to listen to just a playlist of his favorite songs.  (I am embarrassed to say that several of them I had never heard until my child introduced them to me.  Crap, I'm old.)

I dug through the junk drawer and came out with these.
Seriously, guys, when did these things come out?  And why don't I remember how to use them?  Do I even have appropriate chargers for them?  How do I erase the music that is already on them?  How do I add a playlist?  It's like iTunes on my PC is such a distant memory from a year long ago that I can't even recall it.

And to think that when I finally figure out how to make one of these work for my boy, he's going to think it's the most amazing piece of technology that has ever existed.

Just wait, kid.  


Friday, April 14, 2017


Yesterday I had my 6 week post-op appointment with the plastic surgeon- combined with the pre-op appointment for my next surgery, which will happen in a few weeks.

Talk about mixed emotions.

I have officially been released to resume any and all types of exercise that I'd like.  Yay!

After the next surgery, there will be no exercise of any kind for at least four weeks, and I will not be able to lift anything heavier than 10 pounds (including my Charlotte) for at least as long.  Boo.

The worst of the pain is over, my healing is going as expected, and my incision looks as it should at this point.  Yay!

The incisions for part 2 are much more precarious, prone to reject stitches, "gnarly" looking (as the nurse put it), and with my fair skin, will probably take two full years to not look so red and angry.  Boo.

The next procedure is so much easier than the first!  Yay!

By this, I'm pretty sure that they mean the initial pain won't be as bad, and I won't have so much trouble getting around.  But the pain is nagging and lingering.  Perhaps for months.  Boo.

Guys, I am so anxious to have this behind me.  And I know in the end it will all be totally worth it.  But this part is hard.  Maybe even as hard as it was to pass up all those french fries and ice cream that helped get me to this point.

I hate that I'm not going to be able to pick up my daughter.  I hate that just as soon as I'm closing in on a pain-free normal that I'm heading right back into the daily pain.  I hate that I won't be able to run for so long, because as it turns out, I'm kind of a crabby bitch some days when you take running away from me.  I hate that my scars are probably going to frighten my children (and innocent bystanders!) this summer.  I try not to complain about this, since it is fully elective and I brought this on myself.  But day after day after day of pain is hard.  Boo.

But my stomach is FLAT, and my legs will have lost all of the wrinkly elephant skin that is clinging to my thighs.  Yay!

I'm in full steam ahead mode.  Let's get this over with.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

My Mom is Cooler Than Your Mom

This past weekend my mom came to town on a mission.

My babies love the sandbox, but our green plastic turtle just wasn't cutting it anymore.  Margot frequents the sand most often, and her little body takes up that whole turtle.  Charlotte tries to muscle her way in, then gets angry when she's denied entry, and Gabe just stays away because he knows he doesn't have a chance.

We needed an upgrade.  Enter Grammy.

To say that my parents don't fit into traditional gender rolls is no understatement.  My mom is super handy, and we don't even hand my dad a screwdriver.  And if I inherited the crying gene from anyone, it was not my mother.  (Sorry, Dad, I know you're reading, but I cannot tell a lie!)

Early Thursday morning, my mom packed her car full of tools (Including child-size hammers so my littles could assist.  And a circular saw, you know, because doesn't every grandma have a circular saw?) and headed down to North Cackalacky.  Once she arrived in town, she hurried over to Home Depot to purchase the necessary lumber (which she loaded into the car by herself, thankyouverymuch), and then set to work on a sandbox extraordinaire.

The kids really got into the process.  They were measuring perimeters, pulling up roots and stumps that were in our way, and hammering posts.  They were so excited to be a part of the project.  And by the end of the day on Friday, they had a brand new super-sized sandbox.

I love that they'll spend hours outside, digging holes and building castles.  I love that our backyard is an even cooler place for my kids to hang out.  But mostly I love the memories that they just made with my mom, and that hopefully they'll think of her when they're out there digging away.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Let's Get Real

I've been thinking a lot about this lately, and I've decided that I'm coming out.

Here goes...

I had plastic surgery.

Whew.  I said it.  (And I'm a little terrified that it's out there now.)

I haven't been very open about this decision.  As a matter of fact, when I decided over a year ago that this was something I was going to do, I was scared to tell anyone.

I was scared to tell my mom and my sister, I was scared to tell my closest friends, I was even scared to talk to J about it at first.  These are people who have always loved and supported me, yet I was hesitant to tell them that I wanted to do this.  I was scared for two reasons:

1. I was afraid people would think I am vain.
2. I was afraid people would judge me for spending such a large amount of money on my appearance.

Like it or not, there is a major stigma attached to cosmetic surgery, and I'm sure these are the two reasons why.

Let's talk vanity.  By definition, being vain is being excessively concerned with one's appearance.  That is exactly how I would qualify my feelings.  I worked so, SO hard to lose as much weight as I did, and the fact of the matter was, I still didn't like what I saw in the mirror.  And that feeling sucked.

There was loose skin, excess fat, and just a lot of "extra" literally hanging around my abdomen.  There is no amount of exercise that could fix that.  You can't put your body through excessive weight loss all in the midst of three pregnancies and expect your skin to bounce back.  At least not when you're thirty-something.  It just ain't gonna happen.  Surgery was my only option.

So I guess that makes me vain.  But I've had a lifetime of low self-esteem tied to body issues, and dammit, I want to wear a bikini (FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE!).  And I want to like how I look in it.  I guess I am excessively concerned with the appearance of my body.  Yep.

Let's talk money.  My chosen career was teaching.  Teaching.  You don't get into teaching for the big paychecks.  And now I don't even work!  There's some guilt involved when I think about the chunk of household income that just went into feeding my so-called vanity. 

But as scared as I was to broach this subject, in reality, when I finally did get brave enough to tell those few people, they were nothing but supportive.  They've seen me work hard to get to this point, and they want me to feel good about myself, because I've earned that.

And that's just it, folks.  I've earned it.  Me.  This isn't about anyone else.  Who do I have to impress??  My husband?  He thought I was beautiful on our wedding day, when I weighed almost 230 pounds.  My friends?  Please.  They've always loved me, regardless of my shape or size.  I don't care how anyone else views my body.  I care about how I view my body.  So I did this for myself.

I may have needed a little surgical help, but for the first time ever in my life, I am learning to love the body I'm in.  And that makes it all worth it.
This is definitely not me.


Friday, April 7, 2017

Kevin Hart is my New Bestie

Last night I had a dream starring Kevin Hart.  He and I were palling around, up to funny stuff.  I really, really wish I could remember more of it.  Because I do remember that it was super funny.  And in my dream world, I'm just as funny as that shortie.  We made the most hilarious duo.   
Here he is, my super-hilarious new pal.
What I DO remember is J waking me up because he thought I was crying.  Turns out, I was laughing, hysterically, in my sleep.  When he realized I was laughing, he asked what was so funny.  This just started the fits of laughter all over again.  In my half-awake state, I could not pull it together.

Once reality set in, I started laughing all over again, because I realized I was going to have to explain to him why I couldn't stop laughing.  It was a vicious cycle. 

When I finally pulled myself together long enough to get a few words out, I told him what was so funny: 

I threw a golf ball at a kid and hit him in the eye.

I realize that I am a mother, a teacher, a lover of children.  And I'm a good person!  I am aware that I shouldn't find this situation to be so hysterical that I snort-laugh while tears are streaming out of my eyes.  But there you have it.  Now you have a glimpse into the real me.  The only thing that I think is funnier than people falling down is people getting hit by cars.  True story.

In my defense, he was just one of a group of kids throwing golf balls at my dream self, so the little shit had it coming.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

I'm Old

Last night we make our annual pilgrimage into Downtown Raleigh to frolic with the young, wild, and free.

As we were driving onto the trendy Glenwood Avenue, I looked out the window at all of the new condos, restaurants, and nightlife and immediately felt (and announced) that I was too old to be there.  But J's favorite sushi restaurant is in the heart of all of this hipness, so there we were.

We enjoyed a nice dinner at a table next to a bunch of rowdy 20-somethings.  Guys, they were seriously obnoxious.  We debated about whether or not they were hipsters.  There was a lot of eye-rolling aimed their direction.   

After dinner, my sister suggested we grab a drink at a "chill" Beer Den just up the street.  So we walked the few blocks there to check it out.  As we were approaching the bar, we could hear the music bumping, and witnessed several young ladies dressed in sports gear spilling out onto the sidewalk.  There was clearly a sorority theme party happening there, and we were very afraid.

Obviously, we weren't going in.

We ended up in the Cupcake Shoppe next door.

As we were walking back to our car, the streets were filled with what I now refer to as "kids."  (When did 20-somethings become kids?!?  Wasn't that me just five minutes ago?)  We passed a guy throwing up on the corner.  His friend was berating him.  "Dude!  You're already making a scene and it's only 10:00!"

We laughed and laughed as we walked by with our hot chocolate.

Seriously guys, hot chocolate.

Apparently we are now laugh-at-the-drunks-while-we-drink-hot-chocolate years old.  And you know what?  I kinda like it. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Girlfriends are Good for the Soul

Yesterday I had the rare opportunity to go out to brunch with a group of girlfriends.  This is a group of ladies that used to see each other socially all of the time.  You know, back when we were young, wild, and free.  Back then, Saturdays were for sleeping in, brunching, then shopping at the mall.  (Am I alone here when I say that just thinking about the mall now makes me a little twitchy, and not in a good way?)  We'd then go home to nap and ready ourselves for Saturday, part 2, which usually involved dancing the night away at a club downtown and drinking way too much. 

My twenties were nothing short of amazing, y'all. 

A lot of life has happened since then, and we don't get to gather nearly as often as we'd like.  There have been weddings, new houses, babies, careers, and, well- growing up.  But this group of ladies, we've stuck together through all of this life.  We've cried happy tears for each other when life has been particularly joyful, cried sad tears when life has been cruel, laughed together when life has been ridiculous.  We've celebrated each other's triumphs and grieved one another's losses.  And even though we don't see each other as often as we used to, there is still a whole lot of love between us.

My soul is recharged and my heart is full.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mommin' Ain't Easy

Dentist appointments for two out of three children, first thing in the morning, requiring us to leave the house 30 minutes earlier than our normal time (which is already a photo finish.  EVERY. TIME.)- check.

A trip to Wal-Mart (God help me) for a few random items, on a serious time crunch with children who have ZERO sense of urgency, a toddler who is hangry, a preschooler who will not stop asking me to fix her yoyo (the $0.25 prize for mediocre behavior at the dentist, which has already broken), but is then distracted by violently swinging in a patio swing while waiting in the checkout line in the Lawn & Garden section (you know, the "quick" Wal-Mart checkout lane)- check.

Dance class observation week, in which Margot danced while Charlotte hung from the barre, stood on a crate waving a pair of scissors, spilled her snack all over the dance floor while running away from me (as I was after the scissors), and did quite a bit of yelling- check.

Parent-Teacher Conferences, where three young children were expected to sit quietly while only the adults spoke (hahahahahahaha!)- check.

All before lunch.

After lunch:
Gabe quietly building a Lego masterpiece, Margot digging in the sandbox, Charlotte napping, me snacking while watching Gilmore Girls reruns in bed- check.

Hey, I considered day drinking.  This was probably the better choice.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

On Running

For many years, I've wanted to be a runner.  I've just always loved the idea of it.  Lacing up a pair of shoes and heading out the door has always held some allure to me.  Maybe it was the prospect of the time by myself, just me and the wind at my back, reflecting on all that is important in life.  Maybe it was the glory of racing, crossing a finish line, receiving a medal, and knowing that I would have really accomplished something.  Maybe it was just the strength and grit and endurance and determination that it would take to keep running once I'd started, even though my lungs would be breathing fire and my legs would feel like they were made of lead.

Many years ago, I tried to run.  I entered a few 5ks, received a few t-shirts for my efforts, and in the end, I didn't stick with it.  It was hard.  The fire-breathing, leg-dragging WORK that was involved ultimately turned me off.

I wasn't ready.

Close to a year ago, I was coming to the end of my "diet."  Not a diet at all, really, but a true lifestyle change.  (Yes, I know that sounds ridiculously corny, but it's the truth.)  I had reached my goal weight and was ready to maintain it.  And our annual beach vacation was looming.

Working out was absolutely a vital part of my day.  We have an elliptical machine at home that I used every day.  I have a large set of weights that I rely on.  I was going to be a week without my teeny-tiny home gym, and I needed to find an easy way to be active while we were traveling.  ESPECIALLY since I planned on indulging in lots of good food and beer throughout the week.  After all, it's vacation, no?

So every morning I laced up my shoes.  And I ran.

It was harder than I ever imagined it would be.  I had been working out, HARD, almost every single day for over 18 months.  But that was in my air conditioned home, in a routine that my body was used to.  Running was something new and different, something that my body was definitely not accustomed to.  The sweltering heat and suffocating humidity certainly did not help the situation.

But still I laced up my shoes.  And I ran.

After vacation ended and I had the option to return to my teeny-tiny air conditioned home gym, I took it.  But once a week or so, I chose to skip the elliptical and run with a local run club in the evening instead.  The group was warm and welcoming, fun, and inspiring.  Runners of all shapes, sizes, and paces gathering to run together and enjoy a beer together at the finish.  (I'm not gonna lie, the beer was a big attraction for me.)

Eventually, once a week turned into twice, turned into three times.  I didn't have to stop to walk so often.  My distances increased.  My pace decreased.  I signed up for a couple of 5ks.  I CRUSHED my 5k record from years ago.  I signed up for a half-marathon.  I battled through an injury and finished just under my goal time.  I started dreaming about running as I slept.  I got a weird, happy, excited, nowIhavetopee feeling every time I got ready to head out the door.  I bought a jogging stroller so I could run with Charlotte.  I became a bona fide, card-carrying member of the run club.

I became a runner.

It's still hard work, no doubt.  But it's the kind of satisfying hard work that I love.  I love the time to reflect, with the wind at my back.  I love the glory of crossing a finish line and receiving a medal signifying my accomplishment.  I love the strength and grit and endurance and dedication that I am modeling for my children.  And I love the runner that I have become.
An ugly cry as I crossed the finish line of the Holly Springs Half-Marathon in disbelief. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017


So, it's been awhile.  Over three years, as a matter of fact.  Looks like the last post I wrote was a happy FIRST birthday to my firecracker Margot.  Hmm...things have changed around here.

I'm not sure what happened to my poor blog.  Life happened, I guess.  Two little ones keeping me on my toes, didn't have the time to devote, blah blah blah.  But the truth is, I liked writing here.  It gave me a little bit of a creative outlet, and something to exercise my brain.  It gave me something to look at other than Facebook.  (I think I have an addiction, but that's for another post.)  It made me part of a little blogging community.  It was fun to read other blogs, and know that other people out there were reading mine.

Sorry I forsook you, blogosphere. 

In any case, I've decided to make an effort to revive the ole' blog.  I certainly can't promise daily postings (life is still busy), but I can promise to not wait three years in between posts.  And in case I have even one follower out there who has been waiting for an updated post on their reading list- this one is for you.

Let me start with the big updates:

1. The house.  Remember back here when I was talking about selling our house and building a dreamy new one?  Well, it happened.  Just not on the timeline we expected.  The sale of the house went through just like we wanted, and American Homes 4 Rent DID lease back to us for another six months...and then for another year after that.  We thought we'd be breaking ground in November or December of 2013.  That ended up happening in July 2014.  And then delay after delay after hold-up after longer building schedule than we were originally told...

We finally closed on our new home in December 2014.

BUT, even though it took longer than we expected (guys, I mean SO MUCH LONGER than we expected!), the wait was worth it in the end.  I love our new(ish) home.  We have so much more space than the old place, an AMAZING backyard for the kids to play in, and a sense of community here that definitely was not present in our old 'hood.  I am now in the (continuous) midst of painting/decorating/organizing/perfecting the space, and desperately trying not to drive my sweet husband crazy in the process.
2. The job.  I am still at home with the wee ones.  Some days I sit back and realize how lucky I am to be able to spend these days with my littles.  Other days I am watching my phone like a hawk, waiting for the text from J that he is on his way home so that I can pass some parental duties off to him.  Some days I look at my kids and get emotional thinking about how much I love them and how fast it's all happening.  Some days, I want to day drink.  But that's the life of a stay at home mom!  And truthfully, I wouldn't have it any other way.

3. The kids.  They haven't stopped growing and changing and becoming these little people, right before my eyes.  Gabe (who is still my tiny nugget) is in KINDERGARTEN now, and totally rocking it.  Margot is still the fiercest little lady this side of the Mason-Dixon.  She loves preschool and dance class.  They are both completely wonderful in their own unique ways.  And, oh Charlotte.
Yep, since my last post, the family was completed with our third wee one.  She turned two last month.  She appears to have every ounce of sass that her sister has, but she also has a sweet and cuddly side like her brother.  She is just the icing on the amazing cake that is my little family.
This is seriously the best picture I have of my three little minions.  Getting a picture of all three at once is like herding cats.
4. The ME.  I wrote several times over the years about trying to live a healthier life and lose some weight in the process (Here, here, here, and here...what can I say, I've been a work in progress for a long time.)  I had a few promising starts here and there, but always in between pregnancies.  I hung onto the excuse that I was just going to have another baby, so I didn't want to put in the hard work when I was just going to get big and fat again, growing another baby.  But after the birth of my sweet Charlotte (and I was officially cut off from having anymore babies), I got serious.  I mean REALLY serious.  And I did it.  I look back at pictures of myself at the time of my last blog post, and I barely recognize that person.  I started paying attention to every bite of food that I put into my mouth.  I became a runner, and raced my first half-marathon last year.  And I lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 85 pounds.  I did it!   
So there's the long and short of it.  I really have missed this little spot over the past three years.  (Cringing and embarrassed over here.)  Really hoping to not let you down, long lost readers! 


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