Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Best Week of the Year

Vacation Week!

I'm pretty sure that I say this just about every year, but this year's vacation was the best one yet.

We had SUCH a great time, y'all.  We returned to our beloved house at Surfside Beach, SC.  This was our 5th time renting the same house there.  It feels familiar by now, the kids remember it, and it holds lots of fun memories.  We've started calling it "The 'Cation House," taking on the adorable kid wording that Gabe created.  He catches and corrects himself most of the time now, but every once in awhile he talks about going on "the cation."

Grammy and Grampy were there, of course, along with Aunt Laura and Uncle Scott.  This year, Grandma and Grandpa joined us for a few days, too!  (Have I mentioned before how amazing it is that both sides of the family get along so well?)  Gabe said it was the most special vacation ever because Grandma and Grandpa got to come, too.

My three little fishies barely got out of the pool.  The girls conquered some of their fear, and left the pool stairs (in their Puddle Jumpers, of course).  They kicked and splashed and jumped all around the pool.  Gabe could finally stand in the shallow end with his head above water this year.  He had a BLAST swimming, jumping in, doing flips and handstands, and having tea parties under water.  If they could have slept in the pool, I think they would have.

We ate at our favorite restaurants.  Gabe declared that Bubba's has the second best corn dogs of any restaurant, anywhere.  Margot discovered hush puppies, and sneaked more and more every time she thought no one was looking.  There were many popsicles consumed.  Also lots of beer. 

We played euchre and Cards Against Humanity.  We dug holes in the sand and splashed in the ocean.  We took the kids to play putt putt.  We flew a kite on the beach.  We took the kids to the playground up the street.  We walked to the ice cream parlor.  We spent so much quality time together as one big family.

I am so lucky to have all these wonderful people in my life.  Family that I enjoy spending time with.  So many people that adore on my children.  So much love.

My soul is rested, relaxed, and rejuvenated.  I can't wait until we can do it again next year.

PS- We pretty much sucked at taking pictures this year.  Obviously we think our kids swimming in the pool are adorable.I promise, our other beloved family were there.  There's just no photographic evidence.


    

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Vacay Mode

I'm out of the office this week.  I meant to post a warning that you'd be missing my witty commentary, but I was incredibly busy momming.  Preparing a family of five to be away from home for a week is not a task for the faint of heart.  But we made it here, and are enjoying a truly glorious week at the beach with family.  We're all in our happy place.

Catch y'all next week.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Pirate House

A mile down the country road that our neighborhood sits off of, there is a house that we refer to as "The Pirate House."  We call it this because they fly the Jolly Roger flag on the tall flag pole in their front yard.

Let me just start by saying that this house is not exactly what I'd call the lap of luxury.  As a matter of fact, I'd call it a crap hole.  It sits on a very large lot, which is also a crap hole.  I seriously have the urge to sneak over there with the dumpster in the middle of the night, just to get rid of the garbage.

The fun part of The Pirate House, though, is the literal menagerie of animals that live there.  I kid you not when I say it changes on a daily basis!  I wish that the house didn't sit on a dangerous S curve in the road, because I want more than a quick glance into the backyard each time I pass by.

When we first moved here 2 1/2 years ago, there were the goats.  One brown and one white.  For funsies, we like to name the animals.  I'm sure by we, you'd assume me and my children, but you'd be wrong here.  J, my sister Laura and I are the masterminds behind the names.  We call the goats Rhonda and Wyatt.  We loved to see them standing on top of whatever crap was laying around the yard.

Then Junior arrived.  Junior is a mini horse.  Next came Dale, a pot-bellied pig.

When winter came, the we never saw the animals anymore.  Laura joked that they were probably in the house for the season.  Absurd, right??  Except come Spring, they were all back.

Junior, by some sort of luck, moved to the cow pasture at a neighboring farm.  I guess he didn't fit inside the house.  He's living the good life in the green fields now, with all of his cow friends.  Every once in awhile, I see him standing at the fence right up at the road, seemingly having a lovely conversation with a horse standing at his fence at the horse farm on the other side of the street.

The chickens arrived that Spring.  I have no idea how many.  They escape the fence frequently.  A few have met untimely deaths from passing vehicles.

Another winter passed.  The animals disappeared, then returned come Spring.

We can't keep up with the names of all of our animal neighbors anymore.  A couple of months ago, my mom told me that she saw a big pink pig at The Pirate House.  Weeks went by and I never saw such a pig.  But with all the crap laying around that yard, it's easy to miss things.  Yes, even giant pigs.  I finally saw the giant pink pig we named Gert walking around with Dale.  Only since then, I discovered that it wasn't Dale, but another big black pig.  As yet unnamed.

The kicker came last week, guys.  As I was coming around that S curve, glancing as I always do into the crap hole, I couldn't believe my eyes, and I seriously couldn't wait to get home to share the news.

"J!  You're NEVER going to believe what I saw at The Pirate House today.  They got a YAK.  I don't think I'm going crazy.  I don't know what else that thing could be.  I swear, it's a YAK!"

A few days later, I drove by again, and realized that they hadn't gotten a yak.  They'd gotten TWO yaks!
(I have since done some googling, and I realize that yaks aren't exactly domesticated animals.  I believe they are actually highland cattle.  But I'm going to keep calling them yaks and come up with some good yak names for them.  Laura- put your thinking cap on.)

Please believe me when I say that although it is a large lot of land I'm talking about, it is in no way a farm.  It's a big ass yard, littered with God only knows what.  Garbage, toys, broken down household appliances, old furniture, and what must certainly be a huge amount of feces.  Guys, I don't know why the pirates down the street need all these animals, but they are an endless source of amusement for me. 

My guess is that they don't want to cut their grass or clean up after themselves.  The yaks will probably take care of the lawn maintenance, and the goats and pigs will probably eat all kinds of junk from the yard.  The chickens just might be dinner.

Yo ho ho, mateys.



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Moving On Up

The speed at which time can fly never ceases to amaze me.

It seems like yesterday, we were here.
And yet tomorrow is the last day of the school year for my boy.  Kindergarten-done.

Yesterday Gabe's class performed a musical.  It was based on Mister Roger's Neighborhood, and it was adorable.  For weeks, Gabe has been practicing the songs.  I'd hear him building with Legos or drawing a picture, just singing his little heart out while he worked.

I told him that I was so excited to see the show that he's been practicing so hard for.  His response: "I'm so excited to share it with you!"

This is a big deal for my shy boy, who has come so very, very far.  When he was three, he managed to kick a ball into a net while playing a carnival game, so we clapped and cheered for him.  He lost it, crying inconsolably for a good half hour.  When he was four, his class learned a few songs for Thanksgiving.  He held the whole class up because he didn't want to put on his paper bag pilgrim costume and feather headband on and stand up in front of all of the parents.  When he was five, he "performed" a few songs during his preschool graduation.  And by "performed" I mean stood, lips pursed, body still, not singing a single word or making a single movement.   

Yesterday was a big day for my kid.  He sang every word, moved every movement, and was serious about putting on a good show.  He smiled while he was on stage.  Lots of applause during the curtain call didn't phase him.
So proud.

And while I think this is amazing, I'm even more proud of the year he's had in the classroom.  He was respectful to his teachers, kind to his classmates, an eager learner.  He is reading incredibly well, constantly tells us scientific facts that he's learned, and figures out math that I wouldn't have guessed he could do.  He's such a smart boy.

My first baby is most definitely growing up, and he's turning into such a cool kid.  Part of me wants to beg and plead for time to slow down, but the other part of me is so excited to see what a good man this boy is destined to become.
Bring on first grade! 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Pool Play Gone Wrong

Would you believe that this sweet face is capable of ruining my day?
One lovely morning I took my girls to a pool.  Margot had a swim lesson, and Charlotte was happy to splash and play in the meantime.  For awhile, we were the only people there.  The sun was shining, I was with my girls, and all was right with the world.

Soon after, a kind stranger arrived with her son, who is close to Charlotte's age.  We sat on the edge of the pool chatting while the two little ones played.  A carefree summer morning.  Until the kind stranger pointed to the water and said "Uh-oh, what's that?"

I looked to the water and my heart immediately sank.  Yep, my kid definitely pooped in the pool.

A word of warning: reusable swim diapers are not all they're cracked up to be.  Cute?  Yes.  Kind to the environment?  You bet.  Functional?  Apparently, not so much.

Guys, I panicked.  I didn't even know what to do.  Let me just say that what we were dealing with wasn't the most solid substance you would hope for in this situation.  I immediately scooped Charlotte out of the pool, but as the water poured out of her diaper, so did its other contents.

I ran her to the bathroom to clean her up.  By now, she is of course losing her little mind.  Not only did I interrupt her fun, but now I was undressing her in a strange bathroom and wiping her down in a frenzy.  Luckily, kind stranger brought me some wipes and replacement swimwear.  When we finally emerged, kind stranger had also scooped out the pool and assured me that this is why pools are heavily chlorinated, and that these things happen.  (THANK YOU, kind stranger!)

While Charlotte went back to playing (thankfully, with an empty colon), I used about a million paper towels to clean up the concrete around the pool, all the way to the bathroom, and inside the stall.

Seriously, I could STILL die of embarrassment, and this happened (<redacted>) days ago!

The takeaway of the morning?  To double- nay, triple- the swim diapers is always the best course of action.  Also, multiple oranges in a day isn't easy on my Charlotte's tummy.

And finally, shit happens.  Literally.




Friday, June 2, 2017

Help Me Understand

Can we please talk about Lululemon?

In my search for the perfect post-surgery compression wear, I've been researching leggings.  They seem like the most sensible option for me- and let's be honest, I wear leggings almost every day, anyway.

I came across a review that mentioned how extra snug the Lululemon leggings are.  This sounded dreamy to me, because right now, extra tight feels extra good.

I decided to hop over to the Lululemon website to check out my options.
Tight Stuff Tight from lululemon.com
HOLY. SHIT.

Guys, I've reached the point in my life, financially, where I'm willing to pay a little bit more for a higher quality product.  And by this, I mean I buy Bounty paper towels instead of the Target brand.  I do not mean that I'm willing to spend $148 on a pair of leggings!

What type of voodoo magic do these leggings contain?  Are there diamonds sewn into the fancy pocket somewhere?  Are they hemmed with the golden thread that Rumplestiltskin spun from straw?  I can't fathom paying that much for a pair of pants otherwise.

Who out there owns these pants, and what makes them so superior to my Old Navy leggings that are about a quarter of the cost?  I NEED TO KNOW!    



Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Theater, The Theater

Last week Gabe had a first.  The theater.
I can't remember the first show I saw in the theater.  I'm guessing it was "The Nutcracker" ballet.  My mom and I (and later my sister) used to go watch the ballet every year at Christmastime.  I always loved going to the theater, for ballets, plays, musicals.  I loved getting dressed up in my fancy clothes and sitting among all of the fancy adults.  I loved the lights, the music, the dancing.  It was all so magical to me.

I've dreamed of having those kinds of special nights out with my children.  Now that Gabe is a little older, he's shown so much interest in all things new and different. He has always been so shy, resistant to change, scared of things outside of his routine.  But now, things like a hockey game, the skate park, putt putt!  He has LOVED them.

I had literally just mentioned to J that I though Gabe might enjoy seeing a show at the theater (after watching Sing with the kids).  Not a day or two later, I heard an advertisement for "Matilda: The Musical."

Matilda was my absolute favorite book as a child.  I must have read it at least ten times.  I was so excited to read it with Gabe a few months ago.  After we finished the book, we watched the movie.  I've heard Gabe pretending to be "The Trunchbull" while playing.  This was definitely the perfect first show for him.

What a special date we had.  We went out to dinner, just the two of us.  Red Robin was his choice.  (Apparently they have the best corn dogs around.)  Then we headed downtown to the theater.  We found our seats.  Seeing his tiny little body sitting in that big grown-up seat, reading the Playbill, was basically the cutest thing ever.

Until the show started.  Wide eyes, glued to the stage.

During intermission, we shared a giant cookie and talked about the show.  He was interested in the actors, the scenery, the songs.  He was excited to get back to his big seat to see the conclusion.  During the second act, I could see his eyelids getting a little bit heavy.  But he refused to fall asleep.  He made it all the way to the end, and about two minutes into the car ride home before he was out.

As much as I want my children to stay babies forever, I am also so excited to be able to share these types of experiences with them as they grow up.  So many things that are old new to me are just magical for them.  Being able to experience these firsts with them sends a little bit of that magic back my way.



Sunday, May 28, 2017

Excuse My Absence

I'm busy enjoying a few kid-free days.  My littles are at Grammy and Grampy's for the long weekend.  Meanwhile, I am footloose and fancy free with my main squeeze.

We enjoyed a long brunch, complete with mimosas. 

We went to the mall (GUYS, I went to the mall!), and it was glorious.  It was the good mall, with lots of lovely shops, and I had time to browse without anyone crying.  (Although by the end, J was probably crying a little on the inside.)

We stopped for afternoon beer and nachos.  We had ice cream for dinner.  We started a movie at 7:30 so that I could stay awake for the whole thing.

Today we're going to see a movie, at the theater!  A little more shopping.  Definitely more beer.

I love my children to the ends of the earth...but sometimes I love to send them away.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Things I'm Not Good At

You know, there are plenty of things I'm good at in life.  I can cook a delicious meal and bake a scrumptious dessert to go with it.  I've got a nice voice and have thus been the wedding singer at many a wedding.  I have a head full of lots of useless trivia.  I once gave birth with only a tiny half of a push.  But there are plenty of things that I suck at.  Here are a few things that are not my strong points:

1. Baby gates.  It seriously took 35 years and the birth of three children to figure out how to use this basic one.  I'm a smart person, but this somehow defeated me for many years.  
2. Dumplings.  There really isn't a recipe for these, and I just can't make them like my mom.

3. Taking it easy.  So yeah, I may have had a pretty decent surgery two weeks ago.  I've got some enormous incisions to heal.  And yes, I should definitely be using my spare time to relax.  But as it turns out, I suck at that.  I have all of this free time that I'm not used to.  We had someone come out to clean the house, since my activity level is restricted, so that's taken care of (and we might as well add housekeeping to the list of things I suck at, anyway).  I most definitely can't work out.  What's a girl to do??

Apparently, tackle a painting project that I've been putting off.
Months ago, I bought a gallon of paint for the girls bathroom during a good Sherwin Williams sale.  I figured that when the urge to paint hit me (as it does every few months), I'd be ready.

The urge hit a few days ago.  I told myself that this was probably an okay activity.  It's not like I'm trying to sneak in any cardio, right?  How much work is it to brush and roll?  It's fine, right??  I'll do it slowly, a little bit over several days.
I started out strong.  The first day, I just did a little bit of cutting in around one side of the bathroom.  The next day, I did a little more.  Then the third day hit, and I could no longer stand the project as a "work in progress."  Full steam ahead.

In hindsight, this was not my best decision.  Up and down on and off the ladder turned out to be less than comfortable.  I'm thankful for a husband who understands my particular brand of crazy, and helped me finish up the parts that required climbing.  By day three, I wisely stuck to painting only those areas that I could reach while standing upright, on the ground.

In any case, their sweet little bathroom is now a pretty purple, and I have two happy little girls.  And one less thing on my silly to-do list.
This week, I promise there will be lots less home improvement and lots more Netflix.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Hell Update, Part 2

Remember when I posted here about that spider that escaped me, but then I had redemption later that evening when that spider, who dared crawl into my bed, got the shoe?

My used to be favorite aunt posted a funny comment in response...calling my peaceful sleep into question...
I thought it was funny at the time, but then that very night, exactly one night after I killed the bed spider, I walked into my bathroom to find this sonofabitch.  HIS FREAKING TWIN.
What in the sweet hell are the chances???

You'd better hope these weren't two of three triplets, Mimi, otherwise I'm going to start shipping them to you!  Beware mail from your favorite niece...

Just kidding!  You're funny and as long as no more spiders show up I still love you!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

La-La-Love

Have you seen La La Land?
 
My mother is very fond of spoiling the plot of movies and shows, and THEN saying "Spoiler alert!"  You know, just to confirm that she has indeed spoiled the plot of the movie for me.  Unlike my mother, I have a firm understanding of what a spoiler alert is, and I will say now in no uncertain terms that I am about to spoil the plot for you.  So if you haven't yet seen the movie and hope to someday, read no further.

In other words, SPOILER ALERT!

Before we watched La La Land last weekend, my sister checked doesthedogdie.com, just to make sure we weren't in for any surprise animal deaths.  The website described the movie as "a lighthearted romp where neither animals nor people are in danger."

Lighthearted, indeed.  This movie was a delight!

I'm a fan of movie musicals.  Every time I visited my grandmother as a child I'd immediately pull out the VHS recordings of "A Chorus Line" and "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers."  They were both on the must-watch list for my visit.  My mom started taking me to the theater at a young age.  I love to sing.  I performed in all of my school musicals.  Did I mention that I love musicals?

Considering this, I was immediately taken in by this movie's opening scene, which featured a crowd of young Hollywood hopefuls singing and dancing atop cars parked in a highway traffic jam.  The fun didn't stop there.  Emma Stone and the oh so dreamy Ryan Gosling couple up.  She, an aspiring actress, and he a jazz musician with dreams of opening his own club.  They sing and dance their way throughout the film, making us think back to Old Hollywood in its style, even though the setting is current day.  Small details in wardrobe and scenery added to the nostalgia brilliantly.

But let's talk about the ending.

I didn't feel so lighthearted about the ending.

Five years after chasing their respective dreams led them in opposite directions, they DO NOT find their way back to one another!  Even though they have proclaimed that they will always love each other!  WHAT GIVES?  I'm a fan of a neat and happy ending, and that's not what I got.

SO, should I be sad that they'll spend the rest of their lives grieving their relationship that wasn't meant to be?  Or was the flashback/fantasy of the lifetime of togetherness just there to illustrate that if they hadn't parted ways when they did, one of them would have had to give up on their dream?  WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? 

Seriously, I wish they could have it both ways- true love for life and career dreams realized.  But alas, I must be disappointed.  And yet shockingly, despite this, I loved this movie.

What did YOU think about the ending? 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Tiny Dancer

Oh, Miss Margot, how you stole everyone's hearts this past Saturday.  It was your first dance recital.
 When you and your sweet dance friends walked onto that lit up stage, we heard a collective "awwww" from the audience.  You all were just too cute for words! 
As the music started up, I saw your face searching the audience.  I was sitting in a different seat than I was at your dress rehearsal, and you couldn't find me right away.  But when you did, your smile was so big and bright!  You waved to me and I waved back, and we both smiled and smiled.
 You remembered right away that you had a dance to perform, and you did it!  You twirled and pointed your toes and held your arms up like a ballerina.  We just couldn't take our eyes off of you!  Your sister kept shouting your name.  She was so excited to see you up on that stage!

Everyone agrees, you were the star of the day!  We can't wait to watch you perform again.  


Sunday, May 14, 2017

On This Mother's Day

I am so, so thankful for my babies today.  This is the first year that Gabe has really gotten into Mother's Day.  I thank his teacher for this- his class put on a Mother's Day Tea for us, and it was the most precious thing I've ever been a part of.

He greeted me in the hallway outside his classroom and gave me a special hat that he'd made me for the occasion.  He then offered me his arm and escorted me down the red carpet into the specially decorated classroom.  For the first time in his shy six years, he participated in singing the class songs, in front of an audience, with lyrics so sweet all about how I'm an angel on Earth and he loved me so.  He brought me tea and cookies, and when I offered to share my cookie with him, he declined, and told me that the goodies were all for me.  SOB.

This morning, he insisted on making me breakfast in bed.  He wanted to know what I would like to eat, and he wanted to help J make it, and he wanted to bring it to me himself.  What a little love.

The girls might be less interested in the day, but seeing their little faces peeking into my room and wishing me a happy Mother's Day is all the sweetness I need from my sassy ladies today.  These three little beings that made me a mom- my heart could explode when I think about how much I love them.

(And my husband, who doesn't cook, but who worked with the kids in the kitchen this morning to make me a delicious breakfast.  Who booked a spa day for my ultimate relaxation.  Who gave me these three precious souls- he deserves some recognition for making this day amazing.)

I hope that all of the moms out there who work so hard for their families, who love their children so fiercely, who always put the needs of others in front of their own, have a day that recognizes your awesomeness.

I especially hope this is true for my mom, who has always been the ultimate example of what a good mother should be.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Hell Update

Last night I walked into my bedroom to see my spider friend, chilling on a pillow on the floor.

I may have actually greeted him out loud: "We meet again.  But this time YOU LOSE, mother fucker."

(Sorry for the language, but that's how much I hate spiders.  Also, I just have a foul mouth)

Lucky for me, J was home.  I stood still as a statue and called for him to come running for a spider assist.  I wasn't about to let that asshole out of my sight again.  I only walked away once J had arrived- I averted my eyes to the carnage.  The spider would no longer haunt me.

And then I slept like a baby. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Hell Is...

Trying so hard to take it easy, and rest in bed during afternoon nap time, even though this is typically when I'd be busy getting things done.  And while I'm forcing myself to rest, I catch some movement out of the corner of my eye.  And that movement is a spider.  IN MY BED.  And then I freak out (naturally) and try to jump out of bed as quickly as I can.  But of course, I'm recovering from surgery, so jumping or moving quickly in any way is next to impossible, and wildly painful.  But I move as quickly as I can (ohmygodithurts) and try to find a shoe.  Charlotte wears my shoes everywhere, all the time, and I'm usually irritated that my shoes are left here, there, and everywhere.  But of course at this moment, there are no shoes to be found.  NONE.  WHERE ARE ALL OF MY SHOES??  But I finally find one and run back to my bed (agony!).

The spider is gone.  Lost somewhere in by bedroom.  So now I'm forced to wonder where he is for the rest of my days.  Did he crawl back into my bed?  Will I swallow him in my sleep?  Will he creep into my ear and lay eggs in my brain?

I think this is the real torture.

Monday, May 8, 2017

I'm Not Dead

I promise, I didn't bring the blog back just to disappear for another three years!

Surgery, part deux, happened, and well...my legs have looked better.

Bruising and swelling and oozing, oh my!  I will spare you the gory details, but the short version is this: the extra elephanty skin that was hanging around my thighs is outta here.  Yes, this summer I will resemble Frankenstein, but this monster will be running in shorts!

I will fill you in on a few things I've learned this go 'round:

1. When given the opportunity to trash my healthy eating habits, I will take it and run.  (Haha...run!)  My brain has pretty much shut down the corner that puts thought into the food going into my mouth.  Dessert after every meal?  Yes, please!  And before you say that there's no such thing as breakfast dessert, a good friend once taught me that ordering a chocolate chip pancake after you've finished your omelet is the perfect way to accomplish breakfast dessert.  I'm blaming the pain for my lack of self-control.  Which brings me to my next point-

2. Grilled cheese and crinkle cut fries are my ultimate comfort food.  Two surgeries in two months, and both times, when I've finally come out of the post-surgical stupor enough to want sustenance, grilled cheese and crinkle fries have been my meal request.  My poor, sweet husband has gone on the hunt twice now.  He's narrowed down the best sandwich, the best fries, and these may or may not be located at the same restaurant.  He's even learned to keep the takeout container open during the car ride home, lest the extra-crispy fries get soggy.  Which brings me to the NEXT point-

3. My husband is the best husband.  He bankrolls my procedures and then takes care of my unreasonable specific requests afterward.  I love him so.

4. And finally, the most important lesson I've learned.  DO NOT, under any circumstances, shop online while under the effects of anesthesia.  Anesthesia amnesia is a real thing, and I know because I experienced it just two short months ago.  I remember very little from either surgery day.  I do remember that it occured to me once I got home last week that my fancy compression garment, which I am forced to wear for every day for the next six weeks, covers about 80% of the skin on my body.  What is a girl to wear over such a garment?  Especially when summer is coming, and it ain't getting any cooler outside!  I thought maybe I should order a few things, so that I could safely leave the house.

And order I did.

I keep getting notification after notification about items that have shipped from here, there, and everywhere.  UPS started delivering today.  It's like Christmas!  I don't remember what I ordered or from where.  Who knows how long the deliveries will continue?  I'll live it up until I have to start returning.

          

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.

"Yeah!"

"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."

FAMOUS.  LAST.  WORDS.

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.

AAHHHH!  I.  CAN'T.  EVEN.

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

Post/Pre

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

I'm BAA-ACK!

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 yeah...meet 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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